Otterbein and Antioch Universities are combining forces—but not merging—creating an affiliation that aims to construct a nationwide university procedure concentrated on graduate schooling and grownup learners.

Mergers and acquisitions throughout greater training have built nationwide headlines in current a long time as faculties make this sort of moves to continue to be afloat. But the affiliation, announced these days, concerning Otterbein College and Antioch University provides a distinctive solution, one particular additional equivalent to a small business alliance.

The two universities hope to formally start shared courses by slide 2023. But they never plan to prevent there, as leaders for the two institutions explain to Inside of Bigger Ed that they intend to carry additional schools under the affiliation umbrella to make the yet-to-be-named program genuinely countrywide.

The System

Aspects rising on the work at Otterbein and Antioch—which is independent of the far better-known Antioch College—are effectively a tough sketch. Officers take note they will need to have approval from their latest accreditors, which they foresee will take about a calendar year. As they hold out, leaders intend to sharpen their business enterprise approach and create early packages. Although they’ve discovered regions for collaboration, distinct applications haven’t been introduced.

The concentration will be on graduate education and learning, degree completion and workforce development.

Although thoughts for the partnership are nonetheless using condition, leaders imagine a process exactly where every single university maintains its personal distinctive id, governing board and accreditation when staying aspect of a national process that can give collaborative courses, shared expert services and other positive aspects. Otterbein and other faculties signing up for the procedure that have undergraduates will retain their athletics courses different.

Antioch president William Groves observed that a variety of colleges have approached the university—which has many campuses throughout the U.S. and online offerings—in current a long time about an affiliation. And whilst none of those partnerships had been workable, it acquired the ball rolling on the plan, so Antioch introduced in a expert and produced a checklist of opportunity partners.

Out of close to 60 institutions that were being considered, Groves stated, Otterbein rose to the leading.

“Our goal was to comprehend the adjust in the higher education landscape and the consolidation in the market. We needed to be at the commencing of this cycle, not at the conclude of it,” he explained. “We wanted to pick out a partner that was ideal for Antioch, just one that was concentrated on a similar mission and value-based mostly instruction that Antioch is targeted on and has been since its inception. Mission was crucial, financial viability was significant and complementary systems have been critical.”

With the major campuses for both equally faculties positioned in Ohio, the partnership makes perception geographically. But a lot more importantly, Groves said it can make perception from a mission standpoint.

John Comerford, president of Otterbein University, mentioned that calls to produce partnerships began coming in the course of the pandemic. Marketplace problems, this kind of as a shrinking pool of traditional undergraduate students, also factored into Otterbein’s selection to lover with Antioch to expand its offerings.

“When we’re principally reliant on 18- to 22-yr-aged common undergraduates, we fully grasp the issues of that industry. How do you consider in new techniques about ability to provide new students?” Comerford said.

Signing up for forces with Antioch provides an fast expansion to a new market place of learners. Whilst Otterbein by now presents constrained graduate solutions, this will allow the university to acquire far more.

“It’s a way to sustain, at least from Otterbein’s seat, the distinctiveness of our traditional undergraduate application, which is not perfectly established up structurally for success in the adult place,” Comerford mentioned. “But Antioch is, so we can have the finest of the two worlds in a design like this.”

And although Otterbein and Antioch are in search of extra companions to be part of the nationwide system they visualize, Comerford stated they’ll be picky. They are searching for a mission suit as perfectly as economical viability, and future companions shouldn’t view membership as a Hail Mary for failing faculties.

“I would just say that you have to do this from a situation of energy,” Comerford mentioned. “This is not the way to save a faculty which is on death’s doorway. Which is not what this is about.”

The nevertheless-acquiring prepare bears some similarities to other greater instruction partnerships. For instance, the three-member National University Program provides collectively Nationwide University, Town College of Seattle and Northcentral University below a single umbrella. Likewise, the TCS Schooling Program, which has 5 school companions, is a further comparative product.

Greater Ed Affiliations

David King, a administration professor at Florida State University who scientific studies mergers and acquisitions, explained affiliations across higher instruction have been trending up in latest many years. Nevertheless this sort of affiliations are not uncommon, he notes they are observed more in the business enterprise world.

Affiliations give particular benefits, these kinds of as jointly taking care of and internet marketing courses.

“That can then lower prices. It is a way of effectively expanding the revenues that equally would see, and with any luck ,, they’ll be able to entice additional people to it,” King claimed. “Then it lowers their prices, for the reason that they have much less facilities, instructors, workers and other points.”

Some tutorial plans are ripe for affiliation, such as all those that are high priced to offer. King points to FSU’s joint engineering software with Florida A&M College as just one this kind of illustration.

But King notes that there can be troubles in addition to positive aspects.

“The difficulty is that you no for a longer period have as considerably regulate around your model. You’re offering programs that are heading to be taught by someone you did not employ, and the quality of what effectively is delivered is only partly under your control—and that’s often where by alliances are unsuccessful,” King mentioned.