In my first (and only) post as interim director of Postsecondary Success, I want to start by expressing my thanks to our grantees and partners for the work they do on behalf of today’s college students and the institutions that serve them. I have been fortunate enough to see first-hand the exciting work that’s happening to boost student success and close attainment gaps in higher education, and I salute our partners for their work toward those goals.
Higher education faces many challenges today, as you well know. Changing demographics, rising economic demand, and tight fiscal conditions are forcing colleges and universities to think and act differently as they seek to expand access and success for their students. And while Americans are clear in their belief in the value of higher education, they are also expressing legitimate concerns about its availability and affordability. We must listen to those concerns and respond if education after high school is to remain a bridge to opportunity for our students, especially those who are most at risk of missing out on that opportunity.
Innovative and experienced leadership is critical in facing these challenges. That is why I am pleased to announce that
will be the next leader of the Postsecondary Success strategy, effective April 2. Patrick brings deep knowledge of higher education innovation to the role, as well as passion for harnessing that innovation to benefit more of today’s college students. He has served for nearly five years as deputy director for the strategy, where he has built strong relationships with our partners and has helped to chart a strong course for scaling innovations that can increase student success and meet growing workforce needs.
Patrick is no stranger to the challenges of change. The son of a teacher committed to serving low-income communities, he has worked throughout his career with colleges and universities, K-12 schools and districts, and organizations outside of education to understand the forces affecting them and to develop thoughtful and creative responses. He will draw on that broad base of experience in guiding our higher education work.
In the weeks and months ahead, Patrick will be focused on listening and gathering insight from partners and other experts in the field as part of our continuing efforts to evolve and improve our work through learning. He is assuming leadership of a strategy that is strong and focused, one that depends more than ever on the knowledge and hard work of our colleagues in the field.
Please join me in congratulating Patrick and supporting him in this new role. We are excited to move forward!
Allan C. Golston, president of the United States Program, leads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts to advance educational opportunity and student achievement in the United States.