How the outsourcing of online higher education in Indiana is going so far

I might have replaced the term branding with recruiting, but that's just me.  This is a typical continuing higher education task--building a non-traditional program from the ground up in a new location. 

For the Chancellor of a New Online Campus, Every Workday Is About Branding
When he signed the executive order creating WGU Indiana on June 11, the governor said the institution "meets a very urgent and specific need" by offering an alternative "for adults who want to pursue a college degree with all the other demands in their lives."

Ms. Barber, 46, faces an upward climb. Of the 20,000 students enrolled in Western Governors nationally, fewer than 300 were from Indiana.

But she thinks the new institution can meet the state's needs, along with those of students, by providing training in sought-after skills. Western Governors offers more than 50 accredited undergraduate and master's degree programs in four areas: business, education, information technology, and health care. Because it is competency-based, students don't have to spend time learning things they already know, Ms. Barber said, allowing for a quicker path to a degree. The average time it takes a student to graduate with a bachelor's degree is 30 to 35 months, and tuition is about $6,000 per year. Students also work online with mentors to help manage their time and course work, she said.

With the academic system already in place, Ms. Barber said, she can focus on her role as a "brand ambassador." Since starting her job in June, she has spent most of her time out of the office, traveling the state. One day she was in Indianapolis at Ivy Tech, Indiana's only community college, celebrating a partnership that allows students with associate degrees to transfer credits and receive reduced tuition at WGU Indiana. Another day she exhibited materials about the institution at an air show in Gary, where the unemployment rate is nearing 13 percent.


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