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By Melissa Morriss-Olson
IngenioUs is the podcast where we talk about higher education, innovative practice, and leading edge thinking. Your host is Dr. Melissa Morriss-Olson. In each episode we will talk with leading edge thinkers, whose experience and expertise place them at the forefront of the transformation currently underway. Our guests will include college and university leaders and faculty, innovators, and other professionals who are experimenting with new approaches and ways of thinking about higher education.
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An IngenioUs Mini: The Human Side of Innovation Preview with Elaine Dundon


An IngenioUs Mini: The Human Side of Innovation Preview with Elaine Dundon


An IngenioUs Mini: The Human Side of Innovation Preview with Elaine Dundon
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, an increasing number of people are questioning the meaning of their lives and work. They want to know that their lives and work truly matter and that they are making a positive and meaningful difference. At the same time, there is a call for a higher level of innovation to address the widespread changes we are all experiencing in 2020 and, going forward, as we enter the so-called "new normal."   In the inaugural Leading Edge Thinking in Higher Ed webinar, best-selling author and founder of the Global Meaning Institute, Elaine Dundon will introduce key concepts for developing a meaning centric approach to innovative thinking.   Listen to this brief interview with Elaine for a preview of the webinar.  To register for the free webinar, click here:
October 15, 2020
A Remarkably Uncommon Leadership Journey: Dr. Elsa Nunez President, Eastern Connecticut State University
Join us for a conversation with a remarkably uncommon and inspiring leader, Dr. Elsa Nunez. As president of Eastern Connecticut State University since 2006, Dr. Nunez’s career path is clearly informed by her personal experience and humble beginnings, growing up in Puerto Rico and then immigrating to Newark NJ where she attended school. Her struggles as a non-English speaking elementary school student set the stage for a career in higher education that has resulted in significantly improved access and success for underserved students. As president, Dr. Nunez’s commitment to access is evidenced by gains in the representation of minority faculty and improved retention and graduation rates for underrepresented students at Eastern. And the Dual Degree Enrollment program that she established early in her presidency has received national attention for its success in closing the achievement gap.  Check out more information about Dr. Nunez's remarkable legacy here:
October 13, 2020
Lessons Learned from Teaching Through COVID with Dr. Jennifer Stratton and Dr. Tom Menella
The sudden and unprecedented shuttering of our college campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced educators to face the most jarring and rapid change of perhaps any profession in history. Within a moment’s notice, faculty were asked to leave their classrooms indefinitely and, in many cases, to recreate a learning environment that is 100 percent virtual.  As challenging as that dictate was, it represents possibly the best-case scenario in what’s proven to be an incredibly inequitable landscape during the pandemic. Whereas some colleges are conducting online learning in what’s been described as a fairly seamless transition, many others are struggling simply to connect with students to ensure that their basic needs—including sufficient food—are being met. Just as college and university responses during the pandemic have varied widely, so too have been the experiences of our faculty. In this week’s episode of IngenioUs U, we have the opportunity to hear from two seasoned faculty members about their experiences teaching through COVID and how this experience has changed their approach for the better.  They also have some valuable insights about how our institutions need to rethink our support for faculty, especially given that faculty are the one consistent thread that connects our students to our institutions, now more than ever.
October 6, 2020
Imagining the University of the Future with Dr. David J. Staley
In his role as history professor and director of the humanities institute at The Ohio State University where he also leads the forum on the university, historian and futurist Dr. David J. Staley spends a good deal of time thinking about the future of higher education. His latest book, Alternative Universities, Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education, (Johns Hopkins Press, 2019) has taken the higher ed world by storm. And for good reason. Staley is one of a handful of individuals who in 2018 forecast the current global pandemic and his insights about the future have largely been on target. When it comes to higher ed, Staley suggests that the notion of innovation has become somewhat of a cliché and our discussions about higher ed innovation are rarely expansive or imaginative enough. He believes that the future belongs to those institutions that possess the vision and the courage to step out from the crowd and pursue a strategically-differentiated mission.  During our conversation, he shares some valuable insights for how to do just that.  Join us for this inspiring and compelling conversation with historian, faculty member, futurist and strategy consultant with Dutcher LLC, David Staley.  See here for more background information.
