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ERIC Number: EJ930692
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-4
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
Turning Around Ben Franklin
Lozen, Stephen
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jun 2010
One would think that being the nation's only private, urban, two-year technical college might be a source of some notoriety, especially if that institution also traces its history back to a bequest in Benjamin Franklin's will. But even among New England's higher education community, Boston's Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) is a hidden jewel. The reasons to pay attention to BFIT go far beyond its unique history and status. First and foremost is the success the college has had educating young people who might not otherwise enroll in or graduate from college. The college also partners with 16 Boston Public Schools on "Early Access to College," a dual-enrollment program that provides high school students who are undecided about attending college with pathways to higher education and promising careers. The key to the college's success is intensive, personalized student support. The student-faculty ratio is 12 to 1, and many non-teaching faculty and staff provide advising and coaching that focus on students' personal challenges in addition to academics. A few years ago, BFIT launched "Save our Students," an email-based early warning system designed to immediately alert a student's faculty advisor and allow the advisor to intervene at the first sign that the student is faltering. The picture wasn't always so bright at BFIT. After years of financial woes, the board voted in 2003 to shut the college. The author was brought in to execute this unenviable task. But after just one day at the institute, it was clear to him that this was an asset that was too important for Boston's youth to lose. Instead of developing a shutdown plan, his team developed and implemented changes designed to return the college to its rightful place as a leading destination for students who desire a technical career. One of the secrets of a successful turnaround has been the partnerships BFIT has forged with businesses like Verizon, NSTAR, CVS, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and a number of area hospitals, all of which employ the college's graduates.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A