Higher Education Innovation, LLC

605 Austin Ave,

Waco Texas, 76701


Dr. Darden is the founder and President of Higher Education Innovation LLC (HEI).  HEI began in the fall of 2015. Darden served from 2010-2015 as the Center Dean of the Concordia University Texas San Antonio, Texas. She holds a doctorate from the Scholars of Practice program in Higher Education Administration at Baylor University. Her dissertation title is Women Presidents in Four-Year Colleges and Universities: An Analysis of Reported Changeable Attributes Contributing to Their Success (2006).    


Darden is the author of a book co-published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield titled Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America. The book provides a detailed roadmap to the perils and promise of the Information Age – as it directly applies to the future of American universities. The book was adopted as a textbook in the higher education administration doctoral program at Harvard University and is also being used as a strategic planning tool for a number of universities nationwide. It is designed for administrators and higher education scholars.

Darden has more than two decades of higher education administration and teaching experience. She has received awards for administrative achievements, including the 2001 National Exemplary Award in Community Education from The National Council of Continuing Education and Training. Darden is a regular speaker on the topics of leadership and the future of higher education. She has been a keynote speaker for both national and international conferences, including ACE, CEPA, CAP, STATMATS, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Through HEI, Darden works with colleges and universities to assist them with critical pivots in entrepreneurship and revenue stream development and enhancement.

She has long been active in social justice issues and was recognized nationally for her work in mobilizing churches in Waco to respond to the humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Katrina.

Email: maryd@heitoday.org

605 Austin Ave, Waco TX 76701