The leaders of Champlain College and Woodbury College announced this week that they have signed a letter of intent to merge and create The Woodbury Institute at Champlain College beginning fall 2008. We have found a wonderful partner whose culture, infrastructure, and support will allow us to capitalize on numerous and significant opportunities, said Woodbury College President Larry Mandell. Champlain College President David Finney agreed. Over the course of its 33-year history, Woodbury has established itself as one of the nations premier institutions of higher education in the critically important areas of legal studies, mediation, and advocacy. Woodbury Colleges unique academic assets and expertise will enrich Champlains curricula and improve our own ability to enroll students in an increasingly competitive environment. Especially noteworthy is the fact that The Woodbury Institute will provide Champlain with two new graduate-level programs, Finney added. This is a smart move for both our institutions and one that will benefit our students, now and in the future. The plan was announced to students, faculty and staff at both colleges last Thursday. For the 2008-09 academic year, officials say Woodburys current and incoming students will see little change. They will attend classes in Montpelier and online as they have in the past. As the merger is finalized and the Woodbury Institute at Champlain College is created, students from both colleges will have more course options available to them. Tuition and financial aid for Woodbury students will not change this academic year. Faculty at Woodbury will be largely unaffected because they are part-time or adjunct employees of the College. However, those faculty will be needed to teach the existing courses and those with the appropriate backgrounds may have opportunities to teach additional courses at Champlain College, college officials explained. Neither college offers tenure-track faculty position. Champlains highly regarded programs will complement Woodburys existing offerings perfectly. In addition, Champlains mission to offer higher education to single parents, refugees, and first generation students dovetails with Woodburys long-standing commitment to community, Mandell noted. Mandell will continue to have a role in the mission of Woodbury College through the new Institute at Champlain College. His background in Vermont Higher Education for 30 years in the area of legal education, for lawyers and non-lawyers alike, and mediation will be a huge benefit to the growth of the Institute. In addition his connections in China and educational programs there are also important to this partnership. Finney said. Champlain shares Woodburys goal of creating access to high quality education for Vermonters, as well as for those outside the region. This partnership will provide tremendous advantages in the marketplace as well as enhanced educational offerings for our students, Finney said. Woodbury Institute at Champlain College will have no material effect on Champlains Master Plan, officials said. Woodburys academic programs combine online learning with short intensive residencies and growth will continue to be online, so the Institute is not expected to grow the student presence on campus or increase demands on Champlain College physical facilities. Woodburys staff will continue in their existing roles this fall. Beyond that we expect that there will be a good number of employees that will continue at Woodbury Institute at Champlain College, Mandell said. In addition, other positions at Champlain will be available to Woodbury College staff. For employees in positions that do not move to Champlain as a result of the merger, Woodbury plans to provide career counseling and outplacement services. Woodbury, founded in 1975, has approximately 125 working adult students, preparing for careers as paralegals, mediation and pre-law studies. From its Montpelier campus, Woodbury currently offers Associate, Bachelor, and Masters degrees. More than 1,600 students have graduated from Woodbury, going on to play essential roles in Vermont government, nonprofit activity, and the private sector in Vermont and elsewhere. Champlain College, a private baccalaureate institution, was founded in 1878. Located in Burlington, Champlain College is a national leader in educating students to become skilled practitioners, effective professionals and global citizens. It was ranked in the top tier of Best Comprehensive Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Reports Best Colleges 2008. Champlain has approximately 2,000 students, representing 32 states and 17 countries. It has study abroad programs that include campuses in Dublin, Ireland and Montreal, Quebec.