Envisioning the Viable Potential

As we noted last August in our Lawlor Focus, “It’s August and the beginning of another year of uncertainty—but for many, simply turbulent times.” Since then, the level of consternation among many of today’s higher education leaders about their institution’s ability to achieve specific goals and objectives hasn’t dropped very much. As just one example, FAFSA forms will now be received later in the recruitment season, most likely delaying colleges’ responsiveness to students and families with financial need.

Realities like this are challenging everyone to find viable paths forward. In AGB’s Trusteeship July-August issue, the opening paragraph of “The Foundation for Presidential Success” by Shannon McCambridge and Melissa K. Trotta captures the essence of today’s higher ed marketplace:

“Today’s college and university presidents must navigate significant challenges in the higher education landscape. Chief among them is the need to reimagine and craft a business model that maintains financial sustainability and supports a diverse campus culture in which everyone feels a genuine sense of belonging. Faced with fierce competition, declining enrollments, escalating costs, snowballing maintenance needs, cybersecurity threats, a student mental health epidemic, and insufficient resources, a new president’s job has never been more challenging. Moreover, as skepticism about the value of higher education grows, so, too, does the work of retaining and graduating students prepared for a rapidly changing workforce.”

The authors went on to note the importance of “purposeful preparation” to help achieve success.

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Prompt planning and implementation are definitely a necessity today. Generating solutions that account for the institution’s authentic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) requires interactive discussion, active collaboration, ideation, discernment, and best of all, doing.

So do what it takes to find that viable path forward! No question, everyone has a Book of Life with different chapters full of highs, lows, teachable moments, lasting memories, and even some things we want to forget. But no matter what, today’s chapter can bring opportunity that leads to accomplishments. Stay positive, see the great potential, and be edupreneurial to achieve new success.