At Elon University, innovation means far more than coming up with something new. It’s about using and applying discoveries to advance change for the better, about the relentless pursuit of progress and improvement.

The stories in this report are about people with very different ideas, but they share the trait of complete dedication to reaching their goals. They also have in common some of the core values and principles of our innovative culture.

The first is having a strong sense of ownership. At Elon, this is deeply rooted in the power of shared governance. Wisdom is a collective asset, and we empower faculty and staff to try new ideas. We ask our students and faculty to challenge themselves to take informed risks, and we create structures that encourage members of our community to bring their talents and ideas to the table.

We also take pride in having clearly defined shared values. If you’ve ever met an Elon faculty member, administrator or student, at some point you’re likely to have heard them say that our institution’s mission centers on student success. As simple as that sounds, this shared value has many facets and it drives everything we do — from our engaged teaching and learning practices to the strategic way we structure our residential campus and support facilities.

To foster intellectual curiosity and innovative thinking, we nurture a deep commitment to each other’s success. On our campus, thanks to a low-walls, no-silos approach, this results in rich cross-discipline collaboration. As an example, in this report you’ll read about a project involving a scientist and a legal scholar who are using neuroscience to improve teaching methods for the legal profession and other disciplines.

Finally, innovative campuses embrace a culture of humility — an understanding that we don’t know it all, and that everything can be made better. This mindset creates a continuous improvement loop. We take time at the beginning of every strategic decision or project to consider the ways we will measure success, including within our Boldly Elon strategic plan, the objectives of which are constantly being measured and adjusted to respond to change.

As the leader of an engaged and innovative university, I’m proud to say that an innovation mindset is one of the hallmarks of an Elon education. The world will always need bold innovators, and our mission as educators is to equip and empower them to put their ideas into action.

Connie Ledoux Book
Elon University President