Pillars of Successful Collaboration: Insights from Alchemy’s CUNY Partnership

Carrie O'Donnell
Founder & CEO

As the Founder and CEO of Alchemy, I recently had the privilege of sharing insights from our transformative collaboration with CUNY at the UPCEA annual conference in March in Boston. My conversation with Evan Silberman, Ed.D., the University Executive Director of CUNY Online, highlighted the four pillars that have been foundational to our successful partnership. In this reflection, I’ll share these pillars and their impact on driving innovation through collaboration in higher education.

1. Alignment and Transparency

Our partnership with CUNY began with a clear alignment of goals and values. From empowering educators to enhancing access to quality education, both Alchemy and CUNY shared a common vision for impactful learning experiences. Transparency played a crucial role in fostering open communication channels, ensuring that both parties were on the same page every step of the way.

2. Knowledge Sharing and Capability Building

One of the strengths of our collaboration was the continuous exchange of knowledge and expertise. Alchemy’s AI-enhanced platform and instructional design services complemented CUNY’s objectives of expanding online programs seamlessly. Through knowledge sharing and capability building, we were able to leverage each other’s strengths and drive innovation in digital learning.

3. Shared Ownership and Accountability

A sense of shared ownership and accountability was fundamental to overcoming challenges and maximizing opportunities. By taking collective responsibility for outcomes and decisions, both Alchemy and CUNY navigated complex procurement processes, integrated technology seamlessly, and addressed evolving needs in the education landscape. This shared approach strengthened our partnership and fueled our mutual commitment to success.

4. Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility and adaptability were key drivers of our collaborative efforts. As the education landscape evolved, both Alchemy and CUNY embraced change, pivoted when necessary, and adapted strategies to meet emerging needs. This flexibility enabled us to stay agile, responsive, and proactive in driving positive change in education.

Commitment to Quality and Shared Values: A Foundation for Success

The foundation that underpins these pillars is a commitment to quality and to our shared values. In our conversation, Evan emphasized the importance of delivering high-quality education that is inclusive, engaging, and impactful. This commitment to excellence resonates deeply with us at Alchemy, as we believe that people are at the center of great learning and our mission is to empower educators to create humanized, inclusive and engaged learning. By aligning our vision for success with a shared commitment to quality, we set the stage for a partnership built on trust, mutual respect, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in education.

Driving Collaborative Innovation in Higher Education

Our presentation at the UPCEA annual conference highlighted the transformative power of collaborative partnerships in driving innovation in higher education. By focusing on these four pillars of successful collaboration, the CUNY-Alchemy partnership exemplifies how institutions and industry partners can work together to create meaningful impact. As we continue to innovate and drive change in higher ed, these pillars will remain foundational to our success.


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