The story in this morning’s Plain Dealer regarding the exploration of a possible merger between Cleveland State University and the University of Akron has spawned a very lively conversation on Cleveland.com.
Here’s just one comment from Cleveland.com:
I think this is a fantastic idea!! We need to start thinking like a region, not simply as separate cities. Akron and Cleveland each have their pros and cons. If we work together, we can really improve our situation on a national/global scale.
This undoubtedly will be one of the issues examined by the state Commission looking at the region’s state universities. Mergers — whether of businesses, cities or universities — are delicate and difficult. And the landscape is littered with failed mergers — AOL-TimeWarner anyone? Of course, not all mergers collapse or there wouldn’t be so many.
In an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal, University of Akron President Luis Proenza indicated talk of a looming merger are premature, but he noted the importance of developing a world-class public research university in Northeast Ohio.
Asked whether a merger of Northeast Ohio universities is a way to create that premier institution, Proenza said, ”That’s one way to get there, but there would be many different ways.”
Here’s a potential set of criteria to look at when considering merging organizations.
1. Does the merger result in improved outcomes? In the case of universities, does a single combined institution elevate the overall quality and accessibility of the education offered?
2. Does the merger result in real, long-term cost savings? Lots of corporate mergers have been undone after executives have realized perceived cost savings were mirages.
3. Does the merger require too much energy to pull off? Mergers take a long time to complete and require extraordinary effort. Sometimes the best thing to do is to use that time and effort on projects with a bigger pay off.
What do you think of a CSU-UofA merger? Where’s the value? Where are the risks?
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