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Higher Education Innovation



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Dr. Michael Fischer, President of York County Community College

The workshops were not only relevant, they generated practical take-aways that could be implemented immediately. As a direct result of the workshops, my institution developed a Promise tuition program, reworked an academic program to meet industry needs better, and generate several future innovative programs.


Connecting with innovative leaders like Dr. Box and Dr. Darden was inspirational and motivating. Specifically, the strategy and concept canvas are things we have implemented on campus.


Innovation cannot happen in a bubble. It happens through research, readings, and connecting with other innovative leaders. The HEI training captures all three components and provides leaders with an opportunity to learn and connect with accomplished innovators.

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Dr. Roger Parrott, Belhaven University President

Comment on Dr. Mary Darden’s new book:

Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education: Radical Transformation in Times of

Profound Change, which is used as the textbook for the Leadership Workshops:

“Overflowing with applicable solutions, Mary’s book is not skewed by “what-if” dreaming, but

instead offers realistic, reachable, and practical tools that presidents desperately need.  Her

research driven insights are refreshing, empowering, and courageous; this could be the key

you’ve been seeking to dramatically change the trajectory of your university.”


Dr. Cynthia Kelley, President of Madisonville Community College

“The President as Entrepreneur” workshop has been an incredible experience.  I had the opportunity to learn from presidents from around the country.  Sharing issues, ideas, and perspectives in a small group setting made the experience meaningful and worthwhile.  The HEI staff was wonderful.  They took a personal interest in each of us and tailored the workshops to our needs and interests.  Best of all, I have a new network of colleagues that I call friends.

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Dr. Linda Head, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, External and Employer Partners, Lone Star College 

The personal one-on-one advice and counsel has helped to validate the direction we were taking but more importantly, helped focus on those items most important to our commitment to student success rather than get distracted by the multitude of items we might get involved with that are not directly helping us help the community we serve.


(The most valuable take-away was the) focus on how to help our students obtain the training and education for their next career while also focusing on new ways to fund new models of doing so.


The national leaders who serve as coaches and advisors in this program can be trusted and truly want to make sure today’s community college leaders can be successful.


Dr. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, George Washington University President Emeritus


on Dr. Mary Darden’s new book Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education: Radical

Transformation in Times of Profound Change, which is used as the textbook for the

Leadership Workshops:

“All will readily agree that these are biblical times. The challenges of race and virus of the past

two years and the demographic decline ahead provide higher education with an existential crisis.

Shakespeare tells us that King Richard III after his horse was killed in battle leaving him

vulnerable to his enemy cried out "a horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse." Mary Darden's

new book Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education "is a horse" for American higher 

education. It is the steed which if read and consulted may assist academic leadership to both

overcome and flourish in the daunting days ahead. A companion in a struggle for radical

transformation at the crossroads of profound change, every trustee, president and dean will want

Darden's text to cover his/her six. Professors, students and their parents will find in these pages

added value and knowledge, as well. The formula for averting an oncoming disaster has been

captured in this wise volume by a professional leader and experienced scholar of the academic

enterprise. If King Richard III had been learned by Darden he might still be on the throne.

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Jennifer Lindon, Ph.D., President/CEO, Hazard Community and Technical College

The HEI President as Entrepreneur Program is an excellent choice for new college presidents who want to prepare to address the challenges in today’s new and uncertain world of higher education.  The intense sessions, opportunities for networking, and knowledgeable instructors grant a fresh perspective to leadership.

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Dr. Bruce Gover, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Somerset Community College

The workshop has challenged me to think differently, more creatively, and the experience has helped me to become a more entrepreneurial-minded, innovative and transformative leader.


The most valuable takeaway – Entrepreneurial thinking can transform higher education because it disrupts and challenges the status quo (both individually and organizationally), provides unique angles for approaching traditional higher education issues, and because it influences and sustains a change in mindset and outlook that can lead to the discovery of new opportunities.


I thought the workshops were very well balanced in terms of content and are designed very well. The speakers were excellent, very experienced in their subject areas and provided engaging and thought-provoking sessions. The supporting materials and books were outstanding and worked well with the workshop content. The workshop (series) was outstanding.

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Doreen Rogan, Dean of Academic Affairs, York County Community College

This workshop has helped create a new shared space for thinking about opportunities and challenges more creatively and has encouraged us to look outside of the traditional higher ed pathways for new possibilities.


It is important to look beyond the daily influx of emails and internal meetings to consider how to positively impact the college and community through brave and considered ideas. 

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Dr. Alesa Johnson, Vice President of Workforce Solutions, Somerset Community College

I think the workshop was informative and provided a diverse range of topics that are important for administrators to consider as they lead their institutions forward. I enjoyed listening to the various speakers and their personal insights/experiences. 


I appreciated the fact that several of the key points made in this training solidified things I have been trying to do in my own organization. For example, I have stressed for years the importance of looking at our college as a “business” and for treating our students as “customers.” I have stressed how critical excellent customer service is to the success of our college. Unfortunately, not everyone believes that higher education is a “business” nor should we call our students “customers.”  


I would recommend it (the workshop series) to other administrators at my level. I think it makes you think differently about what higher education is and how important it is to think more like a business vs. how we have traditionally thought in education. 


Natalie A. Gibson, Ed.D., M.P.A., Associate Vice President of Student Services, Kentucky Community and Technical College System

The coronavirus pandemic accentuated what we already knew…change is the only constant.  Participating in the inaugural cohort of  Innovators in Higher Education Innovation’s “Administrator as Entrepreneur” workshop series helped me gain insights and hone skills to interpret the evolving context and most importantly lead, serve and support colleagues to pivot and continue providing holistic supports to our students during this unprecedented time.  Thanks to Dr. Mary Darden, her team, as well as my cohort members for this instructive executive learning opportunity

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Dr. Karen Mayo, Associate Vice President, Academics and Workforce Development. Bluegrass Community and Technical College 

The workshop provided me the opportunity to take two hours out of my week for nine weeks to focus on further developing my skills as a leader.  The ability to interact with national leaders in higher education was extremely valuable.


One take-away for me was the value of developing relationships (internal and external).

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