Saturday, October 26, 2013

Virtual HBCUs -- Three Potential Strategic Alliances

Last updated: Saturday 10/26/13 @ 4:03 pm
Welcome to "Fantasy Alliance!!!" -- the serious game wherein readers who are deeply committed to the future well-being of the nation's 106 HBCUs configure strategic alliances among small groups of HBCUs. These alliances would act as virtual HBCUs whose members would pool their resources via the Internet so that they could share costs and benefits. 

Virtual HBCUs should be configured so that they have far stronger academic advantages in the increasingly competitive higher education market --  especially if the virtual HBCUs engaged strategic partners -- than the members of the alliance would have if they continued to function autonomusly, 

As the host of this blog, I'll start the game by presenting three of my own fantasy alliances, each having five members, plus brief notes about my rationale for selecting each member. Readers are invited to submit comments about my alliances, then propose their own alliances, OK? ... :-)  

A.  "NC Public" ...  North Carolina's Five Public HBCUs
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • Winston-Salem State University
  • Unlike the State of Maryland, until recently the State of North Carolina provided exemplary support for its public HBCUs. Hopefully the North Carolina's current political leadership will soon recognize the fact that the state's five public HBCUs do a far better job of providing effective learning opportunities for the state's black students than most of the state's 11 other public universities. (See the link to the post on this blog about North Carolina's public HBCUs listed in the "Related Notes" section at the bottom of this page.)
  • An optimist to my core, I sincerely believe that "good" can always get "better" ... which is why my gut says that the NC Fab Five would become even more productive if they engaged in joint development of their on-campus and off-campus blended and online courses.
  • Engaging a strategic partner might enable "NC Public" to jointly offer high quality, revenue generating, online degrees and certificate programs in high-demand STEM fields that none would be able to sustain by themselves.

B.  "(HU)2M2S" ... Four Private +  One Public
  • Hampton University, VA
  • Howard University, DC
  • Morehouse College, GA
  • Morgan State University, MD
  • Spelman College, GA
  • I designated this virtual HBCU with a formula rather than a conventional name in order to suggest that, like some chemical compounds, this alliance might prove to be very powerful and/or highly volatile ... so volatile that I can't imagine it producing any joint degrees or certificate programs ... :-)
  • However I can easily imagine its members jointly developing game changing innovations in blended and online courses for their on-campus students.
  • And I would be especially hopeful that this alliance of tech-savvy HBCUs would become a virtual incubator that would produce MOOCs and virtual labs that would provide the same kinds of creative stimulation and technical support for the nation's black high-tech entrepreneurs that Stanford and UC Berkeley have provided for white entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. 

    Note: In December 2012, Morgan State University engaged Udacity as a strategic partner to help it produce a MOOC (Diverse Issues, 12/3/12) -- perhaps the first MOOC produced by an HBCU.

    Note: Morgan State University is sponsoring an "HBCU Hackathon Tour" on 11/1/13

C. "EOServ Partners" ... 4 Public + 1 Private
  • Jackson State University, MS
  • Southern University and A&M College, LA
  • Southern University New Orleans (SUNO), LA
  • Southern University at Shreveport (SUSLA), LA
  • Tougaloo College, MS
  • At least eight HBCUs have engaged the Education Online Services Corporation (EOServ) as their strategic partner for producing online degree and certificate programs, five of whom are members of this fantasy alliance. Accordingly, there is reason to believe that EOServ understands HBCUs better than any other provider of online services. However, to my knowledge, EOServ is a small corporation that is not affiliated with a highly capitalized equity fund. Therefore it cannot afford to finance the kinds of multimillion dollar, multi-year marketing and recruitment campaigns that could ultimately generate substantial additional revenue for its strategic partners.

    IMHO what EOServ can do is to help its strategic partners substantially expand their enrollment base by launching the broadest possible array of online degree and certificate programs for off-campus students, including programs offered jointly by members of the alliance. EOServ's tech staff should ensure that these programs offer courses that embody current best practices in online pedagogy and make optimal use of the programs' learning management systems.

    I would also hope that pooling their resources in order to share costs and benefits would enable the members of this alliance to achieve economies of scale that would enable them jointly develop online programs that were more affordable for off-campus students. More affordable programs would be more accessible to more off-campus students.

Related Notes:

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