ESI’s Webinar Series on Critical Issues Facing the Higher Education Industry

In late April, Econsult Solutions Inc. hosted a webinar series on critical issues facing the higher education sector. When these five sessions were first conceived and scheduled, of course no one could have predicted that a global pandemic would bring travel and economy to a halt, disrupt all social and commercial activity, and leave every industry facing a scary and uncertain future. What we did know was that higher ed was experiencing unprecedented tumult at the very moment that society needed its contributions all the more.  Those realities have not changed and in fact have only been brought into stark relief, infusing the topics we selected for the webinar series with new significance and greater urgency.

Innovation Campus: Building a Partnership-Driven Innovation Ecosystem” featured Adam Glaser of Perkins and Will, as well as Leslie Smallwood-Lewis and Gregory Reaves of Mosaic Development Partners. As “ivory tower” has given way to “engaged campus,” our presenters spoke of the innovative co-locations and work-learn partnerships that schools have curated, highlighting a convening role that will only grow in importance going forward (and that, in light of COVID-19, may involve a significant virtual overlay to it). Click here to view the webinar.

Tech Revolution: Turning Technological Disruption into Opportunity” featured Adam Glaser of Perkins and Will, and Leroy Nunery of Plūs Ultré LLC. Technological advancement is disrupting entire industries, of which higher ed is no exception. Restrictions on large gatherings have left schools scrambling to replicate what used to be done in classrooms and labs and auditoriums and campus quads, and our presenters unpacked various approaches for determining high-tech (as well as low-tech and no-tech) solutions. Click here to view the webinar. 

“Diversity Matters: Integrating Equity and Inclusion throughout the Institution” featured Gina Lavery of Econsult Solutions Inc., Anthony Moore of Paradigm Group Consultants, LLC, and Lloyd Russow of Thomas Jefferson University. Our presenters emphasized that inclusion is not a matter of individual initiatives but of mission fulfillment and culture-building, and explored what that means at a time of constrained resources. Click here to view the webinar. 

Curricular Expansions/Contractions: A Framework for Planning/Budgeting for Additions and Subtractions in Academic Offerings” featured Elmore Alexander of Optimal Consulting, Leroy Nunery of Plūs Ultré LLC, and Lloyd Russow of Thomas Jefferson University. Shifting market demands and heightened cost pressures are forcing universities to consider all kinds of curricular expansions, consolidations, and cross-institution partnerships. Our presenters articulated various approaches to exploring the budgetary consequences of such changes, something many universities will have to contemplate as they adjust to declining enrollment and revenue reductions. Click here to view the webinar.

ROI of Higher Education: Making the Case for Higher Ed at a Local, Regional, and Global Level” featured Elmore Alexander of Optimal Consulting and Brittany Forman of Econsult Solutions Inc. The higher ed sector faces unprecedented scrutiny regarding its fundamental value proposition—from students and parents, from host communities, and from governments – at a time when it can be argued that what universities do has never been more important. Our presenters articulated a more pro-active and assertive approach by institutions to make their “return on investment” case, of particular importance at a time of deep uncertainty and heightened competition for scarcer dollars. Click here to view the webinar.

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