Inside Higher Ed Article Outlines Key Questions For Long-Term Sustainability 

In an article published this week in Inside Higher Ed, Dominican University of California President Mary B. Marcy outlines four essential questions to help colleges and universities move from tactical responses to COVID-19 to strategic planning for a sustainable future.

“Since the pandemic commenced in earnest in the United States, American colleges and universities have been scrambling to adapt,” writes Marcy, whose book, The Small College Imperative: Models for Sustainable Futures, was named in a Forbes article as one of the best higher education books of 2020.

“By necessity, that adaptation has been somewhat ad hoc and reactive as we struggle to understand the nuances of evolving public health protocols, wrestle with the realities of our budgets, attempt to support faculty and staff, and try to respond to the profound impact on students and their learning.”

Rather than accept short-term adjustments as permanent solutions, Marcy suggests that higher education leaders should consider the following questions while planning long-term solutions in the changing higher education environment:

  • What has proven to be truly essential from our pre-pandemic operations and systems? 
  • What were we doing pre-pandemic that was unnecessary? 
  • Should we permanently adopt some of our newly flexible systems for remote teaching and learning?
  •  What strategic directions developed pre-pandemic should we revise, discard, or perhaps even accelerate?

“As we move through the immediate crisis and plan for the future, we can evaluate what we have learned from this unanticipated and painful experience,” Marcy writes. “We need to face old realities anew, to nurture and revive what remains essential, and to craft a model of higher education that is responsive, vibrant, and sustainable for the true new normal that is about to emerge.”

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