Wesleying has obtained access to documents concerning the University’s announcement that it is considering establishing a campus in Hengdian, China. These documents were sent to Wesleying by a student source, and the validity of the documents have been confirmed by the University.
These documents include a presentation made by the University outlining the motivations behind the joint venture with Hengdian Group, the Chinese corporation that would partner with the University, the costs and benefits of opening the campus, and the financial opportunities associated with the venture. The University seems to still be in the preliminary planning process, and as far as we know, the Hengdian joint venture proposal has not resulted in any concrete commitments as of yet.
The second document included here is a draft presentation by Ernst & Young-Parthenon, a strategy consulting company, detailing the University’s performance in the higher education market. Parthenon, which joined EY in 2014, has been advising in the education industry since 1991.
The last document included here is an email from Heather Brooke, Administrative Assistant to the President, to the members of the Board (presumably the Board of Trustees) sent on September 10, 2019. She mentions that Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, a dean at the Yale School of Management, would be presenting during the first session of the retreat. She directs the email recipients to a series of news articles that Mr. Sonnenfeld had sent along for review prior to the retreat. The materials include an article in the New York Times titled “Don’t Dismiss ‘Safe Spaces’”, “The Coddling of the American Mind” from The Atlantic, and “How Megadonors Could Rescue America’s Universities” from Fortune.
The release of these documents exemplifies a unique instance where we can observe the inner workings of the Administration’s mindset as it looks towards the future. The Hengdian presentation tells us about the University’s interests and goals in regards to this particular venture. Perhaps of greater importance, the EY-Parthenon presentation opens the door to an entirely different conversation, and provides some context as to why the University is considering pursuing the Hengdian campus in the first place.
The EY-Parthenon presentation describes the challenges facing higher education across the board. The information included in the presentation is in some respects unprecedented; it tells us a lot more than what American universities might currently be willing to reveal when it comes to the challenges that they are perceiving in a rapidly evolving world.
In publishing these documents, Wesleying’s main priority is to ensure that the entire Wesleyan community has equal access to information concerning the challenges the University is facing as it sets its sights on future growth. The Hengdian campus proposal seems to be just one example of potentially many new ventures the University will be pursuing in the coming years.
Four documents are included at the bottom of this post. The first is the original Hengdian proposal presentation. The second is an updated version that was presented to faculty on October 15th, 2019. The third is a draft copy of the EY-Parthenon presentation. The last document is Ms. Brooke’s email to the board.
Hit the jump for a summary of the documents.