Like many of you, I spend time every January planning for the year, thinking about my goals for my business, my personal life, and how I spend my time. Part of this process includes identifying what the top priorities will be for colleges and universities for the year.
Last year, the top priorities involved information — accessing it quickly, precisely, and consistently. This included important initiatives around automating reports and developing automated budget and scenario tools.
I assumed we would spend more time on implementation of automation tools than we did, but just as we started to receive the necessary information, we experienced the predicted drop in enrollment, forcing us to turn our attention elsewhere. To understand better about how colleges are dealing with enrollment issues, read this wonderful article by Goldie Blumenstyk in her newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Cost restructuring & analysis
Jumping from #2 in 2022, cost restructuring will be big in 2023. Over the past few years, colleges and universities have cut everything they could while preserving the student experience. It’s apparent we need to dig more deeply into our programs and their delivery to improve the student experience and overcome our financial challenges.
What did we do to attract students and enhance the value of education over the past 10 years?
- Added new programs, both in-person and online
- Created more options for double majors, minors, and concentrations
- Moved forward with construction projects to renovate or even expand classrooms and dorms
What do we need to know now to plan for the next 10 years?
- How will our students’ needs change now and over the next 10 years?
- Will off-campus housing continue to rise in popularity? Will students return to campus? What will they expect from that experience?
- How will we respond to the continued decrease in enrollments and class sizes based on population decline?
- What will we do to make up for smaller class sizes and a more expensive delivery model?
2. Upskilling and succession planning
This topic didn’t even make the list last year. The number of retirements of baby boomers, the shortage of qualified finance professionals, and the increases in salary newer professionals demand combined to rocket it to number two. This is really putting a squeeze on our ability to get our work done. Recently, I wrote about succession planning with intentionality.
Dropping from the top spot last year, automation is still a priority, but enrollment decline and restructuring have taken precedence. As long-term plans solidify, automation will rise in urgency. In fact, I believe it is an important part of our succession and staffing plans and the key to making real time data driven decisions. I like to stay positive. What are my predictions? Not all schools will survive these trends. However, I believe higher education will emerge stronger, not just financially but also in our ability to give students, parents, and employers the value they expect from higher education.
What will the FuturED team do to be part of the solution?
We will focus on presenting articles that contain actionable examples you can take back to your institution to create a stronger financial and educational future.
Do you agree with my predictions? Reach out to me on LinkedIn and let’s talk.