To those who don’t work on a college or university campus or in a related field, the term “higher education” often conjures up moldering institutions stuck in an outdated time warp, unwilling to change. But, many schools are indeed trying new things to help their students succeed and to ensure more people can afford a college education.
Washington Monthly profiled 16 leaders in higher ed—not presidents or chancellors, but administrators and academics at schools, government agencies, and nonprofits—who have helped lead the charge in innovation in postsecondary education and access.
“These front-line innovators don’t always have a lot of power,” wrote Gilad Edelman. “So when they try to advocate for new and better ways of serving students, they are typically pushing against resistant leadership, indifferent or threatened colleagues, and a general institutional inertia that makes progress painfully slow.”
The people highlighted in “The Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education” are responsible for programs that support potential dropouts, encourage students to graduate within four years, enable students to take online courses at a lower cost, admit more low-income students, and use technology to monitor student progress and intervene when necessary.
Other programs focus on competency-based education, remedial course requirements, student advising and mentoring, open educational resources, and student-success coaching.