The Higher Edge

The Higher Edge

Welcome to “The Higher Edge” – a podcast for the brightest minds in higher education to hear from the change makers and rule breakers that are driving meaningful, impactful change for students, faculty, staff, and administrators across the country. Join award-winning education executive and your host, Brendan Aldrich, to hear from today’s industry leaders as they share the stories and experiences that are shaping forward-thinking institutions. From improving operations to supporting student success, this is where you’ll learn proven recommendations and actionable tips that will give you, “The Higher Edge”.


March 7, 2023 35 min

Some in higher ed assume that colleges and university information technology departments are simply tasked with fixing computer glitches and resetting passwords. But IT does far more than just “keep the lights running.” IT leaders are pioneering innovation in real-time, even if it means ruffling a few feathers along the way.

In this episode, we’re joined by Dave Johnston, Director of Information Technology at Mendoci...

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State commissioners have the exceptional duty of coordinating with public and independent institutions to define public college and university initiatives that will shape the higher education infrastructure across their state.

In this episode, Chris Lowery, a recently appointed commissioner with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, gives his unique perspective on the inner workings of his state’s gov...

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College and university provosts are tasked with a unique mission in higher education. Now called Chief Academic Officers at many institutions, provosts ensure that business-minded school administrations never lose sight of their core purpose: preparing their students for life through quality education.

As a former provost herself, Kara Monroe, Founder and President of Monarch Strategies, never lost her passion fo...

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HBCUs were birthed out of necessity during America’s segregation period, giving black students a place of belonging in higher education. Today, they continue that mission while leading the charge in educating and promoting diverse, global-minded talent.

For instance, Rochelle L. Ford, Ph.D., APR, President of Dillard University, and her colleagues are sharing real life experiences through the reestablished Na...

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In 2019, Bill Groves, Chancellor of Antioch University, and the school’s board agreed that affiliation was key to advancing their mission of social justice. Their search for a sister school ultimately led them to their very own backyard in Ohio as John Comerford, President of Otterbein University, and his peers answered the call.

Together, these institutions are forming a perfect partnership built o...

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As a young man, Joe Moreau dreamed of a career in the arts. But an early job in media production at a small university planted the seed for his love of higher education.

After a rewarding journey as a Chief Information Officer, Joe is now in a Senior Consultant role with HIGHER DIGITAL. And, today, he’s still on a mission to propel higher ed into the digital age, including by helping advance the State of Californ...

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January 17, 2023 30 min

Higher ed institutions rose to the challenge of accelerating innovation during the pandemic. And schools like Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, are riding that momentum to give working adults a boost in their career trajectories.

Jessica Howard, President and CEO of Chemeketa, talks about their Bachelor of Applied Sciences program, an offering unique to the community college landscape. With this blend...

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Predicting the future is never easy.

However we can make some educated guesses on what the Higher Education space will see and have to do to stay competitive in 2023.

I’m joined today by Lige Hensley, Founder and CEO of Invoke Learning, who helps to peer into the future of 2023 to see how the following will shake out for the industry this year:

- Remote and Online’s Evolution Post COVID-19 (5:04)

- Usin...

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We’re on the road again with the Higher Edge Mobile Podcasting Rig!

This week, we’re headed to sunny California and the floor of the California Association of Institutional Research “CAIR” Conference 2022 in La Jolla, California.

We caught up with some great folks from across the IR space and got their thoughts on the conference and their collaborations... and gained insight into some of the great sessions and projects in progress ...

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Pete Williams ’s journey as an Information Communication Sciences post-grad took him through multiple tech-heavy industries, but he knew his heart would bring him back to higher education.

Now, as the Chief Information Officer for Butler University , Pete is spearheading innovation through servant leadership. He shares what he’s learned managing Butler’s venture fund to gas pedal innovation and how he helps give others the Higher E...

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Technology and new platforms are one of the most exciting parts of any convention, and Educause 2022 was no different.

In our second episode of coverage, direct from the Educause show floor, we take a stroll down Startup Alley, and meet a fantastic cast of talented characters that each have a platform you should know about for your institution.

From engaging students more deeply to eliminating grading biases — these are just some o...

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Did you miss out on Educause 2022?

Fear not! We saddled up our mobile podcast rig and took it to the floor of the show where we went in search of some of the greatest partnerships in higher education.

Join us as we bring you a trio of success stories, direct from the floor of the conference.

We’ll hear from:

  • Ken Connelly and Zach Meyers about how Breakpoint Labs has helped the University of Northern Iowa better secure their ...
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Learning management systems (LMS) are important vehicles for data delivery and instruction in higher education. But can also be expensive software platforms that may not give institutions the flexibility and value to highlight their uniqueness.

Phill Miller, Managing Director at Open LMS, shares how open-source platforms help cultivate collaboration to empower academic institutions around the world with a powerful, yet cost-effecti...

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Historically, institutional development in higher education has always revolved primarily around meeting fundraising goals. But modern Development and Advancement Services teams at colleges and universities around the country are inverting the traditional fundraising pyramid.

Teresa Goddard , Director of Development Services at Depauw University , shares how focusing on and strengthening the relationships between the institution, ...

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With data becoming increasingly important to people in many roles, the Chief Data Officer has become an exciting new position that’s replicating quickly throughout higher education.

The CDO is tasked with empowering institutions by providing key insights and critical context that help make sense of this vast array of information.

Olivia Kew-Fickus (, Chief Data Officer and Exe...

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The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) is a mission-driven organization that drives collaboration amongst institutions to support students across the country. 

As a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization, the NSC plays a key role in supporting these institutions that enroll over 97% of higher education students and more than 70% the nation’s high-school students. 

Roberta Hyland (

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There are so many organizations that work to support higher education that *aren't* colleges and universities, such as RTI International, and the work they do to help empower data-informed decisions for students.

From the Department of Education's College Scorecard ( ) to preparing for the College Transparency Act ( currently going through ...

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The demand for better analytics solutions is peaking at a time when many institutions are struggling to keep up. 

What role do collaboration and on-the-ground experience play in accelerating higher education analytics? 

Eric Spear (, President of Precision Campus (, tells us about his journey from working in higher education to founding a growing reporti...

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An alarming number of students are not reaching a critical step in their journey toward a bachelor's degree — transferring their community college work to 4-year universities and colleges in order to continue their education. 

When students can’t reach these goals, it undermines their ability to succeed after investing in themselves and their education. It feels like a fruitless task. 

Darla Cooper, Executive Director of The RP Gr...

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With the rise of big data, traditional higher education research has been undergoing an accelerated evolution. Accessibility of information enables everyone to engage and share diverse perspectives freely.

Scientific breakthroughs seem to be happening at lightning speed. It begs the question: What qualifies as innovation today?

Aeron Zentner (, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness: Research, ...

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