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Mergers in Higher Education

Mergers in Higher Education: Lessons from Theory and Experience

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Mergers in Higher Education
    Book Description:

    In a comparative study of two Canadian higher education mergers, Julia Eastman and Daniel Lang examine why and how universities merge and why some mergers succeed while others fail.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7725-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)

    • ONE Introduction
      (pp. 3-10)

      Mergers have become ubiquitous. At the start of the twenty-first century, the volume and scale of corporate mergers are unprecedented. Their global dollar value increased more than five-fold between 1995 and 2000 (Breidenbach, 2000) to a record $1.14 trillion in the first quarter of 2000 (Segil, 2000). Drug companies, car manufacturers, financial institutions, media empires, telecommunication companies, agro-businesses, resource firms - all appear to be combining in the largest and most dramatic wave of mergers ever witnessed.

      Although corporate merger activity captures the most attention, the phenomenon of merger is not restricted to that sector. In the 1980s and 1990s,...

    • TWO Why Mergers Happen
      (pp. 11-22)

      Colleges and universities are attracted to merger, and to other forms of inter-institutional cooperation, by the chance to do things that they cannot do individually, usually because of a lack of wherewithal. Throughout the research literature about mergers, the dominant theme is economy and efficiency. This is as true of involuntary mergers initiated by governments as of voluntary mergers initiated at the institutional level. Burton Clark, in his study of entrepreneurial universities (1998), described the problem well with this succinct term: ‘demand overload.’ Demand overload refers to a situation in which the resources that support a college or university become...


    • THREE The Merger of Dalhousie University and the Technical University of Nova Scotia
      (pp. 25-61)

      To understand the merger of Dalhousie University and the Technical University of Nova Scotia, it is necessary to know something about the history of higher education in Nova Scotia.

      Nova Scotia’s universities were founded at a time of fierce denominational rivalries in what was then a British colony. What came to be known as Dalhousie College was established in 1818 on the initiative of Lord Dalhousie, Nova Scotia’s lieutenant-governor, as ‘an institution at Halifax in which the advantages of a collegiate education will be found within the reach of all classes of society, and which will be open to all...

    • FOUR The Merger of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the University of Toronto
      (pp. 62-94)

      The stories of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and the Faculty of Education of the University of Toronto (FEUT) and their eventual integration and merger within the University of Toronto highlight the problematic status of faculties of education in the academy. The merger of OISE and the University of Toronto is also an illustration of what can happen when social forces collide with organizational design. As with Dalhousie and the Technical University of Nova Scotia, the forces that eventually led to merger had deep roots.

      In the 1800s, preparation for elementary school teaching in Canada was provided...

    • FIVE The Cases in Context
      (pp. 95-124)

      What are we to make of these two cases? It may be useful to begin the analysis by comparing them on a number of dimensions.

      The Similarities

      Jurisdiction: First, both mergers took place in Canada, within the same broad constitutional, cultural, and socio-political framework. Each involved publicly funded institutions in the same province. Hence, the merging institutions were subject to common policies on post-secondary education, funding regimes, and labour legislation. All four had been established by acts of their respective provincial legislatures.

      The fiscal context was one of constraint: the governments of Nova Scotia and Ontario had accumulated large deficits,...


    • SIX On Dynamics and Structure
      (pp. 127-170)

      In this and the following two chapters, we make observations about aspects of the two cases, and offer associated suggestions for planning, negotiating and managing higher education mergers.

      InMerging Colleges for Mutual Growth(1994), James Martin and James Samels advocate higher education merger as a strategy for achieving academic excellence, strengthening financial health, improving administrative efficiency, achieving economies of scale, stabilizing enrolments, realizing synergies, and securing other desirable outcomes. They contrast an emerging model of ‘mutual growth mergers,’ through which these outcomes can be achieved, with earlier ‘bankruptcy-bailout mergers.’

      Traditional American bankruptcy - bailout merger plans were often driven...

    • SEVEN On Roles and Behaviour
      (pp. 171-193)

      Higher education mergers are complex, far-reaching events involving many stakeholders. Which stakeholders are actively involved depends on the specifics of the case - in particular, it depends on the cultures of the merging institutions, the internal and external governance arrangements in place (e.g., on who can grant or withhold necessary approvals), the location of needed expertise within and outside the institutions, and the identity of the constituencies whose support is vital for institutional well-being and survival.

      That said, a comparison of the Dal/TUNS and OISE/U of T cases and a review of accounts of other higher education mergers reveal common...

    • EIGHT On Dollars and Data
      (pp. 194-215)

      As important as the human side of higher education merger is the financial side, for finances drive mergers and constrain what they can achieve. In his pioneering study of mergers in the United States, John Millett wrote:

      If the ten case studies of this inquiry provide a representative sample of the merger experience of higher education institutions over the past two or three decades, it is apparent that mergers result from various circumstances and conditions: geographical proximity, complementary programs, a history of cooperative relationships, the drive to coeducation, the desire to strengthen the quality of higher educational service and complexities...

    • NINE The Steps to Merger
      (pp. 216-236)

      So what exactly is involved in making a higher education merger happen?

      There were many profound differences in how OISE and U of T and Dalhousie and TUNS approached merger. Even so, we have been able to identify two sets of steps common to both. Each step was accomplished in each case, albeit with varying effectiveness. The generic nature of the steps and their applicability to higher education mergers in general was confirmed by the consultants we interviewed.

      The first set of steps we have identified consists of process steps by which prospective partners reach agreement to merge and then...

    • TEN Concluding Observations
      (pp. 237-254)

      Having studied the dynamics of the Dal/TUNS and OISE/U of T mergers in some detail, let us step back in time. Prior to the mergers, what does one see?

      In each case, one sees a relatively large comprehensive university in close proximity to a smaller, more focused institution. The members of each pair are linked and have been for many years - Dalhousie and TUNS by a longstanding cooperative arrangement, OISE and U of T by a formal affiliation agreement. In each case, there have been prior attempts at more far-reaching integration, all unsuccessful. In the Nova Scotia case, these...

  10. APPENDIX 1 Agreement between The Province of Nova Scotia, Technical University of Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University
    (pp. 255-261)
  11. APPENDIX 2 University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Integration Agreement
    (pp. 262-278)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 279-288)
  13. Index
    (pp. 289-292)