Colleges are in crisis

Colleges are in crisis

August 21, 2019 10 By Stanley Isaacs


HIGHER EDUCATION IS THAT OTHER
SCHOOLS MAY FOLLOW IN THEIR
FOOTSTEPS. THEN HE ENROLLED AT NEWBURY
COLLEGE EXPECTING TO GRADUATE IN
2021. NO SHE’S TRANSFERRING INSTEAD
BECAUSE
A WILL CLOSE ITS DOORS FOREVER
AFTER THIS SEMESTER. — NEWBURY COLLEGE WILL CLOSE
ITS DOORS FOREVER AFTER THIS
SEMESTER.>>MY MAIN CONCERN WAS, YOU
KNOW, IS SOMEONE GOING TO HONOR
MY SCHOLARSHIP? IN SUMMARY GOING TO TAKE ALL MY
CREDITS?>>HER CLASSMATES HAD SIMILAR
ISSUES.>>I WAS IN DISBELIEF.>>WHAT FREAKED ME OUT THE MOST
WAS THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE
FUTURE.>>WAS STUDENTS ARE EXPERIENCIN
HIGHER EDUCATION ACROSS THE
COUNTRY IS FACING DEMOGRAPHIC
AND ECONOMIC CHALLENGES,
CHALLENGES FORCING SOME SMALLER
PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS TO CLOSE OR SEEK NEW STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS. SINCE 2016, MORE THAN 20 NEW
ENGLAND COLLEGES HAVE CLOSED,
CONSOLIDATED, MERGED, OR WERE
ACQUIRED BY ANOTHER
INSTITUTIONS. THERE ARE MULTIPLE REASONS FOR
THE TURMOIL ACCORDING TO THE
NEWBURY COLLEGE PRESIDENT.>>WE FOCUSED ON A PRIMARY
REVENUE STREAM. WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO
DIVERSIFY OUR ENROLLMENTS. WE RELY ON A VERY HEAVY
18-YEAR-OLD FRESHMAN CLASS TO
COME IN AND WHEN THOSE NUMBERS
DO NOT COME IN, THERE IS A
SPIRALING EFFECT.>>IN DECEMBER, HE ANNOUNCED TO
FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS
THAT NEWBERRY COLLEGE WOULD
CLOSE AT THE END OF THE YEAR.>>I FEEL BAD FOR OUR STUDENTS
AT THE END OF THE DAY, KNOWING
THAT THEY CAME TO AN
INSTITUTION. THIS IS WHERE THEY WANTED TO
GRADUATE. THEY WANTED US TO BE THERE ALMA
MATER AND THE REALITY IS THEY
WILL NOT GET THAT CHANCE.>>THE DECISION DID NOT COME
LIGHTLY. WORKING WITH CREDITORS AND
REGULATORS, HE AND HIS TEAM SET
UP A PLAN TO HELP STUDENTS.>>WE STARTED REACHING OUT EARLY
TO THE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
WE HAVE MEMORANDUMS OF
UNDERSTANDING WITH. MORE THAN A DOZEN INSTITUTIONS
STEPPED FORWARD TO HELP OUR
STUDENTS. WE HAD A PLAN IN PLACE BEFORE WE
EVEN MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT.>>IN AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS,
HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE FACES SIMILAR
CHALLENGES. THE SCHOOL’S FINANCIAL TURMOIL
HAS THE CAMPUS DIVIDED OVER HOW
TO MOVE FORWARD.>>THE AMBIGUITY OF WHERE WE ARE
RIGHT NOW, BEING SO PUBLIC IS
VERY TOUGH.>>A FORMER PRESIDENT’S CHOICE
TO CONSIDER MERGING WITH ANOTHER
INSTITUTION GENERATED
OPPOSITION, RESULTING IN HER
RESIGNATION FROM HER JOB.>>IS A MINORITY OF FOLKS THAT
HAVE BEEN VERY CHALLENGING FOR
ME PERSONALLY AND IN TERMS OF
THE NAMES I’VE BEEN CALLED AND
THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES ON WHAT
I’M UP TO, IT IS QUITE EXTRAORDINARY.>>WE SPOKE WITH HER BEFORE SHE
ANNOUNCED HER DECISION.>>I KNEW THAT WE HAD TO CHANGE
PRETTY DRAMATICALLY. NOT TWEAKS AT THE MARGINS. WHEN WE STARTED TO LOOK AT WHAT
IS HAPPENING IN HIGHER
EDUCATION, GOING THROUGH THE
GREATEST DISRUPTION WE HAVE EVER
FACED, THINKING ABOUT FINDING A
STRATEGIC PARTNER THAT WAS ALIGNED WITH OUR CORE VALUES AND
A VALUED OUR EDUCATIONAL MISSION
SEEMED LIKE THE MOST PRUDENT WAY
TO MOVE FORWARD.>>IN HER RESIGNATION LETTER,
SHE STATES, “WE MADE SOME
PROGRESS IN FINDING A
SUSTAINABLE AND IMPACTFUL
FUTURE. THE MERE FACT THAT WE WERE DOING
SO PULLED OUR COMMUNITY APART.”
MANY HOPED THE PROGRESSIVE
COLLEGE WILL CONTINUE ITS
INDEPENDENT OPERATION.>>WE WERE FOUNDED ON SOME
SPECIFIC IDEAS AND I HELP WE CAN
CONTAIN THAT. I WOULD DEFINITELY RATHER SEE IT
INDEPENDENT BECAUSE IT IS
HAMPSHIRE. THAT IS WHAT IT HAS BEEN, SO WE
— BUT WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.>>BACK AT NEWBERRY, THE SENIOR
CLASS IS PREPARING FOR WHAT WILL
BE THE COLLEGE’S FINAL
GRADUATION. THEY WILL RECEIVE DEGREES FROM
AN INSTITUTION THAT WILL CEASE
TO EXIST AFTER THEY ARE HAMMERED
— HANDED THEIR DIPLOMAS. UNDERCLASSMEN ARE SEEKING TO
FIND NEW HOMES.>>I REALIZED THERE WERE A LOT
OF PEOPLE TO HELP ME AND I GOT
THROUGH IT PRETTY QUICKLY.>>IT HAS BEEN A TRANSTION FOR
STAFFERS AS WELL.>>THE ADMISSIONS STAFF IS THE
FIRST TO GO WHEN A COLLEGE
ANNOUNCES THEY ARE GOING TO GO. WE ASKED OUR TEAM NOT TO GO. WE REVERSED THEIR ROLE. INSTEAD OF ADMISSIONS
COORDINATORS.>>KIND OF DEVELOPED A TRANSFER
MAP, WHAT I’M GOING TO DO, WHERE
I’M GOING TO GO, AND HOW I’M
GOING TO DO IT.>>RIGHT NOW, THIS IS THE HARD
PART OF MAKING SURE WE END ON
THE RIGHT NOTE, THAT WE TAKE
CARE OF OUR PEOPLE AND
UNDERSTAND IT IS THE MISSION AND
OUR STUDENTS THAT DESERVE THE BIGGEST PRIORITY AT THIS TIME.>>BACK TO HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE, IN
ADDITION TO PRESIDENT NELSON,
TWO TRUSTEES INCLUDING THE CHAIR
OF THE BOARD ALSO RESIGNED. FORMER TRUSTEE KENNETH ROSENTHAL
IS INTERIM PRESIDENT AND THE
BOARD VOTED TO START A
FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN TO REMAIN
INDEPENDENT. COLLEGES G