Bob Atkins

Bob led Gray’s entry into the education industry and the development of Gray’s proprietary industry databases and service offerings. He has worked with all of Gray’s education clients, consulting with CEOs and CMOs on business strategy, pricing, location selection, and program strategy.

Recent Posts

Higher Education:  Are You Ready for the Economic Boom?

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 18, 2021 7:30:00 AM

Business person touching colorful charts and diagrams

 

We have a great deal to be optimistic about in higher education.  For one, most state budgets didn’t fall much and the federal government just gave them billion dollar booster shots.  The U.S. economy is poised for a boom, led by federal spending and pent-up consumer demand.  


Student Demand:   The Critical Metric for Program Investment Decisions

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 9, 2021 12:25:54 PM

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In the face of financial shortfalls, many schools make a fundamental error:  they focus on employment data to find new programs or current programs to grow.  Unfortunately, there is a very limited relationship between employer needs and program margins. 

Topics: Student Demand, Gray Data, enrollment


Will Community Colleges Rally After COVID-19?

Posted by Bob Atkins on Feb 24, 2021 11:15:07 AM

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We took a look at our data to find out which programs offer the most promise.

Following the 2008-9 recession, enrollment at public two-year colleges and for-profit institutions grew to 7.6 million, up from about 6.4 million in 2007.  Over the following ten years or so, the growth ebbed a bit, but when Covid-19 brought another economic recession, it was expected that community college enrollment would pick up again, especially in Certificate programs–displaced workers would seek short-term training for new jobs.  If you are reading this, you probably know that is not what happened.

Topics: Academic Programs, Program Economics, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Community Colleges


The State of Online Competition for Higher Education

Posted by Bob Atkins on Feb 15, 2021 7:30:00 AM

Young man using a laptop building online business making dollar bills cash falling down. Beginner IT entrepreneur under money rain. Success economy concept

 


In an Online World, Identifying Hidden Competitors is Critical

Posted by Bob Atkins on Feb 8, 2021 8:30:00 AM

Education Concept. Graduating Button on Modern Computer Keyboard.

There is a good chance that you are losing potential students right from your own backyard. In the post-COVID world, online education is growing and the competition for student demand is intense.  Students in your markets may be going right out of your own proverbial backyard, and if you aren’t looking at the right data, you may not even know it, let alone correct for it. Accurate insights are critical for making the most efficient program decisions and investing in drawing your students closer to home.  

Topics: Online Courses, Competition


Emerging Programs Blog Series: Esports

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 13, 2020 10:43:46 AM

Thank you for joining me on this 5-day exploratory of Emerging Programs. We started pretty far out there and shared programs on the cusp; now we’re wrapping up this series with Esports, a program that’s already here and now for many higher-education institutions.Esports

Esports is driving the Video Game Industry to new heights and rapid growth. In 2019, the Video game industry was bigger than the Movies, Music, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL industries combined. Keep reading to find out how Esports is changing the world in terms of employment, research, facilities, and programs.

Topics: Higher Education, College Courses, Emerging Programs, Academic Programs, Esports


Emerging Programs Blog Series: Cannabis

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 12, 2020 12:56:20 PM

I started this series on Emerging Programs with the caution that one of the programs I’m sharing may not be legal in your state. Today, at long last, you’ll find out which one: Cannabis. The legalization of Cannabis in many states has created new opportunities, and higher education is responding.

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Does Cannabis fit your mission?

When you're thinking about starting programs, Cannabis is definitely one that you have to think about in terms of mission fit. For many, the moral issues will dictate their choice about the program. Legal issues may deter many others. As shown below, many states have legalized Cannabis, but it remains illegal under federal law. On the other hand, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits federal prosecution of individuals complying with state medical cannabis laws.

Topics: Higher Education, Online Programs, On-Ground Programs, Emerging Programs, How to Choose a new academic program, Cannabis


Emerging Programs Blog Series: Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 11, 2020 12:54:07 PM

Here we are in the middle of our series on Emerging Programs. Today I’ll share a program that’s truly on the cusp: unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs). We've heard about the possibility of unmanned, self-driving, and flying cars for years; now it’s becoming a reality. Why do higher-education institutions need to be watching this field? UAVs will both displace workers and create jobs that require new skills in designing, developing, manufacturing, maintaining, and managing fleets of UAVs.Unmanned

Full speed ahead: What’s happening in the world of UAVs

Uber recently announced its partnership with Hyundai to launch an unmanned aerial taxi service, using electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircrafts. The plan is to have UAV service rolled out in Los Angeles and Dallas by 2023. The self-driving cars that are already out there have a giant rack of sensors on the roof, so they haven't necessarily nailed down the aesthetics just yet. The technology is evolving every day. In the maritime industry, drones that are essentially mini-submarines are already in action conducting jobs that previously were done by divers. In the delivery space, 2020 is the year that drones are slated to become a major player.

Topics: Emerging Programs, Program Economics, New Programs, Unmanned Vehicles, Autonomous


Emerging Programs Blog Series: Human Microbiome

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 10, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Welcome to day two of our Posts on Emerging Programs. Today’s program is not quite as far out there on the spectrum of emerging programs as Quantum Computing. Instead, the Human Microbiome is widely present in academic research and course catalogs. It’s not yet a stand-alone program, but it already has far-reaching implications for health, science, biology, and Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 5.34.39 PMmedicine. For example, while we will focus on the human microbiome, biologists are engineering the gut biome of waxworms so they can eat plastic.

What is the human microbiome?

Back in high school, I learned that bacteria were “bad,” parasitic creatures that caused infections and disease. We were taught to wash, scrub, and sanitize to remove these nasty critters from our environment.

Topics: Higher Education, Inquiry Volumes, Emerging Programs, Academic Programs, Microbiome


Emerging Programs Blog Series: Quantum Computing

Posted by Bob Atkins on Mar 9, 2020 9:00:00 AM

This week on the Gray Blog, I’ll be offering a five-day series on emerging programs. Join me here everyday and I’ll guide you through five emerging programs that we think are promising. I Bob_Atkins3would be remiss if I didn’t mention that some of these may not even be legal in your state and others are in their infancy (or perhaps before).

The emerging programs spectrum: There's no right place to be.

Some of the best program ideas aren't yet in the traditional data sources like IPEDs or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We call these emerging programs because the taxonomy doesn’t include codes for these fields.

Topics: Emerging Programs, Academic Programs, New Programs, Quantum Computing, How to Choose a new academic program