Changing from college to university driven by image, prestige

Dominican School in Orangeburg, N.Y., was 1 of many colleges in the condition performing for the previous various many years to persuade the state’s Board of Regents to improve its definition of the kinds of bigger ed institutions that could or could not be identified as a “university.” When the board officially amended the regulation and expanded the definition in January, the college’s administrators utilized to be officially designated a university.

Its software was accredited by the board on May 17—and on May 18, Dominican University turned Dominican College.

The new designation a lot more precisely fits what Dominican, a Catholic institution, presents academically and culturally, said Sister Mary Eileen O’Brien, president of the university. She pointed to the expansion of the undergraduate and graduate curricula about the years, from largely liberal arts classes to the addition of more business enterprise, science and technology courses, as well as doctoral plans in nursing and bodily remedy. She mentioned the cachet of “university” also suits the establishment.

Below the point out board’s former definition, an establishment could only be selected as a college if it supplied “a range of registered undergraduate and graduate curricula in the liberal arts and sciences, degrees in two or extra skilled fields, and doctoral programs in at the very least three tutorial fields.” The modification authorized in January removed the requirement for qualified and doctoral courses. Universities are now outlined as “including graduate packages registered in at minimum a few of the adhering to willpower regions: agriculture, biological sciences, organization, education and learning, engineering, high-quality arts, overall health professions, humanities, actual physical sciences and social sciences.”

Many other New York colleges have pending purposes requesting the college designation, and a handful of previous schools have turn into universities since January.

“We preferred to make absolutely sure the title mirrored the amount of motivation to” the rigor, high-quality and quantity of courses provided by Dominican, Sister Mary Eileen reported of the pursuit of the college designation.

Establishments exterior New York that have produced the alter from college to college experienced very similar motivations, advertising and marketing consultants say. But New York was the only condition that necessary any doctorate programs, considerably a lot less a few, for an establishment to be defined as a university.

“Over the yrs, when the matter arrived up, we encouraged New York Condition to become more like the other 49,” Sister Mary Eileen stated.

Dominican, a small establishment just north of New York Town, is a Hispanic-serving institution. Sister Mary Eileen claimed her issue about how Hispanic students check out the identify improve is owing to perceptions of “college” vs . “university” between people of Hispanic origin. In quite a few nations around the world, including in Central and South America, “college” refers to secondary education, or significant faculty. This can be baffling to international pupils thinking about studying in the United States and would make it tough for American colleges to recruit learners from abroad.

Sister Mary Eileen stated staying recognised as a college can make “clear the level of schooling, especially for our Spanish-talking pupils, and it provides the choices of this establishment as much more prestigious.”

When William Murphy, New York State’s deputy commissioner of larger education and learning, encouraged the amended definition in a memo to the Higher Instruction Committee of the Board of Regents past December, he cited “increasing competitors from institutions chartered in other states recruiting students in New York, nationally and internationally, the place the expression ‘college’ provides a significant promoting challenge.”

Changing the prerequisites, which had been in put given that 1969, would enable the state’s institutions “to more proficiently compete and sector their packages within the state, nationally and globally,” he wrote in a memo to the committee.

This was the circumstance for Utica School in central New York, St. Joseph’s Higher education in Brooklyn and Molloy College or university in Long Island, which all have given that been formally identified as universities. At minimum two non-public institutions in the Rochester location, St. John Fisher School and Nazareth College or university, are thinking of changing their designations from colleges to universities.” (Take note: This sentence was revised to reflect that St. John Fisher and Nazareth are looking at getting universities but have not formally sought a modify in designation by the condition Board of Regents.)

“For us, college status conveys increased prestige, has stronger reputational value domestically and internationally, and greater represents the style of institution we are nowadays and what we have previously been in practice for lots of yrs,” a spokesperson for St. John Fisher University claimed in an emailed statement.

At the very least one public institution in New York is also thinking of searching for authorization to phone by itself a college.

SUNY Old Westbury in Extensive Island, just one of 34 four-year establishments in the State College of New York process, still considers alone a university, but it changed its branding about 8 many years back from SUNY College at Old Westbury. Michael Kinane, a faculty spokesperson, reported formal discussions will begin this summertime and continue via the slide semester on no matter whether the establishment ought to formally be designated a university. 

“It has been a when due to the fact we mentioned who we thought we were and what students thought about by themselves,” Kinane explained.

He said the intention is to strike a equilibrium between a marketable model, an identification that represents its presence in the SUNY system as an establishment that matches the definition of “university” and the lifestyle of a shut-knit college or university with modest lessons and a link involving pupils and college associates.

“We’re heading to chat about what it would mean, what our heritage would indicate and how it displays who we are,” he mentioned.

Dominican College officials will invest the summertime eliminating “college” from and introducing “university” to its identify on all the things from business enterprise cards to financial institution accounts to signage—including on the university’s site, which nonetheless refers to it as a higher education in some locations.

The indicator at the entrance to the university was improved on the identical working day the university announced the acceptance of the university designation.

“That was going to be to start with,” Sister Mary Eileen claimed.

The newly named university has due to the fact publicized the modify, and the reception has “been quite good” among the college users, college students, alumni and the bordering community, she stated.

“They’re congratulating us,” she claimed, noting that the new name will not replicate negatively on the background and mother nature of the college. “That closeness, that degree of collegiality with every single other, which is the culture of this college or university, and we don’t consider which is heading to adjust.”

Thomas Hayes, dean of the Williams University of Small business at Xavier University in Ohio and co-founder of an education advertising organization, SimpsonScarborough, explained the impression presented to pupils, school customers, alumni, the educational community and the outside the house entire world is what traditionally has pushed title variations, not just in New York and not just name modifications from “college” to “university.”

“The concept of becoming a university presents the effect that a college is more substantial, with additional breadth,” Hayes said. “That’s an indicator of in which you really should be moving from college or university to university. It provides it a little additional gravitas.”

The changes are not normally universally welcomed. Hayes’s enterprise labored with administrators at Loyola College in Baltimore in the late 2000s to rename the institution Loyola University of Maryland to match its enlargement of method offerings. (By the time the title modify turned formal in 2009, approximately every other establishment named Loyola in the U.S. experienced extended back been selected as a college.)

There was important pushback from alumni who opposed the title modify, said Elizabeth Johnson, co-founder and chairperson of SimpsonScarborough.

“They thought the institution was dropping its individual enchantment, its smaller group come to feel,” she claimed.

Johnson said the distinction concerning “college” and “university” carries great excess weight in the U.S. as well as internationally. She claimed surveys the enterprise has conducted with administrators, possible pupils and their parents suggest “They favor universities to faculties. They believe they are even larger, they imagine they are much better, they think they are more prestigious.”