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Turning Points: From Setback to Student Success

APLU and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) held a special session, Turning Points: Moving from Setback to Success, at the APLU Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. This unique and innovative panel featured APLU institutions as they examined failures that triggered later successes in student access and degree completion.

While university leaders want to learn from failed attempts to innovate, very few are willing to share them. APLU and USU created incentives for universities to do so. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, APLU and USU held a competition in which universities submitted videos highlighting failures that led to later success. The winners, who received training by a TedMed coach, presented their stories in Ted-like talks at the annual conference. Their institutions received $5,000 and their videos were shown at the annual conference. Winners were selected by a national panel of higher education experts.

The winning institutions were Morgan State University, the University of Memphis, and Western Michigan University. You can view those videos here.

At the annual meeting, stories of rebirth from failure were told by Tiffany Mfume, Director of Student Success and Retention at Morgan State University; Richard Irwin, Vice Provost of Academic Innovation and Support Services at the University of Memphis; Chris Harris-Wimsatt, Director of the Seita Scholars Program at Western Michigan University. They were not alone on the stage. APLU/USU was out there with them. Leading by example, Shari Garmise, APLU’s Vice President for Urban Initiatives, kicked off the panel sharing the mistakes we made when putting the panel together.

In addition to the winners, the committee chose three honorable mentions, Jackson State University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. They won $1,000 and had their videos shown at the annual conference. You can view their videos here.

  • Coalition of Urban Serving Universities

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