“Investing in the Future: Sharing Responsibility for Higher Education Attainment” New Report

Final report of the National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education national-com-fin-he-21st-centreleased
[download full report (PDF) ] [download Executive Summary only (PDF) ]

The Report is the work of the 14-member National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education led by two former governors and includes two state legislators, five university presidents and five private sector CEOs.

The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges.

The project director is Raymond Scheppach, Economic Fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs and Professor of Public Policy at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

The commission produced ten white papers and a final report with recommendations. The Ten Reports Include:

“Crowded Out: The Outlook for State Higher Education Spending” (PDF) by Dan White and Sarah Crane, Moody’s Analytics

“Transformations Affecting Postsecondary Education” (PDF) by Jeffrey J. Selingo, author and columnist

“State Higher Education Finance: Best Practices” (PDF) by Martha Snyder, Brian Fox, and Cristen Moore, HCM Strategists

“Financing American Higher Education in the 21st Century: What Can the United States Learn From Other Countries?” (PDF) by D. Bruce Johnstone, professor, Higher and Comparative Education, University at Buffalo

“State Strategies for Leveraging Employer Investments in Postsecondary Education” (PDF) by Robert Sheets and Stephen Crawford, George Washington Institute of Public Policy, The George Washington University

“Understanding State and Local Higher Education Resources” (PDF) by Sandy Baum and Kim S. Rueben, Urban Institute

“New Directions in Private Financing” (PDF) by Andrew P. Kelly, American Enterprise Institute

“Higher Education: Social Impact Bonds and Income Share Agreements” (PDF) by Carlo Salerno, higher education economist and analyst

“State Support for Higher Education: How Changing the Distribution of Funds Could Improve College Completion Rates” (PDF) by Bridget Terry Long, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“The Federal Role in Financing 21st-Century Higher Education: Effectiveness, Issues, and Alternatives” (PDF) by Gabriel R. Serna, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Compliance as a University Wide (Enterprise) Issue

220x146-Regulation-Task-Force-ReportThe compliance problem is exacerbated by the sheer volume of mandates—approximately 2,000 pages of text—and the reality that the Department of Education issues official guidance to amend or clarify its rules at a rate of more than one document per work day. As a result, colleges and universities find themselves enmeshed in a jungle of red tape, facing rules that are often confusing and difficult to comply with. They must allocate resources to compliance that would be better applied to student education, safety, and innovation in instructional delivery. Clearly, a better approach is needed. Source: Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities

Every higher education administrator needs an introduction to compliance as an Enterprise (Institution Wide) Issue. Beware, entering the maze of rules, regulations, and requirements, is not for the faint of heart. It is complex, convoluted and confusing, and difficult to reconcile from the internal perspective of academic management as the lens most administrators rely upon. I recommend beginning with the 144 page report Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities cited in the opening quote and published by the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education (February 2015). Specifically, focus upon Appendix I, the Regulations Matrix (pages 43-57). This first matrix introduces the issues within a recognizable and approachable context of the issues related to the challenge of compliance as faced by front line administrators and institutional governance.

cover_trusteesdhip_julaug_13_0I recommend you next turn to the Board’s Role in the Regulatory Era available from AGB (Association of Governing Boards). If you are a member of a governing board then this is a must read. The succinct article is valuable to all administrators and those in academic governance as a means of building a cohesive awareness, understanding the scope and magnitude of the influence of a compliance culture on managing an institution. AGB just released a new publication Top 10 Campus Legal Issues for Boards that zeroes in on a finite list of legal risks that help campus citizens to understand that the issues of compliance may also expose the institution to legal and financial risks. AGB’s short list of issues includes:

  1. Sexual Violence
  2. Risky Student Behavior
  3. Cybersecurity
  4. Online Learning
  5. Affirmative Action In Admissions and Financial Aid
  6. Workplace Issues
  7. Statutory and Regulatory Compliance Issues
  8. Federal Cost Accounting and Effort Reporting
  9. Construction and Deferred Maintenance
  10. Transparency, Ethical Conduct, and Behavior

If you have specific compliance concerns, findings, or wish to dig deeper then I recommend turning to the Higher Education Compliance Alliance (HECA) Compliance Matrix which provides a comprehensive list of key federal laws and regulations governing colleges and universities. It includes a brief summary of each law, applicable reporting deadlines, and links to additional resources.

If you wish to explore a career in compliance then I recommend the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) and the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA).

If you have other resources you recommend please feel free to append them to this post.

 

 

 

Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan (10 urgent initiatives that should not be delayed)

There is mounting evidence that the condition of higher education grows more ominous. (Higher Education: Apocalypse Now?) One thing has become crystal clear — no more business or planning as usual. (I considered titling this post “Sins of Omission: 10 urgent things you should do now, but probably will delay, and deeply regret it.”)

Strategic plans developed under a 20th century paradigm and context do not adequately prepare institutions for the realities of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem. As competition for enrollment increases, yield decreases, budgets tighten, and the outlook for higher education grows more perilous.

Higher Education generally appears to be languishing in a static, moribund routine, perpetuating the past while a few focus upon inventing the future. The current fiscal/enrollment malaise is not just a cyclical downturn in students and funding driven by demographics and economic bad times (although these are certainly the case), but rather a permanent shift to learning in a new paradigm.

Excuses and approaches bounce back and fourth between needing quick easy to implement ideas to stimulate enrollment, to firing people for not achieving enrollment, to being too busy to engineer a solid strategy and persist in its implementation, to just being too busy to do anything different. Failing approaches are generally myopic, underfunded, launched too late, or just ill conceived opinions of something that someone in authority believes should work.

While we need not fly into oblivion on autopilot, I fear some will, based upon all too often refrains such as: “we can’t do that-politics-you know,” “show me a strategy guaranteed to work and I am all in,” “that is too complex, I need simple solutions that require no time, no budget, and no talent,” “we have decided to wait until the future is clearer so we are not on the bleeding edge.” For more see 50 Losing SEM Strategies. One always has the option of just sitting by and waiting for the tide of the future to wash them away. If that is not the chosen option, then we must move beyond the debilitating, nagging, internal dialog resisting the forces that are shaping the future and get on with it.

Here are ten critical initiatives required to prepare for the future and acheive fiscal and enrollment sustainability.

  1. Future Proof your Strategic Plan
  2. Revitalize the Academic Master Plan
  3. Engage Academic SEM Integrated Planning
  4. Develop and Implement Academic Program SEM Initiatives
  5. Revitalize CORE/GE Curriculum
  6. Refocus and enhance Strategic Position Strategies
  7. Optimize Resources
  8. Develop Capacity
  9. Solidify an Institutional Effectiveness System to Inculcate an Integrated IE Quality Culture
  10. Accelerate action, make room for the work

Let’s examine each of these in a little more detail.

