Hobart and William Smith Colleges have joined forces with five other upstate liberal arts colleges to explore potential cost-saving measures and to share best practices.
The group, the “New York Six” has recently received a one-year planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to begin collaborative work with the goals of controlling business costs and learning from each other’s experience in areas of student life and staff development. In addition to HWS, the consortium includes Colgate University, Hamilton College, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University and Union College.
“By our very nature as coordinate colleges, Hobart and William Smith Colleges exemplify the power of partnership in presenting a world of opportunities to our students,” says Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Through this partnership with similar, highly selective institutions, we will continue to develop opportunities to help our students thrive in this ever-changing, global society.”
The consortium will focus on six broad areas of collaboration and cooperation:
- Harnessing technology to allow for greater collaboration in all areas, with emphasis on shared human resources, high end computing collaboration and advanced computer infrastructure.
- Acquiring of goods and services, including benchmarking, joint purchasing and risk management.
- Promoting sustainable institutional environments, including recycling operations and alternative energy supplies.
- Maximizing student engagement, including wellness programming, alcohol and substance abuse intervention strategies, responses to differential learning styles and collaboration among teaching and learning centers.
- Shaping workforces, including faculty development, staff development and preparation of future academic leaders.
- Fostering intercultural literacy, including strategies for ensuring our students are prepared to live in a global and diverse world.
The group hired a project manager, Amy Doonan Cronin, who will work in consultation with presidents, chief financial officers, directors of information technology and others on each campus.
While the New York Six colleges each have distinctive institutional missions and well-defined institutional identities, they share common commitments, including commitments to liberal education, intercultural understanding, teaching and scholarship and close working relationships between students and faculty. Thus, member institutions face many similar opportunities and challenges. They all believe in the value of partnership. In fact, they hold the common view that challenges posed to higher education in the early years of the 21st century demand collaborative responses. In particular, they all believe that consortial relationships will 1) help manage costs, 2) help solve problems and 3) add value to the educational experiences of students.
“This is a time for bold action,” says Gearan. “The ‘New York Six’ offers the Colleges a unique opportunity to share ideas and best practices as we move forward.”