Northeastern finalizes partnership agreement with New College of the Humanities in London

Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, left, and NCH Founder and Master Anthony Grayling talk to students on the campus in London on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2018. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett for Northeastern University

Northeastern University last week finalized a partnership with New College of the Humanities, a private college in central London, formalizing an agreement that will expand Northeastern’s global network of campuses and create new academic and research opportunities at both institutions.

Pending regulatory approvals, the partnership paves the way for Northeastern to become the first university in the United States with a college that can confer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United Kingdom. The name of the college will be changed to NCH at Northeastern.

NCH at Northeastern will be part of Northeastern’s global university system, which includes campuses in Seattle, the Bay Area, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Toronto. A campus in Vancouver will soon be added.  

“I look forward to making the goals of our academic plan, Northeastern 2025, a reality,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University. “We have been actively building on the plan’s premise that learning and discovery are made more powerful through global networks. By joining forces with NCH, we will further extend our teaching and research mission, and multiply the positive impact we can have on people and societies around the world.”

Northeastern freshmen in the university’s program will be hosted by NCH in the upcoming fall semester. The partnership will lead to greater opportunities for Northeastern students to work on co-op and study abroad in London. As part of future plans, students at NCH at Northeastern will have the opportunity to study at sites throughout Northeastern’s global university system.

The partnership will spur the development of new academic programs and accelerated pathway programs that offer a fast track to earning master’s degrees, and certificates that allow learners to acquire skills and knowledge in specific areas that are of value to them. One point of emphasis will be combining the humanities with science, technology, engineering, and math. The partnership will also enable faculty throughout Northeastern’s global university system to develop new interdisciplinary research and teaching collaborations with faculty in London.

“NCH at Northeastern presents an exciting opportunity for us to not only expand our current offerings in what is already one of the most popular global destinations for our learners, but to also imagine new learning and research opportunities that benefit from this strategic partnership,” said Deanna Raineri, Northeastern’s vice president and vice provost for digital learning and mobility strategy. “Such innovative offerings will serve learners at both Northeastern and NCH at Northeastern, as well as more broadly throughout Europe.”

New College of the Humanities, which opened in 2011 and has about 200 students and 30 faculty, is known for its personalized approach to education. Class sizes for lectures and seminars are small, and faculty tutor students one-on-one.

President Aoun hailed the partnership as “an alliance between two distinct and complementary institutions.”

“Known for its rigorous one-to-one tutorial method, NCH is a leader in humanities education,” President Aoun wrote in a November 2018 email to the university community. “Combined with Northeastern’s preeminence in experiential learning—and our comprehensive portfolio of academic disciplines—we will create unmatched opportunities for learners on both sides of the Atlantic, and around the world.”

Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, left, meets with NCH Founder and Master Anthony Grayling on the campus in London on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2018. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett for Northeastern University

NCH Founder and Master Anthony Grayling echoed the sentiment around the unique partnership between the two distinct institutions.

“NCH and Northeastern are closely aligned in values and richly complementary in pedagogy,” said Master Grayling. “This is a partnership that we at NCH relish, and look forward to developing in both creative and extensive ways.”

Faculty on both sides of the Atlantic have already been collaborating on academic programs for students in Boston and London, including a series of one-credit “pop-up” courses. The first course, which began last week, focuses on Brexit and the implications of the U.K’s anticipated departure from the European Union. Led by Mai’a K. Davis Cross, the Edward W. Brooke Professor of Political Science at Northeastern, the course will be taught over four days during the spring 2019 semester. Cross will lead the course on the Boston campus for two of the sessions, and faculty in London will speak to the class via Skype on the other two days.

Additionally, a group of Northeastern undergraduate students are currently studying at NCH in a semester-long program called “Data, Ethics, and Culture.” Taught by Northeastern and NCH faculty, the program is focused on humanics, a curricular approach to learning that integrates data, technology, and human literacies.  

Under the terms of the partnership, which has been approved by higher education regulators in the U.K., NCH at Northeastern will maintain its own faculty and staff, and will continue to oversee student admission and enrollment to the college. Its one-to-one tutorial model of personalized instruction will not change.

New College of the Humanities previously operated as a for-profit institution, but will become a nonprofit institution following the completion of the partnership.

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