Overview of MGDA Curriculum Projects

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

MGDA Curriculum Projects

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

 

Boosting Program Enrollments: Curriculum Development & Revitalization Workshop, October 2015

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October 19-21, 2015, Claremont California

“The first and most important step in fixing sagging program enrollments.”

The Academic SEM Curriculum Development & Revitalization Workshop  (view agenda) recognizes that enrollment performance and the quality of the curriculum can both be significantly enhanced when curriculum is prepared, aligned, reengineered, or tweaked with enrollment markets in mind. The workshop articulates methods to recalibrate fundamental curriculum design and content to better align with the enrollment marketplace. The workshop is designed to help academics and enrollment managers to better position curriculum and programs of study in the complex global learning marketplace and improving enrollment performance.

Eventbrite - Academic SEM: Curriculum Development & Revitalization Workshop 2015

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Introduction to Principles of Academic SEM
    Reviews the foundational tenets of Academic SEM. Introduces strategic variables and options of competitive academic program strategies.
  • Session II: Academic Strategies, Tactics and Capacities 
    Introduces a structured approach to designing, developing and implementing academic strategies and developing new capacities required to meet the challenges of the learning age powered by a global digital learning ecosystem.
  • Session III: Curriculum Architecture and Specifications 
    Reviews the basics of curriculum architecture and assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats emanating from the degree of alignment between architecture, program design, course options, assessment strategies, and curriculum-learner optimization pathways.
  • Session IV: Integrating the 5 Workflows of Academic SEM
    Reviews the basics of integrating curriculum and enrollment strategies by focusing upon synchronizing the five fundamental workflows of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management.
  • Session V: Curriculum Options and Optimization
    Examines the principles of sustainability and applies them to various curricular scenarios. Focuses on innovating from where you are with what you have.
  • Session VI: Program of Study Strategies
    Programs of Study are the lifeblood of academic institutions. The fundamentals of effective program design, emergent models and methods of embedding marketable value into a program of study are examined and evaluated.
  • Session VII: Curriculum Prototyping and Modeling I
    Examines basic principles of effective academic management and the fit and friction points encountered in academic collaboration, strategy development and implementation. Developing synergy between academic missions, visions, perspectives, calendars and workflow cycles.
  • Session VIII: Curriculum Prototyping and Modeling II
    Examines basic principles of effective academic management and the fit and friction points encountered in academic collaboration, strategy development and implementation. Developing synergy between academic missions, visions, perspectives, calendars and workflow cycles.

Developing Academic SEM Strategies

Academic Strategy Illustrated

The Five Workflows of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

What participants say about our Institutes.

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

 

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

 

As a newly appointed Academic Vice-President for an institution of higher education, I enrolled in the Academic Strategies and Master Academic Planning Institute hoping to obtain the necessary elements to begin my new role with a clear understanding of my role. Given the current trends in education and in society in general, the Institute delivered clear guidance and exposure to excellent resources for my toolbox. However, what was most valuable for me was the outstanding balance between strategic vision and nuts-and-bolts advise that Dr. Dolence provided. It was an opportunity to obtain information and inspiration. I would certainly recommend this Institute to anyone facing the challenge of leading a higher education institution in today’s learner-centered and dynamic environment. – Tricia Penniecook, MD, MPH

Eventbrite - Academic SEM: Curriculum Development & Revitalization Workshop 2015

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.’

 

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Note: also see

Evolve to Academic SEM

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

Academic SEM Posters Available

Academic SEM Funnel [MGDA01]

SEM-Poster-512

Academic SEM Cycles [MGDA02]

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

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Introducing the SRS Method for Mission Review and Strategy Development in Colleges and Universities [Video]

Developing strategy is a delicate and reflective process. Six interactive framing concepts help to shape strategy in higher education. The SRS Method is designed to provide a point of reference for the discussion of the six concepts. The SRS Pyramid depicts the schematic outlining a formal method for reviewing a mission statement and developing strategy in colleges and universities.

The SRS Pyramid frames seven interactive constructs built around and reflective of mission that shape an institution’s vision, focus its strategies, and achieve its position in the broadest global learning sphere. The SRS Pyramid recognizes that mission defines the role of an Institution within its defined sphere of influence. It is designed to provide a common reference point for structured dialog regarding each of the seven concepts and the relationships they have to mission and its fulfillment.

Dialogue begins with mission at the base of the pyramid and is directed right for a discussion of the Sphere of influence and left to illuminate the Role or roles played in that sphere or spheres. An institution’s or entity’s (school, college, department, program) sphere is defined by its geographic reach, competitive and collaborative contexts, and the communities of practice that influence or are influenced by the entity. The role of the entity – its purpose and function – within its sphere is defined by its mission. Environmental scanning and analysis (e.g., SWOT, GAP or other situational analyses) evaluate changes within the sphere for their impact on mission and role. As Sphere, Mission, and Role conditions and interactions are understood; strategists, planners, and constituents can invest in the creative process of determining a Vision for the future. Strategies are then developed to enable the vision. When implemented, the strategies modify and sustain an entity’s Strategic Position within its sphere of influence. In summary, Mission defines Sphere and Role, Vision relates Role to Strategy, Strategy redefines Strategic Position within and organizations Sphere of influence.

