Higher Ed Innovation Weekly Roundup 2.12.18

Digital apprenticeships, Chief Innovation Officers, Preventing sexual assault on campus

February 12, 2018

Welcome to the Weekly Higher Ed Innovation Roundup.

  1. Digital Apprenticeships.

When I read this piece on Making Apprenticeships Work in Inside Higher Ed, I was intrigued by the recommendation to “Shift the mind-set to digital apprenticeships by bringing emerging and fast-growing industries to the table.” I initially confused digital with virtual but quickly realized that the term digital apprenticeship is focused on entry level roles in tech and digital careers, and this term is used to distinguish them from traditional apprenticeships that are typically focused on the trades. Digital apprenticeships include software developers, data analysts, digital marketers, and cyber security professionals. Apprentices are employees hired by the employer, and 80 percent of current American apprenticeships are in the traditional trades. Digital apprenticeships are focused on fast-growing fields, and one of the most popular of the UK’s apprenticeships is in creative and media marketing. We should expect to see more of these in the US in the near future, as two UK apprenticeship service providers (ASPs) - Franklin Apprenticeships and Elite Apprentices - accelerate their work in the US. ASPs are intermediaries that go out to the companies and line up apprenticeships. As the authors suggest, these should begin with the public sector at the local, state, and federal levels.The next step is making the work count towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

  1. Chief Innovation Officers.

If you are interested in how innovation happens on campus, I recommend that you read Jeff Selingo’s report The Rise of The Chief Innovation Officer in Higher Education: The Importance of Managing Change on Campuses. He gets at the heart of how these positions have evolved and why they are on the rise. As a former Associate Provost of Innovation and Partnerships, I was definitely interested in what he had to say on the topic. The section on building an innovative culture was particularly helpful. Reporting structure is important, and signals to the rest of the campus the president’s view of innovation. Does it sit within academic affairs? IT? Or does the unit report directly to the president? The challenge of locating this position in the provost’s office is “When innovation is seen as an academic exercise, those in student affairs or financial affairs rarely participate.” Selingo points out that the inclusion of these two units is crucial to the success of innovation on campus. If your innovation unit is siloed on a campus with a culture that is resistant to change, innovation will be an uphill battle. If you create the position with the sole purpose of generating revenue, you will miss opportunities to create a culture change around innovation.

  1. Preventing Sexual Assault on Campus.

If you haven’t already read Jia Tolentino’s Is There a Smarter Way to Think About Sexual Assault on Campus? in The New Yorker, take the time to read it today, especially if you work on a college campus. I would go as far as saying this is even more urgent if you work at a four-year residential college, what Tolentino references as a “total institution: it controls the conditions under which students eat, sleep, work, and party.” Tolentino goes in depth on a program at Columbia University that “aims to nudge students toward responsible behavior on a collective scale. The first time we met, on Columbia’s main campus, Hirsch put it to me more plainly: ‘We have to stop working one penis at a time!’” This article really made me think about how innovation needs to cut across the entire campus culture to actually make change happen. Changing sexual assault behavior on campus requires adjudication and punishment, but being innovative in this space requires radically rethinking “the ways in which the environment of college makes students vulnerable” to sexual assault. This whole system thinking approach should be considered as we deal with larger issues on campus around hate speech, hate crimes, free speech, racial discrimination, and the rise of white supremacist groups. What do we unknowingly do to create spaces where racial discrimination can flourish? How do we prevent the behavior in the first place? How do we encourage responsible behavior on a collective scale?

What did I miss? What should I cover next week? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @mary_churchill.






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