Future Proofing your Strategic Plan

Many strategic plans fulfill the need for a plan but focus on a paradigm that is rapidly being overtaken by a digital reality. Such a strategic plan, built upon the old paradigm, can completely miss the entire point of having one. A strategic plan is an opportunity to visualize the future of the academic enterprise and set it on a course toward what will be. For this reason, we suggest a curriculum-centered strategic plan designed to inculcate a learner-centered curriculum. Looking to the future requires that a plan set a strategic course that recognizes and optimizes the paradigm shift to a global digital learning ecosystem. The new paradigm connects the curriculum to the learner rather than requiring the learner to come to the curriculum. This fundamental change in strategic relationships establishes new competitive rules, alters the scale of enrollments achievable in a course or program, eliminates geographic boundaries, and creates global markets. A strategic plan must deal with increased competition for students and resources, and the pressure to reduce the cost of a credential. It must advance strategies for institutional effectiveness as well as reference market awareness and alignment. These are huge challenges made more complex by campus politics and distracting calls to return to the last millennium and the ‘rules’ of that playing field. The plain fact is that higher education has never received adequate public funding and the shift in burden has been steadily to the learner. Some call that approach the house that student debt built, racking up a whopping $1.2 Trillion in students loans. So above all, a future proofed strategic plan must chart a course toward sustainability.  The first step is to frame a prototype Learning Age Strategic Plan  that helps visualize the pathway forward and articulate the various options.

One option is to develop a rapid prototype strategic plan designed specifically for the 21st century as a preparatory and learning step to developing your strategic plan. The following graphic depicts a development model for constructing a prototype, much of which will form the strategic plan that follows.

Figure 1: A Model Prototype Strategic Plan

Prototype 3

Recalibration of an academic culture of the magnitude required to align with the emerging global digital learning ecosystem, takes time. Time at this stage is in short supply and demands are growing more intense. A rapid prototype provides a means to rapidly run through scenarios that help remove the scariness from the future and get a sketch of what a future focused strategic plan looks like. Further, multiple scenarios can generate more than one prototype so various entities can follow their logic and ideas to a complete concept articulated in their prototype. A Prototype is just that and not a final plan so participants focus upon the scenario and not politics first.  The result can be one or several competing prototypes that articulate different approaches and interpretations of the forces through an institutional lens. The graphic above depicts an approach we developed to illicit a framed prototype providing more detail of an approach. A great example of a pre strategic planning preparatory and learning process is captured in the Future of MIT report. Another great resource is The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 21st Century Commission’s report, Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future. As you examine these resources be aware the entire process is anchored in Mission and Vision.

Revitalizing the Academic Master Plan (AMP)

In order to future proof a strategic plan, serious attention must be given to academic strategies and that means the Academic Master Plan or as some prefer the Master Academic Plan.  A revitalized AMP examines the scope of the curriculum, as well as program of study design models and emerging options for curriculum. The AMP should articulate a forward looking curriculum architecture that enables the institution to embrace the emerging  global digital learning ecosystem, such as the seven tier proficiency based model. A future focused planning process assesses different curricula generas such as, scholar practitioner, community of practice, proficiency/competency/outcomes based, optimized core/GE, and all the permutations they engender. The AMP must provide meaningful assurance through curriculum, learning, and learner assessments. The assessment processes and the use of what is learned from them must be embedded in both the curriculum review/revision process and learner engagement strategies. Above all, the AMP must be developed as a holistic approach to the new learning paradigm. This means tempering politics with reason and a restoration of civility as academic options and approaches are identified, reviewed, discussed, adopted or rejected, adapted and implemented. In the end, it is the curriculum that determines sustainability.

Academic Strategy Illustrated

Engaging in Academic SEM Integrated Planning

Even the best Academic Master Plan will under yield if the jagged rift between Academic Culture and Strategic Enrollment Management is not eliminated and a vibrant Academic SEM culture nurtured. That means that a quality curriculum must be informed by market realities and aligned with the tenets of academic excellence, public good and learner needs. Academic quality and demonstrable value are essential. The concept of perceived and real value must be understood, examined, and developed as a tool of recruitment and retention. New programmatic design models must be embraced as they emerge in a new paradigm. Academic programs and initiatives must connect inspirationally to the prospect’s decisions and choices. Deeper more connected programmatic narratives must emerge to undergird and advance institutional strategic position. In the process, the concept of geographic reach and service area must be reexamined and interpreted through a new, more global academic lens. Academics and SEM professionals must explore and optimize the social media tools and methods to engage potential enrollees. Academic SEM is, in fact, an approach that nurtures a community of scholars and practitioners engaged in extending institutional reach, strategic position and enrollment health. Understanding the complex cycles, interdependent timelines, integrated operational realities and managing them is an essential element of future proofing a strategic plan.

Figure 2: Academic SEM Cycles and Processes

SEMCycle-Steps

Developing and Implementing Academic Program SEM Initiatives

Academic SEM initiatives are fed by two factors, academic program development/revitalization, and strategic positioning strategies. Planning is essential but it is fruitless without tangible Academic SEM initiatives. These two sometimes dispirit communities come together most tangibly in a recruitment campaign (paradoxically often the most under designed aspect of a recruitment program). This means that campaigns must translate academic value into terms that can be understood, that are inspirational, that connect to campus visits, and that illustrate student engagement and reveal outcomes. Campaigns must provoke interest, capture imagination, open a dialog, intrigue the viewer and engage the curious. New program launches are not just an academic triumph but a significant SEM campaign challenge that requires expert timing, careful preplanning, and meticulous attention to detail. Existing programs must also be positioned and that does not mean just marketing and promotion it means the systematic development of competitive narrative that compels interest and drives enrollment. Every aspect of the curriculum and academic life must be examined and considered for use in achieving a competitive position in the enrollment marketplace.

Revitalizing CORE/GE Curriculum

Virtually every institution must take a critical look at their core/GE curriculum strategy. Given that it consumes 30% to 40% of the courses in an undergraduate program of study and accounts for 30% to 40% of the cost of an undergraduate credential, it must deliver value that is understood by students and their families. Contention is needless since the evidence is strong of the long term value but few tell the story well and even fewer optimize the design of their Core/GE for market value. Regardless of approach, core curriculum or distribution requirements, the basic tenets naturally align with core employability skills.  One only need review What Work Requires of Schools (aka the SCAN Skills Report) commissioned by the U.S. Secretary of Labor to see the relationship between employability outcomes and those of foundational programs such as Core/GE curricula, co-curricular and first year experience programs. Design must enhance a narrative about the curriculum’s value. The narrative must describe and explain the value and the curriculum must deliver the outcomes required.

Refocusing and enhancing Strategic Position Strategies

Strategic Position is defined as the sum of the competitive characteristics an institution or program possesses when compared to other institutions or programs in the global learning ecosystem or specific market segments. The concept comprises both marketing and branding and extends the efforts of competitiveness to a holistic, proactive, cohesive process defining, developing and implementing a strategy of sustainability. The roots of strategic positioning lie in the academic master plan and the academic culture and curriculum it defines, builds and sustains. The most effective enrollment management strategies are designed to build and sustain strategic market position. The process begins with institutional strategy emanating from mission and vision.

Strategic position is the term we use to sum the competitive position an academic entity has in a defined learning market. Strategic positioning requires a deep understanding of the emerging competitive market dynamics and institutional strengths and weaknesses with respect to attracting, enrolling, and retaining students. Strategic position is not branding, marketing, advertising or public relations, although all of these are tools used to help develop and sustain a strategic position.  The impact of strategic positioning strategies are the result of research, analysis, campaign design and implementation efforts along six interrelated dimensions. Enhancing strategic position requires assessing where an institution is with respect to what prospective students are looking for in an educational opportunity and what other providers in its competitive sphere offer. The assessment of strategic position is informed through at least six lenses.

