The world of higher education faces unique challenges when it comes to change. Given the large number of stakeholders involved in decision-making, higher education institutions must prepare extensively and act consistently to build consensus and achieve buy-in.
The road to success
Following are some best practices higher education institutions can implement to create efficiencies – in time and resources – for their organizations.
1. Be clear on the benefits of change. Leaders at higher education institutions adopt new initiatives for many reasons. These include reducing expenses, bolstering efficiency, increasing access to higher education, increasing enrollment and improving student outcomes. When developing your program, be clear on how the initiative will benefit the institution and its stakeholders. Then communicate the project’s benefits clearly and often.
2. Create a steering committee. A steering committee can convene representatives from multiple stakeholder groups and break down projects into clear, actionable deadlines. In addition, assembling the steering committee requires leadership to consider and call upon diverse representation for what will ultimately become a more inclusive outcome. Convening a steering committee can also help you better understand the institution’s culture and make you aware of issues that may provoke resistance if not handled appropriately.
3. Generate awareness and identify champions. Another crucial dimension of change management in higher education involves identifying champions for a project. Champions can work with the steering committee to generate greater awareness of and excitement for a project across multiple stakeholder groups and executives. As people champion the project, they will become invested in successful outcomes. In addition, they may offer valuable input and help the steering committee better understand how the initiative affects stakeholders throughout the process.
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