SRS Pyramid (Diagram)

The Sphere of an entity is defined by its geographic reach, competitive and collaborative organizations, subjects, disciplines, and communities of practice influenced by; and whose influence is exerted on the strategic entity. Each strategic entity is defined by its mission within a sphere that defines its role (purpose and function) within the sphere. Environmental scanning and analysis (often referred to as a SWOT Analysis for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) inform and evaluate changes within the sphere and how they impact mission and role. Environmental scanning without an analysis is a waste of time.

Once the Sphere, Mission, Role conditions and interaction are understood strategists, planners and constituents invest in the creative process of determining a vision of the future in which strengths are sustained or enhanced, weaknesses are addressed, opportunities are capitalized on and threats are mitigated. Strategies are then developed to enable the entity to realize its vision. When implemented the strategies modify and sustain the entities strategic position in its sphere of influence.

At the center of the pyramid lies the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework (LCCF) providing a conceptual structure to guide dialog and inquiry about curriculum. It frames curriculum in its broadest strategic context and provides a framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum within the broader context of institutional mission, vision, and strategy. The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework, help unravel and clarify the complexities of translating mission, vision, and strategic position into effective curriculum as mapped across seven interlocking constructs:

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

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

The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework is a tool that helps frame strategic dialog and analysis around the principles and practices of the concept learner-centered academic environments. This article describes the seven learner-centered questions that emanate from the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework and  help frame a basic enrollment management perspective useful for strategic enrollment management professionals when they dialog with academics. The table below can be printed and guide deeper insight into the options revealed through each question.

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability 2015

Eventbrite - Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability

When: June 22 – 24, 2015

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Claremont, California

CurriculumDrivesQuote

Strategies for Enrollment and Fiscal Sustainability

The design of the Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability recognizes that academic leadership and enrollment management professionals must join forces in order to meet the challenges and opportunities of higher education as it is carried into the future by the paradigm shift to a global digital learning ecosystem. Once joined, they form a resilient and effective Academic SEM community of practice capable of forging near, mid, and long term strategies for enrollment and fiscal health.

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Academic SEM Structures
    Reviews the various structures involved in Academic SEM. Participants will assess their institutional structures with the intent of developing collaboration between academics and enrollment managers.
  • Session II: Academic SEM Strategies
    Establishes a strategy baseline using the SRS method. Illustrates examples of Academic SEM strategies and extrapolates to institutional academic and SEM cultures.
  • Session III: Curriculum Architecture
    Reviews the basics of curriculum architecture and assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats emanating from the degree of alignment between architecture and enrollment markets.
  • Session IV: Curriculum Options and Optimization
    Examines the principles of sustainability and applies them to various curricular scenarios.
  • Session V: The SEM Factor
    Examines basic principles of effective enrollment management and the fit and friction points encountered in academic SEM collaboration. Introduces the tyranny or the synergy of the link, or lack thereof, between academic and SEM calendars and cycles.
  • Session VI: Program of Study Strategies
    Programs of Study are the lifeblood of academic institutions. The fundamentals of effective program design, emergent models and methods of embedding marketable value into a program of study are examined and evaluated.
  • Session VII: Campaign Strategies
    Enrollment health is built via sustained campaigns. Campaign design will be presented as a means of optimizing short range (bump), mid range, and long range enrollment and fiscal health.
  • Session VIII: The Academic SEM Plan
    Evaluates and constructs the principles of integrating the Master Academic Plan with the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.

Agenda

June 22, 2015

  • 10:00 am – Check-in & Registration
  • 1:00 pm – Session I: Academic SEM Structures
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session II: Academic SEM Strategies
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

June 23, 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: Curriculum Options and Optimization
  • 12:00 pm Lunch (Provided) Break, Check In & Networking
  • 1:00 pm – Session V: The SEM Factor
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session VI: Program of Study Strategies
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

June 24, 2015

  • 8:00 am Continental Breakfast (Provided)  & Networking
  • 8:30 am – Session VII: Campaign Strategies
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session VIII: The Academic SEM Plan
  • 12:00 pm – Adjourn

Institute Philosophy & Pedagogy

The current paradigm shift requires unprecedented synergy and collaboration between academic and enrollment management. A philosophy that is both learner and learning centered must be focused through a lens that is intensely curriculum-centered. The Institute curriculum delivers 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. Participant’s institution will be 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 emerging Academic SEM community of practice.

