Higher Education

Higher education has experienced dramatic changes over the past 50 years regarding college athletes and sports, institutional demographics, admissions standards, graduate unionization, diversity initiatives, etc. As improvements have been made to accommodate these growing national interests, most academic institutions would prefer to maintain current core operations rather than investing in future objectives. Hey, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ right? However, in order to remain competitive in the educational market, institutions need to devise new methods of management, marketing, and advertising to attain goals and competitive advantages.

Ben Jongbloed, in his article Lifelong Learning: Implications for Institutions, discusses the business phenomena in higher education by stressing several key factors in trends affecting business concepts. These trends are; mass individualism, new economy, social dynamics, globalization, and ICT and E-Commerce. Jongbloed states;

mass individualism leads to questions about designing and managing business processes to meet individual preferences and individual taste. The ICT/E-Commerce perspective leads to questions about flexible working patterns, ways of communicating, ways of learning, and choices made in consumption and leisure. The globalization perspective touches upon issues of international competitiveness, science and innovation policy, availability of venture-capital, world-wide agreements on trade and services, etc. A new economy approach questions the evolution of market structure, economies of scale, and market imperfections, and the role of government in regulating the market. The social dynamics perspective questions of social cohesion, the development of institutions (defined by North [1993 pg. 215] as informal constraints and formal rules that provide the rules of the game for human interaction), and the role of public administration.

Institutions need to strongly consider these perspectives in setting institutional goals, academic improvements, student development theory, and advancement offices. Each institution needs to evaluate their markets and business operations in order to gain or maintain competitive advantages.

As people and businesses tackle situations differently, institutions need to devise a multi-faceted approach in utilizing the best research methods. The two common forms of research methodology are qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research is focused on experiences, behavior whereas quantitative research is focused on formal interviews and surveys, producing statistical data. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages, but I would personally recommend strong qualitative research, as it provides students, or rather, consumers/shareholders, with the opportunity for involvement in strategic decision making. Establishing task committees consisting of faculty, staff, and students provides all stakeholders with responsibilities and accountability for the future success of the institution.

One method of analysis would be to ask these committees with what they think is currently working well, areas for improvement, and current strengths. Using this data, institutions can formulate strategic business approaches in addressing the needs of their consumers. Conversely, executive committee members can establish focus groups and analyze participant responses. This format is equivalent to stakeholders, allowing all members a role in the future success of the institution. However, the hardest part is ensuring the right practice and its applicability.

Students (consumers and stakeholders) are to be managed in a manner that produces future involvement, namely, as donating alumni. If consumers have a history of dissatisfaction with the institutions performance, it can be assumed that the institution is operating in top-down management and push-market practices and not focusing on consumer demands, inadvertently affecting alumni participation rates and decreasing endowments.

In conclusion, by applying a business approach to higher education, academic institutions will be better suited for strategic marketing, increasing endowments, and improving student services. Although this summary may provide you with an outline of approach, to apply this model requires board and presidential sign-off, and general agreement among the stakeholders. It will take a long time for your efforts to bear fruit, but these changes will present immediate results within the campus communities, provided that all precautions and steps were followed.

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References

Jongbloed, Ben. Lifelong Learning: Implications for Institutions. Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 44, No. 3/4, Higher Education and its Clients: Institutional Responses to Changes in Demand and in Environment (Oct. – Dec., 2002), pp. 413-431.

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This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am genuinely happy to read all at
single place.


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