Union Institute & University

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This article is about the university based in Ohio. For other institutions with a similar name, see Union University (disambiguation).
"Union Institute" redirects here. For Union Institute Academy, see History of Duke University.
Union Institute & University
UI&U logo square.png
Established 1964
President Roger H. Sublett
Students 2,000
Location Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Colors Green and yellow

Union Institute & University (UI&U) is a private, non-profit university that specializes in limited residence and distance learning programs. It receives regional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and as of this date,[when?] enrolls approximately 2,000 students from across the United States. Its main campus is in Cincinnati, Ohio, and it operates satellite campuses located in Vermont, Florida, and California.


Today's Union Institute and University (UI&U) is a private, non-profit university specializing in limited residence and distance learning programs. It began in 1964 as a conference-inspired initiative of 10 liberal arts institutions on educational innovation and experimentation, called The Union for Research and Experimentation in Higher Education. After an evolution that included changes in name, initiation of a graduate program (as the The Union Graduate School), and financial reorganization as the The Union Institute, the Institute's acquisition of an undergraduate institution (Vermont College, Montpelier, Vermont) in 2001 provided the interim array of programs and structures that have evolved into the current UI&U. The institution maintains regional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which began in 1985.

Enrollment and locations[edit]

UI&U currently enrolls approximately 2,000 students.[when?] Students are drawn from across the United States. Its main campus is in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, UI&U operates satellite campuses in Montpelier and Brattleboro, Vermont, North Miami Beach, Florida, and Los Angeles and Sacramento, California.



Union Institute and University traces its origins to 1964, when the president of Goddard College hosted the presidents of nine other liberal arts institutions at a conference to discuss cooperation in innovation and experimentation (Barrett, 1972). The Union for Research and Experimentation in Higher Education was established with Antioch College, Bard College, Goddard College, Chicago Teachers North, Monteith Masson, New College at Hofstra University, Sarah Lawrence College, Shimer College, and Stephens College originally forming The Union (Barrett, 1972).

Renamed The Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities in 1969, Samuel Baskin, a psychologist and educational reformer from the faculties of Stephens and Antioch Colleges, was its founding president (The Antiochian, 2002). The Union directed its focus toward providing educational opportunities for non-traditional students whose needs were best served by a low-residency college experience, as well as those students who sought to conduct socially relevant research in an interdisciplinary manner. By 1971, five more colleges and universities joined the Union, bringing the total consortium to 22 schools of higher education (Barrett, 1972).

The Union had a continuing emphasis from its inception on programs on social relevance and interdisciplinarity of research. The Union provided administrative support for a number of programs run by its member schools, under the title The University Without Walls (UWW), a further initiative of Samuel Baskin (The Antiochian, 2002). The UECU disbanded in 1982, but the UWW organization remained in operation (Grady, 1989).

The Union Institute[edit]

The Union's consortium filed for bankruptcy in 1978, and the UECU disbanded in 1982; emerging from its bankruptcy, the surviving UWW was renamed sometime between 1986[citation needed] and 1989 (Grady, 1989), as The Union Institute.

Graduate School formation[edit]

One component of the UWW was the initiation of graduate training through an institution called The Union Graduate School; the first doctoral students were admitted in 1970 (Fairfield, 1979, p. 17). Doctoral programs were based on the tutorial system.[citation needed]

The Union Graduate School, as a component of the UWW, remained in operation when UECU disbanded in 1982 (Grady, 1989). In 1986[citation needed] or 1989, when the UWW was renamed The Union Institute, The Union Graduate School was renamed The Graduate School of The Union Institute (Grady, 1989).

Acquisition of undergraduate programs[edit]

The Union Institute acquired Vermont College in Montpelier, Vermont from Norwich University. In October, 2001, Union was renamed Union Institute and University. The purchase of Vermont College added several Master's degree programs and an Adult Degree Program to Union Institute & University’s existing undergraduate and doctoral programs. This enabled The Union to provide a progression of degree opportunities, along with certificates in advanced graduate study.


Union Institute & University awards the following degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, with concentrations available in:
    • Arts, Writing & Literature
    • Education
    • Environmental Studies & Sustainability
    • Global Studies, History & Culture
    • Psychology & Human Development
  • Bachelor of Science, with majors available in:
    • Business Administration
    • Business Management
    • Child Development
    • Criminal Justice Management
    • Early Childhood Studies
    • Elementary Education
    • Emergency Services Management
    • Exceptional Student Education
    • Leadership
    • Maternal Child Health: Lactation Consulting
    • Public Administration
    • Secondary Education
    • Social Work
  • Master of Arts
    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling (licensure track)
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Counseling Psychology (licensure track)
    • Creativity Studies
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Education (non-licensure track)
    • Educational Psychology
    • Health & Wellness
    • History & Culture
    • Industrial & Organizational Psychology
    • Leadership, Public Policy & Social Issues
    • Literature & Writing
    • Psychology (non-licensure track)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.)
  • Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)
  • Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology
  • Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in:
    • Ethical & Creative Leadership
    • Humanities & Culture
    • Public Policy & Social Change


The Union Institute & University's Ph.D. program came under scrutiny by the Ohio Board of Regents, culminating in a 2002 Reauthorization Report. In response to the Report, The Union has undergone major academic and structural changes, including dissolution of The Union Graduate School and restructuring of Ph.D. programs. The Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences, for example, was redesigned to a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Notable alumni[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Bates, David (2002). "A Brief History of the Union Institute and University,With References and a Guide to Sources". self-published. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  • Berry, W. (1987). "The loss of the university." In W. Berry, Home economics (pp. 76-97). New York, NY: North Point Press (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
  • Fairfield, R. (1977). Person-centered graduate education. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus. Ford Foundation. (1972.) Letter. 3(7).
  • Goodman, P. (1964). Reforms and proposals. In P. Goodman, Compulsory mis-education, and The community of scholars (pp. 295-322). New York, NY: Vintage Books.
  • Grady, J. (1989). The Union Institute acquires a new name, a national historic landmark as its permanent home. (TUI press release dated October 20, 1989). 6 pp. Cincinnati, OH: The Union Institute.
  • Graduate School of The Union Institute. (July, 1989). Learner Handbook. Cincinnati, OH: The Union Institute.
  • Jerome, J. (1970). Quality and conscience. In J. Jerome, Culture out of anarchy: The reconstruction of American higher learning (pp. 287-312). New York, NY: Herder and Herder.

External links[edit]