Fictional Colleges for Scenarios & Role-Playing

The EDUCAUSE 2006 pre-conference seminar, “This is Not a Lab: Seminar on Developing Learning Environments,” used fictional profiles of four different types of higher education institutions to support a workshop group exercise. The profiles describe a community college, a large state research university, a small liberal arts college, and a private research university. These profiles might be of interest to those looking to build higher education team-building and role-playing exercises, so they have been published here for reuse.

Profile 1: Spiritwood Community College

Founded in 1946 in the heart of the Lakes Region, Spiritwood Community College (SCC) serves the training and professional development needs of the regions workforce by providing certificate and associates/bachelors degree programs that directly relate to the employment opportunities in the surrounding area. Over 15,000 commuter students ranging from high school graduates to retirees take advantage of SCCs day and evening programs that are staffed with both full-time teaching and adjunct faculty, the latter being a majority of advanced graduate students and working professionals.

SCC prides itself on its ability to rapidly adjust to the regions educational requirements: certificate programs can be launched within six months and full degree programs within two years. Because of its nimble academic nature, all services and resources must be adaptable to a wide range of current and future needs across multiple programs. Like the people of the Lakes Region, SCC spends its money wisely and operates as efficiently as possible as not to give an impression of wastefulness or extravagance. SCCs relationship with the region is as important as the academic programs themselves.

Founded: 1946 (Spiritwood Junior College), renamed in 1972
Classification: Public, 4-year primarily Associates

Motto: We put the you in education.

Student Enrollment: 15,000
Residential: 0
Commuter: 15,000
Associates/Bachelors: 6,500
Graduate/Professional: 0
Certificate/Other: 8,500

Colleges/Schools: 4
Business & Technology
Health & Sciences
Liberal Arts
Online & Extended Education

Athletic Team: Hornets

School Colors: Yellow and black

Profile 2: Lakes Region State University

Founded as the state land grant agricultural and teachers college in 1877, Lakes Region State University has evolved into a major public research institution of 25,000 students. The university offers degrees ranging from bachelors to doctorates in seven schools: Arts & Humanities, Education, Science & Engineering, Agriculture, Business, Medicine and LRSU Extension. Academically, LRSU is largely decentralized with most decisions being made at the school level by the various deans.

From an administrative perspective, LRSU is highly centralized with a strong administration that works closely with the schools in an effort to maintain the universitys national competitiveness for faculty, students, and research programs. That said, visibility on regional, state, and national stages is often seen as critical to the universitys future as reflected by the high degree of administrator and faculty participation in issues of state and national importance. This emphasis on high-profile competitiveness extends deep into the culture of the institution as students and alumni often start conversations with the Kingfishers were the first to have

Founded: 1877 (Agricultural & Teachers College of Spiritwood), renamed in 1905
Classification: Public, Research University

Motto: Duc, sequere, aut de via deceda (Latin, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”)

Student Enrollment: 25,000
Residential: 10,000
Commuter: 15,000
Associates/Bachelors: 18,000
Graduate/Professional: 5,000
Certificate/Other: 2,000

Colleges/Schools: 7
Arts & Humanities
Science & Engineering
LRSU Extension

Athletic Team: Kingfishers

School Colors: Purple, Blue and white

Profile 3: College of Spiritwood Lake

Founded in 1924 by a group of local philanthropists, the College of Spiritwood Lake is a small liberal arts college of 2,000 students that has both a strong residential character and respected outreach program. The College emphasizes creativity, community, and ethics, and prides itself on its small class sizes and a flexible approach to learning. The undergraduate program centers on a liberal arts core on which the Colleges interconnected curriculum is built. Emphasis is placed on the whole learning experience rather than individual classes, so science lectures directly relate to literature courses, which tie to music and philosophy seminars.

The tightly knit nature of the academic program is reinforced by the campus itself as it has maintained its Art Deco architectural style through-out the Colleges storied history creating an architecturally coherent campus while nearly bankrupting the institution in the process. Facing closure in the early 1990s, the College reinvented itself as a holistic learning experience, focused on its strengths (arts, music, and cultures), and invested in life-long learning to rebuild its connection with alumni. This program of rejuvenation and reconstruction has paid off enrollments are up, alumni interest is at an all-time high, and the endowment has grown significantly.

Founded: 1924 (College of Spiritwood Lake)
Classification: Private, 4-year Liberal Arts

Motto: Veita hinn er vttki veit (Old Norse, “He does not know, he who knows nothing.”)

Student Enrollment: 2,000
Residential: 1,300
Commuter: 700
Associates/Bachelors: 1,600
Graduate/Professional: 0
Certificate/Other: 400

Colleges/Schools: 2
Arts & Sciences
Lifelong Learning

Athletic Team: Vikings

School Colors: Blue and green

Profile 4: McElroy University

Books send forth victory to each of the righteous and are a safe harbor to him who loves them was a favorite quote of the shipping tycoon Commodore Jonas McElroy and is the motto of McElroy University, a world-renowned top 20 private research institution. Founded in 1855 as a Catholic liberal arts college and re-established as a research university by the Commodore in 1891, McElroy is a highly decentralized institution originally modeled on Oxford where each college had its own endowment and was responsible for its own administrative and academic needs.

Over the years, the colleges moved away from the traditional college model and toward subject areas. The transition to subject area colleges is now complete with the recent addition of the newly merged College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (formerly Alexandria, Guerton and Von Roche Colleges). As one might expect, the repercussions of the merger are still being felt all across the institution, most significantly among the alumni and students of the three former colleges. McElroy is a faculty-run institution and as such, theres a strong division between the academic and administrative sides of the university; the faculty direct the academic future, which by extension includes deciding the universitys operating budget, whereas the president and trustees are expected to do everything they can to enable the academic needs of the faculty. Advancement of knowledge comes first, everything else, second.

Founded: 1855 (Cardinal Newman College), re-established in 1891 as McElroy University
Classification: Private, Research University (Very High)

Motto: Bec sige onsenda sofaestra gehwam, hlo hye, am e hie lufa (Old English Solomon & Saturn, “Books send forth victory to each of the righteous and are a safe harbor to him who loves them.”)

Student Enrollment: 13,000
Residential: 9,000
Commuter: 4,000
Associates/Bachelors: 6,000
Graduate/Professional: 7,000
Certificate/Other: 0

Colleges/Schools: 7
Alfred & Washington College (Naval Architecture, Transportation & Space Science)
Jackson College (Law)
Morgan College (Management & Business Administration)
Cardinal Newman College (Divinity)
Siemens College (Information & Library Sciences)
Horton College (Physical & Biological Sciences)
College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences

Athletic Team: Boatmen

School Color: Red

As tempting as it may be to think a profile precisely captures your school, it is important to remember that these profiles are fictional and do not reflect any specific college, university or type of school. They’re meant to be a bit humorous, but at the same time capture some of the “flavor” of these kinds of places. Each and every profile is an amalgam of characteristics from a number of schools, so you might see a little of your school in there — but it doesn’t mean the profile is about your institution. Profile authors and contributors include Chad J. Kainz, Emily Baker, Ken Sadowski, and Kathy Powell.