  • The demographics lens examines enrollment strategy and performance against geographic scope, reach and yield. Scope assesses and defines target populations, reach details tactics to engage target populations and yield measures enrollment performance.
  • The learning outcomes lens examines the metrics and perceptions of the benefit and value added through the learning experience.
  • The academic programs lens examines the scope and focus of the academic program mix requiring an evaluation of saturation and opportunity against market dynamics.
  • The research and scholarship lens examines the comparative scholarly performance of the institution against competitors.
  • The employment domains and discipline spheres lens examine the requirements of employers, contemporary realities in academic communities and the performance and success of alums.
  • The community of practice lens examines academic strategies tied to emerging trans-disciplinary communities of practice that require a collaborative academic background to join.

Figure 3: Six Dimensions of Strategic Position

 

Strategic Position Diagram

Strategic Position can be defined as the sum of the competitive characteristics an institution or program possesses when compared to other institutions or programs in the global learning sphere or its specific market segments.

Optimizing Resources

Optimizing resources means aligning the allocation of time, money, and human capital with the evolving challenges facing higher education. It means building capacity and managing strategic effort, and the creative development  of resources to support the initiatives necessary to achieve the desired strategic position. Before one can optimize a resource one must first have it. This means the first step in optimizing requires assessing one’s strategic assets against future needs and challenges. The guiding principle in the process is found in the prototype strategic plan strategy (above) ‘Make Everything Count,’ toward the ultimate goal of sustainability. Inevitably this means making tradeoffs and it is here that many efforts fail. Success in optimizing resources means developing a keen sense of keeping things on the critical path forward and not letting artifact processes of the status quo derail the move forward.

Developing Capacity

Capacity is defined by the resources available that align with and support the initiatives necessary to achieve the desired strategic position. Capacity includes knowledge, skills, systems, methods, organizational strengths, and time. Time means room in appropriate work plans, schedules and projects. Knowledge, skills and methods means we must invest in people and recognize that apprenticing in the old paradigm and acculturating to old memes is insufficient to meet the demands of the future.  For example, after helping a client get budget approval for a social networking person we were disappointed to learn a road warrior had been hired instead crippling the social networking strategy.

Developing capacity also means getting the most out of institutional systems. We have experienced decades of implementing sub optimized systems. Choosing to install or engage only the minimum required to get a system to work, leaving till later the realization of a system’s true potential. We have seen this sub optimized approach in every institution we have evaluated.  Well, it’s later, and time to bite the bullet and drive toward true systems optimization. It is time to demand full systems implementation and full utilization of systems performance. Time to rectify bad decisions of the past and get on with getting the most out of the institution’s systems infrastructure. This does not mean just start implementing old or antiquated systems that were never optimized. It means take a fresh look, determine where optimization contributes to the critical path toward sustainability and move forward.

Solidify an Institutional Effectiveness System to Inculcate an Integrated IE Quality Culture

Yes, a system and it must integrate with the management culture and operations, planning, and decision making. Too often these elements are ad-hoc and not connected. A checklist of words are evaluated to determine we have that and that. But in fact, they are just isolated elements that do not contribute to decisions and operations. When key elements are isolated and fragmented they give the illusion that the bases are covered, when in fact, they are not. Time to close the loop and make sure that the assessments that are conducted inform the decisions of the future.

Accelerate action, make room for the work

Finally, comes the accelerating the processes and pace of work. Work is a combination of effective asset and resource management, optimizing tools and systems and removing what gets in the way. I am frequently reminded by clients that a meetings culture in their institution gets in the way of their work. Attention to the amount of time administrators and staff spend in meetings is valuable discipline. Where it exists, a very serious effort must be made to restrain runaway meeting syndrome and reign in the unrestricted claim on work time allocated to meetings that do not contribute to sustainability. A colleague describes a meeting subculture in higher education that has led to individuals defining their role by the meetings they call, attend, and require with little or no attention to the unintended cost in unrealized goals.

One of the biggest barriers to strategic planning success is that nothing happens because the plan or critical parts of it are not implemented. Room for the work must be carved out of the business as usual routine. Leaders who just keep heaping on items and expecting the human system to just continue to absorb the new demands have crippled many institutions. If willingness, ability, or understanding of the work to performed is the issue then that must be dealt with as well. This is a management function and in our experience poor management is an Achilles heal for higher education. Specifically, attention needs to be paid to strategic plan implementation. It requires more disciplined calendaring, time management, project management, resource allocation, and monitoring.

In Closing

Future proofing your Strategic Plan is not just a box to tick during accreditation review processes or a chore to be done because the Board of Trustees requires one. It is an essential element in making enrollment goals and achieving a sustainable position in an increasingly global, highly competitive, enrollment  marketplace. A strategic plan is not just a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) Analysis, nor is it just a table of SGO’s (strategies, goals, and objectives).  A strategic plan, if done well, articulates the pathway to sustainability. If it does not then it needs to be ‘Future Proofed.’

 

Overview of the CCSPM Model [Video]

The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model (CCSPM) provides a framework for strategic planning in higher education. This video provides a brief overview of the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model and its functions.

What is the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model?

The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model is built specifically for higher education, and centers as the name suggests, on the curriculum. It is designed to import whatever planning has already occurred in an institution avoiding the unpleasant prospect of starting over. It integrates seamlessly with accreditation self-study processes, and if implemented in time, can become the core of the accreditation process. The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model can also integrate academic program review into the overall institutional strategic planning initiative providing unprecedented cohesion between academic and institutional plans. The process is designed to run continuously, refreshing itself each cycle and providing an effective communications process resulting in clear understanding among the array of both internal and external institutional constituents.

The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model is conducted through seven interlocking planning activities including:

  1. Identification and definition of Key Performance Indicators
  2. Detailing of a Learner-Centered Curriculum Architecture
  3. Conducting an External Environmental Scan
  4. Conducting an Internal Environmental Scan
  5. Building on the knowledge and insights gained in the first four activities then engaging in strategic, operational and action planning
  6. Implementation and integrating plans into the management process
  7. Evaluation to determine effectiveness that feeds back to the internal environmental assessment

Curriculum Centered Strategic Planning Model

About the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model

The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model was designed and developed by Michael G. Dolence, President of Michael G. Dolence and Associates, a consulting firm serving higher education and the vendors and public policy entities that engage with it worldwide. The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Management Model is the next generation of strategic planning model that evolved from the Strategic Decision Engine published in Working Toward Strategic Change (Jossey-Bass 1996).

Institute on Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Learner-Centered Curriculum 2015

Eventbrite - Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability

When: March 16 – 18, 2015

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Claremont, California

The design of the Institute for Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Learner-Centered Curriculum recognizes the centrality of the learner to the curriculum and the primacy of the curriculum to the institutional strategic plan. It also recognizes that planning for education in the learning age is supported by a global digital learning ecosystem. The planning horizon is characterized by increased demands for accountability, increased competition, significant learner and institutional economic challenges, and significant differences of opinion on how the future should be approached.

Diagram-CCSPM

Who Should Attend

The institute is designed for institutional and academic leaders and planners, including chief planning officers, provosts, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, academic governance officers, interested faculty, accreditation team members, institutional planners, and institutional effectiveness professionals.  Our institutes explore critical elements of the academic and enrollment domains and shape new strategic horizons for colleges and universities.

