The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Daily Briefing” recently highlighted the merger of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University as an indicator of the consolidation zeitgeist that is grabbing higher education by the tassels these days. And the excitement is building. Look for the following provocative partnerships to make headlines in the months to come:
U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and University of California, Berkeley — “This is a natural for us,” beams West Point Superintendent Robert Caslen. “We’re starting a semester-abroad program next year, and for most of our cadets, walking the streets of downtown Berkeley will be like visiting the moon.” The response of USMA students has been enthusiastic. As one anonymous cadet commented, “do you have any idea how hard it is to get high-quality weed on our campus?”
For her part, Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ is definitely on board for the pending nuptials between the two institutions. What benefits will her students derive from spending time at the Academy? “Three things,” she says. “Better posture, a better haircut, and knowing how to keep your damn mouth shut when someone in authority is telling you what to do.”
Bryn Mawr and Florida State University — “Our students have a tendency to take themselves way too seriously,” claims Bryn Mawr President Kimberly Cassidy. “At Florida State, many of the students probably don’t even know how to spell ‘seriously’, and certainly they don’t use ‘patriarchal hegemony’ in everyday conversation the way our students do. We want our young women to start having some FUN in college. Why not try out for the Seminoles cheerleading squad? Or throw up over the balcony at an off-campus fraternity party every once in a while! It’s also the case that Bryn Mawr students tend to be disturbingly pale, regardless of their racial background. At FSU, ‘Applying Cocoa Butter’ is a required one-credit course for all first-year students, not just for those who major in Tanning. Go for it! What’s not to love?”
What will Florida State undergraduates get out of this arrangement? “Tutors,” according to President John Thrasher. “We desperately need more tutors for our varsity athletes. Over 60% of FSU’s budget is spent on tutors and flash cards. If every Bryn Mawr student volunteered just one evening a week to our tutoring program, we wouldn’t have to offer so many low-challenge online courses in subjects like ‘Sock Sorting’, ‘Taking Selfies with Your Cat’, and ‘Breathing’.”
University of Notre Dame, Brigham Young University, and Yeshiva University — This union promises to be a blockbuster, and will probably not be finalized until late 2019. According to Notre Dame President John Jenkins, “Our goal is to become higher education’s premier religious multiplex, bringing together in one magnificent institution the elements of faith that make each of our respective belief systems the wacky wonderlands of cognition that Catholics, Mormons, and Jews swear by. We’ve already contracted with Ridley Scott and Martin Scorcese to co-direct an HBO mini-series — tentatively entitled Armageddon Rapture — that will capture the drama of faculty in our new Tri-Theology Department developing a unified core curriculum. It will star Sigourney Weaver, Mandy Patinkin, and Mitt Romney.”
Stream, Baby, Stream.