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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.

Scholarship to Practice 11/18/20 - Sara Goldrick-Rab

Scholarship to Practice 11/18/20

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. Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of sociology and medicine at Temple University, president and founder of the nonprofit Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and originator of the #RealCollege movement. She talks to us about the prevalence of food and housing insecurity among the higher ed population, and how schools can address these realities.

Topics include:

  • What food and housing insecurity look like
  • What the #RealCollege movement is about
  • A roadmap for administrators to address students' basic needs
  • Students are humans first

Weekly Wisdom 016 - Marcia Ballinger

Due to the current situation brought by COVID-19, chancellors, and university presidents are faced with unique challenges. Learn about how they navigate and lead through these difficulties. "Start the Week with Wisdom" is a short form live interview show that aims to be a source of wisdom and strength for many.

For the 16th installment of Weekly Wisdom, Bridget Burns, Executive Director of University Innovation Alliance and Madeline St. Amour from Inside Higher Ed, had a short, inspiring conversation with the Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger.

How Is She Currently Holding Up?

Ms. Ballinger is glad to say that she and the entire campus of Lorain County Community College are holding up exceptionally well during this time of crisis. Currently, they are so focused on the start of the new academic year. During these crazy times brought about by the pandemic, they are working hard with perseverance and grit determination to get ready for the fall semester.

What's it Like to Lead a Community College?

According to Ms. Ballinger, part of their roles as a community college is being that "launchpad" for individuals. She says that it's more about how they serve as the launchpad for their communities' economic recovery. She added that many adults throughout northeast Ohio are high school graduates but don't have enough credentials, whether it's an industry-recognized credential or a degree.

Ms.Ballinger emphasizes that the institution is part of the community solutions provider, even during this pandemic. As a community partner, they want to ensure that they listen to the community's needs and respond efficiently to what needs to be done.

As A Leader, How Is She Navigating And Making Big Decisions Amid The Outbreak?

Ms. Ballingers says that they have been laser-focused on the basic needs of the community. She added that they previously made an integrated, holistic center last year to help deal with students' basic needs. Little did they know that this was going to take an even higher priority prominence today.

Ms. Ballinger recalls that when the pandemic began, she and her team committed that they would not allow a single student to go hungry or attend school without technology. So, they've worked hard to create more opportunities for funding to make these things possible.

For the fall semester's opening, Ms.Ballinger says that their institution will have 80% of their education online. For courses that are laboratory-based and have accreditation requirements, Ms.Ballinger reassures them that they have put all of the COVID-19 preventive protocols in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

Weekly Wisdom 015 - Renu Khator

Due to the current situation brought by COVID-19, chancellors, and university presidents are faced with unique challenges. Learn about how they navigate and lead through these difficulties. "Start the Week with Wisdom" is a short form live interview show that aims to be a source of wisdom and strength for many.

For the 15th installment of Weekly Wisdom, Bridget Burns, Executive Director of University Innovation Alliance and Paul Fain from Inside Higher Ed, had a short, inspiring conversation with the University of Houston President Renu Khator.

What Are The University’s Plans for This Fall?

For the past months, a lot has happened due to the pandemic. And everyone in Houston is all quite concerned. Ms. Khator says they are currently looking at all of the indicators for public health and are trying to see what the institution can do in three weeks.

She mentions the university's plan to open the campus but with as much flexibility and compassion as possible, which means that there will be classes in different modes. The students have the freedom to choose whether they want to come to the campus or not. If students prefer to go to the university, they'll be provided with all the necessary preventive measures, including masks and hygiene kits.

Faculties can also choose whether they want to teach in a highly flexible environment or conduct online classes, synchronous, or asynchronous. Ms. Kathor emphasizes that they are planning for every kind of scenario, but they hope for the best.

As a President Chancellor, How Is She Handling Decision Fatigue?

Ms. Kathor admits that it's overwhelming sometimes, especially during these past days. It's exhausting for her and her team members. Personally, Ms. Kathor does yoga meditation and gardening to relieve herself from fatigue and stress.

Ms. Kathor also adds that part of her job is to make sure that she can also relieve the stress from her team members. They do wine gatherings at times and even try to read books together. She makes sure to ask her teammates what they are doing for their mental health. She believes that communication and encouraging words are essential.

With Her Extensive Career in Leadership, Are There Lessons or Wisdom That She's Relying Upon Right Now?

Ms. Kathor says that she doesn't use any framework because, at the end of the day, we have to face things and make decisions based on your gut, intuition, experiences, and wisdom you've collected up to this time. She also shares that there are two principles that she follows until today: flexibility and compassion. In times of crisis, you have to feel it, not just from your students' point of view, but also from your faculty, staff, and community.

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