The old joke is that when you play a country music song backward, you get: your love back, your house, truck, and even your dog. We’re not promising that when you reflect back at the end of OLC Innovate 2018 that you’ll be able to claim those rewards, but we do hope that you’ll have found yourself immersed in a community of learners who are creating, supporting, and sharing structures and practices in higher education that appeal to the best of what we do.

Innovation and evolution are stories of change. For this year (the third iteration of #OLCInnovate), we move to Nashville. This city is known not only for its vibrant and innovative music scene, it is also part of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and Tennessee Promise, which offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to Tennessee high school graduates. Major education and technology innovations from the Tennessee Board of Regents and in the state have prioritized access to education. In this milieu, we’ll come together to explore the rich culture of innovation in education as it changes to meet the diverse needs of students and educators.

We’ve listened to input and feedback from the entire #OLCInnovate community, and we believe that the program this year stands out with new approaches to discussing and driving innovation – both inside the conference and beyond. As we iterate on the ideas and energy generated last year, we are drawn to the ways in which educators are inspired and communities of practice, research, and design intermingle to co-create the next generation of educational degrees, programs, and support systems to increase inclusion and access. To that end, we have identified new tracks and session types that we think will create a robust and constructive community of ideators and practitioners over the course of this week.

Whatever your interests, we have tracks to match: Teaching and Learning Innovation; Leadership and Change Management; the Education-Workforce Continuum; Processes, Problems, and Practices; Effective Tools, Toys and Technologies or Research Highlights and Innovations. We look forward to the energy and ideas that you’ll bring to the conference! In addition to the education sessions, emerging ideas, workshops, innovation labs, Solution Design Summit and Career Forum Roundtables, this year we’ll also have new session types including Conversations, Not Presentations (to foster slide-free discussion and dialogue) and Campfire Stories: Learning to Fail Smarter, where we’ll lend a friendly ear to leaders sharing stories of driving innovation and change. Heck, we might even share a s’more or two!

Welcome to #OLCInnovate – we hope you have a great week!

– The OLC Innovate 2018 Program Team

Clark Shah-Nelson  

Program Co-Chair

Clark Shah-Nelson, University of Maryland School of Social Work


Program Co-Chair

Ben Scragg, Arizona State University

Kirstin Riddick  

Engagement Co-Chair

Kirsten Riddick, Northern Virginia Community College

John Stewart  

Engagement Co-Chair

John Stewart, University of Oklahoma


MERLOT Program Advisor

Jane Moore, MERLOT


OLC Program Advisor

Jill Buban, OLC