Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY was one of several colleges in the state that have been working for the past few years to persuade the State Board of Regents to change its definition of higher education institutions, which may or may not be called “universities.” “When the board formally amends the regulation and expands the definition in January, the college administrators formally apply for a university nomination.
Its application was approved by the board on May 17 – and on May 18, Dominican College became the Dominican University.
Sister Mary Eileen O’Brien, president of the university, said the new title fits more closely with Dominican, a Catholic institution that offers both academically and culturally. He points to the expansion of undergraduate and graduate curricula over the years, from more liberal arts courses to more business, science and technology courses, as well as the addition of doctoral programs in nursing and physical therapy. He said that the cassette of “University” is also suitable for the institution.
According to the previous definition of the State Board, an institution can only be designated as a university if it offers “a range of undergraduate and graduate courses registered in liberal arts and sciences, degrees in two or more professional fields and doctoral programs in at least three. Academic fields.” The amendment, approved in January, removed the requirement for professional and doctoral programs. Universities are now defined as “undergraduate programs registered in at least three of the following disciplines: agriculture, biology, business, education, engineering, fine arts, health care, humanities, physical sciences and social sciences”.
Other colleges in New York have pending applications for university degrees, and a few former colleges have become universities since January.
“We wanted to make sure that the title reflects the level of commitment,” said Sister Mary Eileen, referring to the severity, quality and quantity of courses offered by Dominican University.
Marketing consultants say organizations outside of New York that had switched from college to university had similar motivations. But New York is the only state where any doctoral program was needed to define an institution as a university, at least three.
“Over the years, whenever the issue comes up, we’ve encouraged New York State to become more like the 49ers,” said Sister Mary Eileen.
Dominican, a small organization just north of New York City, a Hispanic-serving organization. Sister Mary Aileen said she was concerned about how Hispanic students view the name change because of the perception of “college” versus “university” among Hispanic students. In many countries, including Central and South America, “college” refers to secondary education or high school. This can be confusing to international students considering studying in the United States and makes it difficult for American colleges to recruit students from abroad.
Sister Mary Aileen said being known as a university “clears the level of education, especially for our Spanish-speaking students, and makes the institution’s offerings more prestigious.”
When William Murphy, deputy commissioner of higher education in New York State, recommended a revised definition in a memo to the Board of Regents ‘higher education committee last December, he noted “increasing competition from other state chartered institutions employing New York students, nationally and internationally, where’ The term ‘college’ presents a significant marketing challenge. “
Changing the requirements, which have been in place since 1969, would allow state institutions to “compete more effectively and market their programs within the state, nationally and globally,” he wrote in a memo to the committee.
This was the case with Utica College in Central New York, St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn and Mallow College in Long Island, all of which were officially recognized as universities. At least two non-governmental organizations in the Rochester area, St. John Fisher College and Nazareth College, have also sought permission to be nominated as universities.
A spokesman for St. John’s Fisher College said: “For us, the university offers greater prestige, has a strong reputation both nationally and internationally, and better presents the kind of institution we are in now and what we have been practicing for many years.” In the statement.
At least one public institution in New York is considering seeking approval to call itself a university.
SUNY Old Westbury on Long Island, one of the 34 four-year institutions at the State University of New York system, still considers itself a college, but changed its branding from SUNY College in Old Westbury almost eight years ago. College spokesman Michael Kennon said a formal discussion was planned this summer on whether the institution should be nominated as a university.
“It’s been a while since we’ve discussed who we were and what the students thought of themselves,” Kinane said.
He said the goal is to strike a balance between a marketable brand, an identity that represents its presence in the SUNY system as an institution that fits the definition of a “university” and a close college culture with smaller classes and connections. Between students and faculty members.
“We’re going to talk about what that means, what our history means and how it reflects who we are,” he said.
Dominican University officials will spend the summer removing “college” and adding “university” to its name in everything from business cards to bank accounts to signage – including the university’s website, which still refers to it as a college in some places.
The entrance sign of the university is changed on the day the university announces the approval of the university’s title.
“It’s going to be the first,” said Sister Mary Eileen.
The newly named university has promoted the change and the reception among faculty members, students, alumni and the surrounding community has been “very positive,” he said.
“They are congratulating us,” he said, adding that the new name would not reflect negatively on the history and nature of the university. “That closeness, that level of college with each other, that’s the culture of this college, and we don’t think it’s going to change.”
Thomas Hayes, dean of the Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Ohio and co-founder of Simpson Scarborough, an education marketing firm, said the image has been presented to students, faculty members, alumni, the academic community and the outside world. Driven name change, not just in New York and not from “college” to “university”.
“The idea of being a university gives the impression that a school is bigger, more spacious,” Hayes said. “It’s an indication of where you should go from college to university. That gives it a little more gravity. “
Changes are not always universally welcomed. Hayes’ company worked with administrators at Loyola College in Baltimore in the late 2000’s to rename Loyola University of Maryland to expand its program offerings. (At the time of the renaming ceremony in 2009, almost every institution in the United States named Loyola was nominated as a university long ago.)
There was significant pushback from alumni opposing the name change, said Elizabeth Johnson, co-founder and chairperson of Simpson Scarborough.
“They thought the organization was losing its personal appeal, its a small community feeling,” he said.
Johnson said the difference between “college” and “university” carries great weight in the United States as well as internationally. He says surveys conducted with company administrators, potential students and their parents indicate “they prefer university to college. They think they’re bigger, they think they’re better, they think they’re more dignified.”