How has the crisis affected your market?
I work at a university, so our market are students. COVID-19 has caused a major disruption to many disciplines that are traditionally taught in a face-to-face manner. At the drop of the hat, we had to all of sudden reinvent how we teach. This has been very painful for both the faculty and the students. But at the same time, we also learned a lot going through this process.
Right now, a major effort will need to be placed on student (client) retention and new enrolments. We need to reassure our current and prospective students that the institution has come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient, and that we can successfully deliver our mission.
Would you say we will try to go back to normal as quickly as possible or do you think we will need to rethink the world post-Covid-19?
In my current institution, we are planning to return to on-campus teaching starting this Fall. But we will need to maintain some form of remote teaching, because many international and out-of-state students may still not be able to return on campus. Come Winter, there is also a high possibility for a second wave of the virus outbreak, and we may need to revert back to remote operations again.
Even if everything goes back to normal this Summer, most universities will be facing serious financial problems over the next 12-18 months due to the weakened state of the economy, unforeseen expenses, as well as loss of enrolments and other income.
What has the crisis changed for you or what have you learned personally?
Over the last two months we experimented with many new ways of management and content delivery. Some of these things, which we would have never tried under normal circumstances, actually worked really well. Now would be a good time to asses which of the changes that we implemented should stay and what kind or remote operating platforms we should retain.
What I have personally learned during this period is that decisive leadership is the best way forward in a state of crisis. When everything is falling apart, a good leader must project a sense of confidence and reassurance that the organization will prevail. Otherwise, the entire organization could fall apart.