Note to Reporters: A photo of Alan Lamborn is available with this release at www.news.colostate.edu
Colorado State University is now the host campus for The Reinvention Center, a national consortium of 65 major research universities dedicated to improving undergraduate education on their campuses. CSU Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Alan Lamborn has been appointed Executive Director of The Reinvention Center by the organization’s Board of Directors.
“The Reinvention Center is the only national organization focusing exclusively on undergraduate education at research universities, and it is a great honor for Colorado State to be the institutional host for the initiative,” CSU Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda said. “While The Reinvention Center is not specifically a CSU program, its location in Fort Collins presents significant opportunities for administrators, faculty and staff across campus to continue our ongoing effort to enhance undergraduate learning and persistence to graduation.”
The Reinvention Center consortium includes some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, such as Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, MIT, Case Western Reserve, Stanford, University of Colorado at Boulder and several institutions in the University of California system. The Center was initially housed at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and most recently at the University of Miami.
"The decision to move The Reinvention Center to Colorado State is really a tribute to Alan Lamborn and his involvement in efforts – on our campus, statewide, and nationally — to transform the quality of undergraduate education,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “CSU has made student success and persistence a priority, and our significant progress on that front is a result of the strategic efforts of people like Alan, our faculty, and many others who have been willing to innovate and explore new approaches to advance student learning.”
To emphasize the equal importance of curricular and co-curricular experiences to undergraduate education, Blanche Hughes, CSU’s Vice President for Student Affairs, has been appointed the newest member of The Reinvention Center’s board.
Quality of undergraduate education enhanced
The Reinvention Center was created in response to the 1998 Boyer Commission report, Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America’s Research Universities. The report found that while universities such as CSU, which derive significant portions of their budgets from faculty and graduate-level research, award about a third of all undergraduate degrees, at the time little attention was being paid to the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning. The Center’s mission is to strengthen education for undergraduates by calling on the unique attributes of the research university environment.
Lamborn, who has long been active in The Reinvention Center, said the goals of the consortium are closely aligned with student success initiatives that were begun at Colorado State nearly a decade ago.
“The most effective strategies for success are those that enrich the educational experience,” Lamborn said. “Learning and the quality of the undergraduate experience must underlie all our strategies. In many ways, the initiatives that were approved by the CSU Board of Governors in 2006 are Colorado State’s version of the Boyer Report.”
As a result of these initiatives, and further challenges from President Frank to improve graduation rates, CSU has increased retention of first-time, full-time freshmen to a record high of 84.7 percent, and reduced time to graduation. CSU continues to work toward eliminating graduation gaps without diminishing the commitment to access and upward mobility that is part of its mission as a land-grant university.
“As the institutional host for the Reinvention Center, Colorado State will be in a unique position to learn from our colleagues at other research universities and to share some of our own best practices as part of a collaborative effort to accelerate and deepen innovation in undergraduate education throughout the nation,” Lamborn said.
The relocation of the Center to Fort Collins has already inspired a $150,000 gift to CSU’s Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) to inspire faculty to develop courses that deepen student learning and enhance undergraduate success.
In a letter passing the hosting responsibilities to Colorado State, University of Miami President and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala wrote: “We agreed to host the Center at Miami because we believe its mission and activities are critical to American Higher Education. It helps us all to focus on the multiple ways research and discovery refresh, animate and strengthen undergraduate education. The Center’s mission is wholly consistent with Miami’s, and I know it reflects Colorado State’s priorities as well.”
More information about The Reinvention Center and its move to Colorado State University can be found on the website at http://reinventioncenter.colostate.edu.