Coalition for Transformational Education
Richard K. Miller convened a group of about 20 higher education leaders in June of 2017 to consider the findings of the largest survey of college alumni in history, performed by Gallup for Purdue University. It set out to measure “the most important outcomes of higher education—Great Jobs, Great Lives.” The findings are extraordinary: alumni who reported that during their undergraduate years they encountered someone who “cared about them as a person” and also had the opportunity to engage in applying what they learned in a real world context—these graduates had twice the national average of wellbeing many years after graduating. Richard conceived and founded this coalition in 2017 and continues to serve as Founding Chair of the Steering Committee.
For a wonderful summary of the project, please see the article in the Mary Christie Institute.
The Gallup definition of Wellbeing includes more than getting a good job. It is based on behavioral economics with more than 80 years of development, and includes financial wellbeing but goes well beyond that to also include physical wellbeing, community, social, and purpose.
In recent years, all of higher education has come to realize the importance of wellbeing including mental health for all students on campus. This original group has grown to include leaders of the universities represented here by their logos, and it has hosted small group meetings with several influential thinkers in this space, including:
- Professor Carol Dweck, Stanford University (Mindset)
- Mr. Brandon Busteed, then at Gallup (who directed the original study)
- President John Raymond, Medical College of Wisconsin (Founder of the Kern National Network for Character and Caring in Medicine)
- Prof. Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania (Grit)
- Mr. Bill Burnett and Mr. Dave Evans, Stanford University (Designing Your Life)
- President Clayton Spencer, Bates College (Purposeful Work)
- Professor Howard Gardner and Wendy Fischman, Harvard University (The Real World of College)
- Dr. Dan Porterfield, The Aspen Institute (American Talent Initiative)
Determined to develop pilot projects on many campuses that can scale to touch all enrolled students—not just the lucky few—the CLTE held its first annual conference on September 22-23, 2021 where 13 faculty teams from a dozen campuses shared their best practices and lessons learned. Guest speakers included Prof, Jonathan Lee Walton, from Wake Forest University, and Prof. Laurie Santos of Yale University.
The animating goal of this Coalition is to touch every enrolled student at scale with learning experiences in college that result in significantly improving their wellbeing years after graduation. This will be accomplished by building prototypes of new approaches to mentoring and experiential learning at scale that affect students’ identity, agency, and purpose. Each campus will take an approach that is tailored to its mission and resources, and a broad community of practice is essential to learning how best to improve the outcomes on their campus.