Higher ed will now be forever seen through the eyes of “before COVID-19 and after.” Some schools will fail. Others will win. Students-first leaders must face this crisis with unflinching agility and resolve. There is no accidental success. This white paper dives into the actions you can take now.
The coronavirus instantly upended modern life and threatens to bring higher education to its knees. We can’t let that happen! The full collegiate experience is uniquely American, and it is imperative that the higher education system emerge from the current pandemic crisis stronger than before.
Higher education’s mission of increasing prosperity, conducting ground-breaking research, and transforming lives and society must prevail. For the authors of this white paper, college was a rite of passage that changed our lives. It was where Rajiv met his wife and started his business. It was where Matt was set on a path for life that he would not have experienced otherwise. And it was where Teresa figured out she could use her language skills to enter business and see and experience the world.
Gen Z and the generations that come after deserve these same life-changing experiences. But some of the traditions that Rajiv, Matt, and Teresa embraced in college have also been higher ed’s Achilles’ heel. The sector has been criticized for being so steeped in tradition, so slow and deliberate to innovate and change, and so expensive, that 61% of Americans in a 2018 Pew Research Center study said the sector was going in the wrong direction.
And then came coronavirus. Americans witnessed higher ed scramble at breakneck speed in March 2020 to move in person classes to synchronous online in just days in its collective response to COVID-19. Millions of students who were immersed in the spring semester moved back home, their college experience reduced to the size of their computer or smartphone screen.
Schools had to loan Chromebooks and implement parking lot WiFi to enable many students to continue attending class. Professors had to figure out how to model their courses for an online world, some learning technologies they had never touched before, making the learning experience disjointed and sometimes even ineffective for some students.
And as Americans watched higher ed respond, a critique- and frustration-laden question bubbled up: Why couldn’t higher ed do some or any of this before coronavirus?
It’s a fair question because higher ed proved it can be agile when it needs to be, but it also exposed the underbelly – gaps in processes to innovate, shortcomings of technology infrastructure, and unsustainable operational and financial models. A pandemic has exposed the reasons why over a majority of Americans question the return on investment (ROI).
This white paper will provide a roadmap to address these gaps from a managed services provider’s perspective. Apogee has a 20-year history solely serving higher education. We are in this crisis knee-deep with you and believe there are some immediate steps you can take to rightsize your ships and win in the next two years. During times of uncertainty, universities often focus on only cuts and forgo or don’t see the opportunity to rightsize. Rightsizing is cutting areas that are suboptimal while reinvesting in areas that drive sustainability and the future. You can lead the way. You play a vital role. Not only to help your institution get through this crisis, but to create change for good – change that can reverse the public’s negative perceptions of higher ed and ensure it can fulfill its mission for years to come.