Compliance as a University Wide (Enterprise) Issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan, January 2016

LogoInsitute-Wide

 

January 20-22, 2016, Claremont California

The design of the Institute for Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan, 2016 recognizes that 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.

Eventbrite - Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability

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. The Institute focuses upon the process of Future Proofing a Strategic Plan, detailing 10 vital planning initiatives required to prepare for the future to achieve fiscal and enrollment sustainability.

  1. Future Proof your Strategic Plan (The Importance of a Prototype and how to do one quickly)
  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

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 Strategic Plan and Master Academic Plan that are aligned with future realities, institutions are powerless to forging near, mid, and long term strategies for enrollment and fiscal health of colleges, schools and programs.

Who Should Attend

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

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Understanding the emerging global digital learning ecosystem
    The first session opens with building an understanding of the emergence of the digital learning ecosystem and the changes to the rules in education and learning it brings. A survey of the overall changes, the rules and sectors they disrupt and the emerging principles that govern the future will be covered.
  • Session II: Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan
    We begin with the importance of developing a Prototype Strategic Plan as a means of shifting dialog to  framing the future rather than focusing upon the discomfort of change or the disruptions of current or past dynamics. Then we will provide a method to do one quickly.
  • Session III: Academic Master Plan for the New Learning Paradigm
    This session focuses upon the Academic Master Plan (AMP) or as some like to call it a Master Academic Plan (MAP). The AMP is critical to the future because it establishes all of the basic elements of the curriculum’s architecture. It is in the Academic Master Plan where the foundations for the future are established. This session 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. Particular attention is paid to creating strategic advantage through curriculum architecture revitalization.
  • Session IV: Establishing and Optimization Curricular Value for Market Advantage
    Examines the principles of sustainability and applies them to various curricular scenarios (such as revitalization of the core or general education curriculum, establishing community of practice based programs of study…). Focuses on innovating from where you are with what you have. Emphasis is identifying opportunities and focused implementation.
  • Session V: Understanding Academic and Enrollment Strategies Tactics and Capacities
    Examines basic principles of effective enrollment management, 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: The Academic SEM Plan
    Evaluates and constructs the principles of integrating the Academic Master Plan with the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.
  • Session VII: Securing a Strategic Position in the Global Learning Marketplace
    This session focuses upon the assessment of strategic position as informed through six lenses.
  • Session VIII: Optimizing Performance and Institutional Effectiveness
    Examines basic principles of establishing a comprehensive and cohesive system for institutional effectiveness. Identifying and defining capacity requirements and managing workflows and cycles to maximize fiscal and enrollment health.

Eventbrite - Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability

Join us at one or more of our Institutes to more deeply explore critical issues facing higher education and strategies to address them.

Academic SEM Posters Now Available

Academic SEM Funnel [MGDA01]

SEM-Poster-512

Academic SEM Cycles [MGDA02]

SEM-Cycle-Poster-512

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Understanding Accumulated Student Debt, Rising Tuition, Public Policy

ASDThe impact of accumulated debt on federal financial aid policy/funding, state financing of higher education, institutional enrollment strategies, and student college going decisions is complex and difficult to unravel. The New York Federal Reserve Bank has released a staff report contributing to the understanding of the complex intertwined dynamics that deserves a thorough read and discussion at the institutional strategy level. I have some issues with causal inference and conclusions but the issue is of paramount importance. There are significant implications and ramifications to their findings. I have selected a couple of resources that help focus the dialog on strategic issues.

Consider the finding “We find that institutions more exposed to changes in the subsidized federal loan program increased their tuition disproportionately around these policy changes, with a sizable pass-through effect on tuition of about 65 percent.”

  • What does this actually mean? Does it infer that institutions’ adjusted tuition is based upon aid formulas rather than true labor and compliance costs? How does this play across sectors, types, regions and states? What are the political ramifications of this finding and what will happen in the hands of politicians in a national election cycle?

