The Future of Japanese Higher Education 2014

Japan

In preparing for a client engagement we assembled three required reads for our team. Our interest is in the future of higher education as it is evolving around the globe. We are also keenly interested in the policy backdrop that shapes a nation’s higher education system. That said this post provides a contemporary context by leading with Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to strengthen the economic outlook through long term higher education initiative. It ends with a perspective from India commenting on Japans strategic position in higher education in Asia.

Abeducation – A new push for higher education internationalization

by Suvendrini Kakuchi, Univeristy World News 27 June 2013 Issue No:278

Following the much-touted “Abenomics” floated by the administration of Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revive the country’s stagnant economy, Tokyo last week unveiled “Abeducation” to promote the internationalisation of the country’s higher education.
Abeducation, Abe’s growth strategy for education to develop human resources that can “prevail on the world stage”, is the latest official bid to reconstruct Japan. This is in line with new economic policies such as injecting new funds into the economy and other initiatives to resurrect Japan`s sagging clout in the world.
“Abeducation aims to enhance the globalisation of our higher education institutions that have fallen in international university rankings. It is time to transform Japanese universities to world universities so they can be placed within the top ranking,” Minister of Education Hakubun Shimomura said at a press conference last Tuesday.

Globalization and Higher Education Reforms in Japan: The Obstacles to Greater International Competitiveness

Japan’s universities have experienced a huge number of systemic and organizational reforms over the last 20 years. Amano Ikuo, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, looks back on the origins of the reforms as a response to globalization and ahead to the problems that still need to be addressed.— Amano Ikuo March 11, 2014

Another Perspective: Japan continues to be Asian giant in higher education, China closing in

Manash Pratim Gohain, The Times of India Jun 19, 2014.

NEW DELHI: Japan continues it’s dominance in Asian higher education by holding the top position yet again in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014, released a few hours ago on Thursday. The country has 20 representatives in the Top 100 table. But breathing down its neck is mainland China, which made significant stride registering 18 of its universities in the list, an increase of three since last rankings.

Look for more Future of Higher Education synopsis posted here. Guest Blog posts on the outlook or future of higher education are welcome.

Wanetka by K.A. Dolence

I am very excited to announce the release of my daughters new book.

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There once was a little girl with a problem.
A curiosity problem.
You might be friends if you knew her.
You might even be best friends.
She didn’t have a lot of friends.
But that was ok.
She was busy.
Busy exploring.
Busy discovering.
Busy being curious.
She did after all have a curiosity problem.
One day the curiosity got the better of her.
Or maybe she got the better of the curiosity.
She couldn’t help it really.
The butterfly was that beautiful.
That peculiar.
That different.
You see it wasn’t actually the butterfly that was the problem.
It was the following the butterfly that was the problem.
The curiosity.
She was lost before she knew it.
In a forest.
It was possibly a magical forest.
Or it was possibly just an enchanted forest.
The little girl knew there was a difference between the two.
You probably know of the difference too.
Still she was lost.
Or maybe she wasn’t.
Maybe she was right where she was supposed to be.
She couldn’t decide.
She couldn’t tell which it was.
Lost or found.
It’s a good thing then that she was curious.

-Enjoy,

Michael

 

 

Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix: Part 4

AcademicSEM-Banner

This is the fourth post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix is a powerful tool in the Academic Strategic Enrollment Management toolbox. The  Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix provides a comprehensive process framework for developing or evaluating strategies, capacities and operational initiatives. The fundamental purpose of Academic SEM is to achieve and maintain the optimum alignment between an institution’s strategies, curriculum, policies and practices and the learning needs and requirements of learners active in the global learning marketplace. The framework guides the planning process toward developing academic and enrollment strategies, tactics, goals and objectives.

The SEM Matrix is a tool developed by MGD+A to frame a structured dialog around the intersection of the seven dimensions of Strategic Enrollment Management with the seven learner-centered questions. The seven dimensions of Strategic Enrollment Management include strategy, the academic domain, recruitment, retention, operations, the policy domain, and finally the analytical foundations of all Strategic Enrollment Management efforts. Answers to the seven learner-centered questions can ensure that curriculum fulfills institutional and fiduciary missions. they include:

  1. the deep understanding of the populations to be served;
  2. knowledge of the objectives they seek;
  3. an evaluation of learning provider models available to them;
  4. a comprehensive integration of learning theory, methods and principles appropriate to successful learning;
  5. a strategic reconceptualization of the overall curriculum architecture providing a full scope of programs and approaches;
  6. a synthesis of specific curriculum configurations designed to meet specific learner’s needs; and finally
  7. the design, development and deployment of the array of services required by learners to meet their objectives.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix is displayed in Figure 1. The green axis of the table is comprised of seven learner-centered questions juxtaposed against seven dimensions of Strategic Enrollment Management displayed along the blue axis.

Diagram-SEMMatrix

Figure 1: Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix

Using the Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix

The matrix can be used in a number of ways. It can be used in committee or group process to guide, frame and prompt discussion, harvest insight, mitigate uninformed opinion or cow-path thinking. In decision making it can be used to collect evidence, guide analysis, frame research, discover options, and refine strategies, goals and objectives. In the process of developing an institutional strategic plan, master academic plan or strategic enrollment management plan it can be used to frame the structure and frame the outline of the plan.

In Structured Dialog

The matrix provides a systematic method to frame questions, provide answers and understand analysis when used to help structure a dialog with constituents. For example, the cell labeled A1 can prompt a dialogic structure around the question of ‘what demographics do we seek and how does it fit with our overarching strategy?’ It can then frame more questions around strategy such as what are the relevant demographics – Cells A1, B1, C1. What learning objectives do learners seek? – Cell A2, or what do we provide in our curriculum? – Cell B2, or what yields in enrollment decision processes? – Cell C2. What means do we have for engaging demographic segments? – Cell E1, or do our policies align with that market segment? – Cell F1.

