Otterbein, Antioch University announce partnership

Otterbein and Antioch Universities are combining forces—but not merging—creating an affiliation that aims to create a nationwide college program focused on graduate education and learning and grownup learners.

Mergers and acquisitions across bigger training have produced nationwide headlines in latest several years as colleges make such moves to keep on being afloat. But the affiliation, declared nowadays, in between Otterbein University and Antioch College gives a various solution, one particular additional comparable to a enterprise alliance.

The two universities hope to officially launch shared courses by slide 2023. But they really don’t approach to stop there, as leaders for the two establishments notify Within Better Ed that they intend to deliver much more schools underneath the affiliation umbrella to make the still-to-be-named system genuinely nationwide.

The Prepare

Specifics emerging on the effort and hard work at Otterbein and Antioch—which is unbiased of the far better-recognised Antioch College—are fundamentally a rough sketch. Officials take note they will have to have approval from their recent accreditors, which they anticipate will consider about a year. As they hold out, leaders intend to sharpen their enterprise prepare and produce early applications. Though they’ve recognized parts for collaboration, unique applications have not been declared.

The emphasis will be on graduate schooling, degree completion and workforce progress.

Although tips for the partnership are even now having shape, leaders imagine a method the place every single school maintains its personal special identification, governing board and accreditation when becoming part of a nationwide process that can offer collaborative systems, shared expert services and other pros. Otterbein and other schools signing up for the program that have undergraduates will keep their athletics courses different.

Antioch president William Groves noted that a range of colleges have approached the university—which has various campuses throughout the U.S. and on the web offerings—in latest several years about an affiliation. And even though none of all those partnerships had been workable, it obtained the ball rolling on the notion, so Antioch introduced in a guide and made a listing of probable companions.

Out of all over 60 establishments that were regarded, Groves claimed, Otterbein rose to the major.

“Our intention was to fully grasp the transform in the greater schooling landscape and the consolidation in the market. We needed to be at the beginning of this cycle, not at the finish of it,” he reported. “We preferred to pick out a associate that was correct for Antioch, a single that was targeted on a equivalent mission and worth-based mostly education and learning that Antioch is centered on and has been considering the fact that its inception. Mission was important, financial viability was critical and complementary courses were being crucial.”

With the most important campuses for equally faculties located in Ohio, the partnership can make perception geographically. But extra importantly, Groves reported it would make feeling from a mission standpoint.

John Comerford, president of Otterbein University, noted that calls to acquire partnerships started coming for the duration of the pandemic. Industry problems, this sort of as a shrinking pool of regular undergraduate pupils, also factored into Otterbein’s selection to husband or wife with Antioch to broaden its offerings.

“When we’re generally reliant on 18- to 22-12 months-outdated common undergraduates, we understand the troubles of that market place. How do you think in new strategies about capacity to provide new college students?” Comerford explained.

Becoming a member of forces with Antioch gives an fast expansion to a new market place of students. While Otterbein now gives minimal graduate solutions, this will enable the college to produce far more.

“It’s a way to sustain, at minimum from Otterbein’s seat, the distinctiveness of our common undergraduate software, which is not properly established up structurally for achievement in the adult space,” Comerford said. “But Antioch is, so we can have the best of the two worlds in a design like this.”

And when Otterbein and Antioch are seeking more companions to join the national technique they visualize, Comerford stated they’ll be picky. They are looking for a mission fit as perfectly as fiscal viability, and future companions shouldn’t perspective membership as a Hail Mary for failing faculties.

“I would just say that you have to do this from a position of power,” Comerford explained. “This is not the way to preserve a university which is on death’s door. Which is not what this is about.”

The continue to-building prepare bears some similarities to other higher schooling partnerships. For illustration, the a few-member National University Method brings alongside one another National College, Town College of Seattle and Northcentral University beneath just one umbrella. Likewise, the TCS Education and learning Program, which has 5 higher education partners, is an additional comparative product.

Larger Ed Affiliations

David King, a administration professor at Florida State College who research mergers and acquisitions, reported affiliations across higher education and learning have been trending up in the latest several years. Nevertheless this kind of affiliations aren’t uncommon, he notes they are seen extra in the organization environment.

Affiliations offer particular benefits, these types of as jointly taking care of and advertising and marketing plans.

“That can then lower prices. It is a way of essentially rising the revenues that each would see, and with any luck ,, they’ll be ready to bring in a lot more men and women to it,” King mentioned. “Then it lowers their fees, since they have significantly less amenities, instructors, staff members and other factors.”

Some educational courses are ripe for affiliation, such as people that are expensive to provide. King details to FSU’s joint engineering method with Florida A&M University as one particular this kind of instance.

But King notes that there can be troubles in addition to positive aspects.

“The trouble is that you no longer have as considerably control above your brand name. You’re providing programs that are heading to be taught by another person you didn’t employ the service of, and the high quality of what primarily is sent is only partially less than your control—and that’s frequently exactly where alliances fail,” King claimed.