A group of Connecticut colleges, comprising Goodwin University, Sacred Heart University and Paier College of Art, have launched a one-of-its-kind plan to co-locate a wide range of programs on the University of Bridgeport’s campus.
At a press conference Tuesday, the presidents of the institutions called the partnership a new model for higher education that will capitalize on each school’s strengths.
Degree- and certificate-seeking students from each institution will be able to chart individualized academic pathways by toggling among each schools’ offerings.
“This is not a salvage operation, it’s an enhancement opportunity,” said John J. Petillo, president Sacred Heart University, which is located in the neighboring town of Fairfield.
The University of Bridgeport, which speakers at the press conference called “a viable institution,” will continue to operate independently as the partner schools seek approval from various academic accrediting organizations.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking the University of Bridgeport is doing this because they have immediate financial problems,” Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg said at the press conference. “They do understand that in higher education you can’t go it alone.”
Maintaining higher education’s presence in the city of Bridgeport is another goal of the partnership, according to a press release accompanying the announcement.
“University of Bridgeport students will be guided through to the completion of their planned courses of study on time and with financial aid packages that mirror their current package as closely as possible, ” the release said.
Connecticut colleges partner on academics
Goodwin, Sacred Heart and Paier will take over a number of the University of Bridgeport’s academic programs. Some of the schools’ programs are likely to be combined or to shift from one campus to another.
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The institutions also plan to develop early-college, dual-credit and internship programs for the region’s high school students. Goodwin University, which opened in East Hartford in 1999, has a strong focus on workforce training that aligns with the needs of employers, particularly in health care and manufacturing.
The partnership will also allow the institutions to share costs such as food service and security, Scheinberg said.
“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have to think unconventionally,” Scheinberg said in the press release. “One size no longer fits all in education. Educational organizations have to collaborate and contribute their strengths for the greater good, and the resulting solutions will undoubtedly be something totally new and exciting.”