Consider the data published in the Chronicle of Higher Education that indicates “just 20 universities are responsible for a huge share of graduate-student debt, amounting to more than $6.5 billion in a single year (2013-14).” and goes onto show that Walden University ranked first with $756,336,024 in graduate student debt. (Walden U. Responds to Report on Graduate-Student Debt)

  • Billions spread over 20 institutions gets everyone’s attention. Is this an expose on exploitive strategy or does the data need to be contextualized? Contextualizing the data is something that needs to be done more adroitly by the higher education community. Again what are the implications and political fall out?

Consider the intensifying focus on the earnings to accumulated debt ratios being examined at the programmatic level as examined in the Brookings study included below.

  • The emergence of the relationship between debt, funding and earnings will intensify. The rate of return and schedule of payback, the value to society not just the individual will be asked again and again, and the focus on outcomes will become more intense and more heated.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank in their July 2015 Staff Report examines the

Credit Supply and the Rise in College Tuition: Evidence from the Expansion in Federal Student Aid Programs

 When students fund their education through loans, changes in student borrowing and tuition are interlinked. Higher tuition costs raise loan demand, but loan supply also affects equilibrium tuition costs—for example, by relaxing students’ funding constraints. To resolve this simultaneity problem, we exploit detailed student-level financial data and changes in federal student aid programs to identify the impact of increased student loan funding on tuition. We find that institutions more exposed to changes in the subsidized federal loan program increased their tuition disproportionately around these policy changes, with a sizable pass-through effect on tuition of about 65 percent. We also find that Pell Grant aid and the unsubsidized federal loan program have pass-through effects on tuition, although these are economically and statistically not as strong. The subsidized loan effect on tuition is most pronounced for expensive, private institutions that are somewhat, but not among the most, selective.

Huffington Post published the Average Student Debt Burden In Each State

Published data from the Department of Education, College Board, and The Institute for College Access & Success bringing student debt burden to the state level.

The Chronicle of Higher Education Reported “As Graduate-Student Debt Booms, Just a Few Colleges Are Largely Responsible

Published data focused upon graduate student debt burden as a separate issue. According to their table just 20 universities are responsible for a huge share of graduate-student debt, amounting to more than $6.5 billion in a single year (2013-14). Walden University ranked first with $756,336,024 in graduate student debt.

Brookings Reported in November 2014 an analysis of Graduates’ Earnings Growth and Debt Repayment

Brookings published an analysis of accumulated debt ratios for students enrolled in specific program types. The report also provides an interactive feature, Undergraduate Student Loan Calculator, to calculate the share of earnings necessary to service traditional loan repayment for 80 majors.

In closing

The relationships between accumulated student debt, graduates earning potential,  the earning to payback cycle alignment, and managing tuition price and discounting ratios, form a major issue stream that weighs heavily on the future of higher education. Institutions who understand this will focus on embedding as much value in their curricula as can be achieved. Then they will create a value narrative to guide implementation and align their institutional effectiveness model to close the loop and provide evidence of value. The context involved in achieving a higher value narrative requires we recognize the paradigm shift now underway. To align with the paradigm shift we must examine ways to future proof strategies within the broader context of how higher education is evolving.

Join us at one or more of our Institutes to more deeply explore critical issues facing higher education and strategies to address them.

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.’

 

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

A MUST READ

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

Goldie

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

Adult Learning Achieves Primacy Across Global Societies

The number of adults engaged in formal learning around the globe in any giving year is astounding. Increasingly adult participation in learning is enabled through the robust emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. Globally this is  nurtured by such applications as universal language translation. Together these factors help define the rapidly evolving Learning Age. There are a number of sources for global data on adult participation rates in education and formal learning. Global efforts are not directly comparable but together they illustrate the massive investment people from around the world are making in continuous learning. The questions for higher education are a matter of Academic Strategy and are learner-centric in nature. Seven framing questions focus attention on the learner and learning:

  1. Who are the engaged learners?
  2. What objectives do engaged learners seek?
  3. What learning provider models and curricula are available to the learners?
  4. What learning theories and methods are appropriate for specific learners and the objectives they seek?
  5. What is the optimum curriculum architecture for an institution or educational entity in the 21st Century?
  6. What specific curriculum can be configured to meet the learning needs of the learner population(s) an institution has chosen or been charged to serve?
  7. What support services are necessary to enable specific learner population(s) to successfully complete the curriculum and meet their objectives?

