Many countries are currently considering diversifying their higher education systems by modeling U.S. community college-like institutional designs. Vietnam and China, along with other nations, are intrigued by, curious about, yet somewhat suspicious of American community colleges—especially in terms of their relationship to universities and higher learning.
When systems and processes are misaligned and do not function effectively or efficiently for students, faculty, or staff, the need for reorganization of academic affairs is obvious. But it’s a daunting task. Broach the topic in a meeting, and you’ll immediately detect a rise in the level of stress in the room. And when word spreads, even people in units not directly affected by the proposed reorganization often will become apprehensive as well. This reaction poses a dilemma: how can institutions handle alignment and unit reorganization without inducing unnecessary stress or anxiety?
Shying away from the task is not a viable option. It would mean missing an opportunity for transformational change in operations. Consider the following issues that can drive the need for reorganization within academic affairs, and the possible consequences if these go unaddressed:
Historically, new academic programs have often been introduced by several mechanisms. An energetic faculty member is inspired to create a new major, a donor bequest stipulates the development of an interdisciplinary institute, a president mandates a “visionary” curriculum, or a dean or provost responds to a sudden market opportunity.
To make transformational change, one must take certain considerations into account articles about the topic. There is a gap, however, in information about taking institutions from the undergraduate level to the graduate level. Academic leaders must make the case for adding graduate degrees. Will the institution miss out on the potential market share if they don’t make the jump?
How do universities continue to build their capacity during a time period of decreasing enrollments and demographic change? As enrollment managers struggle to maintain strong student volume and achieve degree attainment goals, it is critical to build broader and deeper channels for both attracting students and aligning new enrollment with institutional capacity.
Historically, as enrollment professionals, we have primarily thought of international partnerships as a method of attracting additional degree-seeking students from abroad, particularly from a small group of sending countries. International program development can also help us manage our domestic student population, however, by offering additional tools to attract new students, differentiating our programs, and outsourcing our overcapacity in ways that benefit both students and international partner institutions.
Viewing the change agenda through a political lens requires significant insight, careful forethought, and planning on the part of the leader. Regardless of the level of the leader, there are immediate clusters of personnel who represent the first wave of those who must be brought into the fold of supporting the initiative. A president may have to take this approach with a cluster of deans who represent many diverse schools, each with a unique blend of missions, cultures, values, aspirations, and ways of conducting business. Similarly, a dean would have to gain the support of faculty chairs as the first steps to success. The true complexity of higher education is most evident when considering change through the political frame.
Have you ever witnessed a keynote address in which a new university president shared such an inspiring and imaginative future strategy that you wished you were a part of that institution’s implementation team? Innovative thinkers who transform their vision into eloquent language can have that effect on their audiences. Assuming no bad behavior, how would one explain that two years later that same institution has launched a presidential search? One could list several reasons for this, including personal or family illness or an attractive offer elsewhere. However, in some cases the failure is due to the inability to implement the plan to achieve the vision. This failure would not only disappoint the president but would also be a blow to the governing board, faculty, and students who brought this individual to campus.
As students continue to show interest in taking online courses, and faculty continue to be interested in teaching them, colleges and universities are, in many cases, expanding efforts to increase online programming for their students. This article discusses seven strategies to consider for growing online course and program offerings.
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative communication style, developed in the field of clinical psychology, for strengthening an individual’s intrinsic motivation and commitment to change. Within an atmosphere of acceptance, compassion, and empowerment, people’s ambivalence about change is identified and explored by evoking their own reasons to change with respect to their values and goals. Thirty years of research shows this approach to be effective in facilitating behavior changes in contexts ranging from substance abusers entering treatment to dietary changes in diabetics, medication compliance in cardiovascular disease, and increasing water sanitation practices in remote South African villages, among others. More recently, MI has been brought into the context of organizational change, including academia.
Although you might know a few faculty members who are adamantly opposed to online education, online programming—the development of individual courses and degree programs—continues to expand. My experience, both at my institution and in my conversations with online administrators across the country, reveals that colleges and universities are beginning to think more strategically about their online offerings. I especially see evidence related to developing strategic plans for online education. If you Google “online education strategic plan,” you will find dozens of examples that various institutions have developed.