Business-Higher Education Forum Announces Faculty Innovation Fellows

Inaugural program will welcome 19 professional faculty from across the country to launch employer-aligned curricular innovations. 

Collaboration between business and higher education is vital to developing curricula and partnerships that lead to good jobs in emerging and high-demand fields. As colleges and universities pursue stronger partnerships with industry, faculty can be strong agents of change on their campuses. 

The Faculty Innovation Fellowship, supported by a grant from ECMC, focuses on increasing faculty capacity to design innovations in employer engagement and advance institutional transformation in student success. Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) has designed and is facilitating the program with national experts and its business and higher education members and partners, leveraging 40 years of expertise in partnership best practices.  

The inaugural cohort represents a diverse field of professionals, perspectives, and institutions. The fellows are from 13 sponsoring institutions in 10 states and include public state systems, community colleges, independent universities, and public research universities, with nearly half being minority-serving institutions. The cohort includes disciplines ranging from business and hospitality to nursing, geosciences, and social sciences.

Fellows’ proposed projects cover a wide range of employer collaborations, including curriculum development, student support, integration of emerging technology, career readiness, capacity-building and experiential learning. They will meet regularly over several months to develop their pilot projects which will be vetted and tested by their cohort peers, BHEF staff, and national experts. 

Fellows will also gain the skills necessary to successfully implement innovative practices beyond their classroom through sessions with national experts on cultivating an innovative mindset, change management, and leadership skills. 

Sponsoring institutions will have an opportunity to be a national model for workforce responsiveness along with gaining faculty champions poised to influence their peers around innovation, and an initiative ready to be implemented on campus.

The 2024 Faculty Innovation Fellows are: 

Connecticut State Colleges & Universities
Benjamin A. Abugri, MBA Director & Professor of Finance, Southern CT State University
Thomas J. Barron, Jr., Department Chair, Faculty, Business & Technology, Charter Oak State University
Michelle M. Kusaila, Professor, Accounting, Central CT State University

Drake University
Stacy Gnacinski, Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Associate Dean of Bright College

Georgetown University
Ifedapo Adeleye, Professor of the Practice of Human Resources Management, Vice Dean of Faculty
Yianna Vovides, Senior Director, Learning Design and Research, Professor of the Practice

Hudson County Community College
Elana Winslow, Associate Professor of Business
Peter Cronrath, Associate Professor of Business

Miami Dade College
Eric Cornish, Associate Senior Professor
Tommy Demos, Associate Professor, Film, TV & Digital Production

North Carolina State University
Huiling Ding, Professor of Technical Communication and Director of Labor Analytics
Scott Ferguson, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

San Diego State University
Alvin Henry, Associate Professor and Director of Asian American Studies
Byron Purse, Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

University System of Maryland: Coppin State University
Lori Harvin, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, BSN Nursing Education

Virginia Tech
John Alan Chermak, Collegiate Associate Professor, Environmental Geochemist
David Knight, Professor and Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Plan Implementation

Wake Tech Community College
Lorraine Powers, Associate Professor, Business Administration
Barry J. Tracey, Instructor, Hospitality Management

About BHEF
The Business-Higher Education Forum is the national, nonprofit membership organization connecting business and higher education leaders to develop and scale solutions to meet emerging and persistent talent needs.