Examples of University Environmental Scans

University of Illinois

University of New Mexico

University of Calgary  Calgary Environmental-Scan and Calgary Business-Plan

Constructing Environmental Scans

Environmental Scanning: Principles and Processes (Cornell University)

James L. Morrison, Environmental Scanning

Kathy Aboufadel, Pamela Miller, and Katie Daniels, “Conducting an Environmental Scan to Inform Strategic Planning,” Association of Institutional Research Annual Forum, June 2, 2010.

Multiple Issues/Trends

Society for College and University Planning’s (SCUP) semiannual environmental scan, “Trends in Higher Education (2009).”  See also the SCUP web page on environmental scanning.

Partnerships for Public Purposes: Engaging Higher Education in Societal Challenges of the 21st Century (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008)

Scott D. Anthony and Clayton M. Christensen, “Are You Reading the Right Signals,” September 2004, Strategy and Innovation (Harvard Business School)


This Year’s Freshmen at 4-Year Colleges: Highlights of a Survey,” January 21, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

Josh Fishman, “97 Colleges are Recognized as Great Colleges to Work For in Chronicle Survey,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 25, 2010.  “The results of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s third annual Great Colleges to Work For survey, published [July 25], capture some of America’s most valued institutions at some of their most challenging moments. About 43,000 people at 275 campuses responded to the survey. It found that colleges continue to do well at creating work that makes a difference, providing jobs that fit the individual, and fostering a high degree of institutional pride. But now colleges are accomplishing those things in an economy that has been in a long slump, and tight budgets seem to be eroding confidence in college leadership, the survey found.”


Almanac of Higher Education, 2009-2010,” Chronicle of Higher Education (Ohio University Employees and Students can access the Almanac through the Ohio University Libraries On-Line Subscription to the Chronicle.)

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).  Student Demographics–“List of recent reports from external sources related to the topic of student demographics.”

A Portrait of Low-Income Young Adults in Education, Institute for Higher Education Policy (June 2010)

Contexts of Postsecondary Education, 2010

Ohio Educational Needs Inventory, 2008

Participation Rates and Developmental Course Enrollment Rates for Ohio High School Graduates Going Directly to a University System of Ohio College or University, Ohio Board of Regents, May 2010

Profile of Recent High School Graduates Enrolled as First-Year College Students: Fall 2003 to Fall 2007 by High School District, Ohio Board of Regents, July 2009

Trends in College Pricing, 2009, College Board

Trends in Student Aid, 2009, College Board

Demographic Indicators of Interest 2010 [compiled by Randy Leite].

“College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2009 High School Graduates,” April 2010.  “In October 2009, 70.1 percent of 2009 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported [on April 27, 2010].  This was a historical high for the series, which began in 1959. Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in October 2009 were more likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (70.0 compared with 42.1 percent).”

Trends in Numbers of High School Graduates,” WICHE/The College Board

Demographic Trends: Undergraduate and Graduate Education”  “Significant changes in the size, composition, and career interests of the undergraduate population have characterized the past quarter century of American higher education. Demographic and other trends indicate that similar changes, although not as rapid or extreme, will also mark the next 20 to 30 years. Since the baccalaureate is the entry-level degree to a scientific or engineering career, the composition of the undergraduate population can be expected to have a significant effect on the size and make-up of the science and engineering work force. This section will examine the changing demographic and career patterns of the undergraduate population and discuss the implications of the trends for the size and quality of the scientific and engineering work force.”

Janet Lopez, “Impact of Demographic Changes on U.S. Higher Education, 2000-2050,” State Higher Education Executive Officers.  “The purpose of this brief is to take a step back and identify the key demographic trends that have been identified as major changes over the next 50 years, considering demographic shifts in age, areas of population growth, race and ethnicity, immigration, young children, distribution of wealth, projections of K-12 enrollment and projections of higher education enrollment.”

