College and IT leaders say it’s not about the next tech, but about how teamwork and collaboration can revolutionize postsecondary education

collaboration-education-innovationPoetry, personal stories, laughs and boisterous arm and hand gestures are not what I was expecting at 8 in the morning, and, I’m nervous to admit, from a university president. Neither was the conversation aimed at inspiring collaboration among all departments and lessening boundaries and hierarchy.

“Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.”

That was Maya Angelou, for those who were wondering,” opened Dr. Freeman Hrabowski at the 2014 Campus Technology conference in Boston, “and I like to do this: tell stories and inspire. It’s part of being a good leader.”

And if anyone would know good leadership, it is, in fact, this man: not only is he the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County—one of the most successful colleges in the U.S. today thanks to stellar focuses on STEM and graduation rates, but also one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and one of seven of the Washington Post’s “Top American Leaders,” among many notable awards and presidential recognitions.

And did Hrabowski decide to discuss the influence of MOOCs? Maybe Big Data? Or maybe what he really wanted to impart was some advice on implementing analytics? Sure, brief mentions were noted. But what’s most important to one of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Leaders” is a concept often missing in higher education: teamwork and collaboration—a theme prevalent amongst all other sessions at this prestigious higher ed conference.

(Next page: The importance of collaboration; learning from startups)


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