Two Universities Team Up to Stay Alive, But Stop Short of Merging

Colleges don’t like to think of themselves as corporations, but a increasing variety these days are going through the severe actuality of slipping enrollments and a battle to make their economical numbers insert up. That has compelled several establishments to merge in new months.

But two non-public universities are hoping an strange partnership method that stops limited of a merger though nevertheless aiming to restore fiscal wellbeing.

The universities—Otterbein College and Antioch University—will share prices and jointly control graduate-amount courses and career certificates and badges for adult learners, although hanging onto independence in their undergraduate offerings.

The hope is to deliver in extra earnings at significantly less cost, without compromising their undergraduate operations, college leaders say.

It is a kind of open up romantic relationship, a little something that they hope to scale by bringing in other institutions into what they are contacting a “unique” college process. The two universities say that other non-public colleges have expressed original interest.

Pockets of Innovation

Experts look at the arrangement as an case in point of faculties imagining additional collaboratively, as universities with no instantly-recognizable manufacturer names attempt to locate a area of interest in a time of demographic variations and raising competition from on the net suppliers.

This fledgling community of faculties is not the only illustration of new forms of partnerships. Those people in the room say there are pockets of innovation out there, hoping to retain institutions from flatlining.

“I think faculty presidents are recognizing that the enterprise product that has guided greater schooling for, gosh, nearly 250 a long time now, is damaged,” states Jeffrey Docking, president of Adrian College in Michigan. Innovating is no for a longer period a want, but “a need for survival” as it’s turn into too pricey to maintain accomplishing things the aged way, Docking says.

Docking’s school is affiliated with Rize Instruction and the Decreased Charge Versions Consortium, a procedure for sharing courses across establishments. Other consortiums consist of TCS Education System, an integrated, nonprofit process founded in 2009, that enables schools to act collaboratively with shared companies organizations.

Numerous cooperative models are likely to emphasis on economical management—cutting down prices by running again offices collectively, for example—or on a shared spiritual or geographic id, like the Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Increased Training, which describes what it does as “regional cooperation.”

The Antioch and Otterbein method, even though, facilities on a shared philosophy.

A single way forward for small faculties is to produce a distinct system product. “What’s interesting about this” Mary Marcy, president of Dominican University of California, claims, “is that rather than carrying out it independently, they are in fact partnering close to a widespread established of values and mission all over social justice and democracy.”

They are reinventing in a partnership without either dropping their core identities that extend again into the abolitionist motion. And that is perhaps new, Marcy claims.


Schools like Otterbein cannot drop back on prestige to seize pupils. Its leaders say they would not want to.

“Otterbein has in no way truly cared about status,” states John Comerford, president of Otterbein College. “One of our favorite phrases is: ‘Do the suitable issue just before it can be popular.’ And Antioch has a related vibe.”

The aim on status demonstrates an extremely aggressive method to bigger ed, Comerford argues, which he suggests is truly a sort of “elitism.”

“The truth is that measures of prestige are likely to measure exclusivity,” Comerford suggests, including, “We’d a great deal alternatively be inclusive and carry more men and women to increased ed, even if U.S. Information will never reward us for it. We do not care.”

As a substitute, Otterbein intends to tap into underserved populations, he states, letting institutions to do the job with grownup learners who can step into workforce and societal requirements, getting rid of the need for such serious competitiveness in between universities.

Refocusing on Adult Learning

Part of this change will convey organizations extra into the fold as the schools develop out stackable credentials—shorter certificates that learners can string with each other to make additional standard degrees—as aspect of their grownup mastering systems, along with undergraduate packages and traditional graduate kinds.

College or university presidents and admissions officers are recognizing that just one motive men and women are not submitting into faculties any longer is due to the fact of the availability of employment for those people with badges fairly than a standard 4-year diploma, Docking says.

To Antioch, it’s a refocus on grownup learners and a way to keep rising interactions with businesses. There’s a escalating willingness of businesses to train existing employees to go up inside their corporations relatively than bringing in new people, states William Groves, chancellor of Antioch College. This provides an possibility to function with learners to “tailor the applications to their needs” in a way that’s great-tuned, Groves says. It is also convenient for performing grown ups, he argues.

Otterbein could not genuinely pull off its new tactic on its personal because it just can’t scale to meet up with the demands of employers, Comerford states. “But we hope this technique allows us to have individuals discussions.”

Some professors say they welcome the chance to get to additional grownup and continuing learners. “The principal issue that we’re interested in is expanding alternatives for grownup learners and graduate learners,” claims John Tansey, a chemistry professor and school trustee at Otterbein. The partnership, he provides, gives them flexibility in offering those people college students a way into very good occupations.

The new arrangement also matches with the institutions’ social-justice mission, since it engages underserved studying populations, university leaders assert. In addition to programs that may possibly have precise content on individuals subjects, expanding company to adult learners will “act out social justice,” university leaders argue, by increasing access to job possibilities.

This hottest announcement may perhaps not be a “tectonic adjust,” Docking suggests, but it’s a signal to their communities that they’re heading to use the world-wide-web and hybrid understanding to change.

The two unanswered concerns about this initiative are whether there’s sufficient scholar curiosity to make it scalable and whether or not it will make plenty of economical difference to preserve the establishments afloat, Docking claims.