How to Use an Inclusive ROI Approach for Program Prioritization



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Position your college for future program growth and financial sustainability while also engaging faculty.


Currently, academic leaders are rethinking their programs to meet the realities of student demands in a post-Covid environment. Some universities have sunset entire departments and programs, while others have taken programs hybrid or fully online. What is right for your division? And how do you gain faculty buy-in for the tough decisions you need to make? It is important to remember that programs are not solely measured by their monetary value; this makes program prioritization a challenging task that requires an inclusive, holistic approach tailored to the realities of each institution.

Join us online to learn how to standardize the process of assessing the return on investment (ROI) of your programs across your division. Hear from our expert, Kelly Ball, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, as she demonstrates how to develop an inclusive ROI approach that accounts for mission, margin, and market. Participants will learn how to lead faculty and other stakeholders through this complex and necessary process, resulting in academic prioritization plans that create a resilient curriculum.


Who Should Attend

This training is designed for deans, department chairs, academic leaders, as well as staff invested in and interested in program prioritization work.

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Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


August 4, 2021

1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time


I. Introducing the Return-on-Investment (ROI) Approach

In this section, your instructor will explain how you can approach program prioritization using ROI. Specifically, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is holistic ROI, and how does it differ from other ROI analyses?
  • How is it directly relevant to higher ed and your role as a divisional leader?
  • What are the advantages and limits of this approach?



II. Implementation

In this section, we discuss the specific ways academic leaders can engage faculty and the shared governance system in creating an inclusive approach to ROI, and how the results of this kind of ROI analysis can be used to inform decision-making and academic planning.

This section covers:

  • How to steward the governance process
  • How to create and build consensus for your institution’s measures for the holistic ROI analysis
  • Considerations for measuring a program’s margin, market position, and mission contribution

Participants will have the opportunity to practice building and applying these tools. You’ll be asked to review three programs, apply the holistic ROI analysis, and consider how the results can lead to informed decision-making balanced by mission, margin, and market.



III. Key Insights: The Importance of Strong Collaboration Between Academic and Financial Leadership

In the final section of the program, the instructor will be joined by the Vice President for Business and Finance (CFO) of Agnes Scott College, Dr. Ken England. Together, they will share insights from their collaboration and offer practical tips for effectively implementing an inclusive ROI approach.


Portrait of Kelly Ball

Kelly Ball, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Kelly completed her PhD at Emory University, earning prior degrees at Transylvania University and The Ohio State University. First joining Agnes Scott College as a faculty member, she is the founding dean of the graduate and post-baccalaureate programs at Agnes Scott College. She has led their development from the initial ideas in 2016 to the current success and continued growth of the graduate programs today.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


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