UH President Khator Participating in Presidential Innovation Lab

Khator Among 14 Presidents Exploring New Educational Technologies in Addressing Attainment Gaps

UH President Renu Khator 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.

Khator 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.

“Clearly,  these  advanced technologies offer tremendous possibilities to deliver higher education resources on a much broader scale,” Khator said.  “That’s an exciting prospect, but it’s important that we all move forward in a thoughtful and constructive manner.  The Presidential Innovation Lab will allow us to identify the crucial issues facing us and begin developing the standards and next steps that need to be taken.” 

 “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
  • John F. Ebersole, president, Excelsior College (NY)
  • 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.

In May, UH began a partnership with Coursera, a leading MOOC platform. The UH System and nine other state university systems and public university flagships will explore the possibiliities of using MOOC technology and content to improve completion, quality and access to higher education. 

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. For more information, visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.


About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.