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 | Eastern Time

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.


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, State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration; Principal, Azziz & Associates Consulting


“We are living in an 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


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

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds nationally, it is so important to keep connecting and networking with your peers - at a “social distance” - and to keep learning and developing as higher-ed leaders and professionals. Don’t let social distancing and quarantines prevent you from setting aside time for professional development. Everything is changing so fast; more than ever, we need to be pooling our resources and knowledge and finding the best ways to develop our capacity, connect and share with each other, and move forward during a challenging time.

*A limited number of FREE member spots are open for each virtual conference. Sign up today.

The Academic Impressions Virtual Conference Experience

Our virtual conferences go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these new programs are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. As higher education strives to adapt rapidly to the shifting crisis, connecting with your peers who are experiencing similar challenges can be the best use of your professional development time.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions
  • Access to an online conference hub — one-stop shop for presentation materials, attendee introductions, worksheets, supplemental reading, videos, and other resources

See What Our Attendees are Saying

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


Day 1 | June 1, 2020 (Eastern Time)


Meet & Greet and Technology Check

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.



Opening Remarks and Introductions

11:00 – 11:20 a.m.



Understanding the Current Landscape of Mergers in Higher Ed

11:20 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
In this foundational session, you will learn about recent trends in mergers across the industry including emerging pressures and opportunities. You will then begin to tie these trends to your own institutional context and set the stage for our opening discussion.  

REFLECTION AND ROUND ROBIN: You will share how you see your own campuses reflected in the trends.




12:00 – 12:15 p.m.



Anatomy of a Successful Merger

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Though much depends on the current landscape of higher ed and your institutional context, our faculty have identified common practices across the landscape that lead to successful mergers. 



Peer Group Discussion

12:45 – 1:15 p.m.
WEBCAM DISCUSSION PANEL: Share how your institution is preparing for the future of higher ed, and answer questions that will help us address your institution’s needs and goals in the conference content.




1:15 – 1:45 p.m.



Lessons Learned from “Almost” Mergers

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
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. 

REFLECTION AND WEBCAM DISCUSSION: You will analyze a merger scenario and answer the following questions:

  1. What went wrong in the process for X university?
  2. What type of analysis should have been done differently?
  3. What was/is the future of X University?
  4. How does this case study reveal considerations for your own institution?




2:45 – 3:00 p.m.



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

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.
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.

WHITEBOARD ACTIVITY: Given the size and scale of your institution, what is one takeaway from this case study that you can apply or learn from?




3:45 – 4:00 p.m.



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

4:00 – 4:45 p.m.
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. 

WEBCAM CHAT: What is one myth about mergers that has been dispelled or affirmed through today’s sessions?



Day 1 Wrap-Up and Webcam Q&A

4:45 – 5:00 p.m.



Ask an Instructor and Virtual Networking

5:00 – 5:15 p.m.
For those of you who would like to meet with a presenter individually, you will have an opportunity during this time. Our informal reception is your chance to decompress 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 2 | June 2, 2020 (Eastern Time)


Day 1 Recap and Opening Remarks for Day 2

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.



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

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
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.

WHITEBOARD ACTIVITY: Given the size and scale of your institution, what is one takeaway from this case study that you can apply or learn from? 




12:00 – 12:15 p.m.



Small Group Strategy Discussions

12:15– 1:00 p.m.
During this time, 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 are open to frank conversations about their experiences.

BREAKOUT GROUPS: Attendees will decide how to divide into groups, and we’ll set up the rotations for the afternoon. 




1:00 – 1:30 p.m.



Small Group Strategy Discussions

1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
We will continue rounds of discussion, so you can share an informal space to probe further into the case studies and get your questions answered.

BREAKOUT GROUPS: You will have the chance to change groups to consult with other speakers and attendees.




2:15 – 2:30 p.m.



Key Process Considerations for Strategic Partnerships

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
BWEBCAM DISCUSSION PANEL: 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




3:30 – 3:45 p.m.



Planning your Approach for Actively Seeking Potential Alliances that Complement Your Strengths

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
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.

REFLECTION AND VIRTUAL CONSULTING: You will complete a series of reflective exercises and sign up for one-on-one consulting with faculty.



Final Wrap-Up

4:45 – 5:00 p.m.


Ricardo Azziz

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.

Jim Hundrieser

Jim Hundreiser

Vice President for Consulting, NACUBO

At NACUBO, Jim is providing higher education institutions with new strategies to match ambition with action focusing on revenue growth, building capacity, providing pragmatic solutions, and conducting operational assessments. Over his 30-year career in higher education, Jim has served in a variety of roles from an institutional vice president, to consultant, to faculty member, to residence hall director. The core of Jim’s work has been focused on providing ways for students to gain access to and succeed in higher education.

Read Jim's Full Bio.

Nivine Megahed

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.

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Questions About the Event?


Whitney Egstad
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

*There are limited spots available for All-Inclusive Members to register for Virtual Conferences for free in 2020. Each virtual conference has a registration cap in order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, personalized attention, networking and interactivity. If the cap has been met, All-Inclusive Members can register with a $250 discount if space is available.

Please note the member discount is not applicable on conference binders or success coaching.