I just completed a 3 day Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability (December 2014) with Michael and it was tremendously helpful. Not only did my enrollment VP and I gain a better understanding of the impact that the curriculum has on enrollment’s ability to recruit students but we learned many very practical examples of what works and what doesn’t in designing curriculum and attracting students. I think the Program of Study plan is very helpful in helping faculty design narratives that enrollment can use to sell programs. I would recommend Michael and his workshops to anyone who is open-minded enough to believe that higher ed needs to change and we have to get in front of that change if we are to survive and thrive! – Christine Pharr, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, College of Saint Mary, Omaha, NE

Our Institute series recognizes the need for unprecedented collaboration between academic and enrollment domains guided by new visionary strategic plans that forge a cohesive approach to a future full of uncertainty. We continually develop resources to help the journey into the future.

I had the opportunity to attend Michael’s first institute of this series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability. As a former Chief Academic Officer who thought she had a pretty reasonable grasp of enrollment management strategies and their critical integration with academic affairs planning – I was astonished about how much I learned not just from MGD in his presentations and discussions, but from those enrollment management leaders in attendance . The institute served to crystallize in just 2 days an approach, a way of thinking and resources that all provide a pathway for the work we need to do for our own institutions. Based upon the postings already offered to us on https://mgdolence.com/, this next institute appears to be a very logical next step – especially for academic leadership – to fully grasp what is involved in a academic planning for meeting our enrollment challenges in this new learning age. – Margaret K. McLaughlin, Ph.D., Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Vision, Mission, Position Review
    Begins with a review of the vision, mission and strategic position of the institution and establishes a strategy baseline using the SRS method.
  • Session II: Learner Centrality
    Examines the tenets of learner-centerdness using a formal framework detailing seven framing questions.
  • Session III: Curriculum Architecture
    Reviews the basics of curriculum architecture and explores options and implications of choices on the alignment with enrollment markets.
  • Session IV: Master Academic Plan (MAP)
    Examines the fundamental role a MAP plays in the development of an institutional strategic plan. A focus on alignment with the principles of sustainability is maintained while exploring the implications of various curricular scenarios.
  • Session V: The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning Model
    Examines the seven basic steps in the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning Model.
  • Session VI: The Changing Learning Landscape
    Explores various dimensions of the emerging learning age paradigm powered by a global digital learning ecosystem. The current state of innovation is examined and the implications of several important case examples are explored. Innovative programs of study and the fundamentals of effective program design are explored, as-well-as methods of embedding market value into programs of study.
  • Session VII: Institutional Strategies, Tactics, Goals and Objectives
    Structuring effective institutional strategies, tactics, goals and objectives as a means of optimizing short range (bump), mid range, and long range enrollment and fiscal health.
  • Session VIII: Prototyping a Learning Age Strategic Plan
    Posits four essental strategies and eight supportive tactical plans designed to build a sustainable future.

Institute Agenda

March 16, 2015

  • 10:00 am – Check-in & Registration
  • 1:00 pm – Session I: Vision, Mission, Position Review
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session II: Learner Centrality
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

March 17, 2015

  • 8:00 am – Continental Breakfast (Provided)
  • 8:30 am – Session III: Curriculum Architecture
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session IV: Master Academic Plan
  • 12:00 pm Lunch (Provided) Break, Check In & Networking
  • 1:00 pm – Session V: The Curriculum Centered Strategic Planning Model
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session VI: The Changing Learning Landscape
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

March 18, 2015

  • 8:00 am Continental Breakfast (Provided) & Networking
  • 8:30 am – Session VII: Institutional Strategies, Tactics, Goals and Objectives
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session VIII: Prototyping a Learning Age Strategic Plan
  • 12:00 pm – Adjourn

Institute Philosophy & Pedagogy

COAS MGDA Cert0001The current paradigm shift to the learning age is powered by a global digital learning ecosystem and requires unprecedented focus on academic strategy to meet the challenges it presents. The institute is built around a philosophy that is both learner and learning centered, focused through a lens that is intensely curriculum-centered. The Institute curriculum frames a strategic plan that is designed to deliver practical strategic solutions for short, medium and long range impact. Institute pedagogy uses a blended seminar style guided by a digital interactive syllabus with readings, self-study and participant dialog. Participants will use their institution as the subject of their case study. Participants will have the opportunity for interaction with institute colleagues long after attending the program as they contribute to the strategic planning community of practice.

About the Faculty

Michael G. DolenceMichael Dolence is President of Michael G. Dolence and Associates, a global research and consulting firm specializing in innovation in education, academic planning, curriculum development and enrollment management. Michael developed the Strategic Decision Engine, a structured strategic planning model published in Working Toward Strategic Change. Continued development lead to the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning model and the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework. To facilitate the development of 21st century curricula he synthesized the Proficiency Based Curriculum Architecture Model.

MGDA has developed a comprehensive curriculum planning and prototyping software system used to design academic prototypes for new universities and academic facilities worldwide. The system supports program of study design and development as-well-as academic optimization scenario analysis and innovative curricula design.

Logistics

  • Institute Terms of Payment and Refund Policy
  • Enrollment is limited to 40 participants.
  • Accommodations are NOT included in Institute Registration and are the responsibility of the attendee. A separate link directly to the hotel is provided for convenience.
  • Institute seating is rounds of 6 providing ample space for each participant.
  • Wi-Fi will support access to online resources.
  • We recommend at least two individuals from an institution attend, one from institutional planning and one from academic governance or leadership.
  • Monday afternoon start time permits Saturday air travel and Wednesday departure and is served by five airports (LAX, SNA, BUR, ONT, LGB ).
  • Claremont location is central to Los Angeles area sites and attractions.
  • Participants are on their own for dinner Monday and Tuesday. Options include hotel dining or the numerous restaurants in the village of Claremont.
  • Hotel Shuttle is available for the short ride to the village or take your time and enjoy the walk through the streets of the City of Trees.

Selected Topics to be Covered

As we work through the concepts and construct individual pathways to developing a strategic plan there are a hosts of tools, methods, concepts and approaches we will introduce and use. Here are a few examples:

Curriculum Architecture

What is curriculum architecture and why is it important? How is it incorporated into SEM Strategy? How does academic strategy inform SEM strategy via curriculum architecture? How does SEM strategy inform curriculum and how are the insights rendered into implementable initiatives?

SRS Method of Strategy Development & Mission Review

The SRS Method provides a framework for structured dialog that integrates institutional mission and vision with curriculum and enrollment management. How does mission and vision translate to strategy and sustainability?

Paradigm Shift: Crisis, Opportunity or Myth?

The Paradigm Shift is real, presents extraordinary opportunities, has and will continue to lead institutions into crisis, and is believed to be a myth by a small and dwindling community. Regardless of whether you believe the current paradigm shift to a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem is a crisis, an opportunity, or a myth, the failure to recognize its impact and implications can be catastrophic for an institution.

The Paradigm Shift has led to the dawn of the Learning Age. An age characterized by ubiquitous and persistent lifelong learning within, between, and throughout global cultures. For higher education, we already see a significant differentiation of the curriculum architecture serving the learning age versus that serving the industrial age summarized in Figure 1 below.

Paradigm-Shift(2)

No disrespect or pejorative context is intended or implied here. We depart the Industrial Age having optimized that paradigm for learning with extraordinary institutions of knowledge, research and learning and most important a dedicated cadre of talented researchers, teachers, scholars, and practitioners dedicated to advancing the human condition. A paradigm shift however, has little to do with the accomplishments of the past, it is built upon what is possible in the future given certain changes in conditions.

Lets examine just three of the conditions that have changed that fuel the fires of the Learning Age.

