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Curated content on higher education presented by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP).
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Strategic Planning at Public and Independent Institutions | Tom Longin

According to Tom Longin, former provost of Ithaca college, the differences between public and independent institutions in terms of strategic planning have primarily to do with whether the planning is taking place at the system level (as with many publics) or on the campus. But the essential principles of planning are the same. More about:
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

Tom is a former SCUP president, and former executive editor of Planning for Higher Education. He played a developmental role in the planning of AGB University, AGBU. All of AGBU's contents are on line and viewable by anyone.

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'A growing percentage of our colleges and universities are in real financial trouble' | The Hechinger Report

'A growing percentage of our colleges and universities are in real financial trouble' | The Hechinger Report | SCUP Links |


Facing skeptical customers, declining enrollment, an antiquated financial model that is hemorrhaging money, and new kinds of low-cost competition, some U.S. universities and colleges may be going the way of the music and journalism industries.

Their predicament has become so bad that financial analysts, regulators and bond-rating agencies are beginning to warn that many colleges and universities could close.

'A growing percentage of our colleges and universities are in real financial trouble,' the financial consulting firm Bain & Company concluded in a report—one-third of them, to be exact, according to Bain, which found that these institutions’ operating costs are rising faster than revenues and investment returns can cover them."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

And Robert Zemsky says the faculty are sitting on the sideline: 

We’re on the sideline. And that’s terrible that the faculty, writ large, are on the sideline.”

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How Economically Diverse Is Your College? A 'New York Times’ Ranking May Soon Tell

How Economically Diverse Is Your College? A 'New York Times’ Ranking May Soon Tell | SCUP Links |

"The newspaper's new project isn't trying to pick the best colleges. It’s more interested in how well they attract underprivileged students. ... 'Our project is much more of an analysis than it is any attempt at a comprehensive ranking,' says David Leonhardt, who heads The Upshot, the "Times" division that will produce the new ratings."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

Other rankings "'are all attempts at some kind of comprehensive overview,' Mr. Leonhardt said in a follow-up interview on Thursday. What The Upshot plans to unveil, starting with the findings being released at the September conference, is a 'a more targeted look,' based on particular slices of data. 'We’re not trying to do a comprehensive, throw-everything-in look at colleges.'"

Tracey Vickery's curator insight, September 5, 2014 11:17 PM

This might be the way to finally break the branding zombies.!

The Unanswered Question: How Will We Pay for Aggressive Higher Ed Attainment Goals?

The Unanswered Question: How Will We Pay for Aggressive Higher Ed Attainment Goals? | SCUP Links |

"Certainly there are limitations to the model described, some of which I have identified and others which I'm sure readers will point out. It is currently being modified to eliminate some of its shortcomings.

But as flawed as it may be, it serves to point out several key points. First, different approaches to attaining goals have different cost consequences.

Second, in almost all scenarios, resources required by community colleges outstrip those that will be required by four-year institutions. This is a direct contradiction to priorities typically assigned in the appropriation process. Institutional costs can be reduced under an assumption of marginal costs being less than average costs, but this doesn't change the need to assign priority to funding for those institutions that will have to do the heavy lifting if attainment goals are to be met.

Third, the largest component of costs in both scenarios is student financial aid. The real-world examples reinforce the point made earlier in this paper that concentrated attention to the design of financial-aid programs is perhaps the key element in the development of cost-effective means of reaching aggressive attainment goals.

Finally, it drives home the point that reaching such goals will take substantial additional resources. Ways can be found to mitigate these costs, but success will be impossible without additional state investments."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

"Dennis Jones, [a frequent SCUP presenter,] is president of NCHEMS, a nonprofit research-and-development center founded to improve strategic decision making in institutions and agencies of higher education. Jones is widely recognized for his work in such areas as developing public agendas to guide higher-education policymaking; financing, budgeting, and resource allocation; linking higher education with states' workforce and economic-development needs; and developing information to inform policymaking.

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Does the 'Phenomenon of Enclosure' Threaten the Commons?

Does the 'Phenomenon of Enclosure' Threaten the Commons? | SCUP Links |

"The history of online learning is the history of a plethora of patents. (Watters, 2014) This is a patent for setting up a regional network in the south western United States. That's Nevada. That's Arizona. That's New Mexico. That's Utah. That's Colorado or Wyoming, one of the square ones. Calling it a patent thicket is more than a slight understatement. And it's not just patents, of course, it's copyright, trademarks, even trade secrets. 

Here's one that came out a few weeks ago - I've actually got the screen capture - trademark for pi. (Poulsen, 2014) Yes, pi, the pi that you're all familiar with, 3.141 whatever. A colleague memorized it to 100 digits. I've memorized it to, what, one. 

