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Supporting Tech and Digital Leadership in Higher Education

Have you caught an episode of Josie and The Podcast yet? We're big fans of Season 1 and the recently released Classroom Edition series. We love this podcast so much that we're sponsoring Season 2. The first of the 12-episode season was released October 26—and I want to share my thoughts with you.

Why We Love Josie and The Podcast

While deciding how to launch our business, we looked for strategic partnerships that align with our mission, vision, and values. For many years, Josie Ahlquist has been pushing higher education to think about leadership differently through research, writing, speaking, teaching, and podcasting. Everything she does is rooted in sound research and best practices while transcending traditional campus boundaries. Her impact is evident everywhere—from new student orientations to the campus presidents. Josie's work is innovative, data-driven, witty, engaging, and relevant. These attributes are literally posted on my office wall as part of the Campus Sonar brand, so we're a pretty good match with Josie.

Josie and the Podcast Logo

In its second year, Josie's podcast is one way she contributes to the profession. Through interviews with diverse guests from higher education and other industries, listeners learn about leadership, technology, innovation, and how to be their best selves online and off. One of my favorite parts of the podcast is at the end of each episode—a short segment that wraps up the interview and highlights the key points and takeaways. This cements the learning that Josie and her guests deliver each week.

In Season 2, Episode 1, Josie said she "was doing backflips over this season's sponsor." We're flipping along with you, Josie, and eagerly anticipating the next eleven episodes.

My Thoughts on Episode One

Wait, you haven't subscribed yet? What's holding you back? The first episode featured Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University. You may have heard of him referred to as the Hip Hop President. His interview was super high energy, covering everything from his professional background, a brief history of Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs), campus mission statements, what it means to be a college president from Generation X, and why it's important for campus leadership to connect with key influencers both online and off.

Three things stood out to me in this episode.

Dr. Kimbrough Is Unapologetically Himself

Becoming a college president at age 37 is pretty uncommon. Even more so is one who identifies himself as part of the Hip Hop Generation (part of Generation X). Dr. Kimbrough said, "I can't be like other presidents because I have a different experience. That's how I'm approaching the job, and I make no apologies about it." Now at age 50, he's still the Hip Hop President. He figures if Russel Simmons is still a part of hip hop, so is he. When you listen to the interview, you'll get a real sense of what this means.

A Refreshing Take on Higher Education Leadership

If you have aspirations for senior administration on campus, you should listen to this episode. Dr. Kimbrough makes it abundantly clear that we don't have to be like college presidents from the past—presidents we saw when we were students, or the first one or two we worked for as professionals. There's a new wave of leadership emerging, and Dr. Kimbrough has helped pave the way for more than a decade. He's unapologetically himself, and he channels that unique persona (and brand) into a commitment to students and society.

Higher Education Needs Truth-tellers

A section of the interview talks about Dr. Kimbrough's visit to the Trump White House and how he responds to politics and national issues. He believes he has a responsibility to address injustices as a college president because he's been given a "bully pulpit." This quote from the interview sums it up.

"We have to have truth-tellers in any society. There should be some truth-tellers within the higher education community...Somebody has to speak about the issues that are happening to make sure there's awareness on campus for students so they can figure out how they are going to address these issues."

Just a few minutes later, when reflecting on the professional risk of taking a public stance on injustices, he said, "I'm not scared." That was the mic drop moment for me. We need fearless, mission-driven leaders in higher education. I'm glad Walter M. Kimbrough is one of them, and that he joined Josie for the first episode of Season 1.

Subscribe to the Podcast

There are some phenomenal guests lined up for Season 2 (we've had a sneak peek, so we can say this with confidence). You do not want to miss this season. Subscribe to Josie and The Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app. Not into podcasts on your mobile device yet? Bookmark the podcast page on Josie's website and check back weekly for the latest episode.

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The post Supporting Tech and Digital Leadership in Higher Education originally appeared on the Campus Sonar Brain Waves blog.

Liz Gross

Liz Gross is the founder and CEO of Campus Sonar. A recognized expert, data-driven marketer, and higher education researcher, Liz specializes in creating entrepreneurial social media strategies in higher education. She is an award-winning speaker, author, and strategist who was named a 2018 Mover and Shaker by Social Shake-Up Show and a finalist on GreenBook’s 2019 GRIT Future List. Liz has more than 15 years’ experience in higher ed and strategic social listening programs. She received a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education at Cardinal Stritch University, a master’s degree in educational policy and leadership from Marquette University, and a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

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