About the Faculty

Michael G. DolenceMichael Dolence is President of Michael G. Dolence and Associates, a global research consulting firm specializing in innovation in education,  academic planning, curriculum development and enrollment management. He authored the first Primer on Strategic Enrollment Management and is the originator of the concept of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. His career includes extensive research and analysis of financial aid efficacy, utilization, and policy impacts for both federal and state aid. He has conducted more than 140 post mortem analysis of colleges and universities that have failed and either closed or were merged with another institution. MGDA has developed a comprehensive curriculum planning and prototyping software system used to design academic prototypes for new universities worldwide. The system also supports program of study design and development as well as academic optimization scenario analysis.

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 enrollment management and one from academic 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.

Certificate of Advanced Study

COAS MGDA Cert0001

Selected Topics to be Covered

As we work through the concepts and construct individual pathways to addressing enrollment shortfalls, recruitment yield, and developing strategic position in the enrollment marketplace 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?

Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix

What is the SEM Matrix and how is it used in planning, decision making and campaign development? What are the seven learner-centered questions that help focus development of sustainable solutions?

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?

Academic Strategies and Master Academic Planning 2015

Eventbrite - Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability

When: February 16 – 18, 2015

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Claremont, California

The design of the Institute for Academic Strategies and Master Academic Planning recognizes that academic leaders must plan to meet the challenges and opportunities of higher education as it is carried into the future by the paradigm shift to a global digital learning ecosystem. Without a Master Academic Plan, an Institutional Strategic Plan is powerless at forging near, mid, and long term strategies for enrollment and fiscal health.

Master Academic Plan (Graphic)

Who Should Attend

The institute is designed for academic leaders, including provosts, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, academic governance officers, interested faculty, accreditation team members, institutional planners, and institutional effectiveness professionals.

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Academic Structures, Cycles and Workflows 
    Reviews the various structures involved in managing the Academic Enterprise. Participants will assess their institutional structures against the characteristics of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem and the transformations a number of institutions are already doing to serve contemporary learners.
  • Session II: Academic Strategies, Tactics and Capacities 
    Introduces a structured approach to designing, developing and implementing academic strategies and developing new capacities required to meet the challenges of the learning age powered by a global digital learning ecosystem.
  • Session III: Curriculum Architecture and Specifications 
    Reviews the basics of curriculum architecture and assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats emanating from the degree of alignment between architecture, program design, course options, assessment strategies, and curriculum-learner optimization pathways.
  • Session IV: Curriculum Options and Optimization
    Examines the principles of sustainability and applies them to various curricular scenarios. Focuses on innovating from where you are with what you have.
  • Session V: Curriculum Prototyping and Modeling
    Examines basic principles of effective academic management and the fit and friction points encountered in academic collaboration, strategy development and implementation. Developing synergy between academic missions, visions, perspectives, calendars and workflow cycles.
  • Session VI: Program of Study Strategies
    Programs of Study are the lifeblood of academic institutions. The fundamentals of effective program design, emergent models and methods of embedding marketable value into a program of study are examined and evaluated.
  • Session VII: The Master Academic Plan I
    Examines the basic structure and functions of a Master Academic Plan beginning with Curriculum Architecture (Session III) and building to a comprehensive academic vision.
  • Session VIII: The Master Academic Plan II
    Evaluates and constructs the principles of integrating the Master Academic Plan with the institutional planning system and various plans. (e.g. Institutional Strategic Plan, Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, Campus Master Plan, Fiscal Plan, Human Resources Plan…).

Agenda

February 16, 2015

  • 10:00 am – Check-in & Registration
  • 1:00 pm – Session I: Academic Structures, Cycles and Workflows
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session II: Academic Strategies, Tactics and Capacities
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

February 17, 2015

  • 8:00 am – Continental Breakfast (Provided)
  • 8:30 am – Session III: Curriculum Architecture and Specifications
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session IV: Curriculum Options and Optimization
  • 12:00 pm Lunch (Provided) Break, Check In & Networking
  • 1:00 pm – Session V: Curriculum Prototyping and Modeling
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session VI: Program of Study Strategies
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

February 18, 2015

  • 8:00 am Continental Breakfast (Provided)  & Networking
  • 8:30 am – Session VII: The Master Academic Plan I
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session VIII: The Master Academic Plan II
  • 12:00 pm – Adjourn

Institute Philosophy & Pedagogy

The current paradigm shift to the learning age powered by a  global digital learning ecosystem requires unprecedented focus on academic strategy. Our philosophy is both learner and learning centered, focused through a lens that is intensely curriculum-centered. The Institute curriculum delivers 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 emerging Academic community of practice.

About the Faculty

Michael G. DolenceMichael Dolence is President of Michael G. Dolence and Associates, a global research 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.

Institute 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 to provide a wider perspective and deeper insight.
  • 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.

