6 strategies for a successful college merger
- Research has projected that a number of universities and colleges will merge over the next decade, but institutions weighing such a move should consider some key strategies, including how the connection benefits each institution and whether other alternatives exist for collaboration.
- In an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Stephen Spinelli Jr., chancellor emeritus of Thomas Jefferson University and previously president of Philadelphia University which merged last year to form Jefferson, offers six recommendations, for college mergers, a trend he foresees will grow.
- He also suggests that institutions considering such a move make sure they will stand out competitively after the merger, engage the faculty early, prepare for accreditation challenges and refocus and define recruitment efforts during the transition.
The trend toward mergers was evident when Connecticut officials recently approved the regionalization of 12 community colleges in a step that will lead to mergers. Georgia has combined two- and four-year institutions, and Louisiana has announced it will merge its eight technical and community college campuses. A successful consolidation 20 years ago in Kentucky has resulted in a 20% increase in enrollment in that state's two-year system.
State officials in Wisconsin recently approved a plan that would merge some of its 13 two-year colleges to make them part of state four-year universities and Pennsylvania officials have considered a similar plan, among a number of options they are studying.
Two universities in Oakland have considered merging because one has struggled and another has been more successful, in part because of its emphasis on health care education.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Thinking About a Merger? Read This First