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?

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.

Achieving Strategic Position in the Global Learning Marketplace: Part 7

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Series Banner

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

No one can achieve and sustain long-term enrollment and fiscal health with mandates or short-term, reactive, quick fix initiatives.

Strategic Position

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.

The concept of strategic position is built around 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 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.
Strategic Position Diagram

Figure 1: 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.

Achieving strategic position requires the institution to define the specific parameters that position the institution in the global learning marketplace. Enrollment managers work as partners in developing strategies to achieve and to maintain the competitive position of the institution within the global learning market. The learning marketplace is dynamic, and those dynamics change over time and within each competitive domain an institution is recruits. It is important to anchor recruitment campaigns in strategies that align the academic portfolio with market parameters.

Parameters Driving Strategic Position

Strategic position as a conceptual approach recognizes the confluence of factors, forces and elements that contribute to the competitiveness of the institution in the global learning market. Examples of parameters driving strategic position.

Geographic Mix

Defines the actual and targeted geographic representation of enrolled students.  Expressed as percent distributions by defined geographic regions (e.g. zip code, county, region, state, country). Provides a framework to align enrollment targets and performance with population distributions and dynamics.

  • Why is this important?
    Geographic mix defines the raw suspect pool that yields prospects and eventually enrollments. If the geographic mix is too narrow the pool is not large enough to achieve or sustain enrollments. If the mix is unfocused (such as international by country) or undeclared then, the services required for student success may not be available. Geographic mix also helps determine who the competitors are.
  • Example
    An urban independent institution with numerous competing academic neighbors and an enrollment profile so localized it was termed line of sight recruitment experienced steady erosion in enrollments. Their initial proposed geographic mix strategy involved a three-year focus to develop the capacity to expand to contiguous states then to a twelve state region. In addition, because of well-developed affiliations a limited international effort was also recommended. The strategies in this case were directly linked to specific programs of study.

Program of Study Mix

Defines the array of academic programs and services an institution offers to the population it serves. Provides a framework to align credentials with economic, social, political, and technological challenges and opportunities.

  • Why is this important?
    The mix of programs and disciplines ultimately define the profile of the institution to the learning marketplace. Program of study clusters can also be used to position schools, colleges, and departments in communities of interest and practice. The goal is to generate a following among influencers and a constant buzz in the social media regarding programmatic opportunities. Institutionally focused general marketing while necessary is insufficient alone to sustain healthy enrollments. Program level marketing must be developed and sustained.
  • Example
    A college of art and design offered a limited number of programs of study. The growth strategy involved adding four programs of study in developing the first stage of enrollment futures strategy. The programs rather than being selected from interest areas among faculty were selected to build a cohesive strategic position in the market. For example, a Business of Art and Design program was developed in order to emphasize the economic value of art and design and highlight the role of the institutions programs in producing practicing artists and designers. Geographic mix was then considered. The same institution relied heavily upon in-state enrollment with a geographic mix of 77% in state, 20% other 49 states (but predominantly six other states) and 3% international. Is this a healthy distribution?

Employment Domains and Discipline Spheres

Defines existing and emerging disciplines and employment sectors and opportunities.  Provides a framework for connecting and aligning structured disciplines with economic opportunities.

  • Why is this important?
    The linkage between academic disciplines and preparation for employment within defined economic sectors is of extremely high value when developing academic strategy. It is often deeply misunderstood. Every academic credential needs to embed employability knowledge and skills into the curriculum. The narrative describing the curriculum must make the case that the curriculum is up-to-date, relevant, and content and experience rich.
  • Example
    A Universities’ Liberal Arts programs recognized they needed curriculum revitalization to invigorate enrollment. The process was guided by the notion that a well-constructed liberal arts undergraduate degree could be argued and proven to be the perfect credential for this century. The core was reimagined to include thematic essential employability competencies that were shaped into curricular experiences. Faculty focused on:

    • Quantitative and qualitative reasoning and decision-making
    • Effective communication
    • Global cultural and political awareness
    • A strong sense of self and an understanding of self in relation to community
    • Basic economic structures and dynamics
    • Political systems and governance

    These were embedded into the curricular experience and designed to be assessed.

