The upper schooling business is evolving quickly, requiring schools and universities to adopt new approaches to serve a shifting viewers. The normal market of 18-year-old high school graduates isn’t disappearing. However this market alone won’t sustain nearly all of schools and universities operating on this area. On this interview, Kim Scalzo displays on the altering postsecondary panorama and shares her ideas on how persevering with and professional schooling (CE) divisions can take the reins to drive this transformation on their campuses.
The EvoLLLution (Evo): Why is extra consideration being paid to CE at present than ever earlier than?
Kim Scalzo (KS): There are a couple of elements contributing to that. First, enrollment of traditional learners is declining in lots of areas of the country because of broad demographic shifts. Establishments are subsequently discovering methods to develop enrollment, whereas also responding to growing want from lifelong learners—individuals already in the workforce—to upgrade their expertise.
Constructing off that, the expansion of online studying is basically altering greater schooling’s audience. The primary viewers for on-line programming is learners who’re already within the workforce. Given what we’ve seen with MOOCs and with other online packages, it’s clear that we’re serving extra non-traditional, adult learners who’re working full time. Importantly, there’s a broader understanding that learners right now come to larger schooling by means of many various paths. They arrive in at multiple totally different entry points, not simply straight out of high school.
Schools and universities are beginning to see the market alternative that non-traditional college students symbolize and are turning to CE to help them serve that demographic.
Evo: Does there are typically an expectation that college students who initially enroll in a non-credit or CE providing will ultimately matriculate into a standard program based mostly on essential campus?
KS: There definitely are extra conversations concerning the audience of non-credit learners that we function a potential market for coming into our credit-bearing packages. At SUNY we now have over 400,000 college students enrolled in credit packages, but we touch greater than one million individuals with our non-credit choices. That number has started to get individuals’s consideration.
There are a selection of students on the non-credit aspect who see non-credit activity as a pathway to credit-bearing activity. We’re definitely speaking a lot more about non-credit to credit score paths, and microcredentialing is a mechanism that’s serving to make this dialogue extra tangible.
Evo: Broadly, how do you anticipate a wider adoption of CE greatest practices to affect the work of the college as an entire?
KS: There are a selection of crucial areas where CE greatest practices are pushing us to rethink the operations of the broader institution.
First, CE is affecting how we think about credentials. We’re serious about microcredentials on their own terms, as something aside from a proper credit-based certificate or degree program. It’s forcing the whole university group to significantly contemplate what non-credit certificates imply. And, past that, it’s forcing thought on what totally different credentials talk when it comes to scholar competency and information.
We’re additionally rethinking how we deliver programming, when it comes to format and packaging. We’re considering extra about providing programming online or in hybrid models. We’re also considering extra significantly about what college students are required to do on-campus and what they will do online as an alternative. And the reality of the matter is that the increased capacity for delivering a fantastic online instructional expertise has resulted from the work of CE. All the design idea for an offering built for adults is totally different than that of what’s traditionally been designed for 18- to 22-year olds, but each forms of learners profit from that diversification of modality.
Third, the work of CE is affecting how universities think about recruiting college students. Traditionally, universities function on a defined annual recruitment cycle geared towards college students graduating from excessive faculties. All events happened concurrently (school festivals, software submissions, and so forth), and enrollment selections have been also made at the similar time. CE has historically had a more aggressive strategy to recruiting that isn’t based mostly on the idea that college students will simply enroll with us. We now have to seek out them. We have now to cultivate them. We have now to make the worth proposition work for them. Those approaches, those messages, those timelines and those strategies are starting to filter by way of to the rest of the school. There’s more emphasis on digital advertising strategies institution-wide.
Finally, the providers we’re offering college students are evolving. In CE, there’s all the time been a customer service mentality utilized to scholar service. We have now all the time seemed to be more buyer pleasant, extra efficient and more streamlined. This definitely isn’t the standard strategy schools take to service provision for residential college students, however that’s starting to change too.
Evo: How does this dialog progress from concept to follow?
KS: It takes consciousness from senior leadership about what the chance is to serve non-traditional college students and deliver on a lifelong studying mission.
