President Ebersole Named to National Presidential Innovation Lab

Excelsior College President John EbersoleDr. John F. Ebersole has been named to the Presidential Innovation Lab, a groundbreaking effort by the American Council on Education (ACE). In order to boost the number of Americans who earn college degrees, the Presidential Innovation Lab (Lab) will consider the disruptive potential of new educational technologies, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), on achieving this goal. This initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Ebersole is among 14 chief executive officers from a diverse group of colleges and universities who are participating in the Lab. Excelsior is the only New York institution to be on the panel. 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.

 “At a time when the federal government, regional accreditors and much of the academic world has shifted from the measurement of inputs (i.e., number of PhD faculty, ratio of students to instructors, books in the library, etc.) to the assessment of outputs, MOOC’s and other innovations represent complex challenges to the  higher education community,” said President Ebersole. “I look forward to working with my colleagues from across the nation on this important initiative.”

“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)
  • Chris Bustamante, president, Rio Salado College (AZ)
  • Scott S. Cowen, president, Tulane University (LA)
  • Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University
  • 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.

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.