Introducing GrayData: Espresso

Posted by Robert Gray Atkins on Jul 9, 2020 3:18:03 PM

 

Short, strong, with the sweet aftertaste of a data-informed insight: that is GrayData: Espresso,GrayData Espresso Blogour new blog. It will focus on brief, bi-weekly, data-informed posts on trends in student demand and employer needs. Longer-form discussions of trends and insights will continue to be shared on our Gray Reports’ Monthly Webinar.

Topics: Employment Trends, Graydata, Demand Trends


Money Problems? Look to Your Academic Portfolios.

Posted by William F. Massy on Jun 17, 2020 12:53:20 PM

 

 

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What college or university doesn’t have money problems these days?  We’ve seen such problems before but this time they’re deeper and more acute.  In the “good old days,” such as the stagflation of the 1970s and the economic recessions of the 80s, 90s, and 2008, the solutions involved a grab-bag of common-sense actions based on relatively crude information. These include:  cutting fixed percentages of cost from administrative and support services, pressing upwards on class sizes and teaching loads, substituting adjunct for regular faculty wherever possible, and hacking away at small classes.  In today’s environment, however, the sufficiency of these actions seems doubtful because of the depth of the money problems and because the low-hanging fruit already has been depleted by years of belt-tightening.

Topics: Program Margin, Academic Programs, Curricular Efficiency, Programs Economics


How to Dislodge Course and Program Proliferation

Posted by William F. Massy on May 5, 2020 11:10:34 AM

Dislodging Events A Potential Curb on Course and Program Proliferation

Steve Probst’s recent blog on curricular efficiency reminded me how serious the course and Dense forestprogram proliferation problem has become for America’s colleges and universities. For example, my forthcoming book reports that:

“Many programs persist beyond what should have been their sell-by dates. In one dataset reported by Bob Zemsky, for example, a daunting 48 percent of programs turned out ten or fewer graduates per year and collectively accounted for only 7 percent of all degrees granted . Bob puts the matter succinctly: “We [colleges] give students what they want. Most colleges can’t afford to do so without understanding why they can’t.” This doesn’t mean all low-enrollment programs should go on trial, but campuses do need serious and well-informed conversations on the matter” (p. 6).

Topics: Curricular Efficiency, Programs Economics, Course Costs


Data in a Time of Quarantine

Posted by Robert Gray Atkins on Apr 22, 2020 10:07:50 AM

How To Gauge Shifts in Student Demand and Employment Caused by the Pandemic

Just as the novel coronavirus has disrupted our lives, it is changing the societal context for higher education. More specifically, the programs students want and whether they want to take them online or on-campus have undergone massive changes, as have job options for interns Close up of businesswoman holding graphs in handand graduates. Colleges need data on “what just happened” so they can correctly understand and respond to their new context.

Traditional data on higher education and employment won’t help much in the short term. IPEDS data on 2020 enrollment and completions will not be published until 2021 or 2022. The same is true for BLS data on employment by Standard Occupation Code.

Topics: Curricular Efficiency, Current Data, Student Demand, Data


Cutting Academic Cost: If You Must, Here's How

Posted by Robert Gray Atkins on Apr 14, 2020 11:32:01 AM

Cutting Academic Costs and Improving Curricular Efficiency
If You Must, Here’s How

COVID-19 will require deep cost cuts at many colleges, or they simply won’t survive. It is unpleasant, even disturbing work. But like all work, it can be done well or badly, quickly or slowly. Bad cuts unnecessarily damage the mission and people. Bad cuts drag on and undermine Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 11.19.29 AMmorale and confidence in leadership. They are usually the result of short-sighted thinking, incomplete or erroneous information and data, bad information, and lack of courage. Good cuts use sound data and robust, fast processes to create a leaner, financially sustainable, mission-centered institution. Here’s how.

Topics: Program Margin, Curricular Efficiency, Course Costs


Achieving Curricular Efficiency

Posted by Steve Probst on Apr 8, 2020 2:43:39 PM

What if reducing overhead costs and cutting too-small programs were not the only practical ways to control college costs?

If a department offers five electives to serve 75 students, then the average class size for these electives would be 15 students. If the department adds another elective, all six electives would be likely to have enough students to justify offering these classes under typical policies. shutterstock_648204952However, the department would have just added to teaching load – and costs and potentially staffing – without increasing the actual amount of teaching and learning being done.

Topics: Higher Education, Curricular Efficiency, Programs Economics


Cinderella’s Loss

Posted by Ned Caron on Apr 6, 2020 7:43:38 PM

Tonight, the finals of the NCAA tournament were supposed to take place - the culmination of three weeks of March Madness. Most likely, the championship game would have featured two powerhouse schools like Duke and Kansas; most of the time, it does. But this tournament has never been defined by the championship game or the big-name schools. This tournament has always been about buzzer-beaters and Cinderella stories. Fans love to watch an upset, like theshutterstock_217860934 13th seed upsetting the 4th seed or the 90th seeded school that sneaks into the sweet sixteen or the elite eight. This tournament has always been a chance for a small school to make a name for itself. Think how big a brand Gonzaga is now thanks to being in the tournament for 10 years in a row. Without the chance to be part of the March Madness showcase, these schools will lose more than just a game or a tournament; they will lose the chance to build a brand, which leads to increased enrollment and more revenue. The impact of a No-Madness March will be felt for years.

Topics: NCAA, Final Four, School Brand, March Madness, small schools


Coronavirus: Winners, Victims, and Opportunities

Posted by Robert Gray Atkins on Apr 2, 2020 10:00:00 AM

For better and worse, COVID 19 will be a watershed for online education. Tens of thousands of students and faculty are being force-marched from on-campus to online programs for the Opportunity sign isolated on white backgroundremainder of this academic year. This experience will affect their acceptance of online education for years to come.

This could be a boon for online education. Students may discover that online is fun, engaging, and convenient. Or hastily pulled-together online classes could permanently alienate students and harm their college progress, especially if they have limited technology or bandwidth–so it is likely to be harder on poor and rural students.

Topics: Online Programs, Coronavirus, Opportunities


Technology and Covid 19: A Mother's Perspective

Posted by Lisa Piatek on Mar 30, 2020 10:07:17 AM

This week my children, a high school freshman and a senior, were quarantined at our home and instructed that all classes would be delivered in an online format. This would be an adventure for our children and I was excited to witness them learning in a new modality. But would it all go shutterstock_619959686smoothly? Would teachers be able to get everything online? And would my children be able to access what they needed?

The old saying goes, “We love technology when it works.” We have all had those frustrating moments when just at the critical moment you need technology to work, it does not.

Topics: Coronavirus, online teaching, Mothers Perspective, Moms


We Are All Coronavirus Fighters Now

Posted by William F. Massy on Mar 24, 2020 10:48:09 AM

That “we are all coronavirus fighters now” hit me with a vengeance when I cut short my Mexican vacation and settled into a regimen of hand-washing and social distancing. This applies no less to colleges and universities in the United States and across the world. Schools are canceling face-to-face classes, and many are sending students home or telling them not to return fromAbstract molecules medical blue background spring break. I wondered how academic resourcing (AR) models—the subject on which I’ve worked during the past decade—will impact institutional efforts to combat the coronavirus and deal with its consequences. To put the matter bluntly, will the momentum toward data-informed decision-making that has been building over the last few years be blunted by the coronavirus emergency? I believe this outcome would be a real setback for higher education—and also that it is not supported, let alone dictated, by the facts of the situation.

Topics: Program Economics, Coronavirus, Modeling