September 29, 2020
The Golden Principles of High Quality Instructional Design and Student Success
With a Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning and several years of experience leading learning innovation across multiple institutions including in his current role as Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia University, Dr. Erik Nelson is clearly an expert in the science of teaching and learning. According to Erik, many institutions have an overly narrow viewpoint when it comes to learning modalities. Right now, many schools are focused primarily on online learning. He suggests we need to broaden our thinking and start with the question: ‘How do you design instruction in the best possible way to make sure you meet your students’ real learning needs versus ‘how do we adapt our instructional design to make online learning work? At the end of the day, high quality instruction is likely to mean using a wide range of modalities to meet specific learning outcomes according to this expert educator. Join us for this conversation that is full of wisdom and practical strategies by master educator and learning innovator Erik Nelson.
September 22, 2020
Reimagining the Gap Year and Other Bold Ideas with Educational Entrepreneur Megan O’Connor
Megan O’Connor is a serial educational entrepreneur. Currently at Kaplan, she is spearheading development of their new Boost program, designed for pre-college students to bridge the gap between college and work readiness. According to O’Connor, college students need to get as much career exposure as possible. And colleges need to connect the dots between the programs they offer and the skills and knowledge that are in demand in today’s workplace. Join us to hear more of this creative thinker’ s insights about how colleges and students can best connect the college experience to 21st century careers.
September 15, 2020
The Future of Online Learning with Ease Learning CEO Laurie Pulido
As CEO of Ease Learning, Laurie Pulido and her team are pioneers in the online learning and design world. They have worked with scores of institutions over their 20 year history and they know what it takes to create the kind of online learning experiences that will enable student success and achievement. According to Pulido, everything is shifting with online learning; the online student experience is now following an entirely new round of brand institutions—institutions that are distinguishing themselves in providing an engaging and high quality experience for their students. This is the future of online learning says Pulido, and this is where there is enormous opportunity for even the smallest of institutions without brand recognition.  Join us for this provocative conversation with leading edge thinker and learning design leader and innovator Laurie Pulido. For more information about Laurie and Ease Learning, see here:
September 8, 2020
Getting Ready for What's Next with SNHU's Global Campus President, Dr. Greg Fowler
As president of SNHU’s Global Campus, Dr. Fowler leads the academic functions in support of all of SNHU’s learning experience and modalities—a role that places him right in the middle of significant experimentation and innovation. According to President Fowler, higher education is never going back to the way things used to be before COVID…and even when students eventually return to campus, colleges and universities need to be aware of all of the disruptions that are underway right now, behind the scenes.  Fowler suggests we need to be ready for what’s coming next and help our campus communities be open to these disruptions…if we want to help more of our learners be successful. Subscribe now to make sure you do not miss this inspiring conversation and Dr., Fowler’s insights about where you can find opportunities for innovation—even in the midst of this current crisis.
September 1, 2020
Money Problems? Look to your Academic Portfolio: Dr. William Massy
As emeritus professor and former officer of Stanford University, Dr. Massy has been active as a teacher/researcher, consultant, and university administrator for more than 40 years. After gaining tenure in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, he served as Vice President for Research, Acting Provost, and Vice President for Business and Finance—where he developed and pioneered financial planning and management tools that have become standard in the field. As Professor of Higher Education at Stanford, he developed new ways of thinking about resource allocation, cost containment and academic quality assurance and improvement. There is no one better to talk about something that is on the mind of most higher ed leaders these days—how to reduce cost and increase the revenue of our academic programs. According to Massy, this current crisis calls for actions on a scale that will stretch most institutions beyond anything they have previously experienced. Listen in to hear his ideas about how your institution can get started now in strengthening your bottom line. See here for more background about Dr. William Massy:
August 25, 2020
Finding Meaning and Purpose in the Leadership Journey: Dr. Valerie Roberson
These are not easy times for leaders in higher ed. In the midst of so much uncertainty and challenge, where does one find the inspiration to stay positive and keep moving forward? According to long-standing leader and college president, Dr. Valerie Roberson, it is essential to rise above the fray and find meaning and purpose in the work of leading. She would know. Having served twice as a President , in addition to Vice President of Academic Affairs and Advancement, Dean and Director of various programs, faculty member, researcher and student advisor, Dr. Roberson’s experience is broad and deep. Currently, Dr. Roberson is President of Roxbury Community College where she has led the transformation of the institution on every level resulting in significant cost savings and enhanced student engagement and achievement. You will be inspired by Dr. Roberson’s Leadership journey and her insights about how to find meaning and purpose in the work of leading—even when things are tough and resources are in short supply. See here for more information about Dr. Roberson:
August 18, 2020
Using Data to Make Better Decisions and Address Money Problems: A Conversation with Robert Atkins
As CEO and Founder of the higher ed consulting firm, Gray Associates, Bob Atkins has pioneered the use of rigorous research, data analytics, and advanced analytical techniques to help colleges and universities make smarter decisions. Just as COVID-19 has disrupted our personal lives, it has also changed the context in which our institutions reside. According to Atkins, real time data is needed now more than ever just so we can understand what is happening on a local level and make good decisions about how to respond to a rapidly shifting context. Listen to hear Bob’s take on what data need to be on every college’s radar and how to use it to make sure your institution is still standing post-pandemic. To learn more about Bob’s work, see here:
August 11, 2020
Creating Large-Scale Student Focused Change: A Conversation with Dr. Alison Kadlec
If institutional change does not make things better for students, something is missing. Join us for this provocative conversation with higher ed culture and climate change expert Dr. Alison Kadlec. According to Dr. Kadlec, effective large-scale, student focused change requires that everyone be involved and own the process. Listen in to hear her helpful guidance for how to create the conditions for positive change on your campus.
