Recent economic forecasts continue to show that as the country bounces back from the 2008 recession, Charleston has bounced faster and stronger than many other regions. As generators of new opportunities and leaders of industries find themselves intrigued, and subsequently besotted, with all the Lowcountry has to offer, it should come as no surprise that those needs are changing the role that higher education in this area must play in fulfilling those needs.
Faced with this significant, compelling reason to determine the right path for a more formal collaboration between the Medical University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston, a committee comprised of board members and staff from both institutions has begun to review all the relevant possibilities for increased collaboration. As a first step in this cautious and thoughtful process, the committee has created a report which reveals the process to date and those issues paramount to determining the best arrangement for stakeholders.
The report revealed several issues important to consider in determining the best structure for a closer relationship, including but not limited to:
- the degree of compatibility of the institutions’ cultures;
- whether their academic missions and student populations are complementary;
- the degree to which each institution emphasizes research and the impact the relationship would have on grant opportunities;
- whether a relationship improves national and state rankings;
- the effect of an agreement on personnel;
- the impact on governance structures;
- how alumni relations and philanthropic giving would change;
- and the potential for cost savings compared to costs incurred.
As the report points out, the next step in this process is visiting institutions that have formal collaborative agreements, mergers or another alternative so that all viable and reasonable options are considered. Planning money will be required to conduct this more in-depth review, and the funding source is unclear.
Both MUSC and the College of Charleston invite the insights of faculty, staff and students at both institutions. Leadership also encourages community and business leaders, legislators, and the general public to learn more about the process to date, and provide insights and feedback into how these groups might better serve each other and the greater business community.
To read the white paper report, click this link.