Faculty Increasing Use of Learner-Centered Education Practices

Faculty have steadily increased their use of Learner-Centered Pedagogies according to a comparison of faculty reported teaching and learning methods deployed in their classrooms. “The Undergraduate Teaching Faculty: The 2013-2014 HERI Faculty Survey,” a triennial national survey of college and university faculty has been conducted since 1989 by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Learner-Centered Pedagogy

The concept of Learner-Centered pedagogy has deep historic roots in the work of Dewey, Piaget, Rogers’ Gardner and Bloom (and many others) as well as the innovative models of Maria Montessori and the Reggio Emilia approach. Faculty in higher education have begun to adopt and adapt Learner-Centered pedagogies in such efforts as the flipped classroom and a host of in class and in course methods. The HERI Faculty Survey has been tracking progress in the use of these pedagogies since 1989-1990.

Changes in Faculty Teaching Practices, 1989 to 2014

Changes in Faculty Teaching Practices, 1989 to 2014

 

Class Discussions

In 1989-90 69.6% of faculty reported using class discussions in “all” or “most” of their courses increasing to 88.2% in 2008 and leveling off at just over 82% in 2011 and 2014.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is the use of small groups through which students work together to accomplish shared goals and to maximize their own and others’ potential.” – Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (ASCD 1994)

In 1989-90 20.6% of faculty reported using cooperative learning strategies increasing to a peak of 73.2% in 2008-2009 and settling to 60.7% in 2013–2014.

Group Projects

The use of group projects was reported by 15.7% in 1989-1990 growing to just under half (45.5%) in 2013-2014.

Student-Selected Topics

Incorporating the use of student-selected topics within a course has increased 8.5% in 1989–1990 to 26.3% in 2013–2014

Student Evaluations of each others work

The use student evaluations of each other’s work in “all” or “most” of their courses has nearly tripled from 10% in 1989–1990 to 28% in 2013–2014.

Table 1: Faculty Reported Teaching and Learning Methods 1990 to 2014

Comparing the reported use of specific pedagogies over a period of fifteen years.

Method 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 2005 2008 2011 2014
Class discussions 69.6 69.8 67.7 68.4 72.3 81.8 82.2 82.2 82.8
Community service as optional part of course 0.0 0.0 2.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Community service as part of coursework 0.0 0.0 2.5 0.0 5.1 7.1 8.1 5.9 8.9
Competency-based grading 52.4 55.7 48.4 48.4 49.3 0.0 53.0 47.6 0.0
Computer or machine-aided instruction 13.2 16.0 18.5 21.5 29.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Cooperative learning (small groups) 26.0 32.5 35.0 37.1 41.3 47.8 59.1 56.7 60.7
Electronic quizzes with immediate feedback in class 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 6.8 7.4 15.2
Essay exams 40.6 41.7 40.1 40.9 42.2 57.6 44.3 41.3 0.0
Experiential learning/Field studies 18.8 19.8 19.3 19.3 22.3 0.0 30.0 25.6 31.0
Extensive lecturing 55.7 53.6 48.5 47.2 46.9 55.2 46.4 45.0 50.6
Grading on a curve 22.9 18.2 18.5 17.5 16.8 19.1 16.8 17.3 21.2
Graduate Teaching
Assistants
8.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Group projects 15.7 20.9 22.8 23.4 26.8 33.3 35.8 32.0 45.5
Independent Projects 34.1 37.1 33.1 33.1 35.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
“Learn before lecture” through multimedia tools (e.g., flipping the classroom) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 21.8
Multiple drafts of written work 12.4 14.1 15.5 16.8 18.5 0.0 24.9 23.9 34.2
Multiple-choice exams 33.7 35.4 30.8 30.8 32.5 32.3 33.1 29.3 0.0
Multiple-choice quizzes 16.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
On-line instruction 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 13.9 0.0 0.0 0.0
Performance/Demonstrations 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 34.8
Quizzes 0.0 40.9 36.1 36.7 38.7 0.0 39.8 38.9 0.0
Readings on racial and ethnic issues 11.1 15.2 15.6 16.7 18.6 19.9 23.9 0.0 26.1
Readings on women and gender issues 10.6 14.2 15.0 15.9 17.4 18.2 21.1 0.0 22.3
Recitals/Demonstrations 0.0 20.1 19.2 18.0 18.4 21.4 21.9 19.0 0.0
Reflective writing/journaling 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 18.1 21.7 17.6 25.2
Rubric-based assessment 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 55.9
Short-answer exams 34.0 36.7 32.9 33.8 36.4 36.9 45.5 44.9 0.0
Short-answer quizzes 24.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Starting class with a question that engages students 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 49.5
Student evaluations of each other’s work 10.0 12.0 12.9 13.1 14.6 19.4 23.5 21.0 28.0
Student evaluations of teaching 83.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Student presentations 25.5 29.8 30.9 32.7 36.0 44.7 46.7 43.8 52.4
Student-developed activities (assignments, exams, etc) 15.3 17.1 13.1 13.3 14.4 0.0 26.7 0.0 0.0
Student-selected topics for course content 8.5 9.8 8.0 8.6 10.2 15.0 17.0 19.8 26.3
Supplemental instruction that is outside of class and office hours 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 36.1
Teaching assistants 0.0 7.9 9.5 9.4 9.2 10.1 11.8 12.7 0.0
Techniques to create an inclusive classroom environment for diverse students 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 56.5
Term/research papers 31.9 32.1 32.8 34.7 36.7 34.7 44.3 43.3 0.0
Undergraduate Teaching Assistants 2.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Using real-life problems 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 55.7 55.4 69.8
Using student inquiry to drive learning 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 47.1 45.8 56.4
Weekly essay assignments 14.2 17.6 15.9 17.9 19.0 0.0 21.7 20.2 0.0

