Provost Summit: Leading for Innovation and Growth

This event has ended.

Provost Summit: Leading for Innovation and Growth

This event has ended.

Expand your leadership and innovative thinking skills alongside other Provosts and Chief Academic Officers.


In today’s rapidly changing world, innovation has become a critical driver of success for individual leaders and their organizations. However, fostering a culture of innovation is not easy—especially in academia, where traditions and hierarchy often prevail.

This unique event aims to bring Provosts together to connect with peers, develop their own leadership, and learn proven strategies for fostering an innovative mindset and culture at their institutions. Participants will learn about key elements of an innovative culture such as openness, experimentation, collaboration, and risk-taking and hear translatable examples of how other institutions have successfully cultivated them, such as:

  • Eastern Kentucky University: Leveraging leadership development to change culture and mindset
  • CU Denver: Accelerating research and simultaneously elevating teaching at an R1
  • National Louis University: Innovating to close achievement and equity gaps

The Summit is designed to be interactive and engaging, with plenty of opportunities for discussion, reflection, and practical exercises. You’ll leave with an expanded network of other Provosts across the nation who are equally invested in thinking outside the box to move their institutions forward.

Who should attend?

This summit has been specifically designed for Provosts and other Chief Academic Officers. If you are seeking an opportunity to step away from day-to-day managerial tasks, think bigger-picture about innovation and growth for your institution, and develop your own leadership, this conference is for you.


Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Thursday, breakfast and lunch on Friday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

DAY ONE: Thursday, November 2, 2023

8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)


Registration and Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. MT



Welcome and Introductions
9:00 – 9:15 a.m. MT



Building Connections with Lego Serious Play: An Experiential Process for Reflective Dialogue
9:15 – 10:00 a.m. MT
Lego Serious Play is an experiential process designed for use with adults to prompt dialogue and encourage reflection. To help you get creative and expand your mindset using the approachable medium of play, our facilitator will lead you through a series of structured exercises to kick off the conference.



Morning Break
10:00 – 10:15 a.m. MT


Using Design Thinking to Build an Innovative Mindset Across the Academic Enterprise
10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MT
An innovative mindset can go a long way in helping to develop new strategies and ideas at your institution. In this session, we’ll explore the benefits an innovative mindset can have and learn about the hallmarks of an innovative culture such as openness, experimentation, collaboration, risk-taking. You’ll leave with concrete steps you can take to cultivate these qualities among your faculty and academic leaders for more outside-of-the-box thinking.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m. MT



Enhancing Trust and Psychological Safety to Encourage New Ideas
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. MT
This session will explore the importance of trust and psychological safety in fostering innovation, collaboration, and creativity. You will learn strategies to enhance trust such as active listening, open communication, and a series of empathy-building exercises you can use with your team.



Shifting Mindset through Leadership Development
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. MT
This session will introduce participants to a case study from Eastern Kentucky University. You will learn about various ways to invest in leadership development at all levels (Faculty, Chair, Dean, etc.) and the impact this has on organizational culture.



Afternoon break
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. MT



Leading Change through Collaboration
3:45 – 5:00 p.m. MT
This session will explore the benefits of collaborative leadership and how it can be used to enhance decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation. Specifically, we’ll explore the role of collaborative leadership in leading change, building effective communication, and strengthening trust and teamwork.



Innovation Garage & Networking Reception (included in registration fee)
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Grab a refreshment (on us) and meet us in the Innovation Garage, a cutting-edge hub where you can explore and experiment with the latest educational technologies. We have convened a collection of educational technology startups* who have designed and implemented solutions around enrollment, retention, building strong student/alumni community relations, program development, and program review. Each company will provide a brief presentation and share case studies of partner universities who have implemented their solutions. This is your chance to peek into the forefront of the rapidly evolving educational technology landscape.

*Participants will receive information on each company participating before the conference.


DAY TWO: Friday, November 3, 2023

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)




Registration and Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. MT



Provosts: This is Your Leadership Moment
9:00 – 10:30 a.m. MT
This session will explore 10 strategies to help Provosts stop acting as Chief Operating Officer and reclaim their role as chief academic officer. The first three strategies focus on the Provost’s own leadership, the second three speak to the importance of building the capacity of others, and the final four speak to the Provost’s leadership of the institution itself.



Morning Break
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. MT



Positive Sum Thinking: Accelerating Research and Elevating Teaching
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MT
This case study from CU Denver will illustrate an example of how promoting both research and teaching helped a university to move away from traditional zero-sum thinking.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m. MT



Closing Achievement and Equity Gaps through Innovative Approaches
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. MT
In this session, you will hear an example of how National Louis University has innovated its academic and student experience model to improve student outcomes. You will hear firsthand about the innovative processes that National Louis employs to close equity gaps and foster economic stability and mobility for low-income and marginalized student populations.



Afternoon Break
2:30 – 2:45 p.m. MT



Carousel for Synthesizing and Next Steps
2:45 – 4:00 p.m. MT
As we bring the two-day program to a close, we’ll help participants to identify and commit to specific actions they would like to take when they return to campus, and identify ways we’ll support each other following the program.


Optional Executive Coaching

For those who choose to add on our Executive Coaching package, you will receive 6 sessions of executive coaching and will be paired with a coach who has extensive experience in higher education.

Location & Hotel Options

November 2 – 3, 2023

The training will be conducted in person at Academic Impressions’ Denver-based office at:
5299 DTC Blvd, Suite 1400, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Nearby hotel suggestions:

Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center – 3-star hotel
8300 E Crescent Pkwy, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Distance from office: 0.5 miles if driving, 0.3 miles if walking

Reduced Room Rate of $119 per night at the newly renovated Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center. Click here to book. Reserve by October 11, 2023. 


Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center – 4-star hotel
7800 E Tufts Ave, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 1.1 miles

Denver Marriott Tech Center – 4-star hotel
4900 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 0.9-1.2 miles, depending on route