Ripon College/Marian University
Colleges form a task force to consider collaboration in the future
By Gwendolyn Frei
Ripon College and Marian University have been discussing the possibility of collaboration to offer more to the students of the individual institutions. To allow for discussion, faculty members from both institutions have formed a task force. This task force was assigned the job of exploring opportunities for curricular collaboration. The main goal of this discussion is to determine the pros and cons of working alongside each other to open more doors for potential students.
Currently, the task force is looking into the possibility of cross-registration. Dr. Erin Bryan, assistant professor of music at Ripon and a member of the task force said, “Cross-registration is the option that if a student from Ripon College was interested in taking a theology course [they could]; we don’t offer that here at Ripon College, [but] Marian University does. The [partnership would be] exploring options like that so that students at both institutions could still have as many opportunities as possible while still being able to call the institution of their choice, their home school.”
The same would be true for a student at Marian University, who might not have the option to take a music course at that school. In that case, that student could enroll in music courses at Ripon College. Some logistical challenges exist, some restrictions would be necessary and any such cross-registration would require advisor approval, but cross-registration is possible. Other institutions of higher learning, such as St. Olaf College and Carlton College, have made such partnerships work.
“Students at both institutions could still have as many opportunities as possible while still being able to call the institution of their choice, their ‘home school,’” Bryan said. “The goal of this potential partnership is not to have a merger; it is to provide as much as the institutions possibly can while remaining individual schools.”
Protecting the individuality of the separate institutions is important to the administration and faculty of Ripon College.
“No one’s looking to create a system that in any way interrupts the identity of either institution, a student chooses Ripon College because they want to attend Ripon College, a student chooses Marian because they want to attend Marian,” Bryan said.
Though talks have been ongoing, this prospective partnership is still in its early stages. Before the institutions decide to pursue this collaboration, a lot of work needs to happen.
“We’d need to make sure that, that this is actually possible with the scheduled grids, at both schools,” she said. “So I think there are a lot of logistical studies that, that would need to happen before anything can really go into place.”
Overall, there is a lot to look at before a Ripon College/Marian University partnership can happen, but Bryan believes it could benefit both schools: “I do think that there are great opportunities for positive impact on current and future students with a variety of the options that we explored.”