Topics: Academic Strategy
Many colleges and universities must respond quickly to pandemic-induced budget shortfalls in order to avoid unacceptable drawdowns of their reserves or even more severe financial disruption. However, the pandemic also may have upended their business models to the point where significantly new strategies must be found. They need to “Build Back Better” rather than simply close their budget gaps.
Higher Education faces increasing challenges. These challenges include expanding competition, changing demographics, altered perceptions of the value of a college degree, and a pandemic. Rapid, complex changes such as these require thoughtful, yet timely responses. All of us, from trade schools to Tier I research institutions, must look at how to best restructure people and process for greatest success, not only for economic feasibility and academic growth, but also to support institutional culture.
Concordia University’s leadership team recognizes these obstacles and has formulated a plan to address them. Our University’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) ensures a holistic, coordinated, interdependent approach, one that leads to greater coherence and better decision making. Each month, I will be sharing insight into our journey with a particular focus on program evaluation and management.
Campuses are coming back to life, but that doesn’t mean a return to business as usual. Virus containment remains critical, but so is the need to address the pandemic’s huge legacy of disruption. The financial health of many schools is severely challenged, and neither teaching and learning nor the character of student demand will ever be the same. Campus leaders feel an urgent need to close current budget gaps and develop strategies for the future.
Average class size is one of the primary factors driving cost per Student Credit Hour (SCH). But average class size is a bit of an over-simplification: in my home office, my dog and I together have an average of three legs, but that doesn’t really represent either of us very well.
Academic leaders routinely make decisions about course offerings, course scheduling, staffing, releases, and other topics that drive curricular efficiency. However, Deans and Chairs often lack convenient access to accurate data about instructional costs. As a result, many have limited, and sometimes incorrect, intuition about instructional economics. Asking them to make good decisions without access to sufficient relevant information is bound to lead to less-than-ideal results.
If you have been following the news lately, you may have seen several articles about the American workforce and a trend that has been coined, “The Great Resignation.” Employees are leaving their old jobs for better ones (more than 4 million US workers quit in April), often with a pit stop for skills training. As a country, we are taking stock and retooling, and that includes the state of our skills and careers. Financial giant Prudential has been reporting regularly on survey results regarding worker expectations and the coming talent migration. But in a sense, this is an old prediction now coming to fruition. Back in October, the World Economic Forum published The Future of Jobs Report showing some interesting transitions – such as movement from hospitality to healthcare analytics and higher ed to software development. From these reports and others, and from our GrayData, we can see more interest and demand for training in skills that fall under the category of data science.
“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain
University leaders are seriously planning for the post-COVID world. This world will differ significantly from the old, familiar one. The possibilities for restructuring academic activities are increasing dramatically as graduate employment patterns shift and faculty and students accept new modes of digitally mediated instruction. Bob Atkins’ recent blog, “Higher Education: Are You Ready for the Economic Boom?“ speaks to the opportunities available to institutions that are prepared to launch “different types of programs.”
Topics: Predictive Analytics