Adult and professional education leaders typically face daunting growth goals, often with limited resources. Determining where to invest those limited resources becomes a high-stakes decision, because one role funded means another is not.
Our dataset of 230+ institutions allows us to identify what staffing decisions best correlate to professional and adult education unit revenue growth. Units that invest in financial analysis, project management, and employer partnership staff experience the greatest revenue success. Executing on growth strategies, such as launching revenue-positive new programs or developing rewarding industry relationships, requires dedicated effort that staff cannot sustain ad hoc. As professional and adult efforts grow, these responsibilities must receive assigned attention, rather than relying on occasional staff capacity.
Finance and budget expertise has been a sought-after competency in COE units, especially as program launch has become higher stakes. Financial analysts partner with faculty to project new program costs, and at progressive institutions develop tools to support new program analysis at scale (e.g., self-service program cost projection workbook). Financial analysts are particularly valuable in anticipating the impact of indirect costs, like student services, as well as providing context to market demand data.
COE executives increasingly face the dual challenges of ambitious program launch goals as well as engaging late adopter faculty, who require more intentional, high-touch support to develop programs. Project managers assist with curriculum mapping, business plans, pricing, and instructional design coordination. 21% of COE units employ full-time project managers to support faculty in new program development. A further 15% of COE units maintain staff members who provide part-time project management support for program launch. Even in decentralized efforts, COE unit oversight for program demand validation has consistently correlated to high-revenue organizations (e.g., $40M+ revenue).
COE units with dedicated staff pursuing employer relationships generate more revenue from tuition reimbursement arrangements and contract education opportunities. 62% of COE units actively manage outreach efforts to companies, government organizations, and NGOs for partnership opportunities, though the extent of this outreach varies considerably by institution. Some COE units invest in staff specifically dedicated to managing these relationships, while others include this responsibility within other staff roles. Since partnerships largely rely on developing relationships with key contacts, unsurprisingly institutions that invest in B2B staff typically earn more revenue from both tuition reimbursement and contract education.
Dedicating staff to these roles builds the capacity for more significant revenue-generating activities.