This Week in LIS - 15 November 2013

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Headline of the Week: New Model for Undergraduate Education Emerging

This week the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article entitled “Minerva College Start-Up Hires Academic Leaders.”  It describes a key hire Minerva Schools at KGI had just made.  The Minerva project is made up of approximately 30 folks working with approximately $25 million startup dollars.

Minerva Schools at KGI is self-defined as an online undergraduate liberal-arts college.  It is scheduled to open up for its first pilot cohort of 15 students in the fall of 2014.  That first cohort will not pay tuition for their four years.  For those that come in the subsequent year tuition is planned at $10,000 and the comprehensive fee is expected to be on the order of $28,000 a year when you add in room and board.  The model is that the students do their first year in San Francisco.  Then each semester the cohort moves to another residential situation around the world.  The website suggests the possibility of living on every continent for a semester with your cohort.  At this point it is not clear how the moving residential cohort experience and the “online” adjective relate.

There are more questions than answers at this point but some of the adjectives and parameters make it something interesting to follow.  It says it will be highly selective, online, include study abroad and provide liberal arts based education.  That was enough for me to set an additional Google Alert for Minerva College so I can track this emerging offering.

I will be very curious to see how the model unfolds, how the business model works, how the financial models work, how the college “scales,” where the “online” technologies emerge and relate to the residential elements and how successful they are delivering an effective liberal arts education.  It will be interesting to see how their experiments lead to lessons learned and models that could be seized to enhance our offerings and improve our students experience and/or our cost position.

If you had 30 hand-picked colleagues and $25 million dollars what sustainable undergraduate liberal arts offering would you invent?

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Minerva College Start-Up Hires Academic Leaders

Minerva Schools at KGI

Google Alerts


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LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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Notes from LIS Council

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This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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