Academic Program Evaluation and Management: Gray Associates and Bay Path University Launch the First Course on this Critical Topic

CONCORD, Mass., June 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Gray Associates, in partnership with Bay Path University, launches a new certification course on academic program evaluation exclusively offered by Bay Path University.

Colleges and Universities need experts in program evaluation and management to ensure sustainability, diversity, and growth.  In response to this growing, unmet need for required skills, Gray Associates and Bay Path University developed this course, the first of its kind, to give higher education leaders a thorough grounding in the data, analysis, and processes required to conduct fully informed program evaluations.

Bob Atkins, CEO and Founder of Gray Associates, says, “Too often, institutions make program decisions with limited data, using processes that alienate the campus community.  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.”

Melissa Morriss-Olson, Ph.D., Bay Path University, said, “I found synchronicity with Gray Associates over the years, and this course we built brings to bear the best of our experiences and insights.  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.” 

Dr. Morriss-Olson, Distinguished Professor of Higher Ed Leadership, Founding Director, HELOS and CHELIP, and Provost Emerita, successfully launched over 40 new programs at Bay Path University.  All these programs continue to contribute to the financial strength of the institution.  She is also the author of Academic Entrepreneurship: The Art and Science of Creating the Right Academic Programs.

Dr. Morriss-Olson’s seminal doctoral research examined100 resource-constrained institutions to learn what enables some schools to do well while others don’t.  She examined financial ratios, interviewed leadership, and looked at enrollment, advancement, program development, and fundraising strategies.  She found that of institutions starting with similar financials, size, and reputational strength, schools that soared ahead had an innovative institutional mindset and implemented strategies covered in the new certification program.  In particular, their approach to new academic program development was highly entrepreneurial and strategic.

In the course, students learn about common mistakes in program evaluation and how to avoid them.  For example, according to Steve Probst, Senior Partner at Gray, “In tough times, institutions often cut small programs—most of which are profitable.  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.  Further, according to Morriss-Olson, her research confirms that students should also learn that, to be a good steward of resources, a well-informed growth strategy is essential.

The course is designed for higher-education leaders involved in decisions to start, stop, sustain or grow academic programs.  It is appropriate for senior administrators, academic leaders, faculty, researchers, consultants, assessment officers, and graduate students at institutions, in addition to state-level leaders who oversee higher education.

Participants will learn mechanics of Integrated Program Analysis, program evaluation software, program portfolio workshops, and the overall art and science of academic entrepreneurship.  Required reading will include material written from experts in the field at Gray Associates, including Resource Management for Colleges and Universities by William Massy.

Upon completing the course’s modules of asynchronous, self-paced learning, participants will earn a certificate in Academic Program Evaluation and Management, co-sponsored by Gray Associates and The Center for Higher Education Leadership and Innovative Practice (CHELIP) at Bay Path University.

Gray Associates CEO Bob Atkins says, “This course equips participants to complete a comprehensive program assessment using data, software, and techniques proven in real-world work with over 100 higher education institutions.  Additionally, Gray’s approach harnesses the power of technology and machine learning to ensure academic institutions can elevate their mission while remaining financially strong.”

For more information about this new program or to register, see here:

About Gray Associates 

Gray Associates helps colleges and universities make data-informed decisions about their academic programs.  Gray’s software integrates the best available data on student demand, employer needs, and competitive intensity for the market served by each institution.  Faculty and administrative leaders use the software to score, rank, and evaluate programs in a collaborative process that builds consensus on programs to start, sunset, sustain, or grow.  With Gray’s tools and processes, institutions identify paths to increase enrollment, revenue, and efficiency, while investing in their mission and strengthening relationships among faculty and administrators.

Jackie Lucas
Vera Voce Communication, for Gray Associates
email:  [email protected]

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