When we look at successful partners, a few key characteristics stand out: the ability to work in a way that leverages the relative strengths of the two parties; a willingness to embrace multiple delivery options as an important contribution to the academic portfolio; the capacity to identify and act on new opportunities; and consistent support from institutional and academic leadership that explicitly links new initiatives with the institution’s strategic vision.

Synergis positions itself as a PSP: a Premier Service Provider offering marketing, enrollment management, academic and data integration services. It prides itself on assisting partner institutions to design, launch and grow high quality, innovative classroom, online and blended programs. We are convinced that, together, our different strengths and experiences can be combined to create a powerful dynamic that can significantly advance institutional mission and long-term sustainability. Each institution brings its own constellation of factors to the partnership. We are often asked, “What makes a successful partnership?” Rather than speak in the abstract, a more powerful answer can be gleaned from a case study of actual success at a Synergis partner we’ll call Dorian University. Throughout its relationship with Synergis, Dorian has demonstrated the qualities and actions that have made our partnership a truly productive one, and they are worth examining as a road map for partner success. When thinking about what makes our partnership so effective, a few key items stand out:

Online Learning Forms an Important Part of the Academic Portfolio

As I’ve noted in a previous piece, sustainability for most small, under-endowed institutions will require a strategy that is acutely sensitized to the needs of the higher education market. While much of higher education is flat or declining in terms of enrollments, online education is one of
the few bright spots bucking this trend. It continues to grow and today one in seven students is enrolled in a fully online program. Of particular note is that the most significant growth is at private, not-for profit institutions. And demand for online learning is growing among both “traditional” and “non-traditional” students.i As a result, institutions need to embrace online learning as an important part of the academic portfolio. Doing so aligns the institution with market demand and also permits an expansion of the institutional “footprint” to new regional markets.

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