Our Story

Click here for a comprehensive overview of the Aspire Institute.

Goals and Accomplishments    Children celebrating

The Aspire Institute was founded in 2007 to serve as an "innovation lab" for Wheelock College. Wheelock President Jackie Jenkins-Scott charged Aspire with:

  • Mobilizing faculty and external partners to test new ideas and program models for addressing social and education challenges in our communities, locally and nationally
  • Responding quickly to these challenges by moving nimbly, creatively and  efficiently from issue to action
  • Partnering within the Wheelock community-with staff and faculty-to explore different learning models, in areas such as continuing and adult learning,  teacher education, and online learning

In Fall of 2008, Senior Director Jake Murray assumed leadership of Aspire. Working with Wheelock's leadership team and faculty, he has helped Aspire meet its charge. Key accomplishments include:

  • Developing over 20 local and statewide projects in education, child development and health and wellness, including two statewide training centers (CASE and CBTI)
  • Supporting the launch of two new ECE teacher education models: Wheelock TeachBoston and the Wheelock-Catholic Schools ECE Teacher Partnership
  • Designing Wheelock's first fully online courses (STEP), and first fully online, state-approved professional teacher licensure courses
  • Expanding from 2 -20 staff
  • Collaborating with over 30 Wheelock faculty

Over the next several years, Aspire will continue to explore and expand what's possible - both within Wheelock and with our community partners.



  • Aspire Institute Founded


  • Role, Relevance, Reinvention: Higher Education in the Field of Early Care and Education report release


  • Educator Mentor Corps Pilots
  • Cambridge Middle School Plan released


  • Foundation for the Future: Strengthening STEM Education in the Early Years report released
  • The Higher Education Access Project launched to build college pathways for ECE providers
  • 1st Pre-STEM Summit to elevate STEM in ECE and OST settings


  • Child Assessment Institute & QRIS coach program for ECE leaders
  • Connected Beginnings Training Institute joins the Aspire Institute
  • Online QRIS course (7 languages) launched
  • Educator Mentor Corps expands to provide mentoring to ECE providers
  • 2nd  Pre-STEM Summit


  • Center for Assessment and Screening Excellence (CASE) launched
  • Boston Family Engagement Partnership launched
  • STEM Teacher Enhancement Project (STEP) launched
  • 3rd Annual Pre-STEM Summit
  • Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant State Leadership Retreat

inspire a world of good

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