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Dr. Lori Carrell

Chancellor, University of Minnesota
Lori Carrell

There is a need for us to lead from within higher education, particularly faculty, as opposed to letting the external events be a disruption that shifts everything for us. So how can we adapt, but be intentional as a collective? That's going to be vital. It has to be about collective intentionality.

Dr. Lori Carrell

Key Interview Takeaways

As we prioritize equity in educational attainment, there is an opportunity to amplify partnerships to drive innovations to the curriculum and to lower the costs of higher education. Creating employer partnerships in the public higher education ecosystem allows for collaboration and accountability in the talent development for the region. While public higher education has to carefully consider the values alignment with corporate partners, an alternative funding source can lower the costs for students – which is critical for equity.

There’s a need for a fundamental, radical change not just to what we teach but to how institutions design, develop and make decisions about curriculum. This revitalization needs to be approached with the learner in mind and we need to leverage the research on teaching, learning and equity-based high impact practices. Higher ed is producing results – let’s apply them to our own practice.

We in higher ed have yet to embrace our need to be experts, not only at science and social science, and our subject matters, but also at public discourse. That expertise needs to be developed among us. It’s imperative that we do well at translation of our work into the public arena, using multiple modalities with multiple constituencies. If we’re concerned about public perceptions of higher education, we must understand that there is no one else to take on this responsibility except for educators.


A passionate, creative educator, Dr. Lori J. Carrell focuses on transformative communication, learning innovation and well-being in higher education communities. Chancellor Carrell previously served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Development at the University of Minnesota Rochester from August 2014 until July 2017, and then as Interim Chancellor until her selection as chancellor in February 2018. With faculty learning research and exemplary teaching as priorities, she has been the catalyst for several evidence-based innovations at UMR. Those include Health Care Scholars Day, a scholarship competition that showcases stories of student resilience and Health CORE (Community of Respect and Empowerment), a covenant-based living, learning community that enhances the success of underrepresented students. Prior to UMR, Dr. Carrell devoted twenty-three years to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh as faculty and in key leadership roles, where together with colleagues she implemented a nationally-acclaimed curricular reform.

Studying human communication, psychology and education, Carrell received her PhD from the University of Denver, her MS from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her BA from Anderson University, in Indiana. She began her career as a teacher in her Hoosier home-town, then sought to learn through adventure as a counselor and teacher in a remote Yup’ik Eskimo village in Alaska. Such adventure-seeking has taken her to the Middle East, as a contributor to the launch of a new university in Oman; to a remote tribe in Ecuador, to study intercultural learning; to the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin, to investigate change in the communication between preachers and thousands of their listeners; and finally, to this innovative campus of the University of Minnesota. “Learning is essential to human progress, to discovery and to our collective well-being,” says Lori. “At the heart of each learning moment is a human connection, a rare relationship to be honored.” Dr. Carrell is convinced that “Collaborative academic communities can lead transformation in higher education while also creating inclusive environments in which all involved can flourish.”