While the advances in the use of learner-centered pedagogies maybe laudable, faculty efforts tell only part of the story of the transformation of the learning ecosystem. While faculty are engineering and re-engineering their curricula, courses, teaching and classroom instructional methods, students are busy optimizing their access to the emerging global digital learning ecosystem. These are not competing efforts but transformations on parallel development tracks and trajectories. They are neither integrated with each other nor cohesive in a unifying purposeful design but rather opportunistic initiatives.

A Parallel Universe: Technology Enabled, Global Digital Learning Ecosystem

So where are the learners in their quest to nurture and support their own learning. Students tend not to classify technology as a learning approach but rather the use of digital tools to assist in their quest to master their course material. For students, the technology is largely taken for granted and not seen as either innovative nor at the expense of other methods and tools. Increasingly, being Learner-Centered means integrating the use of technology and the realities of the emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem into the curriculum and learner experiences. For a thorough understanding of the current technology status examine the Global Information Technology Report 2014.

EDUCAUSE 2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies, October 2014

In 2014, ECAR collaborated with 151 institutions to collect responses from 17,451 faculty respondents across 13 countries about their technology experiences. ECAR also collaborated with 213 institutions to collect responses from 75,306 undergraduate students about their technology experiences. The research found:

  • Technology is embedded into students’ lives, and students are generally inclined to use and to have favorable attitudes toward technology. However, technology has only a moderate influence on students’ active involvement in particular courses or as a connector with other students and faculty.
  • Students’ academic use of technology is widespread but not deep. They are particularly interested in expanding the use of a few specific technologies.
  • Many students use mobile devices for academic purposes. Their in-class use is more likely when instructors encourage such use; however, both faculty and students are concerned about their potential for distraction.
  • More students than ever have experienced a digital learning environment. The majority say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work.
  • Most students support institutional use of their data to advise them on academic progress in courses and programs. Many of the analytic functions students seek already exist in contemporary LMSs

Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning, September 2014

The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) founded in 2008 to address issues of educational opportunity, access, equity, and diversity in the United States and internationally published a report titled Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning. It concluded:

  • Technology access policies should aim for one-to-one computer access.
  • Technology access policies should ensure that speedy internet connections are available to prevent user issues when implementing digital learning.
  • At-risk students benefit most from technology that is designed to promote high levels of interactivity and engagement with data and information in multiple forms.
  • Curriculum and instructional plans should enable students to use technology to create content as well as to learn material.
  • Policymakers and educators should plan for blended learning environments, characterized by significant levels of teacher support and opportunities for interactions among students, as companions to technology use.

Campus Technology: Report: Digital Use Up Among College Students, May 2012

Way back on May 25, 2012,  Campus Technology , in a story written by Tim Sohn, reported on a survey, conducted that year, by CourseSmart and fielded by Wakefield Research regarding the use of technology and social media by college students. Five-hundred college students between the ages 18 to 23 participated in an online survey. The survey found:

  • 96 Percent had taken traditional courses that included online elements.
  • 79 Percent had handed in assignments online.
  • 71 Percent had taken Web-based tests and quizzes.
  • 40 Percent used digital technology at least every 10 minutes, and
  • 67 Percent said they use technology at least every hour.
  • 68 Percent said they saved two or more hours daily, and 14 percent said they saved at least five hours using technology in their learning process.
  • 51 Percent said they were more likely to complete reading assignments on time if they used digital devices instead of print.
  • 79 Percent searched for information on a mobile device immediately before an exam.
  • 78 Percent said they had received updates from professors via learning management systems or student portals.
  • 84 Percent said they had access to their class syllabi online.

In Closing

Learning is the point. Technology, as enabling and essential as it is, is not the point. Neither is ‘On-Line.’ Faculty, generally, are not Luddites, but rather careful explorers and experimenters searching for effective pedagogical practices. Technology innovations and their application by scholars, educators and innovators, to building a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem are enabling learners, to transform their educational experience. The industrial model of the 20th century, while an extraordinarily powerful system then, does not align with either the power of, nor the potential of, the new 21st century constantly and rapidly evolving Ecosystem. We cannot ‘fix’ this fundamental misalignment by enhancing the efficiency or effectiveness of existing models. The elements of a comprehensive and cohesive new academic model are emerging. Higher education leaders, scholars, and policy makers must come together to shape the educational systems of the future that optimize the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem and its impact on learning.

