Crisis in Higher Education

Crisis in Higher Education: A Plan to Save Small Liberal Arts Colleges in America

JEFFREY R. DOCKING
with CARMAN C. CURTON
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 160
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/j.ctt13x0pfz
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  • Book Info
    Crisis in Higher Education
    Book Description:

    In 2005 Adrian College was home to 840 enrolled students and had a tuition income of $8.54 million. By fall of 2011, enrollment had soared to 1,688, and tuition income had increased to $20.45 million. For the first time in years, the small liberal arts college was financially viable. Adrian College experienced this remarkable growth during the worst American economy in seventy years and in a state ravaged by the decline of the big three auto companies. How, exactly, did this turnaround happen?Crisis in Higher Education: A Plan to Save Small Liberal Arts Colleges in Americawas written to facilitate replication and generalization of Adrian College's tremendous enrollment growth and retention success since 2005. This book directly addresses the economic competitiveness of small four-year institutions of higher education and presents an evidence-based solution to the enrollment and economic crises faced by many small liberal arts colleges throughout the country.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-440-8
    Subjects: Education, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    James E. Bultman

    There is no dearth of challenges that face American higher education in these early years of the twenty-first century. Ever escalating pricing, competition for students from declining pools, demographic shifts, reductions in state funding, increased governmental regulations, securement of necessary philanthropic dollars, infrastructure upgrades including technology, and the overall relevance of higher education all vie for attention. These challenges are sufficient in scope to keep trustees, administrators, even faculty and staff, awake at night!

    We know institutions are resilient, but oftentimes even change to remain viable comes slowly and only with great difficulty. As academics our most natural instincts are...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Why Higher Education Needs This Book
    (pp. 1-10)

    I am writing this book because I am worried. I am worried about the plight of small liberal arts colleges in America. I am afraid many are going to run out of money, reach insolvency, fail the federal financial responsibility audit (as 150 small privates did in 2011), close their doors, or be swallowed up by large state universities as satellite campuses over the next several years (Field & Richards, 2011). If this happens, if small liberal arts colleges continue to struggle to the point of insolvency, we will lose one of the greatest educational assets this country has. Small privates...

  6. CHAPTER 2 A Typical Small Private Baccalaureate Institution
    (pp. 11-20)

    Perhaps you can find yourself and your institution in the following description: In 2005, Adrian College was about as typical of a small private baccalaureate institution as it gets. It had roughly nine hundred students, about three-fourths of whom lived on campus but who went home most weekends to see their families and friends from high school. Like many four-year baccalaureate colleges in this country, Adrian College was a small, friendly place that had a certain kind of look that appeals to young adults and their parents when they visit. It’s on a fairly small campus in a fairly small...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Growing Enrollment
    (pp. 21-34)

    Before I outline in precise detail how the enrollment growth model works, I need to show you why presidents and senior-level administrators must do two things: First, they must reject nearly every piece of conventional wisdom that has traditionally guided admissions offices on how to grow enrollment. This “wisdom” includes fads, gimmicks, quick fixes, hip trends, and most of the suggestions provided by consultants. Most of these strategies don’t work (that is why small private colleges are in trouble), and they are nearly impossible to measure. They are not effective, they are expensive (some are complete budget busters), and they...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Getting Started
    (pp. 35-50)

    To get started with Admissions Growth you need a plan, the plan must have a goal, and the goal must have a clear deadline and benchmarks. Establishing your overall goal and getting everyone on campus working to support it is a critical part of creating an Admissions Growth strategy that will work for your institution. We have discussed breaking down the goals in chapter 3 and will discuss how to achieve those goals in chapter 5. In this chapter we will address setting goals and getting your house in order so that you can take the specific, concrete steps necessary...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Implementing the Admissions Growth Plan
    (pp. 51-66)

    In this chapter I’m going to continue to show you clearly and persuasively how the Admissions Growth plan worked at Adrian College so that you can adapt it to your campus. The next step, if you are one of the seven hundred other small four-year institutions in this country (Carnegie Foundation, 2013), is to ask how you can apply this plan to help your own college grow. But first, remember that small privates arenotin competition with each other. Many small liberal arts colleges only need about four hundred new students each year to maintain the enrollment income they...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Using Admissions Growth Income to Support Your Institution’s Mission
    (pp. 67-78)

    As figure 2 reminds us, Admissions Growth supports academic investment as step 5 of the plan redirects new income leveraged from your extracurricular and cocurricular recruitment successes into new academic facilities and programs. When I launched Renaissance I in 2005, remember, I made clear to the faculty that it was part 1 of a two-part plan. Renaissance II focused on academic needs of the college. If, after revitalizing athletic and cocurricular activities on your campus you don’t follow through with improvements to academic plans and buildings, then you will lose the momentum you’ve been building on campus during the previous...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Admissions Growth Generates Its Own Momentum
    (pp. 79-100)

    When you implement the Admissions Growth model at your institution, your primary goal is to leverage investments in facilities and programs to bring more students to your campus. Small private colleges can only run on tuition, and tuition comes from students, plain and simple. But more students and improved facilities bring so much more to campus than just tuition dollars. They work together to create a plethora of additional benefits that will make your campus vital and will ensure that your institution thrives. As you can see in figure 2, we come here to the capstone of the Admissions Growth...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Why Haven’t Other Colleges Tried This Before?
    (pp. 101-112)

    When you look atUS News & World Report, you will find that most people consider Williams College to be the best college in the country among the small privates. Williams College is a winner: it has over two thousand students, it’s seen as a very strong academic institution, an institution that only brings in the best students, an institution that has very, very strict admissions standards, an institution that has attracted great faculty members for generations. Yet if you look at its website, Williams College doesn’t have sixteen intercollegiate sports, as Adrian College did when I arrived in 2005; it...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Who Will Implement Admissions Growth Successfully?
    (pp. 113-124)

    I consistently tell people on my campus that the most important thing that happens at Adrian College every day is the teaching and learning process that occurs in the classrooms throughout campus. Education tops everything else in importance. It is the way out—the way forward—the answer to most of the problems facing our country.

    Lives are transformed in the classroom. The wisdom leading to everything from medical advances to breakthroughs in information technology is gained through education. The role higher education plays to advance modern society can’t be overstated. Small private colleges are a critical asset and an...

  14. Afterword
    (pp. 125-126)
    Mike Rogers

    I graduated from Adrian College in 1985, during a time when enrollment had been increasing after some lean years. It was a great undergraduate experience for me with the faculty-student relationships providing personal attention and small class sizes, the comparative advantage that small liberal arts colleges offer over their large public counterparts. Because of these relationships, I, like alumni of many small liberal arts colleges, kept an eye on my old school even as I pursued my own career.

    For twenty years, I read the alumni magazine to stay abreast of my friends from college as well as news from...

  15. APPENDIX 1. Keeping College within Reach: Improving Access and Affordability through Innovative Partnerships
    (pp. 127-130)
  16. APPENDIX 2. Memorandum: Economic Scope Analysis for Adrian College
    (pp. 131-138)
  17. References
    (pp. 139-141)