Making Good on the Promise of Higher Education

In this presentation, we explore the growing diversity of higher education pathways and students. In addition, we unpack the need to move beyond debates about education being a private or public good to an embrace of the notion of “co-thriving”—a vision of a deeply integrated view of higher education that helps people and societies thrive together. Finally, we provide examples of emerging policies, practices, technologies, and techniques to help co-thriving come to life.

Let’s Get Real: What the Metaverse Could Mean for Education

In this session, without the hype or hysteria, we’ll explore the expansion of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and Metaverse strategies in business, military, healthcare, and now in education. We’ll also engage key conversations around what the embrace of the metaverse means for next-generation teaching and learning, student support, and leadership. Much like the rise of the internet in the 90s, we might be seeing a new kind of infrastructure taking shape, and we’ll want to be ready to make the most of it in the months and years to come.

The New Possible in Education

There is no going back to “normal.” We’ve been through too much, learned too much, and are too motivated to help more students learn and live well than ever before. And rather than adopt a “new normal”, this presentation makes the case for the new possible. To begin the journey toward this new possible, we’ll take a needed beat and (1) confront the conflation of emergency remote learning with decades of online and blended-learning practice; (2) explore pandemic-inspired innovations from the pros and those freshly embracing digital tools; and (3) learn together from leaders, innovators, and each other as we contemplate what we want to bring forward in our own education efforts on the road ahead. Finally, we will discuss how we better connect to the aspirations and needs of our students, and figure out how together we can make the new possible far better than normal ever was.

Putting Social Emotional Learning to Work: Readying Students to Learn, Earn, and Live Well

This presentation will share strategies and vision a future where we (1) intentionally work with students to bring purpose, growth mindsets, and grit–core elements of social emotional learning (SEL)–to bear on their learning journeys and (2) help them integrate these skills into their habits of mind as they move into their careers and personal lives. If we do this work well, especially in partnership with regional education, business, and civic partners, students will be better prepared for a dynamic workforce and to live well in a fast-changing world.

Future-Ready Learning: Helping More Students Take on the Challenges of Today and Embrace the Promise of Tomorrow

The future is coming fast—faster than ever—and education has never been more necessary to open the way to personal, community, and national possibilities. However, the world of education is struggling to help more, and more diverse students get on, stay on, and succeed on their pathways through education. In this presentation, we’ll dive into explorations of five vital focus areas that will help us get ready to help our students get ready for the road ahead. We’ll explore (1) catalyzing continued innovation in our teaching, learning, and student support infrastructures; (2) embracing change in our student populations and experiences; (3) doubling down on the importance of psycho-social factors, student agency, and #Realcollege/basic needs issues; (4) making the most of data to foster a “culture of care and enrichment”; and (5) leveraging all of the above–together with strategic advocacy–to help significantly more striving students gain access to and experience success on the pathway to possibility that is education.

What We’re Learning from Millions of Successful Striving Students and the Institutions that Serve Them

*Building on the student-success innovation of the last two decades, and by pulling together the data footprints of more than 20 million students over the last seven years, this presentation offers some advice for students and the institutions championing their cause. We’ll unpack the power of personal purpose and clear and compelling pathways. We’ll also explore how getting mindset right, getting connected, and getting support (especially for basic needs) makes a powerful difference—much more than you might think. Finally, we’ll offer some suggestions for taking this work to the next level, challenging students to reach back and support those that follow on the path.

*this presentation can be geared for student audiences, educator audiences, or mixed

A Healthy Change in Education

In this presentation, we’ll explore the data-fueled changes in the world of healthcare over the last two decades — changes that have challenged long-held assumptions, inspired a renewed focus on the basics as well as innovation, and improved outcomes. We’ll then show how the world of education is following suit, using large data sets and advanced analytics to learn more about the predictors of challenge and success for striving students; leveraging communities of practice to act on these insights through outreach campaigns, student apps, and new pathway designs; and seeing promising results that are fueling even more innovation and inspiration.

The Golden Age of Learning: Advancing the Work in Progress

In education, we are often pummeled by the problems. Almost daily, we see distressing data on student learning, fixed mindsets, completion rates, equity gaps, affordability issues, lack of workforce readiness, and significant life-and-logistics issues–especially for first-generation and low-income students. But there is a strong case to be made that we are entering a golden age of learning. Not only is our country (and our world) making real progress on many fronts, important work is being done by educators, community leaders, and policy makers to make significant strides in how we teach, reach, and engage striving students. Indeed, more, and more diverse students than ever have access to more learning than ever before. In this conversation, we’ll present a framework for the optimistic among us to help continue to advance this work in progress by (1) embracing the inclusive education imperative; (2) thoughtfully leaning in to emerging technology, learning science, and innovative teaching-and-learning models; and (3) bringing a tough-minded approach to transforming our institutions and systems with deeper data, creative problem solving, and inclusive leadership to power our work to help students thrive in an increasingly “living-learning” world.

