Confronting Uncertainty

The COVID-19 crisis underscored for college leaders an unsettling reality: Uncertainty rules. More was to come in the form of growing economic depression and a murder that demanded an urgent and authentic response to systemic racism.

Developing successful strategies to deal with these myriad challenges is difficult in an environment in which our knowledge of what steps might be taken — and their consequences for our institutions — is limited. This truth is most apparent when facing critical decisions about when and how to reopen, decisions shaped in varying ways by each institution’s mission, location, size, governance, budget, and environment.

Our limited insight into what will change in the near term and what may change forever makes the prospect of reopening all the more challenging, not to mention working through the various calendars and modes of instruction and ways to ensure safety in campus life, athletics, study abroad — the list goes on, and includes budget cuts and authentic responses to social issues.

Conditions are rapidly changing and in part unknowable, but Ballentine knows this: We want to help. As we restructure our consultancy most usefully for a post-pandemic environment, we want to listen to and learn. To accomplish this, we are reaching out to you and other selected campus leaders to hear about your obstacles and options as you weather potentially existential challenges. For example, how are you thinking about curriculum and the mix of online and in-person instruction? How are you making the case for the value and power of in-person instruction? What challenges as well as opportunities do you see for fundraising and alumni engagement? How have the pandemic, economy, and societal mandates changed your institutional SWOT analysis and your sense of where it might be in five or ten years?

Our conversations will be completely confidential and without cost. Once we have surveyed the landscape, we will offer a summary of what we have learned, as well as ways we can provide customized, affordable expertise and support as these scenarios unfold and higher education prepares for a new normal.

Together, it may be possible to find some balance on this unpredictable learning curve.
Please contact Ballentine if you would like to join our conversation.