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EDUCAUSE Joins InCommon

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  • From: Lauren Rotman <>
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  • Subject: EDUCAUSE Joins InCommon
  • Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 13:55:40 -0500


November 4, 2009--EDUCAUSE, the association for information technology in higher education, announced that it has joined the InCommon Federation, the U.S. identity and access management federation.

In an identity federation like InCommon, participating identity providers (such as colleges and universities) and resource providers (like EDUCAUSE) agree on a set of shared policies, processes, and technology standards. This greatly streamlines collaboration among multiple organizations because federation members agree on these policies and processes once, rather than each time they sign a contract with a new partner.

The InCommon Federation eliminates the need for researchers, students, and educators to maintain multiple passwords and usernames. Rather than requiring individuals to create new accounts for every service they wish to use, resource providers and educational institutions agree to use individuals’ institutional network account identifiers for access. This improves privacy and security for both individuals and institutions.

“The InCommon Federation is a community endeavor that represents the future of how colleges and universities will enable trusted interactions with each other, government agencies, and other organizations, such as EDUCAUSE, in a digital world,” stated Diana Oblinger, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE. “EDUCAUSE members who are also members of the InCommon Federation will be able to use their college- or university-issued usernames and passwords to access a variety of EDUCAUSE online services once the implementation is complete.”

With EDUCAUSE as part of InCommon, individuals at colleges and universities that are members of both groups will enjoy federated access to a range of services and resources available through the EDUCAUSE website. However, the importance of EDUCAUSE’s joining InCommon extends beyond the direct provision of EDUCAUSE services.

"The decision to join InCommon demonstrates, in a bold way, EDUCAUSE's responsiveness to its members and its strong commitment to protect its members' privacy," remarked Peter M. Siegel, CIO and vice provost for informational and educational technology at the University of California, Davis, and co-chair of the Higher Education Information Security Council. "As the trusted leadership organization for higher education IT broadly, EDUCAUSE is signaling to institutions of all sizes and types--from small private colleges to large research universities--the importance of building an identity and access management infrastructure that can be leveraged through federations such as InCommon. This strategic step exemplifies the important leadership role that EDUCAUSE can play within the higher education community."

With nearly 17,500 active members at over 2,300 colleges, universities, and related organizations nationwide, EDUCAUSE serves as one of the largest collaborations of higher education IT professionals in the world. InCommon now serves more than four million users at almost 200 institutions in the United States and demonstrates significant growth each year.

“One of the primary goals of federations like InCommon is to allow universities like Penn State to provide access to a wide range of off- campus resources while still protecting the security and privacy of their students, faculty, and staff,” explained Kevin Morooney, CIO and vice provost for information technology at Pennsylvania State University and incoming chair of the InCommon Steering Committee. “EDUCAUSE is not only simplifying access to online services for its members, it is also taking a proactive step that will lead other colleges and universities to strengthen their identity management practices and join the InCommon Federation.”

At its annual conference in Denver this week, EDUCAUSE recognized the field of federated identity management systems ( ) with the EDUCAUSE Catalyst Award ( The award highlights IT-based innovations and initiatives that provide groundbreaking solutions to major challenges in higher education. For a quick overview of federated identity management and its importance to teaching, learning, and research, please see “7 Things You Should Know About Federated Identity Management,” a recent EDUCAUSE publication, at



EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. EDUCAUSE programs and services are focused on analysis, advocacy, community building, professional development, and knowledge creation because IT plays a transformative role in higher education. EDUCAUSE supports those who lead, manage, and use information technology through a comprehensive range of resources and activities. For more information, visit



InCommon provides the U.S. higher education and research community with the common framework for trustworthy shared management of access to online resources. InCommon facilitates the development of a community-based common trust fabric sufficient to enable participants to make appropriate decisions about the release of identity information and the control of access to protected online resources. InCommon is intended to enable production-level end-user access to a wide variety of protected resources. For more information, visit .


  • EDUCAUSE Joins InCommon, Lauren Rotman, 11/04/2009

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