Starting with this issue, we’re pleased to be collaborating with the John Gardner Institute to bring our readers a series on innovation.
Why innovation, and why now? Simply put, this is not a time in higher education to maintain the status quo or to sigh over the loss of a golden age that was never actually all that golden for everyone. As we emerge from the shadow of pandemic, strive towards ideals of equity and inclusion, navigate vicissitudes of our democratic and social institutions, and enter the era of artificial intelligence, it’s no exaggeration to say that if universities are to flourish in this time, as they must, their leaders must be more than mere operations managers.
The Gardner Institute was established in 1999 by John Gardner and Betsy O. Barefoot. Initially funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the non-profit has grown in ambition and scale and is now sustained through grants and revenue from a variety of sources. Its partners are now many. You might know of the Institute’s work first-hand through any number of avenues: its speaker series; its customized workshops; an annual symposium; its academies on first-year college, teaching and learning, and equity in retention; or its podcasts and webinars. The Institute also organizes communities and conversations around curricular analytics and leadership.
And so our series begins with the co-authored “Wanted! Academic Affairs Administrators Who are Also Institution-Wide Innovators,” in our current issue, which will lay the theoretical groundwork for a number of case studies that will follow and provide readers with a clear picture of what meaningful innovation looks like in our world and the difference it makes to our diverse communities of learners and teachers. I hope our readers will enjoy and benefit from this series.