Digital Communications

Ubiquitous digital communications and connectivity defines the first conditional change. The ability to openly connect to global populations instantaneously alters the human condition. This ability to connect changes human interactions and dynamics, establishes a global, cross cultural borderless society that superimposes over the existing geographic boundaries of nationalism. It opens the flow of data, information, opinion, images, narratives, beliefs and creative expressions to all with access. The dimension and utilization of the global digital communications infrastructure is staggering.

The fundamental change involves infrastructure development, connectivity, capacity, and utilization.

Global digital communications define the new learning ecosystem’s functional and operational parameters. Interpersonal communications channels, systems, platforms, and facilitators are rapidly evolving, providing a plethora of options upon which learning processes are built and enhanced. The Conversation Prism provides an excellent visualization of the ever evolving digital communications domain.

JESS3_BrianSolis_ConversationPrism4_WEB_1280x1024

Figure 3: The Conversation Prism V4.0: Developed in 2008 by Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life.

Ubiquitous digital communications provides the means to deliver copious amounts of content to individuals. The next condition rapidly evolving and driving disruption across learning and education systems is the extraordinary amount of information digitized, stored and available for open access.

Global Digital Knowledge and Information Repositories

Basic knowledge media (the media by which knowledge and information is collected, stored, and accessed) has shifted from physical (primarily paper) to digital media. Collectively, the mass of data has been referred to as the digital universe.

The shift in media from physical to digital expands access exponentially to the information required by individuals engaged in learning. When coupled with digital search, filter, share and cite capabilities, the impact is dramatic and the implications profound for learning architectures and systems. The impact might be more marginal if the sheer volume of the content were not so extraordinary.

The digital universe is growing at 40% a year. It is almost doubling in size every 2 years and by 2020 the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – will reach 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion gigabytes. EMC Digital Universe Study

Online Reference Sites abound on the Internet. University of Texas at Austin is a handy compiled list to illustrate a profile of collected links leading to terabytes of indexed information. The vast repositories of data and information are accessed via and used by an ever expanding inventory of learning and creative tools learners are organizing into high performance learning and creativity environments.

Digital Learning & Creative Tools & Environments

Teachers and faculty have recognized the value of digital learning and creative tools from the beginning.  The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014 published in the U.K. compiles the results of the 8th Annual Learning Tools Survey conducted by Jane Hart from the votes of 1,038 learning professionals from 61 countries worldwide and published on 22 September 2014.

The digital learning landscape is rapidly evolving. The same digital paradigm shift is driving rapid evolutionary changes across all sectors of global society and no one is immune. There are numerous examples of institutions that understand the magnitude and implications of the shift.  There has been a dramatic impact upon the academic and curricular elements in education.

Start with MIT’s Open Courseware initiative now posting 2,150 courses and clocking 125 million visitors.

In 1999, MIT Faculty considered how to use the Internet in pursuit of MIT’s mission—to advance knowledge and educate students—and in 2000 proposed OCW. MIT published the first proof-of-concept site in 2002, containing 50 courses. By November 2007, MIT completed the initial publication of virtually the entire curriculum, over 1,800 courses in 33 academic disciplines.

MIT didn’t stop their visioning with OCW. I encourage you to visit the website and read the report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. I also encourage you to examine the $7K Georgia Tech, Udacity, and AT&T  online Master’s degree in Computer Science. The edX.org organization should be thoroughly examined taking note of the expanding list of partners. Coursera has a large scale course delivery system with over 10 million learners enrolled in 883 courses from 116 providers is an example of courses delivered on a massive scale. There are many more examples.

Pathways to the Learning Age

These three fundamental characteristics of the emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem are 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.

  1. Disruptive change is characterized by two paradigms colliding abruptly. Fear, anger, disbelief, and resistance are natural reactions during this period of adjustment.
  2. Adaptive change is characterized by educators making use of the functionality of the digital environments but resisting substantive change to the system that controls and manages it.
  3. 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.

In the end, the new paradigm means rethinking the higher education model and that means rethinking all things academic. The bad news, there are any number of barriers to an institution rapidly evolving to accommodate and optimize the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. The good news, there are significant options emerging and more under development that facilitate and enable institutions to adapt, and if done in time, flourish. There are, however, no simple solutions, proven pathways to clone or slam dunk approaches that guarantee success.

Each educational entity (college, university, school, educational system, learning organization…) will move through each of these stages at their own pace. Some will not survive the economic and enrollment disruptions occurring in parallel as the new paradigm takes root. The perils of the shift are exacerbated by corresponding economic, demographic and political factors, frictions and conditions. College and University trustees must  recognize the need for dramatic realignment and learn to require, encourage and support institutions through the maze of decisions and options that must be confronted in order to flourish in the new paradigm. Because it is a fortunate institution who has a senior leadership team capable of navigating the turbulent waters of the paradigm shift, we must focus upon developing the human capacity to engage the future. Most, if not all, strategic plans in higher education must be recast to facilitate preparing an institution for the post paradigm shift future.

In Closing

The magnitude of impact and speed at which the emerging paradigm is developing, coupled with very significant trends directly effecting higher education, make a concerted effort to adapt extremely urgent. This is not to abandon the model we have but to rapidly adapt to emerging new conditions. That means a focus on developing an institution’s strategic position in a global learning market.

MGD+A is currently posting a series in our blog titled Prototype a Learning Age Strategic Plan, to help focus institutional planning on the future. In February 2015, MGD+A will host an Institute on Academic Strategies and Master Academic Planning and in March 2015, MGD+A will be hosting an Institute on Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning and the Learner-Centered Curriculum to address academic and institutional options and opportunities emerging from the new paradigm.

Strategic Enrollment Management Plan: Part 6

Prototype a Learning Age Strategic Plan Series Banner

The Strategic Enrollment Management Plan is the sixth element in a cohesive prototype plan leading an institution into the future. It is an integral part of a cohesive planning and management system serving to guide organizational development, focus and workflow. I receive many requests for an outline but the specifics of a plan are largely dependent upon the institutions typology and strategic condition of its academic portfolio and enrollment history. This post will serve to frame the basic functions and some strategic elements necessary for any Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.

The purpose of the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan is threefold:

  • Inform the Master Academic Plan regarding global learning market conditions, challenges and opportunities;
  • Present the institutions academic program to the global learning marketplace and engage prospects to yield enrollments;
  • Manage enrollment dynamics to optimize revenue and enrollment performance.

The foundation of any Strategic Enrollment Management Plan emanates from assumptions either formal or de facto about the relative position of the institution in the global learning ecosystem or within specific learning market segments.

Common Strategic Enrollment Management Plan characteristics include:

  • A long range view with specific references such as 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 year milestones.
  • Updated annually
  • Translates the Institutional Strategic Plan and Master Academic Plan into action
  • Fully integrates the Master Academic Plan with the global learning marketplace
  • Fully involves the academic leadership
  • Guides academic and enrollment organizational development (human capital and systems infrastructure)

Strategic Position

The Strategic Enrollment Management Plan when combined with the Institutional Strategic Plan and the Master Academic Plan determine the institutions relative strategic position in the global learning ecosystem. Conversely the desired strategic position focuses the development of specific strategies, tactics, goals and objectives in the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.

Strategic Position is defined as the sum of the competitive characteristics an institution or program possesses when compared to other institutions or programs in the global learning ecosystem or specific market segments. While marketing, branding, and competitiveness are certainly integral to the strategy, the roots of strategic positioning lie in the academic master plan and the academic culture and curriculum it defines, builds and sustains. The process begins with institutional strategy emanating from mission and vision. We use the SRS Method to develop a clear and concise translation and guide Strategic Enrollment Management plans, campaigns and analysis.

