Innovative Approaches to Graduate Education

The demand for graduate education is growing steadily, and higher education institutions are responding by developing a wide range of new programs in a variety of subject areas. But is content enough to set institutions apart? The recent Special Feature on Commoditization and Competition in Higher Education would suggest otherwise.

Over the course of this Special Feature, we went beyond academics and published articles and interviews from contributors across the higher education world exploring innovation in program development, strategy, marketing, service and more.


Exploring Innovation in Graduate Education

Alternative Credentials Can Motivate Graduate Education to Clarify Outcomes and Quality

As certificate programs gain popularity, accreditors are asking graduate programs to better demonstrate their student outcomes to keep up with the competition.

AUDIO | Graduate Education Not Worth the Price of Admission … But It Can Be

Changes need to be made to graduate-level programming to ensure students receive value for the price of admission.

AUDIO | Innovation Focus Should Be on Quality, Not Cost

Innovation in the graduate education space should be more focused on creating enriched student outcomes than on simply reducing the price and time to completion.

Commoditization Should Impact Transactional Higher Ed, not Academics

The commoditization of graduate education should not impact academic quality; through all of the innovation, the basic tenets of the transformative graduate experience remains paramount.


Assessing the Changing Nature of Graduate Education

AUDIO | What Separates Non-Traditional Graduate and Undergraduate Students?

Though more non-traditional graduate students are working full-time and paying for education with employer reimbursements than undergraduates, price is still a major factor in their decision-making process.

AUDIO | Flexibility and Responsiveness Critical for Adult Graduate Students

Flexibility and responsiveness to student needs — both academically and administratively — creates an environment where adults can succeed in their graduate studies.

Graduate Education: Keeping the Workforce Fresh

Graduate credentials are critical for employees to keep pace with the changing and evolving labor market, but this requires institutions to stay on top of industry changes and provide programming to accomplish this goal.

Globalization and Outcomes-Focus are Changing the Face of Graduate Education

Shifting student demographics and increased demand for immediately-relevant labor market skills is driving change in graduate education.


Entering a New Marketplace in the Graduate Education Space

AUDIO | Launching Innovation: What Does It Take to Succeed?

Sometimes the best approach to launching a radically innovative program is to ensure all key stakeholders are represented among your supporters.

Three Questions to Ask Before Jumping Into a New Market

Before entering a new marketplace, higher education administrators must understand the lay of the land and whether they have a competitive edge in the space.


Roadblocks to Innovation in the Graduate Education Space

AUDIO | Stakeholder Participation Central to Innovation

Stakeholder involvement from an early stage is vital for innovative graduate programs.

Navigating the Maze: Overcoming Institutional Roadblocks to Innovation

Roadblocks come in all shapes and sizes when it comes to developing innovative programming. It’s a leader’s responsibility to navigate the maze and find pathways to success.

Authentication as a Roadblock to Innovation: Understanding and Overcoming the Problem

Rethinking online programming to make their management systems more closely resemble those of the campus environment could help institutions bypass authentication concerns when developing innovative programming.


The Changing World of Graduate-Level Credentials

AUDIO | Graduate Certificates Growing in Value for Working Adults

Due to their cost and time to completion, graduate certificates may be better suited to the needs of today’s working adults than master’s degrees.

Does Our Credentialing System Work Anymore?

In order for higher education to remain relevant in the future, a new system of credentials needs to be devised in concert with all necessary stakeholders, including employers and professional associations.

AUDIO | Dilution Diminishing the Value of MBAs

MBAs and other graduate-level certifications are valuable for individuals looking to advance in their careers, but as they become more generic, certificates and certifications may present a better option for differentiation.


The Role of Vendors in Graduate Education Innovation

Vendor Partnerships Support Programmatic Innovation

Engaging in partnership with a service provider can help institutions develop and launch innovative graduate programs with minimal internal resource allocation.

Six Elements of a Successful Online Graduate Degree Partnership

When it comes to developing a new online graduate degree program, many institutions turn to vendors for support, but the schools themselves need to put in legwork to make sure the program is a success.

Today’s High-Wire Act in Higher Education: Balancing Innovation and Budget Constraints

Budget constraints should not stop innovation, as innovation does not call for just acquisition, but can also refer to strategic repurposing.


Reaching Geographically Dispersed Graduate Students

International Branch Campuses Bring Graduate Education to the World

The IBC helps to deliver a high-quality graduate learning experience to geographically-dispersed students.

AUDIO | Online Graduate Programs Effective in Attracting Global Audience

With the advent of online education, branch campuses are no longer a necessary mechanism for graduate programs to attract an international student body.


Developing Relationships to Strengthen Graduate Education

Joint Graduate Degree Programs Benefit Students and Universities

Degree programs developed in collaboration between two or more units within a university provides students with an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning that will support their career advancement.

