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Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities

, 272 pages

2 maps, 8 graphs

December 2016



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Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities

New Strategies for Higher Education Leaders

Leaderhsip Summit VIDEO of Consolidating Colleges by Martin & Samels

VIDEO DISCUSSION of Consolidating Colleges by Martin & Samels

New England Board of Higher Education Q&A


Since the economic recession of 2008, colleges and universities have looked for ways to lower costs while increasing incomes. Not all have succeeded. Threatened closures and recent institutional mergers point to what might be a coming trend in higher education. The long-term economic weakness of colleges and universities means schools need to become more strategic about how they consider previously unthinkable options. This provocative book will be their indispensable guide to managing the crisis.

In Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities, James Martin and James E. Samels bring together higher education leaders to talk about something that few want to discuss: how institutions might cooperate with their competitors to survive in this economic climate. Barring that, Martin and Samels argue, some will shutter their campuses. But closing, they emphasize, is a complex process that involves more than just sending the students home and turning off the lights.

The first one-volume resource for presidents, trustees, provosts, chief financial officers, and faculty leaders planning to partner, merge, or close a college or university, the book offers specific guidelines and action steps used successfully to create multiple forms of partnership between higher education institutions. The book includes contributions by twenty nationally recognized leaders in partnership and strategic planning, as well as an appendix detailing key college and university mergers and closures since 2000. Each chapter includes informative responses from practitioners who answer the question, "What is the single most important lesson you would share with a planning team designing a partnership or merger this year?" Responding to many daunting questions now being raised nationally about institutional fragility and sustainability, Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities is an honest and practical guide to the possibilities and pitfalls of downsizing American higher education.

James Martin is a professor of English and humanities at Mount Ida College. James E. Samels is the CEO and president of The Education Alliance and the founder of Samels & Associates, a law firm concentrating in higher education law. They are the authors of Turnaround: Leading Stressed Colleges and Universities to Excellence; Presidential Transition in Higher Education: Managing Leadership Change; Merging Colleges for Mutual Growth: A New Strategy for Academic Managers; The Sustainable University: Green Goals and New Challenges for Higher Education Leaders; and The Provost’s Handbook: The Role of the Chief Academic Officer.

"This timely book, which brings together a group of widely respected thought leaders, starts a critically needed dialogue."

"An excellent look at the many ways institutions of higher education are partnering to expand their reach, reduce costs, and serve their students better, this book is an important resource for leaders and students who are beginning to explore collaboration and partnership options."

"This book is a must read for anyone in higher education who is responsible for ensuring the future success of a college or university and is courageous enough to consider 'game changing' strategic modes of operation including; mergers, acquisitions, alliances and closures."

"Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities artfully combines useful frameworks, detailed case studies and strategic insights. Wisely, it sees beyond the creation of ambitious plans for alliances, consolidations and mergers to consider the critical dimensions of institutional change and leadership. It constitutes critical reading for presidents, trustees and faculty members, alike."

"Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities offers us a critical exploration of the evolving landscape of Higher Education. Informational, insightful, practical and provocative, each chapter provides new models for consideration and poses questions that merit our full attention. This book will spark debate and discussion, and hopefully, serious reflection, on the choices and opportunities that will allow us to best serve students in this critical time in American Higher Education."

"Martin, Samels, and associates explore multiple pathways toward increasing financial sustainability while promoting new forms of shared resource management, effective approaches to collaborative educational experiences across institutions and organizations, and perhaps provide a new form of responsiveness to the increasing public demand on the value of higher education."

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