Maryville University President Mark Lombardi, PhD, is one of the most dynamic and candid leaders in higher education. At Maryville, he creates models for higher education transformation at a pace more common in the entrepreneurial world than in education.
Lombardi shares more about how Maryville is driving the future of education in the new Disruptor in Chief podcast, which features conversations with Maryville faculty, staff and other change agents in the higher education industry. Subscribe and listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Please enjoy a teaser from the inaugural episode featuring two Maryville University professors: Dustin York, EdD, associate professor of communication and a sought-after communication and innovation specialist, and Matt Raithel, professor of practice of game design and owner and studio director of Graphite Lab, a mobile game design company.
LOMBARDI: Universities traditionally, when they want to go in a direction, think that they have to go at it alone. But we know here at Maryville, and I’m curious about your thoughts, about how to partner with cutting-edge industries and how to bring them into the process?
RAITHEL: I’m going to keep using games as an example. Every product we produce has between nine to 12 third-party integrations in it. We’re talking about things that manage the back-end data, they might manage the advertising. We never go at it alone. So, to me, it seems short-sighted for someone like a university to have the same approach. Why keep everything in? If you want to talk about innovating the process versus inventing a tool; if the mission is to make a data tool, then fine, keep everything in. But if your mission is to really transform the student experience, why not bring in from the outside?
YORK: I think a lot of universities, not at Maryville, have an issue, a hurdle they’re facing: they’re living in an ivory tower. They think they can do it by themselves. We have to get past that thinking! Amazon is amazing. Amazon doesn’t just create e-gaming by itself, they go out and partner with Twitch — and then they buy Twitch — but they bring out the experts in that field. They don’t just say, “Oh, we’ll create from scratch and we’ll dominate.” They don’t say that. I think higher ed is the exact same. We need to say, “What is this xyz organization doing? Apple — what are they doing? What is Salesforce doing? What are these organizations doing? We partner with them and that is just an explosion of innovation that a university can maybe do in 20 years that we instead can do in three months.