dear university…

Dear University General Counsel,*

I write to ask you to help foster an environment of creativity, innovation, and to engage us in how to push the envelope, rather than present to us the dimensions of said container and the strength of the glue that keeps contents within.

I ask that you consider how important innovation is to the process of learning and teaching.  That it is a powerful skill and force within an organization that benefits all.

I ask you to see the thread that ties innovation and experimentation with effective execution and meaningful results.  Thinking outside of the box doesn’t have to mean that we’re just coming up with crazy ideas.  We can think outside of the box and come up with solutions that will immediately impact everything that faculty, students and staff touch and use.

I ask that you help create an environment where we seek not to copy someone else’s RFP on “some-technology-someone-else-is-already-doing-exactly-the-way-we-are-thinking-of-doing” but instead to be the ones that write the very first such request for proposal.  Let us live in a place where we set the trend

I challenge you to fling wide the gates labeled FERPA and PRIVACY.  I urge you to knock – nay, tear – down those gates and turn them into paths.  Wide paths upon which we can walk and find our way to new solutions while staying within the right boundaries.

I challenge you to always ask us what we want to do next, rather than to tell us what we cannot do today.

I challenge you to stand with us as we forge into new territory, rather than be in the shadows, waiting to be called upon.

I ask that you let us – upper management, CTOs and CIOs – surround ourselves with the best and brightest.  I challenge you to let us let them run wild.

I challenge you to let us run wild with them.


*this is not directed at any specific university, much less my own.  This is a general comment on the need to unshackle many of those that are trying to innovate in technology & higher ed but are held back by legal concerns.  I think that should be obvious by the time you’ve read

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