Posted: February 11, 2015
Recently, Hope International University (HIU) has entered into a non-binding Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Nebraska Christian College (NCC) in Omaha and Crossroads College (CC) in Rochester, Minnesota. We are exploring the possibility of merging with these two institutions in order to expand our ministry and mission into new markets. As sister schools with nearly 300 years of combined history, we all share a rich heritage in the Restoration Movement. Working together to further the cause of Christ would greatly increase our impact and allow us to have a more positive and lasting effect in the Kingdom. This partnership could greatly benefit both current and future students as well as the HIU community as a whole.
HIU is committed to building the strongest university possible. Over the past five years, we have experienced a period of unparalleled growth and success including:
• Investing significantly in the infrastructure of the University
:: Integrated Campus Management System (ERP)
:: Online learning and classroom technology
:: Learning services (extensive library resources and research databases)
:: Construction of dynamic new website
• Increasing academic programs to 58, including a new Master’s of Divinity degree
• Reaching a current all-time high of 2,000 students, of which 700 are enrolled in Pacific Christian College of Ministry and Biblical Studies, the largest of HIU’s five colleges
• Moving our online and graduate programs to our new 24,000 sq. ft. Anaheim facility
• Gaining national, regional, and state recognition through recent rankings:
:: Top 20 West Region Colleges (U.S. News and World Report)
:: 50 Best Christian Colleges in the U.S. (Christian Universities Online)
:: Top 10 Best Small Colleges in California (Colleges in California)
:: #2 Online College in California (Edudemic)
:: #11 Most Affordable Online College in California (OnlineColleges.net)
HIU has entertained mergers in the past, but they were deemed not to be in the best interest of the University at that time. However, we have now reached an opportune point in our history to benefit from potential strategic partnerships.
WHY IS HIU CONSIDERING THIS COLLABORATION?
• Because of the changing landscape in higher education, partnerships such as these will become more prevalent since they offer long-term strategic and financial sustainability.
• Sense of responsibility to preserve the 100-year heritage of Crossroads College.
• Our programs could be offered to a larger audience. Both Nebraska Christian and Crossroads Colleges are located in underserved regional markets.
• Lower cost of entry into these new markets.
• Good stewardship of Kingdom resources.
• Opportunity to expand our mission and ministry.
• With Midwest roots and over 30 years in Christian higher education, President Derry is renowned within Christian Church Colleges and would effectively lead these three institutions.
• Potential increase in employment opportunities.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS?
Exploratory Phase: This is a period of time for the schools to become better acquainted and to form an initial opinion on the concept of a merger. It is intended to be informal and simply an opportunity to consider the current environment in higher education and whether or not such a move has merit and potential for success. During this phase, we discovered there was a value in taking the next step, and have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to proceed to the next level of more serious study.
Analysis Phase: Currently we are engaging in a six-week period of due diligence to identify the benefits and risks of a merger. The intent is to gather information and to consider what would be the impact of such a venture. It requires transparency and open communication on the part of all entities. The goal at the conclusion of this phase is to have sufficient data and details to prepare a proposal for the governing boards to determine if a merger is a wise decision thus proceeding to the Design Phase.
Design Phase: Blending three institutions, each with its own organizational culture and unique set of characteristics, is a task that requires great care. Exactly how the merged institution will be structured, managed, and operated must be clearly defined. Some preliminary concepts are necessary in the Analysis Phase, but this period of time calls for input from persons who have experience is restructuring organizations for greater efficiency and effectiveness. A consultant will be engaged to assist in process.
Integration Phase: The final phase is the most intense and takes much longer to fully implement. It is the most critical to long-term success and the most impactful on the day-to-day operation of the schools. As in the Design Phase, a professional consultant will work with the administration to ensure a smooth transition and to propose best practices.
Throughout this process, we continue to seek God’s wisdom and ask you as the HIU community to join us in prayer regarding this important decision. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org.