Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College have long been intertwined. It was, in fact, a Haverford Board of Managers member whose bequest led to Bryn Mawr's founding in 1885, and ever since the two schools have enjoyed a close, collaborative relationship. For decades, students at both colleges have been able to cross-register for classes and majors; access an integrated library system; and join clubs, attend social activities, eat, and room across the campuses. There are even academic programs and departments that are structured and run collaboratively across campuses.
On Sept. 7, the presidents of the two colleges met to codify this relationship, known as the Bi-College Consortium, or Bi-Co. Haverford President Kim Benston and Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), detailing the broad guiding principles for collaboration that will advance the missions and strategic aims of both institutions, including new governance structures, such as a Board-level Bi-College Council and a campus steering committee.
"The Bi-College partnership has been a dynamic one for decades," says Benston. "[This] new Bi-Co MOU is an effort to codify the many aims and virtues that have long been implicit, but remarkably seldom spoken."
Though earlier agreements of cooperation existed between both schools—most recently a 1986 joint Board statement—this new memorandum is the first of its kind, providing a framework for collaboration that encompasses academic, administrative, and extracurricular matters. (Previous iterations were focused specifically on academic matters.) This new agreement also establishes new parameters for keeping centralized records that are germane to the partnership.
Academically, the Bi-Co relationship governs departments such as German and East Asian Languages and Cultures, as well as programs, including Chinese and Japanese languages, Comparative Literature, Education, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Health Studies. The two campuses collaborate to offer comprehensive arts education, with Haverford serving as the home for the music and fine arts departments and Bryn Mawr housing the Theater, Dance, and Creative Writing programs.
Administratively, Haverford and Bryn Mawr are served by Bi-College offices of campus safety and dining services, and transportation between the two colleges, including the iconic Blue Bus, is also administered as a Bi-Co partnership.
"We are so fortunate to have as neighbors a peer institution of such excellence and whose values mesh with ours," says Benston. "We are a far stronger Haverford for having Bryn Mawr as a partner. It is a privilege and opportunity that we must not take for granted. As someone who has long profited both personally and professionally from the richness of the Bi-Co community, I am eager to see that value maintained for future generations of students and scholars."
Read the full MOU.