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S6E36: Leadership and Innovation Insights from Christian Higher Education

S6E36: Leadership and Innovation Insights from Christian Higher Education

The leaders of Christian colleges and universities face unique challenges as they train up the next generation. Shirley Hoogstra, President of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) helps us consider how leadership and innovation in Christian higher education impact other Christian workplaces. 


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In this episode:

  • Shirley spent 15 years as the Vice President for student life at Calvin University, and since 2014 has been the President of CCCU. Discover some leadership lessons she has learned as she moved to this broader platform (02:39)
  • "As a leader, you have to be comfortable with being roughly right."(04:18)
  • Making decisions in an unpredictable context without all the information you might have had before will continue (04:42)
  • "Put people first -What does that look like with competing interests?" (04:55)
  • Capitalize on opportunities (05:42)
  • A unique perspective on Christian higher education.  What are some of the key leadership challenges in Christian higher education today? (07:13) 
  • People are getting their educational information in very different ways today (08:36)
  • Tradition innovation (08:59)
  • "Staying power: you just have to get up and do it again." (10:26)
  • Having the right team members (11:00)
  • Alignment through change (11:24)
  • Some innovative ideas or programs that are moving higher education into the future (13:07)
  • "What we need more is the re-equipping of people for jobs of the future." (14:58)
  • Between ages, 18-22 is when a person's world's view is shaped (23:20)
  • A number of Christian colleges participate in the Best Christian Workplace employee engagement survey. We find that the biggest driver of engagement in this sector is lifegiving work – the sense that employees experience meaning and purpose in their work. What are some ways that you see that your member institutions can grow in this area of purposeful engagement of their staff and faculty? (26:14)
  • "Your organization was so helpful to my organization when I took the helm about eight years ago." (26:56)
  • "Your instruments were amazing, they were informative, they were nonjudgmental, they put us right on track. We actually made some changes in the next few years. We did come back two years later as a Best Christian Workplace because we actually asked what makes a happy employee at our association."  (27:27)
  • "Your work was right now on back in the campus environment and in my own association." (28:00)
  • "The first thing I think people should do if they want to know if their staff and faculty have purposeful engagement, I think they have to ask the questions." (28:12)
  • "You need to have the right diagnostic tool and you actually need a third party to ask those questions." (28:21)
  • "Our young people are appropriately ambitious." (33:38)
  • It’s great to hear about the ways Christian colleges are reaching out. Christian colleges are training our future workforce. Graduates from CCCU institutions will be the next generation of workers and leaders in both secular and Christian organizations. As each generation grows up, they push against previous boundaries. What are the issues that this generation of college students are pushing on – perhaps things like social justice, sexual identity, technology, or other issues?  What are you seeing? (34:16)


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