Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Think Fearless: Ignite a Culture of Innovation

PCC champions new ideas, risk taking, agility, experimentation and learning through failure that leads to the next cycle of change. PCC’s students, faculty, staff and partners are respected as creative problem-solvers in business, government and nonprofit sectors.

Overview

Once the educational leader worldwide, the U.S. is now ranked 16th among developed countries for post-secondary education. Moreover, colleges in the U.S. are disappearing – as many as 30 percent may cease to exist in coming decades. Meanwhile, the global and local economies are changing, creating new demands for skills, knowledge and experiences in the labor force.

The college of the future will provide student-centered, faculty-enabled, multi-modal learning opportunities. Students, faculty, staff and industry specialists will participate in a culture of discovery and collaboration utilizing a multi-disciplinary, hands-on learning approach. In order to keep up with rapid advances in the economy, adult education and technology, and to exceed international competitors’ standards of excellence, PCC will review the need for a dramatic redesign of the educational model. Innovation in all areas and at all levels is critical for PCC to be responsive and relevant to the educational and economic development needs of the community, region, state and world.

Students posing with class project

Strategic Intentions

  • 3-1 PCC promotes agility and rapid improvements in its organizational systems and processes to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders.
  • 3-2 PCC’s organizational culture encourages students, faculty and staff to continuously assess and identify opportunities for improvement and change, and to remove barriers to creative innovations that lead to institutional and educational effectiveness.
  • 3-3 PCC invests in areas of emerging need and in evolving fields of study and industry.
  • 3-4 PCC embraces the spirit and expression of innovation through intentional investment in college systems, resulting in inventive and flexible programs, practices and services.
  • 3-5 PCC effectively uses data to inform, guide and support academic and system-redesign efforts to support institutional change and to develop metrics to evaluate and benchmark outcomes.
  • Three tudents talking and laughing

A Living Example

Jordan Nickerson, Eric Thomas, Gregg Meyer
Jordan working with Eric Thomas on his prosthetic hand in the MakerSpace

Jordan Nickerson had always been frustrated by expensive and ineffective prosthetic limbs. Fed up with designs that simply weren’t working for him, the 23-year-old PCC computer science student born without a left hand decided it was up to him to do something about it.

After hearing about the tools and resources available in PCC’s MakerSpace, Nickerson got in touch with Gregg Meyer, a PCC engineering instructor and the Sylvania MakerSpace coordinator. Through collaborations with Meyer and peer mentor Eric Thomas, Nickerson began experimenting with designs for a customized prosthetic limb. Through trial and error, he constructed a working prototype (complete with moving fingers to grip objects) out of biodegradable corn plastic, Velcro, duct tape and a mouse pad.

Relying on equal parts collaboration and experimentation, Nickerson found a new solution to an old problem. He made use of the best that PCC has to offer – expert faculty, enthusiastic students and unique resources – to make his vision real.

Nickerson’s low-cost prosthetic has already changed his life for the better; now he wants to change the world. He is already laying the groundwork for a company dedicated to printing customized prosthetics for people in need.

"Eventually we want to try to reach everyone who needs this," he said.

What We're Doing

Here's a few recent examples of how we're putting our strategic intentions to work!

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