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September 30, 2021

College Innovation Network Doubles Membership with New Cohort of Institutions

The network now comprises a dozen institutions representing 250,000 students, enabling it to scale real-world pilot testing of EdTech solutions for underserved students

SALT LAKE CITY - The College Innovation Network (CIN) today announced the second cohort of higher education institutions that have joined the growing network: Arizona Western College, Bennett College (North Carolina), Capella University (Minnesota), Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio), Northern Virginia Community College, Richmond Community College (North Carolina), and Rivet School (California).

College Innovation Network

CIN—now in its second year of operation with support from the Charles Koch Foundation—prioritized institutional diversity during recruitment for its second cohort, which includes Bennett College, a Historically Black College for women, and Rivett School, a hybrid college that works in partnership with accredited institutions to help underserved students succeed.

“Ensuring that all students have equal access to learning opportunities through EdTech, and driving equitable student outcomes through that access, is a central part of CIN’s mission,” said Erika Wandsneider, Program Manager for CIN. “The addition of our second cohort gives us even more insight into the challenges faced by underserved students and the institutions that educate them.”

The new CIN members convened in July along with the founding members to participate in the network’s Annual Network Needs Assessment (ANNA) convening. The convening took place virtually over two days with leaders from CIN institutions working collaboratively to identify priorities for the upcoming year. Shared priorities across CIN include increasing student belonging, innovating on how to effectively deliver student resources, and closing equity gaps of access to EdTech. A report of the ANNA can be downloaded here. 

“No matter the size, structure or affiliation, the institutions in the CIN recognize that higher education must continue to change to meet the needs of our students,” said Dr. Anne M. Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College. “NOVA is excited to come together with like-minded and forward-thinking colleges from across the nation to discuss the future of ‘EdTech’ and its role in helping us advance student success.” 

CIN is committed to supporting the evolution of education by leveraging the power of relationships and supporting educational institutions throughout the full lifecycle of EdTech implementation—from identifying needs to conducting mixed-methods evaluation research—with the goal of improving the student experience.

“As hybrid colleges continue to gain traction in the higher education space, we believe in the importance of understanding the challenges of post-secondary education and orientating our program to meet those challenges,” said Alex Fernandez, Senior Business Operations Manager at Rivet School. “As a member of CIN, we are able to learn and share from colleges across the country to see what we have in common and what challenges are uniquely ours. CIN is a great intentional space for us to identify trends and collaborate on solutions with others.”

CIN recently published its year one impact report and an analysis of its inaugural EdTech Student Survey. The first results from EdTech evaluation studies are slated to be published later this year. Learn more about CIN at wgulabs.org/college-innovation-network/wgulabs.org/cin.

About the College Innovation Network 

The College Innovation Network (CIN), part of WGU Labs, is a program that supports a network of higher education institutions by more effectively identifying, implementing, and evaluating EdTech solutions. By leveraging the full set of research and design services from WGU Labs, CIN supports educational institutions throughout the full lifecycle of EdTech implementation and evaluation with the ultimate goal of improving the student experience. Our vision is to support the evolution of higher education towards a future in which EdTech is an effective vehicle for social mobility. To learn more about CIN, visit wgulabs.org/cin.      

About WGU Labs   

WGU Labs is a nonprofit that is an affiliate of Western Governors University (WGU). WGU Labs primarily provides research, offers services, invents, builds, and secondarily invests in strategically aligned innovative learning solutions that improve quality and advance educational outcomes for learners everywhere. Building on social psychology, learning science, and industry trends, WGU Labs accelerates education startups and develops its own research-supported, scalable products. Learn more about WGU Labs.

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Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
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