August 4, 2020
What’s Your Next Big Thing? A Conversation with Higher Ed Marketing Guru Rick Bailey
As principal of the higher education marketing firm, RHB, and with more than 30 years of nonprofit marketing experience, Rick Bailey and his team have helped hundreds of institutions find and tell their unique stories. According to Rick, it has never been more important than right now—in the midst of this pandemic—for colleges and universities to get really clear about their one-and-only market position and value. Join us for this uplifting conversation with a highly creative thinker who will challenge you to imagine voraciously and dream boldly about that next big thing for your institution. Learn more about Rick and RHB here:
July 28, 2020
Talking About Higher Ed’s Biggest Issues with Brandon Busteed
As president of Kaplan University Partners Brandon has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening in higher education right now. He is an internationally known speaker and author on educational policy who consults frequently with leaders around the globe. Join us for this conversation to hear Brandon’s take on higher Ed’s biggest issues and challenges along with his advice for how to prepare your institution for a post-pandemic future.
July 21, 2020
Dr. Lenore Rodicio: In the Company of Transformational Women Leaders
As Executive VP and Provost of our nation’s largest community college, Miami Dade College, Dr. Lenore Rodicio is a transformational leader. She is also an expert in what colleges can do to move the dime on student access and achievement, particularly for underprepared students. You will be inspired by my conversation with this wise leader who shares her insights about how to reimagine higher education for the benefit of all students.
July 14, 2020
Dr. Amer Ahmed: Addressing Racial Injustice on Campus with Authentic, Actionable Change
On the eve of the George Floyd killing, colleges have an opportunity to reimagine their resources and structures to humanize and offer dignity to racially minoritized students and communities. And yet, while many leaders have issued strong words of support, few seem to know how to make change happen. On this episode, intercultural communications consultant and national thought leader, Dr. Amer Ahmed offers practical guidance for how to move beyond the words to create change that will stick. Dr. Ahmed serves as Interim Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Visiting Faculty at Dickinson College. Check out his new podcast wherever you listen: The Eclectic Inclusion Podcast.
July 7, 2020
Campus Reopening Planning: What Students Think
While there have been many perspectives about what colleges and universities should do come fall, the student viewpoint has been largely missing from the conversation. Join Dr. Morriss-Olson for this lively conversation with four current college students. Hear what they think about the pivot to remote learning this spring and their advice for their college leaders on campus reopening planning. Their perspectives may surprise you!
July 1, 2020
Dr. Kristina Hallett: Getting Comfortable with Ambiguity
The one thing we know we need to do as higher ed leaders is to increase flexibility and adaptability. But we also need to become better at tolerating ambiguity. Join us for this conversation with executive coach, best-selling author and clinical psychologist Dr. Kristina Hallett. In this episode Dr. Hallett offers insights from her work with high level leaders about how to get comfortable with ambiguity and remain resilient so that you can stay focused on the challenges at hand.
June 23, 2020
Keys to Effective Leadership and Conflict Management with Dr. Josh Weiss
How many of us wake up in the morning ready to confront conflict? And yet, we live in a world where conflict surrounds us on a daily basis. This is especially true for higher ed leaders where we can count on conflict coming from various directions. In this episode, negotiation and conflict resolution expert, author, and co-founder of Harvard’s renowned negotiation program shares strategies that any higher ed professional can apply to make conflict work for you and boost your leadership effectiveness in the process.
June 16, 2020
Dr. Carol Leary: Lessons in Innovative Leadership
On the brink of her retirement, Bay Path University president Dr. Carol Leary shares what she’s learned over 25 years of weathering big storms, overseeing huge shifts and reimagining what an institution that serves lifelong learners looks like.
May 22, 2020