Reinventing undergraduate education topic of national conference

Note to Reporters: To attend any or all sessions of the conference, contact Kate Jeracki at 970-980-3678. A complete list of presenters is available at

In the digital age, what is the purpose of providing undergraduate education in a research university?

That is one of the central questions to be tackled at a two-day conference of some of the nation’s most innovative thinkers and practitioners in the field of higher education, Nov. 14-15, in Arlington, Va.

“Engaged Learning and the Ethos of Discovery: Achieving the Promise in a Tumultuous Era” is the seventh biennial conference of the Reinvention Center, a consortium of 70 major public and private universities dedicated to advancing undergraduate education on research campuses – the only national organization of its kind.

“Our sessions will look at different dimensions of the enduring promise by research universities to provide a distinctive undergraduate experience,” said Alan Lamborn, executive director of the Reinvention Center, which recently moved its headquarters from the University of Miami to Colorado State University. “From the pressures to innovate and the new knowledge and tools that will make it possible to deliver  transformative changes which produce real improvements in student learning and timely persistence to graduation, we look forward to a meaningful, multifaceted conversation about the best ways to advance undergraduate education.”

The meeting coincides with the 20th anniversary of the convening of the Boyer Commission, a group of concerned university presidents and chancellors, scientists and artists, communications professionals and nonprofit executives, who issued the groundbreaking report, Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America’s Research Universities, in 1998.  

“We have worked hard to sustain the foundational purpose behind the Boyer Commission’s call to reinvent undergraduate education at America’s research universities,” said Claudia Neuhauser, board chair of the Reinvention Center and director of the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute. “We have also tried to honor the Commission’s legacy by strengthening efforts to advance undergraduate education in the distinctive environment of the research university.”

Highlights of the convention:

  • Four members of the original Boyer Commission – Commission chair and former president of Stony Brook University Shirley Strum Kenny, who founded the Reinvention Center, Bruce Alberts, Charles Glassick and Robert O’Neil – will present a retrospective on the Commission Saturday morning.
  • The opening plenary session, “Twenty Years after Boyer,” will feature the presidents of the Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, moderated by Colorado State University President Tony Frank.
  • Friday’s keynote, “Achieving the Promise in 2014: A Cascade of Occasions for Innovation,” will be delivered by Subra Suresh, president of Carnegie Mellon University, former director of the National Science Foundation, and the only current university president to be elected to all three National Academies – Medicine, Sciences, and Engineering.
  • “Achieving the Promise in 2014: A Cascade of New Knowledge and Tools” will be the Saturday keynote by David Laude, senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management at the University of Texas Austin.

For more information about the conference, the Reinvention Center, and a complete copy of the original Boyer Commission Report, go to