“[You] earned the Trustees’ deep respect as a thoughtful and wise leader and team-builder, and when [you] spoke at Board meetings and in committees, we listened carefully and we learned.” Dr. Jeri McIntyre, Board Member, Westminster College; President Emerita, Central Washington University
“You inspired us to become better. . . . you gave us invaluable recommendations which we can put into effect to improve performance while reducing costs. . . .” – Dr. Ronni Ephraim, Chief Instructional Office, Elementary, Los Angeles Unified School District .
“[You] have a deep knowledge of higher education and online education. . . .[You] understand the requirements of intricacies of developing and implementing strategies and tactics for a successful online university.” Dr. Sheila Fournier-Bonilla, Chair, Organization and Management Department, Capella University
Positioning for Future Success. A large private nonprofit university was facing declining enrollments due to a curriculum which was becoming out of date. Charged with leading total revamp of the institution’s core curriculum, we worked with a representative faculty committee across the disciplines, deciding on and reaching consensus of core value of the institutions derived from its missions. Once we were able to reach agreement on core values, we developed a common course for each of a student’s four years. The courses shared common texts and assignments, and were team-taught to invite diverse disciplines into the discourse. The result was that the core curriculum has given the institution a successful way to distinguish itself when engaging prospective students, and faculty adoption of the common core was smooth / without resistance to change.
Board Congruence and Organizational Alignment / Attunement. A private nonprofit institution was facing financial sustainability challenges because there was disagreement as to the role of the board in executing its mission. We worked with and CEO and the Board, both collectively and individually, to seek congruence regarding the work, the role of the Board and the role of the CEO, and were able to clear the air, reach consensus as to mission and the role of the principals, and how to move forward with the implementation of the strategic plan and fund raising.
Accreditation Preparation. A large private university was undergoing regional accreditation, and sought assistance in preparing for the site visit. As this was its initial accreditation, campus administration and faculty had little experience working with accreditors, so we examined the various areas that the accreditation team would focus, and conducted mock interviews with faculty and administrator to prepare them for the visit, thus erasing the “unknown” from the accreditation experience in advance of the real visit. The staff and personnel were ready to answer questions from the visiting team candidly and free of anxiety, the real visit was highly successful, and resulted in the university receiving its initial accreditation.
Growing Revenues by Increasing Faculty Engagement. A small private university was losing revenue due to less than optimum student persistence and retention rates, and the CEO tasked us to explore new ways to improve faculty engagement. We recruited 4 team leaders and 19 TF members representing full- and part-time faculty from all colleges and departments, and in 3 weeks we issued a 71-page report with 50+ recommendations on how to improve faculty engagement and support. Most recommendations were implemented within 1 year, resulting in a 10% improvement in student persistence / retention, greater faculty engagement, and $4M in new revenues.
Growing Revenue by Improving Course Offerings. A large online teaching university was struggling with developing meaningful practical programs for its PhD students. After assessing the learning readiness of the students and change readiness of the institution, we designed a new capstone course which received rave reviews from students and faculty and increased concentration enrollment by 25%.
Improving Revenue Opportunities while Reducing Risk. A large flagship university in the Middle East responsible for implementing policies and strategies for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia desired to increase its capacity to deliver success projects, as its bandwidth was stretched to the breaking point and was putting the University at risk. We assessed the situation and ascertained that training was the appropriate remedy, and then developed and delivered two training courses attended by 60+ government officials and faculty which resulted in greater revenue opportunities and reduced risk for the University and the Kingdom.
Improving Academic Excellence. A university’s MBA program was in need of updating, as it was losing students and was no longer “state of the art.” We suggested and then facilitated the first-ever MBA retreat for full-time faculty which resulted in developing a more rigorous, better focused program that met AACSB guidelines. The changes were implemented, and the university’s MBA program was ranked #15 of over 1600 online MBA programs by Graduate Programs Fall 2014 Online MBA Rankings.
Increasing Revenues through New Program Development. A university wanted to expand its program offerings as it was losing market share and students. Using marketing research and competitive intelligence, we decided among multiple potential new program options and worked with multiple departments to combine existing courses with newly developed courses to create a program that uniquely targets our key student target markets. The program received WASC approval 4 months earlier than anticipated, enabling it to begin 6 months early (because the internal programmatic issues were dealt with as part of the development). The program is on track to become the largest Master-level program at that university.
Improving Student Learning and Quality of Instruction. The general management and business courses in the MBA program were in need of redesign, as it was difficult for both faculty and students to understand what was required to meet course learning outcomes (CLOs).
We scheduled on online workshop for faculty, and jointly revised the structure of the courses so that they had clearer instructions and detailed key learnings which aligned with the CLOs, and rubrics against which learning would be assessed. Additionally, we developed and agreed to use a template for feedback that mirrored the rubrics, thus making it easier for faculty to give detailed feedback that students understood. This format was showcased to WASC during the university’s most recent EER visit, and students’ performance has improved as measured against rubrics and end-of-course evaluations.
Improving Faculty and Student Retention through Improving Organizational Alignment and Attunement. During a recent reorganization, faculty members were assigned new administrative roles without having duties and responsibilities well defined. We worked with department chairs to develop detailed processes and procedures for the new positions, including ways to provide more personalized “service” to students. This resulted in improved student persistence, and improved morale and retention rates among faculty.
Reducing Costs while Improving Academic Performance and Teacher Engagement. A large urban school district was not performing at the level of excellence which was demanded by its Board, the State, and district parents. We assessed and made specific recommendations for a new organization structure and communications strategies that resulted in improved coherence in instruction; communications among stakeholder groups; faculty accountability; teacher and staff morale; union relations; and student test scores; with potential savings of $500 million per year.
Building Community Partnerships and Collaboration. Students were having difficulty finding projects for a capstone course that required a practicum. We assessed current programs, and developed partnerships with local businesses, governments, and nonprofits in the local area that gave students new practicum and potential follow-on employment opportunities.