Virginia higher education community convenes to talk change, innovation and collaboration

A team of Radford University administrators joined their colleagues in Charlottesville on Dec. 3 for a Leading Change Through Innovation and Collaboration forum as the Virginia Higher education community collaborated to confront the challenges facing the Commonwealth's colleges and universities.

The forum was a convocation of public higher education faculty, staff, administrators and leaders for a peer-to-peer exchange of ideas and best practices about enhanced services, educational innovations and administrative improvements to increase effectiveness.

“The day was a very positive exchange of ideas that can benefit our campus as well as the Commonwealth as a whole, “ said Associate Vice President for Finance and and Administration Lisa Ridpath, who represented RU on the committee that organized the Leading Change Through Innovation and Collaboration forum.

Sponsored by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, the Council of Presidents and the Council of State Senior Business Officers, the forum featured talks and posters from representatives of Virginia’s public universities and community colleges.


Jeanne Mekilochick (right), assistant vice provost for high impact practices, chats with fellow panelists who discussed high impact retention and graduation practices at the Dec. 3 for a Leading Change Through Innovation and Collaboration forum.

Six RU representatives made five of the forum's 90 poster presentations. Jeanne Mekilochick, assistant vice provost for high impact practices, also moderated a panel on high impact retention and graduation practices.


From left: Dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services Kenneth Cox, Provost Sam Minner and Interim Director of Academic Affairs Matt Dunleavy chatted during a recess from the proceedings.

"We had a good opportunity to share success stories, programs and ideas with colleagues from our sister institutions," said Mekilochick, whose panel discussion featured representatives from George Mason University, James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Christopher Newport University. The discussion focused on innovative high-impact practices related to key institutional challenges like student retention, progression and graduation.

"Higher education is competitive and challenging, and our colleagues today were focused and open about ways to innovate and be successful on behalf of our students and our state," said Kennan.

The event was keynoted by University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan who said the "challenge of our time is the undereducation of the American population and the strategies we in higher education must embrace if we are going to leave our descendants the kind of America we inherited from our ancestors."

Kirwan encouraged the 280 participants to actively pursue lower-cost means of delivering quality higher education to more students by partnering with other institutions to address three areas: cost containment, new degree pathways and innovation in course delivery.

Dec 16, 2014