The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated long-running issues in thesector. Enrollment has been falling for years at two-year schools, but it was . State lawmakers, meanwhile, are grappling with strapped budgets by pulling back funding for .
face a choice between relying on state and local governments for wavering support and seeking new revenue sources on their own. Yet when they the latter, they’re often accused of selling out to business interests.
That doesn’t have to be the case, author and consultant Carrie Kisker argue in a new book called “.” She offers the concept of design thinking as one method these schools can use to find new funding streams without compromising their missions.
Many organizations put their spin on design thinking, but it’s a step-by-step process for creative problem-solving. People implementing a change within an organization empathize with stakeholders by listening to theirbefore pitching and testing ways to address them best, Kisker explains.
Higher Ed Dive talked with Kisker, a director of the Center for the Study of, in Los Angeles, about how these schools are using this process to launch new programs and services for students and deal with lower levels of public support.
HIGHER ED DIVE: Community colleges are constantly asked to do more with less. Why do you think design thinking is the right approach to help them forge a new path?
CARRIE KISKER: We can’tin the long run if we don’t ensure we are around. To me, it’s become existential. If we want to carry out our mission, we must change how we do things. Design thinking is an easy-to-understand approach to doing this.
It can head off one of the major critiques of an increased focus on entrepreneurship: the. Instead, the process can help remain mission-oriented in their pursuit of financial stability and longevity. It does that by creating with stakeholders’ needs and then checking every step of the process to ask, “Are we meeting your needs?”
The list of stakeholders is extensive for a community college, including faculty, staff, governing boards, and the local community. How can all those voices be heard?
It would be helpful to take an ethnographic approach. That means talking with all of these stakeholders about their needs and what they would like to see happen, and then going back to them with ideas and prototypes of, “Are these doing what you hoped? If not, how can we reformulate?”