Education System

The University of Western States (UWS) Board of Trustees has decided to pursue joining a community of progressive and innovative institutions of higher education by becoming part of The Community Solution Education System. The Community Solution, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting organization, leverages shared infrastructure and a culture of cooperation to achieve academic innovation, student success, operational efficiency, institutional sustainability, and community impact for its diverse consortium of colleges and universities.

Over the past two years, the UWS leadership has engaged in Future of UWS listening and discussion sessions with members of the UWS community. A core message that arose from these conversations was the need for radical collaboration to ensure that UWS continues to evolve and thrive as a leader in integrative health and education. Affiliating with The System allows UWS to gain access to the expertise, resources, and scale needed to sustain and advance our university, while at the same time maintaining its independence.

As part of The System, UWS will maintain the same name, brand, values, campus location, and academic programs, and continue to function independently. The affiliation will equip UWS with elevated infrastructure and services, and will provide enhanced technology and supports for students, faculty, alumni and donors. 

This is an exciting opportunity as we advance a brilliant future for UWS! We are eager to share more information with you about this extraordinary development.  If you have any questions please contact the office of the president.

Read more about the collaboration here.

General FAQs

What is The Community Solution Education System?

The Community Solution Education System is a private, nonprofit system that works collaboratively to advance institutional sustainability, student success, and community impact. The Community Solution is comprised of five select colleges and universities across the country and the The System Office. The System has campus locations in 11 cities and educates more than 11,000 students annually. Current The System colleges and universities include The Chicago School, Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School, The Colleges of Law, Saybrook University, and the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Why is University of Western States joining an outside system?

In today’s competitive higher education sector, schools of our size often have limited resources, particularly when compared to institutions that are part of a public college system, a for-profit chain, or those simply larger in size. Joining a system like The System affords University of Western States the opportunity to maintain its independence while we gain access to the expertise, resources, and scale needed to sustain and grow our university. 

What is the nature of the University of Western States – The System relationship? What will change?

Like the other college and university communities within The System, University of Western States will retain its institutional autonomy while simultaneously leveraging the economies of scale that the system affords. The System has expertise across several operational areas critical to success in today’s dynamic higher education sector. By joining The System, University of Western States will be able to take advantage of The System’s expertise in marketing, information technology, compliance, and other areas. This will allow University of Western States to focus more resources on serving our students, and developing new, cutting-edge academic programs.

How will University of Western States benefit through joining The System?

We see five distinct areas that University of Western States will benefit. 

• First, we will receive support from The System in our pursuit of academic quality. 
• Second, we will gain the opportunity to cross-collaborate with five other institutions to offer complementary programming. 
• Third, The System has expertise in 11 distinct functional areas that are critical for success in today’s competitive higher education sector. 
• Fourth, joining will lead to economies of scale and buying power that will lower costs for procuring services such as software licenses, health insurance, etc. 
• Finally, and perhaps most importantly, University of Western States can take advantage of these benefits while remaining independent and maintaining our existing mission, brand and identity. 

Is University of Western States being sold to or merging with The System?  

No. This is an affiliation—not a merger nor an acquisition. University of Western States will pay an annual fee for the benefits provided by being a part of the The System community. 

Will The System control University of Western States’ academic programs, curriculum, finances and all operations?

No. University of Western States will maintain control of its academic offerings, curriculum, finances and operations, with the added benefit of a full suite of resources available to us through The System.

What is the timeline for UWS to join The System?

In the months leading up to formal launch, University of Western States will partner with The System to develop a comprehensive transition plan. It will not be fully finalized until spring 2023, following all regulatory approvals.  

Student FAQs

What does this mean for University of Western States students?

University of Western States prides itself on offering the highest quality educational programs and providing excellent service to its students. Because joining The System facilitates shared services and infrastructure, we expect even better enrollment services, financial aid, IT and student support services. Additionally, University of Western States students will have increased opportunities for global engagement and study abroad, and for pursuing additional degrees through the other colleges and universities within The System. Your faculty or program curriculum will not change as a result of us joining The System. 

When I graduate, is my degree from University of Western States or The Community Solution Education System?

Your degree will be from University of Western States. 

What will this mean for University of Western States academic offerings?

Because University of Western States will be able to focus more resources on academics, access faculty professional development opportunities, seek The System-sponsored collaborative grants, and create cooperative relationships with other The System educational institutions, we anticipate that University of Western States academic offerings will thrive and grow, and we will be able to serve and increase our student populations even more effectively than we have in the past. 

Will I be taught by University of Western States faculty?

Yes. Your program faculty and curriculum will not change. 

Can University of Western States students take courses through the The System community of colleges and universities? Do credits earned through those courses apply to the University of Western States degree? 

Eventually, we will be able to share courses with other The System colleges and universities. However, our first focus is to integrate our infrastructure to facilitate opportunities for shared courses. Once this important step is complete, we will explore course sharing and other academic collaborations. 

Will I receive student support services through University of Western States, and at University of Western States?

Yes. We will maintain our current student support teams and they will continue to assist you. However, the technology and systems the teams will use to assist you will be improved as a result of joining The System. 

What will happen to Connected Whole Health, the university’s clinic?

Nothing. Connected Whole Health will remain in place and continue to train students and serve patients. Joining The System will provide additional infrastructure to the clinic in terms of IT, compliance and marketing. 

Employee FAQs

Describe the fit between University of Western States and The System. 

University of Western States is well-aligned with The System. Although the missions of each educational institution and the The System Office are distinct, and each institution is independent, we share core values and a commitment to the communities we serve.

What is the nature of the financial relationship between UWS and The System? 

UWS pays an annual fee for infrastructure and support provided by The System.

What specific involvement will The System have within the umbrella of academic affairs? Will The System influence decisions related to academic programs, including changing curricula? 

UWS will continue to have autonomy over its academic programs, curriculum, and assessment processes. Instead, The System provides robust infrastructure and support that allows UWS to advance its academic offerings. 

What will joining The System mean for faculty members?

Faculty members at The System’s community of colleges and universities have historically benefited from system-wide professional development, increased opportunities for sharing pedagogical expertise, new grant opportunities, and the option to participate in co-curricular options including study abroad programs. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the opportunity to be part of a larger academic and intellectual community and the cross-pollination of ideas and best practices that partnership affords. 

In addition, University of Western States faculty will have the opportunity for significantly improved professional development. The System hosts a biannual conference that convenes provosts, deans, chairs and faculty for sharing of best practices in pedagogy, discussion of emerging trends and technologies, and ideation around the development of new academic programs. In many cases, these professional development activities are expected to directly translate into improved academic experiences for students.  

What will University of Western States’s agreement with The System mean for staff? 

As one of the first steps in the integration process, The System will conduct learning sessions with university administrative and academic departments. In these learning sessions, staff will have an opportunity to learn more about the The System model and share more information about their responsibilities and the day-to-day processes they engage in to fulfill these responsibilities. 

As we integrate with The System, there may be instances where we will need to evolve our organizational structure. We will continue to work closely with departments and individual employees as we realize these changes. 

Alumni and Donors FAQs

Do alumni donations, such as the Annual Fund and scholarships, go directly to University of Western States in support of its students? 

Yes. All donations to University of Western States will go directly to support University of Western States. For example, donations to the support scholarships will directly fund scholarships for UWS students. 

Will we still receive University of Western States magazine and other communications from the university?

Yes. We will continue to publish the InTouch and our annual report as well as disseminate periodic communications. 

Will The System ever ask University of Western States alumni for donations or support?

No. The System will not ask you for donations. The UWS advancement team will remain intact and dedicated to supporting you with your development objectives.