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Welcome Back! ...Suckers!?

July 22, 2009, 12:00 am
By SFR Staff
Laureate is already raising its flag over the College of Santa Fe

Laureate is already raising its flag over the College of Santa Fe



Laureate Education Inc. swears up and down that should its lease of the College of Santa Fe property go through, pending the City of Santa Fe's purchase of the property, the college's name will stay the same. Probably. Sort of. Maybe.

Vice President of Development for Laureate, Larry Hinz, said no promises could be made regarding the best way to handle the “brand” at a Tuesday, July 21 open house on the CSF campus.

City of Santa Fe Finance Director David Millican acknowledged today that the primary concern with the CSF moniker, as he understands it, is the string of bad news that arrives upon performing a Google search. Ain't the internet a bitch?

However, digital detritus aside, the new CSF as envisioned by Laureate plans to release its fall schedule on the College of Santa Fe website on Thursday, July 23. The schedule, it has been officially revealed for the first time, is planned to feature art, creative writing, graphic design, moving image arts, performing arts and photography. Business and education programs will also continue for night and weekend students.

These preliminary emphases will be headed by, respectively, Linda Swanson, Matt Donovan, David Grey, Brad Wolfley, John Weckeser and David Scheinbaum. While relying on former CSF faculty, there's no denying the clean slate created by this new roster of department heads who, rumor has it, have been eagerly designing a bold new curriculum—ready to roll in the event that the Santa Fe City Council doesn't disintegrate into madness and pointless factions when it meets to consider the final vote on July 29.

Until today, Laureate has maintained that it hopes to open the fall semester with 100 returning students, but the email sent to parents, faculty and students this afternoon suggests that 175 students may be enrolled by September 15, when orientation is scheduled to begin. Today's email also suggests that “over 30 faculty” will be returning for the fall semester, a number that surely includes administrators and mostly adjuncts in order to achieve its (under the circumstances) dizzying heights. No more than 12 full-time faculty are expected to be on staff in the fall.

Despite these apparently optimistic numbers, serious incentives are being offered in the form of “welcome back” scholarships and credits. $8750 per semester will be credited to returning students, against the standard semester cost of $13,679. Similar credits are dangled like carrots for evening and weekend students and for housing costs for undergraduates.

The July 29 Santa Fe City Council vote is critical to these plans moving forward, but it doesn't end there. The Higher Learning Commission, the organization that provides accreditation for CSF and must approve a transfer of that designation to Laureate (a “hurdle” for for-profit institutions) won't make its final decision until the end of October.  That will be an awkward crucible for students, families and the Santa Fe community to roil in, but city staff that have been key to negotiating the deal with Laureate insist that HLS' week-long visit that began on July 13 went well. It will be up to the faculty that have signed new contracts and created the new curriculum, by and large, to convince HLS of Laureate's serious academic intent.

Time, as they say, will tell.

 

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