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On-line education plans in the works

This June, the University of Chicago signed an agreement with, a privately held Internet education company based in Deerfield, IL, to develop on-line business courses, with the Graduate School of Business as the point of contact. Columbia University, Stanford University, and the London School of Economics have also signed agreements with, which is headed by University of Chicago Trustee Andrew Rosenfield, JD’78.

“With the help of these great universities, will create and deliver a new opportunity in higher education that has never been possible before: a world-class business education accessible to people all over the world,” says Rosenfield,’s founder, chair, and CEO.

The company will offer the courses through what its Web site ( describes as an “on-line business education community called Cardean.” Cardean will offer its first course, in finance, this fall. Initially available only to corporations, courses will later be open to individual students and will cover topics such as accounting, marketing, organizational development, and international business. Eventually plans to seek accreditation for an M.B.A. degree through Cardean. Such a degree would not be from the U of C or GSB.

“The Internet provides an extraordinary opportunity to expand our educational outreach to a much larger constituency,” says Provost Geoffrey Stone, JD’71. “That takes an equally extraordinary capital investment to develop the technology to make this possible. What makes interesting is that it proposes a consortium of world-class universities, enabling each of them to participate in a comprehensive, on-line educational program without having to take the financial risk of making such large investments.”’s academic advisory board includes John P. Gould, MBA’63, PhD’66, the Steven G. Rothmeier professor and distinguished service professor of economics; Nobel laureate Merton H. Miller, the Robert R. McCormick distinguished service professor emeritus of finance; and Nobelist Gary Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, University professor of economics and sociology. GSB Dean Robert Hamada serves on the company’s academic council, which coordinates the curriculum and sets academic policies.

The GSB faculty endorsed the proposal after reviewing and rejecting several alternatives from other organizations. (Faculty members on’s advisory board were not allowed to participate in any decisions about the agreement. Similarly, Rosenfield recused himself from Board of Trustees deliberations on the matter; a Board of Trustees subcommittee continues to monitor the project.) The provost and physicist Melvyn Shochet, the spokesperson for the Committee of the Council of the University Senate, then appointed a five-person faculty committee to review the proposal. The committee unanimously concluded it is “appropriate and advisable for the University and the GSB to enter into the venture.” President Hugo Sonnenschein gave final approval.

The University has the right to use any new technology developed through the alliance and would share in any eventual royalties. also will pay the University for the services of the faculty members helping to develop courses. While GSB faculty members do not have to participate, the University will consider participation part of their teaching duties. If courses are judged not to meet the University’s standards, the University will terminate the agreement, Stone assures.

“The University of Chicago has a long and distinguished history in the field of continuing education,” says Stone, “and if this is the future of such programs, we want to be involved.”—K.S.
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