IT collaboration


Mennonite colleges Partner for Information Technology advances

A collaboration between Bluffton University, Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College is strengthening the three Mennonite institutions’ ties and improving their respective IT departments.

“We have various working relationships with our fellow Mennonite institutions at all levels, but as presidents, we came together last year to think about additional ways to meet some of the gaps our institutions face and how we could all work together for the benefit of all our students,” said Jane Wood, president of Bluffton University, on working with Rebecca Stoltzfus of Goshen College and Susan Schultz Huxman of Eastern Mennonite University.

The colleges were awarded a $100,000 grant from the Transformational Partnerships Fund after starting their current collaborative efforts in January 2021. The fund supports student-centric higher education partnerships and collaborations to transform operations and enhance educational opportunities. Bluffton, EMU and Goshen’s grant supported a joint IT assessment. A second $25,000 grant from the Knowlton Foundation will help fund the implementation of the IT enhancements on the three campuses.

“We certainly appreciate the support from the Transformational Partnerships Fund and the continued support from the Knowlton Foundation,” said Stoltzfus. “We are lean organizations, and these grants and collaborations enable us to be on the leading edge of meeting our students’ technological needs.”

The assessment was carried out by consulting firm The Apeiron Group with the goal of addressing critical issues related to network, wireless and security infrastructure. Apeiron developed six key objectives for the project including developing a master design for each school on improved price, performance and security regarding IT and a future roadmap for additional collaborative opportunities. Implementation of the IT project is expected to take six months.

“This exciting partnership between several Mennonite Higher Education Association (MHEA) schools aids us in better serving our students, faculty and staff,” Huxman said of the endeavor. “This is an opportunity to highlight our collaborative spirit as well. Our similar mission and values mean that the usual logistical challenges of such collaborations will be overcome by our high degree of trust and commitment to forging future shared pathways.”