• School’s Out for Summer, Spring, and Fall?

    Higher Education Search Firms May Be the Most Valued Study Buddies

    Usually change comes slowly, but this year the challenges are coming from two very different directions.  On the one hand, there’s the coronavirus which is demanding a scientific, societal response from higher education administrators and professors. On the other hand, there’s the Black Lives Matter movement which is expecting meaningful change in every established institution. At Duffy, we’re giving both challenges a lot of attention, and we assure you that, in these difficult times, we can be a valuable ally as a higher education search firm.

    Higher Education Post-Coronavirus (H2)

    “The future of American higher education has rarely seemed more uncertain than it does today,” writes Steven Mintz, an educational innovator and the  founding director of The University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning.  His April 14, 2020 article in Insidehighered.com,  “Reimagining Higher Education Post-Coronavirus”, is spot on.   If colleges and universities open their doors in the fall, they open to a new set of circumstances and must act in ways that call upon practices they never imagined – practices that may require higher education to look outside of the hallowed halls of academia.

    Professor Mintz points out “no one can project with any assurance enrollment yields, retention rates, or net tuition revenue. Nor can anyone feel confident that our campuses will physically open in the fall.”  He continues, “the current public health crisis poses daunting challenges, which will test our capacity to respond to radically altered circumstances. But it also offers a chance to rethink and reimagine existing practices, policies, assumptions, and arrangements.”

    His solution to the coronavirus challenge is “a willingness to think outside traditional boxes. We must be innovative, adaptive, and proactive.”

    Partnering with others, including higher education search firms, is a wise investment.  Duffy’s expertise can ease the burden that administrators are feeling.  Our background allows us to offer solutions we’ve gathered from a wide variety of businesses and organizations.

    Often our services are called upon when a company or organization is going through a transition, and they want the thoroughness and cost effectiveness that the Duffy Group recruitment research process brings.  Our goal isn’t to simply find your next hire, but to find you the type of executive who fits into your culture or the one you are aiming to create.

    Education During an Epidemic (H2)

    Institutions will need to rethink the way curriculum is delivered – offering more online options and preparing for the necessary technology and support that involves. Maintaining the quality of education, while transitioning to remote learning options is paramount.

    “We have to be ready to deal with whatever contingencies might come up,” Michael Crow, Arizona State University president said.  ASU is the largest user of Zoom of any university in the world with thousands of daily sessions.

    It may be necessary to deliver in-class options to smaller class sizes, perhaps repurposing some of the larger lecture halls, or making them more economically sustainable by considering green technology.

    Health professionals’ ability to devise a foresighted plan of action may determine the ability of campuses to stay open and a determinant of their financial viability.  Student health, mental health, and social well-being must be kept top of mind, requiring vigilant attention to the preparedness of on-campus Wellness options.

    “We cannot make this risk-free,” said University of Arizona President Robert Robbins. “So, we want to do everything we can to mitigate all the risks that we will inevitably face.”

    In a recent Twitter statement ASU President Michael Crow announced the acceleration of their social distancing policies. They aren’t waiting for the fall. They are acting now, citing the lax attitude since the Stay at Home Order was lifted.  Here’s how he responded to the rise in cases of the virus in Arizona.

    “The scientific evidence is clear: wearing a face covering helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    Effective immediately at Arizona State University, face coverings will be required for all employees, students and visitors while in buildings. Face coverings will also be required in outdoor community spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. Examples of outdoor community spaces include garages and parking lots, ASU shuttles, bicycle racks and sidewalks.”

    Racism and Higher Education  Recruitment  

    Rising costs of higher education, combined with shrinking government support make proven and trusted development personnel who can build and maintain a sustainable donor base, an institution’s most valuable asset. Finding an innovative fundraiser from non-profit institutions unrelated to higher education can offer fresh insight.

    Anyone commenting on higher education, a place for expanding the minds and experience of those who attend, would be remiss if they didn’t acknowledge the recent death of George Floyd. Any college or university who does not accept the responsibility for bringing about greater racial understanding, misses an opportunity to be part of the solution in our country.

    Martha Pollack, president of Cornell University stated, “I want to make clear, both personally and on behalf of Cornell, that we will do all we can as a university to address this scourge of racism. We will address it directly in our educational programs, in our research and in our engagement and related activities, working through the ways we know best to push for a world that is equitable and kind; where people do not have to fear for their lives because of the color of their skin; and where everyone has the same opportunities to grow, thrive and enjoy their lives.”

    Bringing the kind of curriculum and programming that Pollack envisions, requires cooperation from community as well as institutional resources.

    This is far from an exhaustive list of considerations on the minds of university leaders, but one thing is clear.  The challenge is real and there’s no time to hesitate.   Decisions are being made at a rapid rate due to the threat of the pandemic and the urgency to address racism’s effect on a large segment of the population.

    Meeting these challenges will take an examination of culture, a vital aspect of the Duffy recruitment research process.   For decades we have been using and perfecting a system that looks at how an organization works before it looks at which candidates will be a good fit.  This puts the Duffy Group in a unique position to help with higher education searches. Our commitment to providing a diverse candidate slate is a step in the right direction, and we continue to seek avenues that increase our opportunities to diversify.

    At least in our case, executive search firms in higher education can be a liaison between educational institutions and cooperating business and social services partners. With expertise in Non-profit, Higher-Education, Healthcare, Green and Renewable Energy, Human Resources, Lean/Six Sigma and Manufacturing, Duffy Group Inc. has the bandwidth to make the connections necessary for creative thinking and creative partnerships in higher education. Contact us to learn more.

    For a complete, updated list of colleges that have announced  plans regarding a reopening in the fall visit college essay advisors.

    For a discussion regarding how to address racism in higher education, watch Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Higher Education.

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