Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success


Postsecondary Success Notes | Going Far and Fast


Most days, I walk past a wall at the office that has an African proverb inscribed on it: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” While I love its simple wisdom, I’m not sure that it is an either/or proposition. Can we push ourselves to go far and fast, together?

I believe we can – and must. Last month, I highlighted the work of the Frontier Set, a network of colleges and universities and state systems working to meet ambitious goals through shared learning and action. This month, we see the announcement of a collaboration of more than 100 public universities to eliminate attainment gaps by developing “transformation clusters” to tackle some of our thorniest student success challenges – and the hard work of implementing change. And we recently received the good news that the Cal State system’s collective effort to boost completion is netting impressive results, especially in narrowing completion gaps by race and income.

Sure, going far and fast and doing it together is a tall order…I’ve led enough family camping trips to understand that. But I also know that the need for higher education to transform for today’s students is urgent. And we can see through the efforts I mentioned above – and others – that there is will and skill to do this work, and that it gets results.

As 2018 winds down, I encourage us all to think about the ways we can support efforts to go far and fast together on our campuses and in our organizations – and commit to doing our part.

Patrick Methvin