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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, CEO of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with James Kvaal, U.S. Under Secretary of Education. He talks about leadership at the federal level, understanding the perspectives of advocates from outside the government, and the critical details of what it takes to be an effective communicator. Topics include:


  • Emulating the best qualities of high-profile leaders with whom he's worked

  • How nonprofit sector experiences improved his effectiveness as a federal appointee

  • How education policy happens

  • The future of American higher ed that he'd like to see

  • The difference between what we say and what others hear

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with Dr. Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College. He talks about adapting to the long haul of the pandemic, best practices for focusing on and pursuing what truly matters to an institution and the ed sector at large, and identifying the path forward that will benefit the most people. Topics include:

  • Finding a North Star to guide his institution through ongoing challenge

  • How a crisis can shape decision-making for both administrators and students

  • What it means for an institution to "win" in higher education
  • Words of faith and encouragement that can be applied at many levels

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with Dr. Becky Johnson, Interim President of Oregon State University. She talks about effectively assuming a leadership role during a pandemic, not being driven by worst-case scenarios, and keeping an eye on the future while handling the current situation. Topics include:

  • The value of staying calm and thinking instead of instantly reacting
  • Assessing situations and concerns to better address the realities of the moment
  • Projecting confidence and ensuring continuity
  • Staying focused on the push for equity in higher ed
  • Building an effective team and guiding future leaders toward their ideal roles

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