Elon University joins inaugural cohort of ACE Learner Success Lab

Elon will join nine other institutions in the unique effort that seeks to develop a comprehensive plan for learner success.

Elon University has been selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the American Council on Education’s Learner Success Laboratory.

New this year, the Learner Success Laboratory is part of a suite of Transformation Labs offered by ACE to guide colleges and universities through a structured strategic planning process to advance critical institutional priorities. Elon and the nine other institutions selected for the cohort will work during a period of 12 to 18 months to integrate evidence-based practices for persistence and completion, life design and career exploration, and workforce skills development.

Elon joins this unique effort at a time when it is implementing its strategic plan for 2030, Boldly Elon, which includes a focus on engaged learning and mentoring including the development of essential skills and fluencies. Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, interim associate provost for academic excellence, said the work through the Learner Success Lab will be foundational for launching key initiatives of the Boldly Elon strategic plan.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to partner with colleagues at Elon, ACE, and the other nine institutions to examine key facets of learner success on our campus and more broadly in higher education,” Vandermaas-Peeler said. “With the COVID-19 challenges faced by our community and higher education at large, there is no better time to collaborate with ACE leaders, consultants, and partner institutions to evaluate our current situation, revisit our strategic plans for learner success and mentoring in particular, identify and work to address structural inequalities and other barriers to thriving and succeeding, and establish a viable plan for moving forward.”

This pilot cohort will begin work in October 2020 and is supported by a grant from the Strada Education Network. These institutions will undertake work including a review of existing activities and capacities related to learner success, including site visits and peer review visits designed to allow for reflection and dialogue. The work will culminate in a comprehensive plan to integrate and focus activities while also building capacity for learner success.

“This is an important time to take action to further learner success, especially for post-traditional and traditionally underserved learners who are our new majority,” said Lindsey Myers, director of the Learner Success Lab. “As higher education reshapes itself in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions in the Learner Success Lab can leverage this opportunity to align their resources and build strategies that center and empower learners.”

The other institutions in the inaugural cohort are:

  • Iowa State University
  • Labouré College
  • Massasoit Community College
  • Richard Bland College of William & Mary
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • Union Institute & University
  • University of Hawaii-West Oahu
  • Western Oregon University
  • Windward Community College

Institutions in the cohort serve approximately 67,000 undergraduate learners in total and comprise a diverse range of two- and four-year, public and private institutions, and several current or emerging Hispanic Serving Institutions. The American Council on Education’s announcement is accessible here.

ABOUT the American Council on Education

ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private.