Community of Practice Focus

Defines emerging need or problem based communities. Provides a framework for understanding and aligning multiple programs and disciplines with emerging global needs and opportunities.

  • Why is this important?
    Communities of Practice represent self-identifying contemporary clusters of individuals with diverse knowledge, skills and credentials coming together to address an important issue, problem or need. They are very fertile ground to identify, shape and develop new curriculum. The community of practice lens is also a great way to approach existing curriculum revitalization and market realignment.
  • Example
    A School of Management had developed and was preparing to launch a program of study in fraud and forensics. The preliminary design was primarily accounting in nature. The scope of practice was narrowly focused. By engaging the communities of practice that included judiciary, law enforcement, and financial sectors in a structural review of the preliminary curriculum significant changes were made. As a result of the participation, the Communities of Practice members populated the initial program cohorts and augmented faculty expertise.

Learning Outcomes

Defines the knowledge and skills acquired form engagement in an academic program of study or learning environment. Provides a framework for mapping outcomes, developing narrative and leveraging academic value.

  • Why is this important?
    Teaching and learning are the heart and soul of an academic institution. Differentiating an institution based upon learning achievement, teaching quality, learning environment, and educational value-added is seldom attempted and difficult to achieve. Focusing upon learning outcomes includes completion rates, placement rates of graduates, and rankings and ratings by employers. It also structurally can be used as a guide to revitalizing the curricular design model.
  • Example
    Recognizing that roughly half of the prospects searching for their first enrollment opportunity are undecided as to the major they are interested initial strategies were developed to launch a common first year experience for undecided majors. The curriculum was designed to provide a strong academic experience flowing directly into more than a dozen majors. It was designed without a time to degree extension penalty being required (similar to the Liberal Arts example above except within a human services curricular cluster) regardless of the major selected within the cluster.

Research and Scholarship

Defines the knowledge focus and foundation of an academic organization and its relationship to the global academic and knowledge ecosystem. Provides a framework for innovation, focus, and leveraging knowledge and discipline expertise.

  • Why is this important?
    Research and scholarship anchor the academic reputation of the institution. The higher the demonstrable quality of research and scholarship the higher the perceived value of the learning experience.
  • Example
    An urban universities’ professional school sought to increase their rank and strategic position among their peers and enhance both research and faculty and student recruitment. A review of the research scholarship platform revealed more than 50 centers, institutes, and laboratories. As the school designed a new facility a comprehensive focus resulted in re-conceptualizing the organization, integration and support of the research and scholarship functions.

These examples illustrate in a nutshell, what we mean by taking a strategic position approach. The path to developing effective strategies can appear daunting and overwhelming. In order to construct meaningful strategy, we treat the view through these six lenses from the current institutional position as vectors. The concept of vectors adds two defining characteristics to the view through the lens, direction and magnitude. Note the primacy the curriculum and the academic portfolio play in developing strategic position. A well-developed strategically focused Master Academic Plan provides the best foundation. The use of the vector view is a powerful lens providing a focus for both the Master Academic Plan and developing Strategic Position.

SP Vectors

Figure 2: Strategic Position Using Vectors: Example

The vector view in figure 2 provides sufficient detail (an early draft and not the more exhaustive view) to synthesize cohesive and comprehensive strategies for the future of the enterprise. Each element on the six lens lines is in a state of change; increasing or decreasing, expanding or contracting, changing rapidly or slowly,  either in growth or decline, is becoming more popular or more essential or is becoming less so. These six lens inform the development of the Master Academic Plan and help identify candidates for bump strategies, or long term development. They inform the status of the institutions current strategic position and provide insight and opportunities for future development.

Such a view can plug back into an initial strategic position assessment using the SRS Method to develop a clear and concise translation and guide Strategic Enrollment Management strategies.

