In the face of declining budgets and scarcer resources, continuing education programs are still being counted on to continue to deliver high-quality services to an increasing number of students. To meet this challenge, continuing education programs will need to re-evaluate programming, marketing, sales, and operations strategies and techniques to make the necessary changes to be positioned for long-term success.
Here are the top 10 steps continuing education programs can immediately take to improve for the coming year:
- Get the right software and data – if you are not already using a web-hosted software system to manage your Continuing Education program, this is the year you need to explore how you can save money by doing so. Also, create one standard report you can pull from your software system on a monthly basis so you can make better decisions on updated data.
- At least 20 percent of the courses and events you offer this year should be new.
- Continue to spend on marketing, with printed catalog and email promotions still the two areas to rely on the most.
- Focus staff responsibilities on outcomes not activities, and revise existing staff duties to optimize productivity as much as possible.
- Centralize operations (answering phones, taking registrations, making room assignments, renewing teacher contracts, etc.) to free up more of your staff’s time.
- Work from home at least one day a week.
- Get a virtual office (LERN can provide this for you at no cost)
- Hire more Gen Y staffers to better respond to the growing Gen Y customer base.
- Invest in new growth markets, such as Gen Y.
- Be proactive and develop an advocacy plan and communication strategy that provides evidence of how your continuing education program is critical and providing value to your institution and the community you serve.
The following information was adapted from the Learning Resources Network (LERN) 2012 Forecasts. For more information about LERN, please visit www.lern.org