Strategic Initiatives and Outreach

Colleen Bielitz, AVP Strategic Initiatives and Outreach

Colleen Bielitz

With a career spanning three decades, Dr. Colleen Bielitz is an accomplished academic, administrator, and tech futurist known for transforming institutions through strategic initiatives, creative entrepreneurship, and visionary leadership. Colleen has been a driving force in improving the learning experience for students of all ages, with a primary focus on increasing access to STEM education for underrepresented populations.

Colleen's journey includes being a founding member of science and technology incubators in Massachusetts and Connecticut, contributing to the launch of the first Yunus Social Business Centre in the United States, and establishing MASSDigI—a state-wide center for entrepreneurship, academic cooperation, and economic development in the digital and video games ecosystem. At Becker College, she successfully raised funds to create the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Currently overseeing Strategic Initiatives and Outreach for Southern Connecticut State University, Colleen's latest initiatives revolve around the Blue Economy, Manufacturing 4.0, XR Technology and AI. Her commitment to inclusivity is evident in her roles as the co-chair of the Education Committee for the international VR/AR Association, XR Community Group co-lead for Educause, leadership team for XR Women and as a member of Women in AI. Colleen sits on the CT NEXT Higher Education Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee and was also recently named the Connecticut state leader for Million Women Mentors.

A sought-after thought leader, Colleen is a frequent guest speaker at conferences such as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, CT ACE Women’s Network, Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference, STEM Higher Education Council National Leaders Summit, Educause and the Online Learning Consortium. She illuminates possibilities at the nexus between technology and human ingenuity, speaking globally on the future of extended reality (XR) and artificial intelligence (AI) as well as women in STEM.

Colleen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from West Chester University, a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Cabrini University, and a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Organizational Leadership from Northcentral University. Recently honored with the Stand Up for STEM Mentorship Award from Million Women Mentors, Colleen Bielitz lives her passion daily, creating purposeful, focused change in her institution’s economic and social potential.

Visiting Scholars
Partnering for the Future. The Visiting Professor Program seeks to connect the K-12 classroom with university scholars to promote discovery, research and learning.

Project Blue at SCSU
Engaging the Long Island Sound Blue Economy. We are stewards of our planet pursuing opportunities for knowledge and value creation in a sustainable Blue Economy by connecting researchers, entrepreneurs, the business community and non-governmental and governmental affiliates.

Community Outreach
We are committed to teaching and learning, seeking innovative solutions and fostering leadership for our collective future.  We welcome collaboration with organizations and community groups.

IMXR Initiative
Here at the IMXR initiative, students are always at the heart of what we do. That’s why we have expanded our horizons to adopt new technologies that will allow anyone to work across disciplines.

The Bioscience Academic and Career Pathway (BioPath) is a partnership between the city of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). BioPath aims to grow interest and participation in bioscience education by providing academic and experiential learning programs that position graduates for the 21st century workforce.

Speaking Engagements

2023 Guest Facilitator - Faculty Mentoring Circle (Dec 6) Generative AI and its potential applications in the classroom

2023 Guest Speaker - Senate Academic Planning Committee Discussion (Nov 29) Impact of AI on Academic Misconduct/Recommendations for faculty regarding AI detection

2023 Opening Speaker - Women in Biotechnology Workshop (November 3) The trailblazers of tomorrow

2023 Guest Speaker - International Accreditation Council for Business Education (October 27) AI in Higher Education

2023 Session Speaker - Educause National Conference (October 11) The Current State of Extended Reality for the Classroom

2023 Guest Speaker - American Council on Education Women's Symposium (September 22) Empowering Women in STEM Through Mentorship and Breaking Barriers

2023 Opening Speaker - Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System Artificial Intelligence Summit (August 16) Introduction to AI in Higher Education

2023 Opening Plenary Speaker - American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU) Academic Affairs Summer Workshop (July 19) 'O Brave New World': Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning

2023 3rd Annual XR Women Awards - AWE Conference Main Stage (June 1) XR Women Innovation Award Presenter

