Preparing for the Future: Considering Institutional Mergers in Your Strategic Planning

Preparing for the Future: Considering Institutional Mergers in Your Strategic Planning

June 1 - 2, 2020 | Chicago, IL



Set your institution up for future success. Learn how to navigate the complex world of strategic mergers.

Mergers will be a reality for a large number of colleges and universities as the landscape of higher education changes and becomes more competitive than ever. However, successful mergers cannot only be about survival or fixing bad economics; the resulting institution has to be stronger as a result of the union.

Unfortunately, the benefits of scale and competitiveness do not come easily or without risk. Key considerations must be understood when evaluating, negotiating, and implementing a strategic merger. Further, it’s too late to prepare once a merger or alliance is being pursued. Leaders need to be proactive and understand the landscape so that they can be either opportunistic or strategically positioned to create the best possible outcome for their institution.


Program Content

Our panel of expert leaders and published authors on the subject have all experienced mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations. They will share real strategies and processes to ensure you have the ingredients to be successful. Join us for this practical and  interactive learning experience to learn how to:

  • Identify key areas for partnership
  • Create a strategy for early conversations
  • Navigate deal features and understand what it takes to be successful
  • Gain board approval and overcome regulatory obstacles
  • Ask the right questions and identify potential risks and threats

There will be ample opportunity for interaction, dialogue, and collegial exchange between peers who want to be more proactive about the future.

Who Should Attend

This learning experience will benefit those seeking resources to support the health of their institution, including:

  • Senior university and college leaders
  • Senior academic, financial, and executive professionals, such as:
    • Presidents
    • Provosts
    • CFOs
    • Executive Board Members

CPE Credits Available

Continuing education credits: CPE

Recommended CPE Credits: 10.5

Program Field of Study:  Specialized Knowledge

Delivery Method: Group Live

Prerequisites: None

Program Level: Basic

What Our Speakers Say

“As higher ed continues to grapple with what the future will look like, this is a unique program that addresses one of the most powerful, transformative, and misunderstood opportunities that face our institutions.”

Dr. Ricardo Azziz, Chief Officer, Academic Health & Hospital Affairs, SUNY, Principal, Azziz & Associates Consulting

“We are living in a era where higher education must think about innovative ways to structure their organizations for student success. It is exciting to think of all the ways institutions can work together to improve both their business model and student outcomes.” 

Dr. Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., President, National Louis University


Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

Day One

12:30 to 5:30 p.m.


The Landscape



Identifying Areas for Partnerships

Through a lively discussion and guidance from our instructors, you will learn the key areas for partnership opportunities and set the stage to build on your institution’s strengths for the future.



Lessons Learned from “Almost” Mergers

Institutions embark on mergers and joint ventures with a great deal of good will. As things progress, there are times when due diligence sheds light on areas for concern. We will examine a potential merger that did not come to fruition and discuss what strategies to consider from start to finish.


Peer Group Discussion: Connections to Your Campus

This discussion cycle will be framed by our facilitators to provide you an opportunity to share how your campus is preparing for the future of higher ed and to share your reactions to the previous sessions.



Public Institution Merger with Another Public Institution: Lessons Learned from State System Level Consolidation

The recent statutory reorganization in the University System of Georgia highlights some of the key trends in higher education. From this, we can draw many lessons on how to gain buy-in and find the common pathway for alignment and working towards the future. You will learn the key features as well as what you need to consider given the size and scale of your institution.



Networking Reception

This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch-up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.


Day Two

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Models and Examples



Asset Transfer: Private University Acquisition of a For-Profit Institution: National Louis University and Kendall College

President Nivine Megahed from National Louis University will discuss the acquisition of Kendall college (a for-profit Laureate Education college). Through acquiring Kendall College, they were able to add three new programs including hospitality, early online childhood, and culinary. Nivine will highlight the opportunistic mindset that drove at faster than normal speed transaction (taking less than one year). Since the acquisition, they are more aware of the day to day realities. This case study may also help dispel myths about what happens after integration.