This is not simply an isolated instance. It's the norm. It's a phenomenon that took place in the industrial revolution. It's a phenomenon taking place in the information revolution. It's a phenomenon of enclosure. You would think we learned from the last time, but we didn't. And it threatens the commons, the common heritage, common knowledge, common culture that we all thought that we own."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

A must-read, IOHO. This is only one of many issues examined in this first of three talks which run as a series. Downes is examining "not the problem MOOCs solve at the moment but the problem MOOCs were designed to solve." Since Downes was instrumental in developing the concept of a MOOC, his insights are both clear and from a POV unfamiliar to many higher education leaders.

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Why There’s No Actual Demand for Higher Education

Why There’s No Actual Demand for Higher Education | SCUP Links |

"[T]here is no inherent demand for education, and definitely not for the education they're peddling as a possible substitute for the traditional system of higher education.

Because the demand isn’t for education, per se. It’s for what we believe education can provide: a secure, stable life."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:


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Report: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges

"In 2012 alone, the net total impact of community colleges on the U.S. economy was $809 billion in added income, equal to 5.4 percent of GDP. Over time, the U.S. economy will see even greater economic benefits, including $285.7 billion dollars in increased tax revenue as students earn higher wages and $19.2 billion in taxpayer savings as students require fewer safety net services, experience better health, and lower rates of crime.

Students also see a significant economic benefit. For every one dollar a student spends on his or her community college education, he or she sees an ROI of $3.80."

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Transforming in an Age of Disruptive Change

Transforming in an Age of Disruptive Change | SCUP Links |

This new SCUP book will be published at SCUP–48 in San Diego, July 27–31. Several of the authors will be available for discussion at 4:15 pm on Sunday, July 28.

Transforming in an Age of Disruptive Change

by Donald Norris, Robert Brodnick, Paul Lefrere, Joseph Gilmour, Linda Baer, Anne Hill Duin, and Stephen Norris

We begin with a simple thesis:  American Higher Education is facing an Age of Disruptive Change – as are all other industries.  Higher education needs to realign its programs and experiences to the needs and changing value propositions expected by learners, their families, employers, public policy makers, and other stakeholders in these new conditions.  In this context, there are six major challenges facing higher education at this time. 

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

Table of Contents


Part I: Snapshots from the 2020 Future

Part II: Revisiting 1995, then Zooming to the 2013 Present

Revisiting What the Future Looked Like in 1995
Tracking Other Voices from 1995 to the Present
2013 is Our New Vantage Point for the Future
Watering the Green Shoots of Change

Part III: Starting in 2013, Getting it Done

Reinventing Strategies, Business Models, and Emerging Practices
Getting Started and Getting It Done
Create a Sense of Urgency, Build a Winning Coalition
Practice Planning From the Future Backward
Combine Strategy, Organizational Development, Innovation, Analytics, and Performance
Measurement, Analytics, and Performance Excellence
Deploy the Power of “Radical Incrementalism”
Achieve New Levels of Collaboration, Sharing, and Partnership
Execute Strategies to Engage the Disruptive Future
Develop a Performance Excellence Culture

Part IV: Vignettes from the 2020 Future, Stories from the Frontline of Transformation

Appendix: Addressing the Challenges Facing American Higher Education

Author Biographies

“New circumstances call for the new words, new phrases….and for the transfer of old words to new objects.” -Thomas Jefferson, 1813

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Higher Education in India & Its challenges :

State Government Victoria Australia presents India Education Summit 2014: conceived and organized by Businessworld. Over the past decade, India has made laud...
APM Group's curator insight, September 11, 2014 7:52 AM

Education in India despite of high quality is always questioned for its practicability. Most of the basic schools are yet to be modernizing in their approach. The basic thing that I found in Indian school is the absenteeism of the latest trends like facility management, housekeeping services and others.!

Planning for Disruption | 'Modularity is overtaking interdependent architectures.'

Planning for Disruption | 'Modularity is overtaking interdependent architectures.' | SCUP Links |
Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen spoke about disruption in higher ed as a keynote speaker at the Harvard IT Summit.
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

"'Modularity is overtaking interdependent architectures.'

Christensen made a connection between higher ed today and the reign of mainframe computing. 'At the time of the mainframes, the proprietary architecture mattered most and the components were secondary. Everybody knew IBM and Digital, but not the maker of their components. The PC’s arrival flipped all that, and the component makers like Intel then became more important.'

He continued, 'Harvard will still have its unique architecture, but the courses are becoming modular, like PC components. The brand [recognition] could move away from the universities to the courses.'

With more ways to access learning, a difficult question looms: 'Is this [transformation] a threat or an opportunity for Harvard?' There was a long silence after Christensen posed the question.

Finally, [Harvard President] Margulies, sitting in the front row, answered.

'It’s both,' she said."

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Complete this sentence: Restaurants are to food trucks as colleges are to __________

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

Are to what? 

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A Century of Campus Planning: Past, Present, and Future —complimentary download from 'Planning for Higher Education'

A Century of Campus Planning: Past, Present, and Future —complimentary download from 'Planning for Higher Education' | SCUP Links |
  1. This article was previously published in Facilities Manager magazine as part of APPA's 100th anniversary celebration. 
  2. It is shared here [pdf], for those who are not SCUP members, only through Sunday, August 24.
  3. Share your memories of the last 50 years of higher education planning on SCUP's 50th anniversary page.

