Dr. Charles Bird
Today's challenge goes beyond the traditional
Programs for Adult Learners

Dr. Bird speaks about programs for adult learners...

In order to thrive, most institutions will require increased enrollment from adult learners. Especially if one considers those younger students who are increasingly choosing to enroll close to home or online, it will be nearly impossible for the great majority of institutions to balance their budgets through residential enrollment. 

Creating effective programs and services that attract and retain adult learners requires new approaches. At the same time, competition for these student audiences has increased dramatically, as a result of online programs and the aggressive entry of for-profit institutions.

Understanding how tomorrow's programs and services need to be different than the program for adult learners you created in 1975 will drive your success.

Whether you work at a small private institution, a regional university, a community college, or a branch campus, it will be about having the right programs and services, making appropriate use of technology, and engaging with your audiences on their terms. I can help you develop your strategy, based on the strengths of your institution, your competitive environment, and the audiences you hope to serve. 

Most institutions will find that their branch campuses and centers, if properly financed and empowered to serve adults through a mix of online and face-to-face courses and services, can be a major contributor to the success of the broader institution, while niche-focused fully online or limited residency programs can effectively tap new audiences that previously were out of reach.

For more than 35 years, I have taught and worked with so-called "non-traditional" students. I understand the emerging market and how to build successful programs, services, and marketing strategies that are campus-based or targeted for distance learners. 

From 2007-2010, I led a new team that created a fresh approach to distance learning at Ohio University, yielding growth in baccalaureate completion and graduate programs far exceeding expectations and yielding several million dollars in revenue from new audiences. This work has re-energized my own career and made me an enthusiastic proponent of new strategies and tactics that can produce dramatic success, especially by connecting to audiences that otherwise would never have considered your institution.

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