Today@Sam Article

Dean Selected To Academy For Innovative Higher Education Leadership

Jan. 15, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

Representing Sam Houston State University, Abbey Zink, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is one of thirty-seven leaders from more than two dozen universities, that have been selected to take part in the sixth cohort of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, co-hosted by Arizona State University and Georgetown University.

AbbyZinkSquare1The eight-month program, which began Nov. 12 and takes place at Georgetown and ASU, focuses on preparing participants to lead organizational change at colleges and universities.

“I'm really excited and grateful to SHSU to have the opportunity to spend a year learning more about innovation and leadership,” Zink said.

During the four intensive sessions in the District of Columbia and Tempe, Arizona, Zink will be introduced to the latest thinking and research about change leadership, teaching and learning in a digital age, external challenges facing higher education and the financial sustainability of institutions.

“Many argue that higher education is experiencing its most significant changes and challenges since the late 19th century. Change requires innovation,” Zink said. “Business writer Adam Grant says that ‘innovation comes from toggling between novel ideas and familiar routines.’ I love the idea of taking a fresh look at how and why we do what we do in higher education and exploring ways to better serve today's students. What can we do better? How do we become more creative and agile within current structures? I'm excited about the possibilities and want to be part of the solutions.”

IMG_0036Participants also will apply the principles of “design thinking” to reimagine the future of higher education. A mix of seminars, hands-on workshops, design sessions and fireside chats with leading thinkers from various industries will help the fellows prepare for leading innovation at their own institutions. They represent a cross section of higher-education scholars and leaders.

“We've already learned so much about change leadership and design thinking as ways to foster innovation on our own campuses--and we've just gotten started,” Zink said. “I hope to come away from this year with many new tools and ideas for how to spark innovation and to lead change. The interactions with other participants have been one of the best parts of the program, as you get to learn more about what challenges other campuses are facing and how they are addressing them. Great work is happening in lots of places, including SHSU.”   

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