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Turbulent Times

It’s August and the beginning of another year of uncertainty — but for many, simply turbulent times.

Christopher Connell, independent journalist and a former education writer for the Associated Press, recently wrote a very relevant article in AGB’s Trusteeship July-August magazine. The title of the article is “Post-Covid, Managing Risks Is More Important Than Ever.”

One of his opening paragraphs captures the essence of today’s turbulent times for so many colleges and universities along with their governing board members: “No college had coping with a pandemic in its strategic plan before 2020, but cope they did, displaying more resilience and adaptability than anyone could have predicted. Now they face the continued challenge of keeping their footing at a time of financial uncertainty and erosion of public confidence in higher education. As one college president put it, ‘As we think about planning post-pandemic, what’s most important to recognize is that things are never going back to what we call normal.’”

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During a recent conversation with a longtime client friend who is a COO, he noted that colleges and universities are definitely experiencing turbulence. There is so much uncertainty, lingering instability, and a bit of unsteadiness, and for many who have been slow to adapt, an atmosphere of potential disorder. All of this continues to reinforce the necessity to be proactive about thinking differently and ultimately, even doing things differently in a manner that facilitates relevance, value, and satisfaction. Turbulence and disorder represent the new normal, so now is the time for higher education leadership and the campus community to discuss, discern, and do things in a more edupreneurial manner.