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August 4, 2020

College Innovation Network Announces Founding Members

Founding network members to help guide priorities, success measures of pilot initiative

SALT LAKE CITY  The College Innovation Network (CIN) today announced higher education organizations that will participate as founding network partners in the initiative’s pilot year: Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Piedmont Community College (North Carolina), Central Ohio Technical College, Loyola University New Orleans, and Rio Salado College (Arizona).

CIN was launched in the spring by WGU Labs, Inc., with support from the Charles Koch Foundation and is designed to connect leaders from colleges and universities with educational technology (EdTech) innovators to advance students’ academic, career, and life outcomes.

“With the fast-paced changes we’re seeing in education today, a concerted and collaborative effort to understand students’ evolving needs and piloting innovation is likely to yield the greatest impact,” said Dr. Omid Fotuhi, WGU Labs’ Director of Learning Innovations and leader of CIN. “With a greater understanding of those core needs, CIN will begin sourcing relevant EdTech solutions, while also putting into place the design for rigorous evaluations of those solutions. This collaborative effort will assist in offering affordable and impactful educational opportunities at each partner institution and ensure meaningful insights to guide any institution looking to transform student outcomes.”

The founding network members convened for the first time in July to converge on key themes and priorities and will continue collaborating throughout the 2020–21 academic year to implement solutions, evaluate their effectiveness, and share results with the broader higher education community.

“In working with CIN, we were able to employ a carefully designed discovery process to efficiently and effectively hone in on our institution's most urgent needs, giving us the confidence that we’re focused on the right priorities for the year,” said Eric Heiser, Provost at Central Ohio Technical College. “I also found comfort in learning that other schools are facing many of the same issues as us and that, being aligned through CIN, we can now work together to find meaningful solutions.”

CIN’s founding network members serve diverse students—including historically underrepresented student populations —with inclusive and broad access policies. Through real-world pilot testing, their students will have access to EdTech products and services aimed at addressing some of the biggest challenges to earning degrees.

With coordination from WGU Labs—Western Governors University’s research and development hub—the network’s members will work together to implement EdTech solutions and evaluate the impact they have on students’ outcomes, and will publicly share the findings and insights to help other institutions quickly adopt and scale EdTech solutions.    

“Loyola University New Orleans is excited to collaborate with colleagues and innovative thinkers as one of the inaugural partners in the College Innovation Network,” said Elizabeth Rainey, Executive Director of Student Success at Loyola University New Orleans. “We hope to learn from and contribute to the network in ways that elevate student success for all the partner institutions. The opportunity to select and implement new technology to support our students is ever more pressing in the current landscape.”

Learn more about the College Innovation Network at

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