Innovation Connection

 March 7, 2019

20th Anniversary

This year, NCCI will reflect on where the Network has been, where it is now, and where it is going. A logo was created to commemorate 20 years of transforming higher education. So in honor of our 20th anniversary, each newsletter in 2019 will include a top 20 list for your enjoyment.

Last month’s newsletter included a survey for “20 Reasons to Join NCCI.” Here’s what our members had to say:

    1. To be a part of a network of smart, motivated, inspiring people who care about the same things you do
    2. To learn from others’ challenges in a variety of topics
    3. To truly connect with a teams of change makers
    4. To have people to turn to who are ready and willing to help when you are feeling stuck at your institution
    5. An opportunity to understand the broader issues affecting higher education today
    6. To be inspired by the amazing ideas and projects that others have accomplished
    7. Recognizing yourself as a leader among peers who transfer colleges and universities across the globe
    8. To participate in a fun, resource-packed conference
    9. To reference best practices when talking about changes
    10. To serve and learn alongside my peers in sharing ideas
    11. Access to impactful people and resources
    12. To participate and practice what I know
    13. To connect with others in my region locally
    14. To know I always have somewhere to go for help
    15. Because it’s fun!
    16. Because I want to be a positive force for positive change and innovation at my university!
    17. I want to grow in the field of change management and project management.
    18. To complain with people who really understand. (Kidding! Kind of.)
    19. Identify with NCCI’s mission, vision, and values
    20. Opportunities to give back to my community by sharing my knowledge

Next month, we will feature “20 Thought Leaders.” To do this, we need your help! Tell us here.

Learning Opportunities

Upcoming Power60s
After the Thrill is Gone: Sustaining High-Performing Teams

Tuesday, March 19 (Noon – 1:00 p.m. Eastern)
Presented by Sharon Tse, Wayne State UniversityMaking Lean Learning Flow

Thursday, April 18 (1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern)
Presented by Ruth Archer, Michigan Technological University 

Register NowPower60s are a series of hour-long webinars led by higher education thought leaders. For more information, please visit our website.

Peer Learning Lab
The Professional Development Committee is excited to announce a new learning opportunity for NCCI members: the Peer Learning Lab. The Peer Learning Lab is a monthly networking opportunity to share ideas, tools, and best practices based on an assigned resource relating to the topic of change, innovation, strategy, and/or continuous improvement. A Peer Leader will provide a structured discussion or activity to enable dialogue and learning. This is a great opportunity for NCCI members to strengthen relationships with peers, grow their knowledge, and become better equipped to transform higher education institutions as change leaders.

Upcoming Schedule:
Wednesday, April 3, 4:00-4:45 p.m. Eastern
Topic: The Power of Asking Questions
Peer Leader: Angela Knobloch, University of Virginia
Resource: The Remarkable Leadership Podcast – Beautiful Questions with Warren Berger

Wednesday, May 1, 4:00-4:45 p.m. Eastern
Topic: Growth Mindset
Peer Leader: Tammy Freeman, University of Notre Dame
Resource: TED Talk – The Power of Belief – Mindset and Success (Eduardo Briceno)

Members can register here.

Networking Opportunities


2019 Annual Conference
The 20th NCCI Annual Conference will be in Denver on July 10-12. Be sure to check your email on Monday for an announcement about conference registration and the opening keynote!

Please visit the conference website for more information on registration rates, hotel reservations, and education sessions.

Communities of Practice
NCCI welcomes members to join our Change Management, Lean, and Leadership Communities of Practice. For more information or to join a community, please visit

Lean Community of Practice – Interactive Webinar with Q+A:

How Measuring Small Lean Projects Can Make a Big Difference

Krista Schulte, Lean Performance Consultant at the University of Michigan, shares how her office developed metrics for Lean projects and what the impact has been.

Wednesday, March 27, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern
If you are interested in joining the Lean Community, please email Molly McCaughey at

The Lean Community of Practice is seeking ideas to help us develop Lean programming for the remainder of 2019, and we want your input! If you are hoping to learn about Lean practices this year, or if you have stories or challenges to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know through this engagement survey!

NCCI News and Updates

Welcome New NCCI Member Institutions
•Community College of Rhode Island
•Marquette University
•University of California Merced
•Virginia Tech
If you are interested in joining NCCI, please contact Spotlight
Kathy Burkgren
AVP Organizational Development and Talent Management, Cornell University
NCCI Member for 14 years

What have you gained as a result of being a member of NCCI? What has your institution gained?

Cornell has gained considerable insights into what is happening at other institutions – initiatives they are engaged in as well as practices, processes, and frameworks being  applied. As a result of access through NCCI, we have brought excellent ideas back to Cornell and developed them in a way that work at our institution…

One of the greatest gifts was learning Lean process improvement, a tool we brought back to Cornell, and have been able to institutionalize. Personally, I have had the opportunity to further develop my leadership, facilitation, and presentation skills as a board member, president, conference presenter, and advisory board member. These roles have given me the opportunity to hear directly from other NCCI members regarding both institutional challenges and solutions they have applied… NCCI is a valuable, one-of-a-kind organization that has established itself as the primary resource for understanding and staying current regarding happenings within institutions of higher education across the globe.

Most memorable aspect of your NCCI connection?
By far, the most memorable aspect of my NCCI connection has been the people I have met. All have shared themselves, their ideas, their successes and failures. A few have hosted Cornell at their institutions so that we can learn directly from them. Working side-by-side peers has provided the opportunity to experience challenges and successes through a different lens and enabled us to work collectively to identify practices and processes that will be successful at our institution.

How would you encourage new members to NCCI to get involved?
Definitely get involved in committees. Every committee call provides a chance to learn and share ideas across institutions. Through committee work you have the opportunity to build and sharpen your own skillsets as well as bring valuable information and ideas back to your own institutions.

View the full interview here.

Board Updates

We are calling for nominations to serve on the NCCI Board of Directors. Benefits of being an NCCI board member include collaborating with leaders in higher education, developing international programs that will improve the application of process improvement in the higher education arena, contributing to the achievement of NCCI’s mission and goals, and serving on an international board that reaches global dimensions.

A list of the current Board of Directors and additional information about the association are available at on the website.

Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by an NCCI member. To nominate an individual or to express personal interest in serving, please fill out this form.

Nominations are due by March 29, 2019 at Noon Eastern.

Resources & Articles

The Art of Executive Feedback
By: Rob Kramer, (The Chronicle of Higher Education) February 24, 2019