A True Strategic Partnership That Drives Results

Last updated on: October 10, 2023

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Challenge: Program Growth and Student Enrollments

Grounded in its Lasallian Catholic identity, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a nationally ranked university with a global footprint. During the past decade, the university diversified its academic programs and grew enrollment in Graduate and Professional Programs at both the Twin Cities Campus and online, seeking to innovate and provide nurturing online learning experiences that are both accessible and affordable. Their transformative programs are designed to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern students, allowing them to gain the advanced knowledge, skills, and critical-thinking abilities necessary for lifelong learners.

“The university was eager to leverage technological and course design services and launch new online programs to support strategic growth initiatives. Wiley University Services had the resources, experience, and innovation to bring that to fruition,” said university president Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, PhD.

Saint Mary’s partnered with Wiley University Services in 2010 and in the summer of 2012, launched three online master’s degree programs: Project Management, Human Resource Management, and Organizational Leadership. As of August 2018, Saint Mary’s has 14 online programs actively in market in partnership with Wiley, with several more in development, and over 1,300 active online students.

The Strategy

Following market research and employing its proven Course Quality Framework to guide Saint Mary’s online program initiative, Wiley’s team of instructional designers and course developers, in partnership with Saint Mary’s highly regarded faculty, collaborated to design and develop new online programs. Together with Wiley’s team of marketers, enrollment coordinators, admissions team members, and operations professionals, they successfully launched and delivered a superior student experience.

To prepare faculty members for teaching in the online environment, Wiley’s instructional designers worked with instructors for four months in one-to-one sessions to discuss course components to enhance the student experience, ultimately increasing their confidence in online learning. To prepare newly enrolled students, Wiley offered Mobile Learning 101 sessions to familiarize them with the technology and classes. These proactive efforts supported the success of both the faculty and the newly enrolled students.

In another aspect of the strategy for Saint Mary’s, it became the first school to offer these first three online programs in a completely iPad-enabled online format. Students enrolled in these three programs could quickly access course materials, including textbooks, from anywhere; instantly connect and network with classmates and faculty outside of the virtual classroom; stay organized with a suite of productivity apps; and learn mobile technology skills to prepare them for the demands of the current workforce.

The Results

Five Years of Consistent Online Program Growth

“Our number one priority in our partnership has been service to our students through the advancement of our online learning and enrollment growth,” said Andrea Carroll-Glover, MBA, Associate Vice President of Online Strategy and Development. “We continue to exceed those goals, which translates to a major impact on our bottom line and the lives of our students.”

Graph showing growth in enrollments at Saint Mary's

Looking Ahead

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Wiley recognize the importance of a long-term commitment and partnership, as evidenced by their partnership extension through 2029. As a key tenet of the partnership, Wiley and Saint Mary’s collaborate on a proprietary program planning approach called Strategic Portfolio Development™ (SPD).

This approach enables institutional partners like Saint Mary’s to attract a larger section of the market to their program offerings, maximize the use of resources, quickly increase the number of competitive programs offered, and ultimately grow a more robust and long-lasting market presence.

“Our student-focused approach ensures we’re meeting students where they are, while offering programs that prepare graduates to make valuable contributions in their chosen professions, act as creative problem solvers and serve as ethical leaders in their local and global communities. Wiley is helping us to identify, develop, and support these transformative programs,” said Brother Robert Smith, FSC, PhD, Chief Academic Officer.

Wiley University Services Offerings

Wiley is responsible for these services in the Saint Mary’s partnership:

Market Assessment

Program Design and Development

Marketing and Brand Management


Enrollment Management

Student Retention Services

24×7 Help Desk

Institution’s Roles and Responsibilities

Saint Mary’s handles the following areas:

Curriculum and Content

Program Design and Development


Faculty & Instruction


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