In determining impact and decision making

The focus can be very specific. For example, in reviewing a client graduate program of study MGD+A discerned that the assumed demographic was the characteristic local (line of sight) recruitment pool that was the default focus of the institution. Clarity was achieved using framed analysis of dimensions across Rows A, B, and C highlighting all seven learner-centered questions in each. The analysis revealed that the target demographic was non-profits and by default the presumed geographic reach was line of sight. Being presumed and never stated it shaped thinking and design and was not made clear for evaluation purposes. The program of study design took on such specific characteristics that it designed itself into such a small market segment that enrollment health and self-sufficiency could never be achieved. The Matrix was used to move the team from local, non-profit to global, online, with direct ties to multiple national and international communities of practice who were immediately assimilated into the strategy.

In plan development

The matrix provides the structured framework for developing plans especially a Strategic, Academic or Enrollment Management Plan. Developing a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan can begin with delineating the seven dimensions of Strategic Enrollment Management. For example, we began with Cell A1 with a client to reveal a geographic mix profile of 31% local/commuter, 47% non commuter in state, 19% from 17 of 49 states, and 3% international. Through dialog and analysis of Cell A.1 and Cell A.3 consensus was developed that the geographic profile of its student demographics was a weaknesses. As a result the SEM Plan began by developing one of its primary strategies—to change the geographic mix of through a sustained Academic SEM campaign. Focused planning was begun in the areas Cells B1,2,3,5,6,7 to identify specific program/service packages for development. A specific recruitment campaign was developed using Cells C1-7, targeting a cluster of 11 states and 3 international metropolitan areas for sustained recruitment over three consecutive annual cycles.

These are just a few examples of using the Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix. The Matrix directly supports and provides a method to stay laser focused on the fundamental Goals of a Strategic Enrollment Management initiative.

  1. Achieve and maintain the optimum strategic position of the institution in the marketplace.
  2. Assess and Inform the academic enterprises alignment with the global learning sphere. (Market demand and availability as-well-as competitive restraints such as regulations)
  3. Ensure economic health through sound management of enrollment profiles, yields, ratios and distributions.
  4. Achieve and maintain the optimum recruitment, retention, and attainment of students where “optimum” is defined within the academic context.

Origins of the Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix

The Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix is a modified Delphi type method and is based on the assumption that group judgments are more valid than individual judgments. The Delphi method was developed circa 1959 by Rand researchers Olaf Helmer, Norman Dalkey, and Nicholas Rescher. Delphi as a method morphed to a more advanced evolutionary form known as a Cross-Impact Analysis. The Cross-Impact Analysis was developed by Theodore Gordon and Olaf Helmer in 1966 and was designed to help determine how relationships between events would influence outcomes and reduce uncertainty in the future. James Morrison and William Renfo began to apply these techniques in the 1980’s to environmental scanning and futures work in higher education (see Futures Research and the Strategic Planning Process: Implications for Higher Education (J-B ASHE Higher Education Report Series (AEHE)). I began to use these methods shortly after attending a seminar with Jim Morrison to help develop group understanding of the complex dynamics involved in developing enrollment management strategies.

Programs of Study: Part 5

Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: Part 3

2014 Global Digital Learning Ecosystem

Global Digital Account Penetration Defines Learner Access and Learning Markets

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The foundation of the emerging new learning ecosystem is the global digital infrastructure and the level of access to it. This post is one element in the equation, the evidence of access to the digital realm and the utilization of communications systems that reside in it.

Global Distribution of Internet Users

Internet Users in the World (Chart)

Understanding the emergence of the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem is the first step in understanding the implications of this paradigm shift for education and learning.

Additional Resources

Use the following resources to explore digital learning environments a little deeper.

Merging Public Colleges in Georgia

HuckabyHank Huckaby was appointed Chancellor of University System of Georgia  in May 2011. In October of that same year he launched a consolidation initiative. The Board of Regents approved four consolidations in January 2012, just under four months from the imitative being launched. In November 2013, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to approve merging Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University in Phase II of planned consolidations. Consolidations are not new to Georgia. Between July 2009 and June 2010 thirteen technical colleges were consolidated into six.

“We must ensure that our system has the appropriate number of campuses around the state,” Huckaby said. “We in the university system should be the first to ask questions of ourselves to make sure we are serving the state in the best way.”

Phase I

Phase I consolidations reduced the number of colleges in the system from 35 to 31. The new schools are:

  • Georgia Regents University, a merger of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities. Ricardo Azziz is president.
  • Middle Georgia State College, a merger of Macon State and Middle Georgia College. John Black is interim president.
  • South Georgia State College, a merger of Waycross and South Georgia College. Virginia Carson is president.
  • University of North Georgia, a merger of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University. Bonita Jacobs is president.

None of the campuses will close. The consolidations will result in approximately $6 million in operations through reduced administrative costs the savings to be reinvested in curriculum.

Controlling for change: A consolidation case study, May 20, 2013, Beth Brigdon, VP for Institutional Effectiveness, Georgia Regents University provides an overview.

Work Plan

An aggressive schedule was established and a daunting work plan (below) developed.

Academic

  • Coordinate with SACS
  • Coordinate with program-based accreditation (business, education, etc.)
  • Consolidate colleges – address departments in different colleges
  • Address program/curriculum differences
  • Streamline program offerings
  • Statutes and Bylaws (faculty senate, committees)
  • Faculty and Staff Handbooks
  • Update faculty contracts
  • Consolidate tenure and promotion processes and standards
  • Address consolidation of “centers”

Student

  • Combine Athletic Programs
  • Determine tuition strategy/approach
  • Merge information systems – address data governance and management
  • Coordinate with federal DOE for implementation of financial aid system
  • Revise Student Handbooks and Judiciary
  • Revise Bylaws (student government, student fee committee)

External

  • Legislative relationships/support
  • Name of institution
  • Address Foundation and Alumni Group Issues
  • Address any endowment restrictions
  • Branding (mascots, school colors)
  • Messaging

Operations

  • Merge financial systems including payroll
  • Update contractual and rental agreements
  • Analyze impact on bonds
  • Ensure effective implementation of controls (flowchart, KPI, segregation of duties)
  • Coordinate with State Auditor
  • Ensure adequate internal audit coverage
  • Consolidate risk management operations
  • Consolidate ethics hotline
  • Transition legal agreements
  • Transition IT security
  • Identify all reporting requirements; develop plan to ensure compliance

Phase II

In November 2013, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to approve Phase II the consolidation of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University. Phase II of planned consolidations was put on an aggressive schedule.

