Universities and colleges are facing financial hard times due to COVID, with lower enrollments, cuts in state/local funding, impacted endowment, and other diminished sources of revenue. Administrators must make difficult choices on retention of faculty, courses, programs, and even support units and personnel. Institutions vary widely in their approaches, and the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) has some excellent documents on these approaches.
The COVID-19 pandemic caught most colleges and universities off-guard, and those institutions are forced to respond quickly and decisively to the ongoing threat often without a thought-out strategic plan linked to budget. In response to potential budget shortfalls and cutbacks, institutional leaders must make hard decisions towards sustainability regarding personnel, facilities, and both present and future software. Despite the urgency to put solutions in place, leaders would do well to learn from their colleagues across the nation and discuss, even if briefly, what plans they propose and what solutions they still need. Travel restrictions forced cancellation of local and national meetings where colleagues could discuss such matters, with Zoom webinars serving as virtual meeting forums to exchange ideas and seek answers.
Verifying faculty credentialing is an essential part of any institutional or programmatic process, as it ensures that any individual instructor is qualified to teach a particular subject. Without verification of credentials, you can’t assure academic quality, regardless of how popular an instructor might rate by her students.
Regardless of the emergency situation, whether it be COVID-19 lockdown, inclement weather, or any other issue which prevents face-to-face collaboration on a campus, preparing for accreditation does not stop.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions have quickly adopted online learning environments. The move online promotes social distance and safety for students and staff, especially as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow. This move also provides institutions with the unique opportunity to modernize their assessment processes.
Below, we share some insight into how your institution can incorporate assessment into your online learning environment and why the move online can help your faculty get more done without extra effort.
Pivoting resources to respond to change, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is essential for today’s higher education institutions. Not only must your institution shift funding quickly, but it must also continue to plan and allocate resources for the future.
Below, we share a few considerations as your institution reevaluates resources to meet the needs to students and faculty during this challenging time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has palpably reshaped lives and businesses. Higher education, in particular, has found itself pivoting rapidly to ensure safety, adjust myriad processes, maintain academic rigor, drive administrative productivity, and keep institutions on mission.
According to Ryan Jockers, institutional and strategic analytics coordinator at the NDUS system office, the cloud-based planning SPOL software was purchased after the launch of the State Board of Higher Education’s strategic plan. SPOL was determined to be the best fit to further SBHE goals for the system, as well as track metrics of success. Additionally, the SPOL platform helps address prior concerns on documenting evidence related to increased performance of operations.
Many times, when we are examining our institution’s assessment processes, we find ourselves asking the question, “What does our regional accrediting agency expect in terms of our assessment processes?” In some ways, this hearkens back to when we were doing our chores because our parents made us. Mom wants us to wash the dishes…okay, how well does she want them washed? Now, as adults, we don’t wash the dishes “well enough,” we wash the dishes until they’re clean. Similarly, if we approach our assessment processes focused on the external demands, we’re more likely to run into problems down the road. Rather than doing assessment because “the accreditor says so,” far better to focus on the intrinsic motivations for assessment: we want to improve our programs. We want our students to learn and to be successful after they leave the institution.
So, your institution has an upcoming reaffirmation of accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)? Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward and prepare for a successful reaffirmation.