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Meet the Partner: Leanna Clark

In everything we do at TEDxMileHigh, our partners are hugely important and highly valuable. First of all, they make it possible for us to create a diverse program three times a year (including the free  event for 2000 area youth, [email protected]), they help us seek out innovators from around our communities, and they rally behind our mission to accelerate innovation and social impact in Colorado.

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus came on last year because they have an aligned mission and vision, and they believe in the power of ideas to affect tremendous change. We chatted with Leanna Clark, Vice Chancellor of University Communications for the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, about their involvement with TEDxMileHigh.  Leanna has done a little of everything in her career – PR, marketing, and has even started a philanthropic travel division for an international non-profit. When she had the opportunity to join the team at the university,  she jumped on it because it was a cultural, personal, and professional fit.

How does CU Denver | Anschutz innovate in education – that is, how does the University stay ahead amidst all the changes happening in higher education?

Universities in general are centers of innovation – and our goal is to constantly be innovating in every aspect of what we do. An example is our bioengineering program, where students have opportunities to learn from engineers at our downtown Denver campus as well as doctors and researchers at our School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus. This program has already incubated six new startup companies in just three years.  We also  have the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities in our Business School.  It offers students and the industry innovative courses and research on commodity markets, sustainable development, regulations, investing and trading. No other university in the world combines these fields of study and industry practices into one focused curriculum.I nnovation is constant here – the work we do at Anschutz is saving lives today while developing cures for tomorrow.

What motivates CU Denver to actively participant in communities like TEDxMileHigh?

I just love TEDx personally – it’s all about innovation and ideas. And given our work at the university, it just fits aligns with our vision and our work. TEDxMileHigh challenges people to think critically about their own lives and actions, and we love being a part of that community.  As presenting sponsor of the youth event, we believe in bringing the BIG ideas to the youth and inspiring them to take action on their leadership potential.

How does CU Denver make the most of rapidly changing technology within its classrooms?

We have a number of task forces committed this question and are constantly seeking new technologies to bring to the classroom.  We can use new tech in so many ways – and love to bring positive disruption to shake up learning environments. For example, at Anschutz, we utilize a system called Remote Second Opinion, where our doctors are in a virtual clinic, which makes them accessible to any corner of the world.

If the university were an individual, what would its TED talk, or big idea, be?

Our university isn’t solely about the educating students, creating knowledge, and conferring degrees. We like to ask ourselves not “What are we good at?” but rather “What are we good for?”  We are here not just for the individual students, but also for the needs and demands of society.

What is CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus’ specific role in the larger Mile High region?

Our governors time and time again that there is no great city that exists without a great research univeristy – and that’s our role. We are a great research institution in the heart of downtown with our Denver campus, and we’re interwoven in the fabric of the city.  Our school is part of the vibrancy of Denver – you can’t see where we end and the businesses, restaurants, and cultural centers begin. With that, our students are more likely to stay in Colorado than any other school. We are creating new research, startups, and direct economic impact. In fact, the one square mile at the Anschutz campus creates greater economic impact that the entire Colorado ski industry.  Our role is similar to that of TEDxMileHigh – to create large and lasting change for our city and state.

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