IMMAGINATION AND INNOVATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION 2021
INFORMATION FOR TRUSTEES, PRESIDENTS, VICE-CHANCELLORS, PROVOSTS,
ACADEMIC DEANS, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICERS, DIRECTORS OF HEALTH AND
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS, ENROLLMENT MANAGERS, INTERNATIONAL DEANS
AND RECRUITERS, FINANCIAL AID OFFICERS, CAREER COUNSELORS AND
LIFELONG LEARNING COUNSELORS, REGISTRARS, ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIONAL
PROVIDERS, EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS, AND AGENTS
BULLETIN # 43 MARCH 1-5, 2021
SNAPSHOT: INNOVATORS AND INNOVATIONS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Over the past year I have defined, through these weekly bulletins, the need for a
reimagined university to emerge after the chaos and confusion of the pandemic
passes. Central to a reimagined university are chief executives who have a clear
vision of what their institutions will “look like” in the year, and years, to come.
These chief executives are willing to lead, not at the margins, but with innovation
and flexibility. These chief executives have the ability to think long term and not
just for the next academic semester. They realize that replacing competition with
collaboration is essential to the success of a reimagined university. They create
environments that foster innovation and creativity.
The list in this week’s bulletin is by no means complete but the following are
some examples of innovators and innovations in colleges, universities, and
In 2018, the head of Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore asked her staff to imagine
how they would build a college from scratch. Next year, the Nanyang Polytechnic
Competence Model will be rolled out, offering courses in business and analytics,
game development, and technology.
In February 2021, as reported in University World News, 49 European Higher
Education Area institutions identified micro-credentials as a way to make schools
more innovative. Micro-credentials have the potential to diversity higher
education, make higher education more inclusive, and support lifelong learning
Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, announced last
year that all incoming first year students would attend classes tuition-free.
President LeBlanc further announced that tuition for all campus-based programs
would be set at either $15,000 for a flexible program, or $10,000 for a structured
program, for the fall 2021 semester. This is a 50% reduction from the university’s
previous tuition rates The university announced this year that it has entered into
an agreement with 14 colleges in Pennsylvania to create a “hassle-free: transfer
process; cohort marketing at its best.
David Green, president of Colby College in Maine, announced in May 2020 that
the college will pledge to find employment for all of its students at the time of
At Technologico de Monterey, university academics are re-designing their
curriculum to develop students who are entrepreneurial, socially minded, and
who can adapt to the future The focus on the curriculum re-design are cutting-
edge technologies and developing leadership skills and values.
Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, introduced the Nexus
Degree, a 60-credit-hour degree, consisting of 42 credit hours of coursework
focusing on the knowledge requirements of any major university. Eighteen credit
hours are assigned as an apprenticeship/ internship program that must include at
least six credit hours of experiential learning.
Courses at Virginia Tech University ‘s Calhoun Center for Higher Education
Innovation, stresses the need to shift from traditional educational practices to a
more active and organic collaboration between educators and employers. The
curriculum values exposing students to a broader range of competencies,
experiences, and knowledge.
In 2020, the College of Arts and Letters at Sacramento State piloted a program to
pre-enroll 325 incoming freshmen in block schedules based on a survey of their
interests, learning styles, and availability. The result: only five percent of the
students opted out of their predetermined schedules and only 20 percent
changed their course times. The progression and retention implications of this
program are obvious.
Several colleges and universities in the United States and worldwide are re-
configuring how classroom and living spaces will be utilized in the future and how
technology will drive space changes. We do not know. at this time, the long-term
impact of online learning in the future. We don’t know what health and safety
protocols will be an intrinsic part of the college experience; therefore, we do not
know at this point in time, how to best use the space allocated for classrooms,
libraries, cafeterias, and dormitories.
What we do know is that an expert on space planning and allocation should have
a seat on the vision committee in a reimagined university; someone who can
accurately predict and rethink current spaces taking collaboration and technology
These are but a few of the innovators and innovations in higher education that
are taking place, or have already been implemented. The companion of
innovators and innovators is CHANGE.