Major Planned Milestones

  • BOR considers recommendation to consolidate SPSU and KSU November 2013.
  • Prospectus developed and submitted to SACS October 2014
  • SACS considers approval of prospectus December 2014
  • BOR considers approval of newly created Kennesaw State University January 2015
  • First cohort of students attend the new university in fall 2015

2014 State of the University Address, Kennesaw State University, by President Daniel S. Papp, delivered May 7, 2014, 11 AM, and May 8, 2013, 11 AM, 2014. President Papp’s address weaves a campus historical and operational context of implementing a consolidation.

The Polybloggin website run by the Southern Polytechnic State University Undergraduate Admissions office provides a student services view.

Money Measures a new publication of the Kennesaw State University Associate Vice President for Operations shares financial contexts surrounding the consolidation.

And of course there is conflict in any such move. The Sentinel from KSU published its take under the banner Consolidation Conflict.

Lessons and Beyond

ChangeIsAProcessThree Lessons in Benefits Consolidation (from consolidation of institutions in Georgia) by Missy Kline,  June 17, 2014

To shed a little light on just how complicated such a consolidation is  take a few moments and peruse the agenda for the Georgia 2014 Conference for College and University Auditors held May 12-13, 2014.

Looking forward a new initiative has been established called Invent Beyond and the process has been opened up for participation using a MOOC style process. The online collaboration is open to anyone who attends, works in or works with higher education in the United States. The “Invent the Beyond” online collaboration will use crowd-sourcing to develop future scenarios and to explore and describe the factors critical to the success of student, faculty and postsecondary institutions in 2030.

Consolidations and mergers are not new to American Higher Education.

In 1995, Minnesota merged the states community and technical college systems. Prior to 1995, Minnesota had four systems of public higher education: the University of Minnesota, community colleges, technical colleges, and state universities. Each system had its own governance structure and mission. Governance of the technical college system was shared by a state board and local school districts; faculty were employed by school districts and belonged to 18 different local unions. Technical colleges focused on vocational and occupational education and only a limited number were accredited. Community colleges had a strong central office system that was directly involved with campus-level administrative decisions and provided services to the campuses. Community colleges focused on two-year academic and occupational programs. State universities were governed by a state board but were allowed considerable independence in administrating their academic programs.

In 1998, Kentucky merged its technical and community college systems. June 30, 2013 Rutgers University in New Jersey absorbed ‘most of’ the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey brining it to 65,000 students enrolled in 33 schools and colleges across New Jersey operated with a $4 billion dollar budget.

Consolidations are not new to global dispersed institutions. The largest University for Women, Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia consolidated several smaller women’s institutions to open with an enrollment of over 20,000 students and growing to 60,000 in just a couple years.

Develop Capacity: Part 3

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A paradigm shift challenges every organization to develop the capacity to meet new demands. New paradigm means new rules, new relationships, new patterns and new models of efficiency and effectiveness. The shift to a digital learning ecosystem characterized by open curricula, vast amounts of digital information, ubiquitous interpersonal communications via social networking and fluid global interconnections, challenges every aspect of our current post-secondary models. Demands for accountability for public and personal funds (coupled with a staggering $1 Trillion Student Debt), the persistent emphasis on meaningful formative assessment, and the growing expectations of higher performance learning environments, place extraordinary demands on institutional capacity. As institutions scramble to develop in-house skills, systems and solutions the first question becomes; What guides the process? The development of a prototype plan provides a rapid means of organizing an approach and process for addressing the demands of the paradigm shift. Since the paradigm is new it means assessing the capacity of the institution to address, capitalize on, and/or optimize the features of the new paradigm.

The concept of capacity is multifaceted. Our primary intent is to focus on the capacity of the institution, to plan effectively during a paradigm shift to a global digital learning ecosystem. Capacity refers to institutional capability to meet the demands placed on a contemporary educational institution. The paradigm shift sets the stage for the prototype plan. We use a prototype plan as a pre-planning process because there is much unknown by the organization and its constituents, about what is on the other side of a paradigm shift. Capacity, in the context of a paradigm shift, can refer to:

  • the physical capacity of facilities
  • the technological capacity of the infrastructure
  • the human capacity (knowledge and skills) to perform functions or tasks
  • the capacity of the curriculum to meet societal needs or learner interests or job market demands as they shift with the paradigm
  • the ability to recognize and respond to threats, challenges and opportunities
  • Capacity can mean any or all of these

The function of developing a prototype plan in a planning process is to enable the discovery of what is unknown, encourage review of options that may not be popular or well understood, and take an unbridled view of the future and implications for the organization. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship where required capacity is defined that which is required by a post paradigm shift institution.

Function of a Prototype in Planning

Figure 1 – Function of a Prototype in Planning: The relationship where required capacity is defined that which is required by a post paradigm shift institution.

Responding to or accommodating the magnitude of the change in a paradigm shift requires a formal plan that defines a new reality, and moves beyond the status quo, and the comfort zones of the past. A big challenge to be sure. One of the first questions to emerge is; Do we have the capacity to meet the challenge of a paradigm shift? This question must be addressed twice, once in developing the prototype that guides the future view, and again once the prototype moves forward and begins to refine emerging strategies, goals and objectives in further development of the formal strategic plan and its implementation. Since the paradigm shift establishes the context it must be clearly articulated.

Mandate for Change

The first step in developing the capacity to change, is to declare the need and substantiate the reasons change is required. The mandate for change must be clear and concise. One approach to change is to charge a team with developing a rapid prototype plan. The charge to the team begins to guide and shapes the capacity that needs to be present in both planning process and the organization that the plan creates. A great example of a charge to a group to prototype a plan with a vision is detailed in the Final Report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT, July 28, 2014.

