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U Wyoming Latest to Sign OPM Agreement with Wiley Education Services

The University of Wyoming has signed an online program management agreement with Wiley Education Services, to help faculty shift courses to online formats in time for the spring 2021 semester. Wiley will provide instructional design help and professional development services. According to the company, the deal is one of the largest "fee-for-service" agreements it has signed to date.

"Our faculty members have been working diligently to provide a quality education to our students since the pandemic began, including converting courses to online delivery in a manner that engages them as much as possible," said Anne Alexander, interim provost at the university, in a press release. "This partnership with Wiley will help us fulfill that commitment at an even higher level."

The university has about 9,000 undergraduate students.

The deal arrived on the heels of a university plan to address a $42.3 million budget reduction, which could include the elimination of between 50 and 57 academic jobs and 23 and 28 non-academic jobs. The Board of Trustees, with the support of the Associated Students of UW, also voted to raise tuition rates by 6 percent and review some 20 low-enrollment academic programs for possible reorganization, reduction or cancellation. Proposed program changes are scheduled to be presented to the trustees in February. All of the academic programs are under scrutiny by administration as part of shoring up the university's strategic plan or "four pillars" priorities: to become more digital, more entrepreneurial, more interdisciplinary and more inclusive.

The university announced that the spring semester, which starts on Jan. 25, would feature a mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes. While close to 40 percent of courses currently are scheduled to be delivered fully online in the spring — up from an historical share of 15 percent — six in 10 are expected to include in-person components.

"COVID-19 and the rushed transition to online learning has left university faculty feeling unprepared," said Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services. "Much of the fee-for-service capabilities we have been building for schools include heavy faculty support, so they feel comfortable and confident teaching in these new environments. We are thrilled to partner with University of Wyoming to not only enable an online teaching and learning experience that is more effective for their students and faculty, but also help them continue to provide consistency and continuity across their online courses."

The deal with UW is just the latest for Wiley, which has also signed agreements in the last eight months with Calvin University in Michigan, to develop 13 graduate and undergraduate degree programs; La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, to redevelop five graduate programs; Methodist University in North Carolina, to launch 21 programs, including five for January 2021; and the University of New Haven in Connecticut, to launch six graduate programs.

Wiley's services include marketing, recruitment, student retention services and program design and development.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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