UMass eyes bigger online education footprint with new brand


The University of Massachusetts system will expand its online educational footprint in a bid to reach more adult learners after formally affiliating with a California university known for its work on the digital front, officials said Thursday.

School officials have finalized the decision to transfer control of Brandman University, which currently serves 22,000 students as an independent part of the Chapman University System, from Chapman to UMass. Effective immediately, Brandman University is now known as “UMass Global,” which officials described as an independent, nonprofit affiliate of UMass.

The agreement expands online learning available under the UMass banner, and UMass Global will specifically focus on expanding talent pipelines and helping adult learners access new educational opportunities.

“Online learning was rapidly growing in importance for adult learners before the pandemic, but the past year and a half has demonstrated that UMass Global will be essential for millions of adults in Massachusetts, California and across the country. countries, as labor markets have been disrupted and employers’ needs and priorities have changed,” said Marty Meehan, UMass President. “UMass Global will be a trusted partner for learners and employers alike in building on Brandman’s award-winning model.”

The expansion is in preparation. In 2019, Meehan announcement in its “State of the University” address that UMass would pursue a new “online college” focused on adult learners, and officials said in June 2020 that UMass was develop a partnership with Brandman University.

The University of Massachusetts System itself won’t pay Chapman University to complete the acquisition, but UMass Global’s independent nonprofit affiliate will pay Chapman University a total of $96 million in over the next 10 years, almost all of which will begin to flow. five years, according to a spokesperson. Brandman University contributes annual operating revenue to UMass Global of approximately $130 million per year, plus approximately $50 million in cash.

A 13-member Board of Directors will govern UMass Global. Robert Manning, who chairs the UMass Board of Trustees, will chair the UMass Global Board of Trustees, and additional members will be announced in the coming weeks, officials said.

UMass announced Wednesday that Manning, who also chairs MFS Investment Management, and his wife, Donna, have agreed to do $50 million donation for the university system.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Brandman University today operates 25 physical campuses in California and Washington, as well as hybrid and online models. It began in 1958 when Chapman College – now Chapman University – began offering on-site tuition for active duty military personnel before becoming an independent school within the Chapman University system.

When UMass first revealed the partnership last year, Chapman University President Daniele Struppa said it became “increasingly clear” that Chapman’s leadership of Brandman had gone ” as far as possible”.

“Now is the time for Brandman’s next step and UMass Global will undoubtedly be a national powerhouse in online education,” Struppa said in a statement Thursday. “Finalizing the relationship between Brandman and UMass allows both institutions to focus on their strengths as Chapman continues its meteoric rise as a research institution.”

Brandman’s leadership will remain intact and UMass Global intends “to take urgent action to help close the persistent gaps in academic and economic achievement” by expanding its student support model and portfolio of business and purpose partnerships. nonprofit, officials said.

“UMass Global will create a tremendous offering at a time when working adults and underserved communities need better options to complete their education,” said Brandman University Chancellor Gary Brahm. “Coming together, we will leverage each other’s relationships, skills and expertise to deliver leading hybrid and online university programs from coast to coast.”

The school currently provides services to employers who offer low-cost or no-cost college as a social benefit, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Target, Walmart, Disney, and Discover Financial Services. A UMass spokesperson said those commitments will continue to be honored under the new partnership model.

Last year, UMass also partnered with Mass General Brigham to launch a certification and degree pathway for healthcare professionals.

The pandemic has sparked renewed interest in the development of the workforce and skills gaps in Massachusetts. After a wave of unemployment at the start of the crisis, many companies said they were struggling to find employees to fill in-demand jobs.

Governor Charlie Baker has urged the Legislature to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in US Bailout Act funding for economic development and workforce training initiatives to address these needs.

UMass and Brandman touted support for the new UMass Global subsidiary from several major business groups, including Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Los Angeles County Business Federation and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

“Essential skills are one of the keys to unlocking economic opportunity for people and communities in Greater Boston and Massachusetts,” Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President James Rooney said in a statement provided by the schools. “UMass Global is an innovative approach to reskilling and upskilling adult learners and workers that will keep our region competitive as a global innovation leader.

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