Like many university administrators across the country, Nancy Schreiber, Provost and VPAA of Salve Regina University, faced a tough decision around an underperforming program. Her options were fairly straightforward: shutter the RN-BSN program or go online in order to compete. After extensive deliberation, she felt the best path was moving online. She decided to partner with iDesign, an online program management (OPM) company known for flexible service offerings, robust instructional design support, and specific niche expertise in nursing and healthcare programs.

Eighteen months later, it appears Salve Regina made the right decision. The RN-BSN has already achieved over 270% growth in enrollments. In response to overwhelming reception from the market, the university is now offering a suite of nursing programs including a Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Alignment with mission and brand is one key dimension of an OPM partnership that every university should consider. "We didn't want the Salve Regina brand to look different online than we do on ground. We have some very fundamental values that we share here, particularly around service and social justice. Everything that we do has to reflect that,” explains Schreiber. “We have been very upfront with iDesign in telling them 'You are ambassadors of our mission and you are proxies to this when your team works with these students.'"

To better understand that mission, team members from iDesign spent a significant amount of time on campus (when that was still a possibility) inundating themselves with the culture of Salve Regina and building strong relationships with all key stakeholders involved in the initiative. That process showed Salve Regina stakeholders that iDesign offered a cultural fit with the university that was unique among OPM providers. This was particularly evident in iDesign's engagement with faculty.

Read the full article about enrollment in healthcare programs from iDesign at Higher Education Dive.