Campus Conversations – Innovation in Higher Education

Campus Conversations – Innovation in Higher Education

October 1, 2019 1 By Ronny Jaskolski


>>[Background music] Innovative
ideas for meeting the needs of students now and
in the future. Coming up, Campus
Conversations talks about innovation in
higher education. [ Music ] Welcome to Campus Conversations. I’m Fritzi Bodenheimer. Today we are talking about how as a community college
we can meet the needs of an evolving student
population. Montgomery College President
DeRionne Pollard tells us innovation will be the key.>>You know, I think Montgomery
College has always been in the forefront of
innovation in higher education, whether it be how we respond to
an evolving student population, how we think about
revenue and budgeting in very different ways. But I think innovation
is going to call us to do some very different
thinking about how students experience
our organization and the value that we’re able to
demonstrate to our community about what happens here. Innovation, quite simply, now
a lot of people will have, you know, there’s the change,
there’s the transformation. Innovation, to me, simply means
looking at what you do right now and enhancing that to
produce better outcomes. And sometimes that concept of innovation can
be a very broad one or it can be something
very specific. So, I, I hope as we are as
an organization continuing to lead the country
on so many issues that we’re being very thoughtful about the experience a student
has and how we are growing, developing, transforming through
innovation for those students.>>With me now to talk about one of the college’s efforts towards
Dr Pollard’s goal is Samantha Streamer Veneruso, one
of the coordinators of the Montgomery College
Innovation Works Initiative. Thank you so much
for coming today.>>Thanks for having me, Fritzi.>>So, in that sound bite,
Dr Pollard was really talking about innovation not as cool
machines or new apps but really as a way to meet a need. And you yourself,
you’re not a scientist. You’re an English
professor here. What’s this all about?>>So, Innovation Works, the Montgomery College
Innovation Works Initiative is something that Daisy Holiday,
my colleague and I talked with Dr Pollard about,
Dr Pollard was interested in increasing our
capacity for innovation, by looking at innovation
as a mindset, as a, as an organizational culture,
not just as a specific event or a specific initiative or
specific, concrete things. We have a lot of
specific, concrete things that are happening that are
innovative and interesting but as a, as an organization, the question was how do we
operate in a way that nurtures and fosters mission-driven
innovation collectively, as a whole, collaboratively. So, we were asked to look at
a way of fostering that kind of across the boundaries
operations of promoting the organizational
mindset of thinking about things from different perspectives,
in new ways and, and using innovation
from that standpoint.>>So, what are some of the
concrete things that might come out of this new way of thinking?>>Oh, gosh. You know, it’s hard for us to predict exactly
what’s going to come up. What we can, what we can say
is we’re setting the stage for whatever emerges. We are using, part of
it is that in terms of developing innovation
and, and innovation, and innovative mindset,
people need access to information, access to ideas. They need inspiration. But they also need to learn how
to think it, think things from, or have the opportunity. Not learn how to think about
it, but to have the opportunity to look at things from
different perspectives. To work across boundaries. To work across disciplines. And we need a space
for that to happen and we need the opportunities to bring people together
in that way. We also need to be thinking
about what’s happening outside of us and, and seeing
that in a different way. So, Innovation Works
has been, has 4, 4 concrete initiatives
that, that make it up. The first is what’s a
traditional think tank. Bringing together
intelligence and information from outside the institution
around the kinds of themes that are pushing
the need to change. And so making that, bringing
that together in a way that the college community
can digest it easily, know that its there,
and that it’s all in 1 space fosters conversations
around that information. The second initiative
are a series of talks. We had our first 1 a
couple of weeks ago. The resident’s innovation forum. And that’s designed to bring
ideas to the college community and to spark conversations
within the college community that will lead to new
thinking and new ideas here.>>And you mentioned that
we just had the first sort of talk like that. Can you talk a little
bit about who came and what it was all about?>>Sure. So, we had 3 speakers. We, it’s, it was designed
around a TEDx style with, with each of the speakers giving
a short presentation about ideas around the needs of
students for the future. So, our first speaker