In this post we will focus on the numbers of learners in the adult learning marketplace. We begin in Europe.

An Overview from OECD

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organization of 34 countries founded in 1961 (with roots back to 1948) to stimulate economic progress and world trade. OECD maintains the Indicators of Education Systems (INES) program that provides data on the performance of the education systems in the OECD’s 34 member countries and a set of partner countries, including non-member G20 nations. In a report Skills Beyond School they report adult participation in Education and Learning in OECD Member countries. Combined the European population covered by OECD is a little more than the U.S. at just under 400 million. Findings include:

  • Across the OECD, more than 40% of adults participate in formal and/or non-formal education in a given year. (This is the same range as U.S. adult participation rates.) The proportion ranges from more than 60% in New Zealand and Sweden to less than 15% in Greece and Hungary.
  • On average in the OECD area, an individual can expect to receive 988 hours of instruction in non-formal education during his or her working life, of which 715 hours are instruction in job-related non-formal education.
  • Overall, 27% of adults in OECD countries have looked for information on learning possibilities in the preceding 12 months, and 87% of those seeking information found some.
Figure 1: Participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education, (OECD Chart C5.4)

Figure 1: Participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education, (OECD Chart C5.4)

 

Figure 2: Participation rate in all and in job-related non-formal education, hours of instruction per participant and per adult in job-related non-formal education, 2007 (OECD Chart C5.2)

Figure 2: Participation rate in all and in job-related non-formal education, hours of instruction per participant and per adult in job-related non-formal education, 2007 (OECD Chart C5.2)

 

Figure 3: OECD Expected hours over the working life in all non-formal education and in job-related non-formal education, 2007

Figure 3: OECD Expected hours over the working life in all non-formal education and in job-related non-formal education, 2007

 

European Numbers from Eurostat Indicating Changes in Rates Over 20+ Years

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. It provides the European Union with statistics that enable comparisons between countries and regions. The Adult Education Survey (AES) is a household survey on lifelong learning. People living in private households are interviewed about their participation in education and training activities (formal, non-formal and informal learning). The target population of the survey is composed of people aged 25 to 64. The survey takes place every five years and its results are published on Eurostat website. Eurostat also provides Population Statistics of European countries.

Figure 4: Adult Learners Age 25 to 64 Who Reported Receiving Education

Figure 4: Adult Learners Age 25 to 64 Who Reported Receiving Education

 Source: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tsdsc440

The variability in participation rates among the European nations is profound. The focus on assessing and enhancing participation in educational activities however, is universally among the highest priorities. For deeper insights a visit to the OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, is worth the time.

U.S. Adult Participation Rates Numbers from NCES

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary U.S. entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population, thereby offering policymakers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The latest numbers for the U.S. Adult Participation Rates is for 2005.

Figure 5: U.S. Summary of All Adults Enrolled in Any Program 1991-2005

Figure 5: U.S. Summary of All Adults Enrolled in Any Program 1991-2005

 Participation Varies by Age Category

Breaking out the rates by age group highlights that Eurostat begins its age classifications of adult learners at 25 where as the U.S. NHES included 17-24 year olds.

Figure 6: U.S. Adult Participation in Education by Age Group

Figure 6: U.S. Adult Participation in Education by Age Group

 

The U.S. Undergraduate Demographic

Reflecting on the characteristics of enrolled college students informs a deeper look at adult learning strategies. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation published an effective demographic infographic detailing what America would look like as 100 College Students.

