America’s Ten Most Innovative College Presidents

Educational Innovation Weekly Review for Ed Leaders
Curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation
September 1, 2015
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America’s Ten Most Innovative College Presidents
Washington Monthly
  • College presidents don’t generally factor into the choices students make about where to apply, but they are hugely important actors, because their visions for their institutions determine whose interests really get served. 
  • Some presidents resist doing things the same old way for the same wrong reasons. These are innovators who treat their schools like laboratories, devising new and better ways of serving their students while providing potential road maps to success for peer institutions. 
  • With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ten college presidents who are changing higher ed for the better. This is not a traditional ranking of which presidents are “best”. Rather, these presidents have implemented specific, innovative programs. They’re the ones who are shaping the future of America’s schools.
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Keywords: leaders, higher education, rankings, innovation, leadership
Harvard Business School Really has Created the Classroom of the Future
  • For years, colleges and universities have been imagining what the classroom of the future would look like. Many have tried to create it, with video screens and cameras, even teaching robots. But after three full years of planning and building a unique virtual space, Harvard Business School has truly invented the future classroom: HBX Live!
  • Whether they’re in Beijing, Warsaw, or San Francisco, every student in Harvard’s HBX Live! virtual classroom now sits front and center. Bharat Anand, a Harvard strategy professor, faces the images of 60 students portrayed on a curved screen in front of him, a high-resolution video wall composed of more than 6.2 million pixels that mimics the amphitheater-style seating of a class HBS tiered classroom. 
  • Though HBS won’t disclose the actual cost of the classroom, Anand says that it is slightly more than a typical tiered classroom in a campus building. “We are probably in the $300 to $500 range per student per session, and that includes all fixed costs and variable costs.”
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Keywords: online education, MBA, Harvard, digital learning, virtual classroom
Cornell’s New President: It’s Time to Look at Higher Education Through a Different Lens
The Washington Post
  • We in higher education have been on the defensive lately, amid persistent and legitimate concerns about the rising cost of college education, its purpose and its value.
  • To move this conversation forward, it is time to look at higher education through a different lens – one framed by the inseparable qualities of freedom and responsibility. 
  • Today’s research universities must provide our faculty with an environment that encourages freedom of inquiry and thought. We must provide our students with an education that includes not only specific facts and skills but also the tools to keep on learning and adapting long after their time with us on campus has passed. 
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Keywords: research, higher education, research universities
Rethinking the Bachelor’s Degree
Washington Monthly
  • The traditional higher education system works great for lots of students but it forces countless others to choose between a four-year program they're not ready for and a job training program that will limit them. It is time for a third option. 
  • In the United States training is widely understood to be the end, not the beginning, of an educational journey. But this particular pyramid structure of the bachelor’s degree is what makes college unappealing to so many young people.
  • It’s possible to envision a better option. Some colleges are experimenting with alternative “upside-down” degrees, for example, the “Learn Something Useful First” degree at Evergreen State allows students to study job skills before abstract academics and walk away with a four-year BA.
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Keywords: higher education, innovation, job training programs, vocational education
Buzzwords May Be Stifling Teaching Innovation at Colleges
The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • One of the obstacles to bringing "adaptive learning" to college classrooms is that professors, administrators, and even those who make adaptive-learning systems don’t always agree on what that buzzword means. The same happens with another trendy approach: competency-based education. 
  • Richard Culatta, director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, says language could be key to the success of this experimental teaching approaches. "In order to take this from an, ‘Oh that’s an interesting idea,’ to something you can actually implement, we have to get more precise with our language."
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Keywords: educational trends, innovation, adaptive learning, competency-based education, language
Are Reluctant Retirees Undermining Innovation on Campus?
The Huffington Post
  • Since the Great Recession, postponing retirement is becoming more common in some professions, including higher education. A new survey shows two thirds of college professors now plan to work past the age of 67. That trend comes with serious consequences.  
  • Economist Paul Yakoboski thinks that the fact that some professors are simply afraid to leave can lead to stagnation in the university setting. "A certain amount of churn is a healthy thing - fresh blood, fresh ideas, people who are up-to-date on the most current pedagogies,” Yakoboski says. “And if you don't have a dynamic where that churn is occurring, you don't get the benefit."
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Keywords: higher education, economy, innovation, faculty
The End of the Master’s Degree?
Chief Learning Officer
  • Michael Horn, co-founder and executive director of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, talked about how graduate degrees’ questionable future affects learning leaders.
  • Horn said that the master's degree it’s still often worth it but that "it’s starting to change in certain industries, particularly in technology. Employers like Google care much more about underlying skill sets and what you’re able to do than [...] A master’s degree might not be the signal it once was of the skills and knowledge an employee has."
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Keywords: graduate students, master's degree, Michael Horn
Purdue Announces ‘Bet on a Boiler’ Tuition Investment Plan 
Education News
  • Purdue University has announced its intent to create a new plan to help students pay for college that would use investment to draw on students’ future earnings, calling it “Bet on a Boiler.” The university announced it was looking for a partner firm that would not only create but also manage income share agreements as an alternative to federal student loans.
  • Under the agreement, a student’s tuition would be covered by drawing from an investment pool. The student then agrees to have a portion of his or her income after graduation forfeited for a certain period of time.  Payments would adjust based on income rather than accruing interest. 
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Keywords: tuition, investment plan
Applicants Put Little Trust in University Advertising
Times Higher Education
  • A survey of 1,475 applicants to undergraduate courses at UK universities found that more than half the respondents regarded information that they gleaned from a visit to an institution. Other trusted sources of information were the university website, with a 46.6 per cent level of trust, and printed prospectuses, which scored 42.8 per cent. 
  • In contrast, only 26 per cent of respondents said they regarded university advertising as being highly trustworthy, and just 14.5 per cent put a high level of trust in social media, according to results published in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education.
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Keywords: universities, advertising, social media
Hiring Managers Say These are the 25 Best Colleges in America
Business Insider
  • We asked more than 1,000 Business Insider readers to weigh in on which schools best prepare students for success after graduation. We then combined those results with average SAT score and median starting salary. When we filtered the results to only include responses from the 666 people who said they hire frequently, Harvard took the top spot on the list. MIT, fell to second place, and Stanford came in third.
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Keywords: higher education, rankings
Educational Innovation Weekly Review is curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's  Observatory of Educational Innovation. With the highlights of the week on innovation, technology and education. If you require more information about a specific note, please email us: TECNOLÓGICO DE MONTERREY, 2015.

Observatory of Educational Innovation

Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation: We identify and analyze the educational innovation trends that are shaping the future of learning and education. 

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