Building A Multi-University Consortium

By Thomas Acker, PI

Northern Arizona University implemented and tested a new consortium model for building a multi-institution, multi-disciplinary, high-quality graduate curricula. This collaborative effort WindU, for graduate training in wind energy – between Northern Arizona University, Texas Tech University, Penn State University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst offered expanded graduate educational opportunities beyond what each institution can provide. The project team piloted and tested a new, replicable model for creating an expandable consortium in STEM graduate education, designed to increase the breadth and frequency of course offerings and educational opportunities available to a diverse group of students.

The new model, Rapid, proposed an innovative delineation of the elements required to successfully set up a consortium, covering a range of activities from curriculum planning to financial agreements, consortium management and governance, student support systems and course delivery, and included future consortium expansion and sustainability. Also innovative was its goal to create a consortium that was readily able to add new members, and the inclusion of webinars shared among consortium members and international partner organizations for swift diffusion of new knowledge. As universities respond to society’s demand for educational programs in rapidly evolving technical fields, models for multi-university, multi-disciplinary consortiums such as Rapid provide critical pathways for success.


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