The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on colleges and universities has been far-reaching and severe and has forced institutions of higher education to make unprecedented decisions and changes impacting their visions, programs, services, and structures that will last long into the future.
To provide guidance to colleges and universities as they contemplate how best to adapt during the pandemic, SC&I Distinguished Professor of Communication Brent Ruben has authored a white paper, “Guidance for College and University Planning for a Post COVID-19 World.” In addition to his position at SC&I, Ruben is also founder and senior university fellow at the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership, and faculty advisor to the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rutgers University.
“Many of the assumptions we held about the future of higher education and our institutions, departments, and units just a few months ago have been called into question by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ruben said. We are now confronted by many uncertainties and the critical challenges they present. How do we begin to plan and think strategically about purpose, priorities, and resources for the future?”
Ruben said while the immediate responses of students, faculty, and staff members at American colleges and universities to the pandemic “were quite remarkable, demonstrating an impressive level of adaptability, resilience, and even short-term innovation in the face of many uncertainties, disrupted routines, and numerous disappointments due to cancellations of long-anticipated events and ceremonies. Many of these adaptations, however, will not be sustainable or necessarily adequate solutions for the longer term.”
Published by Stylus Publishing, the whitepaper is based on Ruben’s book, “Excellence in Higher Education Guide: A Framework for the Design, Assessment, and Continuous Improvement of Institutions, Departments and Programs.”
Ruben said the whitepaper is designed to provide a useful guide for reimagining and developing strategies to implement revised visions, programs, services for a college or university, or its constituent units, departments, or schools.
The EHE-R (Excellence in Higher Education-Renewal framework that was inspired by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program), Ruben said, “collects and catalogues critical questions related to mission and vision, changing priorities, modifications in programs and services, and adjustments in faculty and staff responsibilities in the face of shifting needs among present and potential students and other constituencies and a dramatically transformed environment. And, most fundamentally, EHE-R is designed to help leaders at all levels as they guide and support the community through the process of review and reinvention.
“Key questions are organized into seven categories: (1) Leadership, (2) Purposes and Plans, (3) Beneficiary and Constituency Relationships, (4) Programs and Services, (5) Faculty/Staff and Workplace Issues, (6) Metrics, Assessment, and Analysis, and (7) Outcomes and Achievements. The publication also describes alternative processes for using the framework at the institutional level, and within academic, professional, administrative, student life, support, and other units.”
Stylus Publishing is currently sharing the whitepaper as a service to the higher education community. Download a copy here.
More information about the Communication Department at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information is on the website. Information on the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leaderships is available here.