CE as the Relationship Hub: Defining the Direction of the Modern (and Future) University
In this new environment, where the expectations of students and employers are rapidly evolving, non-traditional units can play a new role in helping their home institutions evolve and grow to meet the needs of the other key stakeholders in the equation. These articles shed some light on the different facets and areas where CE divisions can play a leading role.
The Student/Customer Experience
Back-end efficiency is critical for institutions that want to give their students a modern customer experience.
Today’s students behave more like customers than ever before, and rather than trying to ignore or reverse this trend, institutions that can adapt and create an Amazon-like experience for their learners will improve student satisfaction while at the same time reducing operating costs and staff efficiency.
Operational efficiency is central to providing a strong student experience for today’s postsecondary institutions, especially when it comes to serving non-traditional learners.
As students begin to behave more like customers when choosing programs, higher education marketing practices must adapt to capture the market.
Establishing and Managing a Brand
Higher education marketers today must be strategic about their efforts, using data to define positive and negative efforts and working to create an experience for students that matches what they have become used to outside the academy.
Brand may bring people to the door, but innovation is what gets students to enroll and ensures that they graduate and succeed in the workforce.
Even at institutions like Berkeley, creating a high-end customer experience has a massive impact on a student’s perception of value.
As traditional postsecondary education costs continue to rise, microcredentials and other alternative approaches to higher education are providing affordable and accessible solutions that likely won’t replace, but will complement traditional degrees.
The number of students earning multiple credentials is already rising—colleges and universities need to do more to formalize the non-conventional pathways students are already taking to earn their degrees.
Institutions can use microcredentials as a platform to stand out from the crowd, but their offerings must be verifiable and of the maximum quality possible in order to serve as an effective differentiator.
The focus on improving student outcomes starts with ensuring that institutions are directly meeting the needs and expectations of their students. In many cases, this means moving away from the bread-and-butter degrees towards high-demand non-degree certificate and certification programming.
The Spectrum of Access
Ultimately, creating value for students across the Spectrum of Access requires institutions to demolish silos that exist across the institution.
Growing Influence and Role of Bootcamps
Achieving career college status does more than broadly legitimize the work of bootcamps—it opens up new educational markets and broadens student access to existing programming while also allowing the bootcamp to bring their concerns about workforce preparedness directly to the government.
Though alternative credentials have yet to overtake traditional degrees in value—perceived or otherwise—their focus on short-term benefits and demand responsiveness could lead to a longer-term shift in the powers of each respective credential.
By launching its own bootcamp, Northeastern University is creating a pathway to serve specific employer demands and create accessibility for new demographics while leveraging its existing partnerships and pedagogical excellence.
Bringing Data into the Institution
Technologies that support and drive student intelligence help institutions serve them better both inside and outside the classroom.
Developing a data-backed culture starts with top-to-bottom belief in the value of data and then connecting that data to results for administrators, staff and faculty across campus.
Leveraging data can help an institution become more student-centric at every level, from guiding the way they interact with students to designing the bureaucracy to fit with student tendencies.
By leveraging power data visualizations, institutions can make data-driven decision making a reality and move away from the anecdotal and tradition-steeped approach to organizational management that has dominated the postsecondary space for decades.
Efficiency and the Customer Experience
Investing in and delivering a great staff experience is central to any college or university’s capacity to be truly student-centric.
When higher education leaders begin thinking of themselves as executives managing organizations that serve thousands of customers, it becomes increasingly clear that investing in the student and staff experience should be immensely high priorities.