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What Does Innovation Mean in Higher Education?

You can’t walk around any college campus, school district or company without hearing the word “innovation.” Organizations of all sorts display front and center the innovative ideas and innovative ways they build and sell products to change teaching and learning, from Netflix-like adaptive algorithms to augmented reality experiences.

Is there a limit or consensus to what innovation actually means? Does one have to be among the first in a field or community to push the idea or product, or does reinventing (and improving) the wheel count too?

These questions grounded discussions at last weekend’s annual Education Writers Association higher education seminar. The event for colleges and newsrooms covering education focused on innovation and was aptly held at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, an institution transforming itself into a “New American University” — a redesigned modern university envisioned by ASU President Michael Crow and researcher William Dabars.