What is the Summit?

The Summit on Educational Excellence engages a select group of senior leaders from great American universities. Each participant is committed to strengthening academic inclusion for all students on their campuses in productive ways.  

Participants will meet on the Harvard campus for one and a half days of intensive sessions. Dates for this Summit are Sept. 21st and 22nd, 2017. Many gatherings at many organizations focus broadly on “Inclusion.” This Summit is a bit different – it focuses more specifically and sharply on “Academic Inclusion.” The goal is to grapple with emerging challenges of academic inclusion that participants’  campuses face. Participants capitalize on their insights to share constructive ideas for change with one another at the Summit. They share concrete examples of successes as well as real challenges – generally from their own campuses.

Who are the participants?

The Summit on Inclusion includes Provosts, Deans, and Senior Faculty and Administrators from twenty of America’s great campuses. These are people with the capacity to lead change. The most actively sought participants are those who dare to be provocative, those with fresh —even unusual or unpopular — perspectives who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional wisdom among university leaders.  

Is there a special focus on certain ideas for this Summit?

A core theme will be the Summit’s strong emphasis to focus on concrete evidence where such evidence is available. Evidence-based ideas and solutions then are actively discussed and debated by the entire group.

We anticipate the big ideas that emerge at our Harvard Summit can then be “taken back home” to each participating campus. It may turn out that ideas generated at the Summit will extend, over time, far beyond the original Summit participants to many other campuses.

Who is sponsoring this Summit?

The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard is sponsoring the Annual Summit on Educational Excellence.  

What is the Annual Summit on Educational Excellence?

Based on the successful Harvard Assessment Summits held in the 1990's and sponsored by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, this event is the first of a series of annual summits that will address different topics in higher education.  In 2017 we chose to specifically focus on Academic Inclusion; rooted in the relevant national conversations of the past year, the Summit will focus on issues of Inclusion, primarily issues of Academic Inclusion with recognition of personal and social factors as well.. The goal of the summits will be to 1) engage a select group of senior leaders from great American universities; 2) grapple with emerging challenges in higher education that participating campuses face; 3) capitalize on insights to share constructive ideas for change with one another and 4) share concrete examples of successes as well as real challenges with a focus on evidence-based ideas and solutions.

What “products” can this Summit produce, other than hosting a carefully organized gathering?

It is not easy to specify particular products in advance. Certainly there will be a vigorous exchange of ideas. This Summit might create “teams” of campus leaders, with shared goals and shared interests, across multiple campuses. These teams may initiate actual experiments using innovative teaching, or advising, or course structures, perhaps using new delivery mechanisms. The teams may work to develop creative new uses of emerging technologies in the service of academic inclusion for all students. The overarching theme is to enhance successful academic inclusion broadly on all our great campuses.

Who benefits from this program and from the Summit?

There are several beneficiaries.  First is the American higher education system. Many universities can benefit from an infusion of fresh and innovative thinking about how to most constructively encourage academic inclusion for all students.  Second are faculty members who play a critical role to actually implement new ideas on any campus. It is generally faculty who will work to actually implement new ways to enhance students’ engagement. Third are campus leaders, the Provosts and Deans and other people on any campus who can actually “make things happen,” both inside and outside of the classroom.

We hope at a time when so many different campuses are working to create a “broadly inclusive environment” on campus for all students, that the Harvard Summit’s specific focus on academic inclusion - in a strong context of academic excellence - will generate ideas that participants find both useful and actionable. Each participant will hear several concrete, successful examples to illustrate academic inclusion, as well as learn about struggles at various campuses.

Over a period of time we anticipate that some of the Summit’s best ideas for strengthening academic inclusion - for a broad range of students - will take root at many of America’s great universities.

Where can I direct media inquiries?

Please email Colleen Noonan with any media inquiries around this event.