Monday, June 22, 2015

Lessons From Sweet Briar

Inside Higher Ed
June 22nd, 2015

When Sweet Briar College announced in March it would close its doors, the news took many in higher education by surprise. So now that a deal will keep the college going, small private colleges are watching closely.
Sweet Briar, a small women’s college in rural Virginia, has been embroiled in controversy ever since its leaders announced it would close permanently due to “insurmountable financial challenges.” The sudden turn of events at Sweet Briar is making many wonder what the developments mean for colleges trustees and presidents at other struggling institutions.
Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, said that when Sweet Briar announced its closure, many trustees asked presidents, "Are we like Sweet Briar?" and many presidents prepared reports on ways that they were similar or not. "By and large, that process reassured trustees, so things have calmed down a bit."

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