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Welcome back to the Weekly Higher Ed Innovation Roundup.


March has come and gone. New England was hit with snow storm after snow storm and somewhere in there I flew to DC and back for the annual A.C.E. meeting. As always, I walked away inspired and filled with gratitude. Some highlights below and a new report on financial aid.


1-Solving the Completion Puzzle: Leadership Counts

Nancy Zimpher delivered the Atwell plenary session at A.C.E. It was fantastic. The link above takes you to the recording and the link here will lead you to her blog post based on the talk. Any way you measure it, our nation-wide college completion rate is abysmal.  Her first recommendation is that we stop chasing the rankings, stressing that these have nothing to do with college completion. She also calls on institutions to work together and consolidate our efforts. Finally, she calls on us to use data - good data - “all the time.” This should not be innovative, but it is.


2-Revolutionizing the University

Cathy Davidson is always inspiring! In her talk, she asked us to think about why we do what we do. Why are we in higher ed? Why are we here? I am here because higher ed changes people's lives. We are here to improve lives. What we do gives people greater life chances and it makes for a better society. It improves the social world we live in. My desire is for all of us to become civically engaged, to become better human beings, to feel more responsible for one another - locally and globally. In her new book, The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, Davidson focuses on this type of engagement. This is what Cathy Davidson is fighting for. This is why she's here.


3.Focusing Financial Aid on Persistence and Degree Completion

Too often the conversation on our campuses focuses on access rather than persistence. Due to economic constraints, this is a conversation that we often avoid. I believe that if we say that we have an access mission, we have an obligation to pair that with success. A recent report from Bridget Terry Long and Monnica Chan of the Harvard Graduate School - Massachusetts Student Financial Aid Study - highlights this. Rather than saying that we have an access mission, we should say that we have a success mission.


What did I miss? What should I cover next week? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @mary_churchill.


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