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Denna in EDUCAUSE Review: Let's talk business model

Put everyone in the same discussion about higher education

By Scott Sherman

In times of disruption, the past is a poor predictor of the future. Whether the higher education community acknowledges it or not, technology is disrupting academia, and clinging to yesterday’s business model only puts tomorrow’s institution at risk.

Those are the cautions that University of Utah Chief Information Officer Eric Denna offersin his latest article for EDUCAUSE Review, for which he is serving as the 2014 Viewpoints feature editor.

Denna examines the difficulties in maintaining a healthy dialog about the business model of higher education: misunderstanding, a “language” barrier, wishful thinking, and a lack of direction. To help overcome these factors, he presents a series of questions that put everyone who should be involved in the conversation on the same page. The questions — some of which are part of the five questions for CIOs shared in his previous Viewpoints column — break down the issue to its core components. Denna asks people to focus on defining who they serve; how they serve them; the activities, relationships, and resources at work in that service; and how all of that translates into a self-sustaining cost model.

He argues that information technology falls naturally into these discussions, but “more important, these questions and the underlying model can provide insights into just how higher education is being disrupted.”

Last Updated: 4/13/21