At the system degree, this is our second chancellor who understands the position of the university isn’t just to serve students as they first come to us proper out of highschool, however that our mission is about access to schooling. Once we take a look at that full schooling pipeline, the complete spectrum of learners in our state who have to be served extends throughout individuals’s careers.
Evo: CE divisions have historically been innovators, facilitated by their place on the periphery of the institution. As CE strikes to the core of the university—and their work begins to garner more attention (and oversight)—will it’s attainable to take care of this revolutionary tradition?
KS: An essential start line is that, for a lot of upper ed, the position that universities play in receiving 18 yr olds right out of high school and delivering a residential collegiate experience where they graduate and exit and get a job continues to be mandatory. Nevertheless, what I feel is occurring is a recognition that that’s not all there’s; along with that service, we’re also serving lifelong learners.
My hope is that establishments acknowledge where the success in CE has been—when it comes to innovating on programming design, scholar recruitment, service delivery, and so forth—and apply those rules to the core part of the college. The establishments that apply these CE greatest practices to the whole university are going be incredibly successful.
We’re seeing institutions closing their doorways throughout the postsecondary panorama and those institutions are typically that unable to be progressive in the best way they design, ship and help schooling. Schools and universities that keep on with the established order shall be placing their sustainability in danger.
Evo: Is there anybody model for a way CE will function in universities of the longer term?
KS: I don’t assume there’s a one-size-fits-all model for what CE and the longer term college will appear to be. The Georgia Tech model, for example, has a division of professional schooling that serves as the touchdown spot for non-traditional learners, however it presents both credit score and non-credit programming and it leverages the school within the educational faculties throughout the institution. At other places, you see skilled schooling as its own educational unit, with its own programming its personal school, and its personal separate administrative and bureaucratic tools and approaches. Then there are different faculties which might be shifting CE right into a service supplier position where they assist every division change gears to concentrate on lifelong learners.
There are multiple fashions that can work. The hot button is understanding the overall mission of the university after which designing an organizational strategy that may enable the university to serve its target market in a method that it may be profitable.
At SUNY, we’re presently talking about what that organizational model will appear to be, especially as we look to grow beyond Open SUNY.
I don’t assume there’s a one-size-fits-all, silver bullet mannequin. Every establishment is going to have to determine what makes probably the most sense for them to realize their technique.
Evo: What do CE leaders have to do to be part of the strategic conversations around organizational model and institutional futures occurring on their own campuses?
KS: I might advocate that CE leaders do what they will to get visibility with school and educational management about how they might help their institutions reach new markets of online and post-traditional learners. If school and educational leaders see the position they will plan they’re going to interact with CE and leverage what’s out there inside the CE unit. Extra importantly, they’re going to need to collaborate and companion in whatever approach is sensible. That’s a foundational piece to making CE part of the institution’s strategic foundation.
In case you’re part of the tutorial enterprise, then they virtually have somewhat little bit of a leg up in getting the phrase out about what they’re doing in CE. At some establishments, nevertheless, CE operates off on the aspect—virtually like its own little enterprise inside the university. While this definitely has its benefits from an agility standpoint, the drawback is that it’s straightforward for the rest of the establishment to overlook or misunderstand what CE does. In that state of affairs, they should work really work to communicate the value of the work occurring in CE and the revenue CE brings again to the broader university regularly.
Evo: Is there anything you’d like so as to add concerning the changing position of CE on a modern college campus?
KS: One other space where CE performs a central position in the transformation of the college is in its relationships with employers. CE leaders sometimes have connections with companies, business and organizations the place there’s a chance for a broader relationship with the establishment. That may be in hiring graduates, offering applied studying experiences, funding analysis or collaborating on other forms of outreach efforts.
That’s another opportunity CE represents on the institution: To deepen bonds with the group. There’s often a group at each institution answerable for external partnership, and typically CE is a part of that and typically they’re not. It’s crucial for CE leaders to ensure they’re a part of that institutional conversation about external partnerships. This isn’t simply because CE can convey partners to the desk. It’s additionally as a result of these exterior companions are out there for continuing and ongoing schooling for his or her staff, and CE may help to satisfy that demand.
This interview has been edited for length and readability.