Scott Cowen to participate in national Presidential Innovation Lab

July 3, 2013

Mike Strecker
Phone: 504-865-5210


Tulane University President Scott Cowen has been named to the Presidential Innovation Lab.

Tulane University President Scott Cowen has been named to the Presidential Innovation Lab, a groundbreaking effort by the American Council on Education (ACE) to examine how new educational technologies such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) can help more Americans, especially low-income young adults and non-traditional students, earn a college degree.    

This segment of the population has long been of interest to Cowen, who in 2010 was appointed to the White House Council for Community Solutions, which advised the president on ways to reconnect and empower young people who are neither employed nor in school. Cowen is also interested in developing a Tulane-affiliated MOOC on the topic of civic engagement in a democratic society

“Expanding access to those for whom higher education has long been unattainable is critical to our country’s future,” Cowen said. “Digital options in higher education offer a new pathway to the American dream for low-income or disadvantaged youth as well as to older students seeking to enter higher education from the workforce.”

Cowen is among 14 leaders from a diverse group of colleges and universities who will participate in the Presidential Innovation Lab, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Discussion topics will include how MOOCs and other new learning technologies can help close persistent attainment gaps between disadvantaged youth and others; how such educational innovations could be used by all students toward degree completion; and the impact of such innovations on the design and delivery of instruction, institutions' recognition of learning  and the finances of higher education.   

The lab’s initial session will be held July 21-23 at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif. A second two-day meeting will take place in Washington, DC in October. Both sessions are aimed at inspiring a national dialogue.

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