As the financial, political, and cultural pressures facing higher education today become increasingly acute (and unpredictable), academic leaders must find new mechanisms for engaging a change-averse culture in charting a sustainable path forward. Our traditional approaches to setting both institutional and unit-level strategy (lengthy strategic planning processes, infrequent program reviews, incremental budgeting cycles, and so on) are failing to measurably improve outcomes, and without new strategies to align the academy around the institution's most pressing challenges, changes to revenue streams are likely to endanger the core academic mission.
This year’s meeting theme, “A New Paradigm for Academic Leadership” reflects the need for chief academic officers to arm their cabinet, associate deans, chairs, and faculty leaders with the data, tools, and incentives necessary to adapt to shifting student demand.
Our research this year will examine how the most progressive institutions are making smarter programmatic “bets” based on dynamic feedback from students, employers, and faculty, and equipping departmental leaders to adapt their staffing and curricula responsibly. Meeting attendees will hear and take part in discussions on the following topics:
- How to determine the right leading indicators of success for academic units for each institutional priority—from cost-efficiency to better student career outcomes
- What the future of Arts & Sciences education will mean for institutional finances, interdisciplinary opportunities, and general education requirements
- How to move beyond superficial commitments to diversity and inclusion to achieve real progress in equity in every academic department
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