Watson Scott Swail, “Higher Education and the New Demographics: Questions for Policy,” Change (July/August 2002).  “The nexus between these two major trends—unprecedented institutional evolution and dramatic demographic changes—raises important policy and practical questions at both the international and national levels. With respect to the former, what role will U.S. higher education play in a global market?  Will U.S. institutions feel pressure to serve the growing world population?  And how will the emerging competitiveness of a global market for higher education impact U.S. policy and practice? On the domestic front, how will institutions act to meet the challenges posed by the new demographics? How will we keep higher education affordable?  How will the country better prepare new kinds of students for postsecondary study? Who will be left behind in the competitive race, in terms of both citizens and institutions? And what will be the net impact of virtual instruction? ”

Ohio Department of Development, Ohio County Indicators, July 2009. This report has more than 175 pages of county and state date on income, demographics, percentage of employment by economic sector, etc.  http://www.development.ohio.gov/research/files/s100.pdf

This news article talks about the coming public school enrollment decline in many areas of the state http://www.economicscenter.org/sites/ecer.civicactions.net/files/reports/Ohio%20Braces%20for%20Enrollment%20Decline.pdf

This 2008 study from Ohio’s Job and Family Services looks at Ohio’s Graying Labor Force through 2016. http://lmi.state.oh.us/research/2016Graying.pdf

The Condition of College and Career Readiness, 2010”  “Since 1959, ACT has collected and reported data on students’ academic readiness for college. Because becoming ready for college and career is a process that occurs throughout elementary and secondary education, measuring academic performance over time in the context of college and career readiness provides meaningful and compelling information about the college readiness of students.”


Best Undergraduate Degrees by Salary,” Today’s Campus, May/June 2010

Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl, ” Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018

How One University’s Revenue Has Evolved, 1980-2010:  A look at how revenue sources for the U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor, like those of many major public research institutions, have been transformed over three decades.”

In Ohio, Gauge for Midterms, Economy Rules,” New York Times, May 30, 2010

Rand Corporation. Research by the Rand Corporation “seeks to determine the major factors and trends shaping the future of work in the
current century, and how those factors are likely to evolve over the next 10 to 15 years.” It also seeks to determine the implications of these trends upon the workforce, the workplace, and the worker.

Ohio Labor Market Information. Economic information about Ohio, economic development regions, workforce analyses.

“State Budget Overview” –a presentation made to the Budget Planning and Management Commission, 6-29-10.  The Budget Planning and Management Commission is a six member, bi-partisan group created by the Ohio General Assembly, which is charged with making “recommendations for the 2012-13 budget ‘designed to provide relief to the state during the current difficult fiscal and economic period’ by Nov. 30 of this year.”

“State Funding for Higher Education in FY 2009 and FY 2010”, National Conference of State Legislatures.  “In late 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) surveyed legislative fiscal offices about the status of higher education funding.  Specifically, it was an attempt to see how higher education funding was faring as a result of the economic downturn and to determine how ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funds were affecting funding levels.”

Trends in College Spending, 1998-2008,” July 8, 2010 A national trends report and cost-comparison tool released . . . by the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity, and Accountability provide significant insight into how thousands of the nation’s colleges and universities are spending their resources, with implications for what that means for ―the new normal in college spending.  The report – Trends in College Spending 1998-2008: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy? – examines national college spending and resource trends in the years leading up to the current recession. Focusing on the period from 1998 to 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available), the report highlights several ongoing patterns in how institutions get and spend their money. TCS Online (www.tcs-online.org), a new web-based application of the Delta project database, complements the national trends report with easy access to institution and state-level details.

Thinking the Unthinkable: Finding Common Ground for Resolving Ohio’s Fiscal Crisis,”June 2010, The Center for Community Solutions. “This white paper aims to give definition to the complexities and scale of the budget problems confronting the Buckeye State.  While striving for accuracy, it acknowledges approximation at many points.  In seeking an analytical tone, it unapologetically strays into a call to action.  In setting forth a ‘balanced approach’ to the structural deficit in state finances, it implicitly acknowledges that ‘balance’ is very much in the eye of the beholder.  And in suggesting options policy makers might pursue, it refrains from suggesting a specific set of preferences, recognizing that other ideas–promising and deserving ideas–will be offered between now and June 30, 2011, by which time the next biennial budget must be adopted.”

