A Model for the Future of Higher Education

Project Recasts Higher Education to Better Serve Students, Strengthen Economy
University of Bridgeport Aerial View

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.—June 30, 2020—Goodwin University and Sacred Heart University, along with Paier College of Art, announced today they intend to work with the University of Bridgeport to create a new model for higher education that capitalizes on the programmatic strengths of each school.

Sacred Heart University, Goodwin University, the University of Bridgeport, and Paier College of Art will be the initial higher education institutions to form a unique educational opportunity in the city of Bridgeport. The shared goal of the four schools is to separately serve certificate- and degree-seeking students at all academic levels in a centralized setting on the current University of Bridgeport campus. 

The advantages of co-locating multiple and distinct schools within a single learning environment are considerable. Within an educational consortium model that makes use of co-located facilities, students will be able to take advantage of the strengths of each institution to chart academic courses that best position them for career readiness. When appropriate, students may navigate from one school to another to continue their educations at progressively higher levels, depending on their degree focus.

“This is an exciting time for the University of Bridgeport as higher education is reimagined in collaboration with three institutions that are each known for excellence in academic concentrations,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. “I am looking forward to seeing these expanded opportunities become reality for students as they strive to reach their educational goals and employment dreams. Bridgeport welcomes the educational leadership with this innovative plan as businesses and organizational structures are reinvented in our city and throughout the state.”

The University of Bridgeport will continue to operate as an independent institution under the governance of its Board of Trustees. The schedule for full realization of the plan depends in part on approval from the accrediting organizations of the various academic programs. Considerations must also be allowed for the vetting and approval of each institution’s board of trustees, as well as a transition period to examine and align resources and programs.

“This venture presents a proactive plan to strengthen the University of Bridgeport in order to protect the futures of our students,” offered University of Bridgeport Board Chair Robert Berchem. “Goodwin University’s president, Mark Scheinberg, has a vision to bring together educational organizations, economic drivers, and city leaders in a collaboration that gives students a solid path through higher education that enables them to build the future they envision.”

"I want to extend my appreciation to President Scheinberg and Sacred Heart University’s President John J. Petillo for their visionary thinking and collaboration in securing a strong future for the University's innovative programs for careers of the future," said Stephen Healey, interim president of the University of Bridgeport.


A Model for the Future of Higher Education

Depending on requirements, facilities, and faculty expertise, some programs are likely to be combined or to shift from one school to another. In some cases, completely new programs will be introduced. Goodwin, Sacred Heart, and Paier will assume a number of academic programs now being offered by the University of Bridgeport. Current University of Bridgeport students will be guided through to the completion of their planned courses of study on time and with financial aid packages that mirror their current package as closely as possible.  

“Sacred Heart University is excited to explore participation in this project and the chance to help strengthen educational opportunities in Bridgeport,” Petillo shared. “We always welcome the opportunity to be an engine of innovation in the region while expanding our own programs in engineering, health sciences, and education."

“The concept of forming a melting pot of motivated students across multiple disciplines resonates with our vision of a progressive academic community,” said Paier President Joseph M. Bierbaum. “Paier’s inclusion in this venture will allow us to engage with local arts organizations and provide a foothold for artistic creativity in the region.”


More Pathways, Greater Opportunity

Area high school students will be able to take advantage of this initiative as well. Strong educational pathways, which would likely include early college programming, credit-bearing course options, and internships leading to employment are under consideration for development. This would significantly impact the way area high school students would be able to plan their education. 

“We plan to follow pathways that have proven so successful at our East Hartford campus,” said Scheinberg. “High school students get an early appreciation for the career choices that speak to them. Then, through a scaffolding approach to learning, they can go from earning certificates, to associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, adjusting as their programs of study necessitate.”

The new educational initiative will benefit greater Bridgeport by ensuring that higher education maintains its critical presence in the city, aligns appropriately trained professionals with area employers, and supports local businesses with associated revenue. 

Goodwin’s strengths lie in workforce training based on employer needs, including addressing incumbent worker skills. The school is well recognized for its health care and manufacturing programs and would likely establish a presence for those disciplines in Bridgeport. 

“It’s clear that the face of higher education has changed dramatically,” remarked Scheinberg. “If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have to think unconventionally. One size no longer fits all in education. Our academic programs, and especially the way they are delivered, have to address the interests of the students and the demands of the workplace. Educational organizations have to collaborate and contribute their strengths for the greater good, and the resulting solutions will undoubtedly be something totally new and exciting.”
 



About Goodwin University:
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Founded in 1999, Goodwin University is focused on serving a diverse student population in a dynamic environment that aligns education, commerce and community. Its innovative programs of study prepare students for professional careers while promoting lifelong learning and civic responsibility. As a nurturing university community, Goodwin challenges its students, faculty, staff and administration to fully realize their highest academic, professional and personal potential. To learn more about Goodwin University, please visit www.goodwin.edu.

About Sacred Heart University:
As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theater.

About University of Bridgeport:
The University of Bridgeport offers career-oriented undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and programs for people seeking personal and professional growth. The University promotes academic excellence, personal responsibility, and commitment to service. Distinctive curricula in an international, culturally diverse and supportive learning environment prepare graduates for life and leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. The University is independent and non-sectarian. www.bridgeport.edu

About Paier College of Art: 
Paier College of Art is the only independent art college in the State of Connecticut. Founded in 1946, Paier’s master artists train students in the disciplines of illustration, graphic design, interior design, and photography in a personalized manner that encourages individual creativity. Our alumni have gone on to establish marketing agencies, illustrate children’s books, and create internationally recognized logos.
 

View Fact Sheet