Announcing the NITLE Innovation Studio

Liberal arts colleges face a number of thorny challenges, such as declining budgets, increasing competition, and disruptive transformations rooted in technology. To help prepare leaders who can collaborate, innovate, and produce concrete solutions to common problems, NITLE is launching a new leadership development program called the Innovation Studio. Inspired by start-up accelerators and project-based learning, the Innovation Studio offers a structure for librarians, information technologists, academic support staff, and other qualified candidates from across the NITLE Network to tackle thorny challenges. This competitive program is designed to produce two significant results: innovative solutions to critical issues in liberal education and a set of entrepreneurial, knowledgeable leaders well-prepared to help build a robust future for liberal education.

What to expect
The Innovation Studio offers a continuous experience in four discrete stages, blending online engagement with intensive face-to-face work at the NITLE Symposium. (The Symposium takes place on April 16-17, 2012, in Alexandria, Virginia.) Throughout this structured process, mentors provide guidance to selected participants, helping them define problems, develop innovative solutions, validate solutions, create business models, build prototypes, and devise strategies to promote their innovations.

In the first stage, selected participants pitch project ideas in response to thorny challenges during an interactive online session. Based on which projects garner the most votes, two to four are selected to move forward. Participants choose the project with which they wish to affiliate and begin collaborative work with their teammates. During the second stage, teams gather at the NITLE Symposium to present their work to date to mentors and peers, receive guidance and feedback, and develop project plans and prototypes. They present these plans as “lightning talks” at the end of the Symposium. After the Symposium, teams enter the third stage, during which they continue to bring their projects to fruition; each team member commits approximately 3-5 hours of work per week to that effort. To ensure timely completion of projects, teams check in with mentors and participate in regular online meetings of the entire Studio. If projects need to be scaled up, some may be carried out in collaboration with NITLE Labs, which could offer assistance with project coordination, financial administration, access to the network of NITLE member colleges, and research support. Finally, project teams publish and present their results, including via an online “Demo Day” sponsored by NITLE during the summer of 2012.

How to Apply

Candidates will need to fill out an application form by January 24 at 5 p.m. CST [note new deadline]. NITLE especially seeks applications from mid-career professionals who think in creative ways about academic problems. Successful applicants will join cross-institutional, multidisciplinary teams to shape an innovative solution to a common challenge. Please note that project-based learning is fundamental to the Innovation Studio concept; as such, successful candidates should expect to spend a few hours per week (from February through July 2012) to work on his/her team project. The fee for participating in the Innovation Studio is $2000; however, in this pilot year for the program, the fee will be discounted 50%, reducing it to $1000. (The fee includes registration for the 2012 NITLE Symposium.)

All applications must be accompanied by a nomination letter from a senior academic leader at the sponsoring institution, such as the president, provost, dean, or director of libraries or IT. Nomination letters should describe the qualifications of the candidate and affirm support for his or her participation in the Studio. Letters should be received by January 24 [note new deadline]. This letter can be sent to Lisa Spiro, NITLE, 1001 East University Avenue, Georgetown, Texas 78626; faxed to (512) 819-7684; or emailed to  Selected participants will be notified by February 6 [note new date]. Criteria for selection include the candidate’s vision, creativity, effectiveness in executing projects, and ability to collaborate, as well as the relevance, likely impact, feasibility, and scalability of his or her project idea.

Anticipated Outcomes
Through their participation in the Innovation Studio pilot, we anticipate that Innovation Scholars will enlarge their perspective of higher education, bring stronger leadership skills back to campus, and heighten the sponsoring college’s leadership profile within the larger community. As they work on common challenges, they will also hone their skills as collaborators and creative problem-solvers and will produce what we expect will be high-profile, extensible solutions that will resonate across campuses.

Please contact Lisa Spiro, Director of NITLE Labs, with any questions:

Update, 1/12/12: The application deadline has been extended to January 24, 2012. Applicants will be notified by February 6 of the status of their applications.

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Posted on December 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm by Lisa Spiro · Permalink
In: Collaboration, Liberal Education · Tagged with: , , ,

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