A year ago at this time, I was thinking about a word I would choose to capture my hopes and goals for 2022. I chose TOGETHER in recognition of how collaboration has helped the higher education community navigate the disruption of a global pandemic and the partnership needed to continue the push for equitable opportunity in the face of stiff economic and fiscal headwinds.
It turns out that word was a mixed bag for how the year unfolded. On the one hand, we were not always able to be together as frequently as hoped (with additional COVID variants causing disruptions to convenings and travel). Furthermore, higher education was not immune to the significant turnover in faculty and staff, which, coupled with continued enrollment declines may create headwinds for the equitable student success movement. On the other hand, I am enormously proud of the hard work of our team and that of our partners, charting a course toward better outcomes for all students, especially students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Working together, we launched:
- A groundbreaking initiative to create “best in class” courses in critical gateway subjects like statistics and chemistry, thanks to the efforts of Lumen Learning, Carnegie Mellon University, and Arizona State University
- The Value Data Collaborative, a first of its kind state-led effort to improve the collection, reporting, and use of value-related data to improve student outcomes, led by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
- Our Transformation Intermediaries, a collaboration of six leading regional and national organizations that will catalyze and support transformation efforts at up to 250 colleges and universities over the next five years
If that seems like a lot, it is. And there is even more out there, like the work of the recently announced Higher Ed Equity Network and that of many other partners. But this moment in American higher education requires a lot in terms of innovation, collaboration, and determination. I am optimistic that TOGETHER, 2023 will bring real wins for these and other efforts to make equitable value a reality for more of today’s students.
Director, Postsecondary Success