Developing University Ecosystems

University administrators are in the ecosystem business, whether they realize it or not. The industrial resource-based economy is giving way to the knowledge economy at a rapid pace. And that has significant effects on how universities function and develop.  

Universities have attempted to experiment and adjust to the changing environment, but they have done so somewhat slowly.  

Which, when you think about it, is strange.  

Not all universities fit within this category.  

A few trailblazers are venturing down novel paths. I’ve had a chance to collaborate with a number of them. 

>>Bold innovator Ubaldo M. Córdova-Figueroa developed a completely novel approach to university administration. Ublado is a Strategic Doing Institute Fellow.

>> Bob Brown, a Strategic Doing Institute Fellow and lifetime award recipient at Michigan State University, led the introduction of Strategic Doing to Flint, MI a decade ago. 

>> Former Ecuadorian minister Julio Jose Prado, also a Strategic Doing Institute Fellow, is using his extensive international networks to introduce adaptive managment to business schools globally. 

>> Lev Gonick, the CIO at Arizona State University, combines an amazing ability to zoom out and zoom in. When I was first developing Strategic Doing at Case Western Reserve University, our paths crossed. 

>> Jim Henderson the new president of Louisiana Tech University, carries on the creative presidential leadership legacy set by his predecessors, Dan Reneau and Les Guice. Jim introduced Strategic Doing to the University of Louisiana System.

>> Christi Bell of the  University of Alaska Anchorage‘s Business Enterprise Institute was the first to introduce Strategic Doing outside of Purdue more than ten years ago. 

Another passionate challenger of the status quo is Ross C. Alexander, Ph.D. of the University of Texas-Texarkana. He introduced Strategic Doing to the University of North Alabama.

Rena Cotsones, Ph.D., a Strategic Doing Institute Fellow, is revolutionizing the Northern Illinois University engagement system.  

At The Ohio State UniversityJeff Agnoli, another Strategic Doing Institute Fellow, has been actively changing OSU’s engagement mission.  

Purdue University jumps out to me, of course. It’s a hothouse of innovation, the incubator of Strategic Doing. Over 15 years, I have been fortunate to work with an amazing group of colleagues: former president Martin Jischke, former provosts Vic Lechtenberg and Jay AkridgeAli ShakouriGregory DeasonScott Hutcheson, to name a few. 

All of these colleagues have a thorough awareness of how universities and higher education are changing to suit the demands of the modern world.  

They behave based on a logic derived from networks. They perceive flows and connections (example: see below). 

They act with sincerity and honesty. They experiment nonstop.  

They are marking a path for what’s achievable.