Behind an Online Giant's Accreditation Bid, a Small Brick-and-Mortar Campus

From Small Campus to Online Giant 1

Chronicle photograph by Eric Kelderman

The library at Ashford U. The institution is closing the doors of its physical campus in Iowa but will maintain its online presence.

John Ballheim, vice president and campus director of Ashford University, can't stop saying that the small college he runs here is "so traditional." He says it frequently during a two-hour interview and tour of the campus, placing a lot of emphasis on the word "so" and comparing Ashford to the small Roman Catholic colleges he worked for some 30 years ago.

Looking around the campus in this city on the Mississippi River, it's easy to find evidence of that tradition: Crosses still adorn