Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante has been named to the Presidential Innovation Lab, a groundbreaking effort by the American Council on Education (ACE) to examine possible models inspired by the disruptive potential of new educational technologies such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) to boost the number of Americans able to earn a college degree.
He is among 14 chief executive officers from a diverse group of colleges and universities who are participating in the Presidential Innovation Lab. The Lab will be an opportunity for higher education leaders to engage in proactive thinking about this new learning space and guide a national dialogue about potential new academic and financial models that can help close persistent attainment gaps, including those among low-income young adults.
The initial session will be held July 21-23 at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA, an independent, non-profit research organization that will help guide the work of the Presidential Innovation Lab. A second two-day meeting will take place in Washington, DC, in October.
“Examining next generation learning models and determining how they will best serve students is vital to the future of higher education,” Bustamante said. “The Presidential Innovation Lab will allow us to explore attainment gaps and new technologies which have the ability to expand access, retention and completion for students while at the same time increasing productivity and cost-efficiency.”
“This is an opportunity for senior higher education leaders to engage in comprehensive and critical thinking about the potential of this new learning modality to boost attainment levels, particularly among older, post-traditional students, low-income young adults and other underserved students," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.
Also participating in the Presidential Innovation Lab are:
• Joseph E. Aoun, president, Northeastern University (MA)
• Scott S. Cowen, president, Tulane University (LA)
• Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University
• John F. Ebersole, president, Excelsior College (NY)
• Renu Khator, president, University of Houston and chancellor, University of Houston System (TX)
• Paul J. LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University
• Robert W. Mendenhall, president, Western Governors University (UT)
• Mohammad H. Qayoumi, president, San Jose State University (CA)
• Vincent Price, provost, The University of Pennsylvania
• L. Rafael Reif, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Kevin P. Reilly, president, University of Wisconsin System
• Clayton Spencer, president, Bates College (ME)
• Linda M. Thor, chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District (CA)
“The work of the Presidential Innovation Lab, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will guide a national dialog about the type of academic and financial models that might grow out of the current high level of interest in MOOCs and other new technologies and learning methods,” added Cathy A. Sandeen, ACE vice president for education attainment and innovation.
Lab participants will consider questions such as how newer educational innovations could be used by students toward degree completion and the potential impact of such innovations on the fundamental design and delivery of instruction, institutions' recognition of learning, and the underlying financing models for all of higher education.
The Presidential Innovation Lab is part of a wide-ranging research and evaluation effort examining the academic potential of MOOCs announced by ACE in November 2012.
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.
About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa County Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is one of the largest online public community colleges in the nation serving more than 67,000 students annually. In addition to providing high-quality instruction for 100+ degree and certificate pathways, Rio Salado is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable access through; adult basic education, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning. Rio Salado has prided itself on its innovative culture since its inception, as it has always been on the forefront of providing new and more effective ways to help students take the next step in their education.