In our continuing effort to support our clients managing the transitions through turbulent times, MGDA is offering a full schedule of Transformational Strategies Institutes for 2015. The curricula are focused on the development of academic strategies to cope with the rapid transitions and fundamental transformations now underway.

These topics and sessions are also available as workshops:

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.

Enrollment ‘Crisis’ Management: Managing Academic and SEM Cycles & Workflows : Part 8

We all know timing is everything. Some of the first strategic elements an enrollment crisis disrupts are the Academic and SEM Cycles & Workflows. In fact, it is one the biggest challenges an institution faces in an enrollment crisis, to stay focused on performing SEM cyclical activities and developing strategies. Suddenly, a shortfall in enrollments and the concomitant shortfall in revenues can cause shock waves of second guessing, demands to alter the course, change tactics, new leadership, new people, etc. The desire to shake things up in order to appear that decisive action is being taken can be overwhelming. But before acting upon any of these impulses, a little reality orientation is in order.

Step 1: Take a Longer View of the Underlying Issues

Recognize that higher education is in the middle of the most dramatic paradigm shift in its history accommodating the emergence of a global digital learning ecosystem. One result is an explosion of options for learners to acquire sought after learning objectives. Additionally, higher education is experiencing a demographic shift and a demand for greater accountability and higher productivity. Learners are facing economic crises and face significant challenges meeting educational costs as evidenced by the extreme debt burden. At the same time, institutions are facing their own unprecedented economic challenges emanating from the demand for more services, increased regulation, and because of demographics and competition, low growth or declining enrollments. These realities impact virtually every aspect of higher education’s structure and function. In this light, it is advisable to take a systemic view of how enrollments are developed and work within a defined structural framework to develop a closer alignment with learner markets and enhanced educational outcomes. It is a complex task, and for the framework to be affective, it must be inclusive across academic and enrollment management domains. This requires the integration of practices between academic and enrollment management outside the normal culture of most institutions.

Step 2: Understand and Work the ASEM Cycles and Workflows

To borrow Hillary Clinton’s metaphor from her 1996 book, “It takes a village to (raise a child) deliver enrollments.” Specifically, an Academic–Strategic Enrollment Management Village. We focus in this blog post upon understanding the structured cycles and workflows that are behind every enrollment report. Realize that every enrollment report has behind it a three to four year rolling cycle that delivered it.

For example, this post is being published in December 2014. As you read this post you should be in the middle of planning the campaign(s) to be launched in the fall of 2015 to deliver enrollments in fall 2016. This means that the curriculum, as it exists in fall 2014, is responsible for delivering the fall 2016 enrollments. If academic innovations or revitalizations are being developed to influence fall 2016 enrollments, they must be very carefully integrated into the campaign plan being developed now. Rarely do academic, and SEM communities engage in such careful dialog, planning, analysis, and integration.

To give life to the metaphorical village, MGDA launched the Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Initiative in 2014. The initiative began with the Academic SEM series of posts in the MGDA Higher Education Blog. We then began engaging academic and SEM leaders in the community of practice group in LinkedIn. We then turned our focus upon Sustainability by developing Academic SEM Institute (December 2014 and to be repeated in June 2015). Most recently, we announced our 2015 Transformational Institutes Series to provide deeper support and development to our clients.

In order for academic and enrollment management communities to work better together, they must first understand the basic cycles and workflows that culminate in an enrollment report. Such understanding is required at all levels – from the President and Vice Presidents, to the deans, faculty, academic and enrollment staff.

Basic Academic SEM Cycles

So what are the cycles? They follow the flow depicted in Figure 1: Academic/SEM Cycles Overview. Five stages in four highly (but not totally) linear arrays of activities.

The first stage involves the design, development and implementation of the curriculum. This stage is guided by academic and accreditation policies, processes and procedures. Curriculum cannot be offered for enrollment until the criteria are met, and approvals are granted. It is the curriculum that learners enroll in, and the specifics of the curricular requirements form a contract with the learner. This stage is ongoing throughout the year.

The second stage involves developing a campaign to find, attract, and persuade students to enroll in the institution’s curricula. The second stage begins in the fall with a review of the last campaign yield for current fall enrollments. It also utilizes the day to day experience of the current campaign underway (to deliver next fall’s enrollments) as a frame of reference. The primary focus is the development of the campaign to be launched next fall to deliver the following fall’s campaign. In most institutions, these campaigns roll together in a continuum from year to year. We separate them to focus the evaluation, design, development, and implementation on discrete cycles.

Academic/SEM Cycles Overview.

Figure 1: Academic/SEM Cycles Overview.

The third stage involves campaign implementation. Its purpose is to deliver the next annual class of freshmen. The function of the campaign is to identify prospects and systematically nurture them through the process of choosing and enrolling in a curriculum. Campaign implementation begins in August/September and ends usually on enrollment census day the following fall.

