Re-Thinking Program Innovation: Lessons from Neglected Trend Data

For many colleges and universities, maintaining enrollment – never mind growing – is a formidable challenge. Traditional population decline, combined with the longest economic expansion in U.S. history and intensifying competition, have persuaded many higher education leaders to turn to new programs.

Launching a program in a “hot” field of study may in fact be a good idea, but it risks a herd mentality. Boosters can over-play potentially misleading evidence of demand such as an uptick in online search or backward-looking program completions, or assume that success for other schools guarantees success for their own. It is all too easy for leaders to fall into the trap of launching ever-more new programs only to be saddled with a bloated and an inefficient portfolio.

In this webinar, Eduventures Chief Research Officer Richard Garrett explores rarely analyzed program and enrollment trend data, drawing on two decades of program feasibility work for hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. This throws new light on three fundamental questions:

  • Over the past decade, is enrollment by field of study best characterized by change or continuity?
  • To what extent have the most successful schools – in terms of enrollment – relied on launching new programs?
  • What is the optimal program portfolio size by enrollment scale?

The goal of this webinar is to better inform higher education leaders about the power and pitfalls of new programs. Leaders spanning traditional age and adult, campus and online, and undergraduate and graduate programs will benefit from this session.

Related: Eduventures® 2019 Research and Advisory Services


Richard Garrett

Richard Garrett

Eduventures Chief Research Officer

Richard has nearly 25 years of experience in higher education research, consulting and policy. From 2015-2019, Richard was also Director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, a think tank, part of Tribal Group, focused on global developments in online learning, internationalization and commercial activity and partnerships. Prior to Eduventures, Richard was North America Director for i-graduate, working with clients of the International Student Barometer, the world’s largest survey of the international student experience. From 2005-2013, Richard led Eduventures online higher education practice. Richard has also worked as a researcher in the School of Education & Continuing Studies at the University of Surrey in the UK and as a policy analyst at the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from King’s College London and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Cambridge.