Published by Sarah MacDonald, Director of Innovative Partnerships, Acadeum on Apr 25, 2023 7:06:35 PM
The academic landscape within higher education continues to evolve rapidly, and institutions face challenges to maintain a competitive edge. However, meeting students’ needs and changing demands while managing operations and academic rigor within the institution often create misalignment. Using its expanding network and leading technology platform, Acadeum creates an opportunity for institutions to engage with collaborative networks that are responsive and agile, participate in the digitally connected ecosystem, and maintain relevance in a rapidly changing world through the application of course sharing. Course sharing has proven it can make a sustainable impact and help institutions navigate the ever-changing macroeconomic factors. In addition, course sharing is an innovative, low-risk way for institutions to provide access to the courses students need when they need them while maintaining the integrity of learning outcomes and the student experience.
As course sharing evolves, institutions can use the concept to achieve broader, strategic goals within the college or university. For many institutions, recent strategic initiatives have focused on systemic trends and challenges, including hiring and retaining faculty, boosting declining enrollment, and preparing students for the dynamic job market. Leveraging course sharing through Acadeum, partner institutions have implemented innovative curricular solutions, such as expanding academic capacity, developing new academic and workforce-aligned programs, delivering microcredentials and stackable certificates, and reaching new populations of learners.
As institutional leaders strategically plan for the future, course sharing through the Acadeum network plays a vital role in advancing their institution and maintaining a competitive edge in the dynamic higher education landscape. Here’s how.
Expand Academic Capacity
Academic capacity may be challenged by budget constraints, availability of faculty, costly investments required to develop quality online courses, or limited resources to develop new programming–and the repercussions can impact student and institutional goals. Students who fail to complete a specific course needed for graduation often must wait one, two, or more semesters until the course is offered again, resulting in a delay in graduation and costing them time and money. Through Acadeum, however, students can easily locate, enroll, and complete the courses they need to receive their degrees on time, because a Home Institution can access the solution to be responsive and agile.
Some institutions, such as Goldey-Beacom College, go even further, utilizing Acadeum’s network to offer niche elective courses for interested students to fill gaps in the institution’s course list, such as fine arts or graphic design, and by creating new, in-demand majors. In doing so, Goldey-Beacom has expanded its list of offered majors, drawing in additional enrollment and revenue while retaining students. “We’ve had strong demand for online learning, so it’s been great to have a partner and leverage those instances where we can offer online options and find a match through another partner institution. It keeps our students on track and on the path to graduation–we are retaining them in the short term and in the long term, seeing them cross the stage,” says Joel Worden, assistant vice president and associate provost for Academic Programs at Goldey-Beacom College. So far, in its efforts to expand academic capacity with Acadeum, Goldey-Beacom has retained more than 300 students and recovered roughly $275,000 in tuition revenue.
Create Academic and Workforce-Aligned Programs
Workforce-aligned programs have gained significant traction across higher education in recent years. As a result, institutions such as Albertus Magnus College, are thinking critically about how to use course sharing to advance the breadth and depth of academic and professional programs. In response to the demand for workforce development, institutional leaders such as Dr. Sean O’Connell, vice president for Academic Affairs, have turned to Acadeum. By pursuing the opportunity to become a Teaching Institution in the Acadeum network, Albertus Magnus has generated $56,000 in income during the last two years and explored opportunities to offer new programs for its students. “Becoming an Acadeum Teaching Institution has worked out really well for us, so we were interested in discovering other ways to keep pace with student demand,” Dr. O’Connell says. “We were looking at starting a master of social work (MSW) program due to a rise in student interest and demand. While MSW programs are costly, we were able to figure out with our partner institutions how to allow undergraduate students to take graduate level courses. So, as we hit a number of roadblocks, Acadeum allowed us to solve them. We were able to offer nine credits to our students at the graduate level from other institutions, and we were then able to count those towards their undergraduate degree, and it gave students the pathway into graduate level programs at the other university.”
With Acadeum’s comprehensive supply of shared online courses, institutions can prioritize incorporating workforce-aligned courses into programmatic offerings for students. Institutions within the Acadeum network are able to launch new, in-demand programs quickly and effectively by customizing a plan specific to their institutional needs or regional workforce demand with no immediate investment and minimal enrollment required. These institutions have access to flexible course offerings that match a variety of academic calendars and provide immediate access to like-minded or mission-aligned peer networks. By creating academic and workforce-aligned programs, institutions have given way to a modern learning environment, both for students within and outside the boundaries of their campuses.
Deliver Microcredentials and Stackable Certificates
Incorporating industry-recognized credentials into academic curricula can be a major differentiator for colleges and universities. To capitalize on that opportunity, Alliance University (formerly Nyack College) is bringing microcredentials and stackable certificates to its students, delivering a meaningful academic curriculum with the technical skills and credentials required for the IT industry and data analytics space. Paul Neville, MBA, director of Academic IT and Data Analytics Program is currently leading this initiative with Acadeum, providing Google IT support, Python, IBM cybersecurity, and data analytics opportunities to students. He points out, “What we’re accomplishing is a way to reach our current students with these microcredentials, the more technically focused types of certifications. We wanted to also be able to touch our faculty and staff, which was huge for professional development, as well as supporting outside adult learners.”
Widening an institution’s academic offerings to provide industry-specific training and certifications is essential for the employability of graduates entering the workforce. Acadeum’s network allows students to achieve both required credits for their major and technical skill certifications while giving institutions the ability to align their courses with real-time industry demands and requirements. Institutions are creatively taking advantage of stackable certificates and microcredentials with Acadeum by expanding in-demand student offerings through Coursera and MedCerts professional certificates. These institutions build new on-ramps and off-ramps for learners who may need to integrate education and career milestones along a life-long learning pathway, and create new transfer options for learners by accepting certificates for credit into degree programs.
Reach New Populations of Learners
Supplementing course offerings through Acadeum also provides access to degree completion for vast populations of learners in high school, the workforce, and international segments. Partner institution Southeastern University (SEU), for example, has grown 25% in student enrollment, largely due to its efforts to expand relationships outside the campus. Shawn Stewart, PhD, dean and chief operations officer says, “SEU is entrepreneurial, and we continuously seek ways to reach new populations without stretching our infrastructure. Dual credit and international populations are two critical areas of focus that we may not have the operational bandwidth to do on our own. Partnering with Acadeum allows us to leverage an extensive network and serve as an educational partner with different entities throughout the US and the world.”
Reaching new populations of learners can restore growth within academic institutions. Many institutions within the Acadeum network fill open course seats, build alternate revenue streams with course demand, bridge the gap between high school and higher education while increasing awareness and matriculation for high school students, and add degree-seeking students from employers and international agents to grow enrollment and revenue.
Strategies for the Future
Course sharing provides the opportunity for institutions to be nimble and innovative while creating sustainable solutions to drive institutional and student success. Your institution can take steps to thrive in this dynamic environment by taking immediate advantage of a partnership with Acadeum to:
- Expand academic capacity
- Create academic and workforce-aligned programs
- Deliver microcredentials and stackable certificates
- Reach new populations of learners
Interested in becoming part of the Acadeum network and providing your institution with the opportunity to engage with collaborative networks that are responsive and agile, participate in the digitally connected ecosystem, and maintain relevance in a rapidly changing world? The Acadeum team can provide one-on-one implementation and strategic support, identifying immediate and affordable opportunities to maintain a competitive advantage while supporting your institutional mission for students’ social mobility and post-grad employability through a traditional and non-traditional learning experience.
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