Message to the Community: Innovations Committee Charge, Activities, and Processes

News Story: September 1, 2012
I would like to share with you information related to the charge, activities and processes of the new Innovations Committee, chaired by Professor Stephen Brown.

Sacred Heart University, like most other traditional institutions of higher education, is facing unprecedented challenges to its continued existence, including:
  • Increased competition
  • Public concern about rising tuition/student debt
  • Increased costs of delivering a quality education
This rapidly changing external environment has rendered our current model unsustainable, resulting in an urgent need for us to address fundamental questions of how we continue as an organization that increasingly accomplishes our mission to “shape graduates knowledgeable of self, rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to social and civic obligations and able to respond to an ever-changing world.”

One step in addressing these issues is to become more of an innovative organization that can respond with purpose and creativity to the changing environment. This will require enhancement and continuation of an already significant culture of innovation and change at all functional levels of the university.

The Innovations Committee has been charged with recommending ways to facilitate innovation across the campus. They will examine structure and other barriers to innovation, while challenging traditions and identifying practices that promote innovation in all areas of the University. The committee will carry out its charge with the following activities:
  • Establishing communication with the university as a whole to inculcate on the collective mind of the university the real need for major innovative effort.
  • Examining current and past models of innovation and the processes leading to the adoption of innovation in higher education and other appropriate institutional settings.
  • Proposing and encouraging the establishment of defined quantifiable goals to measure progress toward a sustainable model of quality higher education.
  • Identifying structural, cultural and procedural issues that pose internal and external barriers to development and implementation of innovative practices
  • Identifying structures and practices that facilitate innovation in the university.
  • Soliciting and organizing ideas from all stakeholders at the university in relation to reducing barriers to innovation and sustainable models of higher education.
  • Proposing an inclusive process to begin a period of organized transformative change.
I encourage all of you to participate in the open discussions of the committee. As I have said before, this is important work, and we will need to consider different ways of delivering services and think more creatively about what we do with and for our students.