ACE Transformation Labs Emphasize Agility, Resilience, and Equity During COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond
April 13, 2020

​The impacts of the coronavirus crisis on higher education institutions will resonate long after the pandemic has run its course. Enrollment strategies, student experiences, and community and international partnerships have all been disrupted. 

ACE Transformation Laboratory staff have been working to share with the higher education community the forward-thinking Lab strategies that apply to COVID-19 and other disruptions through a variety of media, including a series of rapid response webinars on the ACE Engage® platform.

Internationalization Lab

The Internationalization Lab provides customized guidance and insight to help colleges and universities develop a comprehensive internationalization strategy. Strategic internationalization includes globalized curriculums, international research, traditional student mobility, partnerships, and alternative international exchange using technology or short-term programs. It involves developing global competence for all students, preparing them for a diverse workforce. 

With customized support and the cohort community, institutions analyze the current international efforts taking place on campus and how they have been impacted by the global COVID-19 crisis. Expert advisors and ACE staff assist in developing new goals that reflect the new reality to advance each institution's mission. After three cohort meetings spread out over a year and a half, site visits from ACE staff, and on-campus working group efforts, the end product is a strategic action plan to move those internationalization goals forward.

“All institutions in our upcoming cohort will be recovering from a myriad of unsettled concerns including recruitment and enrollment, declining international student revenue, strained partnerships, disrupted research agendas, and significant budget adjustments," said Kara Godwin, director of internationalization at ACE. “We'll leverage the Lab's network community, expert resources, and customized guidance with an eye toward resilience and innovation during these challenging times."

Learner Success Lab

The Learner Success Lab (LSL) is new this year and modeled after the success of the Internationalization Lab. Institutions in the LSL cohort will work over a period of 12-18 months to integrate evidence-based practices for persistence and completion, life design and career exploration, and workforce skills development, ultimately producing a comprehensive strategy for learner success.

“For many institutions, the rapid response adaptations to COVID-19 highlight structural inequalities affecting students," said Lindsey Myers, director of the Learner Success Lab. “The LSL can help campus leaders identify and address those inequalities to ensure that all students are empowered to develop the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in 21st century society."

Lab participants gain access to a broad network of higher education leaders and content that provide valuable insight and connections during and after the Lab experience. Both transformation labs are comprehensive change management processes that facilitate continuous improvement through intentional transformation of institutional systems, processes, programs, and culture. They emphasize building the capacity to create lasting organizational change and an agile infrastructure capable of responding to emerging issues, which is ever more important in this rapidly-changing world full of new challenges and opportunities for higher education.

Applications are currently open for the Internationalization Lab. Applications for the Learner Success Lab will open Friday, April 17; please visit the website for more details.

Apply for the Internationalization Lab

Join the 2020 cohort for customized guidance and insight towards achieving your internationalization goals.


Keep an Eye Out for LSL Registration

Applications for the Learner Success Lab are set to open Friday, April 17. Once they do, you will be able to register from the link


Find It on Engage

Recordings of recent rapid response webinars and other resources related to responding to COVID-19 can be found on the sidebar of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Guidance discussion group on ACE Engage.

(If you are not currently an ACE Engage user, create a complimentary account.)