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Some of Our Favorite Conversations With Higher Ed Leaders

Some of Our Favorite Conversations With Higher Ed Leaders

Weekly Wisdom Highlights From the 2021-22 Academic Year

The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) is proud to host the Innovating Together Podcast, a regular feature designed to bring you current thinking and insider views around all things higher education. We're especially proud of our Weekly Wisdom event series, when we sit down with campus leaders to learn about their day-to-day, their past experiences, and their current aspirations. We archive these videos on our YouTube channel and invite you to visit them whenever you're seeking new ideas for your own institution, or just a shot of inspiration to see how other leaders have approached something you might be experiencing. Here are a few of our favorite interviews with higher ed leaders from the 2021-22 academic year.

To read the full summary of each podcast, click on the episode title above the description. To watch the original episode, click on the YouTube video below.

1. Fostering a Can-Do Culture
Dr. Alexander Cartwright, President of the University of Central Florida, relived the experience of his institution receiving an enormous philanthropic gift, and explained how investing in endowments for ongoing student success is the best way to use such a windfall. President Cartwright also illustrated that university partnerships with local community colleges can help uplift the regional economy, and how the pandemic reshaped educational and organizational practice at every level of UCF.

2. The Rewards of High-Level Collaboration
Dr. Michael Rao, President of Virginia Commonwealth University, was proud that his institution joined the UIA this year. He recalled his previous work with like-minded leaders and how their positive, mutual support raised expectations and affected outcomes. Additionally, President Rao talked about the benefits of sharing experience and data between institutions, and the importance of maintaining an affirmative, human tone in every professional situation – especially during these contentious, polarizing times.

3. A Thousand Flowers Blooming
Dr. M. Brian Blake, President of Georgia State University, discussed his first year of leadership at this historic institution. Unlike many higher ed leaders who've spent most of their adult lives on college campuses, President Blake returned to academia after a career in the technology sector, and he brings a different understanding of specializing and collaboration. He summarized his four-pillar strategy to support shared aspirations at Georgia State: research and innovation; student success; the path from college to careers; and identity and placemaking.

4. Safety, Diversity, and Opportunity
Dr. Kristina Johnson, President of The Ohio State University, provided a vivid picture of starting a new leadership job on a major campus during the pandemic. She went on to outline her initiative for improving on- and off-campus public safety, which goes beyond cameras and street lighting to include investing resources in Columbus' public schools and community colleges. President Johnson is also leading OSU's diversity efforts, honoring her own family's generational commitment to equal opportunity.

5. The Impact of Alliances in Higher Education
Dr. Kim A. Wilcox, Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, reflected on being one of the UIA's charter campuses and changing the national conversation around student success. Having served at an NCAA Division 1 school prior to joining UCR, he shared his wisdom about the tension between the ideals and realities of collegiate athletics. Chancellor Wilcox also described facing the logistics of COVID while meeting both local county requirements and the top-down directives of the UC System.

6. A Leadership Career in Review
Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Former President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, retired after 30 years in his leadership role. With the inspirational tone and humble humor that have long been his trademark, he shared a few of the lessons that he learned while serving as president. Dr. Hrabowski also offered suggestions about key things that incoming leaders can expect from the current state of higher ed, and how they can best prepare themselves for the challenges of leadership.

About Weekly Wisdom
Weekly Wisdom is an event series that happens live on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It also becomes a podcast episode. Every week, we join forces with Inside Higher Ed and talk with a sitting college president or chancellor about how they're specifically navigating the challenges of this moment. These conversations will be filled with practicable things you can do right now by unpacking how and why college leaders are making decisions within this unique and challenging time within higher education. Hopefully, these episodes will also leave you with a sense of optimism and a bit of inspiration.

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