was Mr Dan Hoffman, who’s the chief innovation
Officer of Montgomery County. And he talked to us about
creating the capacity for systems thinking
and the kinds of skills that students need,
active, practical skills that students need, and
how the county is trying to work toward that. And how, and challenged
us with ideas for how we can do
that for students. And it was a very
interesting and engaging, thoughtful conversation
about student need.>>And a, and a conversation,
right? So, this isn’t’ when
we have these events, they’re not just going to be straight someone
talking at an audience.>>Right. Right. Well, the idea is that
they’re supposed to be, they’ll be in different
formats but they’re supposed to be engaging kinds
of conversations with the opportunity
for feedback. We didn’t finish with the
last talk that we had but 1 of our other initiatives
is a, a digital journal which also will extend those
conversations from the, what happens in that room
and allow the conversation to continue in a digital space. So, that’s a, that’s
a third initiative. So, we’ll come back to that. But the other 2 speakers were Dr
Pollard herself, and she talked about innovation as a, as
a heart song and a mindset as a way of thinking,
not just an activity.>>So, it’s not just a program. It’s really a whole change in,
in a paradigm, the whole way that we’re doing
everything, in a sense.>>Yeah. I think it’s asking
us to, to think differently and always to be thinking
about opportunities for change. Opportunities, not just
opportunities for change but how we’re doing things, why
we might need to change, and, and it’s constantly asking us
to bring those 2 things together to look at how we can do
things and serve the needs of our students and
our community in new ways as we evolve.>>You mention there
was a fourth thing. I want to make sure we
don’t forget to talk about the fourth
part of the program.>>So, the fourth part of the program is
probably the last part that will actually
get put into play and that will be done
in collaboration. This whole project is about collaborating
across the college. And bringing together
different spaces and different agencies
throughout the college to, to work together and to try
to, to create that foundation. So, the third space is
supposed to be a lot, it’s a way of creating an
actual physical space for people to come together and
innovate on a regular basis. Both, a lot of, when
you think about how to create an organizational
mindset of innovation, it’s about creating space for
innovation, both in a abstract, mental way as well
as in a physical way. So, if you think about the
Google Garage or the ideas that are out in business a
lot, there are physical spaces where people, and time set
aside for people to do that kind of creating thing and do
it in collaborative ways, bringing people together from
different spaces to do that. So, our fourth space would be in
line with, with the maker labs that are being talked
about on all 3 campuses. And so we’re kind of
waiting for those to, to get a little bit
more formalized, to figure out how we wok with
that, to use those spaces to ignite innovation here too.>>And unlike many other
projects and committees I’m sure that everyone in every
workplace has been on, there’s not really an
endgame here, right? We’re not creating something
and publishing a report and then it’ll be over. This is just a whole shift
in our way of thinking. Is that accurate?>>That’s accurate. So, part of the premise
behind Innovation Works is that it can evolve and adapt
as the institution needs it. The, the goal is that it,
it, it suits the needs that we have at the moment. And those will shift. And so we are flexible enough
to shift along with them and we’re not sure where it’s
going to be 10 years from now. It might not be needed. It might be something totally
different that’s needed. So, it’s not just
a final report. It’s a ongoing series
of initiatives.>>Well, I can’t wait
to see what’s going to happen in 10 years. Thank you so much
for coming in today.>>Sure, no problem.>>And coming up next
on Campus Conversations, we’ll find out about an office that makes innovative technology
work for all students. We’ll be back with more campus
conversations right after this. [ Music ]>>No matter where you’re
headed, no matter what your age, you’ll find it all here
at Montgomery College. Small class sizes. Flexible scheduling. Over 130 programs of study. Award-winning faculty. Nationally-ranked NJC
double A athletics. The possibilities are
endless at Montgomery College. Register today. [ Music ]>>You know, innovation
can mean so many things. It could point to a new
procedure or new equipment for doing a job better. And 1 office at Montgomery
College knows all about the latest tools for
helping every student succeed. Take a look.>>My name is Jillian Pfau
and I’m the coordinator of Assistive Technology college
wide for Montgomery College. Assistive technology is
