History of Franklin-Urbana relationship
Franklin University acquired Urbana University’s assets in April of 2014. Built on collaborative and on-going relationships, the partnership was entered into to assure Urbana’s ability to continue to serve students effectively. Through the agreement, Franklin’s competency in teaching effectiveness and technology-enhanced programs was combined with Urbana’s strengths to create improved growth strategies and deliver quality programs.
How does the designation Branch Campus impact Urbana University’s name?
While the Urbana University name will be maintained, it will now add either the descriptor “a branch campus of Franklin University,” or “a division of Franklin University” after its name on official documentation.
Will the Urbana University brand or identity change?
The Universities recognize that Franklin and Urbana attract different audiences and therefore each institution’s brand and identity will remain to preserve those distinctions. The branch campus status will allow for the best of both institutions to thrive while preserving the qualities that have attracted their unique audiences throughout the years.
What happens to UU’s probationary status?
As part of becoming a branch campus, Urbana University will withdraw its standing as an independent affiliation with the Higher Learning Commission and will fall under the accreditation of Franklin University. By making this change, Urbana University’s probation status no longer applies. This change positions the University to move forward with growth strategies that leverage existing academic strengths, as well as offer new academic programs and athletics that align with the interests, needs and workforce skills necessary for economic prosperity.
How do students benefit from this change?
Franklin and Urbana share common values, which is one of the reasons the collaboration between the two institutions has been successful. Urbana University will continue to operate as an institution that values its relationships with the community and respects its students and alumni. As the two institutions work together more closely, efficiencies will be gained through the integration of operations and infrastructure.
Leadership will continue to work to strengthen and enhance academic programs and combine offerings between the two institutions when appropriate.
In addition to infrastructure and academic enhancements, students now benefit from the planning and financial support provided to create a campus experience that is both safer and more appealing to our students.
Does single accreditation mean Urbana University and Franklin University will have the same tuition rates?
There are no immediate plans for changes to the existing tuition rate based on the branch campus status.
Will financial aid be impacted by the change to a branch campus status?
Student eligibility will not be impacted by this change. What will change is the institution code now that Urbana University will be considered a part of Franklin University and will therefore share the same identification code for financial aid application.
Will relationships with Board of Trustees members be maintained?
Franklin University will operate with a single Board of Trustees with a supporting Urbana University Advisory Board.
Will current academic offerings continue to be offered at both institutions?
Yes, programs will continue to be offered at both institutions. Academic program reviews will continue to be conducted collaboratively between Franklin and Urbana faculty and staff with a keen eye to supporting students enrolled in existing academic programs, while critically evaluating the quality, relevance, and viability of academic programs for the future. Leadership will work to strengthen academic programs, and combine offerings between the two institutions when appropriate and keep other programs separate when individual markets are best served.
Will students at Urbana be able to take classes at Franklin and vice versa?
Leadership at both universities believe students should have access to educational opportunities provided by both institutions. However, there are authorization and accreditation processes that must be adhered to for students from one institution to take classes at another. The proper channels will be followed to explore this objective.
Will students at Urbana receive diplomas that say Urbana or Franklin?
The names of the institution on the diplomas are dependent upon the official state and regional accreditation of an institution. Therefore, Urbana University diplomas will read “Urbana University, a Division of Franklin University” with the Urbana University reference displayed in larger font and the Division of Franklin University statement displayed in a sub-font.
Will Urbana’s sports programs/activities continue as business as usual?
Yes, Urbana’s sports programs/activities are an integral part of the students Urbana University serves. Franklin University has invested in a number of athletics-related capital improvements such as refinishing of the basketball floor with a new NCAA/Urbana University logo, installation of new flooring in the Grimes Hall weight room, replacement of the stadium turf, installation of first-ever lights for the stadium to expand the use of the venue as well as elevate the fan experience, as well as add the new acro-tumbling program.
Does this affect Urbana’s D2 level status?
The change to branch campus status was made in consultation with the NCAA and leadership will be working with the NCAA and the athletic department to assure continuation of sports teams and assure that compliance requirements are met.
Organization structure and staffing
Will Urbana’s executive leadership team be maintained?
Dr. Christopher Washington, the recently appointed Executive Vice President and Provost for the Franklin enterprise will continue to lead Urbana University, with his sights set on an ambitious growth plan to restore Urbana to financial health. The newly streamlined organizational structure implemented in May supports the branch campus structure and capitalizes on the synergies developed through strong collaborations across Franklin and Urbana.
Will this affect wages and benefits?
Urbana will continue to maintain its current benefit and wage structures for the foreseeable future.
Will Urbana’s church affiliation be affected?
Franklin University respects Urbana’s history and will maintain a relationship with the Swedenborg Church.