About Us

Bridging Research, Policy, and Practice to Stimulate Educational Improvement

The Education Innovation Institute was created by the Colorado legislature to leverage new and existing applied research to address practical problems in education. The institute’s approach to this charge is to engage three groups critical to systemic change -- researchers, policy makers, and educators – to encourage greater understanding among the three sectors by facilitating the sharing of ideas and information.

Our mission operates around three points that inform any project we undertake:

  • Our work supports the advancement of EDUCATION as a respected profession and the pursuit of productive accountability in higher education.
  • Our approach to INNOVATION is to push on the status quo to foster a proactive climate in a rapidly changing world. We seek ways to move forward when the path isn’t necessarily clear.
  • As an INSTITUTE at the University of Northern Colorado, we are accountable to the university as a whole and not wedded to the interests of any one unit.

EII serves as a neutral information source in the policy-making process by staying abreast of scholarship in key areas and relaying findings from rigorous research in ways that are useful and relevant to policy makers, practitioners, and scholars.  Our policy briefs and white papers highlight goals, problems, popular solutions, unintended consequences, and practical recommendations to help policymakers manage the ongoing challenge of developing and refining policies to respond to local, state, and national demands. Other projects seek to make selected policies and the conventions of research more accessible to educators and the general public.   

We also work directly with policy makers and public and nonprofit agencies to ensure that policies, including legislation and rules, are based on adequate information and implemented with adequate consideration of equity and practicality.

At UNC EII seeks to foster and facilitate high-quality research. An internship we created exposes graduate students to the tools of rigorous education research, including econometric methods and longitudinal data. A small group of EII Faculty Affiliates is forming a community of scholars to work with the institute and each other on policy-related research and other projects. The institute staff also maintains a limited, pragmatic research agenda designed to influence policy, inform programmatic improvement, and stimulate informed discourse.

Colorado is recognized as a national leader in education reform and other states are watching it closely. That makes careful, forward-looking execution crucial. It is increasingly evident that implementation policies are most likely to succeed and gain acceptance when they are informed by both the findings of rigorous research and a practical understanding of the often messy realities of school operations. EII’s mission is to help keep the necessary lines of communication open and flowing.