University of Kentucky to Establish Center for Education Innovation

The University of Kentucky has announced that it will establish a National Center for Innovation in Education with an initial commitment of $1.4 million over three years from the Bill & Melinda Gates and William and Flora Hewlett foundations.

The center, which will be housed in the College of Education, will work to ensure that states adopt a standard definition of college and career readiness that embodies "deeper learning" outcomes, including mastering core academic content, thinking critically, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, and learning how to learn; implement meaningful measures of those outcomes; and hold all levels of the system accountable for results. In addition to supporting adoption of the Common Core State Standards, the center will advocate for additional education reforms, work with the university's Innovation Lab Network to translate local innovations into national policy, and promote the role of teachers as solutions designers and producers of new knowledge about learning. The center will be directed by Gene Wilhoit, a former Kentucky Department of Education commissioner who, as director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, spearheaded the development and adoption by forty-five states of the Common Core State Standards.

"The Hewlett Foundation has been pleased to support ongoing deeper learning initiatives across the country," said Barbara Chow, director of the foundation's education program. "We are excited now to partner with the Gates Foundation to help Gene Wilhoit establish this important center at the University of Kentucky. States from around the nation will benefit from Gene's wisdom, experience, and vision for ensuring that U.S. education delivers and measures the knowledge, skills, and dispositions students will need to succeed in work, life, and citizenship."

"This center complements the work we are doing in Kentucky to transform education for twenty-first-century learners ," said UK College of Education dean Mary John O'Hair. " As we have worked to build the Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab at UK, we have noted that Kentucky has a unique alignment of focus and priorities among the various statewide agencies that are needed to scale and sustain educational innovations....The creation of the National Center for Innovation in Education will help give states the push they need to work together to develop these radically different learning experiences for students."

"Foundations Fund National Education Reform Program at UK." University of Kentucky Press Release 02/11/2013.