Acquiring Distressed Assets: Private University Acquisition of For-Profit Institution Assets: National Louis University and Argosy University

Institutional expansions and acquisitions can take on a number of forms. Acquiring distressed assets as an institution is going out of business is one way to expand your portfolio. President Nivine Megahed from National Louis University will discuss this approach that requires rapid intensive regulatory and institutional accommodation but circumvents all the legal costs required to do a standard acquisition of assets. When these opportunities arise, an institution must move very quickly to address student needs successfully.



Form Mentor Groups

During this time, we will divide into cohorts to support the afternoon’s small group discussions with our speakers. You will meet your mentor group, and we’ll set up the rotation times for the afternoon following lunch.



Lessons Learned


Mentored Group Discussions (this includes short breaks to change groups)

We will break into smaller groups for several rounds of discussion, so you can share an informal space to probe further into the case studies and get your questions answered. Our experts will be open to frank conversations about their experiences.



Panel Discussion: Key Process Considerations for Strategic Partnerships

Following the mentor group discussions, our panelists will support the group in further distilling the key process considerations for your specific challenges. Themes may include:

  • Strategies during the due diligence process
  • How and when to involve key players
  • Gaining support from the campus and community
  • How to gracefully exit a deal
  • Transparent communication, internally, and externally
  • How changes in leadership could potentially impact a deal



Working Session and Consulting Time: Planning your Approach for Actively Seeking Potential Alliances that Complement Your Strengths

You will be guided through a series of discussions and planning exercises to map out strategies for better defining your profile and becoming more active in finding potential partners and identifying future opportunities.

June 1 – 2, 2020 | Chicago, IL

Conference Hotel Information:

Hilton Chicago/Northbrook
2855 North Milwaukee Avenue
orthbrook, IL 60062

Room Rate: $129 plus tax.
Room Block Dates: nights of May 31 – June 1, 2020.
Rate Available Until: May 10, 2020.

Call 847.483.7500 to make your room reservations and indicate you are with Academic Impressions to receive the group rate. Please make your reservations early - rooms and rates are subject to hotel availability.


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Dr. Ricardo Azziz

Chief Officer, Academic Health & Hospital Affairs, State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration; Principal, Azziz & Associates Consulting

Dr. Azziz is a recognized leader in higher education. He is co-author of the upcoming book “Mergers in Higher Education: Pursuing Sustainability, Breadth, and Excellence through Scale” (Johns Hopkins Press, 2019). Dr. Azziz oversaw the merger that resulted in Georgia Regents University (now Augusta University), serving as founding president. Prior, he served as president of Georgia Health Sciences University, leading the creation of the state’s only public academic health system.

Read Ricardo's full bio here.


Jim Hundreiser

Associate Managing Principal, AGB

Jim’s consulting practice includes supporting institutions with strategic decision making around their academic portfolio through cost/benefit analysis. Prior to joining AGB Institutional Strategies, Jim led the reengineering efforts of Plymouth State University’s undergraduate admissions department, which resulted in two straight years of record first-year enrollment with more college ready students.

Read Jim's full bio here.

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Dr. Nivine Megahed, Ph.D.

President, National Louis University

Prior to her current role, Dr. Megahed has lead the American School of Professional Psychology in Hawaii as campus dean and has been president at multiple institutions, including the University of Sarasota and Kendall College in Chicago. She has overseen multiple colleges and universities for Kaplan Higher Education and other organizations where she provided leadership in the development of new programs and operational and educational quality, combining academic expertise, and business acumen in the service of student success.

Read Nivine's full bio here.

All-Inclusive Members Get

$250 OFF!*

Learn More About Membership

Can't Attend? Buy the Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?


Whitney Egstad
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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*All-inclusive members receive $250 off of conference registrations (in addition to the early bird discount if applicable). Academic Affairs, Advancement/Alumni Relations, Business Office, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, and Leadership members will continue to receive $100 off conference registrations. Upgrade your membership to qualify for a higher discount. Please note this discount is not applicable on pre- or post-conference workshops or conference binders.