New American Colleges and Universities

I’m honored to share the news that I will be the next President of the New American Colleges and Universities, a national consortium of colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement. I very much look forward to building on the influential work of Dr. Nancy Hensel and working with all the NAC&U members on this next journey for them and me. 🙂

I will miss, dearly, the many SOCHE colleagues and friends that I’ve developed over the last fifteen years. It has been an honor working with them on advancing collaboration in southwest Ohio!

I’ll be back here soon to write more about both organizations, but wanted to share this news officially in the meantime.

Celebrating Faculty, Bravo!

Today marks SOCHE’s 23rd annual Faculty Awards Banquet. Each year, we find ourselves thinking, feeling, saying the same thing, “We love this event!” It is our favorite time of the year. It is extra special as we can all think back on those critical moments in our own development when a teacher or professor made all the difference.

We love this event because it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate faculty for their many outstanding contributions to teaching and learning. We know their campuses are a better place due to their engagement. We would go so far as to say that the world is and will be a better because of these faculty and the impact they’ve had on students and graduates.

This year we are recognizing 65 award winners from 16 campuses, and our winners cover the majority of academic disciplines. They have been selected for demonstrating excellence in teaching, service, research, and scholarship. Learn more about each of them at 2018 Faculty Award Winners.

Today, we celebrate faculty, bravo to all the winners!

SOCHE-Dayton Red Cross Partnership

SOCHE and the Dayton Area Chapter of the American Red Cross are teaming up to increase the civic engagement and volunteerism of area college students. SOCHE and the Red Cross are committed to further strengthening the already good relationships campuses have with their communities.

With over 200,000 students at SOCHE member schools, this partnership taps into the student population to help build a stronger volunteer base for the Red Cross and the region.

The first event in the partnership will take place on October 13 during National Fire Prevention Week and includes engaging students and faculty in the Red Cross program Sound the Alarm.

Sound the Alarm is a home fire safety and smoke alarm installation program designed to save lives. Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives.

Students will have the opportunity to install smoke alarms and share fire safety information across neighborhoods in the Red Cross service area, which includes Greene, Montgomery, and Preble counties. Cory Paul, executive director of the Dayton Area Chapter of the Red Cross said, “Partnering with SOCHE is a great way to involve young people in initiatives that make a huge difference for our communities through volunteerism and collaboration. We have an opportunity to save a life, what could be better?”

Sean Creighton, SOCHE’s president, said, “Colleges and universities are committed to providing learning experiences to students through community engagement. This partnership is a good way to build persistent student engagement as we want Sound the Alarm to be the first of many events with the Red Cross and its many chapter across southwest Ohio.”

There will be volunteer shifts, 9am to 12pm and 12pm to 3pm. To register to participate in the October 13th Sound the Alarm event, visit: Sound the Alarm Volunteer

Forward Ohio!

For awhile, we have been saying that higher education needs to do a better job telling its story.  Last year, we went so far as to incorporate into SOCHE’s strategic roadmap the goal to “capture and communicate the value of higher education….” The day has finally come!

After talking with our colleagues at several other higher education associations in Ohio about a messaging campaign, one group took the lead to get us started and SOCHE is partnering on the effort as we know all colleges and universities–big and small, liberal arts, historically black, research,  land-grant, faith-based, religious-affiliated, technical, and the very important community colleges–this wonderful plethora of institutions will drive Ohio forward into a prosperous future.

Read the official announcement of the partnership:

SOCHE Joins Forward Ohio Initiative
Campaign launched to tout the value of higher education

DAYTON, Ohio (August 20, 2018) – The Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) joins as a partner with the Inter-University Council (IUC) on Forward Ohio, an initiative to raise awareness of the value of colleges and universities and make higher education a key pillar in public policy discussion in Ohio. The initiative provides a counter-narrative to the negative publicity higher education has received nationally in recent years that has focused on exaggerated student debt without addressing return on investment.

