College System’s inaugural podcast explores transformation in higher education due to disruptive forces

Dr. Brian Noland, Dr. Anthony Wise, Dr. Heidi Leming

TBR - The College System of Tennessee has launched a new three-part podcast series this fall focused on how to build and cultivate creative teams in higher education as it moves past disruptive forces. Dr. Heidi Leming, Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) vice chancellor for student success, leads the monthly conversation based on a book she selects and discusses with industry experts and higher education leaders.

Joining Dr. Leming in the first of three discussions were Dr. Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State Community College, and Dr. Brian Noland, president of East Tennessee State University. Drs. Wise and Noland shared their personal perspectives and experiences from a senior leadership point-of-view and reflected on how they had led changes and fostered innovative teams.

The inaugural podcast examines themes from the book, “Disruptive Transformation: Leading Creative and Innovative Teams in Higher Education” by Robert D. Kelly, Colin Stewart and Associates. The book is sponsored by the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators (NASPA) and was published in 2020.

“This podcast is an honest conversation about the challenges facing higher education specifically – but also the concept of disruptive transformation,” said Dr. Leming. “Both panelists will share their personal experiences in leading change at postsecondary institutions and how to foster innovative teams.”

Some of the podcast’s most impactful reflections from Presidents Wise and Noland included personal experiences involving their families and transformative disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber-attacks, and public policy changes. They both revealed that during uneasy times they focused on their institution’s unique history and mission statements to remind them of the institution’s core values to guide decision making.

Both also spoke of the critical role that partnerships played and continue to play between community and technical colleges and universities in times of disruption. With the academic program agility of community and technical colleges and the resources of universities, partnerships such as Tennessee Transfer Pathways and articulation agreements provide stability and reassurance to students and communities during uncertain times.

Besides the TBR website, the recorded podcast can be found all major platforms. The second podcast in the three-part inaugural series will be held live Oct. 27 at 1:30 pm CT at the McWherter Center Auditorium at Jackson State Community College.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.