STRATEGICALLY PLANNING CAMPUSES FOR THE "NEWER STUDENTS" IN HIGHER EDUCATION by ProQuest

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The "traditional" 18 - 22 year old, residential college student makes up only 16% of the students enrolled in public and private two- and four-year institutions. More than half of today's students are older and are taking classes part-time. Over a million attend for-profit institutions and millions more participate in postsecondary education experiences offered by corporate universities. Most work full or part-time, have little interest in out-of-class activities, and are very savvy about computer-based technologies. These are the "newer students" of higher education and represent the largest market segment of those who will attend college in the foreseeable future. It would seem the drastic shift in market characteristics would be accompanied by strategic shifts in university planning. This paper considers how changes in college student body characteristics over the years have (or should have) prompted college leaders to alter their thinking about many aspects of campus offerings, facilities, operations, services, and pricing. We examined strategic plans of many universities and conclude that although many recognize the changing characteristics of the potential student population, many are pursuing strategies that may be strategically leading to their own downfalls. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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  STRATEGICALLY PLANNING CAMPUSES FOR THE
    “NEWER STUDENTS” IN HIGHER EDUCATION

                Charles F. Falk, Northern Illinois University (retired)
                       Bruce K. Blaylock, Radford University

                                            ABSTRACT

        The “traditional” 18 – 22 year old, residential college student makes up only 16% of the
students enrolled in public and private two- and four-year institutions. More than half of today’s
students are older and are taking classes part-time. Over a million attend for-profit institutions and
millions more participate in postsecondary education experiences offered by corporate universities.
Most work full or part-time, have little interest in out-of-class activities, and are very savvy about
computer-based technologies. These are the “newer students” of higher education and represent
the largest market segment of those who will attend college in the foreseeable future. It would seem
the drastic shift in market characteristics would be accompanied by strategic shifts in university
planning. This paper considers how changes in college student body characteristics over the years
have (or should have) prompted college leaders to alter their thinking about many aspects of campus
offerings, facilities, operations, services, and pricing. We examined strategic plans of many
universities and conclude that although many recognize the changing characteristics of the potential
student population, many are pursuing strategies that may be strategically leading to their own
downfalls.

                                        INTRODUCTION

         “If colleges and universities are to survive in the troubled years ahead, a strong emphasis on
planning is essential (Kotler & Murphy, 1981).” Those words are as true today as they were almost
30 years ago when they were first written. Steadily changing student populations, rapidly
deteriorating economic conditions, and continuously improving technologies will impact the
“whom” and the “how” universities offer education.
         This paper considers how changes in college student body characteristics should prompt
college leaders to alter their strategic thinking about many aspects of campus offerings, facilities,
operations, services, and pricing. The attributes and behaviors of colleges and universities that made
them successful in the past may or may not be the same attributes and behaviors that will enable
them to be successful in the future. In order to be competitive, survive, and flourish some
institutions will need to strategically plan on becoming very different places than they are currently.

                        Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, Volume 14, Number 3, 2010
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Three themes drive this conclusion: (1) population demographics, (2) the increased importance and
changing characteristics of non-traditional st
								
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