Incline college in discussions with UNR | SierraSun.com

Incline college in discussions with UNR

" Sun News Service reports

Emma Garrard/Sun News ServiceSierra Nevada College freshman Colin Padbury puts his snowboard in his locker at the SNC dorms Tuesday morning. Padbury moved to Incline from Providence, R.I. Students are moving back into dorms this week.

INCLINE VILLAGE ” Sierra Nevada College announced Tuesday it is in “non-exclusive discussions” with the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute regarding a possible alliance that would ensure an enhanced educational and research mission and establish a viable campus environment.

“The negotiations are sincere and genuine,” said Sierra Nevada College interim president Larry Large. “We’re making a sincere effort to explore all possibilities.”

Officials from SNC said Friday because of a lack of endowment money the school is no longer able to stand alone as a private college and is looking to partner with another institution, possibly multiple.

“There was a realization by the board of trustees that it’s difficult today in America to have a small liberal arts college survive,” board of trustees chairman John Altman said Friday. “We’re leveraging the future by looking for a strategic partnership.”

Discussions will continue with other not-for-profit, and for-profit educational institutions in the public and private sectors, according to a press release from the college.

All existing partners, including University of California, Davis, Carnegie Mellon University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography will be consulted in the process, the press release said.

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Former Sierra Nevada College President Paul Ranslow announced his resignation Friday, citing his reason for leaving as a change in his role as president. Ranslow was president for just more than one year.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Mary Peterson also resigned Friday.

Peterson said she knew in June, when enrollment numbers were down, that there may be a shake-up at the college.

She explained enrollment and endowment needs to be in place for a liberal arts college to stand alone.

“Enrollment is lower than we hoped for and anticipated,” Peterson said Friday.

Last year, the college welcomed about 110 new undergraduates, for a combined total of about 320 students, Peterson said.

This year, about 85 to 90 new faces are enrolled, for a combined total of 275 to 280 students.

Peterson attributed the enrollment decline to a decreased pool of students eligible for college, and the economics of the time making private schools more difficult to afford.

Interim president Large agreed.

“The demographic of college-aged students is declining,” Large said. “There’s more competition (among colleges) across the country for new student enrollment.”

Large also cited the administration’s office change in personnel as reason for this year’s decreased enrollment.

“We definitely have fewer students than we expected,” he said.

For more information, contact Sierra Nevada College Board of Trustees Chairman, John W. Altman at (775) 848-3937.