Faculty and Staff - September 29, 2022

Introducing Gray Associates

In a follow up to the Board of Trustees meeting recap yesterday, I wanted to share information about a consultant we are engaging and whose work soon will begin. The trustees and I have talked extensively about the need for additional sources of analysis on academic data, specifically instructional economics, to help fill in some gaps identified in the recent Academic Master Plan. You will recall the plan was the result of good work led by the provost’s office, and I appreciate those who contributed to the recommendations that came from that undertaking.

I have worked previously with Gray Associates and believe in the approach they use to reveal instructional economics data that will support and inform their clients’ decision-making. They specialize in program portfolio planning that will give us another way to determine where best to transform or grow and where not to. We will learn how costs and revenues have changed over time, and how they vary by term, course level, and course type. We will benefit from a deep dive into such areas as course scheduling, hiring needs, budgeting, program and curriculum planning, new course development and approvals, etc., as well as the impact these routine decisions have on the overall instructional cost of the academic enterprise. We will explore cost drivers and policy decisions. Very exciting stuff for a data guy like me!

The first step in our work will be data collection, involving primarily the institutional effectiveness, budget and academic affairs areas, and that will commence in October. I thank in advance the folks who will compile the data needed for this in-depth analysis. As the process unfolds, I will share additional information that we learn. Gray Associates’ final report will be shared with the campus, tentatively by the end of 2022. More to come, but I wanted to let you know that this important work is beginning.


Edward A. Serna