ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

Trustees group encourages board members to be more proactive in sustaining higher ed

Education Dive
May 5, 2017 by Autumn A. Arnett

Dive Brief:

  • The American Council of Trustees and Alumni on Thursday released a new guidebook encouraging boards to "be proactive in their role" to promote "a fiscally sustainable model for maintaining [their college or university's] academic standards while offering an affordable college education." 

  • The guide highlights best practices from around higher ed, like the University System of Maryland's use of predictive analytics to promote student success, and an examination of procurement policies and procedures as well as smart real estate investments to help move the system from a "crisis" situation in 2004 to a thriving system today.

  • The University of Florida System was highlighted for its boldness in shifting to a performance-based funding model, and collaborative consortiums were praised for their innovations in sharing resources and academic programs among a number of autonomous institutions to reduce costs and provide better student support.

Dive Insight:

The new guide provides a number of case studies and specific examples campus boards can use to help propel the institutions forward. One drawback, however, is that it references primarily large institutions with higher endowments and fewer threats to funding and enrollment than many institutions may be facing. Still, institutions of all sizes can do thorough examinations of assets and expenses to identify efficiencies. Even ideas like re-examining course load balance and zeroing in on faculty-led retention efforts can uncover unexpected savings. And using predictive analytics and other data-driven approaches to promote student success is not just good practice at this point, it's imperative to sustain the business model.