New Report Highlights Independent College Innovation

3/28/2018 — Washington, DC

​The Council of Independent Colleges today released a new report, Innovation and the Independent College: Examples from the Sector. This report describes numerous, robust innovations in management, curriculum, and programs that are now under way at hundreds of CIC member institutions. The report, which is based on the ideas generated during eight workshops on college campuses throughout the country, drew upon the ideas and experience of about 500 participants from 121 colleges and universities who participated in the workshops. The report will serve as a resource for additional campus leaders who are eager to implement changes on campus.

Innovation and the Independent College is distinctive in two ways. First, it includes innovations only from smaller private colleges and universities, often the least covered by the media and other higher education reports. Second, it is designed to be most useful in a digital format. Nearly every innovation referenced in the report is linked to full descriptions on college websites, media coverage, other research reports, and other resources. The complete report can be downloaded online.

The report explores innovations in eight major areas: athletics, career planning, community engagement, consortial arrangements, cost containment, curricular reform, new academic programs, and new student populations. Each of these sections includes an overview of the main challenges being addressed, numerous examples from CIC member institutions, and a set of questions that college leaders might ask when considering innovations in each area. As self-contained units in PDF format, they can be shared with planning committees, groups of faculty or staff members, trustees, community groups, or other campus constituencies.

“All eight workshops were stimulating as campus leaders shared what had succeeded, what had been unsuccessful, and the reasons why. By the end of each day, every person in the room was able to take home new ideas worth investigating further and a network of new colleagues with whom future candid exchange would be possible. Reading this report is likely to stimulate fresh thinking about many dimensions of the college.” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “The report provides clear evidence that independent colleges and universities are leaders in innovation.”

Generous support for these workshops, the new report, and related initiatives has been provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Endeavor Foundation, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, Lumina Foundation for Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, Teagle Foundation, and TIAA Institute.


​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 769 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers in the United States. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.