Building a stronger community of practice in higher ed

May 24, 2019
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • Technology
  • Technology and Transfer

In 2014, the eleven public research institutions* that make up the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) joined forces to diagnose common barriers to student success and then design, test, and scale new solutions to support student success.

“We share a sense of urgency about this work because we are public universities with a public mission,” the Alliance states. “Higher education needs to do a better job of graduating students across the socioeconomic spectrum, particularly low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color.”

“From the very beginning, our emphasis has been scale,” said Bridget Burns, UIA’s founder and Executive Director. “We were trying to answer a very fundamental question about whether or not and how you can scale efficiently and effectively in higher education so there’s less tinkering and more evidence-based practice and real improvements in outcomes for students.”

When institutions work together, innovation happens faster
Collaboration has helped the universities more quickly identify shared problems and goals, diffuse ideas on campuses, and more efficiently implement policy changes and new solutions at the campus and department level. Since 2014, these universities have graduated nearly 30 percent more low-income bachelor degree students per year.

“Now we’re looking at these results and trying to determine, dollar for dollar, minute for minute, which part of our work created the most positive impact? How can we use this learning to serve other campuses and help them improve outcomes for their students? ” Burns said. “We’re focused on creating a meaningful community of practice, sharing what works, and helping other campuses take action that helps their students.

The UIA’s work has inspired the creation of more than 20 other collaborative institutional networks.

Building an institutional cohort
Burns will share what they have learned,“what we wish we’d known before we started,” and what future students need from higher education in her plenary presentation at the AACRAO Technology and Transfer Conference. She’ll share practical tools and tips to help administrators think differently about their work, make more progress, and feel less alone. Learn more and register now. Early bird deadline is June 14.

* The University Innovation Alliance is:
Oregon State University
UC Riverside
Arizona State University
University of Texas at Austin
University of Kansas
Iowa State University
Purdue University
Michigan State University
Ohio State University
Georgia State University
University of Central Florida