Thunderbird School of Global Management

Stay informed of the latest news!

Updates & Latest Information on Partnerships

Thank you for visiting One Thunderbird, the main hub for information and updates regarding potential partnerships for Thunderbird School of Global Management.

We all share a common ideal, that in order to ensure Thunderbird’s continued growth we must be united as One Thunderbird.

View Dr. Penley’s recent letter to Das Tor, the Thunderbird student newspaper:
From the President: One Thunderbird, One Shared Future

 

In October 2012, Thunderbird President Larry Penley focused his attention on assuring Thunderbird's competitive position for the long term. Recognizing its historic position as the original school of international business and the School's continued metamorphosis over multiple decades, Dr. Penley and the Board outlined three criteria for any potential alliance. These criteria have not changed. Any future partnership must:

  • Support Thunderbird's global mission

  • Preserve the Thunderbird brand

  • Provide for the School's long-term sustainability

The most important priority for all of us – faculty, staff, students, alumni, employers and other stakeholders – is to move the institution forward and to lay the groundwork for competitive growth. Thunderbird is an excellent academic institution, and we all care deeply for Thunderbird.

In this new process of finding a strategic partner, the administration is committed to:

  • Securing Thunderbird going forward as a formidable competitor

  • Working quickly to secure a suitable partner that provides for the School's competitive position, consistent with the October 2012 charge for the process

  • Engaging Thunderbird stakeholders and providing regular communication within the constraints of protecting Thunderbird and potential partners during the ensuing negotiations

 

Thunderbird Townhall Recap - March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014

Dear Thunderbird Alumni,

You are all aware of the fundamental changes taking place in higher education globally. Adapting to change is an important part of the Thunderbird DNA since its origins under General Yount. One important reason we have endured as a leader and our students have succeeded globally has been our ability to adapt to the global business landscape and its many employers within the context of our mission and brand. All of the important changes implemented in recent years were designed for that purpose. I believe we must continue this pursuit and constantly challenge the status quo as a requirement for continued vitality.

What We're Doing Right Now
Last week's news regarding HLC's decision not to approve the Laureate alliance as proposed was not expected, and many of you were disappointed. While we were surprised by the HLC decision, we did not let that impact our efforts to react quickly. The Board of Trustees immediately commenced a thorough analysis of the HLC decision for solutions to the specific HLC issues and engaged in further dialogue with HLC representatives. At the same time, the Board also began actively pursuing various strategic alternatives, including a modified collaborative relationship with Laureate and communications with other potential strategic partners.

Although opinions on the Laureate alliance have been mixed, the need for a partnership remains. In October 2012, the Board of Trustees focused its attention on assuring Thunderbird's competitive position in the long-run. Recognizing its historic position as the original school of international business and the School's continued metamorphosis over multiple decades, the Board outlined three criteria for any potential alliance; those criteria have not changed. The partnership must:

  1. Support Thunderbird's global mission;
  2. Preserve the Thunderbird brand; and
  3. Provide for the School's long-term sustainability.

Moving Forward Together
I recognize that the Thunderbird community has endured more than a year of uncertainty, and the process has taken its toll. The most important thing for all of us -- faculty, staff, students, alumni, employers and other stakeholders -- is to move the institution forward and to lay the groundwork for competitive growth. Thunderbird is an excellent academic institution, and all of us care deeply for Thunderbird.

As Thunderbird moves forward I make three pledges to guide the process:

  • First, the administration and Board are committed to Thunderbird going forward as a formidable competitor.
  • Second, we will work quickly to secure a suitable partner that provides for the School's competitive position, consistent with the Board's October 2012 charge for the process.
  • Third, we will engage Thunderbird stakeholders and provide regular communication within the constraints of protecting Thunderbird and potential partners during the ensuing negotiations. In the last three days, we have already reached out to
    •  Leaders of the Thunderbird Student Government (TSG),
    •  Faculty and Staff,
    •  The Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT).

Working through these groups and the Thunderbird Global Council, we will listen to your suggestions and keep you informed. We will also act quickly – before the end of this academic year – for the sake of the Thunderbird community. The ACT motto, "One Thunderbird," will be our rallying cry as we work together to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide. Thank you again for your continued interest, passion and support.

Regards,

Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D.
President

 

Thunderbird Update on HLC - March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014

Dear Thunderbird Community,

On September 15, 2013, Thunderbird submitted a proposal to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for a change of structure related to a planned strategic alliance with Laureate, under which Thunderbird would remain independent and a jointly-owned service provider would be formed. On March 12, 2014, HLC informed Thunderbird that the HLC board did not approve the proposed plan, as presented, based on specific elements of the strategic alliance.

Thunderbird has been given the option to submit a new application addressing HLC's concerns. HLC reiterated that Thunderbird's accreditation remains intact, and noted that Thunderbird is scheduled to host its next evaluation for Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2022-23. Thunderbird is continuing conversations with HLC. The School's Board of Trustees is also exploring various strategic alternatives, including models of collaboration with Laureate, which would respond to the specific concerns expressed by HLC.

Sincerely,

Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D.
President
Ann Iverson
Chairman, Board of Trustees