by Evi Arthur / Editor-in-Chief
Recently, President Ali Malekzadeh of Roosevelt University and President Mablene Krueger of Robert Morris University announced their application to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to integrate the two universities. The integration would see Robert Morris coming under the umbrella of Roosevelt University as the Robert Morris Experiential College.
As part of their attempt to keep both communities updated on the process, Presidents Malekzadeh and Krueger hosted a town hall in the Ida B. Wells lounge on Oct. 24. About 150 people were in attendance—mostly staff and faculty—from both institutions, and the event was live-streamed.
Initially, Krueger and Malekzadeh discussed enrollment at both schools as well as the enrollment goals for the 2020-2021 school year and retention rates—RMU has a 50 percent retention rate and RU has a 73 percent retention rate.
The task forces that were introduced at the first integration forum now have over 240 volunteers, with 35 task forces in total. “The feedback already from the task forces has been very positive,” President Malekzadeh said. “We’re being cautioned on not being too specific on the answers that we give in these kind of sessions, mainly because the task forces are working on the various recommendations.”
These task forces are in charge of working out the details of the possible integration from space allocation to curriculum to enrollment management. Anyone interested in joining a task force should email firstname.lastname@example.org with his/her top three task force choices.
Roosevelt will be receiving a visit from HLC—scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1—from the HLC vice president and two peer reviewers from other universities. The purpose of this visit is to see what the university post-integration would look like and to see whether or not it would be able to remain an accrediting body. As of right now, there is no set schedule, but President Malekzadeh mentioned that they might be meeting with certain groups and individuals to evaluate, as well as holding an open forum.
There will also be an open house at the Schaumburg campus on Nov. 8 that will include a tour of the RMU athletic facilities in Arlington Heights starting at 9:30 a.m. A tour of the Schaumburg campus will start at 11 a.m. and the open house will end with a meet and greet luncheon from noon to 2 p.m.
As for athletics, all of Roosevelt’s current head coaches—with the exception of track and field—”remain in those roles in the new organizational structure,” according to the “Building a Stronger University” website. The current RU and RMU head cross country and track and field coaches will divide responsibility, with RU’s coach taking over cross country and RMU’s head coach taking over the track and field team. Other coaches in sports programs offered at both schools “will remain integral parts of the athletic department, and in most cases their respective athletic teams, as they work in a collaborative environment,” according to the “Building a Stronger University” website.
Of course, nothing will move forward until the HLC board approves the integration, which—if approved—will most likely be in the spring. “Once we have that decision, it becomes real,” Malekzadeh said.
Going forward, any new information can be found on the “Building a Stronger University” website under the “FAQ” page.
“When we say to you that we’re not sure of some things, that is the truth because we need our students, our faculty and staff to weigh in on desires and what’s possible and maybe what isn’t possible to recommend those to leadership to make our decisions,” said Krueger.
We are interested in learning how the student body feels about the possible integration. Visit our survey and let us know!