any piece of equipment that maintains or increases
the functional capabilities for an individual
with a disability. And this office, the Office
of Assistive Technology, is part of Disability Support
Services or the DSS Office. And one of my responsibilities
is to work with students who have been approved
by their DSS counselor and offer them trainings and
offer them hardware and software that will enable them
to have equal access to course material and content. It can be anything
from a magnifying glass to high-tech specialized
software that requires significant
training and access. So, really, AT runs
the entire gamut. 1 of the most popular software
applications that we do have and a large number of our
students use is Kurzweil 3000. Kurzweil 3000 has been
around for quite some time and it is a text-to-speech
software. However, it has begun to
incorporate a lot more features that have really been
innovative in their field. Kurzweil 3000 is for books. It’s also for testing
materials but you can use it for an entire range
of things now. Editing material. So, if you have your book and
you want to highlight in it, say you’re, you’re doing
a textbook rental program and you don’t want to
mark up the hard copy. You can mark up the
electronic copy. You can create vocabulary lists. You can create audio
files from Kurzweil 3000. This is just an example of a textbook that’s already
been uploaded and I’m going to click the read button here.>>The postwar years are marked
by political and economic unrest within a few months
after the arms->>Okay, so that’s an example
of what the student would hear. They can put sticky
notes in here.>>Look up.>>They can create
a voice note, even. They can put a basic
text in there. They can bookmark it,
create column notes. So, it’s very rich in that
you can, whatever you could do on a hard copy of a book you
can probably do the same thing in Kurzweil. You can also save any changes
that you make to your file and then access them anywhere. And for students who have
learning disabilities or perhaps they’re not
able to comprehend words or reading very well, you
have this syllables icon and it will break the
word down into syllables. So, if you’re struggling with the pronunciation,
that’s a great tool. They have a whole section
called the writing pad. They have templates that
are built into the software where literally you can
plug in your information. It makes it a lot easier for
students who can be overwhelmed by the writing process. It gives them a place to start. Combining all of those features into Kurzweil 3000 has really
been great for students who have, you know, any
sort of learning disability or struggle with that aspect. Dragon Naturally Speaking has
been around for some time. It’s a very good software for
a large number of students. So, what I’m going to do is turn
on the mic and start dictating to show you a little
bit of what it can do. Bold Dragon Naturally
Speaking Software. Italicize Dragon
Naturally Speaking. Switch to Mozilla Firefox. Scroll down. Click disability
support services link. Almost anything you
can use a keystroke for you can use a
verbal command for. So, Dragon dictation, again,
depending on the nature of the disability, can
really benefit students and make the computer and the
internet accessible to someone who may otherwise not
be able to use it. One of the newer
pieces of technology that we have here
is the scan marker. And it is a pen scanner. And this is another example of technology that’s really
relatively inexpensive. This is about 75 dollars.>>Purpose is his or
her reasons for writing.>>And as you can see,
we’ve copied that. And then we can take this and we
can put it in a Word document. One of the other functions that it does very well is
it can translate into a lot of different languages. [ Foreign language spoken ] The next demonstration
that we’re going to do is of the Livescribe smartpen. And this is a tool that allows
students to record audio through the microphone up here
and also take their own notes, and it syncs the audio with
the notes wherever you are when you’re writing them. So, it does that
by using a camera in the pen and special paper. And you have controls
and devices that are at the bottom of the page.>>Civility is a multi-part
philosophy, if you will. When you think about the
underlying philosophy of civility, it’s that
I care more about you.>>We’ve taken just a couple of
lines from this guest lecture and what I’m going to do is
tap on where I was writing and it will link
it with the audio.>>Part philosophy, if you will. When you think about the
underlying philosophy of civility, it’s that
I care more about you.>>Now, from these
controls at the bottom, I can increase the
volume up or down. I could increase the
playback speed up or down. I can also navigate
through the positioning. The new pen has wireless
Bluetooth capability that will let you sync not only
your lecture and your notes but also it will automatically
