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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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Ambrose Invited to Join Educators at South by Southwest Festival

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 3, 2014) – Known for the musicians, actors and filmmakers who flock to Austin, Texas every March, South by Southwest is also becoming a prime destination for educators, including University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose. He has been invited to participate in a panel discussion Tuesday, March 4 with representatives from institutions that include Harvard University and Syracuse University as part of  SXSWedu Conference and Festival.  

SXSWedu takes place March 3-6, and precedes the well-known festivals for film, music and interactive media. The purpose of SXSWedu, according to its official website, is “to help drive meaningful conversation and collaboration around promising practices to improve teaching and learning. Programming is designed for SXSWedu’s diverse audience of education stakeholders, all of whom are committed to creating a brighter tomorrow.”  

Ambrose will travel to the Austin Convention Center to participate in a four-member panel of national education leaders, innovators and experts on the topic, “Empowered to Act: Postsecondary Innovation Zones.” The hour-long session, facilitated by the Lumina Foundation,  begins at noon March 4, and Twitter users can keep up with the event at #InnovateEd.

The panel will reflect on opportunities and challenges presented by “Postsecondary Innovation Zones,” addressing questions such as, what if colleges were given time and space from federal, state and system rules and regulations to rethink, redesign and execute change? Is there a case that can be made for giving higher education institutions the opportunity to experiment, and if freed to do so, what are some of the most promising efforts in which they should focus?

“I’m excited about the opportunity to engage in a discussion about innovation in higher education. This is another tremendous opportunity to share some of the university’s experiences related to the development of The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) with influential leaders in higher education,” Ambrose said.

The MIC is a collaborative initiative between UCM, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community Colleges and a number of Kansas City area business partners. Taking classes at the Summit Technology Academy in Lee’s Summit, students begin the program their junior year of high school, and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years.  Along the way, they gain job-ready, high-demand skills through classroom experiences as well as paid internships with technology corporations, helping them graduate with no college debt.

To help reflect on the energy and passion of teaching and learning, SXSWedu also includes festival elements that provide participants with opportunities to preview and experience new products and services that are evolving into the education marketplace through LAUNCHedu; an Education Expo that celebrates student engagement; and eduFILM, providing a unique look at education through film.