Guidance for College and University Planning for a Post COVID-19 World

Applying the Excellence in Higher Education Framework for Institutional, School, and Unit Review and Renewal


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August 2020
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    31st August 2020
  • ISBN 9781642671865
  • Language English
  • Pages 28 pp.
  • Size 8.5" x 11"

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As COVID-19 has impacted every facet of our lives and, in higher education, every institution, and every academic, administrative, clinical, student life, and service unit within every institution, face a number of critical decisions necessary to identify the path forward. In some cases, the challenges that must be confronted are existential in magnitude, as health, financial, enrollment, diversity, and affordability issues may require sweeping and transformative institutional change. Even those institutions that are structured to weather the storm will need to review and reflect on current conditions and make adjustments to assure a viable future trajectory.

Departments, schools, and institutions of all types and sizes face a time of uncertainty through the months and years ahead, when fundamental questions related to mission, values, priorities, program and service offerings, and faculty and staff roles and responsibilities will need to be considered.

Will the mission of an institution need to be reshaped? Will academic units that were struggling before the COVID-19 crisis need to be eliminated or restructured? What should be the new balance between tenure/tenure track and contingent faculty? What should be the new relationship among teaching, research, and service responsibilities in institutions of different categories? Will programs that serve residential, student life, transportation, and other on-campus functions be reinvented to accommodate new realities? Which support processes should be downsized and which must be ramped up? How will faculty and staff positions and responsibilities be affected, and how can these groups be engaged and supported in planning for changes that will be undertaken? How will budgets and resources and the mechanisms for their allocation be adjusted to accommodate the changed environment? And, perhaps most important, how will leaders guide the community through a process of systematic review, reflection, and reinvention while maintaining core values and a sense of community, and in what ways will the requisite decisions be made and communicated?

Brent Ruben’s Excellence in Higher Education Guide (EHE) is an acclaimed and robust framework and process for colleges and universities to identify the key issues they face and then formulate plans to address the new challenges ahead. This version of the framework—EHE-R—focuses specifically on issues that institutions and their constituent units confront as they begin a thoughtful process of review, reinvention, and renewal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent D. Ruben

Brent D. Ruben is a distinguished professor in communication at Rutgers University, where he also serves as senior university fellow, advisor for strategy and planning in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and was the founder of the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership. He is also a member of the faculties of the Rutgers PhD program in higher education and the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. Brent is author or co-author of numerous publications in communication, organizational leadership, planning, assessment, and change, including Excellence in Higher Education Guide (Stylus, 2016), What Leaders Need to Know and Do (National Association of College and University Business Officers, 2006), and Communication and Human Behavior (Kendall Hunt, 2020). Ruben was a founder of the Rutgers Department of Communication, and first PhD program director of the School of Communication and Information. He was a founder and first president of the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation in Higher Education (NCCI), served as Rutgers inaugural liaison and is a frequent contributor to the Big Ten Academic Alliance leadership programs, and serves as an adviser to colleges and universities has and nationally and internationally.