Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mississippi Mergers Update

The bill to merge three historically Black institutions in Mississippi recently died in committee. In the meantime, Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women are exploring opportunities for enhanced collaboration. An opportunity to cut costs, MUW President Dr. Claudia Limbert prefers to call the arrangements "shared services." Departments that may be consolidated include accounting, human resources and payroll. Dual degree programs have also been announced in culinary arts and nursing. While stressed as "not a merger," this type of collaboration is quickly being hailed as the type of cooperation that may serve as a model for other institutions in the state.

In the end, while merger proponents may not have the mergers they wanted, this collaboration between MSU and MUW is likely more than what would have taken place otherwise. It is important to note that the collaboration discussions between MSU and MUW were initiated from within the institutions. Under this impetus, decisions such as these are likely to take root. Being pressured by external forces only emboldens resistance. It is the concept of having something done "to" you as opposed to "by" you. Kudos to the leaders of these two institutions for recognizing an opportunity to make a positive change from this situation. It will be interesting to see if any other institutions in the state follow suit.