Scale, Sustainability, and Success: Creating a Leadership Strategy for Innovation

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The call for leadership in the innovation age is a critical element in moving the needle to provide solutions around access, technology, and student success. This presentation will examine the leadership acumen needed in implementing innovative solutions and initiatives to impact student success and institutional change.


Emma Zone has been leading and teaching for nearly 20 years. Emma specialties include faculty experience and classroom engagement strategy, faculty operations and development, instructional quality processes, co-curricular support, and faculty-student engagement. Emma has experience driving cross-functional collaboration to impact student success. In addition, Emma has experience leading and supporting large scale courseware and digital tool implementations, and she shares in the national conversation on leveraging innovative technology in large, complex educational organizations. Emma has teaching experience spanning the secondary, community college, and university levels. She has been long-committed to discovering, applying, and supporting innovation in the classroom to impact meaningful change for students and faculty. Emma earned her BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MA in English from DePaul University. She also holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Emma's professional interests include student success initiatives, faculty engagement and development, scaling and supporting educational technology solutions, and leadership development. When she is not tweeting, writing, or presenting about teaching and learning, edtech, and higher ed, you will find Emma shuttling her kids to their various activities or taking her rescued lab mix on long walks.
Tonya has nearly 13 years of experience working with online college students including 10 years of online teaching experience. Her leadership has been key to the integration of adaptive learning technology into a large portion of the General Education courses at CTU. Troka’s work has been published by the American Society for Engineering Education in 2015 and 2016. Throughout her career Tonya has been focused on understanding how to increase college student success and completion specifically within General Education course. She recently completed her EdD in Adult and Higher Education (2016) where her dissertation research focused on understanding how placement and developmental courses impact student persistent and success.

Extended Abstract

The call for leadership in the innovation age is a critical element in moving the needle to provide solutions around access, technology, and student success. There is no shortage of approaches to the myriad of problems we are trying to solve in higher education. Pursuant to its mission, Colorado Technical University (CTU) has been using innovative technology to tackle some of the most pressing issues in higher education.  Currently, CTU has one of the largest-scaled implementations of adaptive learning, which has impacted key areas of focus for the institution, including online orientation, general education courses, and student retention initiatives, while meeting the needs of a non-traditional student population.

This presentation will move beyond the tactical implementation of a technology solution to the necessary leadership strategy required for scale, sustainability, and success. The University Dean of General Education and the Vice Provost will share how CTU is impacting student retention and experience through innovative use of adaptive learning in several contexts, all framed in a leadership vision that empowers students, faculty, and staff. 

In this session, we will explore the critical questions on which current and emerging institutional leaders must reflect before, during, and after the implementation of a new technology solution or initiative. As leaders, how can we better prepare our faculty, staff, and students to not only accept, but embrace change, even when that change seems disruptive? Participants will engage through discussion and reflective exercises that will allow them to consider focus areas in their own leadership strategy.

The goals of this presentation are:

  • To explore specific strategies and tactics that have are necessary to successfully lead in the innovation age.

  • Identify and answer critical questions that leaders are asking about how to successfully innovate within higher education.

  • Provide the audience with a roadmap that can be used to create or improve a leadership strategy for innovation