50 Losing SEM Strategies

50 Losing SEMThe roots of failing enrollment management strategies can often be detected in the things people say when asked about enrollment. The following are paraphrases (to protect the innocent) of quotes we have collected over the past few years that reflect losing Strategic Enrollment Management strategies. All of these paraphrased quotes come from institutions with declining enrollment scenarios resulting in budgetary reduction ramifications. They were collected from our notes between 2013 and yesterday. They are in no particular order. They are numbered for reference in comments should you decide to. If you have quotes you would like to add, send them along or for the brave – post them in a comment.

  1. “We had some pretty good candidates for our SEM leader but in the end I went with the bubbly, energetic, very positive attitude over the experience because the experienced candidate dwelled too much on the challenges and problems. I think attitude wins over experience.” – President on selection of a VP for Enrollment Management
  2. “I really don’t want to hear about long term anything. It is June 1 and we have a serious budget hole I need fixed by September.  Seriously, you should have gotten the message when I rejected your five year enrollment plan because it did not fix our short term revenue needs.” – President to VP for Enrollment Management June 1st.
  3. “Strategic Enrollment Management approaches are interesting but they are just too complex. We need simple solutions and easy to do fixes that are within our limited budget and resources. Our folks are all busy and they do not have time to learn their way out. Besides, if I train them, they will just leave and make more money somewhere else.” – President
  4. “I have not seen any newspaper ads this year. No wonder we are not making enrollment.” – Board Chair weighing in on enrollment goals
  5. “We have not budgeted for a second year of Online development. It was supposed to be self-sufficient after one year.” – Provost
  6. “I don’t need marketing or Strategic Enrollment anything, just a good PR person that really knows what they are doing and reporting directly to me.” – President
  7. “We spent the last year rewriting all of the correspondence that is used in admissions and have not had time, as a task force, to do anything else.” – Provost in charge of Enrollment Task Force
  8. “We used the money allocated for a Social Media person to fund another road warrior. ” – Director of SEM
  9. “We have a SEM plan, have had for years. Each year we tweak our visitation schedule and our roadshow. Every 3 years we redo our collateral material. We do Social Media, I wouldn’t call it a strategy really. Financial aid reports to another VP, we don’t know what they do really. The web reports to IT so we don’t have a lot of say in it.” – 2014 comments by an Admissions Director
  10. “We go with what has worked for us in the past.” – Director of Admissions
  11. “I cut my marketing and enrollment staff by 1/3 to help with budget cuts as a result of lower enrollment. They should suffer just like the rest since it is their fault.” – President
  12. “Our curriculum isn’t any different, better or worse than anybody else’s. We are different because we care more.” – Provost
  13. “Yes I used bump strategies. I bumped off the Director of Admissions and the VP for Enrollment Management and took over the leadership of our marketing and recruitment staff. I got a fire under them and they will do just fine with a little fear in their hearts.” – President
  14. “We did SEM for a year. It didn’t work, so we are moving forward on branding.” – President
  15. “If everybody just did their job, we would be fine.” – VP Finance
  16. “Academics and curriculum have nothing to do with managing enrollments and recruitment.” – VP Academic Affairs
  17. “I am not investing one more dime until someone shows me a guaranteed method of enrollment growth.” – VP Finance
  18. “Applicants do not care about the curriculum, they care about parties, drugs, where their girlfriend or boyfriend is going, getting away from home, nightlife, dorm rooms, and fun. Don’t tell me its the curriculum, stupid.” – Chair Academic Senate
  19. “I am afraid to change anything, because I can’t be sure what is working and what isn’t. My only hope is to add on and hope it gets better.” – Interim Director for Enrollment Management
  20. “I had no idea we were discounting to that extent.” – President to Board in a Finance Committee meeting
  21. “We do what we know, and we know what we do. Everybody is down so our decline is in line with the market. We just need to get used to being smaller.”- Director of Admissions
  22. “We don’t offer enough financial aid. I need to cover a good deal more of our total cost of attendance with grants and discounts or I just can’t compete.” – Director for Enrollment Management
  23. “I wouldn’t come here. I wouldn’t send my child here.”- An Academic Dean responding to the question “Why should a parent send their child here?”
  24. “I will invest in curriculum when you can prove to me that enrollments are guaranteed and we have the faculty and curriculum already in place.” – President
  25. “We promise the moon and deliver a moon pie.” – Admissions Staff
  26. “The President has to approve all messages, every letter, every paragraph. The VP Finance has to approve every purchase order, even if it is in our budget. We just acquired software to help in our Enrollment Management efforts but ended up getting the one we determine would not meet our needs because IT said they liked it and of course the price. It is August 1 and I am waiting for approvals on virtually everything I need for our Fall campaign. Our CRM system, which will not meet our needs, has been delayed from August and will not be installed until January. How do you think we are doing?” – Outgoing Director for Enrollment Management
  27. “We do OK until we tour our freshman housing.” – Admissions Staff
  28. “Campus tours are tricky, we have to avoid litter, falling plaster, peeling paint, old furniture, antique classrooms, and focus on a small route that has been cosmetically engineered. We have been told that our preferred word for our campus is ‘charming.” I have not one wow place to dwell in.” – Admissions Staff
  29. “I have heard all of the excuses, a lot of competition, need more aid, not enough staff. I believe there are plenty of students waiting to enroll. We are just not very good at getting them here.” – President to the Admissions staff during a ‘Pep Talk’
  30. “I was told we will never directly market programs. There is not enough money to market all of them and selecting some to promote is a powder keg that would blow in a second.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  31. “Our SEM plan is simple, get more higher ability, low financial need students now. I just can’t convince anybody to go do it.” – CFO half joking
