The Reinvention Collaborative’s programming is designed to facilitate efforts to identify the most effective ways to advance undergraduate education in America’s research institutions and to help member institutions implement, continuously evaluate, and improve the specific initiatives they have chosen to undertake. As the section reviewing the Collaborative’s history indicates, in its first six years, the Collaborative’s efforts focused on encouraging research universities to inventory, implement, and evaluate the impact of the Boyer Commission’s original recommendations. In the second half of the Collaborative’s twelve-year history, those initial efforts expanded to include an emphasis on deep vs. shallow learning, the links between curricular and co-curricular learning, graduation rates and overall levels of degree attainment, and the ways in which the undergraduate dimensions of our institutional missions are of increasing concern to external stakeholders and accrediting bodies.
The backbone of the organization is a network of faculty who have all-University or all-College administrative responsibilities for undergraduate education. This network has come to be called the UVP Network. People who have this institutional role have a unique perspective on the specific initiatives that might be especially important to their individual institutions at a particular point in time. They also have an invaluable set of experiences and ideas on how one can actually implement and evaluate those initiatives. Given that combination of perspective on what might be most important and their wide-ranging knowledge about implementation and evaluation issues, the UVP Network has also come to play a central role in identifying the topics the Collaborative ought to focus on in distinctive periods.
The over-arching work of the UVP Network is supported by a companion set of networks that involve a broad range of people involved in their university’s efforts in focused areas. At present, these substantively focused networks include:
- The Science of Learning/Pedagogical Innovation
- Curricular/Co-Curricular Engagement & Integrative Learning
- Student Success/Learning Analytics
- Advising & Academic Guidance
As described in the Meetings page of the website, the Collaborative organizes twice a year Network Meetings. These meetings always include members of the UVP Network and, on a rotating basis as appropriate, members of other networks. Every two years the Collaborative hosts a National Conference at which all the networks have an opportunity to meet. Those biennial National Conferences also feature invited speakers who are nationally recognized for their leadership in undergraduate education. The deliberations at the national meeting focus on a broad range of critical challenges research universities face, such as: effective assessment of learning outcomes, accreditation requirements, partnerships with external stakeholders, innovative uses of technology, general educational reform, the science of learning, connecting curricular and co-curricular learning, and faculty reward structures.
As this overview suggests, the goal of the Reinvention Collaborative’s programming is to use the collective expertise and energy of the people in this consortium of institutions to identify the most powerful ideas for advancing undergraduate education at America’s research universities, support the efforts of UVPs and others who are responsible for successfully implementing the ideas that their institutions have decided to pursue, and then share in an ongoing collective debriefing as we evaluate the effectiveness of those initiatives.