SRS Pyramid (Diagram)

Figure 3: The SRS Method for Strategy Development

In Closing

Hopefully this Strategic Position approach has provided deeper insight into the intricate and detailed elements involved in constructing a comprehensive competitive position in the emerging global learning marketplace. A colleague commenting on this approach quipped “Wouldn’t it be nice if this were much simpler? Send a few Social Media messages, even put up a billboard on the freeway or placards in buses and by golly the enrollments would overflow. In a perfect world, they would all be eager, well prepared, well-mannered, full pay students that just do as they are told and graduate on time.”  Pardon a quote from a contemporary commercial—“that’s not how any of this works.” It is complex; efforts take time and persistence, and results (not wishes) must be designed into strategies and initiatives. In the end curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue and revenue drives everything else. That means ultimately strategies emanate from the curriculum (see “It’s the Curriculum Stupid”) and the academic enterprise.

Proficiency Based Curriculum Model: Part 6

Master Academic Plan: Part 5

Prototype-Banner

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.

Programs of Study: Part 5

AcademicSEM-Banner

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

The fundamental tenet of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management is “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else.” The Program of Study is the primary way by which students enroll and revenues flow to the institution. It is also a primary determinant of the costs to operate the curriculum. The Program of Study is a formal component of a Curriculum Architecture. There are normally many Programs of Study within an institutions Curriculum. The Program of Study is defined as the prescribed sequence of courses required to attain a credential. We refer to the Program of Study as a POS (read each letter). For illustration purposes we have selected a 40 course, four year baccalaureate degree program to illustrate the fundamentals of Program of Study design.

Mapping a Program of Study

Illustrative Baccalaureate Degree (Program of Study) POS Matrix

Figure 1: Illustrative Baccalaureate Degree Program of Study (POS) Matrix

A Program of Study is shaped by the specifications delineated in the institution’s curriculum architecture. In the illustration Figure 1, courses in major are designated in Green. Courses required from the core curriculum or to meet general education requirements are in Blue. Selective courses, those chosen from an options list to meet a requirement, are in Yellow, and open electives (learner’s unrestricted choice) are in Red. There is also an overload option if financial policy for the institution permits overload within full time tuition policy.

Every Program of Study and Course are endowed with specifications. Program of Study specifications include such defined characteristics as calendar model, schedule model, admissions prerequisites, program sequence requisites, and course options (elective, selective, open elective).

Program of Study Specifications (Illustrative)

  • A Program of Study is designed to result in a specific credential; and
  • inherits the credentials specifications; such as
    • Calendar Model (Defines number of terms, Credit Requirements for Full-time, Term Pattern for Course Offerings, …),
    • Schedule Model (Defines Daily/Weekly/Term Course Offering Pattern,
    • Admission Requirements,
    • Credit Accumulation (i.e. 120 credit degree limit)
    • Distribution Requirements (Defines course thematic requirements i.e. major, core, general education, upper division or 100/200/300/400 level)
  • Enrollment Specifications
    • Cohort Size (a class commencing the POS together in a 1st term)
    • Course Section Size
    • Course Sequencing Model
  • Program Design Specifications
    • Defines Course Requirements
    • Electives (includes Open Electives, Program Electives, Selectives)

Course Specifications (Illustrative)

  • are designed to define the learner engagement model, learner experience, pedagogy and resources.
  • Learner Engagement Model specifies how the course syllabus content will be encountered by the learner.
  • Learner experience is the view by the learner of how well the course facilitated learning for them.
  • Pedagogy refers to the learning methods available to the learner in their quest to master the syllabus.
  • Faculty qualified to teach the course are an essential element of the profile of course specifications.
  • Resources include room requirements, digital platform requirements, as well as supplies and equipment.

These brief descriptive lists are not intended as check list or meant to convey the comprehensive scope and content but rather to develop the concept that specifications drive cost, effectiveness, quality and recruitability of the ccurriculum. The line between Program and Course specifications is a blurry one. In our curriculum work we use our program planning system to help identify and organize the requirements of courses across a curriculum. It is a daunting task and we observe that it is common for institutions to manage the complexity of it all by exception, meaning everything is assumed fine unless someone if complaining.

In the end it all has to come together and then it must be presented to the marketplace. Crafting marketing strategies and campaigns is as much art as science. When both art and science are used they result in a narrative that rationally presents the program and courses to specific target market segments in a way that differentiates them from competitors.

 Why does all of this matter?

