Otterbein and Antioch Universities are combining forces—but not merging—creating an affiliation that aims to make a nationwide college process targeted on graduate education and learning and grownup learners.
Mergers and acquisitions across higher education have created nationwide headlines in recent yrs as schools make these types of moves to keep on being afloat. But the affiliation, declared currently, involving Otterbein University and Antioch University offers a diverse solution, one particular far more comparable to a enterprise alliance.
The two universities hope to officially start shared applications by fall 2023. But they don’t prepare to stop there, as leaders for the two institutions tell Inside of Larger Ed that they intend to provide far more colleges less than the affiliation umbrella to make the nonetheless-to-be-named program definitely national.
Particulars rising on the energy at Otterbein and Antioch—which is impartial of the far better-regarded Antioch College—are effectively a rough sketch. Officials take note they will require acceptance from their latest accreditors, which they foresee will acquire about a calendar year. As they hold out, leaders intend to sharpen their enterprise program and produce early applications. Nevertheless they’ve discovered locations for collaboration, specific programs haven’t been introduced.
The emphasis will be on graduate education and learning, degree completion and workforce advancement.
Nevertheless ideas for the partnership are still using condition, leaders envision a procedure where by each individual college maintains its possess exclusive identification, governing board and accreditation whilst staying section of a nationwide technique that can present collaborative plans, shared solutions and other rewards. Otterbein and other colleges becoming a member of the procedure that have undergraduates will hold their athletics plans separate.
Antioch president William Groves pointed out that a number of schools have approached the university—which has many campuses across the U.S. and on the net offerings—in the latest many years about an affiliation. And though none of people partnerships ended up workable, it obtained the ball rolling on the plan, so Antioch introduced in a marketing consultant and made a record of prospective partners.
Out of all around 60 establishments that were viewed as, Groves explained, Otterbein rose to the prime.
“Our target was to understand the transform in the larger training landscape and the consolidation in the market. We preferred to be at the starting of this cycle, not at the conclusion of it,” he reported. “We desired to pick out a spouse that was proper for Antioch, one that was focused on a equivalent mission and benefit-primarily based schooling that Antioch is targeted on and has been because its inception. Mission was crucial, economical viability was significant and complementary courses were critical.”
With the major campuses for both equally faculties positioned in Ohio, the partnership will make sense geographically. But extra importantly, Groves said it makes feeling from a mission standpoint.
John Comerford, president of Otterbein College, noted that phone calls to establish partnerships started coming through the pandemic. Sector challenges, these types of as a shrinking pool of classic undergraduate college students, also factored into Otterbein’s choice to companion with Antioch to grow its offerings.
“When we’re mostly reliant on 18- to 22-year-aged standard undergraduates, we fully grasp the challenges of that market. How do you feel in new strategies about means to provide new pupils?” Comerford mentioned.
Signing up for forces with Antioch presents an fast expansion to a new market of learners. Even though Otterbein currently delivers restricted graduate choices, this will make it possible for the university to develop extra.
“It’s a way to preserve, at minimum from Otterbein’s seat, the distinctiveness of our classic undergraduate program, which is not very well set up structurally for success in the adult area,” Comerford reported. “But Antioch is, so we can have the best of each worlds in a design like this.”
And even though Otterbein and Antioch are in search of added companions to be a part of the national technique they imagine, Comerford said they’ll be picky. They are seeking a mission suit as nicely as economic viability, and future partners should not view membership as a Hail Mary for failing faculties.
“I would just say that you have to do this from a situation of power,” Comerford explained. “This is not the way to save a faculty that’s on death’s door. Which is not what this is about.”
The continue to-creating strategy bears some similarities to other higher education partnerships. For case in point, the 3-member National University Method delivers together Countrywide College, City University of Seattle and Northcentral College below a person umbrella. Equally, the TCS Education and learning Process, which has 5 school associates, is another comparative model.
Increased Ed Affiliations
David King, a administration professor at Florida Point out University who experiments mergers and acquisitions, mentioned affiliations across better instruction have been trending up in current several years. While such affiliations are not unheard of, he notes they are seen extra in the small business earth.
Affiliations provide sure strengths, such as jointly controlling and marketing and advertising applications.
“That can then reduce prices. It is a way of fundamentally rising the revenues that both would see, and with any luck ,, they’ll be able to appeal to far more people today to it,” King explained. “Then it lowers their expenses, because they have significantly less amenities, instructors, staff and other points.”
Some tutorial courses are ripe for affiliation, these as all those that are costly to supply. King factors to FSU’s joint engineering method with Florida A&M University as 1 this kind of illustration.
But King notes that there can be challenges in addition to added benefits.
“The dilemma is that you no extended have as significantly regulate about your model. You’re providing classes that are likely to be taught by another person you did not seek the services of, and the high quality of what primarily is sent is only partly beneath your control—and that is typically wherever alliances are unsuccessful,” King said.
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