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Conde Nast gets into the education business

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Take New Yorker magazine, Architectural Digest,  Gourmet and Wired. Throw in a little Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair, and what do you have?

How about – an educational opportunity? The magazines are all published by Conde Nast, and the company is reportedly partnering with colleges and universities to create a new program that will use its magazines as a framework for higher education.

Conde Nast’s already operates the Conde Nast College of Fashion and Design in London, which draws heavily on editors and writers from Vogue and other publications.

“The access we’ve got to lecturers, journalists would be very good, and to the fashion and decorating industry made it a very natural brand extension,” says Nicholas Coleridge, president of Conde Nast International, in a video on the college’s website.

This latest brand extension into education will be a partnership with University Ventures. “We are an investment from focused on building highly innovative high quality university programs,” says Daniel Pianko, managing director of University Ventures.

It’s too early to define exactly how the partnership will play out, says Pianko, “but we’ll take the best minds from top magazine and editorial talent and combine that with top tier universities.”

What will top magazine talent teach?  Maybe how to write a captivating profile of a golfer with Golf Digest senior editor Peter Finch? Or perhaps, a lecture on selling ads for chairs in Architectural Digest?

Whatever the class offerings may look like, David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, says the quality of any new program should be evaluated by an outside entity. “If the provider is also the evaluator, there’s really the potential of the fox in the henhouse. So I think you really need to have some capacity for external validation beyond the provider,” says Longanecker.  

Conde Nast and University Ventures hopes to launch its new program by the fall of 2015.

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