  32. “Our academic story is limp and very hard to get a prospect excited. We sound just like everyone else. In fact, there are folks who are proud of we are just like everyone else. There is not much of a value equation we can talk about except the basic value of an education. We tell students we have small classes, faculty care, we care, our students like us and are glad they came to us. But they basically get that from a lot of institutions.” –  Admissions Staff
  33. “Basically we communicate with prospects three times, by letter, by email and then by letter again. Once they apply, I think we do much better… Social Media? I can’t get budget approval to hire someone.” – Director of Admissions
  34. “Our students mostly come from the surrounding communities. Our region has a lot of institutions and competition is fierce. We have never examined strategically what the geographic recruitment sphere should be. We did try recruiting in California for a year, but it was expensive and didn’t really pay its own way in results.” – Admissions Staff
  35. “Not that we would admit it, but our discount rate is over 45%. We report to the board that it is 35%, but that is because we use clever accounting to disguise certain aid types.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  36. “We do virtually no marketing at all. Our VP Marketing serves the President. They do speeches, event planning for Development, and they do print really well. They are not a great deal of help to us. They write nothing for us. There is no concept of strategic position or where do we measure up with respect to the competition. Planning from Marketing’s perspective is event and development publications, even those cater to our older alums.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  37. “There was a directive handed down that academics should develop some new programs to fix our enrollment shortfall projected next fall. Really, can you imagine, believing that a new program developed in Spring can impact fall enrollments? That’s what we are up against.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  38. “We are so far out of alignment managing our various academic and enrollment cycles, it is a wonder we even function. I tried to get the cabinet to at least fully understand when I arrived last fall but I can’t get anyone to even engage in the conversation at the executive level. Everyone is overwhelmed. We are always in crisis of the minute mode. Everything appears too complex to really understand, so we just run around slapping on Band-Aids and getting through the day.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  39. “Remember, I just got here. We have never done anything strategic. Our strategy has really been a financial one. We sold real estate to cover operating deficits.” – CFO
  40. “We closed our two-year college, presumably to focus on upper division. It was very disruptive and helped create a culture of finger pointing, fear, second guessing, and blame. Very bad academic culture was the only real result. The upper division strategy failed to turn us away from decline. So then we chased quick fixes. When that failed the head hunting began.” – Chair Academic Senate
  41. “I need an implementer not  a strategist to head my Enrollment Management team.” – President
  42. “When I arrived a month ago, I was handed a SEM Plan. Apparently it simply was not implemented. Seems they thought new staff would be hired to enable all the things in the plan to be done. When that didn’t happen the operations just continued as they always had and enrollment continued to decline.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  43. “Our SEM Plan required a modest, bare bones, really, system and training budget which was not funded. Hard to implement new when you can’t get folks up to speed and can’t acquire the basic tools of the trade.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  44. “I spend a lot of time listening to ‘suggestions’ of how to fix our enrollment decline. Things like, ‘have you called them,’ or ‘did you ask them to apply,’ or ‘did you tell them how different we are and how much we care.’ I also am handed an inventory of distracting must do’s, like meetings I have no real need to be in but take many hours out of my week. Then there are the constant drags on momentum. It took me two years to get our Social Media efforts funded, then they were postponed for a year putting us three years behind.” – VP for Enrollment Management
  45. “We go from crisis to crisis and magic fix and short cut to Band-Aid. No sustained focus, no long term effort sustained for enough time to get results. No one understands we work forward looking, multiyear cycles.”  – VP for Enrollment Management
  46. “We tolerate failure and poor performance. Our VP for Enrollment Management has been here forever, has no real plan, reveals shortfalls too late, has a million excuses, resists change or even evaluation of any kind. I surely would not get away with any of it.” – VP Development
  47. “We have a new Leader who is clueless. Came in and stopped everything that was in progress. Occupied the Marketing staff for most of the first 6 months supporting an Inauguration instead of supporting recruitment. Spent a year reorganizing and focusing on a dashboard. Replaced everybody so they are the President’s folks. Fired the Provost, the VP Marketing, the head of Enrollment Management and reallocated budgets to support pet projects. Put out a mandate to increase enrollments, no plan, no analysis just mandate and control. Meanwhile, we have gotten smaller, weaker, and poorer. And this leader was not the Selection Committee’s first or second choice.” – retiring Faculty member
  48. “The culture is tense. Nervous, without a plan, whittled expenses to the bone, kind of tense. The expectation is that there is a sure thing, quick fix trick we can use.  We keep chasing it, wasting time, money, and precious recruitment cycles. We have been doing this for three years and avoided a detailed plan that had promise because it spanned five years. We avoided it because it required a reallocation of resources that we had at the time but politically difficult.” – Academic Dean
  49. “Our enrollment strategy? Blame, fire, repeat.”- Admissions Staff
  50. “We talk about the decline, talk a lot about it. We seem unable to even get a footing upon which to do anything. So we talk. Been talking for a couple years. Now we are talking about downsizing. No one seems to like any idea that is suggested. They are unsure. Risk averse, they ask where is the proof, how can we be sure? I have to go to a meeting now, to talk about holding positions vacant.”- Associate Academic Dean

 HELP! Here are a ideas to help differentiate by using Academic SEM Strategies.

