A Leader’s Modern Guide to SWOT AnalysisApril 15, 2022
Stuck in the Same Old? Get Real Change with the Kotter ModelMay 16, 2022
Our world constantly evolves, especially when it comes to education. From advancements in technology to new teaching techniques, academic institutions have a lot to keep up with in order to produce well-prepared and top-performing students. In the wake of a major shift in how educators teach their pupils, it is essential that higher education institutions have plans in place to address their most prevalent challenges. Strategic planning isn’t just for corporations, it’s for any organization whose priority is to operate at their highest level. Below are the most prevalent obstacles facing higher education today along with how your institution can tackle these issues with the right strategic plan.
1. Low Enrollment
There has been a significant decline in higher education enrollment since the start of the pandemic. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the states of Washington, New York, Maine, Mississippi and Oregon have experienced the biggest drops in community college enrollment. As such, institutions are looking for ways to reverse the decline. Campuses who want to make notable changes would do well to adopt a comprehensive strategic plan.
While establishing objectives is a great place to start, institutions must make sure they create a path to reach those goals. The actions taken by university staff should be looked at in a long-term layout. Your team needs to ask one question.
- What things are being done in your day-to-day that work towards your visions for the future?
If your school’s plan is to increase enrollment by restructuring your recruitment process, you’ll need a strategic plan to align your recruiters, plan virtual events, and host campus visits. It is not enough to hold a quarterly meeting. Taking your goals into the same digital space where everyone can see the objectives and action items will keep your organization moving forward.
Whether publicly or privately funded, universities and colleges need a robust budget in place to properly serve students. Yet, many institutions today have a significant overspending habit. In fact, the Association of American Colleges and Universities published a survey that found 74% of participants cited financial struggles as their school’s biggest concern. In many cases, financial distress is exasperated by schools fighting to remain competitive by offering luxury amenities to their students. Larger dorms, renovated student centers, and new buildings all together have been making appearances on campuses across the nation in hopes of drawing in higher enrollment numbers. Unfortunately, many institutions find themselves borrowing money to fund these improvement projects.
How do schools get on top of their spending? Using a strategic plan to design a thorough budget and track it throughout the school year will help assess spending and avoid overspending. Academic institutions can better follow budgets if each involved individual has a clear understanding of how funds are distributed. Strategic execution software not only gives all users visibility to each project, it also leads the way in keeping users on top of deadlines and objectives. If your staff hopes to evaluate your school’s resources, software platforms like MPOWR Envision give you the tools to plan exactly how, where, and when cuts should be made. Your team can keep progress notes to see where money is spent, connect action items between departments, and have accountability with notifications and reminders.
3. Staff Retention
Keeping a full roster of educators has become a recent struggle after the arrival of the global health crisis. The stress and dissatisfaction of instructors has led to high turnover rates, which directly affect students’ quality of learning. If your campus is attempting to address this issue, there will need to be measurable goals established for staff retention. Your organization may want to ask the following questions.
- Is there enough leadership involvement to support staff?
- How can your school increase leadership communication with the rest of the staff?
- Are there tools in place for communication to open up both ways?
If educators don’t have sufficient support from their leadership or effective communication, their jobs undoubtedly become harder. Strategy execution software creates a space where staff has transparency and a means to communicate. Not to mention, it aligns individual staff members as well as aligns different departments.
4. Slow Institutional Change
Traditionally, we know there are many people involved with decision-making at schools. There are boards, presidents, leadership teams, department staff, and more. As campuses prepare for the future, there needs to be a mentality shift in how academic institutions take on change. Taking your strategic plans to a digital space could be the first step in bringing your campus up to speed.
Wondering how your school would be able to handle strategic execution software? You can always start small. Target one spot and expand out. This could be an event, a program, or just one department. Once your campus has made the switch to digitizing its strategy, every user will have the ability to see updates and respond in real time. Additionally, with so many events and programs cycling thorough the campus community, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day activities and tasks. Strategic software keeps everyone on the same timeline and in sync.
5. Measuring Student Success.
What is the most accurate way to measure student success? Part of increasing enrollment is creating an environment where current students are thriving. Success may look different for different campuses. Whatever the goals are for your institution, creating a strategic plan for your students will help you assess how well those goals are being reached. Whether your school wants to monitor student attendance at events, track how many students access health resources, or count the number of programs available on campus, software platforms provide the means to do so.