Some of the external forces that are shaping higher education as an industry—such as changing technologies and student aptitude and expectations—are also impacting the internal practices of colleges and universities across the nation.
Consider the example of technology, which has permeated every corner of student instruction and services, as well as daily business operations on campuses. The acceleration of new learning modalities and the ease of transactions made possible by ever-advancing technologies require institutions to be both swift-footed and sure-footed when making decisions about such sizable investments.
Carefully balancing the opportunities, risks, and costs of each campus program and service—not to mention the relentless pursuit of operational efficiencies—has always been core to the business regimen of institutions. The article “Risk Wise” shows that sometimes the best insights for improving business continuity are gained by better understanding past adversities—and perhaps nowhere are the lessons of risk mitigation more relevant than for communities struck by disasters beyond their control.
While industry best practices and peer benchmarks may inform how an institution responds to its biggest challenges and new program demands, each college and university must continue to chart its own course for success based on the community in which it resides and the students it serves. Furthering the value proposition of the benefits that higher learning brings to students, employers, communities, and society will require institutions to renew their commitment to adaptability.