Launched by the IUC last May, Forward Ohio is a statewide campaign that recognizes how Ohio’s institutions of higher education help shape the world in which our children and grandchildren attain the knowledge and skills required to reach their dreams, succeed in their chosen field and enjoy a more satisfying quality of life. Forward Ohio documents fulfilled aspirations – for our citizens, our state and our society. The campaign shines a light on ways in which Ohio colleges and universities drive economic growth, enable student success, expand career and job opportunities, and improve society through research and scientific breakthroughs. Dr. Sean Creighton, president of SOCHE said, “Our members are producing the quantity and quality of students needed for Ohio to be economically competitive. By joining Forward Ohio’s campaign, we will further tell the story of higher education’s value and impact on our region, as well as support the push to create public policies that increase investment in Ohio’s college students.”

SOCHE’s involvement will include sharing stories and data that underscore the value of SOCHE member colleges and universities with a specific emphasis on their collective impact on southwest Ohio. As well, SOCHE will work with IUC to leverage local media and other public opportunities to amplify the value and impact of Ohio’s college and universities on people, economies, and communities.

Bruce Johnson, president of the IUC welcomed SOCHE’s participation in Forward Ohio, saying, “Higher education is one of Ohio’s most important assets and IUC and SOCHE working together to better tell that story will help with the state’s ability to attract and retain jobs, which is key to Ohio’s economic future.”

More information on the campaign and how to become involved can be found at www.soche.org/forwardohio and www.forwardohio.org.

Formed in 1967, SOCHE has become the trusted and recognized regional leader for higher ed collaboration, working with colleges and universities to transform their communities and economies through the education, employment, and engagement of nearly 200,000 students in southwest Ohio. SOCHE is home to the Aerospace Professional Development Center (APDC), and Defense Associated Graduate Student Innovators (DAGSI), and SOCHEIntern, to name a few. For more information about SOCHE and all its products, visit http://www.soche.org/.

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DAGSI Merger Complete!

Very happy to announce the merger this week! We see mergers as part of SOCHE’s future plans to create synergistic collaboration.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact
Sean Creighton, President, SOCHE
(937) 258-8890

DAGSI Joins SOCHE in Merger

Two respected organizations become stronger through merger

DAYTON, Ohio (July 16, 2018) – The Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) and Defense Associated Graduate Student Innovators (DAGSI) officially merged on July 1, resulting in a stronger workforce initiative that builds upon DAGSI and SOCHE’s dual efforts in developing the next generation of scientists to advance the research priorities of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and defense industry in Ohio.

The conversation between SOCHE and DAGSI at the board level began almost a year ago and started from a place of mutual interest. Kathleen Carlson, DAGSI board chair said, “I’m excited DAGSI will live on through SOCHE. DAGSI’s relationships throughout the state with its Ohio university partners and AFRL led to one-of-a kind research projects for hundreds of graduate students. Its work aligns perfectly with the mission of SOCHE and will grow and evolve under the new leadership.”

Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, SOCHE’s board chair and president of Clark State Community College said, “SOCHE adds tremendous value to the workforce by leveraging higher education talent in our region to ensure its prosperity. This is a win-win merger for both organizations, creating a synergy of resources under SOCHE’s workforce programs that will further develop the current and future generations of talent in Ohio.”

Funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and AFRL, DAGSI’s statewide program has effectively supported graduate student researchers at Ohio colleges and universities. Since 2004, DAGSI awarded over 280 collaborative projects that have strengthened Ohio’s intellectual infrastructure in technology and engineering and shored up the state’s high-tech workforce. “The DAGSI program continues to exceed our objectives and is bringing tangible value to the Air Force,” said Mick Hitchcock, Technical Advisor, Small Business Directorate.

Now part of SOCHE’s workforce solutions led by Dr. Cassie Barlow, SOCHE Chief Operations Officer, DAGSI’s long-time established brand will be maintained for years to come with its newly refreshed name. “DAGSI is focused on supporting graduate students and faculty that bring novel thinking to current challenges in the area of aerospace and defense,” explained Dr. Barlow. “Since its inception, DAGSI has become a proven success with over 70% of students remaining employed in Ohio after graduation,” Barlow added.

Formed in 1967, SOCHE is guided by 23 college and universities members and has become the trusted and recognized regional leader for higher ed collaboration, working with colleges and universities to transform their communities and economies through the education, employment, and engagement of nearly 200,000 students in southwest Ohio. SOCHE is home to the Aerospace Professional Development Center (APDC), and Defense Associated Graduate Student Innovators (DAGSI), and SOCHEIntern, to name a few. For more information about SOCHE and all its products, visit http://www.soche.org/.

