Fail Forward

Fail Forward Week (September 28 – October 2, 2020)

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 in celebrating our failures and finding ways to fail forward!


Fail Forward Week Activities


All Week

  • Check out the “Fail Forward” signs posted around campus for inspiration
  • Use the QR codes on the signs to add your own “fails” to our website banner!
  • Follow UCA Student Success on Instagram and Facebook for tips on how to “fail forward”
  • Print out your own “Certificate to Fail Forward”


1:40pm – Online (Zoom) Academic Success Workshop:  “Effective Communication is NOT Common Sense”

  • Communicating with professors and your peers is key, especially in an online world. You don’t want to fail at this!


1:40pm – Online (Zoom) Academic Success Workshop: “Successful Group Work Strategies”

  • College … and life … requires collaboration (group work).  Come learn how to improve your group work skills, and know how to facilitate group assignments to improve your grade!

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.”


Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks

The CEO talks about his working-class background, and how the famous coffee chain almost failed due to its own success.



Advice to Graduates about Failure (Oprah and others)

Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Julie Andrews, and Michelle Obama all know that success takes fails.



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.