Maury Cotter recently retired as the director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Office of Quality Improvement, but her name lives on as a signifier of innovation—literally. The Network for Change and Continuous Innovation has named an award after Cotter, presented to higher education administrators who lead the way in creating positive change.

The Maury Cotter Leaders of Change award is presented to higher education administrators who lead the way in creating positive change.

This year’s recipients of the Maury Cotter Leaders of Change are Joy Gates Black, recognized for her role as vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success at Tarrant County College; and Paula Gill, who has improved services and processes as vice president of institutional effectiveness at Belmont University.

Cotter is a founding member of the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation, which provides a professional network for change leadership in higher education. This year, the organization affixed her name to the Leaders of Change award to recognize her extraordinary contributions to the profession (see video below).

Imagining new possibilities

At the Office of Quality Improvement, Cotter developed organizational excellence services, including project management, process improvement, and change management. She also coordinated the development and implementation of UW-Madison’s strategic plan over the course of 20 years. She now works as a special assistant in the Division of Continuing Studies.

“Maury is very gifted in bringing folks together to collaborate, think beyond the current set of circumstances, and imagine new possibilities,” says Jeffrey S. Russell, dean of Continuing Studies and vice provost for Lifelong Learning. “This is possible because she is a very good listener.”

The Network for Change and Continuous Innovation celebrated the Maury Cotter Leaders of Change recipients at a July 29 ceremony in Minneapolis, Minn.

“This is an amazing honor,” says Cotter, “and a bit ironic, since so much of what I have done has been in some way inspired by or in collaboration with my valued NCCI colleagues. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t access advice or ideas from colleagues at Michigan, Virginia, Rutgers, Northwestern, Berkeley, and other NCCI members, as we share best practices to advance our individual institutions, as well as higher education at large.”