In a letter to the MIT Community on February 6, 2013, President Rafael Reif described the formation of an Institute-wide Task Force. The Charge: So that you may advise me and MIT’s administration, I charge the Task Force to:

  • Propose an “ecosystem” for ongoing research, learning and innovation about the future of education.
  • Recommend a range of possible experiments and pilot projects that will allow us to explore the future of MIT education.
  • On our own campus, in ways that incorporate online learning tools to the fullest extent while maximizing the value of face-to-face learning for both faculty and students.
  • Beyond our campus, through which learners around the world could benefit from important aspects of MIT’s educational content, vision and values
  • Evaluate the future strength and sustainability of MIT’s current financial model in this evolving context and propose alternative or complementary approaches.
  • Develop a roadmap that will describe the work streams and the phases of work necessary to enable this ecosystem and implement these experiments.

Notice the artful characterization of the prototype as a roadmap. Hopefully, in a previous post “Change the Paradigm,” I was clear that a vision is needed in order to get a strategic plan that guides the institution into the future. In the MIT taskforce charge, the future is referenced as an ecosystem. The parameters of a global context and digital learning environment are called out. The concept of sustainability is anchored in MIT’s business model, and the importance is underpinned by service to humanity. Once the mandate for change is clear, and the group is charged the work must be accommodated and that means making time for it.

Remember the task force is just the first round of translating the mandate for change into a roadmap for the future. Subsequent rounds go deeper into the organization and align organizational capacities with future requirements.

Time

We could easily have labeled this one people because having the right people focused on the future is so essential. Time and again, we see in our planning practice, all of the right people are appointed to the process, but that does not mean they have, can or will make the time to invest in it. The first symptom is substitutions at meetings. When that is mitigated by presidential decree, we see behaviors like individuals showing up with routine work to do while they sit in a meeting. Or they ‘revolving door’ the meeting to take calls, or are interrupted by their staff. So even if you have the right people in the process with the intent that they are contributing knowledge, insight and skill in shaping the context; the single biggest obstacle to success may be the failure to make time for the work that is required to meet future needs and challenges. New initiatives clash with beliefs and behaviors where the challenges and needs of the past take the first claim on time.

Make Time for the Work That Matters

by Julian Birkinshaw and Jordan Cohen, in Harvard Business Review, September 2013

We’ve spent the past three years studying how knowledge workers can become more productive and found that the answer is simple: Eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones. Our research indicates that knowledge workers spend a great deal of their time—an average of 41%—on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others. So why do they keep doing them? Because ridding oneself of work is easier said than done. We instinctively cling to tasks that make us feel busy and thus important, while our bosses, constantly striving to do more with less, pile on as many responsibilities as we’re willing to accept

The planning process must raise and deal with the issue of making time for the work ahead. Two of the implications emerging from understanding time strategy (there are more) are the issue of complexity and the emergence shorthand references that are not understood (and are afraid to ask).

The first has to do with complexity vs. simplicity. The common expectation is that both solutions and communications be simple and easy to understand. This saves time. But what happens to concepts that are not simple and easy to understand. What happens to deep restructuring and rethinking an enterprise (the kind of planning required in a paradigm shift). In our curricular and  enrollment management work we experience the constant pressure to distill very complex scenarios into sound bites and quick fixes. We often face distracting fairy tales such as ‘branding is a solution to systemic enrollment decline’ or cloning a program of study being misrepresented as innovation. We see getting courses online becomes more important than developing a sustainable digital learning strategy, and we see impatience that leads to bad decisions and wasted academic cycles and institutional budgets.

The second is the use of abbreviated lexicon that is meant to transmit a complete understanding in as few words as possible (presumably this makes it quicker and easier to read). Examples often appear in published plans whose primary feature is a list of Strategies, Goals and Objectives (shorthand for these is the designation SGO’s). The SGO’s or even worse a list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT Analysis) is postured as a strategic plan. They are a basic list, and the expectation is that everyone can read the list and know what needs to get done. They (whoever they are) are then expected to go do it. But in reality does a list mean everyone gets it? Of course not. Will a list change behavior? No.  Can understanding be derived from reading a list of what must be done or is expected? It is unlikely, so we must ask is there a better way?

Evidence in change management indicate lists are insufficient. As a result of this evidence we proposed the development of a Prototype Strategic Plan that can be more than a list of SGO’s or a list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The prototype plan and the process that creates it must bring clarity to the context of the path ahead. So how does one develop clarity of the path ahead?

Clarity

Clarity begins with establishing a common context for the planning participants. The context is established when data and information are gathered, shared and discussed. Context is established when terms are defined, and timelines framed. Context is established when parameters, relationships, limits, norms, minimums and standards are introduced and understood. Context is established when strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are identified, defined and understood.

Clarity is then advanced when there are discussions and agreements on what the context means to the future of the planning entity (department, school, college, institution). Developing agreement on direction means understanding the concept of intent.

I find Daryl Conner’s Blog on managing intent very approachable for clients and colleagues. His four part series is well worth the read.

In Search of the Missing Link

As a professional change community, we have not always paid sufficient attention to intent. Our focus has often been more on getting people to adapt to a change than on the change itself. What I mean is, sometimes we are so attentive to issues like resistance and commitment that we fail to see that the people involved are lacking a common understanding of what is being asked of them. ♦  What Is Intent? Properly positioned, intent is a complete, concise, understandable, and compelling expression of the expectations for an initiative. — Daryl Conner

Clarity of the context of the future and the options available to the institution enables the development of a vision that provides a synthesized view of the organizations potential future.

Vision

Too often the vision is developed as a vision statement and lacks sufficient depth or clarity to guide a plan. Hopefully in “Change the Paradigm,” it was clear that a vision of substance is needed in order to get a strategic plan that guides the institution into the future. In another post, Developing Institutional Strategy, the SRS method MGDA uses to develop and synthesize a future view is introduced.

For a great example of a prototype plan that articulates a vision of the future examine the MIT Final Report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT. For MIT, the headings guide the logic in this report with Laying a Foundation for the Future, then developing the concept of Transforming Pedagogy. The reason is made clear in the next section Extending MIT’s Educational Impact, which then comes back around to Enabling the Future of MIT Education and opening it back up to vision with Imagining the Future of MIT Education. Embedded in the report are sixteen recommendations. Many of the recommendations are about developing capacity.

