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University Innovation Alliance (UIA) Fellow

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond County, VA
Closing date
Sep 28, 2022

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Virginia Commonwealth University seeks its next University Innovation Alliance Fellow.


Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a member of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), a national consortium of large public research universities working together to improve outcomes for all students across the socioeconomic spectrum, particularly low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color. The UIA is designed, organized, and led by our 11 member institutions' presidents and chancellors. Together, we draw from every region in the country and span the spectrum of U. S. public research universities, from emergent institutions to land grant universities and state flagships.

Since its launch in 2014, the University Innovation Alliance has transformed a theoretical concept for collaboration into a nationally recognized community of practice that is driving both institutional transformation and improved student outcomes. Our work is based on the simple proposition that, when universities share ideas, experiences, and challenges and work together, they can accelerate innovations that help students graduate with a college degree. Today, our institutions are on track to graduate an additional 100,000 students over the next decade, and we have raised graduation rates for students from low-income backgrounds by nearly 25 percent.

Learn more about the mission of the UIA by visiting:


The University Innovation Alliance Fellowship is a full-time, paid 12-month university leadership development program that places top-tier early-career professionals with Alliance member institutions. Fellows engage in critical work to support member institutions to identify new solutions, scale proven innovations, and communicate and diffuse outcomes - ultimately helping more students have access to and graduate with a high quality, affordable bachelor's degree. The Fellowship provides a collaborative, fast-paced, and challenging experience coupled with training in cutting edge transferable skills, such as Process Mapping, Design Thinking, and pressing issues in higher education. As a Fellow, you will gain the unique networking opportunities of some of the most innovative public institutions nationwide to support your launch into a high-level university leadership career.


UIA Fellows come with a variety of diverse professional and educational backgrounds. What they have in common is a passion to use their skills to solve the most pressing public higher education problem facing our nation today - educational attainment and the economic prospects of all students regardless of socioeconomic background. The ideal candidate will work well under conditions of ambiguity and be a self-starter to expand projects and integrate into a new culture.


As a UIA Fellow, you have the opportunity to gain full-time experience supporting high-yield projects that are impactful to VCU and critical to the scaling mission of the Alliance. You will work on a manageable scope of work under the supervision of an experienced higher education leader. You will be charged to complete a project that enhances institutional capacity based on the needs of your Alliance member. Fellows may engage in such work as policy research, assessment, memo and proposal writing, and program enrichment analysis.

Reporting to the university's UIA liaisons and the Director of the Fellows Program, the next UIA Fellow at VCU will have the opportunity to shepherd UIA scale projects related to predictive analytics, proactive advising, strategic financial interventions, and/or college to career efforts. The UIA fellow also will be engaged in university-directed student success initiatives related generally to diversity, equity and inclusion, academic/career advising, and academic support programs. Additional engagement opportunities include being trained in and leveraging skills in process mapping and design thinking to help improve the likelihood of student success for undergraduates who identify as first-generation college students, from low-income households/communities, and/or students of color and other historically underserved backgrounds. This will include the development of a scalable student success project, moving from diagnosis of a problem through project completion.

VCU's UIA Fellow will be exposed to senior leaders in student success work at VCU, including the offices of: Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success, Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success and Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs; their decision making; and how student success initiatives and projects are conceptualized, launched, and managed over time. The UIA fellow, in collaboration with other partners, will work to embed and institutionalize evidence-based strategies into extant initiatives and programs designed to advance the university toward its strategic goals.

In addition to university-level efforts, each UIA Fellow will spend approximately 15 percent of her/his time supporting UIA central initiatives and helping to disseminate our collective learnings related to innovating and scaling student success initiatives.

  • Master's degree
  • At least two years of work experience
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • DEI demonstrated commitment and experiences
  • Experience analyzing large datasets
  • Project management skills
  • Evidence of scholarly writing

  • Terminal degree or doctorate in any program
  • At least three years of work experience (3-8 years preferred)
  • Track record of success in academic and professional settings
  • Possess an infectious energy and aptitude to motivate others
  • Make connections between divergent people, projects, and goals
  • Embody a professional and mature presence, especially among senior leaders
  • Able to take initiative and drive results both independently and as part of a team
  • Customarily think outside the box and rapidly iterate to strategically solve problems
  • Have exceptional project management skills and talent to appropriately pivot and adapt
  • Hold an unwavering passion and commitment to transforming public higher education to better serve low-income, first generation, and historically underrepresented students
  • Ability to establish collaborative relationships

  • Position Number: 596060
  • Position Title: UIA Fellow
  • Department: 1904 SEM
  • Role Code: 33234 Senior Research Analyst 1
  • Position Type: Exempt
  • Salary: Commensurate with experience.
  • ORP Eligible?: No
  • Open Until Filled
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