The Minerva Project – an attempt to redefine top of the line higher education to put it more into line with demands of the 21st century – has announced the launch of The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship. The goal of the institute is to aid in Minerva's mission to bring exceptional college education to students around the world, as well as to expand research opportunities for Minerva faculty.
Heading up the institute will be former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, whose official title will be Executive Chairman of The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship. Kerrey brings with him his political experience as well as his experience leading The New School from 2001 to 2010, where he is President Emeritus.
"As we redefine every aspect of the traditional tier 1 research university, we are also re-envisioning the university business model to create a new way of operating that is more effective and efficient," said Ben Nelson, CEO of Minerva Project. "The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship will play an important role in attracting and directing financial support towards cutting-edge faculty research and academic programs for the world's most brilliant students, which will positively shape our collective future. We are excited to have Bob Kerrey join us in a more formal capacity to lead this critical effort."
The Minerva Project, described as an elite for-profit online global college, is embracing technology and its potential to improve education. According to Minerva, the school will provide education of high-quality on par with the most elite traditional universities operating today, but will not be tied to the traditional learning paradigm employed there. Instead, the new approach will be built from the ground up and will employ cutting edge research on student learning and academic success.
In the spring of last year, Ben Nelson, Minerva's founder and former Silicon Valley CEO, said that one of the things that will set Minerva apart is the lower price tag, as Minerva is promising that an Ivy League-caliber education could be had for less than $20,000 per year. The project has already attracted $25 million in seed funding from Benchmark Capital, which is the largest initial investment in the history of the company.
Nelson is ebullient about the Minerva Project's potential.
He plans to recruit top students from around the world, many of whom are shut out of higher education either because of the cost or because the few universities in their country are over-crowded. "The majority of students won't be from the U.S.," he said.