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Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation ‘a real difference-maker’ for York College

Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation ‘a real difference-maker’ for York College

  • The Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation will promote collaboration throughout the entire campus on York College’s distinctive focus on experiential learning.

York College has been planning for several years the creation of a centerpiece organization to promote innovation through collaboration across the entire campus. A transformative gift from York businessman Don Graham, through the Graham Foundation, will allow for those plans to come to fruition with the creation of the Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation (GCCI).

“Entrepreneurial thinking encompasses collaboration,” Graham said. “Entrepreneurs figure out how to involve input from all areas, or they will fail. Collaboration is just necessary for activity of all sorts. The Center will enhance students in their profession and throughout their lives as they experience innovation through collaboration. Hopefully, this will be a real difference maker for YCP as competition for students gets tougher.”

York College has long been known for its practical and experiential approach to education, focusing on real-world experiences that allow students to apply their learning beyond the classroom walls. 


These experiences are what make York College so different from other institutions that might look like us but cannot offer this range of active learning to their students.

Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna

With the creation of the GCCI, the College distinguishes itself from other institutions by providing a “home base” for such initiatives to ensure every student is engaged in the cornerstone of learning at York College: high-impact practices, opportunities that range from internships to active, project-based learning that engage and challenge students, and promote deeper understanding.

The GCCI will promote collaboration throughout the entire campus on the College’s distinctive focus on experiential learning, according to Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna.

“This refers to student experiences that are active and engaged, and includes project-based learning, problem-based learning, clinicals, international and global experiences, co-ops, internships, field experiences and student teaching, community-based learning, student-faculty research, internships as well as independent studies and tutorials that have an experiential focus,” Niesen de Abruna says. “These experiences are what make York College so different from other institutions that might look like us but cannot offer this range of active learning to their students.”

The GCCI serves as the unifying element for three interconnected campus entities:

1) The Engaged Scholars and the Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows, a corps of innovative student leaders from diverse disciplines who learn through real-world experiences

2) The Center for Academic Innovation that develops, supports, and encourages faculty to make high-impact educational practices and digital pedagogy central features of a York College education

3) The Knowledge Park, a learning laboratory that enhances opportunities for students and faculty to interact with local businesses and organizations.

An Executive Director of the GCCI will be hired and report directly to the President Pamela Gunter-Smith. The GCCI office will be located in the Mill House on Kings Mill Depot Road.

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