Next-Generation Leadership Seminar Series

The need for education is rising. So too are the internal and external expectations. From deeper student learning to increased employability to fiscal sustainability to improved access, success, and equity outcomes for all students, education leaders are feeling the pressure. As policy, practice, tools, and technology innovations aimed at achieving these outcomes continue to emerge, what is also on the rise is the need for institutional teams to hone their skills so they can lead their institutions forward. The Next-Generation Leadership Seminar Series brings leaders together to explore the issues, innovations, and insights of today and plan to build out systems and cultures able to catalyze positive change for tomorrow–in short, to help their institutions move from innovation to transformation. Your organization can either book a single topic area for a learning session, or we can put together a half-day or full-day package tailored to your interests/needs. Key topic areas include:

  • Leading Access, Success, and Equity Innovation in Education
    As student success, engagement, and experience efforts continue to serve as top priorities for education, keeping access and equity central to our work is critical. This session explores how education leaders are working toward balancing success, assess, and equity through integrated planning, policy, and practice. In addition, we’ll share models, practices, and resources that have increased student success outcomes, while promoting access, equity, and post-graduation outcomes. 
  • Leading Change in Learning: On-Ground, Online, Blended, VR, AR, Competency-Based, Learning Analytics and More
    Today’s ever-evolving learning modalities and learning analytics provide promising opportunities to reach a growing population of students that expect us to keep up with their distinct learning needs. Session participants explore these diverse opportunities to serve students through multiple modalities and discuss the reality that we need to have a much better understanding about how we deliver learning, for whom, and to what end. Moreover, we’ll wrestle with the yin and yang of the need for scale and the desire for personalization.  
  • Guided Pathways, Precision Engagement, and Improving the Student Experience
    There is a great deal of energy and urgency surrounding efforts to put in place or strengthen degree and career pathways. Numerous national, state, and local initiatives focus on providing students with a clearer understanding of their purpose, as well as their academic and/or career roadmap. The presenters discuss guided pathways models, as well as precision student engagement–outreach nudging in particular–to enable students to learn well, finish strong, and continue learning into their careers. Finally, we’ll bring design-thinking techniques to bear to explore how this comes together into an improved student experience. 
  • Sustainability Strategies: The Radical Importance of Institutional Finance, Advancement, and Fundraising to Helping Innovation and Impact Scale
    As funding for education continues to tighten, creative and alternative funding strategies are on the rise. To this end, leaders, now more than ever, must have stronger financial acumen, as well as skill in and understanding of fundraising and institutional advancement. During this session, we share successful financial strategies, practices, and innovations that support student success, access, and completion–and enhance institutional sustainability!
  • Bringing It All Together in Education Ecosystems: Hard Truths and Successful Strategies in Politics, Policy, and Change Management
    The effectiveness of an institution is often a direct reflection of how well its politics, policy, and change management are integrated within a regional and sometimes national education ecosystem that includes K-12, community colleges, universities, employers, and civic groups–together with internal constituencies and boards. The degree to which these critical and ever-changing dynamics work in support of each other is the difference between shared cultural and political understandings and alignment, and real challenge. The presenters explore and provide examples of strategies for “bringing it all together” in support of striving students. 

More, More, More: Taking On the Enrollment, Equity & Completion Challenges of Today and Tomorrow

Whether you’re wrestling with regional or national economic imperatives or the need for an engaged and informed citizenry, one thing is clear: to respond to today’s challenges and tomorrow’s possibilities, we need more, and more diverse students, being more successful on their learning journeys than ever before. Whether their paths take them to a technical certification or a Ph.D., these demographically, economically, and experientially diverse students deserve our best effort to help them learn well and finish strong. In this presentation, we’ll unpack this “more, more, more” challenge, and explore a range of impactful initiatives—e.g., policy, practice, technology-fueled and deeply personal—that are already moving the needle. Moreover, we’ll wrestle with the organizational and cultural issues that can either cripple or power this vital work.

The Art and Science of Student Success: Using Design Thinking and Data Science to Help Students Learn Well and Finish Strong

Using examples from other sectors that bring together the best of design thinking and data science to achieve their diverse missions—from business to athletics to healthcare—we’ll catalyze a conversation about how we leverage this approach in education. We’ll then dive into examples of these insight and action analytics efforts in education, showing how schools, colleges, and universities are innovating with everything from predictive modeling to early-warning systems to engaging apps for students, faculty, and advisers that help more students learn well and successfully navigate their educational journeys.

Leading Toward Student Success

The education field is galvanizing around the challenge of helping more students learn well and finish strong. From strategic outreach and support for struggling students to providing greater challenge and richer learning to high-performing learners, the innovations abound and the call to action is getting louder. Moreover, there is a greater need for these efforts to impact at scale and to work in and between sectors—e.g., K-12, community college, four-year, graduate, and workforce.  This session will draw from the lessons learned from leaders in this work—government, foundation, administrative, faculty, student support, and student leaders—to explore practical strategies and powerful visions of what’s possible as we help more striving students succeed on their education pathways.

The Power of Practical Magic

This presentation summarizes the results of a comprehensive national study of teaching excellence award winners that resulted in the best-selling publication, Practical Magic: On the Front Lines of Teaching Excellence. From what inspired them to become teachers to what core strategies they use to teach content and reach students, this presentation provides faculty with a clear picture of what works in teaching and learning. Listening to the voices of these award-winning faculty promises to be motivational, inspirational, and useful!

Coffee Talks and Cornerstones: Waking Up to What’s Important

This session was drawn from hours of “coffee talks” with my father in his last year and a half, as he fought a battle with small-cell lung cancer. These Folgers-fueled conversations woke me up in more ways than one. When combined with my own experience in working with energizing, inspiring, and thoughtful people over the last 15 years, they crystallized the importance of key cornerstones in living, working, playing, and learning.