Academic Partnerships to Lead Panel on Private-Public Partnerships at AASCU Annual Conference in Chicago

November 6, 2023


CHICAGO, ILL. (Nov. 6, 2023) — The innovation and support that a private-public partnership can offer regional universities is the topic of a presentation to be led by Academic Partnerships (AP) at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Annual Conference, Nov. 4 – 7, in Chicago, Ill.

The concurrent session, Standing Together, Achieving More: Regional Universities Overcoming Challenges and Expanding Their Impact Through a Public-Private Partnership is set for Monday, Nov. 6, 3:15 to 4:14 p.m. and will be a panel discussion featuring regional university leadership.

Panelists include Dr. Charles L. Welch, President of the Arkansas State University System; Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at East Tennessee State University; and Dr. Richard J. Helldobler, President of William Paterson University. The discussion will be moderated by Susan Dukes, AP’s Senior Vice President, University Partnerships. AP helps regional universities launch and grow their online programs and is a partner with these AASCU-member institutions. 

In referring to the upcoming session, Ms. Dukes noted, “Regional universities are the foundations of opportunity in their communities, and we look forward to sharing how public-private partnerships can work together to aid these universities in increasing access to high-quality, affordable, workforce-relevant education. We anticipate that those attending will find these perspectives useful in discovering strategies to help their own institutions grow and thrive.”

In addressing challenges currently faced by regional universities, including declining enrollments, competition from mega institutions, and budget uncertainties, panelists will discuss factors that led them to consider a public-private partnership. They will share views on increasing access to nontraditional and underserved student audiences, utilizing technology in enhancing student enrollment and retention and enlisting the support of faculty and staff, as well as their experiences collaborating with AP in growing their online program enrollments.

The panelists will highlight how universities scaling accelerated online programs to create sustainable revenue streams can expand their impact within regional communities and adjacent workforce and address audience questions about these strategies in a question-and-answer session after the conversation.

The theme for this year’s AASCU conference, attended by presidents and chancellors of regional public institutions, is Leading for Democracy – Reimagine, Reframe, Rebuild. AASCU is an organization of state-supported colleges and universities that offer programs for bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. AASCU serves more than 400 members and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

About Academic Partnerships

Academic Partnerships (AP) assists primarily regional public universities in increasing their access and impact by making their academic programs available to students online. Founded in 2007, AP’s mission is to expand access to high-quality, affordable, and workforce-relevant education, especially for working and adult students. AP brings single-minded dedication to student success, an integrated set of services, and data-driven performance to our collaboration with university partners. For more information on innovative online learning solutions, please visit

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