The curriculum architecture and the programs of study that flow from it establish both the recruitability (marketability) and carrying cost of the curriculum. They determine the success as much as the skill and design of marketing campaigns. Enrollment management strategy is bringing all of these into focus and the reason we have begun the Academic Strategic Enrollment Management initiative. Success is measured by the degree to which the curriculum together with recruitment, retention, marketing, and institutional effectiveness generates a stable financial platform upon which the curriculum is supported. The reality is “Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else!” To illustrate the Margin Case Study begins to construct the nature of the relationship between curriculum architecture, program and course specifications and the financial viability of the curriculum.

Margin Case Study

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

Example

Working together, academic and enrollment management can develop very effective strategies for sustainability. It is a complex process requiring synthesis across disciplines, and integrating them into a future focused scenario. When scaled to a university the impact is enormous. The case example below illustrates the difference by summing the rooms required and the resulting square footage of academic space required to meet the needs of a fixed number course offered under different curriculum architecture models in planned growth from 20,000 enrollments to 40,000 enrollments. The difference in cost to build the most efficient (estimated at ~$2 Billion) v.s. the least efficient (estimated at ~$3 Billion) was an extraordinary $1 Billion dollars.

Room Count Comparison by Scenario and Schedule Model (Chart)

Room Count Comparison by Scenario and Schedule Model (Chart)

 

In Closing

The role of the Program of Study in Academic Strategic Enrollment Management strategy development and implementation is a pivotal one. It is important to keep a balanced perspective. MOOC’s, for example, as a Program of Study strategy, are primarily experiments in scalability. They are not in themselves going to cause the demise nor save institutions. Online programs are an initiative that explores and develops a curriculum delivery/learning modality. The emerging global digital learning ecosystem is a shift in the foundational repository of knowledge and information. It results in a shift in access, utilization, manipulation, and assimilation of learning into everyday life. The future is not about the doom of higher education but rather the extraordinary future that stands before it. Curriculum architecture, the program of study, and the credential are extremely important and deserve close scrutiny, evaluation and deep nurturing attention to keep them improving in both effectiveness and efficiency.

Proficiency Based Curriculum Model: Part 6

SEM Matrix: Part 4

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management (ASEM) Professional Group Launched

ASEM-Hero-LogoMGDA announced today the formation of the Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Group as a professional community of practice established on the LinkedIn social networking platform.

The Academic Strategic Enrollment Management (A-SEM) Group is dedicated to the concept of sustainability by nurturing synergy between Academic Leaders and Enrollment Planning and Management Professionals. The group is a forum for the  emerging community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to exploring and developing the foundations of academic strategic enrollment management.  The group is a community of higher education professionals serving  in such roles as academic leaders, faculty, enrollment managers, curriculum designers, marketing, institutional research and assessment engaged in efforts to build the highest quality, fiscally sustainable academic programs.

SEM MatrixTo get a deeper view please visit the Academic SEM Series to explore the Primacy of the Curriculum, the use of the SEM Matrix, the concept and power of a Curriculum Architecture, and the insight embedded in a Learner-Centered Curriculum.

You are invited to connect with Michael G. Dolence on LinkedIn and look forward to you joining our group.

 

Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: Part 3

AcademicSEM-Banner

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

What is the Learner Centered Curriculum Framework?

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

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

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

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

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

Seven Learner-Centered Questions

Diagram-LLCF

Learner Populations

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

Learner Objectives

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

Learning Provider Models

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

Learning Theories and Methods

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

Learner-Centered Curriculum Architecture

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

Learner-Centered Curriculum Configuration

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

Learner-Centered Support Services

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

Alternate Names

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

  • Subject Centered
  • Student Centered

SEM Matrix: Part 4

Curriculum Architecture: Part 2

Curriculum Architecture: Part 2

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Series

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

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.

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Principle 3: Strategic Curriculum Architecture

The objective of the concept of strategic architecture is to align curriculum with the realities of the emerging global learning marketplace. It must have a deep digital footprints and strong social connectivity to ensure that it drives the academic portfolios strategic position in the learning marketplace. A full articulation and discussion of strategic curriculum architecture is beyond the scope of a blog post. We will focus in this post on establishing a foundation understanding of what the architecture is and how it underpins enrollment management.

