The Heat Is On

As all of us are experiencing unusually hot, dry weather, it is also a subtle reminder of how important it is now for colleges and universities to genuinely assess the reality of the marketplace and respond in a relevant manner. And some of those responses must not be reactionary tactics, but strategic initiatives that seriously factor in strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. No question, the heat is on for higher education to identify and implement viable, strategic initiatives that are even more relevant today and will facilitate a genuine warmth in meeting expectations in the months and years ahead. And surviving.

Mark S. LeClair, an economics professor at Fairfield University, recently shared some very informative insights in his Chronicle Review piece noting that “The critical problems facing higher education won’t end with the pandemic.” He adds, “The most dangerous strategy is no strategy. The Forbes financial analyses have been warning of a worsening situation for years. The added stresses from the Covid-19 pandemic will further aggravate the untenable circumstances facing hundreds of institutions. There is now a very short window within which we must carry out significant reforms.”

Lawlor Recommends

Now is not the time to simply react or overreact to the “heat of the moment” that is so prevalent within the higher education marketplace today. Change has happened and more will occur. Impulse reactions can limit opportunities and perhaps facilitate further demise. And yet, the heat of the moment is prompting more thinking and doing that is related to the art & science of marketing—and as LeClair noted, carrying out significant reforms.

In addition, Marketoonist Tom Fishburne recently shared this thought: “Marketers sometimes get so enamored by the shiny new thing that we forget that value is in what the shiny new thing enables, not the shiny new thing itself.” So, while the heat is on for all of higher education even though the “degree of heat” varies, now is the time to practice astute thinking, consider microtargeting for optimal impact, disrupt the conventional philanthropic model, and provide a shining example of how today’s marketplace temperature can prompt edupreneurial solutions that are more than just cool concepts.


Working Adult Students

More employers are offering tuition benefits to their workers, but tapping that market is not always as easy as colleges assume. (Source: Jeff Selingo)

Faculty Exodus?

55% of current faculty members are considering retiring or changing careers and leaving higher education following the pandemic. (Source: Chronicle)

Criminal Cyberactivity

With the rise of ransomware and other cyber threats, universities are having to step up their game to protect data and individuals. (Source: Inside Higher Ed)