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A president called our Resource Consultants this week with a question:

If my school wants to explore a partnership or collaboration with another school, what are the options?

In an In Trust article that appeared a few years ago, Robert Cooley mapped out several possibilities for partnerships. His list suggests just how creative such alternatives can be.

Robert E. Cooley's typology of partnerships

  • Consolidation. Two or more institutions are collapsed into one new institution, usually with a different name, mission, and scale of operation.
  • True merger. One institution is blended or merged into a dominant institution with that institution serving as the exclusive legal successor.
  • Conglomerate. Without losing their individual institutional identities, two or more institutions enter a joint venture to address redundancies. The conglomerate has its own name and identity.
  • Consortium. Two or more institutions enter a collegial collaboration for sharing resources. May include cross-registration, joint libraries, shared facilities, common technologies, or shared operations.
  • Asset transfer. One institution transfers some or all of its assets to a second institution (often a university), which provides for the continuation of the first institution’s programs.
  • Affiliation. A joint venture that preserves identities and governance structures but which provides common academic programming or operational services.

Does this list generate creative possibilities for you?

"A typology or partnerships" can be found in "Due Diligence: Considering an Alliance with Another Institution" by George Brushaber, which appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of In Trust. For more information, contact the In Trust Center Resource Consulting team at 302-654-7770. Also be sure to check out our infographic on forging partnerships, which outlines things to consider as you contemplate a partnership.

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