In the article, which was published online last Sunday and will
appear in the print edition next week, journalist Karin Fischer
explores the growth of partnering organisations in the US and the
sector's attitudes towards them. A mix of viewpoints are aired but
overall the tone of the piece is balanced and Fischer finds the
academic performance of public private partnerships (PPPs) such as
INTO's to be incontrovertible.
More importantly, while competitors such as Navitas and Kaplan
are mentioned, INTO's Oregon State University and University of
South Florida ventures - both of which exceeded academic targets
this year - are used throughout the piece as case studies for the
student success possible through PPPs.
Fischer writes that while preparatory programs attracted
controversy when they first appeared at North American universities
several years ago, they now number at least 15 in the United States
and Canada and are gaining acceptance because of their academic
"Although results are preliminary, initial pathways
graduates-who typically move into the second year of university
study after completing a year of coursework-have performed on par
with, or better than, domestic and foreign students who earned
direct admission," she writes.
She uses INTO Oregon State University and USF as examples,
noting that at OSU the first group to matriculate into the
university last fall earned a higher grade point average (of 2.72)
that semester than American or other international sophomores. The
results at INTO USF were even better, she adds, with students
OSU provost Sabah Randhawa, one of a number INTO affiliates
quoted, says INTO students have "exceeded our expectations." The
USF Provost, Ralph Wilcox says, "None of us should be surprised.
We've invested mightily in them."
Fischer also explains how INTO pathways are delivered,
describing centre strengths like small class sizes, strong student
support and the close monitoring of student progress - all
strategies "broadly embraced in higher education". While
acknowledging that some feared outsourced pathway provision would
dilute academic quality, Fischer says that programmes such as
INTO's have gone beyond peer courses by offering a unique service
to prepare international students for the challenges of US higher
education. She also points to the widespread uptake and success of
the model in Australia.
The article also explores the differences between outsourced
models such as Kaplan's, in which universities only stand to gain
when students matriculate to degrees, and INTO's in-sourced
approach which rests full control of its academic design and
delivery with the university. "By contrast, at both Oregon State
and South Florida, the institutions are partners with INTO, sharing
upfront education and recruitment costs for pathways students as
well as revenues from the tuition they pay," writes Fischer.
Fischer talks to Bob Gilmour, the academic director at INTO OSU,
who as an English instructor at Newcastle University had not
supported the idea of partnerships but has since changed his mind
having seen their transformational benefits - a reflection of a
broader sea change in opinion about partnerships in recent years.
"He changed his mind... when he saw that the approach finally
brought 'academic teachers into the English center and the other
way around,'" writes Fischer.
In all, the article presents INTO in a fair light that leans to
the positive, a considerable achievement given the initial
scepticism faced by partnering organisations in the United States.
It's also well timed as INTO hopes to expand its operations in the
US this year.
Read the article