Helping academic leaders design, deliver, and manage impactful programs and experiences.

ACADEMIC VENTURES

Launch new ventures to extend your educational value, reach, and impact

When your strategic vision calls for a major endeavor that can substantially revitalize and reposition your college, school, or division, rely on our extensive collection of market research, business planning, decision modeling, and brand expansion services to successfully design and launch your academic venture.

CASE STUDIES OF RECENT ACADEMIC VENTURES

Build a school and culture of graduate studies

The Challenge:  Recognizing that unfavorable demographics threatened its heavy reliance on undergraduate programs, a regional master’s-level university determined to create a new school of graduate studies that would strengthen its reputation, expand graduate offerings and delivery, and nurture a “graduate culture” among faculty and students.

The Engagement:  We started with a benchmarking study of other regional universities that had achieved graduate program growth patterns similar to those set in our client’s strategic plan.  Then we systematically completed:  A “back-solving” decision model to ascertain annual growth targets necessary to attain five-year enrollment and operating goals.  Investigations of regional labor and job trends and forecasts.  A comprehensive inventory of competitors’ programming and positioning.  New program research.  A study of how to use alternative and “stacked” credentialing to differentiate graduate studies.  Finally, we helped compose the formal business plan for the new graduate school.  A special component was opinion research to establish the brand baseline from which to promote the school and broadcast messages for graduate studies overall and for specific offerings.

The Results:  Following the nine-month planning process, the university’s board of trustees adopted the comprehensive business, brand, and new program development plan we had helped developed and authorized a multi-million dollar investment to fund the first phase of implementation.

Introduce a new division of online studies

The Challenge:  Design the business model, strategy, organization, and operational requirements to initiate a division of online and extended learning for a private research university, in order to meet the aggressive start-up and growth goals set by trustees and executive leadership.

The Engagement:  A thorough investigation of the business models, organizations, and investments of other national universities that had fast-tracked online offerings; a full examination of the programming, positioning, and operations of competing online enterprises; scenario modeling and assessment of alternative business models that promised high-growth potential; and development of the business model, program portfolio, operational strategies, and major investments to initiate launch.

The Results:  Enabled by our “heavy lifting” of environmental and competitive scanning and scenario assessment, our client university delivered on its start-up plan in less than six months, at the same time cultivating faculty and other institutional champions.  In the first full academic year of the plan, some 30 professional programs were offered through online or blended delivery, and the initial organizational architecture was built and staffed.

Plan and initiate a program of professional microcredentials

The Challenge: Design a program of microcredentials and badging for a private university’s school of education and professional studies, which can be used both as a value-added feature for existing graduate programs and as a “stacked credentialing” initiative to attract new markets of educators seeking flexible, short-term professional development.

The Engagement: First, we completed market and competitive intelligence, by cataloging competitors’ microcredential offerings, investigating national models at other leading schools of education, and examining industry studies on microcredentials for teachers and administrators.  Second, we conducted statewide survey research among public and private school educators eliciting their opinions on professional development topics, instructional delivery, and alternative credentialing.  Finally, we conceived a number of business models for microcredentialing, conducted decision analytics and simulations for each model, and counseled on final decision making and program launch.

The Results:  The university has begun to successfully initiate microcredentialing and “stacked credentials” for its school of education.  With our assistance, it is now expanding its research and planning for microcredentials in business, social work, counseling and psychology, and community services.

Conceptualize a cross-disciplinary school of engineering

The Challenge:  Already featuring strong academic programs in healthcare, the physical sciences, business, technology, and musical and visual arts, a large private doctoral university wanted to explore whether it should expand its mission into engineering—but in a way that leveraged and emphasized its cross-disciplinary capabilities.

The Engagement:  We supported a study group of trustees, administrative leaders, and faculty on three major components.  First, we completed a full range of market and competitive intelligence, by running national, regional, and WDA market demand studies and occupational forecasts for a full range of engineering professions and by cataloguing all undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in the market region.  Second, we examined schools of engineering nationally (along with their curricula, organization, and operations) that could serve as models for the university; in addition, we compiled professional and industry literature on future drivers in the engineering professions and engineering education.  Third, we helped conceptualize possible business models for a cross-disciplinary school of engineering and customized simulation and forecasting models to test the start-up investments and five-year expected operations for the business scenarios.

