As Ohio's colleges and universities seek to meet student demand while avoiding bankruptcy, they will have no choice but to work together more, the president of Cleveland State University told a group of higher education officials meeting in Toledo yesterday.
“We must cooperate and collaborate creatively so we're able to compete, or we're going to disappear,” CSU President Michael Schwartz said.
Dr. Schwartz's remarks were made during the third annual Two-Year College Roundtable hosted by the University of Toledo at SeaGate Centre.
Officials from UT were joined by colleagues from a number of two-year colleges, including Owens, Northwest State, and Monroe County community colleges.
Dr. Schwartz said state funding troubles, the rise of for-profit colleges, and a proliferation of programs statewide have forced higher education entities to collaborate.
The result for Cleveland State has been some joint degree programs with other universities in northeast Ohio and offerings on the campus of Lorain County Community College through the University Partnership program. (UT and Bowling Green State University also are part of the partnership program with Lorain.)
“We demonstrated our ability to do more with less,” Dr. Schwartz said.
That point resonated with Larry McDougle, president of Northwest State in Archbold. As a small institution with a limited staff, the community college needs to pursue opportunities for joint purchasing and other savings, he said. “I think all of us realize we can't be all things to all people. We have the opportunity to leverage off of one another.”
Audrey Warrick, president of Monroe County Community College, said her main focus is to continue to work on providing students with seamless transitions to four-year colleges, like UT. “The objective here was to lay the foundation for greater cooperation and collaboration,” UT President Daniel Johnson said.
UT's cooperative efforts with institutions like BGSU and the Medical College of Ohio have focused on research and joint programs. Dr. Johnson said the university could look to two-year colleges for help in purchasing and human resources as well as shared technology.