Two of MVNU’s sister universities announced plans for a temporary merger this spring.
Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee and Eastern Nazarene College in Massachusetts will maintain their separate identities in separate states, but will work together for up to three years while a permanent merger is considered.
Of the eight Nazarene-affiliated universities in the United States, Trevecca has experienced record student growth and enrollment. According to an article in the Tennessean, the university is expected to bring in $50 million in revenue this year for the first time in school history.
Eastern is the smallest of the institutions. Administrators there announced plans to cut faculty positions and several academic programs because of a bleak financial outlook.
The collaboration is expected to cut costs at both institutions and help Eastern gain stability and add programs and other services that had previously been cut.
Trevecca Nazarene University President Dr. Dan Boone will serve as the president of Eastern Nazarene College during the temporary merger.
MVNU President Dr. Henry Spaulding believes the joint administration is for the better and will make the merger more effective.
“You can’t have two presidents and make [the merger] work,” Spaulding said. “It is very wise on their part and they will learn how to navigate it.”
Even though the two colleges will be under one president, they will still have separate boards to make decisions for the two campuses.
Students from both campuses also are expected to benefit from the pooled resources. In a video on the ENC website, Boone says both schools will become stronger through this partnership.
Administrators and faculty hope to work together to give students increased academic opportunities. For example, history majors will have the opportunity to learn about early American history in Massachusetts and travel to Nashville to study the Civil War.
Students at ENC also may see more lectures that are video conferenced in from the Trevecca campus, Spaulding predicted.
Of course, along with these benefits will come drawbacks. The biggest: Dr. Boone will not be able to be at both campuses full-time.
Spaulding said balancing the operations at two campuses so far away from each other will present all kinds of practical problems.
For him, it would also take a lot of the fun out of his monthly “twitter races,” where he challenges students to find him first in a designated location on campus. Winners receive cash prizes.
“If I were President of both institutions, it wouldn’t be as fun to do my tweets because not everyone could participate,” Spaulding said.
Spaulding said he can see plenty of other challenges for Boone and the two institutions, but he remains optimistic.
“My first impressions are that a lot of things are going to have to change in Christian higher education,” Spaulding said. “The second thing is that the two schools are in different time zones with completely different cultures. The third thing is that there are limits to what technology can do.”
However, Dr. Spaulding believes that Dr. Boone is the right man for the job.
“Dr. Boone is a great person with a vision and great chances,” Dr. Spaulding said. “Dan Boone has never failed at anything.
“My prayers and good wishes are with the two schools as they are about to embark on this adventure.”