Summary of Recommendations from the Task Force on the Future of MIT

  • Recommendation 1
    The Task Force recommends that MIT establish an Initiative for Educational Innovation to build on the momentum of the Task Force, enable bold experimentation, and realize the future the Task Force has imagined for education on campus and beyond.
  • Recommendation 2
    The Task Force recommends that the new Initiative for Educational Innovation engage in bold experiments to catalyze ongoing research, learning, and innovation about the future of MIT residential education.
  • Recommendation 3
    The Task Force recommends that MIT build on the success of freshman learning communities and consider future expansions of the cohort-based freshman learning community model.
  • Recommendation 4
    The Task Force recommends that the Institute use online and blended learning to strengthen the teaching of communications.
  • Recommendation 5
    The Task Force recommends that MIT create an Undergraduate Service Opportunities Program (USOP).
  • Recommendation 6
    The Task Force recommends that the Institute explore online and blended learning models to improve graduate curriculum accessibility.
  • Recommendation 7
    The Task Force recommends that this commitment to pedagogical innovation for the residential campus be extended to the world to set the tone for a new generation of learners, teachers, and institutions.
  • Recommendation 8
    The Task Force recommends supporting efforts to create a lasting community and knowledge base for MITx learners.
  • Recommendation 9
    The Task Force recommends that MIT define a K-12 strategy through a special interest group under the auspices of the Initiative for Educational Innovation.
  • Recommendation 10
    The Task Force recommends that the Institute create new opportunities for engagement between the MIT community and the world.
  • Recommendation 11
    The Task Force recommends that MIT move forward to consider the types of certifications that can be supported through MITx and edX, and develop pricing methodologies and revenue-sharing arrangements for agreed-upon certifications.
  • Recommendation 12
    The Task Force recommends that MIT strengthen its commitment to access and affordability.
  • Recommendation 13
    The Task Force recommends that the Institute expand fundraising activities to embrace a broader MIT community.
  • Recommendation 14
    The Task Force recommends that MIT charge an ad-hoc working group to further evaluate revenue opportunities surrounding technology licensing and venture funding.
  • Recommendation 15
    The Task Force recommends that the Institute establish a working group on spaces for future student life and learning to bring together stakeholders from around campus to envision, plan, and create spaces for the future of MIT education.
  • Recommendation 16
    The Task Force recommends that MIT bolster infrastructure for Executive and Professional Education to reduce barriers to offering programs and engage more faculty to broaden program delivery.

The summary above outlines recommendations for MIT moving into the future. It is not a strategic plan but rather a prototype in the form of a report, developed by an extensive task force that deeply examined MIT and developed a future view. Not a perfect view but a glimpse of MIT as the 21st century emerges and a proposed series of recommendations to get there. The next phase (and some of the working groups from MIT extended their work into the next phase) involves determining and analyzing the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to achieve the vision of MIT in the future. Be sure to read the preliminary report included in the MIT Final Report ( Appendix 5 beginning on page 105). The vision permits the development and defining of detailed capacity specifications.

Capacity Requires Knowledge, Skills, and Resources

The new millennium marches on and it is a digital era. Does this mean all face-to-face teaching and learning will disappear, no of course not. But change is flowing through the population as learners are born into and acculturated to a digital reality not analog environments. The digital age is an era where learning is increasingly being disintermediated. We are faced with the issue of the magnitude of change required to meet the challenges presented by a paradigm shift to a global digital learning ecosystem. This is not an era of quick fixes, slap together a strategic plan and everything is ready to go. It is not an era of wait for it all to settle out and then go cherry pick the best ideas and proven strategies. The paradigm shift requires deep sustained planning. Developing the capacity, knowledge, skills and resources for such planning is urgent and in short supply. Acquiring the requisite knowledge, skills and resources of how to manage the paradigm shift and not only survive but flourish defines MGDA’s practice. A little adviceon moving forward.

Path Forward

  • Recognize that the Learning Age requires a new portfolio of knowledge, skills, and capabilities
    • Learner & Learning Centered Strategies
    • Dramatically different curriculum design, planning, delivery
    • A more granular content design curriculum model
    • Embedded formative assessment that informs and enables learning performance
  • Recognize that the Learning Age requires a dramatically different infrastructure
    • New fully integrated administrative and learning management systems
    • New fully integrated assessment systems with learning management systems
  • Recognize that the transition years to new and emerging models are precious to the survival of an institution and should not be wasted
    • Sustained planning and development are required
    • Academic focus is essential
    • Organizational development requires symbiotic evolution of human, systems, and organizational capacities

Goal

Capacity is not something that is achieved but rather a process of constantly developing and building. It is a characteristic that degrades when not paid attention to.

  • The future of Higher Education is built on an emerging new level of professionalism and specialized expertise required to conceptualize, design, build, implement and evaluate the academic enterprise of the future. This requires academic leadership to help faculty and academic support to move to a new level of understanding of the future of higher education. This means relentless focus on educating for the future and learning to build capacity. A must is allocating a learning and professional development budget.
  • The Learning Age is an era where reflective practice is driven by relentless assessment, fact finding, and evaluation. These collective insights serve to advance academic strategies and are not simply a collection of interests. This means that the academic enterprise must know where

 In closing

This post outlines the need to pay strategic attention to the issue of organizational capacity beginning with understanding the context of the global shift to a digital learning ecosystem. As one of the four framing strategies in the development of a prototype plan the concept moves the institution forward by  developing the capacity of the organization to understand and meet the challenges of the future.