  • Understand academic strategic advantages and how to recognize, develop and showcase them.
  • Understand the dynamics of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem and its impact on the future of education.
  • Develop an academic narrative that differentiates. Ensure your plan delivers a balanced short-term (bump), medium-term (program market revitalization), and long-term strategic position approach. Then live the plan.
  • Invest in increasing the value of your student’s educational experience, and that means curriculum.
  • Recognize that the underlying issues that created such tense market dynamics defy quick marketing, branding, slap together program fixes. Doesn’t mean marketing and branding are not important, they are, but it does mean success requires much more than billboards on freeways, placards on buses, going on-line, and hastily copying others curricular portfolio.
  • Recognize it takes an Academic/SEM Team to achieve a competitive strategic position in the dynamic learners market that is today and tomorrow.
  • Recognize the gift of ‘bump’ strategies that provide a short term increase in enrollments and the precious investment dollars they provide to continue meaningful transformation.
  • There is much more to Academic SEM…

So, what can be done NOW?

  • Starting with mining the mission, and re-conceptualizing your Strategic Plan as ‘Curriculum-Centered’ and the Curriculum as ‘Learner Centered,’ then focus on strategic position. How? Use the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning Model (CCSPM) and the SRS Method as reference. This is not a long drawn out effort, it starts with evaluating the existing strategic plan and assets and creating short-term market wins. In the process identify opportunities for program market revitalization and develop a strategic market narrative.
  • Use Academics, Programs of Study, Curricular Elements, Research, and learner experiences to create a compelling narrative that builds competitive strategic position.
  • Use the emerging principles and practices of Academic SEM to enhance your strategic market position by developing a long term, sustainable strategy.
  • Use bump tactics to gain in selected areas in order to fund broader innovation and revitalization and pave the pathway to a strategic market position. Make everything count toward the future.
  • There are numerous ways and methods to begin an Academic SEM approach to sustainability. The following links provide options, information and opportunities.

Evolve to Academic SEM

Learn why all “Strategic” Enrollment Management is “Academic,” attend:

Academic SEM Posters Available

Academic SEM Funnel [MGDA01]

SEM-Poster-512

Academic SEM Cycles [MGDA02]

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

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NASA’s Evolving Technology Strategy: What can Higher Education Learn?

The three foundational elements of NASA’s evolving technology strategy include Roadmaps for 15 Technologies, a Strategic Technology Investment Plan (STIP), and a software system to integrate and manage it all called TechPort.

oct_roadmaps_coverart

In 2010, NASA developed a set of Technology Roadmaps to guide the development of space technologies. The draft 2015 NASA Technology Roadmaps expand and update the original roadmaps, providing extensive details about anticipated NASA mission capabilities and associated technology development needs. NASA believes sharing the roadmaps with the broader community will increase awareness, generate innovative solutions to provide the capabilities for space exploration and scientific discovery, and inspire others to become involved in America’s space program. The promising new technology candidates that will help NASA achieve its extraordinary missions are identified in the draft 2015 NASA Technology Roadmaps. The roadmaps are a foundational element of the Strategic Technology Investment Plan (STIP), an actionable plan that lays out the strategy for developing technologies essential to the pursuit of NASA’s mission and achievement of National goals. The STIP prioritizes the technology candidates within the roadmaps and provides guiding principles for technology investment. The recommendations provided by the National Research Council heavily influence NASA’s technology prioritization. NASA’s technology investments are tracked and analyzed in TechPort, a web-based software system that serves as NASA’s integrated technology data source and decision support tool.

TA1 Launch Propulsion Systems TA2 In-space propulsion technologies TA3 Space power and energy storage TA4 Robotics and autonomous systems TA5 Communications navigation and orbital debris tracking and characterization systems TA6 Human health life support and habitation systems TA7 Human exploration destination systems TA8 Science instruments observatories and sensor systems TA9 Entry descent and landing systems TA10 Nanotechnology TA11 Modeling simulations information technology and processing TA12 materials structures mechanical systems and manufacturing TA13 Ground and launch systems TA14 Thermal management systems TA15 Aeronautics

TA1 Launch Propulsion Systems TA2 In-space propulsion technologies TA3 Space power and energy storage TA4 Robotics and autonomous systems TA5 Communications navigation and orbital debris tracking and characterization systems TA6 Human health life support and habitation systems TA7 Human exploration destination systems TA8 Science instruments observatories and sensor systems TA9 Entry descent and landing systems TA10 Nanotechnology TA11 Modeling simulations information technology and processing TA12 materials structures mechanical systems and manufacturing TA13 Ground and launch systems TA14 Thermal management systems TA15 Aeronautics

So what can Higher Education Learn?

As NASA did in 2010 and renewed in 2015, recognize the influence that the development and adoption of mission critical technologies have on the future. For higher education, I believe it means recognizing the inexorable influence of how the emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem and the technologies that it rest upon influence learning, learners, educators and the business of higher education. A technology strategy is not about technology, but rather about learning and creating value in the learning marketplace through the learner’s learning experience.

