Five colleges on Pease find it better to collaborate than compete

09/16/2013 by Howard Altschiller

The five colleges offering classes at Pease International Tradeport find it is better to cooperate than compete.

Some of the colleges share physical space and articulation agreements make it easy for students to transfer credits from one institution to another. A student with a two-year degree from Great Bay Community College, for example, has the option of seamlessly transferring credits toward a bachelor's degree at Southern New Hampshire University or Franklin Pierce University.

Adult learners who want to brush up on their skills but don't need to earn college credit can choose from 75 different one-day seminars at Pease offered by the University of New Hampshire Professional Development and Training Program, a division of the UNH graduate school. These one-day courses are offered in space UNH leases from Franklin Pierce at 119 International Drive. UNH uses the space during the day and Franklin Pierce fills the classrooms at night.

Granite State College, which has grown by 20 percent in the past two years, has just struck a deal to lease additional office space and classrooms at Great Bay Community College.

All five schools cater to adult students who are either looking to complete degree and certification programs or simply to sharpen work place skills to keep pace with rapid technological changes. Each school helps adult students receive as much credit as possible for previous academic work as well as relevant work and life experience.

Online learning and hybrid classes that combine some classroom and virtual learning are an increasingly important part of the education options offered by all five schools and all have strengthened their partnerships with local businesses in recent years.

Leaders at all five schools tout Pease's central location, easy access and ample parking.

Great Bay

Community College

320 Corporate Drive



Phone: 603-427-7600, 603-334-6306, 1-800-522-1194 (N.H. Only)

Enrollment: 2,350; 25 percent full time, 75 percent part time

Gender: 57 percent female, 43 percent male

Age: average 26, median 22, range 13-70

Cost per credit: In state, $210; New England region, $315; Out of state, $478

Mission: "Great Bay Community College provides accessible, student-centered, quality higher education programs for a diverse population of students seeking career, degree or transfer opportunities. A strong commitment to lifelong learning is reflected in our policies, programs and activities. We will continue our strong tradition of providing education in the sciences, career and technical programs as well as in the liberal arts. We endeavor to promote economic development through community engagement and workforce development for the region."

In 2009 Great Bay Community College closed its main campus in Stratham and consolidated operations at Pease. Over the past four years the school has experienced unprecedented growth in enrollment, course offerings and physical space. Great Bay leases 13 acres and has an option on six additional acres for the next 10 years. The campus currently has 122,000 square feet of academic space in the renovated former Pease Air Force Base hospital building. Its next major building project will likely be a student center, according to Will Arvelo, who has been the school's president since 2007.

"Great Bay is a comprehensive community college that is a real community resource and that's the wonderful thing about where we are now as an institution as well as geographically," Arvelo said. "We see ourselves and our values aligned with building something to benefit the Seacoast community long term."

In addition to traditional college coursework, Great Bay provides training to many of the region's leading businesses, including Pease-based international biomedical firm Lonza and gun manufacturer Sig Sauer.

"We have an amazing mix of products to deliver education and training solutions," said Lin Tamulonis, associate vice president of corporate and community relations. She points to the financial support many of Great Bay's professional training programs receive from the state. "We offer degree programs, certificate programs, professional credentials. As community college we are very nimble in how we can turn around and respond."

Granite State College

51 International Drive

Granite State College also has offices and classroom space at Great Bay Community College.



Phone: 603-228-3000, 888-228-3000

Fax: 603-513-1389

Enrollment: 3,165 students registered for FY13 statewide.

Gender: 71 percent female, 39 percent male

Age: average 34, median 32

Cost per credit: New Hampshire residents, $285 per credit; out-of-state residents, $295 per credit; graduate NH residents, $495 per credit; out-of-state residents, $505 per credit.

Mission: "The mission of Granite State College is to expand access to public higher education to adults of all ages throughout the state of New Hampshire.

"The college achieves this mission by offering degree, certificate and contract programs of excellence that serve our communities through learner responsive curricula, innovative teaching methods and ongoing assessment of learning outcomes. Granite State College fosters partnerships with area businesses, local and state organizations, and other higher education institutions in order to bring high quality academic experiences to the residents of New Hampshire in an effective and efficient manner."

Granite State College has been at Pease since 1975, offering classes to students in the active military when Pease was still an Air Force base.

"One of our institution's hallmarks is offering adult students generous credit for prior learning, which includes credit for military training," said Kathi Mullin, Granite State College's chief administrative officer. "With such an active military population and with the high volume of business and commerce at Pease, Granite State College was a natural fit. Over the years, GSC has experienced many transformations (including several name changes) but our commitment to adult students and offering credit for prior learning remains and will continue to be a top priority. This really resonates with the students in this region, so Pease is a wonderful home for Granite State."

Mullin notes that Granite State College offers the least expensive bachelor's degree program in New Hampshire and has one of the lowest tuition rates in New England.

"Great Bay has a vibrant campus and the opportunity to launch a productive partnership in which students can transfer their credits seamlessly after earning an associate degree at Great Bay is tremendous for both institutions, but more importantly it's an incredible opportunity for students," Mullin said.

"At Granite State College, we focus on the learner and the educational goals of those learners, and will work with students to tailor programs to individual needs," Mullin said. "Most of our students transfer in some credit or prior learning experience that can be applied toward their degree requirements through our expanded transfer options. We offer a variety of associate, bachelor and post-bachelor programs that include business, criminal justice, psychology and education. Granite State College also has highly flexible and customizable programs through our Applied Science and Individualized Study degrees. We are also focused on work force programs."

