There is no shortage of challenges facing institutions of higher education. A cursory scan of higher education news outlets provides a snapshot of the financial, reputational, operational, and at times, existential issues on the minds of leaders in higher education. There is a growing recognition of the need for more dedicated professional development in the areas of leadership, change management, organizational performance, and innovation. The Network for Change and Continuous Innovation (NCCI) has been on the front lines of this pursuit for organizational excellence in higher education.

It began as a small group of like-minded higher education professionals focused on embracing total quality principles in colleges and universities across the United States. NCCI’s membership, mission and value has expanded over the past two decades. The association now has nearly 100 member institutions, ranging from smaller community colleges to large research 1 universities—all of whom share an interest in working collaboratively to employ innovative methods to advance academic and administrative excellence in higher education.

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In response to the dizzying and overwhelming set of issues facing colleges and universities, there exists the need for collaborative solutions that transcend institutional type, geographic location, traditional academic and administrative silos and roles, and primary mission areas.

Many higher-ed leaders are advocating for continued innovation and excellence in higher education

NCCI continues to provide a relevant infrastructure for the collective exchange of strategies, tools, and best practices for enhancing organizational cultures to embrace quality, improvement, and innovation.

Ron Coley, one of NCCI’s founders and former vice chancellor for business and administrative services at the University of California Riverside, describes necessity as the catalyst for the creation of NCCI.

About the Author:

Ralph Gigliotti is director of leadership development and research at Rutgers University. Kathleen Scott is director of organizational excellence and administrative operations at California State University, Fresno.

NCCI’s annual conference and 20-year anniversary celebration is planned for July 10-12 in Denver, Colorado. The conference provides opportunities for participants to share insights and solutions related to continuous improvement, strategic planning, lean principles, project and change management, and leadership and organizational development and innovation in higher education.


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