How The `New U' Is Making The Grade

"The new U" (Social Issues, Dec. 22) did not mention the programs of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education. With corporate sponsorship, it is funding innovative model programs at dozens of private colleges to demonstrate that cost savings can be realized through new collaborations and technology.

We find that private colleges are ready to get to work in creative ways. One example: a consortium of colleges in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky that is redesigning introductory chemistry courses to be taught online. Students from four universities will learn collaboratively.

In the face of a more segmented higher-education market, the experience that private colleges and universities offer is distinctive. Small classes, a close-knit community, and individualized attention all promote skills that are essential characteristics for our nation's leaders.

Carole B. Whitcomb

President

Foundation for Independent

Higher Education

Chicago

The key difference between the ivory towers and the for-profit institutions you describe can be summed up in one word: evolution. Most of the institutions that will thrive in the new millennium are those willing to abandon notions of an erudite liberal arts education in favor of a more pragmatic view of education as a pathway to a worthwhile career.

Regionally accredited for-profit institutions, such as Berkeley College, must live up to the same standards of academic excellence as the leading liberal arts colleges. At the same time, however, curricula are designed to be immediately relevant to the present work environment. It is for this reason that a number of proprietary colleges are experiencing a steady increase in enrollment.

Kevin L. Luing

President

Berkeley College

West Paterson, N.J.

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