Sunday, April 1, 2018

Layoffs a Result of Boston University and Wheelock College Merger

One of the main reasons holding back proposed mergers of colleges and universities is the fear of faculty and staff reductions. This is why the mergers that tend to have the least resistance from constituents are those that are mission-complimentary and do not entail duplication of academic areas, i.e. merging a freestanding law school or medical school into a comprehensive university.

Sometimes there are mergers with duplication of academic programs, however, and a reduction in personnel is required to effect the merger and achieve much-needed financial savings. This is the case of the upcoming merger between Boston University and Wheelock College. All tenured faculty from Wheelock College will be retained, though 111 employees will be laid off. Those being laid off will receive severance pay and outplacement services offered by the University.

Inside Higher Ed to Host Event on University Mergers

As part of its 2018 Leadership Series, Inside Higher Ed will host a one-day conference in Washington, DC entitled Joining Forces: Merger and Collaboration Strategies. The event is in partnership with Gallup, and will take place at the Gallup world headquarters.

Speakers at the event include leaders from Boston University and Wheelock College, which last year announced plans to merge.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Jefferson College of Health Sciences to Merge with Radford University

Jefferson College of Health Sciences, owned by Carillon Clinic, will merge with the Radford University Waldron College of Health and Human Services. The merger will take up to two years to complete, as the private college will be merged with the public university. Leaders tout the potential for growth in medical education in the Roanoke area.

EdSurge: Consolidation, Collaboration or Closure? How Colleges Stay Alive in 2018

EdSurge recently published a column interviewing several higher education experts on their projections for college and university consolidations, collaborations and closures for 2018. While all experts project that significantly more partnerships, alliances and collaboration are to come, projections vary on the amount of consolidations and closures. While three experts do not project a significant increase in mergers and consolidations in 2018 as compared to 2017, one projected double the amount this year.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

National Conversation on University Mergers Continues

With college and university mergers more common than ever, and speculation continuing of even more, higher education experts are weighing in on the prospects of mergers for the future. Brian C. Mitchell writes for the Huffington Post about the financial strain on many institutions and the drive towards mergers for some as a means for survival.

James Martin and James E. Samels build upon their existing research on university mergers with their new book "Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities." They write for HigherEdJobs about the benefits of merging colleges for mutual growth, taking advantage of synergies and opportunities for strategic collaboration between two or more institutions.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Featured in Interview Regarding Rider University Divestment of Westminster Choir College

I recently participated in a radio interview on WWFM The Classical Network (New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and portions of Delaware and Maryland) regarding the announced divestment of Westminster Choir College by Rider University. Rider announced a 12-month process whereby it is working with PricewaterhouseCoopers to identify a potential buyer for WCC. I spoke about the challenges ahead for the institutions, especially in finding a potential new home for WCC. The issue has been an emotional one, with supporters of WCC concerned that Rider would assimilate the WCC programs on Rider's main campus, thus abandoning the WCC campus in Princeton, or simply eliminate the WCC programs altogether and sell off the WCC assets on the Princeton campus. WCC supporters were given a reprieve when Rider announced that officials would work to identify a new home for WCC, but identification of a new home is not guaranteed by any means. In the interview, I highlight the challenges of finding a suitor for WCC, including one that fits within the mission/scope, financial and geographic criteria. The process will be a difficult one, and WCC leadership and supporters should be prepared to be open-minded and flexible throughout the process to ensure the continued existence of the college. Options for keeping the doors open could include merging with an institution that is geographically far away, relocating its campus (which it did twice in its history) or becoming independent again, which would entail a retool of its business model. The portion of the audio recording including my remarks begins at the 18:20 mark of the interview.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mergers of Two-Year Institutions with Four-Year Institutions Explored

Some states including Georgia are exploring mergers of two-year and four-year higher education institutions, in part to help with student retention and graduation rates. Proponents assert that these combinations can help students to persist and succeed within the institutions while helping to reduce costs.