Campus professionals have a lot on their minds. With reduced budgets, tightening enrollments, changing demographics, rising college costs, and increased financial need, you are primarily focused on the students you serve and the resources you need to serve them. Those concerns can cause you to overlook one of the most important resources at your disposal: yourself and the campus colleagues who work beside you.
When the budgetary reins get tightened, professional development for campus staff is often one of the first expenses on the chopping block. Campuses certainly have to make many painful cuts in times like these, but cuts for higher education professional development can often have long-term repercussions that far outweigh the minor, temporary budget relief that they bring. In fact, it’s during times like these, when you’re forced to do much more with much less, that training, knowledge, and teamwork become paramount to working efficiently and meeting your goals for enrollment and student success.
There are many big benefits to higher education professional development, but here are five particularly strong ones:
1) Expanding your knowledge has a high ROI.
Let’s say you spend $1500 to attend an event on student retention. During the event, you learn strategies for early-alert programs that help you retain three more students and bring in $15,000 of net revenue that would have been lost had those students withdrawn. You’ve far exceeded the relatively minor investment you made to attend that event. The same would apply if you had learned strategies that helped you recruit three more students.
What often gets overlooked in cutting higher education professional development is the cost-effectiveness of expanding your professional knowledge. Learning new strategies, especially strategies that are already working at other campuses, can pay big dividends, both immediately and down the road. And as the example above illustrates, even small improvements in your enrollment can far exceed your original investment.
2) Professional development facilitates change.
Routine tends to stifle change and innovation in any organization, and campuses are no exception. We get so used to the way things are that we don’t see how things could be.