Posted by: Gregory Linton | 05/09/2018

The Council of Independent Colleges releases major report on innovation

For the last few years, the Council of Independent Colleges has carried out a major initiative called “Securing America’s Future.” In 2016-2017, a series of eight workshops was hosted by CIC member presidents on campuses across the nation. The goals of these workshops were to help member colleges and universities prepare for the future more effectively and become more engaged in promoting the value of the liberal arts and of independent colleges and universities. These gatherings brought together teams of presidents, chief academic officers, and other administrators as well as faculty leaders to explore key trends in higher education and society, the pressures that individual colleges and universities face, and potential solutions that can be pursued by their institutions. Approximately 500 campus leaders from CIC member institutions participated in the workshops.

In March, the CIC released a report called Innovation and the Independent College: Examples from the Sector, which presents an overview of the major points of discussion held during the workshops and references hundreds of examples of mission-driven innovations shared by the colleges and universities that sent teams to the workshops. The examples are grouped into eight categories: Athletics, Career Connections, Community Engagement, Consortial Agreements, Cost Containment, Curricular Reform, New Academic Programs, and New Student Populations.

The many examples in this document may spark ideas for similar innovations on private college campuses. For example, in the section on “Career Corrections,” the documents provides several examples of colleges connecting students with alumni/ae who serve as mentors and advisors to them. I thought this was a great idea that could be implemented in many different ways. Many other specific ideas in the document like this provide food for thought.

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