As 2021 draws to a close, I’m reflecting on all the people who made this a great year amid the challenges we faced. Our faculty, staff, administrators, and students continued to demonstrate incredible adaptability, innovation, creativity, and resilience as the pandemic forced us to keep adjusting our normal routines. We’ve all learned a great deal about just how much we’re really capable of, and how flexible we can be.
We are most proud of our campuses and their hard work to increase low-income graduates and graduates of color despite countless challenges. Personally, I am so thankful for the UIA liaisons, fellows, and central team who have supported our work remotely without losing any focus or passion. In the new year, we are most looking forward to gathering safely together in person for the first time in years. Normalizing stringent protocols to keep everyone safe will enable us to gather together for ideation, collaboration, and community.
Before we get started with 2022, I hope you carve out as much rest as possible in the coming weeks. We need you to come back strong and focused in the new year, and the only way you’ll be able to do that is if you let your brain recover from being a human in 2021.
Lastly, we were thrilled to find out that "What 11 Colleges Leading the Student-Success Movement Have Learned" made the list of top articles featured in The Chronicle’s newsletter, The Edge in 2021. Below is a compilation of the things we shared this past year that were the most loved in 2021.
- UIA Adds First New Members; Publishes New Data on Existing Institutions' Ambitious Graduation Goals
- What Does Change Management Really Look Like in Higher Ed?
- Advice for New Presidents and Chancellors
- 11 Inspiring Quotes by Higher Ed Leaders for Challenging Times
- Innovating Together: Results from the University Innovation Alliance
|Thank you for being part of our community this past year. We value your passion for students, and we are honored to share our inspiration and learning with you! Happy holidays!|
UIA Member Spotlight
Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, all of our UIA members were equally hard at work this year with transforming their campuses to better support student success.
From MSU redesigning their institutional strategic plan to be more diversity, equity, and inclusion focused to the Ohio State eliminating student loan debt for incoming undergraduate students, 2021 has been a big year for student success wins in public higher education. The Alliance also expanded and welcomed two accomplished members to the UIA family: NC A&T, who was recently named as one of the nation’s top-ranked public HBCU, and UMBC, a long-time leading expert in increasing the pipeline of diverse scholars in STEM. As we head into 2022, we can't wait to learn about the strategies and practices for supporting Latinx students at UCF, UCR, and ASU helping them achieve the Seal of Excelencia.
We can't wait to celebrate, encourage and scale even more innovative strategies for improving outcomes for students in 2022!
Nicole Wilson has spent the past decade to advancing student success particularly among low-income and first-generation students. She brings a breadth of experience spanning undergraduate admissions, academic advising, TRIO student support services, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her research agenda centers on low-income and first-generation college students' lived experiences within comprehensive college transition programs, as well as asset-based approaches for promoting student success.
As the Purdue University UIA Fellow, Nicole is actively working with Purdue's Black Student Success Initiative, facilitating focus groups for Black Boilermakers and exploring inclusive advising efforts among Purdue academic advisors. She also relaunched the Boiler Success Team- Student Advisory Board (an initiative scaled from UC Riverside) which will ensure student voices are included in decision-making. When asked about her fellow experience thus far, Nicole commented, "In my first nine weeks as a Fellow, I've been able to leverage my prior knowledge and research skills to support and advance work at Purdue. All this in four months!? I'm excited about what's in store down the line!"
Learn with Us
- Calm, Confidence, and Managed Expectations, featuring Becky Johnson, Interim President of Oregon State University
- System-Wide Equity and Compassion, featuring Joseph Castro, Chancellor of the California State University System
- Safety, Diversity, and Opportunity, featuring Kristina Johnson, President of The Ohio State University
- Have We Gotten Student Success Completely Backward? (Chronicle)
- Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Linda Tuhiwai Smith)
- Colorado Graduates Hispanic Men at Low Rates (Chalkbeat)
- Nikole Hannah-Jones and the Country We Have (Throughline podcast, NPR)
- Race on Campus: One University's Plan to Combat Anti-Black Racism (Chronicle)
Stuff We Love
- This small, adjustable-height portable desk is a game-changer when working from home
- Traveling again? These toiletry containers from Cadence are fantastic.
- Mixtiles: Reinvigorate any workspace with pictures that inspire you. Mixtiles take photos from your phone and put them temporarily on your walls (with a sticky backing that is easy to move around). My office wall features mixtiles of UIA fellows and important organizational milestones.
- Tags for Hope An incredible gift for the pet lover in your life. (Order early for the holidays)
- Water bottles are designed to help you drink more water (created by an MSU graduate). Multiple water bottles can make it easier to know how much water you have drunk today. As you can see below, my desk has an obnoxious number of water bottles on it, to help me stay hydrated during zoom life.
- A portable home office!
Events to Put on Your Radar
January 13 - 15, 2022: NASPA Mental Health Conference, Boston (Deadline to register: December 8, 2021)
January 19- 21, 2022: AAC&U Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. (Deadline to register: January 4, 2022)
March 5 - 7, 2022: ACE Annual Meeting, San Diego (Deadline to register: February 11, 2022)
March 7 - 10, 2022: SXSW EDU Conference & Festival, Austin (Deadline to register: January 13, 2022)
March 17 - 19, 2022: AAC&U Conference on Diversity, Equity & Student Success, New Orleans (Deadline to register: February 23, 2022)
March 19 - 23, 2022: NASPA Annual Conference, Baltimore (Deadline to register: February 18, 2022)
April 4 - 6, 2022: ASU + GSV Summit, San Diego (Deadline to register: April 3, 2022)
|Our work is propelled by this small group of fantastic humans at UIA Central. They are deeply passionate about changing the future of higher education for underserved students, while also being incredibly kind and fun people to work with. We can't wait to be in one photo together for the first time next year!|
When universities collaborate, students win.