Recently in The Tribune-Democrat, there was an article, “UPJ leaders support private vendor’s online course offerings.” 

The vendor in question is known as Outlier. At least one UPJ faculty member notes that the connection with Outlier will “get our name out there.” 

However, after pursuing the Outlier website a month ago, I noticed that there was no mention of UPJ anywhere on the site.

At the end of the trailer describing the philosophy course there is a small blurb that mentions a collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh together with the main campus’ logo. Again there is no indication that UPJ even exists.

To think that this will publicize the Johnstown campus is an example of what Ayn Rand once called “magical” thinking. But, surprisingly, on the Outlier website, is the discovery that Pitt Provost Ann Cudd, who brought Outlier to the University, is one of the instructor’s in the philosophy course. 

I wonder, can you spell conflict of interest any more clearly?

Martin Rice


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