Document Type


Publication Date



In January 2019, fifteen students began meeting in an undergraduate seminar on Collective Intelligence. The goal of the course was to leverage group thinking to address a “big” issue of the contemporary world – comprehensive immigration reform. The first half of the course was dedicated to understanding the theories and applications of Collective Intelligence. The second half was applying those theories to the very real issue of immigration reform in the United States. To gain a theoretical foundation, students conversed with international scholars and activists in the collective intelligence field such as Philosopher Pierry Lévy the University of Ottawa, Geoff Mulgan - Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts and Visiting Professor at University College London, the London School of Economics, and the University of Melbourne, Mathematician Nikos Salingaros of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Daren Brabham, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, and Anita Williams Woolley, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory at Carnegie-Mellon University.

During the second half of the semester, class members, with the assistance of students at Sorbonne Université in Paris, conducted original research on comprehensive immigration reform. They met with representatives of several immigration, refugee, and asylum organizations including the Center for Refugee Services, Catholic Charities, and the City of San Antonio’s Immigration Office. They conducted face-to-face interviews with approximately 50 students, faculty, and staff at the university seeking input on creative solutions. Significantly, they also implemented two online surveys – one targeting individuals currently living in the United States, and one targeting those living in other countries. The goal of the former was to better understand the current perceptions of the U.S. immigration system and provide suggestions for change specifically related to that system. The latter was solely interested in finding original solutions to the many obstacles of immigration reform, specifically targeting the areas of 1) entry, 2) visas, 3) legal processes, and 4) services. In all, the two U.S.-based surveys (one distributed in English and one in Spanish) yielded a combined 478 responses and the international survey asking for creative solutions yielded 50 responses from 17 countries. Complete results from this survey are included in Appendix A of the white paper.


Written and researched by undergraduate students in a course on Collective Intelligence Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, May 2019