Despite the doom and gloom about campus budget shortfalls, layoffs, pay cuts and other austerity measures, I was struck by this quote from Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges,

You know the saying, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste,’ if it enables you to take a look at other issues,” he said, noting that reconsidering academic schedules “should have been done all along

This pandemic offers higher education a chance to re-think priorities, organizational structures, partnerships with other organizations and more! Here are three suggestions for adapting for student success:

Online at scale

Institutions need to be thinking not just about how to move all of their teaching and learning online, but all student services so they work online and at scale.  Services as diverse as advising, registration, library services, financial aid meetings, tutoring, social services supports, mentoring sessions should be able to be delivered online and at high quality.

Student Experience

Now is the time for institutions to re-design their business processes and use technology to create scalable, seamless online experiences for students.  The student portal combined with 24/7 help desk accessible by chat, phone and web for technology and other student supports becomes the new college experience. Standardizing key technologies across campus departments will benefit everyone. This means adopting technologies enterprise-wide for collaboration, communication, scheduling, unified search, learning management system, and more.

Access for All

In this COVID-19 era, access for all means that every student upon registration is offered a laptop, wifi puck and headphones.  Parking lots on campus should be wired for wifi so that students can drive to campus and access the campus network from the security of their car. Institutions need to ensure their students can access the rich online campus experience and think creatively about developing solutions that meet their diverse student needs.


These ideas are just scratching the surface. What are your thoughts on how institutions could be using this crisis to respond, adapt and even thrive?