The Nebraska State College System’s Board of Trustees unanimously-approved a motion Wednesday to formally enter into a contractual agreement to provide academic courses to students in China.
The board approved the action Wednesday during a special meeting of the body, conducted through videoconference.
The contract is between GoProfessional International Training Center (GoPro) and Chadron State to “provide online instruction in select accounting and business courses for Chinese college graduates who wish to sit for a state Certified Public Accountancy exam in the U.S.,” the board materials provided prior to the meeting state.
According to Randy Rhine, vice president of E.M. and S.S., Chadron State expects to initially enroll approximately 200 students, each of whom will take on average, several three credit-hour courses.
Based on the 200-student projection, Rhine said he would “anticipate revenue north of $100,000 for the first year.”
The endeavor is not without risks, as system office personnel acknowledged.
“It’s taking somewhat of a risk, as it is an area in which we’ve never had a presence,” NSCS Chancellor Stan Carpenter said Wednesday.
“We’ll be watching this as closely as anyone could,” Carpenter said, responding to questions by the board regarding risk and performance feedback.
General Counsel & Vice Chancellor for Employee Relations, Kristin Petersen, said that the system office has tried to bolster the contract with as many safeguards for CSC as possible.
“For every possibility, we’ve tried to create a safeguard,” Petersen said.
Petersen also said that after each calendar year, the Board would have the opportunity not to renew the contract, if they so choose.
Rhine emphasized that the collaboration was not a degree program, and thus, did not require additional approval for Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Higher Education.
GoPro will function as a student recruiter and employer of the Chinese adjuncts to teach the distance courses.
“Bi-lingual adjuncts will be helpful for this course,” Lois Veath, vice-chancellor for academic planning and partnerships, said.
“GoPro hires and pays the adjuncts. We would choose them,” Veath said.
Veath also said that GoPro could provide proctoring locations, if necessary.
Rhine said he has enjoyed a long-term business relationship with GoPro CEO Johnny Chen, and that he feels comfortable with the arrangement.
“We’re pretty confident we can deliver; we’re confident our contact can bring us individuals for it,” Rhine said.
Rhine; Auggie Bruehlman, CSC business professor and department chair; and Steve Taylor, associate vice president for market development, met with met with Chen in Montana in December of 2011 to discuss the contract.
Rhine said that CSC’s faculty unanimously-moved to approve steps to go forward with the plan.
“Ultimately, it will all be delivered through our content management system,” Rhine said regarding the distance course delivery.