Operational Efficiency as a Market Differentiator

The following interview is with Carolyn Young, continuing studies director at Western University. Improving operational efficiency is a top-of-mind concern for higher education administrators across North America, as institutions are under increasing pressure to do more with less. But are there more benefits to this transformation than meet the eye? In this interview, Young addresses that question and discusses how greater operational efficiency can help institutions compete in the modern postsecondary marketplace …

The following interview is with Sharon Duffy, dean of Extension at University of California (UC) Riverside. As higher education main campuses are struggling to maintain their status quo with fewer available resources, continuing education and extension units have historically not only provided students with great service, but expanded into new marketplaces under these conditions. In this interview, Duffy explains how operational efficiency can help institutions stay nimble and compete in new marketplaces …



Percentage decline, over 20 years, in administrative staff productivity at for-profit universities, according to a recent report by the Center for College Affordability.

“Whether you are a for-profit or a non-profit, it does not matter.”

~ ANANT AGARWAL, chief executive officer of edX, said that it does not make much difference if an institution is for-profit or non-profit, as long as they are striving to increase accessibility to and improve quality of programs for students.

“It’s not really that relevant to community colleges. I don’t see it influencing a lot of student decisions.”

~ DAVID BAIME, senior vice president for government relations and research for the American Association of Community Colleges, said their association does not support the proposed college ratings systems for any reason other than the collection and sharing of industry data.

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The following interview is with Marie Cini, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and a member of the Online Learning Consortium’s board of directors. UMUC has been working in recent years to develop innovative approaches to the online learning marketplace and, like other institutions in this position, is trying to determine how to accomplish better outcomes with fewer available resources. In this interview, Cini expands on this challenge and shares her thoughts on the important role operational efficiency plays in supporting this end …

The relationship between business and higher education has tightened over the past decade and is at the point where there’s the possibility of great symmetry and synergy between the two. Its genesis and evolution have been well documented. In this competitive landscape, however, academic institutions need to differentiate themselves from their peers so that corporations select them as their preferred educational provider …


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