A Letter from the Director
“What makes the CIC work so well?” This is a question we hear all the time. We receive calls and queries from other universities, from scholars conducting research into collaboration, and from leaders of athletic conferences asking how their institutions can work together toward common purposes. The answer is necessarily complex and includes several factors: the individual strength of our member universities; the strong leadership of our Provosts; the equal investment by each university; the voluntary nature of all our endeavors; and the way that CIC programs transcend any particular aspect of our universities. All are important elements of our success.
Our success is also tied to adherence to our founding principle: the work of the CIC should be conceptualized and implemented by the member universities. We have an extraordinary track record of collaboration because it is the people on the campuses who, themselves, come up with ideas and engage their colleagues. Once energy has coalesced around areas of common interest and need, the CIC staff works with the member institutions to conceptualize, design and build an initiative together. This process makes the collaboration even more powerful because it actually changes the way people work within and among the universities. It also creates a platform for other, deeper levels of collaboration. Rather than passively using ‘services’ developed by a central ‘authority,’ CIC universities identify and develop common solutions.
The reality is that not all aspects of university life call for (or benefit from) cooperation and collaboration. Our member universities are competitive in many core arenas – attracting top students, securing research dollars, recruiting and retaining the best faculty. But amidst this highly charged environment, CIC institutions continue to find common ground.
True collaboration is not easy. Meaningful success requires struggling through complex and sensitive political environments. Yet CIC member institutions are investing more time and energy in collaboration than ever before, in large part because it has been an effective tool to stay at the cutting edge of research, teaching and learning. The CIC has found effective ways of working together that deliver. This is part of the way
The CIC encompasses a community stretching across eight states, and includes nearly 400,000 students, 49,000 faculty and 104,000 staff members. Their cooperative spirit drives our ambitions and our actions, and is at the heart of all we do. What makes the CIC work so well? More than anything else, it is the people of the CIC universities, and the extraordinary leaders who guide these great institutions.
Barbara McFadden Allen
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