THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HIGHER EDUCATION
MARGUERITE J. DENNIS
BULLETIN # 12 JUNE 15-19, 2020
“Moonshot thinking starts with picking a big problem: something huge, long-existing, or on a global scale. Next, it involves articulating a radical solution.”
Astro Teller, director, Google X
I think you would agree with me that Mr. Teller’s quote could apply to how the
pandemic has impacted the world and the future of higher education.
This week’s bulletin includes a new section outlining my vision of the reimagined
university. This week will focus on vision plans. In subsequent weeks I will write
about my vision for:
The reimagined admission process
The reimagined registration process
The reimagined career counseling process
The reimagined alumni process
THE REIMAGINED UNIVERSITY VISION PLANNING
Most of you reading this bulletin have participated in strategic planning. The
“usual suspects” of provost, academic deans, etc. engage in creating three, five or
ten year plans for the future. In the reimagined university strategic plans are not
abandoned but are supplemented by vision planning.
The vision planning committee is chaired by the institution’s chief innovation
officer who is responsible for thinking “without a box” and for “horizon thinking.”
Head of design who works with the buildings and grounds staff to reconfigure the
campus for the long-term. (The recommendation for the need for a reconfigured
campus was made by Eric Schmidt, former chair and CEO of Google.)
Admission counselor and registrar and financial aid director who work together
with applicants and their families to create an admission, financing, registration,
progression and graduation program presented to the family at the time of
application/acceptance. The plan details how students can graduate in 2,3, or 4
years as well as the cost for the undergraduate degree.
Faculty member who can address consumer behavior trends and who can work
as a liaison with admission recruiters to articulate consumer trends that can
impact future recruitment planning.
Career counselors who can help develop and assign internships for enrolled
students and work with the registrar to create a transcript listing the
competencies earned in each class, not just the courses taken.
Alumni director who can work with academic deans to create a list of courses to
offer alumni at the time of graduation.
This list of eight administrators and faculty is not complete, but it is a start.
A friend who reads these weekly bulletins wrote last week: “Adaptation is part of
I envision the vision committee not replacing the strategic planning committee
but being the adaptive committee for the reimagined university.
JUST THE FACTS
Harvard University announced this week that standardized testing will be optional
for the 2021 entering class.
Is this the beginning of the end for ACT and ACT examinations and the end of test
prep counseling? Jack Ma thinks so. In a recent issue of Barron’s, he wrote:
“When we invented cars, we didn’t teach our kids to run faster than a car. When
we invented planes, we didn’t teach our kids to fly. Now that we have computers,
we don’t need to teach our kids to score well on standardized tests. We don’t
need them to remember what they can look up on their hand-held devices.”
Last week The Chronicle of Higher Education printed survey results of faculty and
administrators’ opinions of remote learning in the spring semester.
65% of faculty reported that their students’ access to technology was challenging
79% of administrators found new administrative procedures challenging
49% of faculty agreed that their institution’s online courses offered in the spring
were inferior to what was offered in person
Only 19% of faculty were not confident about teaching entirely or mostly online in
the fall semester.
Author’s note: Bloomberg Business reported that 70% of U.S. faculty had never
taught an online course before the spring semester.
More than 1,100 faculty and graduate students at Penn State University signed an
open letter urging administrators to allow them to choose whether or not to hold
classes in person.
According to the National Association of College and University Business Officers,
of the 333 colleges and universities surveyed in the U.S., endowments had
declined by 13.4%.
This week Zoom decided to shut down the accounts of two, US-based Chinese
Legislation was passed in the U.S. Senate this week that would place new
restrictions on colleges and universities in the U.S. that host Confucius Institutes.
Author’s note: Expect the geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China to
negatively impact future enrollments of Chinese students in the U.S. and
American students studying in China.
The Qatar Foundation sponsored report, New schools of Thought: Innovation
models for delivering higher education is worth reading. The report, written by
the Intelligence Unit of The Economist, lists five innovative higher education
Liberal arts colleges
Re-Up Ed, a consulting firm, helps colleges and universities contact students who
stopped out before completing a degree. 90% of the students contacted indicated
they wanted to complete their degree and 75% said they would return to their
Author’s note: Your school’s registrar can provide this same information.
The University of Florida, expects the same number of students to register for the
fall semester as had last year.
The 23-campus California State University, the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill and the University of Seattle all expect first-year class enrollment to be
similar to last year’s enrollment.
What is the student-consumer telling admission deans?