The Goldin Institute is inviting conversations with academic institutions to explore long-term partnerships to refine and expand the GATHER platform, pedagogy and curricula by leveraging the unique expertise, networks and capacities of partners in an emerging consortium. 

We know that the most complex challenges of the future, exemplified by global challenges such as climate change and the future of education, will require new models and approaches that can adapt to particular contexts while drawing on creativity and wisdom from across the globe.  

To meet these challenges, the field of education needs to transform in ways that break down silos between disciplines as well as between the University and the communities they serve. This vision expands the dominant model of students by promoting an expanded vision of engaged, equipped, and well-rounded life-long learners.

“Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.” ~ Alice Walker

In the long term, the GATHER Lab Consortium will model a new vision of education that connects and equips students, faculty and local leaders through intentional communities of practice empowered to learn and work collaboratively towards a more just, peaceful and sustainable future.

The consortium of GATHER Lab partners would connect a broad range of academic partners to actively pursue collaborative opportunities with other academic institutions.  All institutions would maintain their distinctive identities but share resources around aligned principles and objectives.  

As a first step in the collaboration, the Goldin Institute will jointly endeavor to identify and recruit funding partners to serve as lead philanthropic partner, support the launch of the GATHER Lab Consortium, and support discrete projects of benefit to all partners.

The projects of the GATHER Lab would provide robust opportunities for student internships with aligned partners in Chicago and our global network of Alumni around the world that are connected through the communities of practice created through the GATHER platform.

Similarly, the GATHER Lab would endeavor to be a space for multi-disciplinary scholarship that engages a wide range of faculty within and across universities in collaboration with community partners.  

Each member of the GATHER Lab consortium would be invited to play a role in future customization and extension of the GATHER Platform to suit the needs of their University.  In particular, the Goldin Institute would invite key faculty and students to help improve the student and faculty interfaces for optimized use within each university’s legacy learning management systems.

Any partnership would have a robust and mutually agreed policy around Intellectual Property related to the GATHER Platform and curriculum that was co-developed at the GATHER Lab.  In principle, the Intellectual Property for the GATHER Platform and pedagogy would be owned by the Goldin Institute.  Curriculum and supporting materials developed through the Lab would ideally be shared and preferably governed by a creative commons license, except in cases where proprietary IP rules are mutually agreed upon.  

This Intellectual Property Agreement would not preclude the possible commercialization of the GATHER Platform and pedagogy.  In principle, members of the GATHER Lab Consortium would be offered the right of first refusal to invest if the Goldin Institute pursues commercialization in the future.

Ideally, GATHER Labs would have a physical space on each campus. In addition to a Gather Institute center on campus, consortium members could provide:

  • Gather Lab Staffing that would focus on creating connections within the Goldin Institute’s global initiatives and the wide variety of disciplines and centers.
  • Joint Fundraising to support the GATHER Lab and its projects in Chicago and around the world, including faculty-driven projects that leverage the GATHER platform and the Goldin Institute’s network.
  • Library Privileges including support for copyright clearances for GATHER Content.
  • Shared Staffing where key staff members GATHER Lab consortium could be hired and paid through the existing university system making benefits such as health-care and college tuition subsidies available to key personnel.
  • Student Internships for the Global Fellows, the Chicago Peace Fellows and curriculum or platform related projects.
  • Faculty Incentives to develop or evaluate new course content on GATHER and participate in course facilitation.
  • Integration with University Systems so that the GATHER Platform can link to other learning management systems and meet security and accessibility requirements. 
  • Co-Development of public facing elements to the GATHER Platform including “digital portfolios” for students and publicly accessible “course progress” views to make visible the learning and progress, and potentially invite engagement, with outside partners and the general public.
  • Translation and Interpretation for GATHER courses and relevant curricular materials.
  • Institutional Licensing Agreements that enable GATHER to access existing bulk discounts that universities in the consortium have access to for devices, software, and other online services.
  • Recognized Opportunity for Faculty Promotion so that tenure-line faculty who are still eligible for promotion can engage with the GATHER Lab with the knowledge that doing so contributes towards their tenure track.
  • Certification as a possibility for recognizing the work of students from community partner organizations who take courses on the GATHER Platform, regardless of enrollment status, could potentially be eligible for college credits.
  • Co-Creation of Courses through the provision of subject matter and pedagogical expertise around shared interests. The Goldin Institute’s Alumni around the world have identified and requested a long and growing list of topics and skills that they would like to have access to through the GATHER platform.


GATHER is both a digital platform for shared learning and a pedagogy that supports communities of practice to learn and work together. The GATHER platform and pedagogy was designed and built by the Goldin Institute in consultation with our global network spanning over 50 countries and is already in use with Alumni in 40 countries.