Best Practices in Universities

Goals

To identify schools with best practices that are unconventional and are illiciting positive sentiment in this time of crisis.

Early Findings

  • The American Council on Education, the main US higher education association, which represents more than 1,700 colleges and universities, indicated that "council leaders were united in their uncertainty and anxiety that the national disruption is only going to get worse."
  • Most higher education institutions are "copying each other’s language and using boilerplates."
  • Based on the available information, there does not appear to be established "best practices" among universities for the moment, however, there were more general trends taking place among higher education schools. We also found some schools, such as Princeton and the Northshore School District, that are putting some practices in place, which might also be helpful.

Moving Courses Online

  • "More universities have been increasing their online offerings, focusing on serving additional and nontraditional adult-student populations. Others have also been increasing options for traditional residential students."
  • Most educational institutions have shifted to online education for this semester and possibly longer due to the coronavirus.
  • Stanford is planning on moving classes to online formats in place of in-person instruction.
  • The University of Southern California is "conducting a wide-scale test of its online capabilities, to assess whether the school's infrastructure can handle transferring its 7,000 lecture classes online if the outbreak worsens."

School Closures

    • Most higher education leaders are deciding to close schools.
    • According to Education Week, 373 schools serving 253,118 students have been closed.

Princeton

  • Princeton will be instituting a series of policies and practices based on the concept of social distancing. Their goal is to "decrease the number of instances that require community members to gather in large groups or spend extended periods in close proximity with each other."
  • Princeton Children’s Fund, Inc. in collaboration with Princeton Community Housing, the Princeton Human Services Department, the Princeton Senior Resource Center, and Send Hunger Packing Princeton, are also "seeking donations to benefit economically disadvantaged Princeton families facing income loss during coronavirus closures to supplement those organizations already set up to provide this support. "
  • The money will be used to "pay day-to-day expenses that will be incurred by families who are unable to work amid shutdowns and curfews."

Northshore School District

  • The Northshore School District also started with virtual classes and is one of the first public schools in the U.S. to do so.
  • They closed schools to "train teachers and have a team of counselors and a "social isolation" captain in place".
  • "Over the last several days, they hosted a webinar joined by 2,500 parents and have an online learning toolkit for them so they can support students at home."

Summary

  • For this hour, we tried identifying as much of the requested information as possible. However, we were only able to identify more general trends and two examples of schools that are putting some practices in place.
  • We found that "many campuses are facing the disruption of routine work and/or academic functions due to prolonged/indefinite campus or building closures," that most university leaders are uncertain and anxious, and that most universities are mainly copying each other in terms of their response.
  • Based on our findings, there appears to be limited information on colleges that are taking the lead through “best practices” during this crisis. Information on universities showing ingenuity or thought leadership also appears to be limited. However, Princeton and the Northshore School District appear to be implementing some practices to enhance their relationships within their communities.
  • We did find some information on what students expect from universities during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as more general information on how the coronavirus is impacting higher education institutions, which might also be of interest as this may help inform marketing recommendations for these institutions.
  • Feel free to add or select an option below.

Proposed next steps:

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We suggest research that provides 2-3 insights on what students expect from universities during the coronavirus outbreak. Where available, we can try to include insights on how they want their universities to communicate with them, what they expect from their universities, or how their universities can help them during the pandemic. We will aim to describe and explain the insights, using hard data, analysis, and/or examples, as appropriate.
Alternatively, we can also provide 2-3 insights on how the coronavirus is impacting higher education institutions, in general. Where available, we can try to include insights on how it has impacted student recruitment, its impact on international students, and/or its impact on student mobility and university partnerships. We will aim to describe and explain the insights, using hard data, analysis, and/or examples, as appropriate.