A curriculum architecture is defined by four underlying domains:

  1. Programs of Study
    The taxonomy of degrees, certificates, sequences, courses, modules, and learning objects within a school’s curriculum inventory defines the primary design feature of the school. This domain anchors the architecture, shifts attention to outcomes and program-based design elements, and, thereby, facilitates the alignment of the academic master planning process with other institutional processes.
  2. Authentications
    This domain details accrediting, licensing, and assessment oversight organizations, the units warranted, and related specifications. In doing so, the architecture incorporates the School’s accreditation and outcomes assessment planning processes.
  3. Delivery and Learner Access Strategies
    This domain tracks program term parameters, schedule model parameters, delivery modes, facilities implications and other delivery specifications.
  4. Business Model Variables
    This domain specifies the human resource specifications, instructional and non-instructional funding, and other resource specifications required to deliver the curriculum.

The fundamentals of allocating a series of learning experiences by building and delivering the curriculum is achieved through the structure of the curriculums 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. The architecture defines the curriculum system used by the institution.

A Systems View

Any curriculum system facilitates learning content being conceptualized, designed, assessed, packaged, managed and delivered to the learner. All curricular systems have certain characteristics. For example:

  1. All curricula reside within an institutional or organizational context defined by the mission of the organization in which it resides, the stakeholders who shape that mission, and their vision of where the institution is going and how it is to evolve.
  2. All curricula result in outcomes, in other words, they have a tangible and often intangible impact upon those that engage it. The outcomes may be expected or unexpected; they may be intended or unintended; they may be measurable or difficult to ascertain.
  3. All curricula reside within an economic reality that defines opportunities and constraints. It may be a stable, adequate, inadequate, growing, shrinking, or in a state of flux. The economic realities shape a great deal of what the curriculum is and how it is delivered.
  4. All curricula have an architecture either both well-defined and articulated or defacto having evolved over time. By architecture, we mean that all curricula have a defined structure that fits many parts together. Each identified part exists within the defined structure of the system and plays a specific role in the overall function of the system.
  5. The sum of these characteristics helps define a curriculum’s system architecture.

Defining a Curriculums Architecture

A curriculum architecture has an inherent structure. The first task is to identify and describe common structural elements that contribute to or make up a curriculums architecture.

Curriculum Architecture

Mission

Includes the influence of various institutional, school, college department, and discipline missions on the structure and content of the curriculum. These provide the context of the fundamental purpose of the institution. Mission (and vision for that matter) is translated into curriculum by focusing upon seven interrelated questions.

  1. What is the demographics of the learners an institution seeks to serve?
  2. What objectives do those learners seek to achieve?
  3. What learning opportunities are available from the global learning environment?
  4. What teaching and learning methods are available to help specific learners, seeking specific objectives, within a competitive learning marketplace achieve their intended learning outcomes.
  5. What is the overall curriculum architecture of the institution being evaluated?
  6. What is the configuration of a specific curriculum being selected?
  7. What learner services are necessary to enable the learner to complete the selected curriculum successfully?

These seven structured questions provide a framework for helping to translate an institutions mission into curriculum. And conversely they provide a framework with which to evaluate institutional mission through the curriculum lens. They are also a very effective framework to form Strategic enrollment Management Strategies.

Vision Influence

The influence of various institutional, school, college, department, discipline visions on the structure and content of the curriculum. From an entities (school, college, department, discipline) vision emerges its trajectory (where it is plotting to go) in the near, mid, and long term future. The curriculums architecture must enable sustaining a trajectory.

Academic Philosophy

The influence of various academic philosophies such as liberal arts licensed professional, scholar/practitioner, and accreditation aligned, on the structure and content of the curriculum. A philosophy provides the root of the values structure held by the academic community. Multiple philosophies are common in an institution. Discretely identifying and defining them helps enormously in developing and implementing conflict resolution strategies.

Scope

The scope of the curriculum establishes the various levels, credential categories, discipline array, credit and non-credit mix, and such intellectual elements as the role of research. Attention to scope is important because the opportunistic nature of the curriculum often induces scope creep (the slow expansion of the scope without questioning ‘do we really want to go there’). A curriculums scope provides both focus and boundaries that are important as other non-academic entities align with the academic enterprise. Online is an excellent example of an initiative emanating from deployment strategies that can seriously induce scope creep.

