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Bridget  Burns

Bridget Burns

Executive Director, University Innovation Alliance


Named one of the “16 Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly magazine, Dr. Bridget Burns is the founding executive director of the University Innovation Alliance (theUIA.org), the national consortium of public research universities collaborating to close achievement gaps through testing, scaling, and sharing innovative and successful practices. The University Innovation Alliance has been highlighted in national outlets like The New York Times, Fast Company, 60 Minutes, and was featured in the documentary Unlikely. UIA campuses have worked together to achieve massive change for their 400,000 students, including increasing their low-income graduates by 37%, and increasing graduates of color by 73%. Read More >

As a trusted advisor to university presidents and policymakers, Bridget is on a mission to transform the way institutions think about and take action on the behalf of low-income, first generation, and students of color. 

She served on her first presidential hiring committee at age 22, and has spent the past two decades helping to hire, advise, and advocate on behalf of more than 35 presidents and chancellors from around the country. She received her Doctorate of Education from Vanderbilt University in Higher Education, Leadership & Policy. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Changing the Culture of Higher Education, Together

Redesigning Higher Ed for Student Success | NISTS 2020 Annual Conference

Speech Topics

Innovating Higher Education for the New Normal

  • Leveraging proven tactics enable sustainable innovation and progress, (despite burnout and a rapidly changing context.)
  • How higher education can shift and adapt to meet the needs of new majority learners, adult learners, and the students of the future.
  • The key questions institutions should be asking themselves to navigate, survive, and lead in the new normal.
  • Reimagining higher education to meet the needs of future learners in the new normal (flexible, bite sized, and digitally enabled.)

Innovation, Collaboration & Preparing for the Future of Higher Education

Innovating Together

Scaling Innovation

Transforming Higher Education Around Student Success