The University of Bridgeport is being reconfigured with three Connecticut schools – Fairfield’s Sacred Heart University, East Hartford’s Goodwin College and Hamden’s Paier College of Art – co-locating several of their programs at the Bridgeport campus.
Under this arrangement, the three schools will either combine or acquire some of the programs offered by the University of Bridgeport, while new programs will be introduced. Students will be able to move from one school to another when it is appropriate for their coursework.
The schools will also create programs for Bridgeport-area high school students that will include internships and early-college programs. The costs of campus security and food service will be shared among the schools and the campus will be renamed Bridgeport University Park.
The announcement was made during a press conference at Waldemere Hall on the Bridgeport campus. Gov. Ned Lamont attended the event and used a fast-food analogy to compare this endeavor.
“It’s a little bit like a food court,” he said. “You can get some amazing life sciences out of Goodwin, technology and entrepreneurship at Sacred Heart, Paier for arts, and get them all right here at the University of Bridgeport. This is a new form of education. I could not be more proud to be part of this partnership, what we are doing right here making the University of Bridgeport the best it can be.”
The University of Bridgeport will continue to operate as an independent entity and is not being absorbed by its new partners. Stephen Healey, interim president of the University of Bridgeport, acknowledged it could take up to 18 months before the new plan will be put into effect.
“We are taking this step by step, with open conversations with accreditors at the state, regional, and national levels,” Healey said in a statement.
The University of Bridgeport has been experiencing administrative difficulties in recent years, including a failed merger with Vermont’s Marlboro College, an acute restructuring of the school from 14 divisions into three colleges, and the abrupt departure of Laura Skandera Trombley as president after less than two years on the job.
During the press conference, the leaders of the other schools stressed that this effort was not being done to save the University of Bridgeport from closing.
“This collaboration is not a salvage operation,” Sacred Heart President John Petillo said.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking the University of Bridgeport is doing this because they have immediate financial problems,” Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg said. “They do understand that in higher education you can’t go it alone.”