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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Antioch, Otterbein launch community of faculties to share graduate applications

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After a yr of finessing the construction of and incomes regulatory approval for a first-of-its form increased schooling community, two increased studying establishments with very completely different scholar physique demographics have formally joined forces to develop their college students’ entry to extra tutorial applications.

The Coalition for the Frequent Good is a nonprofit partnership—not a merger— between Otterbein College and Antioch College. On the floor, the 2 personal establishments appear very completely different: Otterbein is a small liberal arts school in Ohio that principally serves undergraduates, whereas Antioch is a non-public establishment with a number of campuses in 4 states targeted on grownup learners and workforce growth.

However by way of the creation of this new, nonprofit partnership introduced Tuesday, leaders of each establishments say the coalition would be the “first nationwide system of upper schooling of affiliated universities organized round a shared mission,” in line with a information launch. Via this mannequin, Otterbein, with out abandoning its identification as an undergraduate-focused establishment, will now be capable to supply its college students extra pathways to graduate {and professional} diploma applications through Antioch’s current applications.

Finally, the coalition plans to usher in extra accomplice establishments and develop its geographic attain and choices even additional.

William Groves, chancellor of Antioch and the newly appointed vp of the coalition, mentioned that in its conceptual phases, management checked out related fashions between different personal, nonprofit establishments. These included the Nationwide College System, which absorbed one in all its associates final summer time, and the TCS Training System, and is aimed toward offering its school companions efficiencies for again workplace providers.

“We wished to do one thing completely different, and a mission wanted to be central to that. Our Antioch mission wanted to be the identical because the mission of the accomplice or affiliate establishments. It wanted to be what we name ‘the justice league,’” Groves mentioned. “With a shared mission and a shared tradition round that mission, there was a a lot larger alternative for achievement for all the opposite issues we wished to perform.”

The coalition’s ensuing shared mission includes “educating college students not solely to advance their careers however to advertise our pluralistic democracy, social, racial, financial and environmental justice, and the widespread good,” in line with a information launch.

A Recreation of ‘Whack-a-Mole’

To make {that a} actuality, Antioch and Otterbein spent roughly $2 million on consulting charges.

In response to John Comerford, president of Otterbein and the newly appointed president of the coalition, ironing out the finer particulars of the plan—resembling reaching affiliation and working agreements—was like taking part in a recreation of “whack-a-mole.” As quickly because it resolved one potential drawback or obstacle, “one other would emerge,” he mentioned. The truth is, the staff labored proper up till the deal closed on June 30 negotiating agreements with insurance coverage firms.

The coalition additionally spent months working with the Greater Studying Fee—each Otterbein and Antioch are already accredited by the HLC—to design a governance and operational construction that ensured that the modern mannequin would meet the accreditor’s requirements.

“HLC welcomes the chance to work with establishments in search of new paths to fulfill scholar wants and guarantee a wholesome future,” Barbara Gellman Danley, the accreditor’s president, mentioned in a press release. “Brainstorming with HLC allowed us to counsel the establishments on insurance policies, whereas working by way of the alternatives and challenges. We assist innovation and agility. It’s secure to say they discovered from us, and we additionally admire the inventive concepts that may be replicable for others.”

The fee has formally authorised the creation of the brand new construction and the Ohio Division of Greater Training adopted with its approval; post-closure approvals from the U.S. Division of Training are pending. The federal company didn’t reply to requests for remark in regards to the creation of the coalition.

How It Will Work

Because the settlement stands now, a shared board, made up of 4 members from every establishment and one unbiased member, will oversee all choices that have an effect on the coalition as a complete. These choices might embrace taking over new debt or launching new applications to stop overlap, particularly within the realm of grownup schooling.

Underneath this settlement, in line with the Ohio Division of Greater Training, “Antioch will then be a enterprise unit of that shared entity, and Otterbein will turn out to be a subsidiary of this new father or mother entity.” On the similar time, “Otterbein may also stay a separate company and diploma granting establishment,” sustaining its personal board, its current HLC accreditation, state authorization and federal post-secondary identification quantity.

The coalition is able to transfer ahead with realizing a imaginative and prescient that’s been within the works since 2018.

“Our view was: ‘Let’s do one thing distinctive. Let’s do one thing that enables each events to have their very own identities as companions, their very own boards, their very own tutorial applications,” Groves mentioned. The intent is to “work towards offering alternatives for college kids that collectively are past what we might do individually.”

College students may have elevated alternatives to pursue instructional choices at each establishments beneath the coalition mannequin. The establishments will mix their graduate applications (overseen by Antioch) to supply college students entry to extra applications.

For instance, Antioch is within the course of of making a brand new Graduate College of Nursing and Well being Sciences, that in flip will develop Otterbein’s graduate applications in nursing, allied well being and athletic coaching doubtlessly as early as subsequent fall. The coalition can also be designing a grasp’s diploma program in vitamin and dietetics along with making a joint grasp’s in enterprise administration program.

Otterbein and Antioch have already collaborated to deliver a Scientific Psychological Well being Counseling graduate program to central Ohio, in an effort to scale back the area’s scarcity in psychological well being counselors. Central Ohio presently has greater than 1,700 annual job openings for psychological well being counselors in line with Lightcast, a market analytics firm, and that quantity is anticipated to rise to 2,200 by 2031.

However Groves emphasised that the entire applications which will come out of the coalition will characteristic curriculums targeted on social justice, with the view that increased schooling’s position is about “extra than simply educating for careers,” however fairly “an essential side in sustaining a democracy.”

Future Companions

That’s one attribute the coalition shall be searching for in potential accomplice establishments. Each Groves and Comerford mentioned they intend to deliver extra establishments into the coalition, although which of them and when aren’t but clear.

“We had a dozen or so colleges attain out with some curiosity, however we’ve largely put these conversations on the backburner as a result of it’s sophisticated sufficient to get this achieved with two events,” Comerford mentioned. “We couldn’t add a 3rd or fourth get together—the regulatory setting doesn’t encourage that.”

Now that the coalition has launched, it’s resuming these conversations.

“We don’t have a method for it nevertheless it definitely includes issues like location. Are they in a spot the place there may be an grownup studying market to be accessed?,” Comerford mentioned. Different concerns embrace the present graduate and grownup education schemes a possible accomplice already has, and if these are one thing “we don’t presently have” and “might leverage nationally.”

Monetary stability is one other essential issue, because it was when Otterbein and Antioch first determined to collaborate. “This isn’t a option to save a faculty on the sting of closing its doorways,” Comerford mentioned. “You could have to have the ability to make investments to make it occur.” However crucial factor, mentioned Comerford, who characterised status as “a rot” in increased schooling, is discovering establishments that even have equity- and access-focused missions.

“This isn’t about rankings and status. This isn’t about closing the door on extra deserving college students,” he mentioned. “There’s quite a lot of colleges on the market that share that alignment with us, however not each faculty will.”

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