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iDesign | News | Paul Quinn College Partnership

Paul Quinn College, iDesign Partner on Online Curriculum


Paul Quinn College is partnering with iDesign, a Dallas instructional design firm, to build an initial set of online courses to be available this summer.

The deal will make general education courses available online for the South Dallas college’s students.

iDesign will continue to develop more courses each school year free of charge. Paul Quinn said the offering would improve access and affordability for its students, 90 percent of whom are eligible for Pell Grants, a federal education subsidy for students in financial need.

“This partnership reflects a belief in the transformative potential of technology to address issues of equity and access for students from under-resourced communities,” Paul Quinn President Michael Sorrell said in a release. “Our relationship with iDesign will be a game-changer. It is about making it easier for working students across the country to gain the educational experiences necessary to create new pathways to economic opportunity, while balancing career and family priorities.”  

“This partnership reflects a belief in the transformative potential of technology to address issues of equity and access for students from under-resourced communities.”
Michael Sorrell

Sorrell has received national notice during his time at the college, including his decision to transform the football field into an urban farm to help combat food insecurity in the area. His change-making efforts recently landed him on The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list by Fortune Magazine, alongside a myriad group of leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Under Sorrell’s leadership, Paul Quinn College — a private, faith-based, four-year, liberal arts-inspired college — has pioneered the “New Urban College Model,” a version of higher education that offers lower tuition rates in exchange for work hours clocked by students. The system enables students to graduate with less than $10,000 of student loan debt.  

The college in South Dallas is the first federally recognized Minority Serving Institution that is a work college. It is the first MSI in the Work College Consortium, and the first work college in Texas.


Paul Quinn said its partnership with iDesign will advance this approach, which emphasizes entrepreneurship and job opportunity, to give students the flexibility to earn a degree while gaining work experience.

“iDesign views Paul Quinn’s approach — and thought leadership — as the most important work in the field of higher education today,” iDesign CEO Paxton Riter said in the release. “This is about doing our part to support their mission, by helping faculty to create learning experiences that can empower even more local students to thrive in school and in life.”

About iDesign:

iDesign partners with colleges and universities to build, grow and support online and blended programs. We are passionate about helping faculty harness the potential of emerging technologies to design courses and degrees that make an impact, whether they are fully online, flipped, blended, adaptive, or competency-based. Our unbundled, fee-for-service model is rooted in a commitment to flexibility and institutional autonomy, while our analytics platform supports continuous improvement through rigorous measurement of student engagement and course quality. From statewide university systems to private colleges, our custom solutions pair instructional design with technologies to enable great teaching. To learn more, please visit