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Urban Impact Talent Scholarship

Modeled on a first-in-the-nation scholarship offered in Michigan, a new program launched in Hamilton, Ohio that tackles college student debt, workforce attraction, urban repopulation, and economic impact, all in one strategy. It’s called the Talent Attraction Program (TAP) and is a competitive scholarship program that provides back end financial support for graduates. The financial support can be leveraged by graduates to put toward outstanding student loan debt or to offset other cost-of-living expenses.

Specifically, applicants must demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Graduated from a STEAM program within the last 7 years
  • Are not currently residents of the Greater Hamilton region
  • Have more than $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt
  • Will live within Hamilton’s Urban Core
  • Demonstrate employment in the greater the Hamilton area or Butler County

This program is a twist on the now popular Promise programs, an initiative to increase college attainment in a specific locale, that became well known and widely replicated after the success of the Kalamazoo Promise. While Promise programs increase the potential talent supply of college grads, attraction programs attract existing qualified professionals to meet employer demand.

As I mentioned in the Dayton Daily News, reducing the debt burden is an attractive incentive to recent grads and it will also free up recent college grads to spend more of their money in the communities where they decide to live. During these times of low employment and high workforce demand, a strategy like this one is certainly another arrow in the quiver for cities and regions. Like the Promise programs, it will be interesting to see if more and more cities copy the TAP Scholarship.

In the long run, however, TAP needs to scale up to be successful, increasing the pay out beyond $5,000 and significantly increasing the number of recipients per year. After speaking with the Hamilton Community Foundation that funds and runs the program, my impression is that launching the program is the first step. Over time, they will be in better position to measure and evaluate the program’s impact and, hopefully, the results will support a case for increased investment.

While it would make sense for private industry to come forward and invest substantially in this scholarship, this is led by a community foundation for a reason and the impact will be greater than just helping area employers. The TAP program is about populating the urban core and, as many American cities have experienced, a vibrant core affects, positively, the culture, community, economy, and quality of life of a city and its people. Let’s closely watch this scholarship program develop and, then, advocate for replication and further investment if it proves to work.

All the best to the City of Hamilton!

WiIl other Ohio cities soon follow suit?

Oxbridge: Innovative or Outdated?

Thirty years ago, I had the good fortune of studying abroad at the University of Oxford. I recall the time fondly, especially after a recent visit to England and a few days spent in Oxfordshire, strolling the grounds of Harris Manchester College with my family.

This trip down memory lane reminded me of the experience I had in the University of Oxford tutorial system, a unique pedagogy not widely used outside of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (Hence, the term Oxbridge). The classroom in the tutorial system is replaced with students being taught one-on-one with a faculty member. The sessions are called tutorials.

Once a week, I would meet with my professor in the tutorial. In between, I would attend open lectures at different colleges in the system, as well as read assignments and, then, write a reflective paper on the assignments. Each tutorial started with me reading my paper aloud. After, the professor provided critical feedback, engaging in discussion about the main ideas in the paper, as well as sharing his or her perspective on the subject matter. Typically, the format followed this order: challenge, criticize, educate, and encourage. Each session ended with a review of assignments for the following week and, after a courteous farewell, off I went.

Is this pedagogy an outdated approach to teaching and learning that widens the divide between faculty as sage on the stage and students as vessels for absorbing knowledge? Or,  is it an innovative approach that founded personalized learning and self-directed study?

The tutorials did not empower faculty to serve as mentors, nor did they necessarily create a strong, personal bond between student and professor. While the open lectures delivered knowledge by university scholars, knowledge is ubiquitous and available online today unlike the creators of Oxbridge could have ever envisioned. Even in the UK, the tutorial system is not the adopted pedagogy by other universities. Though, I really enjoyed the experience. 🙂

While Oxbridge was innovative in the 1100s, the tutorial system is outdated in today’s times. Yet, we can learn from and repurpose the tutorial system, bringing it into the 21st century. The personalized experience can be personalized and content delivery modernized.

While higher education is undergoing a slow disruption, trace elements of the past will always remain, meaning Oxbridge isn’t going away, nor are liberal arts colleges or fraternities. However, more commonly innovative will be universities in which the faculty are mentors, knowledge is found by students not fed to, and learning is measured not by seat time, but by acquired competencies. Maybe even Oxbridge will begin to make adjustments and move back into the innovative category, or not.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One: We Need MORE English Majors!

