The existing higher education landscape is woefully inadequate to address the shifting demands, needs and opportunities of society. In order to truly transform higher education, we need re-imagination and innovation in higher education with bold, new designs for change.

In response to evolving global challenges and opportunities, UDI continously develops initiatives to support transformation at the individual leader, institution, and systems levels.

Higher Education Redesign Accelerator

Systems-Level Initative

With more than 400 regional public universities in the U.S., these institutions are higher education’s equivalent of the neighborhood public school. They educate nearly 40% of all undergraduates in the U.S., 70% of undergraduates at public, 4-year institutions.The Higher Education Redesign Accelerator provides an opportunity to support the upward mobility of these institutions, the students they serve, and the overall educational fabric of the United States.  

The Accelerator is a 7-month, immersive design experience to advance high impact student outcomes in U.S. public universities. Blending synchronous and asynchronous experiences centered around a design core, the Accelerator will drive ideation and implementation planning for innovative student-focused solutions. Executive Teams from participating universities will engage in design sessions to develop ideas, learn from each other and prepare for implementation with team coaching support.

The Accelerator is organized around the IMPACT Framework which is designed to accelerate the ideation process, advance prototype thinking with infusions of expertise and thought leadership towards pilots for implementation. Teams that complete the Accelerator will be awarded with seed funding to support advancement of their pilot. With funding constraints for many institutions, this removes another potential barrier to success.


  • Accelerate progress on high-impact projects through new design approaches with significant results. 
  • Create a process that supports continuous focus on outcomes for strategic scale, success and long-term sustainable change.
  • Cultivate new capacities via mindsets, tools, frameworks and leadership skills.
  • Amplify value of existing strategic opportunities within institutions.
  • Develop a network across universities within the system to support sharing of best practices and tracking of lessons learned, and to avoid a “reinventing the wheel” approach.

2022 ACCELERATOR PARTNER: Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE)

Digital Transformation Initiative

Institution-Level Initative

The fourth industrial revolution is transforming the world through an increasing dependence on digital systems. COVID-19 has accelerated that movement for universities through a rapid shift to technology-enabled teaching with little time to implement strategic and sustainable approaches.

The Digital Transformation Intiative (DTI) will enable universities to thrive in this new environment. We work with higher education leaders to design solutions that use technological innovation to create sustainable and scalable change.

Our mission is to create capacity at universities to thrive in the changing digital educational environment and to support innovations that advance sustainable and impactful outcomes for students.

The DTI framework focuses on 5 core areas where transformation is required to support a new educational ecosystem. These 5 areas are mission critical for universities to drvie long-term transformation, student success outcomes and digital scaling.

For related learning products, visit the DTI Insights page.

Learn more about the Digital Transformation Initiative here.

University Innovation and Design Fellowship

Individual-Leader Initiative

The aim of the fellowship in University Innovation and Design is two-fold: 1) to support an emerging design-based approach to building and transforming post-secondary education around the world, and 2) to nurture aspiring and emerging transformation-minded higher education leaders and policy-makers through experiential engagements which strengthen skills in research/analysis, communication, project management, and collaborative ideation and design.

Applications are now open for 2022-2023 UDI Innovation and Design Fellows.