Overview of MGDA Curriculum Projects

MGDA works with curriculum across the entire spectrum of institutional types (see Carnegie Classifications) to enhance curriculum design, development, market value, learning experience, and competitiveness. A few examples are outlined below.

MGDA Curriculum Projects

In our engagements with clients, we use a variety of methods, tools, and models we have developed over the years to understand and enhance curriculum architecture, program of study design, course design, assessments, and learning experiences. The Seven Tier Curriculum Architecture Model (aka Proficiency Based Curriculum Architecture Model) depicted above is an example. Our blog contains numerous refrences to the tools and methods we us and we encourage you to explore the various blog posts on the subject of Academic SEM, Academic Strategy, and Strategic Planning.


Overview of MGDA Academic SEM Projects

MGDA ASEM Projects

One of the great quotes in contemporary American politics:

“It’s the Economy Stupid”
– James Carville (circa 1992 serving as chief campaign strategist) during the first Clinton campaign for President.

I often think back to that campaign for the Presidency of the United States and the impact those few words had on the outcome of the election. It brings to mind a nagging malaise among a number of client institutions who wish to energize their recruitment and retention success. I often parrot Carville’s quote, “It’s the curriculum, stupid,” when analyzing enrollment problems. An initial strategic enrollment management engagement often centers around harvesting any number of descriptive observations by client constituents: not enough students, too many students, too many here not enough there, students not the academic quality we want, the list continues with various emphasis and causal inference. Inevitably someone blames the economy, the web site, the enrollment management system, or admissions, or the president, or marketing. While any and all of these may be contributing to a problem the real heart of any educational, organizational success is the curriculum. This is not to blame faculty or anyone for that matter. It is about recognizing how to shape and promote curriculum for a competitive market.

Crisis has a way of blinding folks to clear thinking, realistic strategy development, focused tactics, and forced implementation on yield. One of the tactics that are very effective in the short term is what we call the ‘Bump Strategy.’ A bump is a short term windfall in enrollment that is based upon specific institutional characteristics. The Bump Strategy goes like this. An opportunity is discovered and developed to achieve a one time elevation in enrollment. These can be pockets of 40, 60, 100, even as high as 250 enrollments that can usually be achieved over three years or less. Looking at a longitudinal analysis they appear as a bump in enrollments if more serious long term strategies are not developed in parallel. We often deploy a bump strategy when dealing with an enrollment crisis. When engineering a bump we look for under recognized opportunity, incomplete or incomprehensible academic narrative, underestimated market/program of study value, or precious pockets of unrecognized market opportunity.

Bump strategies are a two edged sword. They do yield a temporary bump in enrollment. Because they are pocket opportunities, they cannot sustain a growth trajectory although they often can sustain a higher enrollment plateau. They have one lethal unintended outcome. They take the pressure off and derail investment in new long range strategy and allow reversion to the ‘old ways.’ If the money from the bump is wasted then meaningful growth falters. No institution has an unlimited number of bump opportunities and once they are used they are gone (they do not yield forever). Each bump is unique to the institution and is dependent upon finding the right enrollment alchemy using indigenous curricular elements to exploit known enrollment dynamics.

The best time to tune your Academic Strategic Enrollment Management strategies is when you are not in crisis. That is when a focus on your Strategic Position in the Global Learning Marketplace can yield the best outcome. When not in crisis is the time to carefully construct a long term academic enrollment management program designed to build forward momentum over multiple future cycles to achieve a sustainable enrollment profile.

Our projects are as varied as the extensive client base we serve. They include initiatives to significantly increase perceived value of General Education, the redesign of the first year experience, the reconceptualization of the general education model around engagement, integrating partner marketing into program design, exploiting pocket markets, aligning curricular narrative with market dynamics, differentiating curriculum among crowded competitive environments, curriculum narrative to entice early decision, and the list goes on.

To explore opportunities to collaborate use our Academic/Enrollment Strategy Clinic Offer.

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Michael G. Dolence and Associates teamed with the architectural firm of Perkins+Will as academic planning and prototyping consultant for the design of the 3.2 million-square-foot, 2,000 acre campus. The prototype drew upon a comprehensive course and program repository assembled within the MGD+A proprietary academic planning system. Over 800 curricula informed the development of 1,476 courses to support 52 programs of study to guide the University’s language institute, eight colleges, and six schools within the College of Health. The prototype identified specific design criteria for the physical facilities required to teach each program of study. The prototyping process resulted in a design that accommodates 42,000 students in minimum curriculum architecture format and over 70,000 using an optimized curriculum architecture. The University currently enrolls more than 60,000 students.

View the Perkins+Will Image Gallery for this project.
View project photographer Bill Lyons Photo Gallery.
View the full article in Contract Magazine – March 2014, page 42.

King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University (KSAU) For Health Sciences

King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University (KSAU) For Health Sciences Michael G. Dolence and Associates collaborated with the architectural firm of Perkins+Will as academic planning and prototyping consultant for the design of three health sciences campuses of KSAU (Riyadh 8,000 FTE, Jeddah 4,000 FTE  and Al Hasa 3,000 FTE). MGD+A drew upon a comprehensive course and program repository assembled within their proprietary academic planning system to provide the design curriculum and specifications for  the three campus University of Health Sciences.  The academic structure comprised seven Colleges including Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Applied Medical Sciences, Nursing, Basic Sciences, and Public Health & Informatics, as-well-as, a continuing education division.  The prototype identified specific design criteria for the physical facilities required to teach each program of study and projected required facilities for 30 years in the future.

University of Salahaddin – Erbil Iraq (in Design 2013-2014)

Michael G. Dolence and Associates partnered with the global construction management firm Dar Al-Handasah and  the architectural firm Perkins and Will as academic planning and prototyping consultant for the design and phased construction of the new campus. A comprehensive curriculum was constructed and a  50 year prototype developed permitting the exploration of multiple scenarios  to inform project design and implementation.  Highlights of the project include a 135 laboratory science complex, an applied engineering complex, a performing and visual arts complex, a campus school, and an English language institute.

University of Salahaddin – Erbil Iraq (in Design 2013-2014)

University of Salahaddin – Erbil Iraq (in Design 2013-2014)