As we make our way through the lazy, hazy days of summer, I’m struck by how much is going on in the world of higher ed! I’ve been fortunate to spend a good deal of time with grantees and partners and folks in the field over the past couple of months, and I continue to be awed by the hard work and commitment on behalf of our students.
Part of what has been so meaningful for me about this time has been the willingness of educators, leaders, and advocates to engage in hard conversations about the direction and future of our enterprise. This especially hit home for me in time I spent with leaders of our state colleges and universities, who are on the front lines of efforts to expand access and success for those most at risk of missing out.
At the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ meeting of presidents, I had the opportunity to meet with leaders of three institutions in the top 10 ‘Equality of Opportunity’ rating . These presidents outlined how they took evidence-based practices our foundation supports (such as advising redesign co-requisite remediation approaches) and adapted them to make them even more powerful for their local student population. More importantly, they shared the hard work their provosts and faculty have led to change college cultures to be more student-centric and equity-oriented, which has proven a necessary precondition for student success.
As the feature below suggests, these conversations are more important than ever before. We face a public that definitely sees the value of education after high school, but also one that has deep worries about trends in areas such as affordability. If we are going to maintain public confidence in our work, we must engage those concerns and have the hard conversations about things like the sustainability of our academic and business models. My summer travels leave me encouraged about our ability to not only have those conversations, but to act on them as well.
A busy fall awaits, but in the meantime, I hope that you enjoy a chance to rest and recharge!