Higher ed has always walked a tightrope between service and growth, and now, with the uncertainty of the pandemic, there is more need than ever to be a trusted, helping community partner while also pushing growth in new, innovative ways.
According to a recent survey by Destiny Solutions, there are two trends surfacing in higher ed:
First: Most colleges and universities cannot be ivory towers to remain sustainable. They must serve their communities to maintain their enrollment numbers and relevance.
Second: Most institutional leaders are keying into the importance of lifelong learning. Learning pathways that stretch from childhood to old age define the structure of new lifelong learning models. These include the “60-Year Curriculum” and “Open Loop Learning.”
The 60-Year Curriculum is higher ed’s attempt to meet the ever-changing needs of the learner from before they arrive at college to a job, professional development, and eventually retirement. These lifelong learners tend to become community contributors; higher ed must pivot to meet their needs.
Higher education institutions of all sizes recognize the importance of non-traditional learners. But they have been slow to act.
As a result, divisions who serve these audiences are punching well above their weight.
Despite institutional, cultural, and financial obstacles, these divisions persevere. They generate revenue for the institution and create impact for the community.
As the postsecondary business model evolves, these divisions need support to scale. Paper-based, manual processes aren’t sustainable if necessary growth is to be achieved.
Non-traditional divisions need three things to help their institutions reach their full potential:
- Policy change that supports program development and growth
- Tailor-made tools that create efficiencies rather than roadblocks
- Active support from senior leadership for innovative programs and models
Only then can higher education’s transformation truly get underway.
Contemplating how your institution can reimagine its professional and continuing education units as an outreach effort or revenue stream? Download Meeting the Challenges of Higher Ed with Continuing Education now.