In 2015-16, The Association for Biblical Higher Education partnered with the Barna Group to assess perceptions of college-bound Christian students, their parents and others, seeking guidance for ABHE and its member institutions regarding:
college enrollment influences
characteristic attraction features
market positioning, strategy and messaging
The research project officially culminated with the June 2017 publication of What’s Next for Biblical Higher Education?, a 60-page monograph and accompanying suite of video and web resources for member use in communicating to and engaging stakeholders relative to the research findings.
Although a number of institutions have deeply engaged and profited from the research, I worry that the opportunity for converting data analysis into concerted, actionable association-wide intelligence has not been fully and coherently leveraged by our boards, presidents, C-suite officers, enrollment management teams, faculty, and other key stakeholders. I believe it would constitute scandalously poor stewardship to allow this unprecedented investment to go under-exploited.
Complicated vs. Complex
The research findings make clear that we face not merely a complicated set of challenges, but a complex, even chaotic environment in which we must learn to attract and retain students and prepare graduates. Complicated? Complex?
Here’s a visual example of a complicated problem.
It’s daunting, but static. You can leave for lunch or a nap—and when you return, the problem is exactly the same. Once you have solved it, the solution is permanent.
Here’s a visual example of a complex problem.
Its multiple variables are constantly changing. If you take your eyes off it even for a second, disaster can result. There is no such thing as a permanent solution.
I’m sure you can recognize that, today, college enrollment constitutes a complex, if not chaotic challenge.Click to tweet
Every one of the so-called seven Cs of higher education (i.e., college, curriculum, class, course, credit, classroom, credential) is being re-defined. Enrollment strategies, messages, and processes that fail to remain abreast of the sweeping and continual changes in these and other postsecondary education variables are bound to be at best, inefficient and, at worst, utterly ineffective.
Only adaptive change will suffice
So, I intend to invest the next several months in seeking to address with my readers some of the most salient research findings with a view to stimulating your deep and collaborative engagement in seeking to identify and commit your financial and human resources more fully to adaptive change. I have little doubt that failure to adapt will be disastrous for some colleges. I am equally confident that those who commit to leveraging this research will position themselves to thrive under fresh Spirit-wind in their pursuit of serious Bible learning that shapes a life of godly influence and service.
Stay tuned …
Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …
The US Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General—that plays the part of an internal watchdog over massive federal postsecondary education student aid entitlement payouts—has issued its opinions relative to pending legislative proposals for renewal of the Higher Education Act. You will be especially interested in its view of the role of accreditors and the additional administrative oversight and data security measures the IG is advocating.
Physically impossible, psychologically unhelpful, and philosophically misguided. That’s how Ryan Anderson describes medical/surgical attempts at so-called “sex reassignment.” And he offers scientific research evidence to back up the claim. Ideological propaganda, not science and reason—much less revelation—are driving transgenderism.