Innovation and the Independent College: Examples from the Sector

Innovation Report cover

​The signature activity of the Council of Independent Colleges’ initiative, Securing America’s Future, was a series of eight workshops hosted by CIC member presidents on campuses across the nation in 2016–2017. 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.

This report 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. CIC encourages institutional leaders to share the report with trustees, senior administrators, faculty and staff members, campus planning committees, and other constituents who might be aided in their efforts to lead change on campus. Many CIC institutions beyond those cited in the report are improving the quality and efficacy of education in excellent ways as well.

CIC thanks the representatives of more than 120 colleges and universities who participated in the Securing America’s Future workshops. They provided most of the examples of innovation included in this report through their comments at the workshops or in subsequent evaluation surveys. Whenever possible, all innovations have been independently confirmed using public sources. Any misstatements of fact or inadvertent mischaracterizations are the responsibility of CIC. This report was prepared by Barbara Hetrick, Philip M. Katz, and S. Georgia Nugent.

Generous support for the Securing America’s Future workshops and the preceding 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.

Read Innovation and the Independent College online.

​Council of Independent Colleges
By Barbara Hetrick, Philip M. Katz, and S. Georgia Nugent
March 2018

Academic Experience