Giving Compass’ Take:
• Academic innovation, especially in higher education does not engage with students or incorporate them into the conversation. As major stakeholders, they should be included in changes that will impact their collegiate experience.
• How can organizations outside of higher education encourage students to be part of this discussion?
• Explore more about why we need innovation in higher education in the first place.
At the recent HAIL storm gathering held at California State University Channel Islands, I had the opportunity to present a challenge and receive advice from 35 leaders working in higher-ed innovation. As a recent graduate who is new to the field of academic innovation I asked, “How can students engage meaningfully with institutional change?”
My question was followed by a 40-minute session with a group of the college and university officials, who offered solutions and insights on the relationship between students and innovation. And then the subject was closed. The remaining 36 hours of the event were spent discussing innovation where the institution was the end user, not students.
When we talk about innovation, why are students missing as active participants in the conversation? If we want to change higher ed, as we claim we want to, we need to put students at the center of innovation design. Students are essential for effective institutional change. Engaging students creates innovations with more potential, thought diversity, and campus support.
After all, what’s so innovative about a process that leaves out the ideas of the most important stakeholder?
Students aren’t motivated to participate. There is no incentive or scaffolding for students to believe it will be worth their time and efforts to engage with this issue. Institutional innovation must become visible and relevant to the daily lives of students. We must make space for students to take a leading role so that the motivation stems from the opportunity to learn and gain experience that can help them with their post-college career.
Leaders in academic innovation need to be asking how might we make space to include students from a diverse range of schools to engage with institutional change?
Read more about how academic innovation needs student voice by Annie Sadler at EdSurge.
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