Voting is Open for #SXSWedu 2016!

Experts from the University Innovation Alliance‘s eleven member universities are among the educational rock stars featured on panels proposed for next year’s SXSWedu. Of the panels proposed for the 2016 event, five are noteworthy as highlighting the innovative work that the UIA’s member institutions have been engaged in over the past year.

1. How Universities are Crowdsourcing Innovation

How do you get eleven major public research universities, known for fiercely competing against one another in sport and in national rankings, to work together? How do you create a space where these institutions are encouraged to share in successes and failures in the name of testing and deploying proven ideas at scale? Arizona State University President Michael Crow, University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, and University of Texas at Austin President Gregory Fenves are listed on a panel alongside Paul Fain from Inside Higher Ed to explain the benefits of cooperation and to share the results that they have seen since joining together in pursuit of a common vision for Higher Education in America.

2. Putting Big Data into Action

For years now, ‘big data’ has been touted as a game changer in higher education. For years, prognosticators have been talking about the wide-spread adoption of learning and academic analytics as something that was just over the horizon. The future is now.

Georgia State University’s GPS advising system generates over 800 different kind of alerts which, in support of an intensive approach to student advising, has quickly seen a dramatic increase in student success including the total elimination of all achievement gaps on the basis of race, ethnicity, and income-level. GSU’s Vice Provost and Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success is slated to participate on a panel with Candace Thille from Stanford University’s Open Learning Initiative, Mark Milliron from Civitas Learning, and Greg Ratcliff from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Each of these panelists is widely acknowledged as a thought leader in the effective use of educational data, and is in high demand as an engaging and motivational speaker in their own right. The opportunity to see all four of them on a single stage is not one to be passed by.

3. Show Me the Money: Driving Fiscal Sustainability

The near-closure of Sweet Briar College this year in the face of economic challenges has served as a wake up call. With nearly one in five business officers saying that their institutions are likely to shut down in the coming decades, the financial health of universities is something that none of us can ignore. Maria Anguiano, University of California, Riverside’s Vice Chancellor for Planning and Budget, is among the speakers identified on a diverse panel proposal that will address controversial issues like activity-based costing, and discuss new models for thinking through financial decision-making in higher education.

4. Time to Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

Collaboration is hard to do. Executive Director the the University Innovation Alliance, Bridget Burns, is the new kid on the block in a conversation about the challenges facing any new collaboration. What are some effective strategies for developing effective national and regional collaboratives? How can higher education and the educational technology sector work together to magnify impact? Going it alone has gotten universities as far as it can. Competition is passe. The time for collaboration is now.

5. From Analytics to Action

Educators now have unparalleled access to student data, which promises to radically improve their success in the classroom. But access to data is not access to information. What kinds of data are available? What tools and techniques are there for processing those data? What kinds of problems can we use data to address? What are the best strategies for intervention? without good answers to these questions, our educational data is useless, or even dangerous.

Phillip Long is the Associate Vice Provost for Learning Sciences and Deputy Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. A pioneer in the emerging field of learning analytics, Phil is on a panel alongside entrepreneurs and instructional designers to discuss some specific ways that instructors are leveraging educational data to gain a richer understanding of their students. By carefully reading students’ digital traces, teachers are being empowered to improve student outcomes while rethinking what student success looks like in the twenty-first century.

The aim of SXSWedu is to create a platform to promote creativity and social change. Please take a moment to create an account on the panel picker website ( and cast your vote in support of these proposals, as well as others that you feel will improve the quality of experience for participants, and that are most likely to make a significant and enduring impact.