The Global Forum for Student Success pages are being developed. To be completed October 2024.

What is the Global Forum for Student Success?

The Global Forum for Student Success is a group of postsecondary educators from 10 countries who are committed to addressing the central issue of student success in postsecondary education globally. We understand that student success practices, policies, research, and vision are often limited to individual institutions or regions. Therefore, we advocate for a global and systemic analysis to tackle complex challenges, while acknowledging the need for contextual actions and solutions. Our  goal is  to create a database of annotated frameworks, research, and resources to advance student success across borders.

Our Vision

The Global Forum for Student Success is a dynamic movement of stakeholders from around the world who aim to make Student Success equitable and accessible to all learners in all post-secondary education contexts. Furthering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Forum champions access to high-quality and culturally responsive post-secondary education as a critical component of lifelong learning as a human right.

The primary anchor point is the success of the individual learner throughout their lifespan. The focus is on assuring educational equity across thresholds of access, engagement, completion, and post-graduation success for beneficial employability, and societal and active citizenry outcomes for all learners.

Our Mission

The Global Forum for Student Success will create a unified global forum to promote effective student success policy, practice, and research across international and intra-national contexts, respecting diversity in language and national/regional regulatory frameworks.

The Global Forum for Student Success seeks to:

1. Establish a platform in which multiple voices can provide a critical, global dialogue and collective wisdom in addressing change as a global network of colleagues to frame and continuously foster dynamic exchange on how “student success” is understood both across higher education globally and propose global definitions and/or standards.

2. Work together on specific challenges of student success, propose potential solutions, and influence educational systems in addressing student success and building global understanding and agency for student success.

3. Amplify the ethical imperative of student success as well as effectively foster global knowledge exchange and harness expertise to ensure that all institutions and their students reach their full potential.

4. promote student access, inclusion, equity and success ensuring they are at the center of international educational policy.

5. Initiate advocacy campaigns to persuade individual governments to address equity in higher education and encourage unified voices in advocating for amendments to policy, theory and practice.

6. Create sustainable practices for student success and serve as an evidence-led clearing house for effective practices spanning the whole student life cycle in post-secondary education.

7. Foster conversations about teaching and learning by identifying common benchmarks (e.g., assessment, graduate attributes, increasing student access to post-secondary education ).

8. Include Students as participants in shaping and influencing global trends on student success and foreground the Student Voice

The Global Principles for Student Success:

The six Global Design Principles provide institutions with a means and model for evaluating and improving student learning and success. The Global Design Principles make frequent and intentional use of the term “transformation” and variations thereof.

For purposes of the work, “transformation” is defined as the result of a process through which an institution assures that all students can graduate. Shaped by intentional forms of innovation, transformation requires making significant strides toward eliminating demographics such as family income, geography / postal code, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. as the best predictors of student success. Transformational postsecondary institutions understand that they bear significant responsibility for helping students meet the high expectations set by the institution, and that meeting these expectations should not be dependent on privileges students have accrued through birth or other external factors.

As a continuous-improvement approach, the Global Design Principles for Student Success enable institutions to both recognize their strengths as well as identify areas for improvement. Providing general guidelines for intentional design of the postsecondary experience, the Global Design Principles rest on four assumptions:

A. The academic mission of an institution is preeminent.

B. Current rates of success in the postsecondary experience are unacceptably low and must be improved, especially for students who are first-generation, low-income, and members of historic and present-day underserved racial and ethnic groups.

C. Institutions committed to transformation eliminate inequitable outcomes while maintaining high curricular and co-curricular expectations.

D. Continuous use of evidence provides validation of institutional strengths and opportunities for improvement of the foundational postsecondary experience.

The six Global Design Principles for Student Success follow:

Why Global? Why Student Success?

Student success is a central issue in postsecondary education globally. 

Student success practices, policies, research, and vision tend to be institutional or local.

Global and systemic Problems should be addressed by global and systemic analysis, even though actions and solutions will and should be contextual.


Catherine Anderson pictured in a black shirt and necklace

Interim Provost and Professor of Communications, University of Baltimore; Professor Emeritus at Gallaudet University

United States

Photo not available
Marese Bermingham
Photo of Brittany Connor
Brittany Connor

Assistant Director of Marketing, Communications and Engagement

Gardner Institute

United States

Pro-Rector for Student Affairs and Pedagogical Innovation; Associate Professor, School of Medicine

University of Minho


Peter Felten

Executive Director, Center for Engaged Learning; Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning; Professor of History

Elon University

United States

Dan Friedman

Assistant Vice President for University 101 Programs & the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

United States

Photo graph of John N. Gardner wearing glasses, a blue jacket with a light blue shirt underneath.

Executive Chair and Founder

Gardner Institute

United States

Johan Geertsema

Associate Professor

NUS College, National University of Singapore


 Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President (Academic) & Professor

Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Carleton University


Photo not available
Soraya Lewis Harb
Photo of Sophie Kennedy
Sophie Kennedy

Democracy & Representation Coordinator, Abertay Students’ Association, Scotland

President, Australian Learning & Teaching Fellows; Visiting Professorial Fellow, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education; Vice Chancellor’s Fellow

Victoria University


NSSE Institute & NILOA Senior Scholar, School of Education

Indiana University 

United States

Drew Koch pictured in front of a stone wall in a light blue shirt and dark blue suit jacket

Chief Executive Officer

Gardner Institute

United States

Katie Locke pictured outside in a teal shirt and glasses.

Director of Marketing, Communications, and Engagement

Gardner Institute

United States

Susannah McGowan pictured in black jacket and earrings

Director of Curriculum Transformation Initiatives, The Red House

Georgetown University

United States

Emily McIntosh

Director of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience, Centre for Academic Practice Enhancement

Middlesex University


Dean of Teaching and Learning

Abertay University


Director of South African National Resource Centre for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

University of Johannesburg

South Africa

President Emeritus

Cork Institute of Technology (now Munster Technological University)


Professor of Science Education

University of Pretoria

South Africa

Photo of Matt Pistili outdoors wearing black suit

Director, Assessment & Research, Division of Student Affairs

Iowa State University

United States

Dean of Research, College of Education, Psychology, Social work

Flinders University


Professor, School of Social Ecology

University of California, Irvine

United States

Photo of Brad Wuetherick

Associate Provost, Academic Programs, Teaching and Learning

The University of British Columbia – Okanagan campus


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