"For most of its history, higher education in America was an experience that only the elite could enjoy. As a result, throughout the 19th century, higher education institutions became increasingly steeped in tradition and resistant to change. Things stayed about the same until World War II, which forced colleges and universities to face some huge challenges. For example, in 1944 the G.I. Bill enabled more than two million returning veterans to enter the higher education system.

'Higher education became more accessible and was no longer entirely the domain of the elite or the upper echelon,' says Persis C. Rickes, president and principal with Rickes Associates, a higher education planning firm in Attleboro, Massachusetts. 'Instead, it became the golden ticket to achieving the American Dream.' The nation’s higher education system was greatly challenged by this surge of students—in response, many institutions expanded facilities quickly, cheaply, and with minimal planning. ...

Going forward, most experts agree the pace of change will accelerate dramatically. Financial challenges, both capital and operational, will be the key drivers of facility planning in the future.

'Alternatives to the traditional higher education pipeline, such as badges and "unbundling," will lead to a reconceptualization of what it means to obtain a degree,' notes Rickes. 'While the residential collegiate experience will remain viable for some institutions, many others will be challenged to explore ways to reposition themselves in order to remain competitive, doing more with less.'”

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

1860s: Morrill Act of 1862 (Land-Grant School Act)

1890s: Columbian Exposition (showed America how beautiful and functional a planned campus can be)

1940s: World War II and the G.I. Bill

1940s–1950s: Colorado and California create space guidelines in an attempt to control and optimize campus space

1950s: Creation of the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE)

1950s: Brown vs. Board of Education eliminated segregated educational institutions

1960s: Richard P. Dober published his landmark book, Campus Planning

1960s: Higher Education Act of 1964 (created more access to higher education)

1970s–present: Widespread use of cars on campus (traffic and parking have enormous impacts on the campus environment)

1990s–present: Widespread adoption of the Internet and distance learning

Gregory A. Smith's curator insight, August 20, 2014 11:34 AM

This article provides a bird's eye view of factors have impacted college and university planning over the past century.!

The Band Plays On … ‘Cognitive Dissonance Was There for All to See and Hear’

The Band Plays On … ‘Cognitive Dissonance Was There for All to See and Hear’ | SCUP Links |

"Two distinctly different views of reality were on display at the 2014 Society for College and University Planning conference: traditional and nontraditional – bundled and unbundled. The cognitive dissonance was there for all to see and hear.

The traditional view bundles residential experience with marching bands and the book-lined study. The nontraditional view unbundles all of this, offering credit hours and progress toward a degree without dorms, touchdowns or libraries. This all makes sense as long as they are serving different audiences – different customers interested in different value propositions. When they need to appeal to the same customer this cognitive dissonance will take the f
orm of economic competition to squeeze what Rich DeMillo calls the middle."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

As SCUP board member Jill Morelli, University of Washington, tweeted last week: “@jkmorelli  #scup49 Michael Haggans is really challenging the status quo about the physical impacts of the digitizing of the university.” There are Haggan’s latest, post-conference thoughts at his blog,

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From Tennessee, a Solution for Mission Creep

From Tennessee, a Solution for Mission Creep | SCUP Links |

"Instead of basing appropriations on enrollment, like most states do, Tennessee now ties all taxpayer dollars to institutional outcomes, such as credit completion and graduation rate.

The unintended consequences of most laws are usually negative. Not in this case. Because the formula changes on the basis of an institution’s Carnegie classification, it punishes colleges that move too fast up the academic ladder and then don’t perform well at that level. Indeed, there is a strong financial incentive for universities to focus on improving what they already do rather than stretch upward.

'Most of the schools would lose 3 to 10 percent of their funding instantly' if they were measured by the weights of a higher class of institutions, says Richard G. Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Take one of the state’s regional colleges, Austin Peay State University. If it tried to become more like Middle Tennessee State University by awarding doctorates, Austin Peay would very likely lose 4 percent of its state funds."

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

Selingo is keynoting Plan for Transformation of Higher Education in Pittsburgh, July 12–15. Join us.

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Enrollment Woes Push Small Colleges to Be Strategic

Enrollment Woes Push Small Colleges to Be Strategic | SCUP Links |
The dynamics that are reshaping higher education pose challenges for small tuition-dependent colleges. But some are finding ways to thrive.
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s insight:

No innovation is a panacea, of course. Introducing a new academic program isn't cheap. Revamping curricula takes time, and demands considerable cooperation among administrators and faculty members. And even the best plans might not have a lasting impact on enrollment.

Mr. Ries at Concordia suspects that a college can ride the benefits of a signature change, like cutting tuition, for only three or four years. That means college leaders must continuously anticipate their next move. "You've got to be dancing all the time," he says. But that's surely preferable to standing still.

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