Figure 7: Demographic Characteristics of American Undergraduate College Students

Figure 7: Demographic Characteristics of American Undergraduate College Students

Comparative rates from Canadian Study

Each nation exhibits a competitive concern over educational achievement by adult learners as a main component of their economic vitality strategy. The Conference Board of Canada has produced a  website that presents data and analysis on Canada’s national and provincial performance relative to that of 15 peer countries in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society.

How Canada Performs is a multi-year research program to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in the socio-economic performance of Canada and its provinces. It helps policy-makers, organization leaders, and all Canadians answer the following questions: How do the quality-of-life report cards for Canada and its provinces compare to those of peer countries? Is Canada’s quality of life sustainable? Has there been an improvement? What must Canada and the provinces do to provide a high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians?

Figure 8:  Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Figure 8:  Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Source: Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Asia and Africa reflect a wide range of Participation

For Asia a great place to start is The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Asia and the Pacific report by UNESCO. Insights from the report help establish the climate for Adult Learners.

The history of adult learning and education is a hit-and-miss story – starting off with strong rhetoric, promises and expectation and concluding in limited success, and even neglect and disappointment in too many cases. Adult learning and education has been conflated into the broader agenda of education and development more at the level of discourse than in action. In the arena of action, it has been too often confined to a narrow interpretation of literacy skills. Hence, for most governments in developing countries where financial and human resources are limited, adult education is low in the pecking order when it comes to assigning priority to sub-sectors of the education system (Tanvir, 2008). Furthermore, NGOs are often the major providers of adult learning, although this is largely limited to adult literacy programmes, which then becomes a reason for the state not to fulfill its responsibility. (Page 7)

For Africa, the same source different publication: The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Subsaharan Africa.

After decades of sustained efforts to eradicate illiteracy in Africa, illiteracy rates of adults remain high with continuing gender and urban/rural disparities. Illiteracy has several correlations with low productivity, low incomes and poorer health (and susceptibility to HIV/AIDS). It hampers national development efforts. It is a bar to much adult education. The enormous growth in free universal primary education in Africa will gradually alleviate this problem, but drop-out rates from primary schooling remain high. The number of people needing adult basic education still grows and few resources are left over from primary education for children. The adult education sub-sector of state education systems remains relatively marginal and under-funded, in spite of the good economic progress in many countries since the mid-1990s.

So what does it mean?

It means the demand for curriculum among adult learners is huge and growing globally. The demand must be considered in addition to the focus on traditional 18 to 22 year old undergraduates. In order to translate that into place based learning one must define the place (the specific area in which learners reside), select the closest approximation of participation rate by curriculum category and calculate the theoretical demand. In the U.S. we begin with the U.S. and World Population Clock.  In the U.S. there is One Birth every 8 seconds; One Death every 12 seconds; One International In Migration every 33 seconds; for a Net Gain of One Person every 16 seconds. This establishes the context of rate of change over time.

Once a population and a rate is established, an adult learning population can be estimated. In the U.S. there are approximately 320.2 million people, and an estimated 180.7 million 21 to 65 year olds. Given a 40% participation rate there are an estimated 72.3 million adults in the U.S. Learning Marketplace Annually. Of course these are rough framing estimates but they indicate that adult learning is a well established and important strategic element of social and economic vitality. It must also be a strategic element of framing higher education strategies for the next millennium. To approach these markets new academic strategies must be developed.

Enrollment Worries?

The only real way to enrollment and fiscal stability and sustainability is to engage both academic and enrollment management professionals in a structured approach to find, recruit, and enroll the critical mass of enrollments necessary to meet fiscal requirements.

Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability

Don’t waste another academic or enrollment management cycle. Attend the Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability.

Make Everything Count: Part 4

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Make Everything Count Toward a Goal of Sustainability

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

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

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

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

Margin Case Study

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

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

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

Sustainable Performance

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

Sustainability

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

Path Forward

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

Goal

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

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

How to begin?

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

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

Master Academic Plan: Part 5

Develop Capacity: Part 3