Fort Lewis College will receive $2 million in free consulting services over the next two years to help the school boost its enrollment, increase revenue and build business partnerships.
Entangled Solutions, a San Francisco-based company, selected FLC to receive the services after putting out a nationwide call for applications. FLC was the only school selected.
FLC President Tom Stritikus said he expects the consulting services will help the school build on the work it has done in the past year and achieve goals in the school’s new strategic plan.
The strategic plan calls for increasing enrollment, retention, internship opportunities and online programs.
“If we didn’t have a strategic plan and we hadn’t set direction about how to serve our students, then this wouldn’t have been as useful,” Stritikus said. “... We are in a great position to take advantage of outside support.”
Entangled Solutions was interested in working with FLC because of its diverse student body and the work the school has done in the last year. The company was interested in working with a rural school because more of the innovation in higher education has happened in cities, Stritikus said.
“They have worked successfully with well-resourced colleges, and they are interested in impacting and continuing to improve the rate of positive change in higher education and want to build an example of how to do this in a non-high-resource place,” he said.
Entangled Solutions has previously worked with schools to encourage innovation and integrate career skills into every discipline, according to its website.
The company has worked with Davidson College, a private liberal arts school in North Carolina, and Southern New Hampshire University, a private school, Stritikus said.
“Small, rural colleges find themselves at a major crossroads today,” said Paul Freedman, CEO of Entangled Group and principal consultant at Entangled Solutions, in a news release. “They face an imperative – and an opportunity – to align their classic strengths with shifting student demographics and a new economy. With support, we believe that Fort Lewis College can serve as a lighthouse example for the renewal of rural colleges in postmodern America.”
The company will likely help guide FLC staff on determining what programs and grants to pursue and understanding the cost-benefit ratio of programs, Stritikus said.
Entangled Solutions staff is expected to visit the school and meet with FLC staff via video conference over the next two years. The consultants are not expected to provide the school with a final product, such as a report; rather, Stritikus expects the experts will act as “thought partners.”
“There is always great ideas out in the field and it’s important to learn from the field. That’s how any organization renews itself,” Stritikus said.