Bay Path creates first course on academic program evaluation

Designed for senior administrators, researchers and graduate students, it will help leaders make more informed decisions.
By: | July 7, 2021
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Evaluating the success of academic programs can be complex for postsecondary institutions hoping to achieve growth, become more diverse and remain sustainable long-term.

But a new course being launched by Bay Path University and higher education consulting firm Gray Associates can help college and university leaders gain expertise in their data analysis and procedures to make more informed decisions.

“Too often, institutions make program decisions with limited data, using processes that alienate the campus community,” said Bob Atkins, CEO and Founder of Gray Associates. “Our course teaches education leaders how to evaluate markets, margins, academic performance, and mission alignment before making decisions. It also provides students a sound, inclusive and efficient decision-making process that strengthens relationships across the institution.”

The asynchronous, self-paced course, believed to be the first on academic program and evaluation and management, will help leaders identify and overcome potential errors in the assessment process. The knowledge they gain can help them increase enrollment, determine when eliminating programs makes sense and provide stronger outcomes for students.

“In tough times, institutions often cut small programs—most of which are profitable,” said Steve Probst, Senior Partner at Gray. “To avoid this mistake, students learn how to analyze program economics and distinguish money-losing small programs from profitable ones, so they don’t accidentally make things worse by closing small but profitable programs.”

Who is the program for?

Bay Path and Gray say the course is being targeted to senior administrators, academic leaders, faculty, researchers, consultants, assessment officers, and graduate students. Those who take it will gain knowledge of program analysis and entrepreneurship, receiving a certificate from Bay Path’s Center for Higher Education Leadership and Innovative Practice (CHELIP).

The course is being fueled by the innovative work of Dr. Melissa Morriss-Olson, Provost Emerita and Distinguished Professor of Higher Ed Leadership at Bay Path and the Founding Director of Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies and CHELIP. The author of Academic Entrepreneurship: The Art and Science of Creating the Right Academic Programs, Morriss-Olson not only has created more than 40 thriving programs at Bay Path but also has been on the leading edge of evaluating 100 other institutions that have faced program challenges. Colleges that implemented strategies similar to those taught in the new course—smartly assessing financial ratios, enrollment, advancement, program development and fundraising strategies—were far more likely to succeed and become more entrepreneurial and innovative than those that did not.

“More than ever, institutions need a new way to build and manage an academic program portfolio, and Bay Path is pleased to be the first to provide this to tomorrow’s leaders,” said renowned Bay Path professor Melissa Morriss-Olson. “This course we built brings to bear the best of our experiences and insights.”

Leaders interested in registering for the program can get more information here.