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Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom is an event series that streams live on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn on Mondays. Each event also becomes a podcast episode. Every week, the UIA joins forces with Inside Higher Ed and talks with a sitting college president or chancellor about how they're specifically navigating the challenges of this moment. These conversations are filled with practicable things you can do right now by unpacking how and why college leaders are making decisions within higher education. These episodes will also leave you with a sense of optimism and inspiration.

You have to have a culture that embraces, supports, and is committed to these students and their success. The second key element is having the people who are committed to the culture. Once you have that platform, then you can start to think about programs. That’s the mindset we’ve brought to this.

Kim Wilcox

Chancellor, University of California, Riverside

We know now the world is much more complicated than we thought. Historic institutions that are non-adaptive are going to have difficulty adjusting to these kinds of high-speed changes. We need to instill the ability to adjust and keep performing our mission as a core part of what we do.

Michael Crow

President, Arizona State University

This is the time when American higher education understands that our strength as a country will be inextricably tied to our success in bringing people from all backgrounds into the problem solving as we face the future.

Freeman Hrabowski, III

President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

We’ve got a lot of important work to make sure that our institutions come through this pandemic and get stronger, at the same time that we address the issues that are right in front of us around systemic racism.

Mark Becker

President, Georgia State University

If you start to address what’s important to people, I think people are going to take you seriously, regardless of if you’re in a room with them, or if you’re doing it virtually.

Frank Dooley

Chancellor, Purdue University Global

You’ve got to be willing to have courage to have these open and frank discussions, you’ve got to put yourself in a position to foster these kinds of discussions, and sometimes, more often than not, you will listen to your constituency and they will have the better solutions.

Harold L. Martin, Sr.

Chancellor, North Carolina A&T University

Bridget Burns, CEO of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with Dr. Taylor Randall, President of the University of Utah, who was appointed to his current position in August 2021, and who brought his institution into the UIA. Dr. Randall talks about pragmatic optimism, setting expectations to manage transformation, reshaping curriculum based on student input, and how passion and creative tension can fuel positive change. Topics include:

  • The leadership style that President Randall brings to the UIA
Honoring obligation to stakeholders as a basis for innovation

  • How to create a student-centric program
Being guided by history and optimism

Bridget Burns, CEO of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University, who has served in his current position since 2003. Dr. LeBlanc talks about how he first introduced online education through disruptive innovation, what happens to schools that can't or won't evolve, the necessary discomfort of honesty in leadership, and personal stories as a critical tool in human connection. Topics include:

  • Introducing technology to higher ed in the early days of the Internet

  • Why some institutions are unable to succeed

  • Challenges and benefits of owning the need for leadership course corrections
Accepting opportunities that shouldn't be ignored
  • Building a team through relational power

Bridget Burns, CEO of the University Innovation Alliance, and Doug Lederman, Editor and Co-Founder of Inside Higher Ed, speak with M. Brian Blake, President of Georgia State University as he approaches his one-year anniversary of leading the institution. Dr. Blake talks about how his early private sector career shaped his approach to academic leadership, the guidance and opportunities that he's offering his students, and managing the perceptions around a job well done. Topics include:


  • The similarities between industry and academia
  • A four-pillar strategy for the shared aspirations of Georgia State
Human connections as the X factor in any strategy
The importance of high-quality deliverables
  • Recommended reading for any future president

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