Our mission at Emeritus is to bring high-quality education to the world at an affordable price. In my role as Director of University Partnerships, I ensure our collaborations with top universities are healthy and growing and that our mutual goals are being met. I was excited to speak with Josh Kim on his Inside Higher Ed blog about what drew me to Emeritus and to explore the dual role Emeritus plays in providing education and finding success as an EdTech startup. We also talked about the tensions between pursuing our shared mission with universities to provide access to education while also building a solvent, stable business.
It is both an exciting and challenging time to be in higher education. With artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, digital communication, and globalization increasingly affecting professionals in virtually all corners of the globe, there is an enormous demand for upskilling today. Universities – especially the established Research 1 universities with which we work most closely – are at the cutting edge of the science and technology behind these developments. So, there is a tremendous opportunity for universities to have an impact. But at the same time, there is a growing recognition that traditional four-year residential degrees and masters programs are only one part of the opportunity – online degrees and shorter certificate programs are increasingly viewed as alternatives or supplements to traditional higher education. But universities are not necessarily organized in a way to pursue these options efficiently and effectively. That’s where we come in.
I spoke to Josh about how we facilitate these alternatives with top universities. Our role is to serve as a conduit, so our university partners can reach larger groups of participants and train them for the future of work. For us, a key aspect of this endeavor is global reach. We serve participants from all over the world, with 30% of enrollments coming from India/Asia, 30% from the U.S., 15% from Latin America, 11% from the Middle East, and 14% from the rest of the world. To serve these learners effectively, we need to be global ourselves. In addition to our U.S. offices in Boston and San Francisco, we have large offices in India and Mexico and a growing presence in China, Singapore, UAE, and Europe. Our university partners have always been a global hub for learners to come and interact with each other on campus. We enable them to replicate and expand this global interaction in an online environment.
Josh also asked me to address the controversies surrounding Online Program Management (OPM) providers. I explained why Emeritus is not an OPM. Our mission is to provide high quality, low-cost online alternatives to traditional residential programs. Also, our flexible approach and our ability to mix and match online and offline experiences do not fit with the traditional OPM model. Furthermore, I described how the programs we create could benefit schools and their dual missions of research and education while keeping the costs of tuition stable. Indeed, we are true partners with educators at the best institutions of higher learning.
I am grateful to Josh for the opportunity to share our views on how Emeritus supports a global ecosystem of learning and development. We look forward to supporting our university partners and our learners during this shift towards alternatives to the traditional higher education model.
By Lisa Rohrer, Senior Director, University Partnerships