2023 Panelist - CT Tech Talent Accelerator Mini-Conference: The Constitution State of Play (May 4) The State of Play in Connecticut

2023 Opening Speaker - VRARA Education Forum (April 26) XR Trends in Education

2023 Panel Lead - VRARA Education Forum (April 26) Women in XR Tech - How to start, lead and make **IT happen

2023 Opening Speaker - Million Women Mentors - CT Chapter (Jan 27) Chapter Networking Event with Special Guest Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz: Pervasive preconceptions and the need for mentorship

2022 Opening Guest Speaker, Education 4.0 Madrid, Spain (June 30) XR in Education: Impacts and Benefits. Invited by the eMadrid Network -the six universities of Madrid (UC3M, UAM, UCM, URJC, UPM and UNED) which promote everything related to research and development of educational technologies.

2022 Panel Speaker (June 28) The Educators vs. VR Ep#5 Hosted by Bodyswaps From innovation to transformation: Making VR happen in Education

2022 Panel Discussion Lead, Educause (June 6). XR Digital Twins in Higher Education

2022 Featured Speaker, VRARA Education Forum (May 19). Megatrends in VR/AR in Education. 2025 Scenarios

2022 Featured Speaker, Higher Education Partnerships Symposium (HEPS) GLOBAL CONFERENCE (Apr 28) Education in the Metaverse: How can we prepare?

2022 Featured Speaker, VR/AR in Education Now: Online Sessions VRARA (Apr 21) Building new XR frontiers and the hurdles to overcome

2022 Panel Speaker, Metaverse 2.0 Immerse Global Summit (Mar 9) Are we ready for MetaEducation? Episode II: Jumping beyond the Metaverse. Relations between technology and humans as social animals

2022 Opening Remarks, SCSU International Education Student Forum (Feb 14) What is it to be human?

2022 Opening Remarks, SCSU International Education Faculty Forum (Feb 7) Why is a global perspective so important?

2021 Panel Speaker, Immerse Global Summit (Dec 13) Are you ready for Meta-education? A world beyond Augmented Learning

2021 Opening Speaker, Project Blue Entrepreneurship Day (Nov 12) Blue Economy Research and Innovation. Host – SCSU Shark Tank Pitch Competition

2021 Opening Speaker, Owls 4 Earth live session with COP26 delegation, Lessons from Glasgow

2021 Opening Speaker, Materials & Manufacturing Summer Teachers’ Institute (July 22) Connecting Manufacturing to Connecticut’s State Science Standards

2021 Workshop Presenter, Southern Connecticut State University’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies (July 12) Presentation is Everything! How to plan for, and deliver, professional presentations and pitches to potential business partners

2021 Panel Speaker, VR/AR Global Summit (June 3) Enterprise and Education: Learning and Building the Augmented Ecosystem Together

2021 Opening Speaker, UN SDGs Launch Skills Training Program (April 8) Climate Advocacy and Action Now

2020 Opening Speaker, Coastal Transitions Conference Entrepreneurship Da, (November 7) Creating an Innovative and Sustainable Blue Economy – Host SCSU Shark Tank Pitch Competition

2019 Guest Speaker, Materials & Manufacturing Summer Teachers’ Institute (July 23) Bridging Problem Solving to Manufacturing

2019 Moderator for STEM Leadership Institute (July 1) Domain I: STEM Partnership, Resources and Network System

2019 Presenter and Closing Speaker CT ACE Women’s Network Connecticut (May 17) It’s time to change the way we view ourselves and other women. You are the change

2019 Keynote Speaker, Southern CT State University Lavender Graduation (April 30) It is only with the heart that one can see rightly

2019 Closing Ceremony Speaker, Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament (March 16) The Creative Mind Drives Innovation  

2018 Workshop Presenter, Southern CT State University Social Justice Month (November 2018) Culture and Identities

2018 Keynote Speaker, CT AWN Women’s Leadership Series (October 2018) The Power of Women: Advocating for Social Justice