Focus on Value: Part 2

Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology

The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory, Skills, and Techniques

November 15, 2002/ The 31 chapters organized into 8 sections are a treasure for any one who serves in a consulting role. The text is written for psychologist but is of extraordinary value for consultants in all domains. Of broad interest are the chapters on “Assessing Candidates for Leadership Positions,” “Individual Level Variables,” “The Effectiveness of Executive Coaching,” “Integrating Individual Assessment, Position Requirements, Team-Based Competencies, and Organizational Vision,” “Successfully Implementing Teams,” “Proactive Ways to Improve Leadership Performance,” and two areas on Organizational Performance. Well worth both the price and the time to read it. – MGD

November 12, 2002/ The value of The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology goes far beyond what the title might indicate. This is a must read for anyone who works in the realm of organizational transformation or who works in a consulting capacity. We have selected it as the November 2002 Featured Selection for Transforming Education Bookstore and highly recommend it. – MGD

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Rodney Lowman has done it again! He has edited a book that is unique, comprehensive, and aimed squarely at the science and practice of psychology in organizations. This book shows a remarkable breadth of coverage: topics traditional and cutting edge, science and practice, issues within and across levels, by contributions with extensive and diverse experience in organizational consulting. There’s something here for anyone interested in a psychological approach to consulting in organizations.”
— Rosemary Hays-Thomas, professor of psychology, The University of West Florida

The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology addresses a longtime need for a new comprehensive major work in consulting psychology. It is broad in scope and clearly integrates topics in consulting psychology that are at the core of the field and which reflect recent innovations in the application of consulting principles and techniques. The scope and depth of this book is not only timely but unique. I would expect this book to become an essential reference for all consulting psychologists.”
—Clyde A. Crego, California State University Long Beach and University of Southern California and former president, American Psychological Association Division of Consulting Psychology and Fellow, APA

“My one-word reaction: WOW! Aptly entitled a handbook, it could nevertheless well serve as a basic text in the field. It may have its greatest benefit to those who are transiting from more specialized work into organizational consulting, since it lays out a broad range of issues that one may encounter and ought to be prepared to deal with along with some practical advice on how to handle them.”
—Kenneth H. Bradt, consulting psychologist and past president, Society of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association

From the Back Cover

The Definitive Handbook for Organizational Consulting Psychology “This is the first book to provide an overview of the broad range of services that consulting psychologists provide to individuals, teams, and systems. In addition, it provides insight into specialty areas such as international consulting and the ethical issues confronted when doing this work. One of its major contributions is its emphasis on ways to assess the impact and effectiveness of various consulting interventions. It will be a useful tool for senior practitioners as well as to those who hope to enter the field.”
— Judith S. Blanton, senior consultant and director of professional affairs, RHR International

The Handbook of Consulting Psychology provides information that is both comprehensive and cutting edge. The content provides helpful insights for those beginning their career in the field as well as those who have been consulting for years.”
— Steve Gravenkemper, vice president, organizational consulting, Right Management Consultants

“This book would be an invaluable addition to the professional library of any psychologist or student of psychology who is involved with organizational consultation.The handbook is a most impressive and scientifically sound text. I cannot praise it highly enough.”
— Florence L. Denmark, Robert Scott Pace Distinguished Professor emerita, Psychology Department, Pace University

“Far from being yet another book in consulting psychology, The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology marks the coming of age of consulting psychology as a field. The contributors systematically offer both breadth and depth to the actual workings of consulting psychology. The book is to be recommended not only as a ‘state-of-the-art’ document, but also as evidence of the fruition of the field. It is an historic marker of the distinctiveness of consulting psychology, a kind of ‘declaration of independence’ for the discipline. It deserves to be a classic.”
— Howard F. Stein, professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City

Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: Part 3

AcademicSEM-Banner

This is the third post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management.

What is the Learner Centered Curriculum Framework?

“There’s this idea that if we just tell the story better, we will get more students,” he says. That thinking, he argues, misunderstands enrollment management and the plight of small colleges in the postrecession economy. Creating a new branding campaign might seem easier than assessing whether academic programs are meeting students’ needs. But one isn’t a substitute for the other. “It’s not what we say on our website, or how many hands we shake, or how many applications we get,” Mr. Kieffer says. “No, it’s, What are we offering?” He sees enrollment as a two-part puzzle: getting prospective students to want what a college offers, and offering what they want. “A lot of schools right now are desperate,” he says, “focusing solely on getting people to want what they offer.” — Roger Kieffer former senior vice president for enrollment at Trinity International University, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 19, 2014, Vol LXI, Number 3, Page A-18

The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework (LCCF) provides a conceptual structure to guide dialog and inquiry about curriculum. It frames curriculum in its broadest strategic context and provides a framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum. When employing the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework, the complexities of translating mission, vision, and strategic position into effective curriculum are mapped across seven interlocking constructs:

  1. Learner Populations;
  2. Learner Objectives;
  3. Learning Provider Models;
  4. Learning Theory and Methods;
  5. Curriculum Architecture;
  6. Curriculum Configurations; and
  7. Learner Support Services

These constructs are, in turn, decoded or operationalized through seven learner-centered questions. When asked and answered, the questions are ideal for building, improving, and sustaining design integrity across curricular elements and guiding a wide array of institutional internal and external alignments.

The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework is a tool that helps frame strategic dialog and analysis around the principles and practices of the concept learner-centered academic environments. This article describes the seven learner-centered questions that emanate from the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework and  help frame a basic enrollment management perspective useful for strategic enrollment management professionals when they dialog with academics. The table below can be printed and guide deeper insight into the options revealed through each question.  The elements under the questions are not to be used as a check list but rather a list of prompts and possibilities. We invite constructive comments and suggestions as-well-as any case examples of its use.

Seven Learner-Centered Questions

Diagram-LLCF

Learner Populations

A deep understanding of the populations to be served is required for effective curriculum design and delivery. For this reason, the very first question to be addressed is: Who are the learners? The answer flows from and can inform an entity’s strategic decisions regarding mission, vision, and strategic position (see Developing Institutional Strategy). Several questions cascade to give deep meaning to this basic question. Who are the learners of the 21st century? What learner populations does the institution currently serve? Who could or should the institution be serving? And, so on. Understanding who the learners are is an essential and often overlooked component of shaping curriculum for a changing society. The foundation of a learner-centered approach is to fully understand learning demand as segmented by salient learner population characteristics. Once understood, academic planners can identify gaps between the learner populations present in society, those the institution desires to serve, and those it currently serves. A learner-centered approach, guided by the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework, is most fruitful when supported by open inquiry and discourse regarding the learner populations found within an institution’s target market areas and those within the global learning marketplace.

