In a big win for online education, digital education platform 2U, Inc. announced today (July 10) that its service agreement with the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law has been extended for an additional 12 years, extending the partnership to the year 2033.
With the contract extension comes a new addition to the school’s already full portfolio of 2U-backed online degree offerings. According to a news release distributed by 2U, the new Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation will aim to provide specialized training to prepare attorneys and law school grads with skills needed to practice tax law, mirroring Wash. U’s on-campus version. The one-year program will be taught by the school’s law faculty and include weekly live classes and interactive coursework through 2U’s digital platform.
Pending university approval and American Bar Association (ABA) acquiescence, classes will begin September of 2019.
WITH 2U, WASH U BECAME ONLINE PIONEER
Five years ago, the Washington University School of Law announced @WashULaw, an online LL.M. program delivered in partnership with 2U. This was one of the school’s first ventures into online education, making it a pioneer among top law schools. To date, there’s been more than 700 students come through the program. Today, the school’s full portfolio of online offerings includes a Master of Legal Studies for non-lawyers, a Master of Laws in U.S. Law for international attorneys, and a dual LL.M. in U.S. Law and Transnational Legal Practice also for international attorneys that’s delivered through both the Washington University School of Law and Tecnológico de Monterrey’s School of Government and Public Transformation.
All are supported by 2U’s cloud-based service.
“2U has been a true partner to us, helping Washington University School of Law deliver our top-quality legal education online, providing unwavering support to our students and faculty, and expanding our global reach to 49 countries,” says Nancy Staudt, dean of the law school, in the news release.
2U PARTNERS INCLUDE HARVARD, YALE
Over the past 10 years, 2U has established a long list of higher-ed clients in its quest to help schools enter and successfully navigate distance learning, online education, and other aspects of providing high quality education in the digital age. Partners include various colleges and schools within top universities such as Harvard, Northwestern, NYU, UC Berkeley, and Yale. One of its longest-standing clients in legal education is the Washington University School of Law.
“We began working with them in 2012,” 2U CEO and co-founder Christopher “Chip” Paucek tells Tipping the Scales. “A top 20 law school doing this in 2012? It wasn’t easy. Even today, it’s still not easy because there are still a lot of skeptics. My biggest challenge as CEO is preconceived notions about online education. People don’t think positive things when it comes to online ed.”
Paucek adds, “At the time, 2U had very few clients and Wash U. was here when there was not a ton of data to support our optimism. Candidly, they believed in us when no one else did.”
‘GREAT DIGITAL EDUCATION STARTS WITH QUALITY STUDENT OUTCOMES’
Other law schools on 2U’s books include the Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University and the University of Dayton School of Law.
Paucek says he’s thrilled to extend and broaden the partnership with one of 2U’s long-time partners.
“Today’s contract extension and the new degree announcement are powerful examples of our shared success model at work,” he says. “Great digital education starts with quality student outcomes, but can only be sustained by a partnership like ours that also delivers true value to the university.”