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Innovation in Higher Education: Ready or Not

Innovation in Higher Education: Ready or Not

A recent Google search for “higher education innovation” netted over 100 million results in which industry and mainstream newspapers, blogs, articles, and books encouraged, described, and celebrated innovation. Targets for innovation range from the business model to educational delivery systems, from academic advising to partnerships for student housing. Throughout it all, higher education is being disrupted, reimagined, reinvented, and transformed.

All this attention to innovation makes some uneasy.

In fact, many worry that attempts at innovation on so many fronts simultaneously will culminate in a new higher education experience that is unrecognizable—and perhaps not as good. Are we complacent, change averse, or just realistic? After all, imagining change is relatively easy compared to the implementation, leaving many of us uncomfortable with the challenge. As Mark Twain said, “I’m all for progress. It’s just change I don’t like.”

This is why AGB chose innovation as the central theme for the 2017 National Conference on Trusteeship.

Ready or not, boards need to become comfortable with innovation as a defining characteristic of higher education because change in the higher education environment pressures boards to change as well.

Far from simply change for change’s sake, innovative institutions and their leaders need innovative boards to partner with and advocate for them.

Join us in Dallas, Texas, on April 2 – 4 to explore what higher education needs from boards and institutional leaders in a period of unprecedented innovation.  Hear National Public Radio’s Claudio Sanchez lead a panel on innovative practices and Forbes magazine publisher Rich Karlgaard describe future trends in politics and the economy. Representatives from industries related to higher education will talk about their vision for higher education in 10 years. AGB’s president, Rick Legon, will moderate a panel discussion on leveraging trustees’ experience to drive innovation. These and other sessions will stimulate thinking about the role and impact of innovation in higher education and the responsibility of boards in this fast-changing environment.

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