Recognize the need for a long-term forward-looking view that extends out 20 years into the future. This means focusing upon long-term sustainability despite short-term crisis and limited resources. Concepts such as course scalability, embedded assessment, community of practice curricula, proficiency based curricular models and architectures, lifelong learning markets, and differentiating the academic portfolio are key to future plans. Such strategies are a long-term investment and can take years to develop and perfect, but surprisingly can result in immediate benefits.

Recognize that a technology strategy means managing and integrating Multiple Mission Critical Technologies. The future is not one vendor or one system, but rather multiple technologies woven into an integrated strategy. Like NASA’s multiple roadmaps, higher education must plot a technology evolutionary path for Learning Management Systems, Assessment Methods, Curriculum Development Platforms, and a host of other focused categories. It means accommodating the fact that technologies are rapidly changing and rapidly evolving, so being nimble is important.

Recognize the future is one of market impotence unless the long-term technological capacity of the institution is enabled by an ongoing long-term investment plan. Academic leaders must look beyond the crisis of the minute or term and invest to develop a future. Wasting time and resources on quick fixes and sure things is the pathway of decline. Capacity translates into value that must be substantiated, delivered relentlessly over time, and positioned competitively in the learning marketplace. Each requires technology capacity in the era of the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem populated by digital natives (now 35 years old and younger).

Above all of the lessons the NASA Roadmaps can teach higher education, we must recognize that short-term actions must aggregate to pave the pathway to long-term sustainability. Optimize each and every resource, manage the calendar carefully and strategically, use resources (especially human capital) to focus on high yield, high impact results. This requires a multi-year, forward-looking vision that frames and informs the decisions that propel an institution forward. (We must recognize that higher education, where technology is concerned, lags generally far behind.)

The future is not about technology taking over learning, it is about learning systems optimizing technology and for that we need Roadmaps to the future…

Academic SEM Strategy: Sustainability

Michael G. Dolence & Associates, Volume 2015, Number 4

Innovation in Higher Education Newsletter

Academic Strategies will determine enrollment success and the future sustainability of Higher Education because curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue and revenue drives everything else.

CDE

 

Consider…

The Postsecondary Education Conundrum

“Postsecondary education in the United States faces a conundrum: Can we preserve access, help students learn more and finish their degrees sooner and more often, while keeping college affordable for families, all at the same time? And can the higher education reforms currently most in vogue—expanding the use of technology and making colleges more accountable—help us do these things?”—The Brookings Institution, June 5, 2013, written by Cecilia Elena Rouse

 

 

Academic Strategies, at a minimum, must achieve four primary objectives:

  • They must be built upon a curriculum architecture that is optimized for sustainability.
  • They must result in curricula that are current, competitive, engaging, cohesive, and of value.
  • They must optimize the emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem.
  • They must result in curricula that thrive in a highly competitive market being both affordable and compelling.

Explore MGDA Higher Education Blog

The new Global Digital Learning Ecosystem Paradigm continues to evolve and shape the future of Higher Education.

Here are some prime examples:

  • The Global Freshman Academy EdX and Arizona State University, two leaders in interactive online education, announce the Global Freshman Academy, a first-of-its-kind program that offers a unique entry point to an undergraduate degree.
  • The $7K Masters in Computer Science. Georgia Tech’s new OMSCS in partnership with Udacity and ATT is a great example of optimizing the emerging global digital learning ecosystem.
  • The $20K iMBA. The UIUC iMBA, expected to launch in 2016, priced at $20,000 (est.). This digital curriculum architecture is designed to serve learners in a MBA degree program of study, as well as, individuals seeking advanced practice standing in seven contemporary business communities of practice. [Coursera iMBA page]

Developing and using Academic SEM Strategies.

Here arre some examples of what we mean when we sugest contemproary Academic SEM Strategies.

  • Develop Curriculum around a new proficiency based curriculum architecture by embedding Certifications into Community of Practice Based Programs of Study.
  • Develop Program based Positioning Strategies as a way to revitalize existing curricula and develop a fresh narrative to position Programs of Study in the market.
  • Assess strategic value of existing Programs of Study and use the information to create a value narrative.
  • Evaluate academic strategic assets and use the information to develop new high market value curricula.
  • There are three months until launch of the 2015 Recruitment Season for Fall 2016 enrollments. Time to fine tune plans, polish strategies, test systems, pre test everything and begin social media pre campaign activities.
  • It is also time for contingency planning and Academic SEM strategising for Fall 2015 academic intitiatives, Academic Master Plan review and revision, and comprehensive review of any curriculum development projects underway.

Caution: Do not waste the calendar, it moves quickly and when it runs out, all efforts jump one year into the future. Do not get distracted by quick fixes and misguided underinformed silly ideas that have no hope of yield.

  • Take care that a bottom feeding mandate doesn’t hamstring the 2016 campaign by distracting attention from the critical planning and setup work.
  • Time to plan a 2016 ‘Bump Strategy” is now.

Academic SEM

Learn why all “Strategic” Enrollment Management is “Academic,” attend:

Academic SEM Posters Available

Academic SEM Funnel [MGDA01]

SEM-Poster-512

Academic SEM Cycles [MGDA02]

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

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Federal Financial Aid: 3 Part Documentary Available

Looking Back to Move Forward: A History of Federal Student Aid

The Lumina Foundation has posted a three part documentary on the policy and the political origins of U.S. federal financial aid programs. These resources are a great background training for student affairs professionals, academic leaders, and enrollment management professionals.