Franklin Pierce University

119 International Drive


Phone: 603-433-2000

Enrollment: 400 students at Pease

Gender: 49 percent female, 51 percent male (undergraduate);

61 percent female, 39 percent male (graduate)

Cost per credit: $345

Focus: Franklin Pierce's Pease campus caters to an adult population. All classes are held in the evening. Six terms per year, eight weeks per term. You can start at any time.

Franklin Pierce has been at Pease since 1998 and recently moved from 73 Corporate Drive to 119 International Drive, into space formerly occupied by Daniel Webster College. Franklin Pierce will use the space at night and is leasing it to UNH's Professional Development and Training Program during the day. The growth of online and hybrid classes has reduced the school's need for a large physical space.

"Most adults prefer to begin with a hybrid course, meeting one time per week in a classroom and also containing an online component," said Kim Collins, the Pease campus' director. "It makes you feel like more of a student when you have interaction with other students and professors. "

Franklin Pierce at Pease has nursing cohort programs with Wentworth-Douglass and Exeter Hospital, where RNs can study at local hospitals to complete their bachelor's degree. The Pease campus also offers degrees in management, marketing, finance, accounting and criminal justice, as well as science and integrated studies.

Many of Franklin Pierce's adult learners have earned some credits at other institutions and the school does everything it can to apply those credits to a degree, Collins said. "Many of our adult students have started and stopped at other institutions," she said.

"We cater to the individual," Collins said. "We're not a big factory of online or hybrid education. We look at the individual. Many adult students may be fearful about returning to school so we take a very individualized approach. We want them to be successful."

Southern New Hampshire University

231 Corporate Drive, Suite 100



Phone: 603-436-2831

Enrollment: 497 at Pease

Gender: 48 percent male, 52 percent female

Age: average 34.7, median 32

Cost per credit: Undergraduate, $320; graduate, $627; active duty military undergraduate, $225; active duty military graduate, $470.

Mission: "Southern New Hampshire University educates intellectually and culturally enriched individuals to be successful in their careers and contribute to their communities. SNHU's educational philosophy challenges students' intellectual potential and prepares them for professional lives in an ever-changing and increasingly interconnected world. It provides a supportive and close-knit learning community, delivering engaging instruction in a flexible variety of formats. Students develop the knowledge to understand a complex world, the skills to act effectively within that world and the wisdom to make good choices. They do so within a community of teachers, staff and peers that is encouraged to add its scholarly, creative and pedagogical contributions to the larger social good."

Southern New Hampshire University moved to its 18,000-square-foot Pease campus in 2005 from Route 1 in Portsmouth. To accommodate its working adult learners the school holds its classes in the evenings.

"SNHU offers over 180 programs to meet the diverse needs of our students, and our focus is on accessibility, convenience and affordability for the adult learner with a busy life," said Matthew Thornton, senior director of student success. "The Seacoast Center offers face-to-face and hybrid courses to offer flexible options for our students."

One of the most exciting collaborations between Pease-based schools revolves around nursing. New "Magnet" standards require registered nurses to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and SNHU is working with Great Bay Community College to help students and local hospitals.

"We have developed an RN to BSN program in conjunction with the Community College System of New Hampshire to work with their associate degree RN population to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing," Thornton said.

Students attending SNHU at Pease are able to remotely access many of the programs offered at the main campus in Manchester.

"The Seacoast Center leverages collaborative technology (video conferencing, enterprise social media tools and other Web 2.0 technologies) to connect with the main office and to offer rich programing to students such as career development workshops and employer spotlights," Thornton said. "Campus events are often live-streamed and recorded for center students to participate remotely. Academic programs offered at the centers are overseen by associate deans in Manchester who review program quality, faculty staffing, and learning outcomes and assessments. It is truly a collaborative effort to ensure student success."

University of New Hampshire Professional Development & Training

119 International Drive


Phone: 603-431-5674


Enrollment: Up to 3,000 people annually attend one of 75 one-day seminars offered each year at the Pease location.

Average age of student: Between 35 and 45

Gender breakdown: 50-50

Cost: $125 to $295, depending on course and whether certification is offered.

Focus: Professional Development and Training is an office within the UNH Graduate School whose mission is to serve individuals, businesses and organizations in New Hampshire and surrounding regions by offering a wide range of professional development opportunities throughout the year.

The University of New Hampshire Professional Development & Training program offers 75 one-day seminars and certificate programs each year.

Part of the UNH Graduate School, programs are offered to teachers, school administrators, social workers, land surveyors and soil scientists, and businesspeople interested in sharpening their skills in areas ranging from leadership to human resources to sales and marketing.

UNH will also work with companies to design specific programs to meet their training needs.

"I think for an individual pursing a career who is looking for fast-paced, high-quality training, we're a good place to come," said Linda Conti, marketing director. "Individuals who want to move from one career to another would also benefit."

One key difference between these programs and those offered by other schools at Pease is that they are non-credit and therefore less expensive.

"We're the biggest game in town for non-credit professional development," Conti said.

The classes are taught by UNH professors as well as non-academic subject area experts.

UNH likes the Pease location for this program because it is centrally located off major highways and there is ample parking, Conti said.