Parsing Innovation in Higher Education

Gary L Deel
6 min readJan 17, 2023

By Dr. Gary L. Deel, Ph.D., J.D.

Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new, such as an idea, a method, or a tangible thing. Innovation in higher education typically comprises new schools, new programs, new classes, new curriculum, and new ways of learning.

But where does innovation in higher education come from? How has it been sustained over the ages? And where is it most needed today? The article that follows will address these questions through historical examples and familiar experiences of the human condition.

What Causes Innovation?

Most of us are restless. We push incessantly forward toward a better and brighter horizon. We never settle for the status quo.

But why not? Why do we never stagnate? Why do we seem to be ever compelled toward a constant effort to repair and improve our lives each and everyday?

The question might seem silly. After all, what else would we do? Simply sit down and nap endlessly? But why is that notion such anathema to so many of us? Why would that be so untenable?

After all, we’ve come such a long way with the development of human civilization. The present time is by far the best time in history to be alive — in terms of safety, security, health, access to necessities such as



Gary L Deel

Dr. Gary Deel is a consultant, an attorney, an executive leader, an author, a podcast host, and a professor for several different universities.