UIA - Gates - University Innovation Alliance (ASUF - 30005764)

Project: Research project

Project Details


UIA - Gates - University Innovation Alliance (ASUF - 30005764) UIA - University Innovation Alliance (Gates Grant) The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) represents the collaborative efforts of 11 public research universities to reshape the future of higher education by improving the educational attainment and economic prospects of low-income students. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations investment will support the work of UIA institutions as they take proven innovations that have been successful on their own campuses and scale them for implementation on other interested campuses, with the goal of developing an innovation transfer model that can be used throughout higher education. The purpose of the UIA is to identify, scale, and diffuse a series of promising innovations toward the goal of increasing graduation rates among low-income students and to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the UIA's effectiveness as an innovation process. To achieve the objectives of this project, UIA member institutions will work collaboratively to develop, coordinate, and lead the UIA, creating practical outcomes with value to the movement to increase access and retention at public universities. Despite the rising value of a college education, the United States is struggling to produce college graduates and low income and minority populations especially are suffering the consequences. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that while 12% of first-time dependent college students nationally in 2003-04 were from families in the lowest income quintile, only 6% of bachelors graduates in 2007-08, and just 5% of graduates from public research universities were from the bottom quintile. By contrast, 46% of public research university graduates were from families in the top 20% of the income distribution. In addition, only about 1 in 5 African Americans and Latinos aged 25-34 have earned any kind of postsecondary credential. The US population is expected to increase by 56 million between 2000 and 2020, and of those, 46 million will be members of minority groups. As a whole, ethnic minorities are expected to make up the majority of the US population by 2043, while the under-18 population group will reach a non-white majority in just five years. If colleges and universities are unable to find a way to increase the rate at which these groups earn postsecondary credentials, many young people will suffer bleak job prospects and lower incomes and our nation as a whole will see its economic potential shrink. As public research universities currently serving a large proportion of low-income and minority students, UIA member institutions believe they can be leaders in improving social and economic mobility in three ways: by serving a large proportion of low-income students; by modeling for other institutions the practices and commitment necessary to succeed; and by applying intellectual and research capacity to the issue, as they do to other significant social and scientific challenges. This is the first time a group of large public research universities has self-organized across state and conference lines specifically to test and scale solutions to problems of access and graduation in higher education. The UIAs primary objective is to improve student outcomes by acting as an innovation cluster that develops and tests new initiatives, shares data, and scales best practices across the Alliance and beyond. In testing our initiatives, we will publicly set metrics by which to measure our progress. Over the course of this project, innovations empirically proven to effectively impact campus abilities to serve low income students will be shared, transferred, and scaled from one UIA campus mentor to at least one UIA campus mentee with the need and desire for the identified innovation. Each scaling process will be observed, enhanced, and documented with the goal of developing an innovation transfer and scaling model or method that can be shared throughout higher education as a means to enhance the sectors ability to serve low income students. Ultimately, the UIA will scale one innovation each year for three years. UIA institutions will each participate in at least one scaling project of their choosing either as a mentor or mentee. Projects will fall into focus areas previously identified in the UIA Vision & Prospectus predictive analytics; adaptive learning; financial interventions; pre-college (university) bridge programs; or targeted student supports. A sample budget for a scaling project involving predictive analytics is included with this application. UIA - University Innovation Alliance (Gates Renewal) UIA - University Innovation Alliance (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) In 2015, the foundation began to execute a series of investments to establish partnerships with twenty-nine institutions and two state systems, seeking to accelerate and better understand institutional transformation. Collectively, the investments reflected an effort to bring together a variety of institutional types, all of whom are committed to serving first-generation, low-income, and under-represented minority students. Working through an eventual six intermediaries, along with a series of support partners, the effort aims to accelerate the production of credentials of value while maintaining access and closing equity gaps, learning about transformation along the way to inform strategy scaling efforts. Over the 4+ year period of these original grants, the site partners are expected to continue to integrate and refine key interventions and continue strengthening capacities for institutional change. Funding for and resources from the original investments have been to primarily support developing, reflecting on, packaging, and sharing learning about the institutional change process. Which is to acknowledge that intermediary partners roles were largely scoped to provide support to facilitate site-focused activities and outputs. Under the original investments when this initiative began, neither the foundation nor its partners knew details about how sites would interact with each other via a network, which needed to be designed and incubated. We also did not know how various other aspects would function and evolve, including evaluation efforts, site reflections, and sensemaking to understand and structure what we are observing and learning from sites about transformation. Since 2015, we have learned a great deal about both how to manage and engage across the Frontier Set, as well as about the importance of the institutional intermediary role. This role is in relation to both site-facing supports and in relation to working with support providers, as an input towards better understanding and developing scaling strategies. In short, this supplemental investment proposal seeks (1) to more clearly reflect the work underway to meet the original investment outcomes focused on sites, and (2) to account for effort, expectations, and learning that is in addition to the scope of the original investments, particularly with regards to the role and functions of institutional intermediary partners.
Effective start/end date9/4/1412/31/21


  • Gates (Bill and Melinda) Foundation: $8,190,658.00


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