Saturday, July 17, 2010

It’s Time to Reimagine Higher Education (Part 3) – Principles and Practices for Reimagining, Reallocating and Repositioning, 2010-2013 and Beyond

So here we are in 2010, with the need to realign institutional vision, actions, and responses with the imperatives of the New Normal of 2020. The following set of Principles and Practices can be tailored to the needs of your particular institution. These principles have been developed in collaboration with Dr. Richard Byyny, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Colorado.

Principle and Practices for Reimagining, Reallocating, and Repositioning

To develop a set of principles and practices, let’s apply the four verbs from Transforming Higher Education: realign, redefine, redesign, and reengineer.

Realign Your Institution’s Thinking to the New Normal of 2020.
On most campuses, today, leadership understands the need to realign to a New Normal, but rank-and-file faculty and still hope and expect that we will lift out of this slump like past recessions. So the first challenge to leadership is to challenge status quo thinking reorient existing planning and budgeting processes to understand the realignment imperative. We suggest variations on the following actions:

• Establish and articulate the need for a sustainable vision for 2020, using the arguments and evidence presented in our July 15 blog on “It’s Time to Reimagine Higher Education – Making the Case;” make the campus sustainability plan embrace all aspects of oiperation;

• Establish a description for the New Normal in 2020 in language tailored to your institution, then plan from the future backward, to illustrate implications for today’s planning;

• Translate the topical categories described in our blog “It’s Time to Reimagine Higher Education – Planning from the Future Backward into language appropriate to your campus, covering the following elements of the New Normal

- Establish financial sustainability in an environment of diminished resources,

- Optimize value in an environment of resources scarcity,

- Embrace a profoundly networking world of ubiquitous technologies,

- Rethink the physical needs of the campus.

- Reinvent sustainable career models for academic professionals,

- Focus on increasing access, affordability, and success for increasing diverse and challenging populations,

- Establish a culture of performance measurement and improvement with inceased transparency and accountability,

- Provide mass customized, personalized offerings, and

- Discover systemic solutions that span K-20 and link the learningforce and the workforce – and back again.

• Engage key stakeholders in understanding the 2020 imperative, utilizing existing organizational planning and budgeting processes, and if necessary forming additional planning and working groups;

• New planning groups to deal with the 2020 imperatives must consist of respected faculty and administrative leaders and have the capacity to convey the need for genuine reinvention;

• Realign strategic, tactical, and operational planning structures and processes to the realignment imperative and to the special challenges of 2010-2013;

• Recognize the importance of building organizational capacity to deal with the New Normal; look to build capacity through actual change initiatives to demonstrate the new behaviors needed to thrive in the New Normal;

• Actively engage in state-level and national conversations about financial sustainability academic and administrative productivity, cross-institutional collaborations, K-20 reinvention, and similar conversations; introduce the results of these cross-sector into the conversation on your campus;

• Continually think about establishing financial sustainability and revise and refresh the institution’s vision in the face of new evidence.

This realignment of vision is a tremendous challenge, given the inertia and wishful thinking of many campus constituencies. But it is essential to shifting from a “muddling through” to a strategic mode of behavior during 2010-2013.

Redefine Program, Budgeting, and Reallocation Principles for the New Normal. To switch from a muddling through to a strategic mode of behavior, we suggest the following set of program, budgeting, and reallocation principles:

• Clearly articulate the imperatives and opportunities for the New Normal – short-term and long-term – drawing on the campus conversations and materials

- Crisis creates the need for the realignment and reallocation of funds to support the institutions mission; implementation of new strategies; and maintenance of quality and value of degrees.

- State clear principles for dealing with affordability and learner and family financial capacity; creatively and responsibly manage financial aid ;

- Realignment will require development of new organizational capacities and “unlearning” of past verities.

