CIC Celebrates 50th Anniversary
The 50th anniversary of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) marks an opportunity to celebrate the collaborative spirit, creative thinking and shared goals that have enabled the consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago to exert a powerful and enduring influence on higher education.
For half a century, the world-class research institutions that comprise the CIC have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources and collaborating on innovative programs.
“Our universities have found a unique balance of collaboration and competition. We compete for the best faculty, students, and even research funding, while collaborating in a variety of ways as united and effective partners,” said Patrick Farrell, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As it moves into its second half century, the CIC has identified strategic initiatives to help build upon its record of success. They include:
• The use of OmniPoP, the ultra high-speed network that connects CIC members, as a springboard for unique, large-scale research projects. OmniPop collectively saves the universities more than $25 million in start-up costs and more than $7 million annually.
• The creation of a virtual “super-university” by expanding CourseShare, the CIC’s inter-institutional sharing of specialized online course opportunities. This would create a space that enables students to enter new realms of knowledge and learn from faculty and peers at other CIC universities. One target for sharing is the more than 100 less commonly taught languages in the CIC.
• The growth of the Shared Digital Repository, the CIC’s online library featuring up to 10 million digitized books, with a goal of providing students, faculty and staff with around-the-clock access to resources at all CIC universities.
• An emphasis on protecting its campuses from potential IT security breaches through collaborative research and deployment of advanced technologies that allow inter-institutional application sharing while assuring system integrity, operational continuity and prompt disaster recovery.
• The exploration of ways to expand the consortium’s educational reach around the globe, through distance learning and state-of-the-art networking capabilities.
• A strategic effort to increasing CIC brand-awareness has been developed in conjunction with the 50th anniversary. In order to strengthen its public identity, the CIC has reconfigured its Web site, produced a commercial aired on the Big Ten Network, launched the CIC eNews, and published other print communications.
With all of these specific goals in place, the CIC pledges that these initiatives will augment the consortium’s original platform. Over the years, the CIC has found ways to honor and preserve the unique identities of each member university while pursuing open and honest collaboration.
The future provides more opportunities to fulfill this mission, all while making significant contributions not only to member institutions, but to all of American higher education.
“Our goal with this alliance has remained the same over all these years: help build each school’s unique strengths while finding more and better ways to share our collective assets,” said Barbara McFadden Allen, CIC director. “And although we have realized greater efficiencies and innovations in the past five decades, it is just the beginning of what we can accomplish together.”
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