Crowd Sourced Ideas from Major US Exec in Business and IVY League Universities
VTC and its challenges
New President’s Objectives
• Return VTC to a self-sustaining financial state
• Improve the image of the institution….. high quality
education, affordable experience and an active “good
local citizen” in the local community
• Retire the loan
Major Issues facing VTC
- 50% of those who enter the US educational system don’t
get a BA degree. Only Italy is worse.
- 1/3 of educators say the Education is headed in the
• Vermont State Colleges (VSC) – common system-wide
• Declining enrollment/tuition combined with expanding
- Double digit enrollment declines
- Enrollment is too low at all VSC’s to support its massive
infrastructure. Average enrollment in a VSC school is
1700 FTE’s approx.
- The lack of state funding- realistically won’t change
- There is a reluctance to change. The education model
is 200 years old and ripe with tradition but it needs to
come current. It’s about what students want not what
faculty wants to teach. Think about this:
§ Kodak had the 1st digital camera but the Film division
§ DEC- had an early advantage in the PE space but did not
act on it….Compaq bought them.
§ IBM had the 1st micro process and could see the use
for it….INTEL did
Where are these Companies now?
• There is a lack of an apparent marketing strategy
defining VTC (and all VSC) to the regional and national
• There is a lack of professional prescence in the
Image/Prestige- (eg..VTC-Williston looks like a strip
mall looks but tuition is 22% more expensive than
Johnson, Castleton and Lyndon
• There is a lack of a clear value proposition. We don’t
actively tell students what should compel them to want
a unique Vermont State College Education.
• VTC Specific items
- Tuition costs aren’t competitive with other State Schools.
They are 22% higher.
- Cost/Image- VTC-Williston looks like a strip mall looks
but tuition is 22% more expensive than Johnson,
Caselton and Lyndon
- Lack of partnership/synergies between VTC and logical
partners like CCV, the private sector and the local
- Anticipated Union pushback and why?
Suggested Elements of a Turnaround:
1. Stop the bleeding.
2. Focus. If it doesn’t engage the customer or lead to
innovation, question it.
3. Formulate a plan with the organization. Find the
thought leaders throughout the organization and engage
them to build the plan and implement it.
4. Re-form a leadership team of disciples
5. Measure, analyze and adjust.
Tentpoles to change at VSC and VTC:
1. VSC/VTC isn’t the Ivy League. Set modest
expectations based on sustainable economic realities.
- Specialize / Refine core functions. You can’t be
everything to everybody. It is okay for some kids to go
out of State. Establish one State University
with Colleges of Academic Excellence. This
allows each College to specialize and attract the best
available faculty to a Center of Excellence. It minimizes
inter-system competition. Maybe…
Suggested / Idea College -- Core Educational Focus
§ Castleton - Education, Humanities
§ Johnson - Wellness/Counseling…Communication and
Media, Enviromental, Counseling
§ Lyndon - Sciences and Journalism / Meterorology
§ VTC - Technology, Applied Sciences, Networking
- Share resources among colleges (Admin, Instructor
and Facility). Accept the fact that you coped before the
administrative bloat came along and
current enrollment/endowments can’t support
- Kill marginal programs. Don’t let Colleges offer
- Provide common VSC administration shared services to
- Reduce redundant teaching needs by sharing instructor
/class space capacity among all schools for common
liberal arts core courses
- Share facilities
- Seek community and private sector partnerships
2. Rebuild/Communicate the Value Proposition. It’s about
‘what’s in it for the student’, not the faculty. Don't take
your students for granted, and pay ever closer attention
to the quality of the student experience. Focus on the
- VSC/VTC image to the customer/Market the system.
Make VTC top of mind among students
- Improve the quality of education/Fewer programs. More
invested in a smaller portfolio of programs should lead to
a focused, higher quality program.
- Make the experience affordable. Eliminate the non-
value added programs.
3. Blending learning experiences. We tend to think of
“college” as one physical place that we attend one time
in our life. Rather than a one-time experience, higher
education (at VTC) should be a platform for
lifelong learning, blending the experiences between work
and school. Focus on teaching students how to learn for
themselves. They need this skill within 10 years of
4. Hybrid courses. System has too much overhead
and excess capacity. Leverage online education. Sharing
facility and course availability among all locations. Give
students more options to take classes partly face-to-face,
partly online and at the campus of their choice taught by
the best of the faculty in the system.
5. Flexible calendar. The typical college classroom is used
only 40 percent of the time. Personalizing and unbundling
the college experience dismantles the academic calendar—
students can start a course whenever they want and
complete it at their own speed.
6. Degrees based increasingly on what we know. More
colleges are making the shift from measuring learning
based on how much time students spend in a classroom to
a system that is based on how much they actually know.
You don’t abandon academic excellence but round it out
with real world knowledge.
7. Private sector partnership. Investors are lining up to
cash in on the college of tomorrow. Venture capitalists
poured some $429 million into education companies in
2011. That same year, in the midst of a
worldwide economic slump, 124 education start-ups
received financial backing, the most since 1999, during the
height of the dot-com boom.