Exciting Opportunity for Growth

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am pleased to share great news about the University of Redlands.

We have signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Woodbury University, a private, nonprofit institution located in Burbank, with a rich history dating back to 1884. This letter of intent means that we are exploring a strategic integration of Woodbury’s renowned and accredited programs into the University of Redlands. This includes highly sought-after programs in architecture, animation, gaming art and design, fashion design, interior design, and filmmaking.

Woodbury has been exploring a university integration to enhance its financial stability, and after carefully considering a variety of options, Redlands emerged as its lead choice in providing a long-term solution.

As you know, university enrollment is down nationwide, and I appreciate your dedication as we continue to navigate these challenges in spite of being asked to reduce budgets and delay filling positions. We hear and agree that we can not cut without impacting the U of R experience for our students.

You may be asking if it is in our best interest to integrate Woodbury’s programs. As I have said in the past, we must explore innovative ways to grow through offering new programs that are in high demand by students and employers. This is captured in our strategic plan, Forward Together, which emphasizes new programs, recruiting strategies for underserved student populations, building our reputation, and ensuring financial sustainability by showing how our personalized academic programs lead to strong student outcomes and engagement among our lifelong learners. Creating vibrant new programs from the ground up is one of our pathways, but that is costly and time-consuming. By integrating Woodbury’s existing successful and in-demand programs that support our mission and complement our current offerings, we can see more immediate financial benefits. The new income from these programs will support Redlands overall, expand opportunities for our students, and continue the legacy of Woodbury University.

We are still in the exploratory phase and have not made any binding commitments to Woodbury. There are many more stages ahead on the road to a possible integration, including an exploratory process between our two institutions, assessment of Woodbury’s debt obligations, a thorough evaluation of academic programs, the creation and signing of a letter of mutual agreement to proceed, and the submission for approvals by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC). We also will seek approval from the U.S. Department of Education, which has recently altered its review process for university affiliations, that no doubt will add complexities and challenges that we need to ensure we can navigate successfully before we make any commitments.

We have collectively chosen to announce this letter of intent before any official decision to allow for transparent discussions. In order for this partnership to succeed, it is going to take all of us. Your honest, constructive feedback is important, and will help us assess this opportunity in the coming weeks. Click here to take a survey, which will remain open through December 7. We also plan to conduct a series of town halls and will provide updates throughout the process.

The next few years will involve transition. My hope is that collectively we will keep an open mind about new opportunities like this, as our University’s future success truly depends on the work we do together. Thank you for being part of our journey.


Krista L. Newkirk