show up on your app on your iPad with the audio embedded.>>It’s that I care more
about you and the people who come into contact with me.>>The fact that you can
embed the audio with the text and send it allows
you now to share, to share your notes
with other people. So, that’s a huge advantage if
you’ve got multiple students who needs copies of
notes in the classroom. This is an example of some of
the incredible applications that are being created for
the iPad especially but also, you know, other tablet devices. This particular app is
the MyScript Calculator. It recognizes all
sorts of symbols. It does, you can, you can set it to how ever many
decimal places you want. You can use sine, cosine,
it can do advanced math. And it’s just a, it’s
a great app for that. A student who has a learning
disability maybe just needs the permission to record a lecture. They would be able to
use just a tape recorder or something like a smart pen. But if someone is blind from
birth and they need access to the computer and access to
the internet, they’re going to need other materials. So, JAWS Screen Reading
Software or converted materials that have been, you know,
put into accessible format. So, there is no 1
standard answer to what AT can do for someone. It really depends on
what the student needs and also the material and the
course that they’re taking. [ Music ]>>Many thanks to Jillian
Pfau for taking the time to show us how assistive
technology can really improve a student’s experience. Speaking of great technology, Marcus recently visited the
Bioscience Education Building in Germantown. [ Music ]>>We’re in the cell culture lab
and with me is Dr Collins Jones and you are the biotechnology
coordinator for Montgomery College. Well, Dr Jones, thanks for
taking a couple minutes with us today for
campus conversations.>>Thank you, Marcus. I’m happy to be here.>>First question. It’s sort of a broad question. Let’s go way back, we won’t
talk about how far back.>>Thank you.>>You started in Takoma
Park as a chemistry professor and then you moved up here
to the Germantown Campus. We’ve come a long way when
it comes to innovation, especially in the biotechnology
field, and here we are in this brand-new awesome
Bioscience Education Center.>>We have, actually. The, Montgomery College
has come a long way, especially this building is
sort of the capstone for that. I’d like to say that we
are probably 1 of the most, if not the most innovation
community colleges in America today. Because we have our
biotech program here as well as our other excellent STEM
programs biology and chemistry, and we also have a life
science park that’s partly here in our Germantown
innovation center. But also we are planning a life
science park here on the campus to interface the college with
the local biotech industry and spur economic development
here in Montgomery County.>>Okay, and we’re in a
pretty innovative lab here. Just, I guess just for a
quick couple of seconds, tell us what’s going
on behind us and actually what goes
on here in this lab.>>Well, this lab is
our cell culture lab and here we are preparing
students to enter the biotech workforce. And 1 of the key skills that you
need to have to be successful in biotech is actually
to grow cells in culture. So, this is a lab that’s
dedicated specifically to that. So, behind us we actually are
growing cells in shake flasks. These are insect cells
which are 1 of the types of cells that companies use. Behind us on the other side
are tissue culture hoods. There’s incubators
and so this lab is, is specifically dedicated
for cell culture.>>That’s pretty awesome. Now, we are in a pretty good
spot when you’re a student or if, if you’re a professional
as we were talking before. We have bachelor
degree winners here, we have master’s
degree winners here. So, you have students, you
have returning students and then you have professionals
who can all take advantage of not only, you know, the
equipment that we have here but in the area that we
are here in Germantown.>>Exactly. The, the biotech program has
put at least 300 people to work in the local biotech
industry and about 50 percent of our students actually have a
bachelor’s or a master’s degree. We have 8 students
actually who graduated from College Park this past
year taking our classes to prepare them for a job
in, in the biotech industry. But in addition, we
have state-of-the-art, actually amazing equipment here. I brought some friends up
from the FDA the other night and their mouths
were dropping at, at what we have accessible here. So, the students
will actually learn on state-of-the-art
equipment that even some of the smaller companies
don’t have. And we’re looking for ways
to partner with them to spur that innovation theme
here in the county.>>Talk a little bit about
maybe a couple of things that somebody might not know that the students are
doing here hands on. I mean, we see a
bunch of the pipettes, am I saying that right?>>Yeah.>>So, what are they
actually doing? Maybe a couple of things
