December 5, 2014
(Adelphi, Md., Dec. 5, 2014) – The University System of Maryland's Center for Academic Innovation at its inaugural Leading Academic Change Summit, co-hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, identified two leading barriers to academic innovation: shortage of funding and institutional culture.
The Summit, held December 2nd and 3rd at University of Maryland University College, brought together 60 academic innovation leaders, representing public and private universities, colleges, and state systems offices from all across the United States. The Leading Academic Change Summit provided a rare and exciting opportunity for academic transformation leaders to meet with peers and learn about the portfolios of work underway.
A pre-conference survey of participants, all of whom are on the vanguard of the emerging field of academic transformation in higher education, revealed that 31 percent identified the shortage of funding and resources as the top barrier to academic innovation, with 30 percent of voters citing institutional culture as the primary barrier.
Conversely, 41 percent of summit participants identified support from leadership and administration on campus as the most helpful driver behind academic innovation. Another 22 percent cited working with strategic partners as the most helpful form of support.
Conversations among participants over the highly interactive two-day conference centered on how to overcome barriers and capitalize on opportunities to effect higher education change.
“The Summit connected individuals from across institutions who are dedicated to academic change work,” said MJ Bishop, Director, USM Center for Academic Innovation. “It gave us a chance to exchange ideas and aspirations, and discover what is working to create the most effective and efficient learning environments that enhance student success.”
The Summit brought together participants with a wide range of professional backgrounds to this newly minted area of academic innovation, including college faculty, business and industry, informational technology, instructional design, learning sciences, and K-12 leaders.
Nearly all (94 percent) had been in their roles as academic transformation leaders for six years or less, and more than half for three years or less. In their current roles as academic transformation leaders, more than 75 percent are currently affiliated with academic affairs departments at college or university campuses.
“In supporting academic communities devoted to higher education change, we help catalyze improved access, lower costs, and better outcomes for all students,” said Bishop. “We hope to continue offering conferences and exchanges of this kind because the collective energy and insights that emerged were powerful.”
The USM Center for Academic Innovation seeks to help transform public higher education by identifying and scaling up strategies proven to increase access, affordability, and outcomes of higher education The Center is dedicated to promoting, studying, and disseminating groundbreaking academic transformation work within Maryland and across higher education nationally.
October 14, 2014
The Kirwan Center and the USM Student Council are collaborating on the Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) initiative, which is providing interested faculty with opportunities to explore the feasibility of adopting open-source materials for use in their courses.
Register here by July 31, 2016: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YXR8TQM
Textbook prices have been rising dramatically over the last several years. According to the College Board, students spend an average of $1,200/year on textbooks and other instructional materials for their courses. In the meantime, increasing numbers of high quality, faculty-written, and peer reviewed open-source instructional materials are becoming available that are free online, free to download, and affordable in print.
The Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation shares the USM Student Council’s concern over rising instructional materials costs while also recognizing that textbook choice for any course is the prerogative of the faculty. Therefore, we are collaborating to provide interested faculty with opportunities to explore the feasibility of adopting open-source course materials through the Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) initiative.
During the 2016-17 academic year, M.O.S.T. will continue to support faculty who are interested in:
- Practical training in the discovery, use, and licensing of open-source materials;
- Content recommendations including open textbooks, open courses, and supplementary materials;
- Review of identified materials to ensure correct uses based on licensing and terms;
- Participating in a collaborative community to share learnings;
- Evaluating the feasibility of open-source adoption as well as the students’ and the faculty experience with open-source materials; and
- Learning how other institutions are working to adopt and sustain OER at scale to increase educational affordability.
As part of the project, Lumen Learning (lumenlearning.com) will be providing individualized support to participating faculty throughout the term. This support can include selecting appropriate instructional resources, adapting materials to suit your preferences, locating effective technologies for delivering your content, and conducting post hoc analyses and providing recommendations for course improvements.
For your participation, and as a small token of our appreciation for your efforts, faculty participants will receive a $500 stipend from the USM… as well as their students’ eternal gratitude for doing what they can to reduce the cost of attaining a higher education degree!
If you are interested in being involved in during the 2016-17 academic year, please follow the link below to fill out a short survey (5 minutes) and sign up to receive additional information. We will only be able to fund a limited number of faculty in the pilot, so sign up soon! We will be closing the call for participants on July 31, 2016.
September 11, 2014
The average American student pays about $1,200 a year for books alone. An experiment currently underway is turning up some hopeful results. In effect, professors would be encouraged to put class material online instead of charging students hundreds of dollars for a printed textbook.