2022 Inside the National University and Northcentral University merger


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Nationwide College has large plans. The California-based establishment, the place most college students take the vast majority of their courses on-line, is aiming to develop its footprint throughout the nation by specializing in workforce-oriented credentials and decreasing costs. 

The establishment is a part of the Nationwide College System, a set of nonprofit schools and different education-related organizations. As a part of the plan to give attention to workforce coaching applications, Northcentral College, a graduate establishment that the system acquired in 2019, is merging into Nationwide College

The mixed establishment will retain Nationwide College’s identify and enroll over 45,000 college students. Officers say Northcentral brings an enormous suite of graduate applications whereas Nationwide gives experience in serving grownup learners, sometimes considered college students aged 25 and older. 

Michael Cunningham is Nationwide College’s interim president and Nationwide College System’s chancellor. We spoke with him concerning the merger, Nationwide College’s broader plans and the way the establishment is reshaping the school function. 

This interview has been edited for readability and brevity. 

HIGHER ED DIVE: One of the crucial difficult facets of mergers and acquisitions could be mixing two cultures collectively. How is that course of going? 

MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM: It is crucial. Lots of people give attention to the monetary due diligence, which is essential, and synergies between administration groups, however the true essence is the merging of the cultures. 

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham

Permission granted by Nationwide College


That is why we did it so properly. We affiliated with Northcentral over three years in the past. We bought to know one another, and we’re going via a serious transformation now. We’ve got a serious guide we have been working with over the past two years on this nationwide enlargement, and we’ve all these workgroups. We have merged all of the individuals — the professors, school, employees — for each organizations engaged on initiatives for the transformation. 

We have been working aspect by aspect very successfully for two 1/2 years now. It is time to come collectively.

The announcement mentioned Nationwide College is going totally online as a part of this merger. What’s the timetable for that? 

I might say we’re going completely on-line to the extent that the programmatic choices and modalities permit us to. As an example, we’ve an ideal nursing program. That is on-ground. We’ve got nice forensic science labs. We’ll proceed to do this. For veterans, we will proceed to have across-the-country websites the place they will are available particular person to class, however that does not imply we will have campuses all throughout the nation. It simply implies that we’ll have partnerships with group schools and partnerships with different universities to guarantee that we’ve choices in and of the communities wherein we serve.

Once I got here on board round 10 years in the past, we had been 60% on-ground and 40% on-line. Right this moment, that quantity is nearer to 90% on-line. Not solely is it on-line, however the majority of the programs are asynchronous on-line programs. 

Why is that so necessary? It is an fairness subject. When you’ve got a mother working full time within the day and she will solely take courses at three within the morning, asynchronous programs can be found to her at that cut-off date. If you happen to’re on the East Coast or the West Coast, we wish to be sure you can take courses anytime that you really want. That is a part of our technique going ahead. 

Inform me about these partnerships with different universities and group schools. What would that seem like? 

In California, we are the largest switch college within the state for group schools. We’re planning to take that mannequin throughout the nation and actually help group faculty college students after they wish to switch and end their levels with us. 

They’ve numerous additional house so we plan on, and we’re, partnering with group schools.

Despite the fact that Nationwide College has been doing on-line for awhile, is there something you’ve improved upon throughout the pandemic? 

We introduced on a brand new gentleman who’s revamping the way in which we truly create programs to make them actually thrilling and be certain that college students are having the very best expertise they will. 

Our professors are leaning in. We simply modified our school mannequin the place the vast majority of their time will probably be spent mentoring, teaching, being in entrance of the scholars, and actually growing caring relationships with them. Our college students want our school to assist them alongside. Numerous our grownup learners have not been in class in a very long time they usually want that additional help.

Talking of adjusting the school mannequin, there was a 2021 report from the American Affiliation of College Professors that mentioned the normal tutorial governance at Nationwide College “plunged into an abysmal situation” over the establishment’s determination to abrogate school contracts and droop school insurance policies. 

I carry this up as a result of the president on the time of Nationwide College mentioned these modifications had been essential to introduce new insurance policies to fulfill the college’s purpose of emphasizing workforce applications at a cheaper price level. Do you suppose the report pretty characterised this transfer for example of declining tutorial governance? 

We’ve got over 3,000 full-time and part-time school within the Nationwide College System

Possibly 20 or fewer are AAUP members. The overwhelming majority of the school members are actually, actually upset with that assertion as a result of it was not true. 


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