About the IDEA Institute

The IDEA Institute reimagines education for the changing world of work.

Recognizing that community college students will need skills to thrive in an environment disrupted by technological and socioeconomic changes, the IDEA Institute creates spaces and experiences for adult learners to gain skills in self-direction, problem-solving, collaboration and innovation. Partnerships with business, industry, universities and communities provide IDEA students with real world experiences to gain professional, technical and creativity skills.

Our History

The college launched RISE in 2010 through support from a community donor to reimagine community college education. RISE supported several initiatives to rethink learning and the traditional classroom environment, resulting in K-16 STEM faculty collaboration,  project-based experiences that connect the classroom to the community, and the creation of the IDEA Lab in 2014.

The IDEA Lab plays a critical role in student innovation by serving as a sandbox for student experimentation in self-directed learning and 21st century education. The IDEA Lab demonstrated its value early on by supporting a student team who won first place in the 2015 National Science Foundation’s Community College Innovation Challenge and more recently supporting a 2019 Cybersecurity team to place second in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. 

Our Work

The IDEA Institute is creating a framwork to immerse diverse students in experiential learning in preparation for successful careers in engineering, making and innovation. We support students to explore opportunities and engage in meaningful experiences. Working with faculty and staff at Red Rocks, we are developing new ways to help students relfect on what they have learned and communicate the value of the competencies developed in order to support community college students on their path to upward mobility.