In addition to the three videos below, you may wish to explore:

How Did We Get Here: Growth of Federal Student Loans (Part 1)

Where Financial Aid Began: Partnering with Campuses and States (Part 2)

Pell Grant: Building Block of Student-Based Aid (Part 3)

Lumina ReportDownload the companion PDF to the series.

Academic SEM Strategy: The iMBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Business

The UIUC iMBA is expected to launch in 2016, and be priced at $20,000 or so. The digital curriculum architecture is designed to serve learners in a MBA degree program of study, as well as, individuals seeking advanced practice standing in seven contemporary business communities of practice. [Coursera iMBA page]
courselogo-_1_
Using a strategy of interweaving Coursera MOOC courses with embedded specializations/certifications either in parallel or as precursor to the College of Business MBA, UIUC has optimized its digital curricula for multiple markets. There are seven specializations with embedded certifications anticipated with at least one available now, including:

  1. Digital Marketing (available now)
  2. Global Business Strategy and Economics
  3. Healthcare Management
  4. Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  5. Business Analytics
  6. Innovation and Technology
  7. Advanced topics in Finance and Accounting

Each specialization and their corresponding certification packages discrete ‘Community of Practice’ portions of UIUC CoB digital MBA and positions them firmly in both advanced practice and collegiate degree markets. Between now and 2016, the school will put all the courses required for its traditional MBA program on Coursera and they will be available free of charge. Students can explore, experience and digest courses selected to meet their interest or need or they can take the program curriculum. If no credit or certificates are of interest, the program is free. However, to earn a degree one must apply, be accepted, enroll, complete with satisfactory grades and pay an estimated $20K (other comparable MBAs cost $75K to 100+K). If one wishes to earn a certificate, such as, the Digital Marketing specialization, which is available now, the cost is $474. The DM Certificate curriculum consists of 5 courses plus a capstone. Learners can pay as they go or all at once.

Conclusion

The UIUC iMBA is designed and intended to be disruptive. It is built upon the next generation curriculum architecture. It optimizes the emerging digital learning ecosystem, connecting the curriculum directly to learners everywhere. It embeds assessment in the design, and provides certificates of achievement for high value course sequences as standalone or stacked credentials. It, combined with, Georgia Tech / Udacity / ATT $7K Masters in Computer Science are signs that large scale (MOOC/SOOC type) curricula are moving beyond proof of concept. It is reasonable to expect that monetizing large scale curricula will continue to evolve.

Note: also see

Evolve to Academic SEM

If you’re not thinking Academic SEM, you are not thinking about the future. To explore Academic SEM strategies, join us by attending:

Academic SEM Posters Available

Academic SEM Funnel [MGDA01]

SEM-Poster-512

Academic SEM Cycles [MGDA02]

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

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Academic SEM Strategy: 80% of admissions directors concerned about meeting enrollment goals!

Michael G. Dolence & Associates, Volume 2015, Number 3

Innovation in Higher Education Newsletter

May 1, 2015 is only days away. It is time to reflect on what we learned last October from the prospect of persistent enrollment challenges and decline. We must anticipate our actions as the May 1 milestone hurdles us toward Fall 2015 enrollment and the fiscal and educational reality that follows. Explore MGDA Higher Education Blog.

According to Inside Higher Ed’s Survey of College and University Admissions Directors Fall 2014

The survey released September 18, 2014 reported:

  • 61% of colleges did not make enrollment numbers and nearly 80% of admissions directors reported being moderately or very concerned about meeting enrollment goals.
  • 71% of private bachelor’s institutions didn’t meet goals by May 1, 2014 (up from 59% in 2013).
  • 32% of all institutions – in violation of NACAC’s principles of good practice – recruited students after May 1 who had committed to other institutions (up from 29% in 2013).
Table 1: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)
FALL 2014 FALL 2013 FALL 2012
Sector Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Total Enrollment, All Sectors 19,619,773 -1.3% 19,885,203 -1.5% 20,195,924 -1.8%
Four-Year, Public 7,965,176 0.0% 7,964,090 0.4% 7,931,702 -0.2%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit 3,823,465 1.6% 3,761,953 1.3% 3,714,967 0.5%
Four-Year, For-Profit 1,315,167 -0.4% 1,321,107 -9.7% 1,463,097 -7.2%
Two-Year, Public 6,107,337 -3.5% 6,329,631 -3.3% 6,544,820 -3.6%
Unduplicated Student Headcount (all sectors) 19,258,730 -1.3% 19,511,518 -1.4% 19,791,149 -1.7%

Figure 1: Term to term comparison of estimated enrollment by sector 2012 to 2014

WP-CT-Fall14-chart1-900x361

Source of Table 1 and Figure 1: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center| REPORT: Current Term Enrollment Report – Fall 2014

What did respondents plan to do? According to the Inside Higher Ed survey they planned to increase efforts to recruit:

  • Part-time undergraduates (40% Public / 15% Private)
  • First generation students (71% Public / 50% Private)
  • “Full pay” students (35% Public / 57% Private)
  • Veterans and military (70% Public / 42% Private)

Rather than implement a narrow cluster of ideas, differentiate by using Academic SEM Strategies.

