A Model for New Program Development

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Competition among higher education institutions is increasing both nationally and internationally, often driven by cultural shifts, globalization, advancements in technology, and decreases in state funding among other factors. Many universities have responded to these pressures by becoming more entrepreneurial. The future success of universities will depend in part on finding more opportunistic and creative means by which to increase market share. Without doing so, they risk not just falling behind, but failing altogether.

One avenue to market growth is developing new programs that are sustainable, positive net revenue generating and in alignment with the institution’s ability to deliver expertise in the area. Unfortunately, many education providers are having difficulty creating a robust and profitable new program portfolio. Helix Education and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association have co-authored a study of continuing education metrics related to new program development inefficiencies.

The study found that many universities have no formal process for new program development, and instead rely on intuition-based factors to make such decisions. This informal decision-making process is mismatched with the top two data-driven outcomes of program development: revenue and job market demand. 


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