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The Innovating Together Podcast

Welcome to innovating together, a podcast produced by the University Innovation Alliance. This is a podcast for busy people in higher education who are looking for the “aha moments” that can propel their work forward. Innovating Together curates the best insights, research, and experts.

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Derrick Tillman-Kelly, Director of UIA's Fellows Program and Network Engagement, speak with Dr. TJ Stewart, Assistant Professor of Student Affairs & Higher Education at Iowa State University. As a researcher who explores college students with stigmatized identities, identity-based student activism, and critical qualitative methodologies, Dr. Stewart discusses unrecognized student populations in need of equitable treatment, the myths and realities of critical race theory, and faculty and staff activism in the interest of social justice. Topics include:

  • How and why some groups of students are overlooked in conversations about equity
  • Sizeism and fatphobia on campus
  • Accepting the reality of sex work as a student labor choice
  • Perceptions of pathology and stigma as roadblocks to social justice
  • Critical race theory as a tool for understanding institutionalized inequity
  • Individual choices as a pathway to changes in policy

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Marjorie Valbrun, Senior Editor of Inside Higher Ed, speak with Alexander Cartwright, President of the University of Central Florida. He talks to us about the surprise and logistics of receiving an enormous philanthropic gift, the importance of state universities partnering with community colleges, and some of the new leadership lessons he's learned during the pandemic. Topics include:

  • What to do when someone gives your institution $40 million
  • Strengthening the regional economy while helping students follow their dreams
  • Being adaptive, innovative, and approachable during hard times
  • The need to be compassionate, to listen, and to empower
  • Recognizing who's on your team and how to value their contributions

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with Michael Rao, President of Virginia Commonwealth University. He talks to us about recognizing the education that most students want and need, returning to campus during the pandemic, and how to be a more effective and efficient leader. Topics include:

  • Elitism in higher ed vs. the real-world needs of the neglected majority
  • Students' expectations for their college experience
  • A pragmatic look at starting a new school year in a time of COVID
  • The need for personal care and prioritizing his communications
  • Wisdom from his mentors and his own advice to rising higher ed leaders

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