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University Innovation Alliance Fellows Program

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Join the movement as a UIA Fellow at one of our member institutions! 


The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) is a national consortium of large public research universities working together to improve outcomes for all students across the socioeconomic spectrum, particularly low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color. The UIA is designed, organized, and led by our 17 member institutions’ presidents and chancellors. Together, we draw from every region in the country and span the spectrum of U.S. public research universities, from emergent institutions to land grant universities and state flagships

Since its launch in 2014, the UIA has transformed a theoretical concept for collaboration into a nationally recognized community of practice that is driving both institutional transformation and improved student outcomes. Our work is based on the simple proposition that when universities share ideas, experiences, and challenges, and work together, they can accelerate innovations that help students graduate with a college degree. Today, our institutions are on track to graduate an additional 100,000 students over the next decade, and we have raised graduation rates for students from low-income backgrounds by nearly 29 percent. 


The UIA Fellows Program is a full-time, paid university leadership development program that places top-tier early to mid-career professionals with Alliance member institutions. Fellows engage in critical work to support member institutions to identify new solutions, scale proven innovations, and communicate and diffuse outcomes – ultimately helping more students have access to and graduate with a high-quality, affordable bachelor’s degree. The Fellowship provides a collaborative, fast-paced, and challenging experience coupled with training in cutting-edge transferable skills, such as Process Mapping, Design Thinking, and pressing issues in higher education. As a Fellow, you will gain the unique networking opportunities of some of the most innovative public institutions nationwide to support your launch into a high-level university leadership career.  


UIA Fellows come with a variety of diverse professional and educational backgrounds. What they have in common is a passion to use their skills to solve the most pressing public higher education problem facing our nation today – educational attainment and the economic prospects of all students regardless of socioeconomic background. The ideal candidate will work well under conditions of ambiguity and be a self-starter to expand projects and integrate into a new culture.


As a UIA Fellow, you have the opportunity to gain full-time experience supporting high-yield projects that are impactful to your member institution, and critical to the scaling mission of the Alliance. You will work under the supervision of an experienced higher education leader. You will be charged to complete a project that enhances institutional capacity based on the needs of your Alliance member. As a UIA Fellow, you may engage in policy research, assessment, memo and proposal writing, and program enrichment analysis.

While day-to-day work at each member institution varies, as a UIA Fellow you would:

  • Shepherd UIA scale projects related to predictive analytics, proactive advising, strategic financial interventions, and/or college to career efforts
  • Receive intentional professional development training, including in change management, process mapping, and/or design thinking
  • Engage senior leaders of student success work; observe their decision making; understand how initiatives are conceptualized, launched & managed 
  • Work to support at least one Alliance-wide activity
  • Support dissemination of UIA findings on innovating & scaling student success 


Each member institution has distinct needs and therefore manages the search and hiring process with support from staff on the UIA Central Team. UIA Fellows typically serve between one and three years with an annual salary of $50,000 - $70,000. Current UIA institutions include:

  • Arizona State University
  • Georgia State University
  • Iowa State University
  • Michigan State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University
  • University at Buffalo
  • University of California-Riverside
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Colorado-Denver
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • UMBC - University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Utah
  • Virginia Commonwealth University


Degree qualifications vary by institution. However, UIA Fellows tend to have master’s and doctoral degrees, two to eight or more years of professional work experience, and outstanding written and verbal communication skills. UIA Fellows also:

  • Have a track record of success in academic and professional settings
  • Possess an infectious energy and aptitude to motivate others
  • Make connections between divergent people, projects, and goals
  • Embody a professional, mature, humble presence, esp. among senior leaders
  • Able to take initiative and drive results both independently and as part of a team
  • Think outside the box and rapidly iterate to strategically solve problems
  • Have exceptional project management skills & ability to pivot and adapt
  • Have passion & commitment to transforming public higher education to better serve low-income, first-generation & students of color.

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