A New Partner at PRG

We are delighted to announce that Steve Kloehn, a senior leader in higher education and communications, has joined co-founders Julie Peterson and Lisa Rudgers as a partner in the Peterson Rudgers Group.

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Buckle Up for the Next Phase of Post-COVID Planning

The following essay by PRG partners Steve Kloehn, Julie Peterson and Lisa Rudgers appeared in Inside Higher Ed on April 21, 2020.

For colleges and universities across the country, the past few weeks represented an historic, breathtaking achievement. Faced with the choice to act or be acted upon, higher education institutions took the initiative and led the nation.

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In a matter of days, they transformed curricula that would normally take years or decades to reshape. In the face of deep uncertainty, wobbly governmental guidance, and no precedent whatsoever, they moved thousands and thousands of students out of harm’s way. They made bold choices, and they did so with intelligence, grace, and an unfathomable amount of hard work.

And now, even as we counsel our clients to find time for a breather, we know that can be only the briefest of respites. Because if colleges and universities are to recover from this pandemic, leaders must begin now to plan what those institutions will do and be when the crisis ebbs. Continue reading

The Surprising Intimacy of Online Learning

Early last month, before coronavirus launched our massive, worldwide experiment in distance learning, Julie and I had the good fortune to spend a few days at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business. Over the last three years, Gies decided to take its MBA programs online — first creating a new kind of curriculum, custom-designed for the medium, from the ground up; then doubling down and discontinuing its residential programs altogether.

Now more than 3200 students from all over the world are enrolled in the Gies iMBA, where they learn from a first-rate faculty, supported by a large and innovative e-Learning Team and a small army of course assistants. For Gies students, recorded video lectures are only the textbook. The real learning happens in vibrant live discussions, running simultaneously on the main screen and in the chatbox; in well-attended virtual office hours; and in group projects worked out through Zoom, at all hours of day and night.

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Combating Misinformation – Coronavirus Edition

As campuses everywhere deal with the ongoing challenges created by COVID-19, one thing they don’t need to be dealing with is fighting intentional misinformation. And yet, just to show we have entered a brand new era, at least two schools were quickly trying to debunk nonsense distributed in their name: Stanford, tagged with fake tips on fighting coronavirus, and Bates College, victim of a hoax letter claiming the college planned to intentionally infect students with the virus.

Nearly two years ago I wrote about the issue of colleges combating fake news in the form of online bots and trolls. I thought it might be useful to reprise this article, which is full of useful tips.
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Lessons From Our Virtual Business

Well, this just got real, didn’t it?

Colleges across the country are announcing plans to cancel in-person classes as “social distancing” and remote instructional methods become the new norm. Our firm has had two client visits and strategic planning retreats converted to Zoom interactions in just the last few days. We expect more hotel and plane cancellations in the weeks ahead as we work to modify our engagements and plan for long-distance communications and strategy sessions.

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