Strategy, Disruption, Innovation

Fall 2012, Issue 1, Volume 1

Strategy, Disruption, Innovation - Keys To Success In Higher Education

Norm Allgood

What was is certainly no more.

During the past two years, a stunning and thorough wave of change has washed over the entire higher education sector – public and private, for-profit and nonprofit. Some cite the U.S. government and the so-called “Program Integrity” rules that shook the business of higher education to the core in 2010. Others believe that the “perfect storm” of a shrinking addressable market combined with a steady increase of providers has created a new reality where nimble and agile institutions succeed and thrive, primarily at the expense of the large, immobile organizations who seem to be waiting for the old days and ways that will likely never return.

Whether the causes of this upheaval are one of the reasons listed above – or both – it is clear that the market has transformed. However, while the ways in which we can appeal to prospective students (and perhaps the actual number of eligible and interested individuals) may have changed, there are some elements that have not and will not waver – in fact, such factors may mark the difference between success and failure.

The path to such success does not focus solely on bottom lines or profit margins – it is measured in how effectively and efficiently we can serve our students. Make no mistake – today’s students are more demanding, more technologically savvy, and more motivated than ever before. In the coming pages, you will read about what we refer to as the 21st Century Student. You will see how they learn, what they demand – and how their personal demands define and motivate them. You will understand how the most successful institutions will embrace those needs and demands, finding and perfecting ways to serve them at every level.

Indeed, customer service will undoubtedly be a key differentiator going forward. As you will read, the institutions that take a proactive approach to these students’ needs are the ones that will succeed at every level. Arguably, the time that challenges your new students the most often comes at the beginning of their higher education experience – enduring admissions requirements, absorbing the complexities of financial aid, spending hours working to verify transcripts.

The successful institution of the future will clearly need to offer outstanding curriculum, cutting-edge technology, and an engaging, fulfilling classroom experience. But the difference between good and great will be in the way institutions attract, engage and serve their students, addressing their needs and enabling them for success in the classroom and beyond.

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Synergis Education newsletter, Innovator. Our goal is quite simple: to provide our partners and stakeholders with useful information on the most critical issues facing our sector today. We hope it adds value to your daily work life, now and in the future.

Norm Allgood is the CEO and Founder of Synergis Education.