The month of May has always been a memorable moment in time. Several sources note that the month of May is “likely named after Maia, the goddess of growth.” No question, all colleges and universities are thinking today about opportunities to increase growth or sustain it, balance the budget, retain students and colleagues, increase contributions and donations, and leave a lasting and positive legacy with everyone who experiences the institution.
Then again, the phrase “may” be often top-of-mind for many people especially within the popular Star Wars soundbite, “May the force be with you!” This is often used to wish someone luck with a difficult endeavor. Today, higher education is faced with plenty of challenges and difficulties, while students and families are also full of consternation about the lingering costs and the actual return on investment. And in a bit of irony, the commonly used phrase, “Mayday, Mayday” that signals distress from boats or planes, has now become a bit of new reality for many in the higher education marketplace. This entire situation simply reinforces the importance of implementing educational entrepreneurism (edupreneurism) today.
One of the most dynamic and authentic edupreneurs in the country is the COO at Concordia University, St. Paul, Eric LaMott. He shared with us recently his informed perspective about today’s marketplace:
The higher education marketplace is under seismic movement, with a particular focus around accountability and relevance. Today’s learners are seeking meaning and value to their time and expense. We must continue to focus our efforts on the career, research, and workforce needs in order to be relevant. Industry is building its own educational tools designed explicitly to the here-and-now needs of the industry and employees. Governmental engagement in higher education is also a market force that will continue to control and direct higher education with boundaries and accountability. Nimbleness is key for edupreneurial higher education institutions to succeed at meeting our constituencies’ needs.
Edupreneurism is a necessity today. Colleges and universities must foster a culture of innovation and distinction that leads to enhanced value. And edupreneurism doesn’t mean changing your core values but becoming more creative and relevant to the authentic needs of the marketplace and then delivering them in a meaningful manner. This may actually involve conducting research with various constituents and asking them about your institution’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats along with finding out what they believe are the most viable solutions today. As Lawlor Advisory has always noted, “market intelligence leads to intelligent solutions.”
Finally, let more people in your core marketplace know about your college or university and the authentic benefits of attending your institution. The more people really do know about your distinction and inherent value, the more they will consider, select, matriculate, and graduate … and most importantly, tell others all about your institution.