Academic Organizational Design

Organizational design includes but means more than just the academic organizations structure. The design also includes the functional components of the curriculum itself such as the hierarchy of the curriculum as reflected in the relationships between University ↔ College ↔ Department ↔ Program ↔ Course ↔ Module ↔ Reusable Learning Object. Such academic structures require a deep look for how they align and support the overall curriculums architecture. Failure to identify and formally define the basic elements of the academic organization leads to deep and damaging confusion to how effectively the curriculum functions.

Programs of Study

The architecture is shaped by the influence of specific content, curricular sequences, program and course outcomes and learning objectives on the design and configuration of individual programs. The program of study provides a crisp learner-centered view of the learning pathways taken to achieve specific credentials and outcomes. A common method of developing, displaying and reviewing programs of study is helpful in conveying the specific management criteria for the curriculum as a whole.

Teaching and Learning Methods and Strategies

The influence of various teaching and learning methods and strategies on the structure and content of the curriculum cannot be over emphasized. As curriculum is designed, developed, and implemented they are either enabled or inhibited by the curriculums architecture. Formally considering their influence is imperative as we look to the future.

Accreditations, Authentications, and Assessment Strategies

The influence that various accreditation standards, licensing requirements, assessment requirements, federal and state curricular regulations has on the structure and content of the curriculum must be accommodated in the architecture.

Configuration and Deployment Strategies

The influence of various deployment strategies such as the face-to-face, online, satellite facility, laptop university, (host of others) on the structure and content of the curriculum is important. Basic structures like scheduling model, academic calendar configurations, pricing and packaging strategies are essential to establishing a curriculum architecture that meets the needs of the learners to be served.

Business Models Strategies

The influence of the various ways curricula is packaged, marketed, delivered and consumed on the structure and content of the curriculum must be considered in the design of the overall structure. The business interface is as important as the learning interface in the overall design. Strategies such as pricing, content access and control, assessment integrity, learner transcripts, and a host of others must be aligned and accommodated within the business models used.

In Closing

We have mapped within this post the basics of what curriculum architecture includes. Before developing or applying any tools or methods it is important to frame the entire concept of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. Next we will explore some of the concepts around Learner-Centered approaches to curriculum.

Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: Part 3

“Its the Curriculum Stupid”: Part 1

Academic Strategy: Curriculum Driven Facility Optimization

MGDA specializes in strategic analysis guiding fundamental academic decisions that optimize resources, facilities, and revenue potential leading to increased margin. This type of analysis is particularly valuable when building a new University where there is no campus history, no patterns to accommodate, and not reference points to use to develop specifications. The simplest form of data one could use (and many do) is to just look at an existing institution about the size and clone it. There a number of reasons this is not advisable, some examples include:

  1. The current paradigm shift to a digital learning ecosystem is changing room utilization use patterns, room configuration requirements, capacity and technology requirements.
  2. Without some optimization analysis, low utilization artifacts can continue unrecognized and unabated.
  3. There are multiple sources of sub optimization. Low schedule utilization, inappropriate course or pedagogy for a room configuration, disruption of optimum schedule, …

To illustrate the magnitude of difference between optimization scenarios we offer the following real world example from our client experience.

Comparative Analysis Comprehensive University

MGDA assessed the curriculum of a comprehensive university and analyzed four growth scenarios and their impact on academic facility space. The university is committed to double its size and grow from its current 20,000 student enrollment to 40,000 students. This summary table shows the total room count across all 82 Programs of Study. The blue columns show total room counts at 20K enrollment, the orange shows the count at 30K enrollments and the grey columns show rooms required at 40K enrollment.

Room Count Comparison by Scenario and Schedule Model (Chart)

The Room Count by Scenario and Schedule Model chart is very revealing. Academic administrators and facility managers will immediately recognize very different perspectives and beliefs reflected in the scenarios and the politics of the institution. In the end funding agencies required some assessment of room utilization possible and an unambiguous and impartial view of capacity. The chart shows actual room counts by stage of enrollment growth for each of four facility ownership scenarios.