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3 Things Non-Profits Can Learn From For-Profits
September 7, 2010 - 9:45pm

The comment posts and discussion in yesterday's blog post on "3 Ideas for For-Profit Communication" are fascinating. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to the discussion. (The debate and questions raised in the comments section are fascinating - and I'm particularly pleased that people from the for-profit and non-profit world are contributing).

I was struck by what MiddleMgmt wrote:

"[S]enior management doesn't really care what traditional higher ed has to say about for-profit. They feel that they have never gotten a fair hearing from non-profit higher ed and no longer feel the need to try…The judgement has already been passed, so why bother…For-profit doesn't trust the educational establishment due to experience; they have always been attacked and see no reason to believe that anything has changed. So they've withdrawn from this particular field. Can you honestly blame them?"

If this is true, than this is not good. If we are closing off opportunities for authentic dialogue and sharing due to our own attitudes, or perceptions of our attitudes, than we need to change how we are perceived. I'd like to find a way to open up a productive dialogue with the leadership of the for-profit education sector. Perhaps this dialogue could be hosted or facilitated by IHE, using the online asynchronous tools and editorial procedures already in place?

To be clear, I'm hoping to find a way for the readers of IHE to engage with leadership from the U of P (Apollo), Kaplan, ITT, Strayer, Westwood, Argosy - who am I missing?

3 Things that Non-Profits Can About Learn From Our For-Profit Colleagues:

1. Course Development and Faculty Training: My understanding is that the large for-profits have invested significant resources into developing research based course development and faculty training methodologies. It would be great to share what we have learned with you, and together perhaps come to some best practices.

2. Course Design and Course Technology: For-profits must account for a large proportion of all hybrid and online courses, and certainly the for-profits have the most concentrated experience with individual courses. Can we find ways to share our courses, and course material, with each other - again with the idea of developing best practices?

3. Learning Outcomes and Measurement: Again, my understanding is that the for-profits have focused on rigorous evaluation and constant re-design and development of your courses. I think all of us can learn a great deal from these practices as we seek to partner with faculty and support their efforts.

What do you think we can learn from our for-profit colleagues?

All of us need to find ways of getting beyond the for-profit / non-profit divide. We need to understand that we are all educators and colleagues, and work together where our interests and philosophies overlap. But first, we need to figure out how to talk with each other.



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