The SRS Method of Mission Review and Strategy Development

Figure 1: The SRS Method of Mission Review and Strategy Development

Contrary to the common practice, “we need more,” is neither a strategy nor a plan. The concept of strategic position is built around assessing where an institution is with respect to others in its competitive sphere. The assessment of strategic position is informed through at least six lenses.

  • The Demographics Lens
    Examines enrollment strategy and performance against geographic scope, reach and yield. Scope assesses and defines target populations, reach details tactics to engage target populations and yield measures enrollment performance.
  • The Learning Outcomes Lens
    Examines the metrics and perceptions of the benefit and value added through the learning experience.
  • The Academic Programs Lens
    Examines the scope and focus of the academic program mix requiring an evaluation of saturation and opportunity against market dynamics.
  • The Research and Scholarship Lens
    Examines the comparative scholarly performance of the institution against competitors.
  • The Employment Domains and Discipline Spheres Lens
    Examine the requirements of employers, contemporary realities in academic communities and the performance and success of alums.
  • The Community of Practice Lens
    Examines academic strategies tied to emerging trans-disciplinary communities of practice that require a collaborative academic background to join.
Six Lenses Informing Strategic Position

Figure 2: Six Lenses Informing Strategic Position – Strategic Position can be defined as the sum of the competitive characteristics an institution or program possesses when compared to other institutions or programs in the global learning sphere or its specific market segments.

Note the primacy of academic programs (Academic Programs, Learning Outcomes, Research and Scholarship) in the concept and strategic position framework. Because the academic strategies drive enrollment management performance, the cycles that drive each of them must be aligned, and synergy developed. They must also be aligned with the three external factors; population dynamics and demographics, employment domains and global discipline conditions, and emerging communities of practice.

The Life Cycles of PIE

Strategic enrollment management utilizes a basic PIE (Plan / Implement / Evaluate) Cycle to produce results. It is a three year cycle. Each fall, enrollment managers begin the cycle by evaluating last year’s campaign against enrollments registered on census day, launching the current recruitment plan as informed by ongoing evaluation, and planning the next fall’s recruitment campaign. The full cycle takes three years to complete:

  • Year 1
    Develop the recruitment Plan
  • Year 2
    Implement the recruitment plan
  • Year 3 and Continuous
    Evaluate results using analytics and time series methods.

Curriculum management also runs in a basic three year PIE cycle. Academic program modifications, curriculum development, and academic policy modifications are collected, and the results are published in the academic catalog to be offered as the basis for enrollment. Because it serves as the basis for a contract between the institution and the student the academic catalog becomes the input to the development of a Strategic Enrollment Management Recruitment campaign. The confluence and interplay between the various cycles of development, review, approval, and implementation require consistent, clear communications and a commitment to a common goal.

Synchronizing the academic and enrollment management calendars, schedules, and cycles are essential to a smooth enrollment development culture. Cycles must nurture enrollment management campaigns designed to recruit the next cohort of students.

The recruitment, retention, and graduation of students follow the predictive staged path detailed in the Strategic Enrollment Management Funnel. Between each band lies the yield from decisions made in the previous to progress further down the funnel toward registration. Campaigns are designed to yield the progress from suspect populations (input to the funnel) through the various stages.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Funnel

Figure 3: The Strategic Enrollment Management Funnel

Campaigns

Defined as an integrated set of recruitment activities designed to achieve a specific enrollment target in a specified amount of time. A campaign is guided by institutional strategy, master academic plan, and strategic position and developed in order to meet recruitment period enrollment targets.

  • Targets Begin with trajectory statements such as increase academic profile of freshman class or increase diversity of the undergraduate population, or increase geographic representation of graduate enrollments. Specific campaign targets then flow from these trajectories, such as, grow enrollment from Asia (specifically China, Japan, Malaysia, India, & Indonesia) by x% to 100 incoming students in fall (year).
  • Messaging Develops the specific messages and sequences them to influence prospect decision making. Messaging creates the value proposition, removes barriers, engages the interest, and leads the prospect through learning about the opportunity to experience an academic culture. It is both art and science and is rarely enhanced by opinion.
  • Channels Map the messages to specific communications systems and schedule them in a strategic order to influence prospects decision to proceed through the application process to enrollment. Channels include events (face-to-face), social media, advertising, including virtually every vehicle of engagement available.
  • Closing In the end the entire campaign is about the final negotiation and closing the offer of enrollment. The right tools and flexibility must be in the hands of the closer.

Enrollment managers are working a minimum of three campaigns at any given time. They are evaluating what worked in the previous, implementing the current and planning the next. A consistent critical weakness we have observed is too little time, and attention is paid to campaign planning and analysis.

In Closing

This brief introduction to the construct, value and key elements of a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan serves to orient its role in the structure of a solid strategic planning process. Without this solid foundation enrollment development activities are adrift, guided only by angst, panic, opinion, beliefs, notions, and impatience.

Master Academic Plan: Part 5

Master Academic Plan: Part 5

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The Academic Plan must be the center of any Strategic Plan for an Institution of Higher Education. It serves as the ‘Master’ Academic Plan because “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!” It can also be termed the Academic Master Plan because it translates institutional mission and vision into action and establishes the strategic terms and conditions for the development of all things academic. An Academic Master Plan by its nature is dynamic and in a constant state of evolution. If it is not constantly being nurtured, developed, and aligned with emerging changes in the global learning ecosystem then it is in decline. If it is in decline then, the institution is either in decline or not far behind. There are many moving parts, and they must work together.

Master Academic Plan (Graphic)

The Master Academic Plan is essential to the process of fostering institutional vitality and fiscal health. Enabling the future requires that the conceptual framework of the MAP be future focused evolving changes in the learning ecosystem into academic strategies. The future focus is established in the institutional strategic plan. The first four posts in this series addressed this requirement by highlighting four pivotal strategies:

  • Change the Paradigm
  • Focus on Value
  • Develop Capacity, and
  • Make Everything Count.

The Master Academic Plan must enable the academic enterprise to lead on the pathway to institutional vitality and fiscal health. The Master Academic Plan establishes the foundation for the future by guiding and enabling development of the institutions supporting tactical plans, such as:

  • Enrollment Management Plan,
  • Digital Learning Environment Plan
  • Systems and Technology Plan
  • Human Resources Plan
  • Assessment Plan
  • Financial Plan
  • Campus Master Plan

Conversely, each of these plans supports, nurture, and are essential to the success of the master academic plan and the institutions strategic plan.

The Master Academic Plan (MAP)

The concept of a Master Academic Plan can appear daunting at first. Remember all of the elements are currently and in some way already in play and underway. The first step is collecting all of the various pieces, aligning them and reviewing their intent and impact based upon assumptions about the future and the strategic direction desired. The MAP more than any other planning effort establishes the foundation for fiscal sustainability.  “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!”

Fiscal stability starts with first determining the critical mass required to support the facilities and basic human capital required to operate a college. Critical mass is the minimum enrollment the institution requires to sustain operations (Hint: it is larger than you think).  The MAP guides enrollment goal setting when synthesized with the financial plan and the enrollment management plan.

The second step requires understanding the theory and practice of managing the margin (see “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!” post).

The third step is key to fiscal stability is also outlined in that post, curriculum drives enrollment, the MAP drives curriculum.

