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Welcome to SCUP's Change & Disruption cMOOC Week Two

The following article from Planning for Higher Education v41n2 is published here today, and available to everyone free from today through next Thursday. Afterwards, it will continue to be free for SCUP members and available for purchase to nonmembers. If you enjoy these articles and the Mojo, please consider joining SCUP to further support them. If you are a SCUP member, thank you very much for your contributions to planning for higher education.

Part One of "Transforming in an Age of Disruptive Change" by Donald Norris, Robert Brodnick, Paul Lefrere, Joseph Gilmour, and Linda Baer. (Part Two will be published on February 8.)

To access the article PDF, you need to be logged in to the Mojo. Once you are logged in, go to the “Readings” tab at the top of any Mojo page.

Almost twenty years ago, the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) published the book Transforming Higher Education: A Vision for Learning in the 21st Century (THE), written by Michael G. Dolence and Donald M. Norris. THE served as a manifesto of how the teaching, training, experiences, and perspectives offered by higher education needed to be realigned with the needs of society, then redesigned, redefined, and reengineered.

Today, higher education is faced with pressure to transform broadly and rapidly, partially because we have failed to achieve significant and needed change. ...

This paper sets the stage for this conversation by:

Part One

Revisiting What the Future Looked Like in 1995

Tracking Other Voices from 1995 to the Present

Establishing 2013 as Our New Vantage Point for the Future

Part Two

Reinventing Strategies, Business Models, and Emerging Practices

Getting Started, Getting it Done

Please share your related memories, experiences, thoughts, and links in the comments, below.

New, Author Interviews. You may also wish to view the video or to listen to or download a podcast of the interview. The interview is of authors Robert Brodnick and Donald M. Norris of Strategic Initiatives. Panelists include Joan Hope of Dean & Provost Newsletter, Michael Haggans, visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota, Claire Turcotte, managing editor of Planning for Higher Education, and Alexandria Stankovitch, graduate student, the University of Michigan.

Tags: #ChangeMojo, ChangeMojoWeek2, v41n2

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Our paper's simple thesis: Higher Education must transform to align itself to the imperatives of the Knowledge Age, the Age of Disruption. This is fundamentally the same thesis as we espoused in Transforming Higher Education, nearly 20 years ago.  But today, the financial imperative is stronger and more immediate, new competitors are more threatening, the tools of transformation are now available, and the penalty and risks for inaction are far greater.

Transformative reinvention will require institutions to realign, redesign, redefine and reengineer, over time, but starting immediately.  The required transformation means different things for different institutions.   Each must determine how to reinvent its legacy offerings and experiences in the face of changing competition, and how to discover new offerings that are made possible by the new tools and practices available today and coming to fruition over the next few years.  The rules of the game are poised to change over the next few years.

We are witnessing among leading-edge institutions the first green shoots of the reinvention of strategies, business models, and emerging practices. And institutional planning processes that focus on strategy, innovation, organizational development, analytics, and collaboration.  These subjects are addressed in our first and second installment of the paper, Transformation in an Age of Disruptive Change and in other materials that we will be posting over the next weeks.

Check out Tim Laseter's excellent article in Strategy + Business, "The University's Dilemma" which amplifies these points.  Consider his final quote in the article:

"Will your alma mater or local source of new graduates leverage the disruptive technology of the Internet by applying the principles of business strategy.....or will it be disintermediated by new entrants offering a better value proposition?" (p28)

Does your institution have an expeditionary strategy for thriving in the Age of Disruption?  If not, start immediately and get it done.

I just read two articles that complement our perspectives expressed in Transforming in an Age of Disruptive Change.  These are posted on the Mojo.

University of the future: A thousand year old industry on the cusp ... is a report by Ernst & Young’s Australian office on the challenges facing higher education in Australia. Higher education is a key export for Australia and they are determined that leading Australian universities will be among the top 20 or so global university brands that will emerge over the next 10-15 years. Their prediction:

“In 10-15 years the current university model – a broad-based teaching and research institution, with a large base of assets and back office – will prove unviable in all but a few cases. At a minimum, incumbent universities will need to significantly streamline their operations and asset base, at the same time as incorporating new teaching and learning delivery mechanisms, a diffusion of channels to market, and stakeholder expectations for increased impact. At its extreme, private universities and possibly some incumbent public universities will create new products and markets that merge parts of the education sector with other sectors, such as media, technology, innovation and venture capital. Exciting times are ahead and challenges too.”

Those who remember Richard Katz’s exciting video at the SCUP/NACUBO “Campus of the Future” meeting, will surely remember his lively description of what could happen when Google, Microsoft, other new media companies, a few universities, and venture capital companies band together to create truly disruptive approaches to learning and competence building.

This paper goes on to describe three lines of evolution as universities become more diverse in their business models:

Streamlined status quo. Maintain broad-based teaching and research but progressively transform the way they deliver services and administer operation and the way they engage with their learners and other stakeholders;
Niche dominators. Some existing universities and new entrants will fundamentally reshape their markets and services, targeting particular segments of students – like adult learners – and changing business models, organization, and operations.
Transformers. Private providers and new entrants will carve out new positions in the “traditional” sector but also create new market spaces that merge parts of the other sectors such as media, technology, innovation, and venture capital. This will create new markets, new segments, and new sources of economic value. Incumbent universities that partner with the right partners can succeed in producing internationally competitive teaching and research.