State of Ohio Job Outlook, Employment Projections to 2016, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

The Delta Project Report entitled “Trends in College Spending 1998-2008: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy?” was posted on July 8 along with a link to an interactive database that allows access to “information on finance, performance, and enrollments for individual institutions, groups of institutions, or the nation as a whole.”

Christine M. Keller, “Coping Strategies of Public Universities During the Economic Recession of 2009: Results of a Survey on the Impact of the Financial Crisis on University Campuses,” (November 2009) Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.  “In August and September of 2009, APLU surveyed its 188 member universities about the financial situation on their campuses.  The survey asked for information on state appropriations, tuition and fees, student enrollment, and educational revenues.  It also asked institutions how they were handling budget shortfall in both the short- and the long-term.”

“Beige Book,” Summary of Current Economic Conditions, Federal Reserve, 2010

Interesting information on economic issues facing institutions of higher education can be found in the series of “National Crosstalk” newsletters from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

OSU’s P-12 Project did this report, “Knowledge is Power” in 2008 outlining the relationship between Ohio’s future economy and jobs and levels of education needed.  http://p12.osu.edu/reports/UWreport.pdf

Higher Education

University System of Ohio

Ohio Board of Regents

National Center for Education Statistics

College Board


Diverse:  Issues in Higher Education

Higher Learning Commission. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region.

John Immerwahr and Jean Johnson, “Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today.”

Michael K. McLendon, James C. Hearn, and Christine G. Mokher “Partisans, Professionals, and Power: The Role of Political Factors in State Higher Education Funding,” The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 80, No. 6 (November/December 2009).

James Duderstadt, “Aligning American Higher Education with a 21st Century Agenda

Michael Crow, “Enterprise: The Path to Transformation for Emerging Public Universities

Michael Crow, “Building an Entrepreneurial University

Luis M. Proenza, “Beyond Research Rankings,” Inside Higher Education, May 17, 2007

Mortgaging Our Future: How Financial Barriers to College Undercut America’s Global Competitiveness, ” 2006

Transition Matters-Community College to Bachelor’s Degree,” 2008

College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, The College Completion Agenda

“The percentage of American adults with postsecondary credentials is not keeping pace with other industrialized nations. Improving postsecondary success for all our citizens, but most urgently for low-income and minority students, is critical to our nation’s economic and social health. To help policymakers and educators achieve the goal of 55% by 2025, The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center has developed the College Completion Agenda — incorporating a Progress Report that will be updated annually and a companion State Policy Guide that was co-created with the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Mamdouh Shoukri, “Universities Change with the TimesToronto Star, October 29, 2010.


Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Sustainability Planning–Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)

Meeting the Challenges of Enterprise Risk Management

What is University Risk Management?” (Texas A&M)

The State of Enterprise Risk Management at Colleges and Universities

Academic Support Unit Workforce Planning Initiative Example (Cornell University)  “Driven by fiscal pressures and a responsibility to ensure the most cost effective use of limited resources, President Rawlings initiated the Workforce Planning initiative in November 2001 as a comprehensive review of non-academic staffing requirements across the Ithaca campus.”

Ohio University Campus Master Plan (Facilities Planning and Space Management)

Two recently completed reports from the University of Illinois:

Administrative Review and Restructuring Working Group, June 15, 2010.  “In November 2009, President Ikenberry, in consultation with the Board of Trustees and the Chancellors, charged the Administrative Review and Restructuring working group to conduct an assessment of the organizational structure and delivery of administrative services at the University and to recommend a set of reforms and changes to improve performance as well as reduce costs.”