- Communicate internally and externally: What, why, when, and how effects? Make communication and engagement a prime objective;

• For the 2010-2013 period: Plan for the worst budget cuts on the first go around and look beyond the short term (six months to one year).;

• Establish budget principles that you can honor over the long term; do not make commitments that you will be forced to abandon in two or three years;

• Doing business as usual won’t work; institutional and programmatic reorganization must be on the table;

• Consistently look for the longer-term implications of the New Normal; force partnerships and collaborations with other institutions to enable disciplinary collaborations and cost reduction;

• Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more; use multiple technologies to enhance communication;

• Be tough minded in knowing the truth about your institution and focus on centrality and value to know what programs to sustain;

- Understand centers of quality and excellence and protect them; at the same time, enhance value in all areas;

- Evaluate the quality and processes of programs requiring subsidization, to decide if the subsidy is justifiable or can you convert it to a cash-funded program or course, eliminate courses, or otherwise redesign the offering;

- Use and present data and analytics in the process of creating plans, budgets, and communications.

• Respond to impacts of state-level and federal initiatives to redefine and redesign programs, resources, and incentives; and

• Revisit and redefine capital budgeting and planning principles and fcus on a 2020 strate for facilities; clearly articulate how to utilize technology to leverage existing facilities

Redesign Programs, Roles, Responsibilities. Realigning to the New Normal will require redesigning programs, roles and responsibilities. This cannot be achieved overnight. But institutions can utilize the 2010-2013 period to initiate and accelerate the redesign process. The following actions are part of the redesign process.

• Constitute a visioning group to continuously review and articulate the impact of new learning practices on your institution: open learning – open educational resources (OER), open educational processes and practices (OEP -, free-range learning, community of practice-based learning, certification for prior learning; incorporate these insights into redesign of learning offerings;

• Engage university- and college-level advisory committees, professional groups, and other stakeholders in conversations about “What learners need to know” to thrive oin the post-recession economic environment;

• Utilize technology in teaching, elearning and administration and leverage that technology to discover financial sustainability for the New Normal;

• Build on and leverage existing initiatives in course redesign, enhancement of academic productivity, administrative process redesign, and other initiatives, building institutional capacity for redesign and reinvention;

• Pursue numerous means of reducing the total cost of completion for learners including credit for prior learning, bridging and concurrent learning with high school and similar programs that span K-20 education;

• Consider new sources of revenue including degree completion programs and professional master and certificates. Partner with other institutions: community colleges, other colleges or universities public or private and share costs and facilities; and

• Articulate sustainable career and professional development models for academic professions in the New Normal; this must be a essential element in the redesigned model;

- Describe academic workload and productivity expectations, and scholarly contributions for the New Normal – these will dramatically vary among different institutional types;

- Engage faculty in discussing the redesigns and reinventions necessary for the New Normal; and

- Sponsor scalable innovations using communities of practice and other mechanisms to improve productivity and success of learners and to demonstrate new patterns of behavior and engagement possible in technology-intensive 2020 environments. Focus on creating teachable moments for faculty.

Reengineer and Reinvent Policies, Processes, and Practices in a Transformative Context.
In order to thrive in the 2020 environment, institutions are going to need to reinvent virtually all of their policies, processes and practices. These efforts should focus on the following principles and practices:

• Develop operational and management efficiencies in addition to reinventions;

• Redouble efforts on improving student access, affordability, and success, for increasingly disadvantaged and underprepared populations; focus on the ROI for such efforts;

• Emphasize the dynamic of “innovating your way out of the Recession;” support innovations that havce the capacity to succeed and scale; when then success, scale the lessons learned across entire departments and instituions;

• Take the opportunity to transform courses and the methods of teaching and learning; use undergraduate tutors and team-based learning in courses, and investigate all manners and means of scalably reinventing courses and programs;

• Reinvent online learning experiences so that the marginal cost of learning (and devwlopment) can be fully covered by the cost of tuition; this enable institutions to grow using these sorts of offerings, on tuition alone;

• Take one non-academic and one academic division and look to reorganize, down size (right size), and outsource as a real example of what can be accomplished. Consider using broadly participatory processes to develop the capacity of the community for redesign and reinvention;

• Select particular academic disciplines for pilot studies of collaborating with other institutions in sharing faculty and course offerings;

• Partner with virtual universities and market-driven institutions to license advanced analytics practices and processes and embed them in academic and administrative processes;

• Participate inpublic policy dialogues aboiur reinventing processes and formulas for funding higher education;

The final blog in this four-part series will be “It’s Time to Reimage (Part IV) – A Portfolio of Actions and Responses for 2010-2013.