ASU Draper GSV Accelerator part of university's push for technology-driven innovation
Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2016, click here.
Arizona State University is launching a new initiative that will help get education technology to the market faster by allowing new ventures to be tested by students and faculty.
The initiative — the ASU Draper GSV Accelerator — will source, fund, pilot and credential new products created by higher-education technology companies.
ASU President Michael Crow said that although the core mission of universities will never change, technology will be the equalizer, making valuable education available to everyone.
“Why do we have this imperative of innovation in higher education? This is an underperforming sector, driven and predicted largely based on family income,” Crow said Wednesday in his keynote address at the ASU GSV Summit, an education-technology conference in San Diego. The new alliance was announced at the summit Wednesday.
“This is a social issue not yet resolved. It’s like we live in two separate countries,” Crow said of the lower college-attainment rates of low-income families.
Crow said that ASU has constantly worked on innovative ways to widen access to higher education. He cited the reimagining of ASU’s engineering college eight years ago, which led to more students with more diversity in demographics, a higher retention rate and an improved graduation rate.
Two recent technology-driven innovations are the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which allows Starbucks employees to earn full tuition reimbursement as they pursue online degrees, and the Global Freshman Academy, which offers free online classes in cooperation with edX that students can complete before deciding whether to pay for credit.
Crow said the Global Freshman Academy courses have drawn more than 100,000 students from 192 countries.