Literature of Leadership: Catalytic Conversations by Dr. Mark David Milliron


The work of higher education leaders in addressing issues impacting student learning and success is complicated. Conferences provide a great opportunity to network with leading experts in related fields and to learn from the experiences of others. But what forums exist to continue the learning conversations? One such forum that is worthy of perusal from the perspective of this reviewer is with Dr. Mark David Milliron—who will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2020 Chair Academy conference.

Milliron is Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning—an education technology organization focused on the use of data science in improving the conditions for student learning and success. He also authors and moderates the BLOG, Catalytic Conversations on the Civitas Learning Space (CLS), which is "a digital community designed to engage education leaders in exploring key trends, issues, challenges and solutions in the use of analytics to improve student success” (website, January 2020). The CLS hosts relevant stories, research, and social media-based resources on innovative student success strategies and practices. A breadth of thematic topics are addressed such as on advising, analytics, change management, culture of care, degree planning, pathways, performance-based funding, student services, to name a select few.

The Catalytic Conversations BLOG provides a forum for higher education thought-leaders from diverse backgrounds and experiences to contribute their perspectives and engage education leaders in meaningful conversations on consequential issues. Examples of recent blog post topics include:

  • The Rise of Co-Curricular Innovation in Student Success Work: The Student Transformative Learning Record

  • Dr. Bill Holda on Accreditation and the Evolution of Institutional Data Cultures: National Advisory Board Conversation Series

  • Competency-Based Learning, Personalization, and the Rise of the ‘Multiverse’ in Education

  • Dr. George Siemens on How We Can Learn in Open, Connected Digital Environments: National Advisory Board Conversation Series

Apart from the business interests served by corporate blogs, the value of engaging in digital learning communities with industry experts such as this one should not be overlooked.

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