This formulation sounds about right. Most institutions will pursue a streamlined status quo. A few will work with new entrants to become niche dominators or transformers. The Australians are close to emerging universities in China, Singapore and other Asian centers, eager to maintain their competitive position, and mindful of how value propositions and learner perceptions can change. So they are paying attention to such formulations. Will American universities, accustomed to being at the top of the university comparison tables, be as responsive?

The second paper, Post-traditional Learners and the Transformation of Postsecondary E...,” has been written by Louis Soars and distributed under the banner of the American Council on Education, although it is not an office position paper.

Soares’ thesis is simple and powerful: In order to meet America’s goals for increased college completion and educational attainment, it is necessary to target the working age population, 25-64, who Soares refers to as post-traditional learners. They lack a postsecondary credential yet are determined to achieve one while balancing work, life, and education responsibilities. This represents a latent market of 80 million students. Five commonalities drive their postsecondary participation:

• Are needed wage earners for themselves or their families;
• Combine work and learning at the same time or move between them frequently;
• Pursue knowledge, skills and credentials that employers will recognize and compensate;
• Require developmental education to be successful in college-level courses; and
• See academic/career advising to navigate their complex path to a degree

Soares sees these students as requiring a new pattern of college going:

• Modular, easy to access instruction,
• Blended academic and occupational curricula,
• Progressive credentialing of knowledge and skills (sub-degree level),
• Financial, academic, and career advising; and
• Public policy that reflects the complex task of balancing life, work and education.

Soares believes that it will require new, innovative approaches and recommends three that are described in the paper:”

• Go beyond the academy to take leadership – a consortium for teaching and learning
• Rebuild the definition of postsecondary education from the post-traditional learner out
• Be entrepreneurs of a new venture, not stewards of existing institutions.

Over the past 30 years, traditional institutions have come to rely on enrollments of older, working learners. This population has been a prime target of the for-profit universities. But Soares is saying that none of the current models satisfactorily meets the needs of this population and new approaches are needed. How will American higher education respond to this manifesto?

Taken together, these two papers affirm the coming impact of disruptive innovations and the power of DI to create new value propositions that have never before been available. For example, tThe capacity to create a special set of offerings/experiences that meet the needs Soares expounds for post-traditional learners would create a niche dominating situation that would be truly transformative.

I must say that I had a serious case of deja vu upon reading this paper. It brought me back to the mid-1970s when I was trying to be a change agent at a "Medallion [I think] University" as their first (and only) Director of Interdisciplinary Research. All was going well until a regime change brought reversion to the feudal nineteenth century from which the university may yet emerge. I gave up on the task in the late 1980s but your paper has stirred me into new resolve. Thanks for the exhaustive and precise descriptions of both the problems and the barriers to their resolution. Maybe it's time to bore from without.

Donald M. Norris said:

Our paper's simple thesis: Higher Education must transform to align itself to the imperatives of the Knowledge Age, the Age of Disruption. This is fundamentally the same thesis as we espoused in Transforming Higher Education, nearly 20 years ago.  But today, the financial imperative is stronger and more immediate, new competitors are more threatening, the tools of transformation are now available, and the penalty and risks for inaction are far greater.

Transformative reinvention will require institutions to realign, redesign, redefine and reengineer, over time, but starting immediately.  The required transformation means different things for different institutions.   Each must determine how to reinvent its legacy offerings and experiences in the face of changing competition, and how to discover new offerings that are made possible by the new tools and practices available today and coming to fruition over the next few years.  The rules of the game are poised to change over the next few years.

We are witnessing among leading-edge institutions the first green shoots of the reinvention of strategies, business models, and emerging practices. And institutional planning processes that focus on strategy, innovation, organizational development, analytics, and collaboration.  These subjects are addressed in our first and second installment of the paper, Transformation in an Age of Disruptive Change and in other materials that we will be posting over the next weeks.

Check out Tim Laseter's excellent article in Strategy + Business, "The University's Dilemma" which amplifies these points.  Consider his final quote in the article:

"Will your alma mater or local source of new graduates leverage the disruptive technology of the Internet by applying the principles of business strategy.....or will it be disintermediated by new entrants offering a better value proposition?" (p28)

Does your institution have an expeditionary strategy for thriving in the Age of Disruption?  If not, start immediately and get it done.

While disruption takes place in the wake of transformation & the introduction of new technologies, capabilities, & organizational structures ... I also think that the opportunities for developing sustainable digital information infrastructure are often squandered in the excitement for change.  How many organizations time & again revise their web presence & in the process break the URLs associated with earlier presence, & sometimes important documents. So, I'd love to see some disruption of the "fast-food paradigm" of web development that is only concerned with the "recent" & newly published. In other words, I'm suggesting that disruption takes place as a consequence of those who embrace change without appreciating where the continuities with the past & present need to be.

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