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One University’s Bold Plan to Move from Mediocrity to Innovation

Higher Education is facing unprecedented challenges. The pressure is most keenly felt by small colleges and universities. Dr. Amy Novak shares her experience at one such institution:

A little more than a decade ago, as the university I serve prepared for a visit from its regional accrediting agency, a senior faculty member characterized the institution in the following terms: “We are a mediocre university, with a mediocre faculty and mediocre facilities, serving a mediocre community.” At the conclusion of the accreditation site visit, the Higher Learning Commission described the faculty relationship with the then president as “highly tenuous” and the University as being “without focus.”

The challenges the Dakota Wesleyan University faced at that point included a rising discount rate, declining enrollments, low student retention rates, a bloated curriculum, poor assessment practices, an inability to attract and retain strong faculty members, red budgets, and rising student accounts receivables. The University faced a critical decision: courageously reposition itself, or continue along the road of mediocrity and hope for a shift in the winds of fortune.

How did her university respond? Read her article to chart the path of change her university took and learn how your school can foster a culture of innovation.