National Convening on Higher Education Innovation


The National Convening on Higher Education Innovation is sponsored by The Missouri Innovation Campus, the Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Lumina Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The convening summit will be held on Wednesday, November 13 at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center in Kansas City, Mo.

President Barack ObamaLumina's strategic goals include creating collaborative partnerships to align postsecondary education with workforce needs and creating new higher education business models that significantly expand the nation's capacity to deliver affordable, high-quality education. The State of Missouri is strongly committed to these objectives and has developed strategies to create a new pathway for education that meets the workforce needs in a 21st century global economy. The Missouri Innovation Campus, launched in 2011 by the University of Central Missouri, connects students with a valuable, affordable education, and provides businesses with the skilled, career-ready workforce they require.

Missouri Innovation Campus studentsThe State of Missouri has been widely recognized as a catalyst for innovation in higher education and UCM was honored to host President Obama this past July as he focused a national spotlight on The Missouri Innovation Campus and its partners. During his visit to UCM, President Obama said that the nation needs to rethink the education pathway so that students graduate with the real-world skills that this new age demands. He emphasized that it is important to reward the schools that forge partnerships with businesses, and that focus on the fields of the future like science, technology, math and engineering. In fact, the second objective of the President's recently announced education plan focuses on innovation and competition, particularly in the use of new technology. President Obama has repeatedly identified The Missouri Innovation Campus as an example of a successful cutting-edge initiative that is providing high value at low costs.

The Missouri Innovation Campus has developed and deployed the important elements for a successful education and business partnership. Many strongly believe that The MIC model is equipped to expand into other parts of the Kansas City metro area and specifically, the urban core in Kansas City. In addition, there is great interest in studying this new education pathway to determine how to replicate the innovative model in other cities around the United States.


James SheltonKeynote Speaker:   James Shelton, Acting Deputy Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Education

Jim Shelton is the Acting Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, he manages a broad range of management, policy and program functions.

Shelton recently served as the assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, managing a portfolio that includes most of the Department's competitive teacher quality, school choice and learning technology programs, housed in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Previously, he served as head of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, managing a portfolio that included most of the Department's competitive programs including i3, Promise Neighborhoods, and others focused on teacher and leader quality, school choice and learning technology.

Earlier in his career as Program Director for Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shelton managed portfolios ranging from $2 to 3 billion in non-profit investments targeting increased high school and college graduation rates. Shelton has also been the East Coast lead for NewSchools Venture Fund, and co-founded LearnNow, a school management company that later was acquired. After four years in Atlanta of advising CEOs and other executives on issues related to strategy, business development, and organizational design and effectiveness, he left McKinsey & Company as a senior manager. Upon leaving McKinsey, he joined Knowledge Universe, Inc., where he launched, acquired, and operated education-related businesses.

Shelton holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Atlanta's Morehouse College as well as master's degrees in business administration and education from Stanford University.

Shelton currently resides in his hometown, Washington, D.C., with his wife, Sonia, and two sons, Justice and Jameson.