The Results:  Through an expedited six-month research, scanning, and planning process, the university arrived at a blueprint for introducing undergraduate and graduate engineering programs that would be competitively differentiated and coherent with the region’s industry and labor needs, including the administrative tools to generate performance pro formas which synthesize enrollment and financial goals for launch and management.

Design an academic campus for community and geographic outreach

The Challenge:  Assist a large private master’s university in exploring the potential opportunities—and risks—of building a satellite campus 75 miles away from its home location, in order to extend its graduate and professional programs into a major metropolitan market.

The Engagement:  At the start, we consulted with academic leaders and faculty to catalogue what graduate and professional programs offered at the home campus could be transferred to the satellite, and we “deep-dive” researched existing competitor programs already established in the region.  Then we custom-designed a simulation model to forecast program enrollments, revenues, staffing requirements, start-up investments, and operating budgets.  The model had two special features:  A risk analysis component to assess the probabilities of success or risk for individual programs and program clusters and “back-solver” capabilities to derive the optimal mix and sequencing of offerings from various inputs on program duration, average credit hour production, staffing, investments, and other factors.  The decision model produced five-year marketing, enrollment, investment, and operating pro formas for a range of scenarios and program portfolios.

The Results:  Our research and scenario modeling provided the university’s board of trustees and executive leadership with a cogent decision package by which to evaluate and initiate work on the satellite campus, as well as an understanding of what new educational value the university could add to the region and what it could expect in financial and reputational returns.

Conceptualize a cross-disciplinary school of engineering

The Challenge:  Already featuring strong academic programs in healthcare, the physical sciences, business, technology, and musical and visual arts, a large private doctoral university wanted to explore whether it should expand its mission into engineering—but in a way that leveraged and emphasized its cross-disciplinary capabilities.

The Engagement:  We supported a study group of trustees, administrative leaders, and faculty on three major components.  First, we completed a full range of market and competitive intelligence, by running national, regional, and WDA market demand studies and occupational forecasts for a full range of engineering professions and by cataloguing all undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in the market region.  Second, we examined schools of engineering nationally (along with their curricula, organization, and operations) that could serve as models for the university; in addition, we compiled professional and industry literature on future drivers in the engineering professions and engineering education.  Third, we helped conceptualize possible business models for a cross-disciplinary school of engineering and customized simulation and forecasting models to test the start-up investments and five-year expected operations for the business scenarios.

The Results:  Through an expedited six-month research, scanning, and planning process, the university arrived at a blueprint for introducing undergraduate and graduate engineering programs that would be competitively differentiated and coherent with the region’s industry and labor needs, including the administrative tools to generate performance pro formas which synthesize enrollment and financial goals for launch and management.

Design an academic campus for community and geographic outreach

The Challenge:  Assist a large private master’s university in exploring the potential opportunities—and risks—of building a satellite campus 75 miles away from its home location, in order to extend its graduate and professional programs into a major metropolitan market.

The Engagement:  At the start, we consulted with academic leaders and faculty to catalogue what graduate and professional programs offered at the home campus could be transferred to the satellite, and we “deep-dive” researched existing competitor programs already established in the region.  Then we custom-designed a simulation model to forecast program enrollments, revenues, staffing requirements, start-up investments, and operating budgets.  The model had two special features:  A risk analysis component to assess the probabilities of success or risk for individual programs and program clusters and “back-solver” capabilities to derive the optimal mix and sequencing of offerings from various inputs on program duration, average credit hour production, staffing, investments, and other factors.  The decision model produced five-year marketing, enrollment, investment, and operating pro formas for a range of scenarios and program portfolios.

The Results:  Our research and scenario modeling provided the university’s board of trustees and executive leadership with a cogent decision package by which to evaluate and initiate work on the satellite campus, as well as an understanding of what new educational value the university could add to the region and what it could expect in financial and reputational returns.

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We enjoy strategic conversations on how universities, colleges, and schools can enhance their academic value through actionable research, robust business planning, compelling brand strategy, and effective performance.

EdPerform is a venture of Prescience Associates, LLC

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Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
216.233.2980

© 2022 Prescience Associates, LLC

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
216.233.2980
© 2022 Prescience Associates, LLC