Dr. Rebecca Burdette: I am...Innovative.

Dr. Rebecca Burdette: I am...Innovative.
For Dr. Rebecca Burdette, director of Communication across the Curriculum (CxC), innovation is not just about doing something new or different, it’s about doing it better.

“To be innovative, we have to unpack challenges, look at them from different perspectives, understand what has and hasn’t worked in the past, and find the most effective solutions without being hamstrung by the ‘way we’ve always done it’,” said Burdette. “And all of this has to happen in a timely manner because the challenges most worthy of addressing often have immediate implications.”

When approaching challenges through innovation, Burdette pushes herself and her team to seek solutions from a myriad of sources, and move beyond typical spaces.

“Anyone who has worked with me knows that I ask a lot of “why” questions,” Burdette mentioned. “It’s not that I don’t respect traditions, systems, or processes—it’s actually just the opposite. I believe that as part of the system, it is our responsibility to ensure that our traditions and history push us forward, not backward. When processes are working, we should maintain them; however, having a spirit of innovation means we are agile and open to change when needed.”

Innovation is an important aspect of any organization’s structure, and CxC is in a unique position: the pieces and parts that make up LSU CxC exist in various formats across universities, but few have the robust and dynamic CxC structure that LSU has.

“I think the entrepreneurial aspect is what makes LSU CxC effective and innovative. We aren’t stymied by labels, bound by off-the-shelf programming, or intimidated by thinking differently,” said Burdette.  “We are constantly taking in best practices and lessons learned from others, retooling them to work specifically for LSU students and faculty, and adding a little extra in between.”  

CxC is a fairly young unit (established in 2004) and is relatively small in terms of manpower and resources, but Burdette contests they are committed to making a big impact.

“These elements drive us to be efficient yet allow us to be malleable, meaning we’re able to affect change within a large system from the inside-out.”

Burdette credits her personal success and the success of CxC to their willingness to constantly ask “why” and “what if”.

“We continue to challenge the status quo so that we can provide the best resources and opportunities to LSU faculty and students,” said Burdette. “For myself, I enjoy working with curious and creative people.  Their energy and enthusiasm drive me, and no doubt positively affect the momentum of LSU overall. When our students and faculty succeed, LSU succeeds.”

Burdette is the director of LSU Communication across the Curriculum, an instructor for the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the curator of TEDxLSU. Burdette introduced TEDxLSU in 2011 which has over 80 TED Talks and almost 2 million YouTube views. Burdette has been with LSU for 10 years and recently earned her PhD in organizational development.