NY establishment transfers instructing packages, refines mission


Because the pool of potential school college students continues to shrink, some establishments are attempting to tell apart themselves in an more and more aggressive market by shifting or refining their tutorial focus.

That mindset is a part of what led Clarkson College, which is concentrated on constructing its repute in STEM disciplines, to switch 16 trainer schooling graduate packages to Siena Faculty in a deal each establishments anticipate to be finalized in June, pending approval from the New York State Schooling Division.

“We made a pivotal resolution to refine our identification and align ourselves to our founding and ongoing historic technological mission,” Marc Christensen, Clarkson’s president mentioned in a information launch final week. “As we strategically centered, we determined to discover a new dwelling for these packages at an establishment that might leverage a prepared pipeline of undergraduate college students enthusiastic about Ok-12 schooling careers and create alternatives to increase choices that can tackle the large demand for academics in New York state and throughout the nation.”

New York state, which requires all academics to earn a grasp’s diploma inside 5 years of acquiring their instructing license, will want roughly 180,000 new academics over the following decade to satisfy workforce wants, in line with information from Governor Kathy Hochul’s workplace. Between 2009 and 2019, enrollment within the state’s trainer teaching programs fell by 53 p.c, in line with the newest information accessible from New York State United Lecturers.

The pandemic and its aftermath solely worsened the waning curiosity within the occupation. Between 2018 and 2023, nationwide enrollment in schooling graduate packages declined by 7 p.c, in line with the Nationwide Student Clearinghouse Analysis Middle.

Clarkson has not been exempt from that development. Earlier than the pandemic, its grasp of arts in instructing program graduated as many as 60 candidates a 12 months. Now, it’s averaging round 35, in line with Catherine Snyder, director of this system at Clarkson.

And New York has already misplaced different trainer pipelines after the current closures of the Faculty of St. Rose and Cazenovia Faculty and the downsizing of SUNY Potsdam’s trainer schooling choices.

“The problem is that trainer teaching programs aren’t sometimes income producing,” Snyder mentioned, including that whereas graduates typically make loyal alumni, they’re unlikely to change into deep-pocketed donors. “If a college or president or strategic plan is specializing in the income greater than the contributions to the group, then trainer schooling is a kind of packages that may get canceled.”

Clarkson, whose general enrollment fell from 4,697 college students to 4,371 prior to now three years, acquired the trainer teaching programs alongside a number of different packages from Union Graduate Faculty, which Clarkson merged with in 2016. Since then, the teaching programs have operated out of Clarkson’s Capital Area Campus in Schenectady, which is about three-and-a-half hours away from its essential campus in Potsdam.

‘Couldn’t Lose These Packages’

Clarkson initially thought of sunsetting its graduate trainer teaching programs, however information of that risk panicked the native Ok-12 schooling group.

“My telephone was ringing off the hook from superintendents, assistant superintendents and division chairs telling me they couldn’t lose these packages as a result of it’s the place they go to get all of their highschool academics,” Snyder mentioned. “Once I began fascinated by it, I believed ‘We’ve been on this scenario earlier than.’”

Snyder, who was working for Union when this system transferred to Clarkson, thought discovering yet one more dwelling for the packages can be a greater answer than shutting it down altogether.

She obtained the backing of Clarkson and Siena Faculty, a Franciscan liberal arts establishment close to Albany, NY, about half-hour from Clarkson’s Schenectady campus, emerged as the very best match to tackle the instructing packages.

“We now have been speaking about making an attempt to increase (our trainer teaching programs) to incorporate some grasp’s packages,” mentioned Margaret Madden, provost and senior vice chairman of Siena Faculty. She famous that Clarkson’s packages “are well-established, have a terrific alumni community with many employed within the college districts across the area. It’s an actual alternative for us to develop in a method we’d been planning to anyway.”

Directors at Clarkson and Siena are working with the state and accrediting businesses to finish the switch by this summer time, a transfer officers at each establishments mentioned the regulatory our bodies have supported to this point.

Whereas including present graduate packages will save Siena the time it sometimes takes to start out up and market a completely new program, Madden mentioned that “Any time you combine a brand new division, you must fear concerning the tradition and folks getting used to a brand new set of insurance policies.”

The eight full-time school and workers operating Clarkson’s instructing packages and the roughly 100 college students enrolled are anticipated to make the transfer to Siena.

“It’s not an enormous distinction for the scholars—we’re nonetheless in the identical area and the scholars aren’t residential college students,” Madden mentioned, including that a lot of Siena’s undergraduate schooling majors have continued their graduate schooling at Clarkson’s program. “The truth that Clarkson is a recognized amount and individuals are sure concerning the high quality of each packages and the school that definitely helps.”

Simply as Clarkson noticed rehoming the packages as conducive to its concentrate on STEM, Madden mentioned buying them can be a part of a plan to stabilize Siena’s long-term future.

Though the school’s mixed undergraduate and graduate enrollment has grown because the pandemic—from 3,182 in fall 2019 to three,483 in fall 2023—directors are usually not ignoring the looming demographic cliff and the rising public notion that school isn’t price the fee.

“We acknowledge that we’d like to verify our packages are various sufficient to allow them to climate ups and downs in curiosity and populations,” Madden mentioned. “Having extra grasp’s packages makes us not as depending on the undergraduate packages. It’s a option to generate one other sort of income.”

Whereas specialists aren’t precisely certain how continuously faculties and universities switch tutorial packages to see establishments, some suspect it’s an strategy extra establishments could flip to in an period of school consolidations, mergers and closures.

“As faculties are rightsizing themselves, they’re what’s on the core of who they’re,” mentioned Kevin Cavanagh, a marketing consultant for Larger Ed Consolidation Options who additionally helped with Montclair College’s merger with Bloomfield Faculty final 12 months. “On the different finish of the spectrum, faculties are hopefully trying opportunistically at how they develop and meet the wants of latest populations of scholars.”

Cavanagh mentioned the deal between Siena and Clarkson presents some perception on how that may work.

“Each colleges have simply strengthened themselves, and on the similar time there’s been hopefully little influence on the scholars, workers and school in these packages,” he mentioned. “It is a mannequin for a way faculties and universities can work collectively in sustaining and strengthening themselves.”

Brian Prescott, president on the Nationwide Middle for Larger Schooling Administration Techniques, mentioned if Siena’s absorption of Clarkson’s instructing graduate packages goes as easily as anticipated, there’s no apparent draw back.

“Since they occupy comparable geography, it’s decreasing the temperature on the competitors (for college kids) that could be taking place no less than between these establishments in a spot that’s already fairly saturated with establishments,” he mentioned. “Every turns into a bit of extra specialised as an establishment. You’ll be able to inform a extra coherent story about what sort of establishment you’re when you have a transparent model round what packages you’re providing.”