About the Master Academic Plan

The Master Academic Plan provides a cohesive central point of reference for all things academic. The Master Academic Plan serves several primary functions:

  • it unambiguously establishes a basic framework for the academic enterprise, and defines structures, relationships and terms;
  • it clearly articulates academic philosophies and their relationship to and with curriculum, learners, scholarship, research, and public service;
  • it defines the academic enterprise including organizational structures, such as management and governance; academic cycles, calendars, and major events;
  • it establishes the curricular architecture and the evolutionary path it will take to optimize the emerging global digital learning environment;
  • it provides specific academic contexts for the institution at large to align (hence designation “master”) their plans, processes, and initiatives;
  • it translates the institutional strategic plan into academic language and concepts and translates academic realities into broad institutional contexts providing the foundation for the institutional strategic plan.

Institutional Mission, Vision & Strategic Position

The institutional mission informs and establishes a foundation for the Master Academic Plan. The reverse is also true the MAP serves as a foundation to review and reflect upon the mission and how it is written and conveyed by institutional planning and operations. The mission should address the purpose, scope and focus of the institution. The MAP fills in the details and translates the mission into an academic entity.

Academic Missions, Visions and Strategies

The institutional mission, while preeminent, is not the only mission in an academic institution. Schools, colleges, departments, institutes, and programs have missions as well. A Vision establishes the trajectory of the academic enterprise. In other words where is it headed comparatively and competitively with respect to the education sphere. The vision also provides a point of reference to evaluate strategies, goals, objectives, initiatives, policies, processes, and procedures. The vision provides an interpretive framework for processing assessments.

Academic Philosophies

Making academic philosophies explicit helps clarify the intent and overall culture of the institution. Academic philosophies help make the enterprise more understandable and decisions more interpretable by academics,  administrators, learners, constituents and evaluators. Academic philosophies are not mutually exclusive, but rather a collage of foundational belief’s that nurture the academic enclaves that sustain them. Articulating the range of academic philosophies makes it clear that their are more than one at work in an institution and the MAP provides the means for them to blend and cooperate.

Examples of Academic Philosophies

(philosophies ultimately drive the design of the academic enterprise)

Academic Scope and Focus

The array of schools or colleges, programs of study, institutes, and learning communities define an institution’s scope and focus. The strategic position an institution will achieve in a global learning marketplace is to a large degree established by and dependent upon the scope of the academic programs and the scholarship and research portfolios they nurture.

The academic scope and focus exist in dynamic equilibrium with the global learning marketplace.

The MAP aligns the academic scope and focus with a global learning marketplace and maintains a dynamic equilibrium. When the alignment process is broken or failing the institution is in dire trouble. Curriculum architecture is the primary means of alignment.

Curriculum Architecture

An institution’s curriculum architecture defines the essential components of its curricular system; maps the interrelationships between the components and the environment, and specifies the system’s intended learning and award outcomes.  Put simply, the curriculum architecture synthesizes the many institution-specific design and delivery decisions inherent in curriculum management. Curriculum architecture is defined by four underlying components:

  • Programs of Study (POS):  Consists of the taxonomy of degrees, certificates, sequences, courses, modules, and learning objects within a curriculum inventory. The inventory of programs defines the primary design feature of the institution.  The inventory of programs of study anchors the architecture, focuses attention on outcomes and program-based design elements, and, thereby, facilitates the alignment of the academic master planning process with other institutional processes.
  • Authentications:  This domain details accrediting, licensing, and assessment oversight organizations, the units warranted, and related specifications.  In doing so, the architecture incorporates the institutions effectiveness, accreditation and outcomes assessment planning, monitoring, and improvement processes.
  • Delivery and Learner Access Strategies:  This domain tracks program term parameters, schedule model parameters, delivery modes, facilities implications and other delivery specifications.
  • Business Model Variables:  This domain specifies the human resource specifications, instructional and non-instructional funding, and other resource specifications required to deliver the curriculum.

Curriculum Architecture is where the structural elements of the curriculum are documented, and further developed that enable achieving the institutional and academic missions and visions. The curriculum architecture includes (but not limited to):

  • Programs of Study by Credential
  • Content Design Models
  • Content Delivery Models
  • Calendar Models
  • Schedule Models
  • Business Models
  • Assessment Models
  • …as a blog post this is intended to be illustrative

 Academic Program Plans

Programs of study derive from and are nurtured and sustained by the curriculum architecture and the infrastructure and capacities it provides. Faculty capacity is essential, and an active faculty development process provides the energy and seeds of innovation to keep the portfolio vibrant and aligned with market realities. Academic programs require planning, and the MAP establishes the process. Successful academic program identification, development, and innovation requires a significant amount of global market awareness, demographic acumen, intuition, and creativity. In the end the Program of Study, such as the schematic below, drives enrollment.

POS-Map-Banded V3

Caution,  looking for a program that appears successful then constructing one that looks like it from the a la cart resources of the master course list is a process to be used with great care. It is a difficult challenge to nurture healthy curriculum to market. Market aversion, strong opinion, defensive behavior, and lack of awareness all conspire to make it difficult. A well developed MAP process can help get an initiative underway quickly and avoid roadblocks that inhibit the realization of academic goals. Alignment and integration with the strategic realities of the learning marketplace is essential. The SEM Matrix below, helps align curriculum with market realities.

SEM Matrix

Institutional Effectiveness, Learning and Learner Assessment

Intensive focus on Institutional Effectiveness (IE) is required by virtually every academic accreditation process. Increasingly this mean a comprehensive process that integrates learning and learner assessment, required if an institution is going to improve its performance and effectiveness continually. To be effective, IE must be comprehensive, cohesive and drive decision making.

Academic Strategies

Academic strategies are a topic of legend. We are repeatedly asked for the illusive little trick that harvests ample enrollments, with little or no investment, and secures the financial future forever. Well, hate to say it, but, it doesn’t work that way, and we all know it. Contrary to proclamations we have seen a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis is neither a Strategic Plan nor a strategy.  I watched a Board of Trustees applaud at the announcement that a course was going online. The problem is that ‘online’ is not an academic strategy, either is a MOOC or a SOOC. They are tactics and when guided by a strategy can be very effective.

Strategy development is messy. To prove the point examine the whiteboard notes taken during an initial MAP development meeting that began a successful curriculum development process. It resulted in several new programs being launched, critical improvements in the SEM Plan and significant (≈20%) enrollment growth.

Session Notes: Failure is not an option

  • Strategy 1: An institution’s MAP is the basis for a significant strategic advantage
  • Strategy 2: Three options for the trajectory of the MAP
    • Option 1: Remain primarily focused on the way it is now.
    • Option 2: Evolve to optimize the emerging global digital learning ecosystem
    • Option 3: Recognize both options and seek synergy through the transition period and beyond
  • Strategy 3: Entity Strategies (choose all that apply)
    This is where the academic organizational strategies are developed and various academic entities articulate their specific strategies, plans and …

    • Academic Organization
      • Organizational Structures Strategy create vibrant synergy and innovation
      • Strategic Position Strategies align programs with markets
        • Globalization/Quality/Growth
        • University Press (Amazon Publishing Utility)
        • Faculty Scholarship
        • Staff Scholarship
        • Student Scholarship
    • Faculty Development Strategies create future focused capacity
      • Orientation
      • Faculty Information Environment
      • Faculty Training
      • Orientation to IE
    • Curriculum Architecture Strategies create the foundations of academic innovation and creativity
    • Curriculum Development Strategies create healthy competitive curricula they can come from
      • School
      • College
      • Division
      • Department
      • Program of Study
      • Campus School
    • Academic Policies must be addressed
      • Admissions
      • Student Handbook
      • Faculty Handbook
      • Financial Planning and Budgeting

In closing

The Master Academic Plan is the pivotal fulcrum of any institutions future. Every institution has one, whether it is articulated as such or it exists as an ad-hoc collection of decisions, policies, deliberations and opinions. Unless it is aligned and integrated with a holistic planning portfolio, it looses its potency.

