A National System for Education
Today, Antioch University and Otterbein University announced their intention to affiliate with each other to create a unique, national, non-profit, university system focused on educating students both for careers and to prepare students to advance social justice, democracy, and the common good.
These two venerable universities have strong reputations for advancing social, racial and environmental justice and it’s intended that the system would grow to include other colleges and universities with similar histories and missions.
The new system of affiliated universities is built around the concept of shared graduate and adult-learner programs, while members keep their distinctive undergraduate programs and brand identities.
This innovative system allows the universities to expand degree offerings, to offer programs in more locations nationwide, to provide innovative learning modalities including online, low-residency, and hybrid settings, to create new opportunities for student engagement across institutions, to enhance capacities and contain costs through shared services and improved technologies, while, at the same time, preparing students to become engaged citizens advancing democracy and social justice.
A System of Equals
This unique, nonprofit university system will support students nationwide with various campuses throughout the United States and worldwide through robust online and low-residency programs.
Antioch University campuses are in Keene, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, California, Santa Barbara, California, Seattle, Washington and Yellow Springs, Ohio, while Otterbein’s campus is in Westerville, Ohio.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Antioch University and Otterbein University announced their intention to create a strategic affiliation between our mission-shared institutions and begin building an independent university system grounded in democratizing education to prepare students to advance social justice, democracy, and the common good, with a focus on graduate and adult-learner programs.
This is a new approach – a system of affiliated not-for-profit private institutions based in mission-alignment with complementary programs coming together to grow, expand, and collaborate. We are creating an industry-leading model for two strong institutions to prepare students to advance social justice, democracy, and the common good. We are excited to collaborate to better meet the needs of students and our communities in nimble and scalable ways.
As a private, not-for-profit university system, we will expand degree offerings, offer programs in more locations nationwide, provide innovative learning modalities including online, low-residency, and hybrid settings, create new opportunities for student engagement across institutions, and enhance institutional capacities and contain costs through shared services.
The system of independent universities will be built around the concept of shared graduate and adult-learner programs and offerings, while members keep their distinctive undergraduate programs and brand identities. More students than ever before will be able to learn in newly developed opportunities that include and go beyond traditional degrees on campus, in hybrid settings, and online. We plan to include other colleges and universities with similar values that expand the reach of the new system programmatically, geographically or both.
We are finalizing our due diligence and will shortly start the process to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals. Final system approval from accreditors and federal and state regulators is expected to take about a year.
Both institutions are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and are in good standing. We have had preliminary discussions with the HLC about this proposed new system and are committed to participating in their outlined processes to obtain approval.
This is a multi-year endeavor. During the coming months we will have planning groups who will explore areas such as academic programming, enhanced undergraduate opportunities, and operations.
For example, there are existing academic programs that might be brought to other campuses and locations. We are exploring pathways for learners from undergraduate to master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees. There are many ideas for new programs with an emphasis on academic growth for graduate and adult education. Our intention is to offer these academic programs as early as the fall of 2023. Also high on our list to explore are opportunities for workplace education and community development initiatives.
We intend to grow the system and include other colleges and universities with similar histories and missions, which means we will have conversations with compatible institutions that see value and potential in what we are building. We have already started hearing from some interested institutions.
We expect that as news of this mission-driven affiliation spreads, we’ll continue hearing from other interested institutions. We intend to build a national system of private, not-for-profit universities who want to collaborate rather than compete to realize meaningful growth in programs and the ways this system can serve students, industry, and communities.
Your program will remain as it was before. And you will still be getting your degree from Antioch University. What will change in the coming years may be access to new program pathways and more degree options. You may also, in the course of your studies, meet an Otterbein student who is studying for a semester on an Antioch campus or in an Antioch program. And down the line, there may be opportunities to consider Antioch University offering programs or holding residencies at Otterbein’s beautiful campus. The affiliation does not change your financial aid package in any way.
The creation of this new system will result in shared institutional capacity to expand community learning, credential-based programming, and workplace education efforts nationwide.
- We believe this system provides an exciting possibility to use our affiliated networks to provide high quality, custom-tailored learning opportunities to advance the greater workforce needs of our nation.
- The system model will be nimble to address the evolving needs of industry locally and nationally and is scalable for maximum impact.
- As a national system, we believe we will have a greater opportunity to secure not only local, but also regional and national contracts for this growing area of corporate learning and development.
- Our hope is to offer new programs to address workforce needs through the system as early as the fall of 2023.
While many institutions in higher education are facing financial challenges these days, neither of these two founding universities is in any sort of financial duress. THAT is not the cause or motivator for this affiliation. In fact, Otterbein is investing funds to be jointly utilized to expand learner pathways, extend existing programs, and build new programs.
As the two founding member institutions consider how the system will take shape, we will explore if there are operational efficiencies to be realized that will support the expansion and growth of high-quality program opportunities. We hope that through collaborations we will strengthen our institutional capacities beyond that which either member can do on its own.