Jack Welch Lends Name, Money To Online University


The name Jack Welch is synonymous with “business success” as Welch helped to change the culture at General Electric (GE) from a suffocating bureaucracy into a streamlined and much more efficiently managed company. By the time that Welch left GE in 2001, the company had long shed its stodgy image and had been transformed into an innovative, money making machine.

Introducing The Jack Welch Institute

online educationSince leaving GE, Welch has been anything but silent, speaking out about business issues and working with his wife, Suzy, to promote their form of business leadership style. Now Welch is carrying his business skills into the arena of online education, by taking a 12% stake in the Chancellor University System while also lending his name to that school’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program which is now called The Jack Welch Institute.

Welch’s stake in the Chancellor University System is 12% thanks to his contribution of more than $2 million to the school. Most recently called Myers University, the bankrupt Cleveland school was renamed Chancellor University when its leading investor, Michael Clifford, purchased the school. Clifford is also behind Grand Canyon Education, Inc. which operates Grand Canyon University and Bridgepoint Education, Inc. which operates Ashford University and the University of the Rockies.

Turning Bankrupt Brick ‘N Mortar Schools Around

Each of the schools Clifford has purchased have been converted mostly to online university status, which is the direction that Chancellor University will emphasize. Welch’s program will also be online, a twelve-course curriculum aimed to appeal to mid-career professionals.

Welch is in the process of recruiting professors and professionals to staff the program, but he won’t be teaching courses himself. Instead, Welch plans to produce a weekly video for the students. The Welchs are currently working on the curriculum; the program will be open to students who have at least a 2.8 GPA although they won’t be required to submit a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Booming Online Education – Quality Issues?

Welch’s move into online education may lend the booming educational field some much needed credibility. Although growing quickly, critics have noted that schools are much less selective when admitting students while noting that faculty turn over tends to be high. However, the success of The University of Phoenix program which is owned by the Apollo Group, has caught the attention of investors who want in.

For students seeking to take an online course, the best judge of a school could be that school’s accrediting body. In the case of Chancellor University that would be the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which placed the school on probation last November, citing concerns over its reputation, student turn over and resource allocation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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