Higher Ed Innovation Weekly Roundup 4.9.18

Intimate relationships on campus, exclusion of scholars of color, prioritizing innovation

April 9, 2018

Welcome to the Weekly Higher Ed Innovation Roundup.

  • Transparent Guidelines for Faculty and Student Relationships

There is a provocative piece in The Guardian that calls for prohibiting intimate relationships between staff and students. In this #MeToo moment, this perennial issue seems timely. I know many, many male professors who married their female students. Most of these men are now 65+, so maybe it was more common back in the day. Given the often intimate nature of teaching and learning, it is inevitable that relationships of all sorts will develop. Instead of pretending that they don’t exist or prohibiting them, I think we need to work on developing clear guidelines around disclosure and we need to cover the topic in our faculty, staff, and student orientations and in our ongoing faculty and staff professional development. The human element is what makes amazing learning transcendent. It can also get us in trouble if we ignore power differentials, harassment, and abuse.

  • Ending the Exclusion of People of Color in Scholarly Publishing

A new post at The Scholarly Kitchen includes anonymous testimony contributions from several scholars of color. This is recommended reading for all white folks, especially those who consider themselves to be allies. Race conversations in this country are difficult and painful but we need to keep having them, especially those of us who benefit from white privilege. I would add this to the training mentioned above. We can’t change things if we ignore them. We can’t improve if we think we’re doing a good job. Fighting racism is ongoing work and we are never done. I would call on us to interrogate what we mean by inclusion. The word is being thrown about quite a bit lately, and it’s not always happening in a critical and thoughtful way. Without rigorous attention to intentional and ongoing inclusion, you have exclusion. Inclusion is not once and done. It is all day, every day.

  • Prioritizing Innovative Initiatives on Campus

There’s a new report out on managing innovation in higher ed and the authors outline a three-step approach:

  1. Clarify goals and gaps
  2. Build strategy
  3. Use a portfolio approach

This is pretty simple, but often, institutions try to do too much in the innovation arena. It frequently ends up being a space for all the ideas and initiatives that don’t fit elsewhere. Clarifying goals helps the chief innovation officer on campus to create clear guidelines for prioritizing all of the initiatives coming her way. Ironically, one of the most challenging parts of innovation work on campus is identifying what not to do. The authors recommend a discovery-driven planning process that is designed to help you weed out initiatives that do bring about outcomes that support your overall goals.

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

Mary Churchill is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wheelock College in Boston. She is also on the board of the Massachusetts A.C.E. Network of Women Leaders in Higher Education and involved with A.C.E.'s Moving the Needle initiative focused on advancing women leaders in higher education.



Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.


Back to Top