Innovation. A term that predominates the daily higher ed news cycle; characterizing the latest approach by leaders and practitioners in our field to confront a deep and lingering problem facing students or our institutions. Consonant to calls for efficiency and expectations for access, faculty and academic administrators have witnessed or contributed to the development of new approaches in online, hybrid, and/or competency-based educational delivery. Big data’s capacity to equip practitioners with real-time, predictive insights portend enhanced utility in illuminating wider pathways to success for more students.
But as the news headlines depict the most compelling soundbites of the latest success story of innovation, we’re too often left without the details and context that provide the deeper, more compelling narrative on what it took to see the end result. How did the campus identify, operationalize, and build understanding of the issue that resulted in a change? What were the technical, political, and philosophical hurdles to overcome along the way? Have there been any unanticipated challenges now confronting the campus that may have addressed one issue but created others? The fuller story, of course, requires a deeper attention span and appetite for the intersection of campus culture and the process of innovation on campus.
And it’s important to pause and recognize that the call for innovative thought and action has a longstanding presence in many college and university settings. We’re encouraging ourselves to break down silos and solve institution-wide priorities for educational equity together. We’re finding new ways to integrate technology in practices that bolster our longstanding commitment to crisis prevention. We’re becoming more intentional about mapping out where our intended learning goals occur at the institution and creating assessment strategies that illuminate learning that was once invisible. Indeed, it’s a worthy thought exercise to reflect on why our campuses are resistant to change and innovation on some matters, but welcome it for others.
As a community, let’s pause and reflect on the cultural elements that intersect with innovation and change in higher education. Join Dr. Andrew Morse, Alex Emmanuele and the K&A team in another live Twitter chat this Monday, October 24 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM ET as we explore innovation; the good, the bad, and the ugly.