Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Embracing Innovation

Now in my third year as Chancellor of the State System, I find that sometimes we may be tempted to fixate on our immediate challenges and lose sight of the remarkable opportunities that are right in front of us. It is important to pause, raise our sights, and recognize the excellence that permeates our universities. In the recent “State of the System” address, I talked about how our 14 universities are embracing innovation as we continue to deliver Pennsylvania’s best value in higher education. In this month’s blog, I wanted to highlight just a few examples of the kind of innovation that proves we are a force to be reckoned with in the 21st century.

Innovation in the classroom: IUP’s Department of Employment and Labor Relations uses a unique technology that brings students from all over the country into the classroom…virtually. This goes way beyond Skype, allowing an almost unlimited number of students to be live on-screen while enabling the students to interact with the professor and other class members in real-time. Students who can’t get to campus now have access to the same rich classroom experience.

Innovation in the marketplace: David Tini, a music education major at Slippery Rock University and trumpet player in the Marching Pride, noticed the need for a mouthpiece warmer during a cold game at Edinboro University. So, he created a device called “HotLips” that heats the mouthpiece of an instrument prior to use. SRU’s Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator is working with him to develop a business plan to bring the product to market.

Innovation in society: East Stroudsburg University is providing all graduating seniors at winter commencement with environmentally friendly gowns made of recycled plastic. The new regalia, which won’t cost any more than traditional gowns, will be used in all future commencement ceremonies.

While these universities aren’t the first to demonstrate innovation, they show that our students, faculty, and staff are contributing to the success of the Commonwealth and its future. I hope you will share with me your stories of innovation, by emailing chancellor@passhe.edu.

You can also check out this episode of Infinite Opportunities to see even more examples of innovation in the State System.