ambition faced deep uncertainty, and the struggle continues.
Higher education suffered along with other institutions across
our society. The way we look at ourselves and our work as
educators has forever changed. Leaders in higher education
have been jolted into a new reality of shrinking resources,
heightened scrutiny, and new demands for academic and other
services. Those institutions that have thrived have leaders who
think and act entrepreneurially and spread these capabilities
throughout their organizations.
So, what is next for SSAOs? Will we aspire to be the extraordinary entrepreneurial leaders in our institutions and in our
field? If not us, who will? Will learning ever be reconsidered
without this transformational shift in how we lead? Learning
Reconsidered 2 (2006) sets forth a “Blueprint for Action.”
SSAOs must create a “Blueprint for Leadership” to inform
our work now and in the future. The framework and mandate
professionals partner with faculty in an approach called curriculum infusion, which brings student health and wellbeing
issues into the academic conversation and empowers faculty to
extend the campus “safety net” to support struggling students.
This model intentionally links course content with the appropriate health issue to deepen student learning while providing
tools for students to seek help for themselves or their peers.
Broadening the Potential for Student
It has become increasingly common for activities within
higher education to translate into practices and products
with market potential. An example of how universities help
faculty and staff translate their work to the market is the
Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation
( www.innovate.indiana.edu/iurtc/). One project under
development involves a team of student affairs professionals
partnering with information technology professionals. Their
software product is designed to allow a diverse group of faculty
and staff to share confidential information instantly, review
and comment on this information, and outline future actions
in a secure environment that meets FERPA and HIPAA
standards. Information can be accessed from a computer or
a mobile device, allowing for quick review and action. Early
indicators are that this product, now under further develop-
to “rethink learning” and “rethink leadership” must include
the power and influence of entrepreneurial leaders within our
organizations and in the field. Learning Reconsidered (2006)
rightfully asserts that “our model of learning is out of date and
inaccurate.” Let us now recognize how entrepreneurial leader-
ship can promote change in transformative ways in the years
to come. LE
Elizabeth Newman is dean of student affairs at Babson College.
Todd Olson is vice president for student affairs and dean of students at
John Laws is vice chancellor for student affairs at Ivy Tech Community
Karen Whitney is president of Clarion University in Clarion, Penn.
ment, has broad market potential. From an entrepreneurial
standpoint, the product could help practitioners throughout
higher education and create new revenues at the same time.
Student Life Enhancements
Babson College, a small four-year private college specializing
in entrepreneurship and business education, creates a learning
environment in which students not only learn entrepreneurship, they live it. Student affairs professionals know and value
this mindset, and they challenge students to find their solutions in creative ways. Students prepare “rocket pitches”
of various types to promote their ideas and garner support.
Babson’s Student Government Association (SGA) president pitched an idea to clear a wooded area on campus for an
outside social space for students to congregate, host programs,
and build community. His pitch seemed unrealistic, lacking
money, resources, and support, yet it was a great idea. Student
affairs staff members encouraged him to make his idea a reality
by including other resources on campus. He took the advice,
made several more pitches to leaders on campus, including
Babson’s president, and eventually found passionate support
among Babson’s young Alumni Group. He also gained the
enthusiasm of trustees and alumni, who wished to donate
funds in honor of Brian Barefoot, the college’s 12th president,
who was about to retire. The SGA voted to make the biggest
financial contribution in its history to the project.
A year later, Babson celebrated the opening of Barefoot
Park. The project was five times the scope of the original idea.
The beautiful park is now one of the most sought-after outdoor spaces on campus and is utilized daily by students, staff,
and faculty. The success of this project rests with the entrepreneurial mindset of Babson students and a campus environment that supports their efforts. LE