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The University Innovation Alliance National Summit

The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) is pleased to invite you to the first national summit for Student Success Innovation and Campus Transformation.

This won't be your standard higher ed conference. We'll speak with each other, not at each other. We love short, dynamic presentations and rich conversations, so we'll avoid long-winded keynotes. We'll cheer for success, and also get honest about challenges and failure. We'll focus on team-building, to break through the isolation that keeps great ideas bottled up.

We can't wait for you to join us!

Atlanta Downtown Hilton
255 Courtland Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

April 3-5, 2018

Registration is now open. CLICK HERE to register. For questions about registration, email

Travel and Hotel
The deadline to book a hotel room under the group rate has passed. If you still need to book a room, contact them directly by clicking HERE . For more information on travel, click HERE .

The UIA believes that lessons learned from failure are just as informative and helpful -- if not more so -- than lessons learned from success. To cultivate an atmosphere of trust in which people feel comfortable sharing their successes and failures, we expect that any remarks shared during the event are not to be attributed publicly unless the speaker has given permission. Journalists are invited to attend, but the remarks will be considered on background. For anyone wishing to write about the experiences discussed at the summit, they may request participants' permission to identify them and their institutions. For further information about ground rules for reporting on the summit, please contact Sarah Herring at


Please note that slight modifications may be made to the schedule.


Over the course of the three-day event, we want attendees to understand the way UIA campuses work together and have a transformative experience that enables them to:
  1. Feel equipped to go home and make change
  2. Feel a part of a community of student success collaborators
  3. Connect with one another and find collaborators
  4. Feel motivated to implement and share what they learned


In order to create this experience for participants, content was curated keeping in mind overarching areas of focus. The summit will provide content in ways that:
  • Inspire. Inspire each other to fight through the obstacles that hold back innovation + collaboration.
  • Learn + Grow. Learn with us, from us and from each other, leaving with tangible resources that improve capacity to do more.
  • Innovate + Activate. Empower each other to seek creative solutions for higher education's most pressing challenges and to take action together upon returning to our campuses.


  • What the Future Needs from Higher Education
  • Creating + Sustaining Institutional Partnerships (Why Collaborate?)
  • Building + Maintaining a Culture of Innovation + Collaboration
  • Students We Don't Talk About (and Why We Should)
  • Redesigning Higher Ed around Students
  • Using Teams to Innovate around Student Success
  • Optimizing Efficiency for Busy Administrators
  • Democratizing Data Use and Access to Benefit Students
  • What We've Learned from MAAPS/FITW
  • College to Career Transitions
  • Shifting from Reactive to Proactive Strategies for Student Success
  • Innovating Financial Aid
  • Validating Student Success Work via Research + Literature
  • Inter-Institutional Networking Time around Topics of Interest
  • Transfer Student Experiences
  • Engaging Faculty in Student Success Work
  • Team Time


  • "Flipped" Panels: Thematic areas comprised of "panelists" from several institutions who spend 10 minutes setting context for the theme, followed by 50-ish minutes of audience driven questions/discussion
  • Ed Talks: Meaningful presentations to inspire participants to think about the big picture
  • Ed Talks + Follow-up Workshops: Meaningful presentations followed by how-to workshops
  • Mini Design Challenge: Interactive sessions using "design thinking" techniques to tackle challenges
  • Small Group Meetings: Scheduled opportunities to spend time with your team or other institutions

Why Attend?

Over the course of the three-day event, you and your fellow team members will experience the way our campuses work together to inspire each other to fight through the obstacles that hold back innovation, and implement transformative ideas that help more students graduate.

At UIA convenings:

  • Attendees come as teams, not as individuals
  • No long keynotes
  • No dry panel discussions
  • We put ideas on stage, not titles
  • We avoid carb-laden buffets that leave you sleepy

Your team will experience:

  • Short, dynamic talks designed to inspire action (coupled with templates and support documents you can use on your own campus)
  • Practical and insightful content designed to motivate and inspire busy overburdened administrators who are passionate about student success
  • Breakouts for teams to work together
  • Failure-sharing sessions
  • Building real relationships to propel new collaboration
  • Healthy and delicious food that energizes you to learn

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Designed For You

Improve Student Success

  • Rather than designing our events solely around our ideas, we design them to reflect your needs. When you register, you'll have the opportunity to tell us what innovations you're working on and what you want to learn more about.
  • We know you are busy.
  • We know that you are giving us a rare gift when you travel to our convenings, and we value your attention and your time.
  • Our events are designed to engage your mind and spirit.
  • You will leave invigorated with new ideas, new allies, and practical steps to take action for your students.
  • You will also learn about proven innovations that improve student success, lessons from scale, and how to build a thriving community of practice to support your work. We will highlight big ideas from inside and outside the UIA, across all types of campuses.
  • We want to share what we know, and we want to learn from you.
  • We want to help you advance and sustain change that will improve the lives of all students.
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Our sponsors

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Why the UIA?

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. 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 25 percent.

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.

The intentional design of our convenings has been critical to our success. Each event brings together teams from our member universities to discuss their progress on innovation, to bring new ideas to their peers, and to hear from innovative leaders from outside our network. By building relationships with colleagues at their own institutions and from other Alliance universities, people leave our conferences energized for the work ahead and with a network of fellow innovators they can rely on to sustain their momentum.

This first-of-its-kind National Summit is designed to diffuse innovations in higher education and motivate institutional leaders to take action by implementing cutting-edge ideas, while also exposing a wide range of universities to the UIA’s convening framework and strategy.

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