Making the Business Case for New and Existing Academic Programs

Making the Business Case for New and Existing Academic Programs

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Confidently collect market demand data, analyze themes, and use your findings to make programmatic decisions.

Learn a comprehensive and highly-practical method for assessing the demand for new and existing academic programs at your institution. This series will provide the knowledge, tools, and strategies you will need to incorporate market research and analysis as part of new academic program proposals or ongoing program evaluation in a highly collaborative way.

Session 1 focuses on the process for conducting market research and preparing an analysis.  You will leave with a sample market analysis and guidelines on data collection.

Session 2 focuses on how to use the data.  You will hear about a recent market analysis scenario and its impact on current programming decisions.  You will leave with strategies for collaborative decision making for determining whether to keep, stop, or start an academic program.

Templates, Samples, and Resources Included

In addition to the live content, each session comes with resources that you can use to both conduct market analysis and utilize the information that you collect as a result of that analysis. Resources include:

  • Sample market analysis for an academic program
  • A list and guide of trends in workforce and labor market research
  • Sample timeline for academic program development process
  • Sample meeting handouts to support collaboration

Who Should Attend

This program is encouraging a more comprehensive review of new and existing academic offerings, and as such, we recommend that teams of faculty, academic administrators, budget officers, enrollment professionals, and institutional researchers attend together. Participating as a group will allow you to discuss how your team can apply these concepts in your own unique setting.


Session 1: Compiling a Market Analysis for Academic Programs

Learning Outcome: After participating in this online training, you will be able to more confidently collect market demand data and prepare an analysis.   

Learn the key components of a market analysis and a process for collecting and interpreting the data by answering these questions:

  • What data is typically included in a market analysis?
  • Where are the best places to go to access this data?
  • What are best practices for conducting primary and secondary market research?
  • What are the key strategies for overcoming challenges in interpreting the data?
  • What resources are available to support this process?


  • Sample market analysis for an academic program as part of the new program proposal
  • Access to some of the latest trends in workforce and labor market research

Session 2:  Using Market Analysis Data for New and Existing Academic Programs

Learning Outcome: After participating in this online training, you will be able to apply strategies for how to use market demand data.

Learn how Troy University took strategic approach to utilizing market demand data and making programmatic decisions.    

Through this institutional example, our experts will share:

  • Strategies for collecting market demand data
  • How to engage academic leadership in the process
  • What unexpected issues can arise and how to face those challenges
  • Ways to build on and optimize existing resources
  • Key academic mix decisions made based on market opportunities
  • Realistic timelines for each part of the process


  • Sample timeline for academic program development process
  • Sample meeting handouts to support collaboration



Bob Atkins

CEO and Founder
Gray Associates

Bob led Gray’s entry into the education industry and the development of Gray’s proprietary industry databases and service offerings. He has worked with all of Gray’s education clients, consulting Presidents, CEOs, and CMOs on business strategy, pricing, location selection, and program strategy. He is an expert in business strategy, marketing, sales, and high-tech distribution channels. He has helped AT&T, Avaya, American Express, Dex Media, Qwest Communications, HP, IBM, and other clients to develop growth strategies, enter new markets, and build their sales and channel organizations. He has also led efforts that have eliminated tens of millions of dollars in cost, particularly in sales and channel management. He is a published author, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Sales and Marketing Management, and other publications around the world. He received an MBA, with honors, from Harvard Business School and a BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard College.


DeWayne Frazier

Vice President for Academic Affairs
Iowa Wesleyan University

Dr. Frazier’s portfolio at Iowa Wesleyan includes the Adult and Graduate Programs, Library Services, academic support, international education, Registrar’s Office, Office of Student Development, career services, Community Service Office, campus ministries, and the university academic divisions (Business, Education, Humanities, Nursing, and Sciences). Dr. Frazier serves on the President’s Cabinet and is also a full professor in the Division of Business.

Prior to coming to Iowa Wesleyan, Dr. Frazier was the associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School at Campbellsville University in Kentucky, where he oversaw 17 different graduate programs in various disciplines. Dr. Frazier also served as the Senior Vice President for International Programs at Upper Iowa University (UIU). There, Dr. Frazier oversaw campus internationalization efforts, including the implementation of an international student recruitment plan and the growth of UIU’s academic extension centers abroad.


Lee Vardaman

Associate Provost for Academic Support
Troy University

Dr. Vardaman serves as Associate Provost for Academic Support at Troy University where he manages faculty personnel issues, budgeting, faculty contracts and certifications, legal issues, IT initiatives, the tenure and promotion process, and post-grant award activity for the Academic Division. In addition, he provides oversight of Continuing Education and Outreach, as well as the financial aspects of the Confucius Institute. He also serves as an adjunct instructor of employment law in TROY’s Master of Human Resources program. Prior to his current position, Dr. Vardaman spent nine years leading the Human Resources Department for TROY after serving as both HR and IT manager for the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission in Dothan, AL. Dr. Vardaman has held local, state, and national leadership positions in human resources professional organizations and has numerous national and international publications.

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