It is fitting that I bring you this next update on our 2019-2020 leadership themes from Seattle while attending the Society of College and University Planners (SCUP) conference. As you may recall, our second leadership theme is “…redefining our organization around innovation.” Seattle is the home of Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, UPS and Boeing – just to name a few – of the exemplary, innovative business enterprises in the world. These are all organizations that have not only successfully adopted to a changing business environment but have leveraged design thinking as a key organizational strategy. And as a reminder, PVCC historically excels in the innovation space as the winner of three MCCCD Innovation of the Year Awards.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, we further set the foundation of innovation as a core strategy with the continuation of the Puma Innovation Grant pushing funds to support faculty and staff innovative ideas, by holding a day-long workshop on the entrepreneurial mindset (attended by over 80 faculty and staff), and making a commitment to use design thinking as the foundation for implementing innovative ideas.
Throughout the SCUP conference there have been numerous references to the need for higher education to embrace innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset as critical leverage points. In the context of innovation, Patrick Methvin, Director, Postsecondary Success, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, stressed that “…it is still about quality implementation.” To this end, during the 2019-2020 academic year, we will engage in a more disciplined and sustained approach to innovation. The Puma Innovation Grant program will continue with a renewed emphasis on design thinking as the foundation. Secondly, we will continue professional development programming around the entrepreneurial mindset. And, lastly, we will use this innovative spirit to implement several new and exciting initiatives: re-launching the pre-engineering program, opening a high-tech lab, initiating the computer science program, and accelerating the implementation of guided pathways just to name a few.
So, during this upcoming year as we renew our focus on the student experience, I encourage you embrace the innovative spirit.