Four Ways Employer Relationships Strengthen Graduate Programs

Strong relationships between graduate schools and employers are beneficial to the institution across a number of areas.


Experiential Learning and Online Graduate Education

Graduate School 2.0: Three Ways to Put Technology to Work for Graduate Student Success

Graduate education is being significantly enriched by the expansion of online learning tools, and ingenuity from faculty is taking online tools from good to great in this space.

Experiential Online Graduate Programs Enhance Learning Outcomes and Career Readiness

Online graduate programming is beginning to emerge as a highly-rigorous and well-regarded mechanism for working professionals to continue their education and advance in their careers.

AUDIO | Experiential Learning Elevates Online Graduate Programming

, Kevin Bell | Executive Director of Online Curriculum Development and Deployment, Northeastern University and

Experiential learning is critical for online graduate programs that aim to support students’ success in the labor market.

Bridging Theory and Practice: A Case for Experiential Graduate Education

Experiential learning opportunities provide graduate students with labor-relevant knowledge, a competitive advantage universities have over emerging alternative options.


Different Approaches to Growing Graduate Education

AUDIO | Post-Bac Certificates Create New Pathways for Liberal Arts Graduates

Industry-focused post-baccalaureate certificates can help institutions further support their undergraduate students and can serve as a pipeline for enrollment to graduate degree programs.

Understanding Student Needs Vital to Succeeding in the Graduate Student Environment

and Marian Cohen | Professor, Framingham State University

Understanding and appropriately responding to student needs is a massive differentiator that can help institutions stand out above the crowd.

Diversification or Specialization? The Key to Growing Graduate Programming

Institutions that can afford to diversify, and who do so with their mission close at hand, will be the most successful as the graduate education marketplace becomes more competitive.


The Role of CE in Graduate Innovation

AUDIO | Innovation is the Responsibility of the Whole Institution

Every level of an institution must contribute to its innovative culture; this cannot be left to a single department.

Five Ways Continuing Education Supports Strong Graduate Programming

Beyond expanding accessibility, continuing education units can support significant growth and expansion for a university’s graduate program offerings.


Assessing the Opportunity for Small Universities

Capital Central to Graduate Success for Small Institutions

While smaller institutions have hurdles to jump when competing in the graduate education market, their nimbleness and willingness to partner differentiates them from larger competitors.

AUDIO | Bigger Schools Have the Edge in the Graduate Education Marketplace

The depth of expertise and elite faculty offered by bigger universities makes them a more promising option for prospective graduate students choosing between schools.

AUDIO | HBCUs Are a Strong Alternative in the Graduate Marketplace

The supportive nature of smaller colleges such as HBCUs provides them with a distinct advantage in the graduate education marketplace.

AUDIO | Service Providers Support Small Institution Innovation

By modularizing content creation, service providers can provide critical support to smaller institutions trying to compete in the increasingly innovative graduate space.


Marketing Innovative Graduate Programming

Innovative Graduate Programs Require Targeted Marketing

Institutions must properly communicate the nature of their innovative programs to prospective graduate students so they can make informed decisions about where to pursue their advanced degrees.

AUDIO | Portfolio Marketing in the New Graduate Education Marketplace

As programs become increasingly innovative, institutions must find ways to bring in the best possible students without cutting themselves off from the larger pool of potential enrollees.


Differentiating Factors in the Competitive Graduate Market

AUDIO | Diverse Student Body Can Put an Institution Ahead

Diversity is critical for an enriching and engaging educational environment, but can also serve as a differentiator for universities competing for graduate enrollments.

AUDIO | Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs Worth the Challenge

Offering interdisciplinary graduate programming is a great differentiator for institutions appealing to the modern generation of graduate students, but there are challenging roadblocks for administrators to overcome.

Business-Style Management a Key Differentiator in the Graduate Space

The status quo is no longer viable for graduate institution success; administrators must be more business-like to survive in the modern graduation education marketplace.

AUDIO | Innovation and Support Critical for Graduate School Differentiation

For institutions that focus largely on undergraduate education, graduate schools must focus on creating high-demand, innovative programming that differentiates them from the competition.

Let It Go: Four Ways Higher Ed Can Learn From Disney’s Frozen

Providing a superior customer experience can be a major differentiator for institutions looking to stand out in the crowded graduate education marketplace.

Brand Is Not Enough: Innovation Critical for Elite Institutions

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.

During the month, we discussed topics including:

  • How valuable is a graduate degree in the labor market?
  • What are some strategies institutions can put into place to set their graduate-level programming apart?
  • What is the role of Continuing Education in innovating graduate education?

Read, comment and learn about what the this all means for higher education!