that you can tell us that they’re working
on hands-on?>>Hands-on, right now we have
an immunology class and actually for this week and
the past couple of weeks they’ve actually
been purifying an antibody. And so this is again another
thing that’s, that’s common in the local biotech industry. In our intro immunology classes, they’re purifying
antibodies at the bench scale. But when they take our
biomanufacturing class, we’re actually going
to have cells mixed with antibodies in bioreactors. And they’re going to move into
our protein purification suite and do a slightly
larger-scale purification, again using the same equipment
that you would find at any of the local biotech companies.>>Wow. And we have a little
less than 2 minutes left. So, I guess we’ll, we’ll
send you off with this. What are 5 things that somebody
should know about, you know, this building and about the
biotechnology program here at Montgomery College?>>I think this building is a
state-of-the-art STEM building. I, I don’t think there’s any
place that can match this, at least at the moment, in
the state of Maryland in terms of the equipment and the faculty
and just the facility itself. As to the biotech program, the
things that I’d like people to know about the program
are 1, we do prepare people for entry-level jobs in
the local biotech industry. We work closely with
the industry to do that. I have about 20 openings
right now that I’m trying to
find people for. We are a transfer program. We transfer to George
Washington, to Stevenson, to Hood, hopefully to
UMBC in the near future so there are places
for our students to go. If students do get
a job and they want to continue their 4-year degree, the biotech company will
pay their tuition for that, through a master’s degree. So, they can leave with essentially little
or no student debt. Again, a number of our students
already have a 4-year degree or a master’s degree. And lastly, we have
scholarship money available to help students take
classes with us, so.>>Well, that’s a
fantastic sell. I learned a lot in the 5 minutes
that we’ve had here today in the Bioscience
Education Center. So, Dr Jones, thanks for
giving us some time today. [ Music ]>>So, Marcus, we heard
about some really exciting and innovative ideas today but I know there’s
much more out there.>>There really is. And if we want to look back a
few years, about 5 years now, when Dr Pollard became the
president of Montgomery College, 1 of the first things
that she would say was that she wants Montgomery
College to become the most
innovative community college in the country. And, I mean, that is shooting
for the stars, of course, and it was also a great tagline. But then we fast-forward
about 5 years and here we are. And it’s actually
coming to reality. And if we go back to
the Innovation Forum that Samantha Streamer
Veneruso was talking about which was fantastic,
it was an amazing show. Dan Hoffman and Ronnie
Galvin and Dr Pollard, 1 of the interesting things
about their presentations, which they each showed a picture
of them as a young person. You know, and talk about
innovative thinking and here we are having
them as 16-, 17-year-olds and now here we are
today, you know, in front of a very innovative
and I guess a, a very, very educated audience
at the Innovation Forum. But one of the, one of the
things that I walked away from at that event
was the questions from the audience after,
after the presentations. And it seemed to go back to
the students and it seemed to back to the classrooms. And how we can use
this innovation and use the innovative
methods of learning but, to get to the students. And one of the things
we can never forget, we’re here at the college
and our number one job is, is to get the students learning. And, and I just, well, I
thought it was very poignant that the questions
were asking of course to come back to the students. And finally I think the most
challenging, if you would, aspect of innovation
at Montgomery College, or innovation in
higher education, is actually getting away
from the definition, the broad definition
of the word innovation. Of course we have
cutting-edge equipment. We have cutting-edge facilities. I mean, we have some of the, you
know, some of the best buildings on our campuses of any college
let alone community college. And we have community, we
have very cutting-edge methods of learning. But at Montgomery College, innovation is becoming
an initiative. It’s becoming a concrete idea
that it’s not just the word, yes, you know, we’re
cutting edge, but we’re actually working
towards innovation, you know, becoming the norm here. And I think if we can start
thinking of innovation as an initiative versus
innovation as a broad term, I think it’s going to be great.>>It’s very exciting. Thanks for sharing
that with us today. And we’re out of time, but
for more information about any of the topics we cover
on Campus Conversations, visit Montgomerycollege.edu /campusconversations. [ Music ]