College Innovation Network Celebrates Four Years of Transformative Impact on Higher Education

WGU Labs and the Charles Koch Foundation Drive Successful Conclusion of the College Innovation Network

SALT LAKE CITY, May 02, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The College Innovation Network (CIN), an initiative powered by WGU Labs and funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, today marked the completion of its successful four-year partnership, celebrating achieving its original goal of fostering innovative educational practices and collaborative solutions across diverse institutions.

In 2020, amid the global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIN embarked on a journey to reshape the higher education landscape nationwide. Leveraging partnerships and cutting-edge technology, CIN supported 15 member institutions representing a diverse mix of both organizational type and students served. CIN fostered environments of belonging and innovation and focused on connecting under-resourced institutions with the tools and community needed to thrive in a rapidly evolving educational context.

“From the very beginning, it was clear that CIN institutions were committed to boosting student engagement and belonging while demanding empirical support for their institutional strategies,” stated Omid Fotuhi, Director of CIN and the Director of Learning Innovation at WGU Labs. “Our model of collaboration between researchers and practitioners, supported by the collective insights from our network, was instrumental in shaping responsive educational strategies and policies informed by solid empirical data. The network not only advanced rigorous research but also cultivated a dynamic community of practice, enabling the exchange of resources and innovations to effectively meet the evolving needs of students.”

The scope of CIN’s impact and key accomplishments to date include: 

  • Member Institutions and Reach: CIN supported a diverse group of 15 member institutions, impacting the educational experiences of approximately 180,000 students and enhancing access to innovative educational solutions and practices across the higher education landscape.
  • Empirical Research and Evaluation: The network conducted extensive empirical research, engaging over 33,000 participants in surveys that assessed the evolving needs and effectiveness of educational technology within member institutions.
  • EdTech Partnerships: CIN facilitated collaborations between educational institutions and EdTech vendors, ensuring that technology solutions were not only innovative but also aligned with the specific needs of under-resourced institutions. This strategic matchmaking supported the implementation of technology that directly addresses pressing educational challenges.
  • Professional Development and Community Building: Through a series of in-person and virtual events, CIN successfully hosted three major in-person convenings, facilitated numerous Partnership in Practice (PiP) calls, and provided continuous professional development opportunities that fostered a strong community of practice among educators.
  • Innovation and Impact Publications: The initiative’s findings and insights have been widely disseminated through 64 media features, including feature articles and newsletters, and 32 sessions at major educational conferences, amplifying their impact on the broader educational discourse.
  • Sustainability and Legacy Initiatives: CIN’s methodologies and frameworks are being integrated into ongoing activities at WGU Labs, ensuring that the legacy of innovation and collaboration initiated by CIN continues to influence educational practices and policies.

“CIN was a resonant echo of WGU Labs’ mission to foster innovation in the higher education landscape,” said Fotuhi. “We are committed to advancing the insights and processes derived from CIN’s work, and we will continue to support educational institutions as they adapt to the changing needs of their students and the demands of the future workforce.”

To learn more about the College Innovation Network’s impact over the last four years, visit

About WGU Labs
WGU Labs is the nonprofit EdTech consulting, incubation, research, and design arm of Western Governors University, where our mission is to identify and support scalable solutions that address the biggest challenges in education today. The Accelerator at WGU Labs provides research, market development and product enhancement services to early-stage education businesses. Through these services, as well as financial investments, the Accelerator advances the scale and impact of education companies that share its mission to increase student access, lower student costs and improve student outcomes. Learn more at or follow us on LinkedIn.

About Charles Koch Foundation
For more than five decades, Charles Koch’s philanthropy has inspired bold new ideas to help people improve their lives. Inspired by a recognition that free people are capable of extraordinary things, the Charles Koch Foundation supports research, educational programs, and dialogue to advance an understanding of how people can best live together in peace and prosperity and challenge convention. The Charles Koch Foundation provides grants to support a wide range of inquiry including criminal justice and policing reform, free speech and open inquiry, foreign policy, economic opportunity and innovation. To learn more, visit



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