  • Understand academic strategic advantages and how to recognize, develop and showcase them.
  • Understand the dynamics of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem and its impact on the future of education.
  • Develop an academic narrative that differentiates. Ensure your plan delivers a balanced short-term (bump), medium-term (program market revitalization), and long-term strategic position approach. Then live the plan.
  • Invest in increasing the value of your student’s educational experience, and that means curriculum.
  • Recognize that the underlying issues that created such tense market dynamics defy quick marketing, branding, slap together program fixes. Doesn’t mean marketing and branding are not important, they are, but it does mean success requires much more than billboards on freeways, placards on buses, going on-line, and hastily copying others curricular portfolio.
  • Recognize it takes an Academic/SEM Team to achieve a competitive strategic position in the dynamic learners market that is today and tomorrow.
  • Recognize the gift of ‘bump’ strategies that provide a short term increase in enrollments and the precious investment dollars they provide to continue meaningful transformation.
  • There is much more to Academic SEM…

So, what can be done NOW?

  • Starting with minning the mission, and re-conceptualizing your Strategic Plan as ‘Curriculum-Centered’ and the Curriculum as ‘Learner Centered,’ then focus on strategic position. How? Use the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning Model (CCSPM) and the SRS Method as reference. This is not a long drawn out effort, it starts with evaluating the existing strategic plan and assets and creating short-term market wins. In the process identify opportunities for program market revitalization and develop a strategic market narrative.
  • Use Academics, Programs of Study, Curricular Elements, Research, and learner experiences to create a compelling narrative that builds competitive strategic position.
  • Use the emerging principles and practices of Academic SEM to enhance your strategic market position by developing a long term, sustainable strategy.
  • Use bump tactics to gain in selected areas in order to fund broader innovation and revitalization and pave the pathway to a strategic market position. Make everything count toward the future.
  • There are numerous ways and methods to begin an Academic SEM approach to sustainability. The following links provide options, information and opportunities.

Evolve to Academic SEM

Learn why all “Strategic” Enrollment Management is “Academic,” attend:

Academic SEM Posters Available

Academic SEM Funnel [MGDA01]

SEM-Poster-512

Academic SEM Cycles [MGDA02]

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

images[3]

 

 

 

 

MGDA Releases Two Academic SEM Professional Development Posters

Academic SEM Funnel Poster MGDA01

SEM-Poster-512Finally an office graphic that conveys the complexities of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. The Poster begins with a carefully detailed Enrollment Funnel (no the funnel is not dead, in fact it is healthy and thriving).  It then portrays the five integrated and complex cycles that build curriculum, develop & implement campaigns, monitor retention and attrition and evaluate SEM Performance. Finally it concludes with the SEM Matrix, juxtaposing seven dimensions of SEM with a framework of seven learner centered questions. We offer the poster individually or in packs of five. Clients report using them for training, loaning them for deans and  department chair meetings and using them to guide complex conversations with executives and boards of trustees. Order today!
• Museum Quality Stock
• Measures 24″ Wide x 36″ Long
• Semi Gloss Finish
• $59.95 each +S&H
• 5 Copies $259.99 +S&H

Academic SEM Cycles Poster MGDA02SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

Depicts the intricacies and interrelationships of the five integrated cycles that inform Academic SEM.

We offer the poster individually or in packs of five. Clients report using them for training, loaning them for deans and  department chair meetings and using them to guide complex conversations with executives and boards of trustees. Order today!

• Museum Quality Stock
• Measures 24″ Wide x 24″ Long
• Semi Gloss Finish
• $49.95 each +S&H
• 5 Copies $199.99 +S&H

 


 

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* Shipping & Handling U.S., International & Territories

 

Academic SEM Looking Ahead: Three Years from the peak in enrollments, May 1, 2015 looms large

I promised a recent class of Education Graduate Students some links to tracking the roller coaster ride of enrollments over the last few years. Below are some useful links tracking trends in enrollment issues.

Inside Higher Ed

From Inside Higher Ed Survey: Student Populations That Will Be Target of More Attention in the Next Year

Population % of Publics Agreeing % of Privates Agreeing
Recruited with non-need-based scholarships 53% 58%
Full-time undergraduates 81% 84%
Part-time undergraduates 40% 15%
International students 53% 63%
Transfer students 63% 72%
Minority students 73% 63%
First generation students 71% 50%
Out-of-state students 60% 64%
Full-pay students 35% 57%
Veterans and military personnel 70% 42%

Survey of College and University Admissions Directors  2014

Survey of College and University Admissions Directors  2013

Survey of College and University Admissions Directors  2012

College Board

College Board Trends in Higher Education

US Census Bureau Reports

College Enrollment Declines for Second Year in a Row, September 24, 2014

Higher Education Research Institute

The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014 – With Past Reports back to 1966

A Primer on Academic Strategies

What is Academic Strategy?

There are a number of perspectives from which this question can be approached. We will focus on only one in this brief.

The purposeful development of academic initiative(s) designed to secure an institution’s, school’s, college’s, or program’s strategic position in the competitive global digital learning marketplace.

Why are academic strategies important?

Academic strategy is essential in developing quality, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability in colleges and universities.