The fourth stage involves two distinct pathways. One follows the students through formal retention monitoring and intervention, the other engages the Academic SEM community in formal comprehensive evaluation. The fourth stage Academic SEM is ongoing and interfaces with Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Assessment activities. The fourth stage Retention path is ongoing and interfaces with academic and student support services.

All of these stages are running simultaneously within annual cycles. The parallel nature of the cycles is the source for significant confusion in understanding why an Academic SEM full sequence of cycles involves three to four years of calendar time. Campus leaders rail against this basic pace and often try to force academic program work in the current fall term and demand it impact the next fall’s enrollment. This naïve understanding of how enrollment building works may lead to weak, impotent curricula, and may distract academic and enrollment staff from building strongly market aligned programs. Hasty and ill focused action can create the illusion that one can just demand a fix, and it happens. Clarification requires a little more detail.

Basic Academic SEM Workflows

Within each cycle there are a number of tasks, processes, and procedures, collectively called workflows. They conspire when aggregated to achieve each cycle’s outcomes and feed the next cycle and other workflows. Figure 2: Academic/SEM Cycles & Workflows, adds, in outline form, the various elements and steps that are included in each of the stages. Note how the workflows attach to the cycles. In reality, the working groups involved in each cycle possess unique organizational cultures driving each cycle and the workflows that comprise them.

Academic/SEM Cycles & Workflows

Figure 2: Academic/SEM Cycles & Workflows

Let’s examine them one at a time. The bullet list below will permit you to cut and paste should you decide to make a deeper example for your institution of the actual processes utilized. Remember these are not intended as exhaustive lists, each institution has its unique array of processes and lexicon.

Curriculum Planning & Development

The curriculum planning and development processes are continuous and derive from academic affairs policies and the master academic plan. Academic annual cycles normally begin in the fall and culminate at the time of graduation. Summers are sometimes used for special intensive curriculum development projects. Classically, the ‘last like term’ is used as a model to set up the curriculum term. For example, last fall is used to set up next fall. Once the last term’s data is imported, modifications are made, and the new term is launched. An institution’s master course list and term schedule model are a very complex web of interrelationships. Room schedules are a delicate dance of preferences, specifications, and demand. Enrollment patterns induce schedule requirements forcing harsh realities, hurt feelings and the inevitable go-a-rounds, work-a-rounds, power plays, and the occasional ‘I moved my class, what are you going to do about it.’

New programs are most often launched based upon faculty interest. While this approach is certainly not bad, it can be significantly enhanced by innovation opportunities emerging from the enrollment market place. The marketplace has grown saturated with hyped program names populated by an ‘a la carte’ course sequence selected from the master course list. It has also become saturated by cloned copies of another institution’s innovation. The current market thrives on new curriculum. New is defined by the content, by where the learning experience leads or by the quality of the learning experience. New doesn’t mean throw out the existing but align it with emerging realities and refresh the focus. Processes involved in curriculum revitalization include:

  • Curriculum Architecture and Academic Program Specifications
  • Historic Recruitment Performance Review
  • Longitudinal Programmatic Enrollment Analysis
  • Strategic Position Analysis
  • Program & Discipline Scanning
  • Program Mix
  • Program Revitalization
  • New Program Development
  • Formal Program Review
  • Prototyping of new and existing programs of study
  • Messaging related to academic programs
  • Program and course approval
  • Course scheduling
  • Facility scheduling
  • Faculty load management
  • Faculty Development

Campaign Planning & Development

As in the curriculum process, it is common for campaigns to simply assume the structure and steps of the last campaign. For the same basic reasons, it too is very complex and hard to turn on a dime. Changes require time, attention, resources, and above all, a plan. Changes require training, testing, systems, policies, processes and procedures. Campaigns are not just mechanics. There is a great deal of visual design, messaging, persuasion, intuition, teamwork and follow through. Campaign planning and development must be informed by the performance of previous campaigns. Any campaign must also be designed to present the curriculum emanating from the previous workflow in the best possible way to meet enrollment targets. Processes involved in campaign planning and development include:

  • Campaign Model
  • Campaign Project Management
  • Calendar
  • Scheduling
  • Market Segmentation
  • Prospecting
  • Engagement Plan
  • Messaging
  • Channels
  • Collateral Material
  • Conversion
  • Responsiveness
  • Metrics
  • Analytics
  • Campaign Plan
  • Training

Recruitment Campaign

Recruitment activity often assumes the context, structure and initiatives of the last cycle as well. Recruiters stick to what has worked in the past, what they know, slowly they watch and listen and learn. They, above all, encounter the resistance, the competition, lack of interest, and a host of market behaviors we all wish didn’t exist when they don’t go our way. Any change is seen as add on and requires additional resources. These may or may not be forthcoming. Campaigns must be documented and managed as the complex projects that they are. This takes time and overhead. Above all, a recruitment campaign must be adaptable. Processes involved in campaign implementation include:

