The Art of Framing in Academic Settings (Part 1)
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.
Seven Strategies to Grow Online Courses and Programs
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.
Using Motivational Interviewing to Engage Faculty and Facilitate Change
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.
How to Be More Strategic with Online Program Planning
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.
Leading throughout the Organizational Life Cycle
According to organizational life cycle theory, institutions and units within institutions progress through a sequence of stages—inception, growth, maturity, and decline or revitalization. Understanding the challenges specific to each stage can help leaders be more effective. Although inevitable, progression through these stages can be upsetting to those who are averse to change, but “if you can convince them that this is a natural progression, it may allay their fears or concerns,” says Claire Phillips, dean of instruction at Lone Star College–CyFair.
New Academic Programs in Lean Financial Times: Process Revisited and Lessons Learned
In lean financial times, colleges and universities need to ask themselves whether to take a conservative approach to new program development or to scan aggressively for growth markets, seeking opportunities to invest in the future. In the case of University of Mount Union (UMU), we took a more aggressive approach toward investing in the future, and the investments are paying off.
For a little more than a decade, the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have been enjoying something of a privileged status at American colleges and universities. While enrollments in some other areas are stagnant or declining, they have been rising steadily in many STEM courses. In state systems, investment in faculty, equipment, and facilities often focuses on STEM while other fields go begging. Public figures call for more students to become interested in STEM, often at the same time as they denigrate such disciplines as anthropology, art history, and philosophy.
What accounts for all the positive attention the STEM disciplines have been receiving? The answers are many. First, the severity of the economic recession has caused many students, parents, and politicians to focus on the immediate employability of college graduates. Even if a classicist is as likely as an accountant to find suitable employment within six months of graduation, it is easier for many people to see the connection of business programs to jobs than it is to make that same leap for the liberal arts. “A college of engineering produces engineers,” some may think. “A college of humanities produces . . . what exactly? Secular humanists? Is that a good thing?”
Moving Beyond Majors
As I sat looking at data for the newly enrolled students in our incoming class, comparing it with institutional and national SAT data, I wondered, is the concept of a major becoming obsolete? Our colleges and universities are built around them. For generations, faculty have been training in one discipline with a distinct identity. Curricula have been designed to make the student’s major the most prominent piece of his or her educational pathway. Even on the admissions side, the first question we ask in a typical interaction is, “What major do you want to study?”