Make Everything Count: Part 4

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Make Everything Count Toward a Goal of Sustainability

Contemporary thought has reached consensus that the existing model of higher education is not economically sustainable.  The angst this produces across all higher education communities is palpable. Defensive postures, the natural reaction of denial and resistance to change resulting from heightened tensions creates a difficult political environment for developing meaningful plans to move forward. The issue of economic viability, as it moves to the fore of public educational and economic policy, often precludes thoughtful transformation. Leaders often seek quick fixes to budgetary constraints, and attempt to achieve short term returns instead of investing in the future by building a resilient educational enterprise. Sadly some academic leaders are just trying to make it to retirement without confronting the future. Sadly the beliefs, their metrics and value structures turn to successes of the past wasting valuable cycle time for transformational planning and implementation. Unfortunately, many just do not understand the different dimensions that are emerging that define the future of the global digital learning ecosystem.

SustainabilityThe concept of sustainability when applied to the future of higher education refers to rendering a new model or models that are economically and intellectually viable, and both socially equitable and responsible. The curriculum as warranted by the earning of the credential is and will remain the lifeblood of the  global digital learning ecosystem. The production of new knowledge, the continued research and development of new concepts must be a continued focus of the realm if society is to address the legacy and emergent problems facing the human condition. How these are done is an open question.

Higher education must focus upon the right things and understand their context for the future. Academics must take care to avoid internecine warfare over the challenges to the current models brought about by the paradigm shift. Instead, a focus upon optimizing the emergence of the global digital learning ecosystem as a means to create a more effective and efficient higher education experience. For example, we focus our attention on online programs rather than assimilate the power of the emerging global digital learning infrastructure. We evaluate the impact of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Course’s) through a lens of completion rates rather than what is learned about scalability, geographic reach, open engagement or the magnitude of impact on strategic position. The point here is not that completion rates are not important when evaluating the performance of an industry accumulating $1.2 trillion in consumer debt. It is to point out that the comparison to MOOC’s that are free to the consumer renders the issue impotent. Make no mistake all of higher education is not asleep, and there is a palpable pulse of strong creativity, innovation and experimentation building worldwide.

The goal of sustainability in the future of higher education refers to rendering a model or models that are both economically and intellectually viable. To do this, we must recognize that the fundamental economics and business models are intertwined, and they need very close scrutiny. First is the issue of section size. In the post “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!” we illustrated in the Margin Case Study (below) the economics of managing to a break even section size and pointed out that the failure results in a structural deficit that undermines the long term economic health of the institution. The specifications of section size are basic components of the curriculum architecture that is in place, and it is difficult to modify.

Margin Case Study

This case example of margin is a highly distilled illustrative study from a client engagement illustrates sustainable scenario.

Understanding the future requires accepting that the curriculum architecture is the fundamental foundation upon which to build the future. We described the context, concept and construct of Curriculum Architecture in another post. The issue becomes how do we engage the academy in a sustained serious discussion of new horizons for the design, development, and implementation of a curriculum architecture that aligns with and optimizes the new paradigm. See Higher Ed as a Business vs. the Business of Higher Ed. The stark reality is that it has become an open global dialog, and innovation and entrepreneurs are simply building strong, effective components of a resilient, cost effective learning ecosystem.  In our resource page on Digital Learning Environments, we shared some of the examples and more are on their way.

In the U.S., two elements hold the current model for higher education together, and they are inexorably linked. The first recognizes the sanctity of accreditation as a prerequisite to the second, access to massive federal and state funding. As public policy aligns with new realities these elements are vulnerable to change. Crushing public debt will force them to change. Higher education must make progress toward preemptive positioning the sector, and that is the focus of “Make Everything Count” as a strategy. Take stock of the initiatives underway illustrated in Change the Paradigm. Examine the experiences in Merging Public Colleges in Georgia, and the new planning efforts exampled by MIT as described in Develop Capacity: Part 3. Extrapolate the impact of the Georgia Tech initiative where students enrolled in the new Master of Science in Computer Science program will pay less than $7,000 for a graduate degree, compared to $45,000 for on-campus students. Time waits for no one and transitions are occurring much faster than most realize. Sustainability requires a keen focus upon institutional effectiveness and organizational performance.

Sustainable Performance

Deep systemic, strategic planning is required to nurture change. Change that results in a cohesive focus upon efficiency and effectiveness while creating an environment of sustainable performance aligned with the emerging realities of the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. That means removing barriers and creating an environment for sustainable performance. To begin the Ivey Business Journal offers The New Leadership Challenge: Removing the Emotional Barriers to Sustainable Performance in a Flat World and Harvard Business Review offers Creating Sustainable Performance. Remember the result must be sustainable.

Sustainability

Sustainability of an institution of higher education is determined by its position in the global digital learning ecosystem resulting from the paradigm shift. Making everything count requires an intense focus upon understanding the strategic position that is desired for the organization and the detailed elements that contribute to achieving it. Sustaining that focus constantly requires doing the things that advance position in the global learning marketplace. This means working within means and not developing an everything strategic is an add on mentality.

Path Forward

  • Building an open, healthy academic culture is paramount.
  • Recognize the insidious sources of overhead.
  • Recognize the need to make time for working on the future.
  • Understand that everything that costs time or money must add value to the learning process or the design, development, delivery, or assessment of it
  • Closely examine initiatives already underway.
  • Engage in one sustained, comprehensive process that delivers immediate, mid term and long range  results.

Goal

Recognize that developing metrics to help measure value is an important part of the process. Also understand developing a culture of good stewardship of resources (time, money, space).

  • Understanding the basic financial realities of the learning sphere and academic enterprises is essential.
  • Understand the concept of margins-a condition where the value exceeds the cost.
  • Understand changes in scale, scope, and geographic reach now being contemplated by colleges, universities, and learning providers.

How to begin?

  1. Begin by using structured dialog to bring focus and clarity to planning and managing the academic enterprise in the learning age. The MGD+A SRS method is useful in this effort.
  2. Conceptualize an overarching effectiveness strategy to guide structured assessments that help determine the value and impact of ideas, initiatives, and strategies.
  3. Document the dialog and the plan and use it to guide you to the future.
  4. Don’t forget to let us know what you are using and how it is working. Engaging will also permit us alerting you to new postings, tools, and references.
  5. Ways to engage with MGD+A
    • Read, like, follow, post comments and questions and engage in open dialog via our Blog.
    • Join the Academic SEM LinkedIn Group.
    • Email questions or observations.
    • Continue to use the website to navigate our methodologies and use our tools
    • Utilize one of our webinars
    • Schedule web consultation using our WebEx conferencing system
    • Schedule a call to explore questions, process, or opportunities

Our next post in the series will feature the Master Academic Plan.

Master Academic Plan: Part 5

Develop Capacity: Part 3

Develop Capacity: Part 3

Prototype-Banner

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