Boston University is talking about merging with another local college

Boston, Massachusetts -- 4/23/2015-- Students file across the BU College of Communication campus at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts April 23, 2015. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
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Students file across the College of Communication campus at Boston University. –Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

In a joint statement Tuesday, Boston University and nearby Wheelock College announced they were discussing a possible merger.

“We believe the merger will enhance Boston University’s programs, as well as preserve the mission of Wheelock College to improve the lives of children and families,” the two schools said.

Wheelock is a private college of roughly 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, which houses schools focused on education, social work, and arts and sciences. It is located along the Fens, bordering Brookline, less than a mile south from BU’s campus.

Wheelock officials said the discussion followed deliberations among staff members this summer about how to “ensure the mission of the College remains sustainable as the higher education industry faces a changing landscape.”

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The Boston Globe reported in June that the 130-year-old school — facing “mounting financial pressure and plunging enrollment” — was looking to sell at least two buildings and reviewing the programs it offered, including potentially eliminating undergraduate degrees altogether.

In an email Tuesday obtained by the Globe, Wheelock President David Chard shed some light about how his school would be absorbed into the 33,000-student university. Per the Globe:

Wheelock’s School of Education, Child Life, and Family Studies would merge with BU’s School of Education to create the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. Other programs at Wheelock would merge with similar programs at BU, the Wheelock president said.

New undergraduate students to the new college would be admitted through the BU admissions process and be considered part of the BU student body. It was unclear Tuesday afternoon what would happen to current Wheelock students.

Both schools said Tuesday that they could not provide any further specifics about the potential merger.

“Over the upcoming weeks, the leadership of Boston University and Wheelock College will be working with our faculties and our academic and administrative leaders to shape the vision of our merged academic units and services,” they said.

The full joint statement can be read here and here.