Whittier College Innovation Challenge Winners Announced

September 23, 2019

Digitizing all campus forms and making an immediate positive impact on the user experience for students, future students, faculty, and staff. Highlighting diversity while providing unique research opportunities for students at the College’s Institute for Baseball Studies.

These are the winning projects of the inaugural Whittier Innovates Challenge, a campus-wide competition aimed at developing and supporting innovation throughout the institution. Formstack Expansion: Bringing Campus Forms Online was presented by Edna Becerra, associate director of web strategy and multimedia, and Ethnicity and Baseball was presented by Joe Price, professor emeritus of religious studies; Charles Adams, professor of English; and Mike McBride, professor of political science. 

“This challenge was created to encourage our internal partners to think innovatively and creatively about how we support our mission of serving students. The goal was to create an opportunity for us to find ways to innovate ourselves, and to reward out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving. The ideas that are realized as a result of this initiative will have a positive impact on our community and will propel the College into the future,” said President Linda Oubré. 

Available to students, faculty, and staff at the College, the challenge tasked applicants with embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and collaborating across campus. Supported by the Presidential Innovation Fund, the total prize pool for this inaugural challenge was $5,000. The call for applications generated 14 proposals submitted. 

“The submissions were thoughtful and compelling, and the committee was reminded of how passionate the members of our Poet community are about the work they do here and our shared commitment to student success,” said Innovation Challenge Committee member Jessica Cobb ’05, director of development. “Each applicant brought a unique project to the table, and it really shines a light on how diverse the needs of our campus constituents are.”

The Formstack Expansion Project will upgrade the College’s existing Formstack plan and bring most administrative forms online, making workflow processes such as faculty and staff reviews and approvals more efficient for everyone on campus. This technology will streamline current procedures and reduce the amount of forms currently being printed, scanned, and uploaded back into their databases, eliminating waste and reducing the College’s carbon footprint. 

Ethnicity and Baseball will provide funding to contract a paraprofessional librarian to catalog the most relevant portions of the Institute for Baseball Studies’ collection, including more than 100 books on the Negro Leagues and their players, approximately 50 books related to Latinx baseball, 600 books on the history of baseball, and 230 baseball reference works that include information about African American and Latinx team, players, and ballparks. Cataloging the collection will bring the institute’s book collection up to the Library of Congress classification standards, becoming a searchable collection for students and faculty to refer to in their own work. 

The Whittier Innovates Challenge can be supported with a gift to the Whittier College Presidential Innovation Fund.

Whittier Innovates Challenge Committee

Matthew Aranda ’16, marketing and social media coordinator at the Center for Career and Professional Development
Jessica Cobb ’05, director of development
Danny Jauregui, associate professor of art 
Kristen Smirnov, associate professor of business administration
Kristin Wiberg, director of strategic initiatives