Focusing on the Right Things – The Student and the Partnership
Executive Vice President, Strategic Relationships, Greenwood Hall
The Chronicle of Higher Education article “4 Problems That Can Sour Colleges’ Partnerships with Online-Education Enablers” (10/27/15) highlights “problems” that can negatively impact the success of online enrollment initiatives.
The challenges highlighted can be inherent challenges in any type of business relationship where activities are sourced to an external party. The highlighted obstacles can be overcome with the right focus, partnership orientation, transparency, alignment of goals, and communication.
The focus always needs to be on the student: Identifying and understanding their goals, developing a relationship and connecting them to the institution, breaking down barriers to success, and keeping them connected and engaged. In order to achieve this, a partner needs to possess a truly holistic approach to the student lifecycle – versus just recruiting a student or delivering a program online. There also needs to be an alignment of values and goals. A third-party that collects a percentage of tuition may be inclined to focus on enrollment or insularly focus on a single academic program/delivery method. On the other hand, a holistic partner that is compensated on a fee-for-service basis can naturally focus on the student’s needs and act as a conduit to multiple academic programs as well as educational delivery methods.
Transparency, communication, and a commitment to ongoing process improvement are crucial to making the partnership work between the institution and a partner. The partner’s freedom to collectively share what’s working (or not working) to optimize marketing, recruitment, admission, financial aid, and other processes – is key. The required transparency is an essential component of fee-for-service revenue models, but not with revenue share agreements, where long-term return on investment becomes a primary driver for the enabler.
Online enablement can and should be a partnership focused on student success – and with that success, institutional and partner success.