(Updated November, 2020)

This resource guide provides informative and thoughtful articles about the current and future state of higher education as a result of the COVID-19 disruption. Here’s what we’re reading. We will continue to keep it updated with selected material. We trust you will find useful data and insights. (Some of these may require a subscription. If you cannot access them, please contact us for assistance.)

Reopening:

Chronicle of Higher Education (numerous articles – here are key ones to date):

Reopening plans – The Chronicle is tracking more than 1,200 colleges serving primarily undergraduates and not including those that were already 100% online; it includes searchable tracking table to find institutions by name – here is the status of July 31. In the last 10 days, the number of “in-person” institutions has declined noticeably while the “hybrid” model and online have increased. https://bit.ly/2DkQoxa

  • Fully in-person (2.5%), primarily in person (21%) on July 31 versus planning for in-person – 53% (July 20)
  • Hybrid (16%) versus proposing a hybrid model (defined as mix of online, in-person, hybrid or blending learning) – 32% (July 20)
  • Primarily online (24%), fully online (3.8%) on July 31 versus planning for online – 10% (July 20)
  • TBD (27%) versus considering a range of scenarios – 3.5% and waiting to decide – 1.2% (July 20)

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Updated Fall 2020

These unprecedented times call on all of us to bring our best expertise and insights to lead organizations with resilience and agility through COVID-19 and plan smartly for a sustainable post-pandemic future. Even though the first “crisis response” phase is past, every week brings a blizzard of ideas, perspectives and approaches. We’ve collected our picks among the “best of” resources to assist you as you make critical decisions for the next 6, 12 and 18 months, and plan for the longer term.

Many of these resources have provided open-access to their articles and research, while a few may still require a subscription or membership. If you’d like to discuss the implications for your organization, we’re happy to share our additional insights about turning “best of” to the “best fit” for you.

We know many of you have made very successful adaptations to the ”transition normal” and are ending the year with new innovations and streamlined effectiveness. We wish you continued success as you embrace the coming months and tame the uncertainties ahead.  Read more >

Implementing a platform business model, in contrast to a vertically integrated organization, centers on a dynamic platform directed at the customer experience. This has impacts on the entire organization with respect to key functions (such as sales, marketing, communications, IT and analytics) as well as their alignment and governance.

While “digital” is often the reason that organizations consider a platform model, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution nor is it as simple as creating a single unit focused on digital; rather a comprehensive digital strategy is necessary to support the core strategic drivers of the business – and position the organization to respond to business opportunities and build the teams to respond with digital (and other) tools. Questions include: Will the impact of digital be focused on overall IT integration? On systems and software that provide deeper analytics for product development and sales? On marketing and communications? On social media?

Agile companies have more fluid structures in which day-to-day work is organized in smaller teams that cut across business lines and market segments. The old view of “dotted lines” begins to fade as talent and tools are reallocated according to the business need. Digital technologies facilitate a more customized tactical approach to customers as part of a larger strategy. From both IT and marketing/communications perspectives, it’s vital to understand the “whole customer” (the strategy) and what tools (the tactics) are most important to engage them.

Here’s how to design your organization for the customer experience…

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In a crisis, let purpose and strategy be your “go to” pillars.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced organizations to move quickly to redesign work, home and social interactions in real time, choose priorities and accelerate change at warp-speed. This crisis challenges the very pillars on which we’ve built our universities, Advancement organizations, schools, businesses and nonprofits.

As companies and organizations navigate ambiguity and redesign a range of futures, several foundational practices can provide valuable pathways and platforms for re-engineering. Now more than ever, 7 pillars of organizations managing change effectively are driving their decisions as they plan for the next 12-18 months.

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Ask most college or university presidents or chancellors who have taken the helm in the last 10 years what their most important job is, and they will tell you it is finding ways to finance the operations of the institution through private and public resources. And though they may not often articulate it, the key to successful fundraising through private sources or advocacy for public funding is using a complex set of communications tools to reach prospective students, donors and public officials. Effective leadership communication, more than ever today, may very well be pivotal to the future of our higher education institutions. Leaders must make hard choices, almost on a daily basis, and the scenarios they face may be even tougher in the future.

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OVERVIEW

With the advent of increased natural disaster frequency, prevalence of cyber-attacks, and a global pandemic (COVID-19) that has plunged global marketplaces into precarious territory, organizations have more reason than ever to plan for unanticipated threats to their ability to conduct business and keep personnel and assets protected. Colleges and universities are no exception. Not only are enrollment cycles threatened but fundraising – ongoing and major campaigns – immediately began to see their investment portfolios and thus operating cash from endowments slide drastically while anticipated pledge payments started faltering.

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Before the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many companies were already operating with a remote workforce, but the traditional office environment remained the de facto way to conduct business. Now that people in cities and countries across the globe are quarantined for the foreseeable future, companies that previously may not have had much understanding of how to accommodate its workers remotely are scrambling to get up to speed. Fortunately, there are many programs—many of them free—that are quick to implement and enable personnel to stay on top of their tasks from home, even when collaborating as a team. Read more >

OVERVIEW

Companies with a global presence and offices and remote workers in multiple countries face a variety of challenges in maintaining productivity to ensure outcomes while managing employees and teams in multiple locations. Today, as organizations of all sizes transition rapidly to remote work, lessons from these organizations can help leapfrog them into the new mode of virtual work necessitated practically overnight by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Primary challenges include ensuring productivity from afar, establishing methods for effective communication, and streamlining project objectives and collaboration with multiple teams in far-flung locations. Broader challenges include differences in time zones, language fluency, navigating regulatory variations, understanding cultural norms, and bridging the gap between corporate and individual office policies. Read more >

As U.S. higher education starts a new decade, several critical issues are driving decision making at most colleges and universities. And, as we wrote four years ago in our white paper, Public Higher Education 2016: Overview of Top Issues, colleges and universities continue to try to solve these issues one institution at a time. A promising outcome is that this pressure is forcing administrative and academic leadership to focus on priorities and differentiation, but the progress and payoffs are mixed and there is no clear path forward in terms of “one size fits all.” The following are the top trends The Napa Group believes will greatly influence higher education in 2020 and beyond.

Six big issues and their impacts on higher ed are described here…

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