Multiple Products, Locations, and Modes of Delivery
If the intention is to grow a School/Faculty there are three elements that need to be addressed and worked in synergy moving forward. They are multiple products, multiple locations, and multiple modes of delivery. If developed cleverly and thoughtfully a significant degree of growth and prosperity can be achieved – especially as we move out from the shadows of COVID.
My own organisation has in place nine awards accredited through the national Regulator (with no conditions I might add) that provide a degree of diversity – six (6) undergraduate and three (3) postgraduate – all in the area of business, accounting, and business administration. The lead award is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) which currently represents 84% of our student population.
Within this award, there is a core program supported by three major options including accounting, entrepreneurship, and IT management. The intention is to develop a Master of Information Technology Systems (MITS) in the very near future – taking the award count to twelve (12).
The caution that is essential is to remain within the expertise of the faculty and School and avoid over-extending into unrelated areas – all in the name of expansion – often leading to disaster.
For genuine growth – and I have seen this over and over – it is vital to develop multiple sites.
My own School operates out of Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. All three locations have growth potential and recent statistics demonstrate that the three work effectively to facilitate the growth wanted and needed.
There is wisdom in expanding further - in the next couple of years - to include Perth and of course Cyberspace (where we have operated and performed very well during COVID).
We have gained endorsement to continue to deliver online to domestic and non-CRICOS students moving forward. This opportunity could be viewed as the fourth campus – and the establishment of a Perth entity would take the tally to five sites. This would work effectively – especially viewed as ‘One School – Five Campuses’. Compliance and oversight become increasingly important.
Multiple Modes of Delivery
The third element (of equal importance) is multiple modes of delivery. COVID forced all of us online. My own school fared very well with high levels of student satisfaction (both internally and externally) and high levels of students wishing to remain online.
The Australian Government – in its wisdom – is forcing international students back to the face-to-face environment (a foolish mistake in my opinion driven by real estate and retail motives) but with the option of 25 per cent of a course being able to remain online. This will essentially provide two modes of delivery moving forward.
Hybrid and blended modes need to be explored – providing students with options.
The combination of products, locations and modes is essential for growth and development. They do, however, create a set of challenges that need to be addressed and faced head-on. As a strategy, the trilogy can work very effectively as has been demonstrated on a -number- of occasions in the past.
Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (UBSS) and Chief Executive Officer (GCA)