Weekly Market Update

PROTESTS OVER UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI'S CHANCELLOR SELECTION

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The choice of a new chancellor at the University of Mississippi has garnered criticism from students and faculty. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees waived over half of the steps set forward in the selection process in favor of their own search consultant. The community has been protesting the decision to circumvent parts of the search process, including a provision enabling campus advocacy groups to meet with and weigh in on candidate. Although the new chancellor, Glenn Boyce, has qualifications--he is a former IHL commissioner and past president of Holmes Community College--he did not apply for the job and was not vetted by university stakeholders. The board's lack of transparency has frustrated faculty and inspired distrust of Ole Miss leadership. Some members of the faculty have suggested that Boyce resign before stepping into his chancellorship.

In Other News

  • Mergers and acquisitions have become more popular in the higher education industry as the number of post-secondary institutions continues to shrink. Whether it means saving a struggling school from the edge of collapse, or joining forces to gain economies of scale, university leadership teams across the country have been discussing strategic partnerships and purchases.
  • Graduate education is considered by some cost prohibitive due to the length of time completing a Ph.D. takes. The University of Chicago has announced they will revamp several of their doctoral programs to help graduate students finish their studies, and enter the workforce, faster.
  • Billionaire founder of First Premier Bank, T. Denny Sanford, announced his latest gift to National University in the amount of $350 million. Sanford had already given $150 million to National prior to this latest donation. The school will rename itself Sanford National University next summer in recognition of his generosity.
  • Ashford University, a 38,000-student online college, is being evaluated for sale by its parent company Zovio. The for-profit higher education industry has been under pressure from state and federal regulators that accuse these schools of predatory recruiting and student lending policies. To alleviate some of this pressure, Zovio has been remodeling its business, with plans to spin off Ashford University into a non-profit school.