Alliance with Yale, Stanford, Oxford paves the way for life-long learning

Princeton and its partners in a new distance learning venture -- Oxford, Stanford and Yale universities -- have officially launched the effort to provide online non-credit courses in the arts and sciences to their combined 500,000 alumni.

The University Alliance for Life-Long Learning will take advantage of emerging technologies to give the graduates convenient access to their schools' extraordinary resources. Under an agreement announced Sept. 28, each institution will provide initial support of $3 million. The agreement grew out of discussions between the schools over the past several months about forming the non-profit alliance. Courses and other services could be available as early as the latter part of 2001.

"We believe the alliance with our peer institutions will assist us to extend and enhance our central commitments to teaching and learning," President Shapiro said. "Our two primary objectives are to provide the best learning experiences that we can to our students and alumni and to enable faculty members to explore new methods which may enhance the teaching and research they are able to carry out. The use of electronic and other media offers the promise of extending in exciting new ways the University's commitments to develop and disseminate knowledge. We want to ensure that our faculty and students have the opportunity to take full advantage of instructional possibilities -- and, indeed, to imagine and develop new possibilities."

The alliance offerings may include online courses and interactive seminars; multi-media programs; topical Web sites that include links to research information; live and taped coverage of campus speakers, exhibitions and other events; lectures on tape; and more. The member universities and their faculties will control the content of the courses and other educational products offered, ensuring that they meet the highest standards.

Herbert Allison Jr., former president of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the alliance.

"The alliance among four of the world's greatest universities has an inspiring mission," said Allison, who recently spent two days on Princeton's campus meeting with faculty, staff and students. "Initially, it will provide the schools' alumni around the world with ongoing access to the best in higher education, enriching their lives and helping them make the fullest contribution to their communities."

Yale President Richard Levin will chair the alliance's board of directors, which will include leaders of the four member universities and the business community. Each university named two representatives to the board. Princeton's representatives are Provost Jeremiah Ostriker and Trustee Heidi Miller, who is chief financial officer and senior executive vice president at

Through the alliance, the member universities will explore the exciting possibilities that the Internet and other technologies offer for teaching and learning. Where appropriate, innovations developed by the alliance may be incorporated in the schools' core campus programs.

"We're focusing on our core -- a liberal arts education -- not education in the professional areas or certification programs," said Georgia Nugent, Princeton's associate provost. "It's exciting because this is unknown territory. There aren't many courses like these currently being delivered online, although we've been offering a limited online educational experience to our alumni for the past three or four years and already 2,000 have participated.

"We're making real the idea of life-long learning," she continued. "We hope to build an educational relationship with our alumni throughout their lives."

October 9, 2000
Vol. 90, No. 5
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Wave of the future
Vivian Shapiro looks forward to the next chapter
Search moves ahead
New trustees named to board
Alliance with Yale, Stanford, Oxford paves the way for life-long learning
Research heats up in Princeton Materials Institute
Alumnus strings together ideas to explain physics
QRL archives a treasure
Pre-game lectures kick off Oct. 14
Gridders honored as scholar-athletes

Spotlight / People
Calendar of events
Nassau notes

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