The Paradigm Shift in Higher Education by Jerald Henderson, Ph.D., AHEE Board President


I found myself reflecting on the recent nationwide events and how each has impacted the higher education landscape.   The ongoing pandemic and racial injustice crises have brought to the forefront, the educational, social, and economic inequalities that have permeated among middle- and lower-income adults and minority student populations for centuries.   Higher education, like other industries, is in a position that requires reflection and reimagining- by all stakeholders- as to how it serves traditionally underserved students to significantly expand educational opportunities and improve student learning outcomes.  For example, how individual colleges and universities understand, define, and measure effectiveness may change, given the wide array of challenges that institutions are confronting because of these crises exacerbating the existing inequalities that have plagued minority and other disadvantaged students.   AHEE is committed to contributing to the higher education community through a variety of activities and initiatives designed to serve institutional effectiveness advocates: professionals, faculty, student affairs staff, and administrators from colleges and universities across the country.

AHEE pledges to provide a forum for all higher education stakeholders, establishing a platform that will provide research-based thought leadership and support for high quality institutional effectiveness during these challenging times.  Our team recently distributed a survey to solicit input from listserv members on what information and assistance would be useful- given the current challenges experienced by those charged with providing data that informs decision-making for their respective institution.   Collecting and analyzing data from you, the subscriber, is extremely important as AHEE positions itself to better serve its higher education constituents.  In addition, we want to remind all listserv members that contributions submitted to our website (e.g. articles, blog posts, and other relevant information) are welcomed as valuable components to the mission, purpose, and goals of our organization. AHEE encourages the opportunity to exchange ideas with other interested colleagues.  

AHEE remains dedicated to providing a multiplatform forum for higher education institutional effectiveness professionals and partners.  Central to this effort, as many colleges and universities continue to adopt different strategies as to how best to measure their institution’s overall effectiveness, are conversations regarding how to address equity issues on college campuses and how institutions are assisting underrepresented student populations. As mentioned earlier, the pandemic has exposed many inequities that have persisted among African American, Hispanic, and other minorities across the country.  Higher Education can play a major role in assisting these students.   We welcome your input regarding these and other related issues that may be currently impacting your college campus.  The following topics, in the form of questions, are not all inclusive but are outlined to elicit information-sharing and discussions:

  • How has the pandemic affected your institution, if at all, in measuring the effectiveness of overarching institutional goals on your college campus?
  • Has the pandemic positively or negatively impacted enrollment for the fall semester at your institution and if so, has any institutional data been collected to determine which student demographics that have been affected the most?
  • Has the administration at your institution, developed and/or solicited input from you and other faculty and staff as to what policy changes may be needed to address improving student success initiatives on your campus and how they will be measured?
  • Has there been any downsizing and/or reductions in programs and services based on budgetary constraints attributed to the pandemic? 

Thank you to those who have already responded to the survey. For those who have not completed the survey, we encourage you to do so when you have some time.  Again, this will inform the Association for Higher Education Effectiveness (AHEE) as to how to better serve you moving forward. We look forward to hearing from you.