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The Wainhouse Research Study|Outreach School Progress Report

Introduction

The University of Wyoming Mission Statement includes an articulation of the institution’s commitment to serving all of Wyoming:  As Wyoming's only university, we are committed to outreach and service that extend our human talent and technological capacity to serve the people in our communities, our state, the nation, and the world.   While a myriad of UW units engage our statewide constituents in a variety of ways, the University of Wyoming Outreach School has been charged with helping to support this part of the University’s mission by delivering learning opportunities (academic programs and informal learning through Wyoming Public Media) to students who live and learn outside the UW-Laramie campus.  

The University of Wyoming has been involved in distance education since the 1890s, when the institution became one of the first western universities to offer courses through correspondence study.   Early distance education continued, but consisted of either correspondence study, which involves little interaction between faculty and student, or faculty travel to teach one group of students in one location.  Thus, the ability to reach students was limited.  Modern technologies have allowed UW to aggregate students from various sites into single classes, thus serving more students.   A comparison is illustrative.  In Spring 2000, the total unduplicated University of Wyoming student headcount was 11,540; 2525 of these students (21.8%) were Outreach students.  In Spring 2010 the total unduplicated UW student headcount was 13459; 3700 of these students (27.5%) were Outreach students.  More than one in 4 UW students now lives and learns outside the UW-Laramie campus.  This demand by students statewide will continue to grow as more non-traditional and site-bound students pursue UW academic degrees – which reflects nationwide trends.   In addition, it should be noted that some UW-Laramie students take advantage of courses offered through Outreach.  For example, during the Spring 2010 semester 4103 (33.6%) of all UW students in all locations took at least one course offered through the UW Outreach School, including 403 UW-Laramie students.   This blurring of lines between traditional on-campus and distance delivery enrollments also reflects nationwide trends, as students find the courses that best meet their needs and schedules.

 

Impetus for Rethinking the Operations and Financial Models of the Outreach School

After years of successfully adding distance programs and enrolling more learners for UW, the UW Outreach School realized that it was fast approaching the point where it could no longer effectively address all the demands of students, the institution, academic units, and the School itself by relying on old structures and processes.  In Fall 2010 the UW Outreach School hired Wainhouse Research (see www.wainhouse.com) to examine the UW Outreach School and its role within UW, especially with regard to existing financial and programmatic models.  Wainhouse personnel interviewed a wide range of UW administrators, faculty, and staff.  They also interviewed personnel from nine comparator institutions and two academic consortia.  The Wainhouse Research report put forward a thoughtful analysis and a helpful series of recommendations.  This process identified critical issues that need to be addressed for the Outreach School to scale and make sustainable UW’s large academic outreach efforts. This study and the support of the University administration have provided the opportunity to rethink and revise perspectives and processes to allow the university to more effectively structure, manage, and finance its distance education programs. The final Wainhouse Research report was shared with UW administrators, faculty, and staff, and can be also downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the cover image of the report on the left side of this webpage. The UW Outreach School is now charged with leading the implementation of the various recommendations from the Wainhouse Research study.

 

New UW Outreach School Tuition Revenue-Sharing Model Determined in October 2011

 

In October 2011, after careful consideration and discussion among academic deans and Academic Affairs personnel, an institutional decision was made regarding the revised tuition revenue-sharing model that will be utilized by the Outreach School and academic colleges.  The model includes the following features:

 

  1. The tuition sharing will be consistent, transparent, and scalable, in accordance with the recommendations of the consultants hired by the Outreach School to examine its financial and programmatic models. (Click here to view the Wainhouse Final Report)
  2. The tuition revenue-share model will operate only between the Outreach School and academic colleges.  Any existing agreements beteen the Outreach School and individual departments or faculty will end with the initiation of the new tuition revenue-sharing model in Fall of 2012.  
  3. The tuition revenue-share model will be considered as a pilot program for the initial three years of operation.  Adjustments may be made if they are considered necessary for institutional reasons.  
  4. The tuition will be shared on an “as collected” basis, programmed through the Banner system, so that colleges and the Outreach School will receive their appropriate share of tuition revenues as the revenues are received by the institution.
  5. The tuition will be shared on this basis: 
    • For regular tuition programs, the tuition will be shared equally between the academic colleges and the Outreach School (i.e., each receives 50% of the tuition generated);
    • For entrepreneurial tuition programs (e.g., the Executive MBA, Land Surveying, English Master’s cohort program, BRAND Nursing), the colleges will retain 75% of tuition and the Outreach School will retain 25% of the generated tuition; and
    • For differential tuition programs (currently, the new DNP program is the only differential tuition program offered through the Outreach School), the college will receive 50% of the base tuition (i.e., the regular graduate tuition), the Outreach School will retain 50% of the base tuition, and the college will retain all the differential tuition, consistent with University practice concerning differential tuition (click here to view the differential tuition principles).
  6.  

Additional information about the Outreach School's implementation process and updated reports on progress will be published on this website as we move forward.

     

     

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