Faculty Innovation Fellowship: Nomination Information

BHEF is excited to announce it is inviting nominations to its inaugural Faculty Innovation Fellowship. Funded through a grant from the ECMC Foundation, the Fellowship curriculum will enrich, prepare, and support faculty as they design, develop, and lead innovations in establishing equitable talent pipelines that expand pathways to student success. 


Higher education leaders can nominate up to four faculty members for this exceptional professional development opportunity (see Nomination Process for specifics). Accepted faculty will be part of a small cohort that participates in career-advancing, interactive, immersive, expert-facilitated leadership experiences. The Fellowship will prepare participants for innovation and change management in the academic ecosystem, engaging them as they identify and develop a novel project at their institution. Additionally, participating faculty will develop a network of peer leaders across institutions and gain visibility for their work within their institution.

As a result, institutions will also gain faculty champions poised to influence their peers around innovation and change, a proposed initiative ready to be implemented on campus and a demonstration of industry responsiveness and alignment.

Professional Support

To enable faculty to address and achieve their individual project goals, the Fellowship has been designed to provide each participant with the time, professional support, and industry insights they need to introduce and undertake the integration of innovative practices. The selected faculty will be prepared to:

  • Design innovations based on High Impact Practices for student success and industry engagement.
  • Pursue new employer partnerships.
  • Employ leadership and change management skills to be champions of innovation on campus.
  • Introduce and implement novel initiatives, vetted by national experts and aligned with the institution’s mission and goals.

Program Components

Cohort-based learning: Fellows will be part of a cohort of 16-20 faculty led by experienced BHEF staff supplemented by industry and academic experts. Over the course of approximately nine months the Fellows will participate in:

  • In-person sessions: The Fellowship includes three, two-day, in-person sessions that cover leadership skills, change management principles, and developing an innovation mindset – with a lens toward applying these skills and principles to a workforce development or industry alignment challenge or setting. The sessions, facilitated by industry and academic experts, will be immersive skill- and capacity-building experiences designed to prepare each Fellow for his or her specific project goals, and to build a lasting network of collegial relationships.  Sessions will take place at BHEF member institutions or companies. All expenses for travel and participation in the in-person sessions will be covered by the Fellowship.
  • Moderated virtual sessions: In between the in-person sessions, BHEF will moderate virtual conversations with the cohort, BHEF staff, and national experts. These virtual sessions (of 1-2 hours each) will focus on tactical areas, such as: project-based learning; competency-based education; credit for prior learning; articulation and transfer; building strong and sustainable employer partnerships; aligning programs with state workforce development initiatives, and learner-centered design. Fellows may be asked to present their challenges as peer learning for the cohort to discuss and problem solve.
  • Office hours: Between sessions, BHEF will offer office hours to Fellows for individualized consultation on their projects. 

Final Project

A key requirement for acceptance is that each Fellow identifies and works on an authentic and meaningful project aligned with institutional mission and strategies. This project should be determined in concert with the executive sponsor (president, provost, dean, or chair) at the institution and support must be explicitly acknowledged in the application. Proposed projects may encompass a wide range of campus-specific needs, but all should include meaningful actions that increase employer engagement in academic offerings. Examples of possible projects could be, but are not limited to:

  • Develop a common language among partners through consensus-building activities, such as competency mapping, to translate, clarify, and align expectations, responsibilities, and outcomes to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Restructure a business advisory committee for increased impact.
  • Develop a new mechanism for bringing employers into the classroom.
  • Implementation of one or more High-Impact Practices that support student success.
  • Develop or enhance a credit for prior learning or a credit to non-credit model aligned with learner and employer needs.
  • Translate employer-led partnerships into transformative metrics-driven change.
  • Review company human-resource strategies and human-capital planning to effectively recruit diverse STEM and digital-skills talent.

Institutional Commitment

BHEF will cover all the expenses associated with participation in the in-person sessions, experts, and the fellowship curriculum. For a faculty member to be considered, the institution must demonstrate its commitment to supporting the time and work of the nominee by agreeing to provide a minimum of one-course release during the Fellowship period and/or an equivalent stipend direct to the faculty member. Low-resourced institutions may apply to BHEF for one of a limited number of scholarships available to offset release and/or stipend costs. 

Nominations must also include executive sponsorship and meaningful support of faculty members’ participation in the Fellowship, including input on final projects.

Nomination Process

Eligibility: BHEF’s member institutions are each eligible to nominate up to two faculty members. BHEF’s higher education system members can nominate up to four faculty from across their institutions. The nominee must: 1) Have status as a full-time faculty member teaching credit-courses in any discipline within a two- or four-year degree program; 2) Have three or more years' experience at their current institution by the end of academic year 2023-2024; 3) Be able to attend each of the three in-person and three virtual sessions of the Fellowship. 

  • Kickoff Webinar: Friday, March 22, 2024, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET
    Location:  Zoom registration to be distributed to fellows 
  • In-person Session 1: Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, 2024, with optional Wednesday evening dinner
    Location: University of Maryland Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, Baltimore, MD (Part of the University System of Maryland)
  • In-person Session 2: Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16, 2024, with optional Wednesday evening dinner
    Location: Drake University, Des Moines, IA
  • In-person Session 3: Thursday, January 9 and Friday, January 10, 2025, with optional Wednesday evening dinner
    Location:  Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT (Part of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system)
  • Additional virtual dates forthcoming

Fall 2024: Cohort #2 Nomination Period Opens

The Application Process

Step 1: Identify a faculty member and a project for nomination.  Institutions may use whatever process is appropriate to their needs e.g., nominations from peers, selection by institution leadership, or self-nomination. Nomination criteria may include:  

  • Faculty interest in implementing innovative practices within higher education.
  • Faculty interest in increasing student success and industry alignment.
  • Faculty commitment to learning, sharing insights with colleagues.
  • Project alignment with institutional strategies and goals.

Step 2: Complete the Nomination Form. Executive sponsorship is essential to successful innovation. Both the executive sponsor and the faculty nominee must complete their respective portions of the form.

Step 3: Submit Nomination Forms and required attachments or links to fellowship@bhef.com by February 16, 2024.

Step 4: Review and selection. A selection committee, made up of BHEF membership and staff, will review applications and select candidates.

Step 5: Notification of faculty selection by March 4, 2024.

Point of Contact

For more information on the Fellowship, please contact Frank Avery, Managing Director of Partnerships, at frank.avery@bhef.com.

Special thanks to the following members of the initiative's advisory committee:
Terrence Cheng, Chancellor, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities
Marty Martin, President, Drake University
Michele Masucci, Vice Chancellor, University System of Maryland
Christopher Reber, President, Hudson County Community College