Administrative Review and Restructuring, Shared Services Subcommittee, June 8, 2010.  “A subcommittee was formed to investigate the topic of shared service centers as a supplement to the efforts of the Administrative Review and Restructuring Working Group. The charge to the subcommittee was to: determine whether shared service centers existed on campus; determine how shared service centers currently operate; determine whether shared service centers resulted in reduced costs and improved service for units; and identify any barriers to creating shared service centers and recommend processes that support and sustain their effectiveness once developed.”

Association of Physical Plant Administrators, Capital Renewal/Deferred Maintenance [Set of articles available at this link].

Scott Carlson, “As Campuses Crumble, Budgets are Crunched,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23, 2008.

C. Stephen Redhead and Erin D. Williams, “Public Health, Workforce, Quality, and Related Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), March 24, 2010, Congressional Research Service.  From the Introduction:  “Among its many provisions, PPACA creates a mandate for most U.S. residents to obtain health insurance and provides for the establishment of insurance exchanges through which certain individuals and families will be able to receive federal subsidies to reduce the cost of purchasing that coverage. In addition, PPACA significantly expands eligibility for Medicaid; substantially reduces the growth in Medicare spending that had been projected under preexisting law; imposes an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and makes other changes to the federal tax code, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other programs. This report, one of a series of CRS products on PPACA, summarizes the new law’s workforce, prevention, quality, and related provisions. It begins with some background on health care delivery reform, followed by an overview of the report’s content and organization.”


U.S. Department of Education

Ohio General Assembly

American Council on Education

Michael K. McLendon, James C. Hearn, and Christine G. Mokher “Partisans, Professionals, and Power: The Role of Political Factors in State Higher Education Funding,” The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 80, No. 6 (November/December 2009).

Regional Issues

The Appalachian Regional Commission offers a wealth of research, economic data, and other information on issues of importance to the region http://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/TheAppalachianRegion.asp

Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE) http://www.oache.org/

Governor’s Office of Appalachia http://www.firstohio.com/goa/about.aspx

International Issues

Institute of International Education

Council on International Educational Exchange

The Boston College Center for International Education

“Tigers Burning Bright,” [Asian Higher Education] Times Higher Education, June 17, 2010: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=412038&c=2

Charles Clotfelter, American Universities in a Global Market (2010)

Ben Wildavsky, The Great Brain Race–How Global Universities are Reshaping the World (2010).

Peter N. Stearns, “Global Education and Liberal Education” Association of American Colleges and Universities, Liberal Education, Summer 2010, Vol. 96, No. 3.


EDUCAUSE. Looks at “current developments and trends in information technology, how they may affect the college/university as an institution, and what these mean for higher education and society. ”

Anticipating the Future of Higher Education,” EDUCAUSE Quarterly Magazine, Vol. 33 (2010)

Lev Gonick, “The Year Ahead in IT,” Inside Higher Ed, January 7, 2010.

Kyong-Jee Kim and Curtis J. Bonk, “The Future of Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education:  The Survey Says . . .

I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman,  “Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009

Brad Wheeler, “Open Source 2010: Reflections on 2007”, January/February 2007, EDUCAUSE Review.  An accessible article, that while dated, provides a good introduction  to some of the possibilities and the challenges of open source software for institutions of higher education.

The Horizon Report: 2009 Edition”  “The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a long-running qualitative research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations.  The 2009 Horizon Report is the sixth annual report in the series. The report is produced again in 2009 as a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE program.”

IT Hype Cycles (Prepared by Gartner).  “A “hype cycle” is a graphic representation of the cycle that new technologies go through.”  Document contains hype cycle terms and hype cycles for 2008 & 2009.

Kuali- The Next Open Source Movement,” Inside Higher Ed, July 6, 2009

MIT Abandons Kuali Open-Source Software Project,” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 15, 2010.

Lev Gonick, “Future of Higher Education” [IT staffing], EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 33, Number 2, 2010.

Rosalyn Metz, “Cloud Computing Explained,” EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 33, Number 2, 2010.

Marianne Murphy, “Instructional Benefits of Remote Desktop Visualization,” EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 33, Number 2, 2010.


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