How to be Nimble and Responsive with the Power of a Network
By Amanda Gould, Vice President Partner Success
Published by Acadeum
For the vast majority of higher education institutions, being responsive to market needs by consistently launching and enhancing programs is cost prohibitive. Launching new programs requires substantial investment in time and resources. EAB reported an example that cost an institution $2.2 million and over six years of development. And as detailed by Educause, if these programs include new and varying modalities, it may also require substantial investments in infrastructure and redesigned support services to deliver quality digital teaching and learning experiences.
The burdens may further include finding, hiring and retaining specialized faculty, responding to the demand for workforce alignment with the corresponding technology and software expenses, and the increasing expectations for career readiness through more adaptable pathways. Given these challenges, it can feel like a daunting undertaking. How can many higher education institutions possibly respond to the current pace of change?
There is certainly urgency for institutions to find methods to be nimble and responsive in ways that current academic and business models are not otherwise equipped to operate. In this environment, unlocking innovation could simply reside in a willingness to make incremental adjustments towards sustainable change. To do so, many institutions are increasingly responding to the idea of contributing to and benefiting from an ecosystem approach, which is linked by the long standing higher education tradition of consortial arrangements.
Program Sharing in the Acadeum network is one such way to move quickly and affordably to respond to these pressures. Program Sharing enables colleges and universities to access or share high-quality courses across in-demand programs. It also offers institutions a low-risk way to enrich educational experiences on campus by integrating courses from regionally accredited partner institutions and vetted in-demand workforce certification partners to launch or enhance undergrad and graduate programs, concentrations, or minors while maintaining institutional mission and values.
Let’s spotlight three examples of five institutions who are collaborating, innovating, and iterating.
Collaboration Across the Acadeum Network
Woodbury University and Mount Saint Mary’s University are launching program share with their respective MBA programs in January 2024. The partnership is a fiscally responsible decision for both institutions, because rather than hire expertise to offer program specializations, the universities will make specializations available to students through their partnership. Specifically, Woodbury offers concentrations in finance and accounting and Mount Saint Mary’s offers a concentration in program management. The agreement empowers both universities to make available more options and an additional concentration on their respective transcripts without hiring specialized faculty, spending the time to build the respective concentrations, and without needing to offer classes for one or two students.
Another example that showcases the power of collaboration to create new pathways began in September 2022 when Albertus Magnus College and Quinnipiac University announced an innovative partnership for qualified Albertus students to begin their master of social work (MSW) degree at Quinnipiac while finishing the final requirements for their undergraduate degree at Albertus. This unique expedited pathway program is mutually beneficial for both schools and it reduces time and cost to completion for qualified Albertus students, expands and diversifies the pool of qualified candidates for Quinnipiac’s MSW program, and grows the pool of MSW graduates to help address the massive social worker shortage faced by Connecticut and the nation.
Southeastern University is filling in the gap of traditional higher ed institutions meeting the demand for trade certifications. SEU built two degrees in the construction technology space, a bachelor’s of science and associates of project management that will prepare students for the PMP certification exam. And then an associates of applied sciences in electrical, HVAC and plumbing technician services. Each of these pathways prepare students for industry certifications. SEU is preparing students for industry exams that are recognized and matter within these trade industries. SEU’s goal is to also work into the experiential learning a place for formal apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship placements. In the process, students earn college credit, they earn hours towards official apprenticeship registered by the Department of Labor, and while students are working, they’re earning a paycheck the whole time.
Benefits of Collaborative Partnerships for Sustainable Program Development
Given the disruption to the industry, as well demographic shifts and changes in learner preferences, colleges and universities are looking for scalable, affordable, and sustainable solutions to attract and retain students. But discovering those solutions requires market research, employer input, and student interest to find out what programs will attract and retain the modern day learner while meeting workforce demand. Program share empowers institutions to test student interest before gambling with substantial investments, or to deliver a broader selection of offerings without the stress of enrollment thresholds. The more affordable cost to launch and sustain these shared programs creates opportunities for institutions to continue to innovate and adapt.
Program sharing also creates points of differentiation for institutions to drive enrollment and better prepare the modern day learner by marketing customized majors that align to in-demand careers in your region. Institutions can severely accelerate the speed to market for program launch by immediately accessing a large variety of existing quality, accredited courses from established and recognized programs with like-minded institutional partners. Collaborative partnerships help institutions respond more nimbly to market demands in higher education, thereby managing the pace of maintaining curricular relevancy in a rapidly changing world.
What are you waiting for? By partnering with Acadeum and accessing your partner network, your institution can quickly deliver new programs to the market to generate revenue and bolster enrollment. As part of the largest higher education network – you can take advantage of opportunities today to launch new programs in a variety of in-demand areas such as Healthcare & Social Services, Cybersecurity & Technology, and Business, Management, Finance & Administration. Program sharing is a powerful strategy that is within reach of every institution, making what is otherwise a daunting, time and resource-intensive endeavor manageable.