  • Launch Campaign
  • Manage Campaign
  • Monitor Activities and Metrics
  • Assess Performance (Causal) and Feedback
  • Track Media Analytics
  • Adapt Campaign Plan to Emerging Revelations
  • Innovate around opportunities that arise
  • Focus recruitment teams on market segments
  • Engage Suspects, Prospects, and Applicants
  • Involve prospects and the academic community
  • Conversion Tracking and Analysis
  • Closing the loop with a Deposit
  • Nurture
  • Negotiate

Campaign Evaluation (The ASEM Community Learns)

Comprehensive campaign evaluation is commonly abbreviated due to a lack of time, clear delineation of cycle boundaries, resistance to change and fear of consequences. It can also be strangled by a lack of process data or evidence granular enough to drive changes. Campaign evaluation is a numbers game. You must have the numbers to play. It is also enhanced by a culture of continuous improvement rather than one of fear. Processes involved in campaign evaluation include:

  • Campaign Post Mortem
  • Messaging Conversion Performance
  • Channel Performance
  • ILA (Institution Last Attended) Performance
  • Geographic Yield Analysis
  • Prospect List Analysis
  • Systems Analysis
  • Team Performance (Recruiter, Support, …)
  • POS (Program of Study) Performance
  • Collateral Material and Resources Performance
  • Feedback to Academics (Formal)
  • Feedback to Student Affairs and Learner Support Services
  • Engage Retention Management System
  • Engage Institutional Effectiveness

Retention Classification System (A Basic Status Tracking Taxonomy)

Retention is a constant activity, perpetually monitored, evaluated and improved. For all of the attention the subject of retention receives, clarity over the dimensions and underlying causes of attrition is poorly understood. Retention may be better renamed ‘Progress Toward Credential Objectives.’ Clearly marking the various stages of progress and tracking student progress significantly improves performance. This requires a formal taxonomy with specific discrete definitions. An example:

Retention Classification System

  1. Persisting – Currently Enrolled Students
    1. Satisfactory Academic Progress
    2. Unsatisfactory Degree Progress
    3. Unsatisfactory Grade-Point-Average
    4. Unsatisfactory Program Progress
  2. Achieved (Graduated with Credential)
  3. Attained
  4. Transferred
    1. Planned
    2. Unplanned
  5. Stopped-out (No-Show)
  6. Dropped-out (Formal Withdrawal)
  7. Dismissed
    1. Academic Disqualification
    2. Administrative Disqualification
    3. Disciplinary Disqualification
    4. Financial Dis-enrollment

Creating a Systems Flow View

So, how does this all work together? If your response was, well, it doesn’t, you would be in the majority.

We all know the fall work plan is overloaded with getting the new academic year started and a new class settled. The fall starts anew, getting the year’s workload underway, adapting to the fall enrollment numbers and corollary budget that it drives. New gives way to preparing for the fall board of trustee’s meeting and engaging the suite of integrated workflows that deliver enrollments. Time is short, too many meetings, and the holidays come out of nowhere and the term ends. Suddenly we realize that it is mid-January, and it is too late to develop a bump strategy for next fall enrollments. Sure we can try a few tricks, but the train has left the station, so to speak, and all that remains is trying to squeeze every bit of yield we can out of a dwindling pool of prospect/applicants.

A focus upon the flow and prioritizing within the workflows is required.

Figure 3: Academic/SEM Cycles Flow Model separates out the Retention and Campaign Evaluation pathways and connects them in a flow and feedback pattern to begin to work through the various interrelationships.

ASEM Cycles Text

Figure 3: Academic/SEM Cycles Flow Model

 

 

The schematic view of the workflows outlined in Figure 3 is illustrative. It has not been developed as a comprehensive list but rather as a prompt for compiling a bespoke institutional list. Inevitably compiling a list of workflows responsible for enrollment engages the politics of the organization, especially when the list includes programs of study, curriculum development and academic planning and strategies.

In the end, the totality and comprehensiveness of the family of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Workflows must come together into one cohesive system with a blended culture and focus upon institutional sustainability.

In order to reflect upon this challenge better, we offer:

Academic/SEM Cycles Framed

Figure 4: Academic/SEM Cycles Framed

 

In Closing

I hope this brief sketch of the five Academic and SEM Cycles & Workflows provides an insight into the basic weave of complex elements that culminate in an enrollment report. We encourage your input, thoughts, suggestions and comments.

In our continuing effort to support our clients, MGDA is excited to announce our schedule of Transformational Strategies Institutes for 2015.

The transformation of higher education is evolving more rapidly with each annual cycle. While dealing with the annual litany of challenges, remember that a longer more permanent transformation is underway. The paradigm shift to the learning age is powered by a global digital learning ecosystem requiring unprecedented focus on academic and enrollment strategy. 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.

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, so please check in regularly.

To stay connected and engage with your colleagues, join the ASEM Group in Linked In.