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The Evolution of Campus: A New Normal for Higher Education

Stuart Rothenberger

Throughout my 35-year career serving higher education clients, I’ve never experienced a more turbulent year than 2020. And my colleagues agree, which is why when the pandemic shuttered college campuses across the nation in spring 2020, we were immediately inspired to act. Our team determined that the best way to understand the situation from our client’s point of view was by implementing our proven 360-degree engagement process.

What initially began as a listening exercise has blossomed into a framework for our practice and a driving force for sweeping change across the industry. Through candid conversations with staff, faculty, and students coast-to-coast, we identified a set of vulnerabilities and risks that, while part of higher education for many years, took on greater significance at the onset of COVID-19.

In the first phase of our research, we captured current realities facing institutions nationwide and proposed recommendations to overcome immediate challenges. Moving beyond the short-term, the team expanded its second phase of research to focus on long-term thinking that addresses the vulnerabilities we uncovered and the potential benefits of a new normal for higher education. It’s a continuing research initiative we call Evolution of CampusSM, a narrative we are writing in collaboration with institutions across the country.

I invite you to explore our findings from the second phase effort and partner with us to be a champion for real change in the industry.

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