Benchmark This!

Latest Trends Impacting Marketing and Higher Education
from Director of UPCEA's Center for Research and Strategy, Jim Fong

Investing in Future Talent: Results of Staffing Needs Snap Poll

With society adapting to a second year of the pandemic, institutions of higher education struggle to find a place of strength in a quickly transforming economy. For obvious reasons, many colleges and universities are banking on a full recovery of demand for undergraduate and graduate degrees and the robustness of the campus experience. Those that believe they are innovating are doing so by bringing more campus-based degrees and the student experience online. Some are pushing innovation further by advancing efforts and investment into professional education efforts, stackable credentials, and noncredit-to-credit pathways. 

 

One of the most critical challenges for professional, continuing and online (PCO) education units will be the funding and staffing of future initiatives. Many colleges and universities are cash strapped and unable to retain top talent, as well as attract new talent. Conversations with colleagues suggest that top talent is being lost and open positions are hard to fill, especially instructional designers, marketers, and unit leaders.

 

A recent UPCEA snap poll of 78 institutions revealed that institutions are hiring again and staff freezes have been lifted. 54% of those responding to a question about staff attrition stated that they had lost key staff during the pandemic. Of this group, 38% said that open positions are extremely or very difficult to fill. Another 34% said that they were somewhat difficult to fill.

 

The research suggests that institutions are going to need to invest more heavily in staffing, as well as investing more creatively. The pandemic also showed that we can trust the workforce to work remotely, and that working remotely or having a flexible work scenario could be an important and attractive benefit. As institutions look to advance their initiatives in the future, not only will they need the right content, delivery/modality and credential, but they’ll need to have strategic processes in place to attract and retain talent, including the next generation of PCO leaders, instructional design staff, information technology specialists and digital marketers. The alignment of all these elements will be critical to the success or failure of PCO innovation. See the full results here. 

Jim Fong, UPCEA

Lead consultant Jim Fong, the founding director of UPCEA’s Center for Research and Strategy, has extensive background in marketing at Penn State, as well as experience in private industry. Jim brings a rich understanding of the dynamics driving today’s higher education leaders, providing research-driven strategy and positioning. Jim often presents at UPCEA’s regional and national conferences, sharing vital information with attendees.

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Other UPCEA Updates + Blogs

Report: Who Stops Out of College and Why? (Inside Higher Ed)

[…] Jim Fong, chief research officer and director of the Center for Research and Strategy at UPCEA, said students will be greatly disadvantaged if colleges fail to anticipate the hurdles that cause them to leave. “Given the pandemic and the evolution of a new economy, one that relies on automation and information, students will be…

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What I Wish I Knew at the Time: Negotiating Agreements

In the summer of 2021, UPCEA surveyed Institutional Representatives (IRs) and Chief Online Learning Officers (COLOs) in order to understand the issues senior leaders were wrestling with at their institutions. One of the topics found in survey responses had to do with working with service providers and vendors. The Council for Chief Online Learning Officers…

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Why Do Students Leave College Before Finishing? New Study Looks at Common Scenarios. (EdSurge)

When a student stops out of college before getting a degree, the college should act fast if it wants to get them back. That’s because there’s a correlation between how long a student has been disengaged and the likelihood that they’ll return. “As soon as a student drops out or stops out or disengages, the…

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42% of stopped-out young adults cited financial reasons for leaving college, survey finds (Higher Ed Dive)

[…] For college administrators, reenrolling students starts with acknowledging that students are stopping out in the first place, said Jim Fong, founding director of UPCEA’s Center for Research and Strategy. “Colleges often don’t want to admit how many students leave school before graduating,” Fong said. “Institutions don’t want to tell the community, ‘Oh, we lost…

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2021 UPCEA MEMS Award Recipients Announced

11 Recipients Chosen For Three Award Categories WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2021 — UPCEA, the leader in professional, continuing, and online education, has announced the recipients of the 2021 Crisis Management Marketing Award, 2021 Excellence in Enrollment Management Award, and the new Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness in Marketing, Enrollment, and Student Success Award. …

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New Research Answers Question Every College Wants to Know: Why Do Students Leave and How Do We Get Them Back?

BALTIMORE, MD and WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 1, 2021) – UPCEA (University Professional and Continuing Education Association) and StraighterLine conducted a critical empirical research study profiling the disengaged learner to better understand their situations and motivations in relation to higher education. The study focused on individuals who have college credits but are no longer attending college…

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