Learner Objectives

A related set of questions emanates from the second learner-centered question within the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: What objectives do the learners seek? Related questions include: What do the learners of the 21st century seek? What are their learning and credential objectives? How do objectives change in the course of a person’s life? Learners seek a vast array of learning objectives and these objectives vary over time and the course of one’s life (see 5 Bold Predictions For The Future Of Higher Education). Knowledge of learner objectives is a prerequisite for understanding motivation and, therefore, should guide the sequencing of learning experiences as well as inform marketing, recruitment, and retention efforts. Learner objectives should be a fundamental design element for the overall structure and intent of a curriculum and, therefore, incorporated early in program and curriculum design and review processes.

Learning Provider Models

A third area of inquiry flows from asking: What learning provider models are available to the learners? Corollary questions include: What options are open to 21st century learners as they seek their objectives? What curricular models, business models, and assessment models are in play? What choices do various learner populations make and why? What evidence exists on the effectiveness of the various provider models? The digital knowledge age is an age in which learning opportunities can be made available to learners anytime, anywhere. As a result, a complex network of learning resources and provider models is emerging to meet the demand for learning across multiple venues. Models range from traditional collegiate models to open-term models, online, and a host of other variations. Faculty, academic leaders, strategic planners, and curriculum designers are well advised to fully explore, describe, and understand various provider models in order to adequately assess the emerging learning landscape. Such an assessment builds understanding of emerging best practice as well as deep understanding of the competitive enrollment context of higher education. Furthermore, examining provider models and the learner populations for whom they have value builds deep insight into the learner-centered approach. Strategic curricular decisions will emerge from a synthesis of an institution’s knowledge of the populations, objectives, and models present in today’s global learning space.

Learning Theories and Methods

The fourth set of questions revolves around the learning process. Indeed, the learning process is extremely important in learner-centered curriculum design. The most effective designs reflect a comprehensive integration of learning theory and methods appropriate to successful learning. Therefore, the fourth learner-centered question within the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework is: What learning theories and methods are appropriate for specific learners and the objectives they seek? What learning methods help inform us of the appropriate curricular approach to take with specific learner populations? How do we focus the curriculum on the individual learner? The American Psychological Association developed a 14 point learner-centered framework that provides an effective baseline for discussion and design. There are more than 50 major learning theories, each focused on a different aspect of learning or learner population. Synthesizing effective curriculum requires the matching of theory and practice to learner population characteristics and objectives. The point, in short, is to systematically build curriculum to incorporate effective learning methods.

Learner-Centered Curriculum Architecture

The fifth area of inquiry emanating from the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework results from a complex, yet straightforward question: What is the existing curriculum architecture of the institution or educational entity? Does the architecture provide an alignment between the learner, the curriculum, and society? Curriculum Architecture refers to the design, structure, and relationships within and across an institution’s published curricular offerings. A curriculum’s architecture is foundationally defined by the formal programs of study authorized by a governing body that directly controls the rules of curriculum design and delivery. Thus, the architecture formalizes the curricular attributes an institution is committed to support and develop. It establishes alignment points with specific segments of the learner markets prescribed within an institution’s mission. Ideally, curriculum is both learner and learning centered. The curriculum architecture can also be used to synthesize an institution’s comprehensive academic master plan. The architecture of a curriculum describes the style, method of design, basic construction, key components, and underlying philosophies used to build the modules, courses, and programs that make up the entire diverse curricula.

Learner-Centered Curriculum Configuration

The sixth area of inquiry and discourse keenly focuses on meeting the specific and particular learning needs of the learners an institution has selected or been charged to serve. The sixth learner-centered question is: What specific curriculum can be configured to meet the learning needs of the learner population(s) an institution has chosen or been charged to serve? Will the configurations achieve intended outcomes? How will that be assessed? A particular curriculum configuration is drawn from an institution’s available (current or planned) architectural options. The configuration constructs a specific curriculum from all the elements of the architecture for a specific population seeking specific objectives using specific teaching, learning, and assessment methods. Across an institution, a wide variety of curriculum configurations are deployed.

Learner-Centered Support Services

The seventh area of inquiry within the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework addresses the design and delivery of the array of services required by learners to meet their objectives. What support services are necessary to enable specific learner population(s) to successfully complete the curriculum and meet their objectives? Services are as important within a learner-centered curriculum as is the design and configuration of learning experiences. The curriculum alone is insufficient to deliver effective and efficient learning. Advising, counseling, and assessment are among the most important processes to be integrated into curriculum design. Too often they are add-ons. Other services are required to be sure learners are available to access the curriculum and learn. For example, assessment and placement, advising, counseling, financial aid, and a host of other services are extremely important to the process of creating learner success. As each learner population is understood, services must be fused to curriculum design so that pathways can be efficiently navigated and successfully completed.

Alternate Names

You may find the concepts outlines here referred to differently, some common alternate names are:

  • Subject Centered
  • Student Centered

SEM Matrix: Part 4

Curriculum Architecture: Part 2

Higher Ed as a Business vs. the Business of Higher Ed

As the millennium pushes forward there remains a nagging drag on developing a future focus for higher education. In order to build such a focus there needs to be a better understanding of the difference between Higher Education as a Business and the Business of Higher Education. Few fail to recognize the basic differences between a pure product or service based business and an educational institution. Fewer still understand the variables involved in making current models sustainable. We must all accept that having a sustainable business model doesn’t make one a widget vendor.

It is essential that academic leaders move quickly to understand that the existing business model has strained sustainability to the breaking point. One only needs to follow the money trends such as, a trillion dollars in consumer’s education debt, downgrading bond ratings for the higher education sector, state budgets straining under the burden of competing social needs, rising deferred maintenance, and out of control discounting, to see the fractures in the current model.

On January 16, 2013 Moody’s Investment Services announced:

Moody’s: 2013 outlook for entire US Higher Education sector changed to negative

The 2013 outlook for the entire US higher education sector is negative, including the market-leading, research-driven colleges and universities, says Moody’s Investors Service in its annual industry outlook. Previously Moody’s had a stable outlook for these leading institutions and a negative outlook for the rest of the sector since 2009. Moody’s perceives mounting fiscal pressure on all key university revenue sources. “The US higher education sector has hit a critical juncture in the evolution of its business model,” says Eva Bogaty, the Moody’s Assistant Vice President — Analyst who is the lead author on the report “US Higher Education Outlook Negative in 2013.” “Even market-leading universities with diversified revenue streams are facing diminished prospects for revenue growth.”

