Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) produce inspiring vision and mission statements, strategic plans, academic master plans, strategic enrollment plans, campus master plans, and many others; but if these plans do not align with how resources are actually allocated, they are merely “plans on a shelf” and not the living documents that IHE’s need to satisfy regional accreditors and stakeholders.
Have you ever dreamed of a solution to your Institutional Effectiveness (IE) challenges, but then realized that there are institutional barriers to your success? We have all been to conferences where we sit in the audience listening to an institution present an amazing “Best Practice” in IE, only to realize that it would never work at our institution due to organizational inertia. Organizational inertia is the tendency of an institution to continue on its current trajectory due to resource or routine rigidity.
Congratulations, you’ve received your CARES Act funding through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). We’ve put together some critical information about the venues for allocation of the Institutional Portion (“IP”) of those funds and internal controls to ensure and demonstrate that funds were properly used (Please click here to see how SPOL facilitates internal controls via Planning and Budget).
Now that the US Dept of Education has released additional funding for higher education under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, supplementary to the original Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) of 2020, public and non-profit colleges and universities have access to federal funds which can be used for supporting certain institutional operations. Institutions can now apply for HEERF II funding if they did not receive HEERF I funding. Under HEERF II Public and Private Nonprofit Institution (a)(1) Programs, at least 50% of funds must be committed to student aid. Institutions can use the remaining funds not committed to student aid for:
As academic departments work to create rubrics and other measurement tools, defining “quality” at the student performance level is especially elusive. Software can emulate these tools and faculty can enter results, but in a virtual environment are faculty meeting to discuss and assess the aggregate data? Or are they simply letting software compile a final score and trusting that overall students are successful or not successful?
The COVID pandemic threw institutions worldwide for a loop in 2020. It’s safe to say that every higher education institution, small or large, private or public, had some sort of local strategic plan in place. However, those plans more often than not were either COVID modified or completely revamped because of the need to re-examine goals and objectives for planned initiatives, ongoing projects, and program development.
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.
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.
Strategic planning can shape the future of a higher education institution, from effectively managing budgeted funds to driving continuous improvement efforts. Below, we outline ten ways your institution can get the most out of its strategic planning efforts.