So, the story goes, my wise and imaginative grandmother said my first word was “more.” I cling to this story as evidence to support my drive to continually connect with more people, raise more money to advance more mission-driven nonprofits, and stay focused, always, on waking up each morning to bring more opportunity to the workplace and more goodness to the world

However, as I look for answers and solutions to more challenges in our communities, organizations, and politics, nowadays, I’m left scratching my head, crossing my eyes, and feeling like Herb Morrison reporting on the Hindenburg disaster, but this time on the glorified STEM fiasco and exclaiming, “Oh, the humanities!” followed by a rush of Juliet Capulet asking, “Wherefore art thou?

With all due respect to my scientist friends, neighbors, colleagues, it has become exhausting for the last baker’s dozen years hearing that we need more students in the STEM fields. The STEM rhetoric has reached saturation. Sure, we need to continually develop a pool of individuals who will dedicate themselves to advancing science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine. Yet, too many college students are being pushed toward a false sense of security in STEM majors. And, at the expense of the humanities?

We need generations of students who graduate with passion, curiosity, empathy, and their own American dreams.

Oh, the humanities! Wherefore art thou?

Our companies, societies, nation, minds, and hearts are desperately in need of a fervent return of students from the humanities. Let’s invest more in Art, Language, and Philosophy and infuse and inspire today’s youthful minds with the curiosity for learning instilled in me, you, and many contemporary leaders and CEOs. Let’s get lost in histories, allegories, and religions, and bring back passion for critical thinking, communication, cultural perspective, and civic care.

Oh, the humanities! Wherefore art thou?

On this beautiful winter day, an unseasonably warm, comfortable, superb morning with a brilliant sun. The kind of day you want to last forever. Flower buds tricked and doing their business in winter. Creeks slowly thawing and moving along the fields, emptying into the larger, magnificent pools of water. Just a cloud in the sky, a rare day reaching the height of a perfect winter moment, I chant,

“We need MORE English majors!”

Mighty Edu’s $7.3 Billion SWO Economic Impact

In 2009, I wrote my first ever blog post for Richard Florida’s Creative Class Group on Mighty Edu: higher ed’s positive impacts on economies, communities, and people.  I wrote this post as our nation descended in its second greatest economic depression. Living through that period reinforced my Might Edu mantra as I watched higher ed’s value and importance increase during this period. Pivotal to emerging from the depression, higher education helped, first, stabilize and, second, grow local economies by re-tooling America’s workforce with advanced degrees and certificates, and research and commercialization. It’s impact on economies continues to grow.

Recently,  SOCHE released its report on the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of its member colleges and universities in southwest Ohio. The collective impact for fiscal year 2016 amounted to over $7 billion, including $3.8 billion in new monies brought to the region from tuition, sponsored research, and alumni giving.

This sustained level of spending and revenue generation ripples through our region, driving the success of other sectors that directly and indirectly support higher education through specific goods and services. The wage and tax revenue contribute amounts that help sustain local government services, and the job creation is over 70,000 making higher education once of the largest employment sectors.

More importantly, as region’s become more competitive for talent, last year, SOCHE member colleges and universities awarded over 31,000 students with degrees and certificates, providing an ample supply of talent for the workforce.

Even better news is that this data reflects only the southwest region of the state. Ohio is rich in higher education and the combined and cumulative impact of its over 80 colleges and universities, I would wager, more than quadruples SOCHE’s impact findings.

Now, imagine if Ohio invested in higher education and increased the education levels of its population to the point where, instead of less than 20 percent of people older than 25 have only a high school diploma, 80 percent had college degrees. What if?

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEDxDayton’s Fifth Anniversary

On October 20th, TEDxDayton will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Every step of the way, this community initiative has been driven by unmatched volunteerism and leadership. Individuals from diverse backgrounds and professions have joined together, building new connections, relationships, and synergy in the spirit of lifting up TED’s motto Ideas Worth Spreading. More than a fun day of stories and performances, TEDxDayton exemplifies effective citizen engagement, and has become a beloved community event for Dayton since its inception.

Thank you Chris Anderson and the team at TED. And many congratulations to all those who have been involved from day one up through year five and have been the Current in our community!