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.

Two Nazarene Institutions to Explore Merger

Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN will explore a possible merger with Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., Trevecca President Dan Boone will lead both institutions during a full merger analysis period of up to three years. The goal is to reduce costs by consolidating backroom functions such as financial aid processing.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Oregon Lawmaker Proposes Voluntary Mergers of Community Colleges and Universities

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney introduced a bill that would allow Oregon community colleges and public universities to voluntarily merge. Courtney remarked on the potential for institutional savings, as well as the ease and possible personal savings for students moving across the state higher education system.

Merger Approved Between Georgia State University and Armstrong State University

The Georgia Board of Regents approved a merger between Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University. The combined institution will be known as Georgia Southern University and be led by GSU President Jaime Hebert. The two institutions are one hour apart and serve many of the same students. The combined institution will have more than 27,000 students, making it the fourth largest public university in Georgia. Opinions on the merger include those cautiously optimistic, with a focus on a transparent process, to concerns among students regarding the loss of institutional identity.