Jonathan Gyurko (Ph.D. ’12) likes audacious projects with “the potential for unexpected, transformative change.” He’s brought theater to post-apartheid South African schools, launched charter schools in New York City and improved public education in the United Arab Emirates. Now he’s bringing good teaching to colleges and universities.

“Professors are prepared as subject-matter experts and researchers, but rarely as teachers,” he says. Where selectivity and attrition were once “badges of honor,” student success is now higher education’s mantra. But three-year graduation rates are just 28 percent in community colleges and 60 percent over six years in baccalaureate institutions.

Jonathan Gyurko

Jonathan Gyurko (Photo: Heather Donohue)

In 2014, Gyurko launched the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), which offers online preparation and credentialing in evidence- based teaching practices. Enrolled faculty develop inclusive approaches that promote engagement, persistence and deeper learning, and earn ACUE’s certificate in effective instruction, endorsed by the American Council on Education.

ACUE boasts over 100 partner institutions in 38 states and has credentialed 3,200 faculty. Studies validated by experts, including Michael McPherson, chair of the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, show that student outcomes are improving. Gyurko credits TC, where he studied politics and education, for providing “rigorous ways of thinking” about competing interests, finding common ground and building coalitions for educational change: “People say, ‘If only we could get the politics out.’ But education is a public good, and we need better politics, bringing stakeholders together, to support it.”