Fail Forward

Fail Forward Week (September 30 – October 4, 2019)

Everyone fails at something.  Most of us fail quite frequently. The good news is that failure is the way the human brain learns best.  Through failure, we identify and focus on areas where we can improve. Failure encourages us to find new approaches to something, to change things up. It invokes creativity and new thought patterns. We learn and grow from our failures.

Fail Forward Week is a time to stop and reflect on the positive outcomes of failure and the necessity of failure in life. The challenge is not whether you can manage never to fail — you will fail at something — but in how you respond to your failures.  

When asked about failure, the prolific 20th C Irish author, Samuel Beckett said: “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Join us for a week of celebrating our failures … and finding ways to fail forward!

Schedule of Celebrations & Events

Monday – Friday

Award yourself or someone else a Certificate of Failure

Listen to our Fail Podcasts! (Available 9/30)  Listen to our "Failed It!" Podcast on Spotify.

Follow Student Success on Instagram and Facebook for strategies for using failure for success!

Community Fail Boards – add your story of failure (and how you moved forward) to our community “Fail Boards” at these locations:

  • Old Main Hall, Basement Level and Room 106 (Peer Coaching Lab)Image result for failure statements
  • McAllister Hall, 3rd Floor
  • Tutoring Services, Torreyson 223
  • Harrin Hall, 1st Floor
  • STEM Residential College @ Arkansas Hall
  • Biz @ Bear Hall
  • EDGE Residential College @ State Hall
  • STARS Residential College @ Short/Denney Hall
  • HPaW Residential College @ Baridon Hall


Tuesday and Thursday

No-Fail Workshops – Join us for two great workshops on how NOT to fail!

  • Effective Communication is NOT Common Sense – Tuesday, October 1, X-period, Doyne Auditorium
  • “I Don’t like Group Work!” – Thursday, October 3, X-period, Doyne Auditorium

Recently, other successful people have spoken on the importance of failure, often (and ironically) at college graduation ceremonies (click on their name to see the full video):

Denzel Washington

“You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something. . . [but] If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”

J.K. Rowling

“Failure taught me things about myself that I could have never learned any other way.”


Check out more resources on how failure can be a positive step forward!

Resources on Learning from Failure, on Edutopia  (articles for instructors and activities)

“Teaching to Fail”

“Why Failure is Good for Success”

“If You Have to Fail — and You Do — Fail Forward”

“7 Reasons Why Failure is a Good Thing”

Fail Forward Week at UCA is sponsored by: The Office of Student Success, Learning Communities, the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, and the Department of Student Transitions.