Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success


Postsecondary Success Notes | A Time to Look Ahead

This is the time of the year when there is a lot of looking back…my mailbox is full of holiday cards with pictures of big trips and fun times, and my inbox is filled with a wave of “year in review” reports and commentaries.

For me, it is a time to look ahead. What am I excited/anxious about as 2019 approaches? (Spoiler alert: they are one and the same.) Here are a few things on my mind as we look to the new year:

Scale. This year has brought exciting progress on colleges and universities embracing real change, whether it is campuses in the Frontier Set setting ambitious goals for change or entire university systems like Cal State eliminating remedial education courses. The challenge for 2019 (and beyond) is this: how does the field support demand for this kind of change as it grows?

Equity. Attention to the need to close access and success gaps by race and income is growing, evidenced by the fact that even US News took a small step toward recognizing mobility in its rankings. But fundamental questions remain. Will the innovations that show so much promise really make a difference in closing attainment gaps?

Value. 2018 brought more affirmation from analysts and researchers that education after high school is definitely worth it when it comes to economic opportunity and mobility. But as costs and prices – and concern about them – continue to rise, how does higher education measure and articulate its value in a way that is meaningful and relevant?

More to come on all of these fronts, but in the meantime, thank you for all you have done in 2018 and will do in 2019. Best wishes from all of us for the holiday season and the new year!

Patrick Methvin