Academic Strategy Illustrated

Figure 1: Academic Strategy Illustrated

Another major reason in today’s world is the massive paradigm shift to a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. The new learning ecosystem is ubiquitous (everywhere), content rich (has everything), and is available to the learner at precisely the time when they need or want it (convenient). The new ecosystem provides unprecedented learning access to digital native populations (by definition under 35 years of age, but significantly broader than that). Digital communications provides unprecedented access to information, thought leaders, knowledge providers, learning communities, curricula, creative tools and tutorials. The new learning ecosystem changes all of the academic rules of engagement.

What are the implications of the paradigm shift and its impacts on colleges and universities?

Because the new paradigm and the new global digital learning ecosystem changes all of the academic rules of engagement, planning must focus first and foremost upon the master academic plan for the future. This means the MASTER ACADEMIC PLAN assumes primacy in the institutional planning hierarchy. Serving as a Master Plan it guides the other plans and nurtures the institution’s energies toward the new paradigm.

Are academic cultures too parochial and focused upon self-interest to make the transition?

Certainly some are, but by no means all. There are a host of academic visionaries that lead the transition into the future. Further, we must remember that not all resistance is due to parochial self-interest. A great deal of consternation occurs over concern for the best interest of the learner and what is believed to be the holy grail of quality undergraduate education—small class size. Legitimate concern sets off a myriad of myopic arguments fed by beliefs of what is coming rather than deep reflection about what should a college or university look like in the new global digital learning ecosystem. MIT faculty have taken a very deep look at that very question. Certainly the founders of EdX, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, their 38 charter members, 27 members and 7 national and regional consortia adopting the EdX platform. The founding of Western Governors University is testament to the transformation. Georgia Tech’s new OMSCS in partnership with Udacity and ATT is a great example that academic cultures, programs and institutions can move judiciously toward optimizing the emerging global digital learning ecosystem.

How can an institution proceed using small steps that build toward a larger transformation?

The development of academic strategies is a complex undertaking. The first assumption centers on the principle that “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!” This principle of sustainability translates into two primary focal points for academic strategy, the curriculum, and the learner. The economic challenges of sustainability are not counter to academic quality they must be synergistic with academic excellence. Focusing upon learners first provides a clearer perspective of the individuals who seek, find and enroll in programs of study. The learner-centric approach must simultaneously focus on the tenets of academic quality and effective learning. To foster this focus, we have developed the Learner Centered Curriculum Framework around seven strategic questions guiding academic planning.

The questions for higher education are a matter of Academic Strategy and are learner-centric in nature. Seven framing questions focus attention on the learner and learning:

  1. Who are the learners?
  2. What objectives do the learners seek?
  3. What learning provider models are available to the learners?
  4. What learning theories and methods are appropriate for specific learners and the objectives they seek?
  5. What is the optimum curriculum architecture for an institution or educational entity?
  6. 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?
  7. What support services are necessary to enable specific learner population(s) to successfully complete the curriculum and meet their objectives?
The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework

Figure 2: The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework – The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework developed by Michael G. Dolence as an integrating concept linking Enrollment Management, Strategic Planning, and Curriculum Design, Development and Delivery

Answers to the seven questions orient the planning and analysis discussion on an integrated array of factors that must be considered as institutions ponder pathways to sustainability. Each of the seven questions must inform and be informed by the institution’s overarching strategy for sustainability, strategic position in the academic marketplace, and performance in terms of utilization of resources and educational outcomes. Answers to each question help inform and build the master academic plan. The master academic plan informs and sets the strategic framework for recruitment, retention and operational portfolios and performance. Policy enables and assures effectiveness, efficiency and overall quality of the enterprise. Analytics informs all aspects of strategic and operational functions.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix

Figure 3: The Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix

The intersections in the matrix establish deep queries and framed analysis of the relationship of the institution and its master academic plan to the global learning marketplace. One fundamental element of that analysis is the strategic analysis and evaluation of the institution’s curriculum architecture.  The task of assessing the existing curriculum architecture against the seven dimensions of strategic enrollment management has resulted in the formulation of a proficiency based curriculum architecture model.

Proficiency Based Curriculum Architecture Model

Figure 4: Proficiency Based Curriculum Architecture Model

The new model is built from the IMS chassis of Reusable Learning Objects and Modules existing courses and programs, and the recognition that communities of practice are beginning to drive new program planning and expanded views of the value of state-of-the-art curriculum. The proficiency based curriculum architecture model provides for the design, development and implementation of more granular curriculum, that can be assembled and reassembled into programs that address credit bearing curricular applications as well as practice based applied learning requirements. The model expands the usefulness and application of curriculum to a much broader educational marketplace. The new expanded view of curriculum provided by the proficiency based curriculum architecture model opens new options for higher education.

Introduction to Academic Strategic Variables

The development of academic strategies involves manipulation of variables within an educational entity (e.g. institution, college, school, program, or department) in order to gain strategic position in the global learning marketplace. The development of academic strategies is both art and science and is enhanced by the depth and breadth of knowledge of the options available to an academic strategist. Academic strategy development requires both systems thinking and contemporary knowledge of cognitive research and learning strategy. The following, while not exhaustive provides a foundation for understanding the roots of academic strategy development.

