Challenges and Opportunities Facing Private Colleges and Universities: Online Programs and Partnerships

Webinar | March 16 | 10-11am | Livestream

According to a report by the Washington Post 40% of undergraduates in the U.S. attend small colleges and universities — with fewer than 5,000 students. In addition, nine percent of Fortune 500 CEO’s graduated from liberal arts colleges. Twenty three percent of US Educated Nobel Laureates and twenty seven Percent of US Presidents are Liberal Arts College graduates.

Unfortunately, on average, five private 4-year non-profit colleges and universities have closed per year over the last ten years, with as many as 9 institutions closing in 2009. For small colleges and universities, risks to financial health have become a chronic issue in the aftermath of the financial crisis of the early 2000’s. Small colleges and universities tend to be among-or at serious risk of joining- the one third of higher education institutions that face financial statements significantly weaker than before the great recession.

Panel members will discuss the financial challenges facing small colleges and universities and will outline the strategies they have taken to address these challenges. In particular the panel will highlight the challenges and opportunities related to online programs and partnerships.

Panel Members include:

  • James A. Hyatt, Interim Vice President and CFO EDUCAUSE and Vice Chancellor and CFO Emeritus, Senior Research Associate and Principal Investigator, Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley. Mr Hyatt has been actively involved with colleges that have sought to imitate or expand online programs or develop partnerships with other colleges and universities.

  • Karen Webb, President of Union Institute and University in Cincinnati Ohio;

  • Nelson Soto, Provost and Academic Vice President at Union Institute and University.

  • Rev. Bill Nelson former vice-president and academic dean of St. Olaf College (MN), president of Augustana University (SD). Dr. Nelson has been involved in the successful establishment of partnerships or federations  between several small colleges and universities

Co-sponsored by The Registry 

Nelson Soto

James A. Hyatt

Mr. Hyatt extensive experience as a senior level executive at several the nation’s major research universities, including UC Berkeley, the University of Maryland, College Park and Virginia Tech. He has also served as the interim Executive Vice President and Director of the Financial Management Center of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). In this capacity he served as principal investigator on externally funded research projects in the areas of higher education financial management, financial reporting and campus safety and security.
From 2008-2010 Mr. Hyatt served as the President of the World Institute for Disaster Recovery Management. He is a recipient of the Berkeley Citation for distinguished achievement and service to UC Berkeley and is Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance and CFO Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. Hyatt is a member of the Board of Trustees of Union Institute and University and in Cincinnati Ohio and is also an Honorary Distinguished Visiting Professor at UI&U. He is the author of several books on higher education financial management and is a recognized authority on college and university budgeting, financial management, cost accounting and campus emergency preparedness.

Dr. Bill Nelsen 

William C. Nelsen has served American higher education as a university president, seminary president, academic dean, board member, and as president for 18 years of Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private sector scholarship organization. He previously served as vice president and dean of St. Olaf College (MN), president of Augustana University (SD), and University Minister and Acting President at Midland University (NE). As a member of The Registry, he has provided interim leadership at several colleges and universities, and he most recently served as Interim President of Episcopal Divinity School (EDS), Cambridge, MA, forging an innovative affiliation agreement with Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He serves as the Alternative Futures Practice Leader for The Registry, providing ideas and strategies for colleges, universities, and seminaries seeking effective alliances short of merger.   He has been a member of several national higher education boards, including the Council of Independent Colleges and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Nelsen is the author of two books on faculty development and co-author of Embracing Diversity: Faith, Vocation, and the Promise of America, just published by Fortress Press. He holds an M.A. in religion from Columbia University, a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and he was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. He is a recipient of the prestigious McKee Leadership in Education award.

Dr. Nelson Soto

Dr. Nelson E. Soto serves as the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Union Institute & University. In his current role Dr. Soto has firsthand knowledge and experience in garnering external funding, building and managing systems to support online programs, and working collaboratively with faculty and senior administrators.

Dr. Soto is focused on enabling and encouraging change and is deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals, no matter their background or circumstances, have access to higher education and opportunities to improve their own lives and those of their families. Dr. Soto is in unique position to advance the university’s mission as a vehicle for change in the community through diversity and innovative education. Dr. Soto provides leadership in engaging and empowering adult learners in the larger society in which they live and work, building a mutually beneficial, expansive, and collaborative community that lives beyond the classroom. As a visionary and strategic leader, the central underpinning of his values and professional experiences are promoting justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Dr. Soto has received numerous grants for his research and efforts.

Dr. Soto came to Union from Harrison College, Indianapolis, where he served as associate provost and vice president for curriculum and instruction from 2010 to 2013. Prior to Harrison College, he served as an assistant dean in the graduate office at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) from 2008 to 2010 and as an instructional development specialist at IUPUI’s Center for Teaching and Learning from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Soto has served as faculty at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in the School of Education; at Indiana University, College of Arts and Sciences; University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Education; and the University of Cincinnati, University College.

Currently, Dr. Soto is a member of the Higher Learning Commission, Institutional Action Committee (IAC), serves on the New Leadership Academy Advisory Board. In addition, Dr. Soto has served on the Hoxworth Blood Center Community Advisory Board, Harvard Business Publishing Advisory Board, Cengage Private Sector Advisory Board, Pearson Service Learning Board, and was chair of the Harrison College Military Advisory Board.

Dr. Soto is married to Dr. Ana Baratta and they have two children. Daniel, age 11, and his daughter, Nicole age 9.

Karen Webb Headshot

Dr. Karen Webb

President of Union Institute and University in Cincinnati Ohio

Dr. Karen Schuster Webb is the President of Union Institute & University and founder of The Institute of Social Justice at Union Institute & University.
She is a visionary leader, internationally respected scholar, and a mentor to those aspiring to higher education leadership. She has dedicated her career to equity of access to educational excellence. Union is a university system based in Cincinnati and has Centers in California and Florida, with students from around the world.