Adapting to Meet the Challenge

The confidence to do—and in many cases, differently, is the new challenge facing everyone in college and university communities.

As Chronicle reporter Lee Gardner recently wrote, “While it’s true that the yawning uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic presents a new and unprecedented challenge for colleges, in many ways the current crisis is just accelerating or steepening challenges that colleges already face. Thanks to declining demographics, stagnant incomes, and escalating costs, the business model of many colleges is coming under increasing pressure. Old certainties, and old rules, apply less and less. The competition for students — and the increasingly critical revenue they represent — grows ever more intense. The value of what a college offers stands in question, and students’ willingness and ability to pay for it wanes.”

In a bit of irony during these challenging times, so many teachable moments experienced from within higher education have provided lessons that are now facilitating solutions beyond the traditional model of teaching and learning. Out of crisis comes opportunity—and hopefully, the confidence to do.

Lawlor Recommends

Marketoonist Tom Fishburne recently referenced resilience and change and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. To solve today’s higher education challenges, there isn’t just one right answer or solution, but there does need to be a new mindset about assessing the reality of an institution’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Now more than ever, contingency planning and agile thinking are absolute necessities, because we are in a free-fall economy. Multiple variables must be considered, especially with the new mindset environment of “social distancing.” No question, these are challenging times. But treat this as an opportunity to create lasting impressions that demonstrate your edupreneurial thinking and doing.


Old Rules Don’t Apply

Lee Gardner describes how admissions leaders have scrambled to reach students in this volatile new environment. (Source: Chronicle)

Leadership Lessons

Demonstrating calm and optimism in a crisis requires learning how to lead outside of your comfort zone. (Source: McKinsey)

Enrollment Turmoil

Five admissions leaders, including Madeleine Rhyneer, reflect on the pandemic’s impact on enrollment and what can be done about it. (Source: Chronicle)