  • Curriculum Architecture Strategies (using variables strategically to align curriculum with market segments)
    • Term Variables: adjust enrollment periods to align with market segments requirements or shorten time to course completion. Examples include 4 week term, 8 week term, 15/16 week term or open term.
    • Schedule Variables: adjusts synchronous learning engagements to align with market segments requirements. Examples include traditional day schedules, weekend colleges, and evening schedules.
    • Granularity Variable (see proficiency based curriculum architecture model, above,  with 7 Tiers rather than 2): adjusts curriculum content, courses, and engagements into smaller components permitting deeper assessment, application across multiple programs of study, and access for necessary developmental coursework.
  • Content Strategies
    • Curriculum Scope: defines the breadth and depth of academic programs in an institution’s portfolio.
    • Community of Practice Focus: identifies trans-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs of study designed to address emerging needs of society and concomitant interests of learners.
    • Discipline Focus: provides a clear definition of specific elements of content for promotion and consideration by learners, employers, faculty, and philanthropy.
  • Assessment Strategies
    • Integrated Assessment: allows the assessment of learning and curriculum, including the collection of data associated with it, to occur routinely within the curricular engagement process.
    • Digital Assessment Support Systems include a wide range of digital formative assessment tools as well as systems for learning outcomes management (i.e. Canvas, Angel Learning).
  •  Learning Environment
    • Campus Master Plan: provides a rational design view of a campus and the strategies to create an effective, efficient learning environment supporting the academic community.
    • Academic Facilities Portfolio enhances specific academic facilities to highlight their design features that promote effective learning and scholarship.
    • Learning Management Systems (LMS): is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of digital courses. The use of LMS as a strategic element provides unprecedented information and control over digital curricula and learner assessment and engagement.
    • Digital Learning Environment (serving synchronous and asynchronous learning engagements) recognizes the ubiquitous critical mass of digitized information and resources, creative tools and communications options open to learners, scholars and academic leaders.
  • Strategic Positioning Strategies
    • Packaging (See Georgia Tech, Western Governor’s links above) push the boundaries of existing portfolios by combining the pieces in creative and effective ways.
    • Transformational efforts redefine the rules of engagement to optimize position and performance in a new paradigm.
    • Preeminence defines efforts to achieve the acknowledged status of best of breed.

In closing

The need for forward thinking academic strategies is demonstrated daily across higher education. Institutions considering changes to their core curricula, departments developing new programs, schools and colleges developing strategic plans or Master Academic Plans, institutions developing academic enrollment management initiatives, institutions approaching accreditation review, re-accreditation processes or responding to findings from a review are just a few of the prompts for deep thoughtful reflection on academic strategy.

Note: This brief Primer is designed to illustrate the elements of academic strategy and how they relate to each other. It is neither complete nor exhaustive.

American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know®

A MUST READ

Goldie Blumenstyk’s new book, American Higher Education in Crisis?, should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of higher education — faculty, trustees, executives, and government officials, as well as analysts and pundits. , President, Georgia Regents University

Goldie

“American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know,” deconstructs the journey into the future for higher education by posing the key questions facing higher education, policy makers, leaders, and academics. The books narrative, well worth the read, is structured into four narrative parts.

  • Part One: Students, focuses 14 questions from the learner. A provocative read, providing a sound introduction to some key issues. The scope of the book does not address many questions surrounding learning. What is learned, how it is learned, and what role does the learning experience play in the future of America and global communities. These questions, when viewed in light of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem, make the answer to the ‘crisis question’ a more profound yes.
  • Part Two; Costs, Spending, and Debt posits 32 questions regarding finance and economics. The questions focus on subjects common to the mainstream news and topics of interest in the existing fiscal conundrum. They do much to demystify and clarify the issues. The approach is helpful. A more analytical approach would be required to address the larger question of what is the strategic economic value of higher education as a foundation for building a new model for financing the enterprise. When deeper analytical details are considered, the portrait of the crisis grows more profound  and more complex as all 50 states and the nations around the world grapple with fiscal sustainability.
  • Part Three; Who’s in charge? Leadership pressures-from within and without is framed by 15 questions on selected topics. They provide a succinct populous view of some of the key issues and public dialogues and frame the most common fairly well. These may serve to open a Pandora’s Box of leadership challenges facing academe.
  • Part Four: What’s ahead is framed by 12 fairly short-termed questions. Acknowledging disruption as a major force confronting American Higher Education the author opens the door to deeper discussions concerning the future of higher education institutions

The real quest is to devise a sustainable learning system. Higher education globally is experiencing a Paradigm Shift to an emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem that is paving the pathways to the Learning Age. As the dawn of the Learning Age sheds new light on the potential of a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem, education can be expected to pass through at least three stages of change.

  • Disruptive change, characterized by two paradigms colliding abruptly. Fear, anger, disbelief, and resistance are natural reactions during this period of adjustment. (see Digital Darwinism)
  • Adaptive change, characterized by educators making use of the functionality of the digital environments but resisting substantive change to the system that controls and manages it.
  • Optimized change constructs a new system around the new paradigm and the adaptive learning culture that it nurtures. New realities shape the need for validated credentials and new features and functions evolve within the emerging digitized learning environment.

The Author’s deep experience covering higher education is evident in this work. While the issues Higher Education faces go beyond the acknowledged scope of this book, the challenges summarized in it, are a great starting place. It is a must read for anyone believing they have a right to an opinion on American Higher Education.