Academic Program Portfolio Planning
Preparing to Thrive
This is part one of a three-part program series, “Integrated Planning to Build a Thriving Academic Program Portfolio.” These discussions will help you build a strategic and sustainable program portfolio that is mission-centered, data-informed, student-centered, and focused on growth opportunities.
In a competitive landscape, it is more important than ever to ensure the programs you offer align with demand in the market. We will discuss the data you need, and where to find it to evaluate market demand for academic programs, including critical data on student demand that is often overlooked. Consider how to integrate this data into a comprehensive assessment framework that also considers margins, mission, and academic quality. Finally, we will describe a data-informed decision-making process that incorporates data with judgment from key stakeholders to form consensus around program decisions.
- Identify appropriate sources of data on program-level student demand and competitive intensity.
- Understand the distinction between direct-preparation jobs and the more-varied actual post-degree career paths, and use information about both kinds of employment outcomes for program portfolio planning and to identify potential curriculum issues.
- Use a data-informed process to prioritize investments in program development, growth, or improvement, considering external market data as well as fit with the institution’s mission, financial implications, and academic goals and outcomes.
- Understand and value the distinction between a new-program idea that is just “pretty good”, versus one that is the best choice among all possibilities for the institution in its market.
- Understand a data-informed program planning process that builds consensus across academic, administrative, and faculty leaders.