In February 2013 Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services citing operating performance, deferred maintenance, and issues of balancing affordability with revenue demands advised:

The constrained operating margins is forcing many institutions to re-evaluate their business models.

What do you think?

Higher Ed as a Business vs. the Business of Higher Ed

These comments are not about Higher Educations becoming a business but about the Business of Higher Education. These bond rating actions expose more than an acknowledgment of the financial conditions of Higher Education. A condition characterized by inflation that consistently exceeds the consumer price index. A condition that is characterized by extreme client (student) debt. They expose a critical turning point in higher education and the need for the rapid evolution of new business models and new credentialing models.

So how’s that working?

The University of New England, in Australia, has discontinued its MOOC program, which let students take online classes free but charged them to take examinations and receive online tutoring. “While MOOCs will continue to be offered I am sure by some of the very big providers around the world, it’s not something that a university like UNE would go at alone,” —  Annabelle Duncan, the university’s vice chancellor, told The Australian Financial Review. (reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, August 26, 2014)

Another example of a new business model is Georgia Tech’s new Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree (OMS CS) in partnership with Udacity, and AT&T delivered through a MOOC platform. The first fully accredited massive online MS in Computer Science structured around a total tuition for the program expected to be below $7,000. Enrollment for Spring cohort opened September 8, 2014.

Zvi Galil, the dean of the university’s College of Computing, expects that in the coming years, the program could attract up to 10,000 students annually, many from outside the United States and some who would not complete the full master’s degree. “Online, there’s no visa problem,” he said. — NY Times

Just because a concept fails in one implementation doesn’t mean it is a failure. Conversely just because another model works for an institution doesn’t mean everyone can just clone it. New models don’t just fall out of the sky they are carefully crafted. Last fall EDUCAUSE published Higher Education: New Models, New Rules, September/October 2013, EDUCAUSE Review, pages 69-97. This cluster of three articles explores issues and options as the authors see them.

  • Creating an Environment for Learning Technologies: Toward a Generative Model of State Policy and Institutional Practice by Louis Soares, Vice President for Policy Research and Strategy at the American Council on Education (ACE);
  • A Quality Platform for Non-Institutional Higher Education by Judith S. Eaton President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA); and,
  • The “Perfect Market” Challenge to the Subsidy Structure of Higher Education by Burck Smith CEO and founder of StraighterLine.

Another resource for those new to the business of higher education is NACUBO’s, Strategic Review of Academic Portfolios, by Rick Staisloff. A succinct introduction to the interface between academic planning and fiscal sustainability.

A short list of immediate challenges include:

  1. Managing the academic enterprise with particular attention paid to margin
    (See “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!”)
  2. Balancing services and constraining growth in expenditures,
  3. Curriculum revitalization and renewal resulting in Competitive Differentiated Curriculum requiring investments in academics, and
  4. Strategic improvements to learning performance.

The long term however is driven by current and future experiments in scalability of curricular and learning experiences (such as MOOCs), the promises and challenges of network learning and digital learning environments (Kahn Academy, Knewton + many more), the resilience of the economics of higher education models as indicated in Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s outlooks, and new and emerging visions outlining new structures and new models to forge a healthy future for both higher education as formal academic entities and learners seeking to optimize their own learning performance.

It is time to move beyond the knee jerk reactionary objection that higher education is not a business (I think this is better understood than is thought) and get to the deeper conversation of the business of higher education and how do we craft a healthy, sustainable economic future for colleges and universities.

 

“Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!”

There are numerous myths regarding the basics of managing an academic enterprise. Through them all shines one inexorable truth, “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!” Because the curriculum generates the primary source of revenue, the relationship between revenue and expenditure per unit is the primary area of concern. In the case example below revenue are tallied by course section (as the primary unit of accounting), expenditures include direct section costs and the section share of overall institutional costs to sum to expenditure. The condition where revenue meets or exceeds expenditures, the difference between revenue and expenditure is called a margin. The difference is called a deficit when expenditures exceed revenue. When the average section size is lower than the break-even section size, the deficit is said to be structural.

Case study illustrating structural deficit and the principle of managing the margin. Shows impact of average section size on sustainability. This case example of margin is a highly distilled illustrative study from a client engagement.

Case study illustrating structural deficit and the principle of managing the margin. Shows impact of average section size on sustainability. This case example of the margin is a highly distilled illustrative study from a client engagement.

This case example of the margin is a highly distilled illustrative study from a client engagement. It shows that the actual revenue for the 5,000 enrollment institution was $44.3 million and could support for example 1,443 sections averaging 20.68 students per section. The actual expenditures for the institution were $57.4 million, the institution offered 1,871 sections and enrolled on average 15.96 students per section. This real scenario generated a structural deficit of $13.1 million offset by deferred maintenance, a suspension of non-essential travel, a hold on new hires, a reduction in staff, a reduction in benefits, the sale of real estate, increased cost recovery from grants and contracts, and creative cash management.

The curious element in this case study was a report to the Board of Trustees that mentioned a positive cycle developing in the economy and the potential for more favorable economic circumstances ahead. I offer Bill Gates observation on the subject,

 …the second biggest pot of money, which is the education pot, both K-12 and higher ed, gets raided. And, so, on a per student basis, that money has gone down, and there’s no likely prospect that it will go back up. Some people have thought of it as cyclical, but, in fact, if you look at the last several cycles, it goes down in the cycle and then, during the good years, it stays at that level, and then, as the next cycle is hit, it’s gone down again.  – Bill Gates, on The Future of College, NACUBO, August 8, 2014

Managing the margin requires massage of several variables including tuition, enrollment, the number of sections offered and average enrollment in each section. Every institution should calculate and know what their break-even sections size is given their other variables. Every academic should understand these basic relationships and the concepts of margin and structural deficit. Each institution is different in how revenues and expenditures are managed so talk to your Chief Financial Officer and get the facts.