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Higher Education Consulting and Technical Assistance

Higher Ed Consulting

NCHEMS has been an industry leader in higher education consulting and technical assistance since 1969. Our team is immersed in the real-world challenges of higher education and possesses extensive expertise which helps us provide more nuanced guidance and contextualized knowledge to our stakeholders and clients.

We recognize the importance of on-the-ground technical assistance in the implementation of any major change initiatives in higher education. For over fifty years, we have provided consulting and technical assistance on small and large projects guided by strong principles. Students and the public interest are foremost in our work. Institutions, systems, and states can improve in ways that increase student access and success while maintaining the interest of the public who have invested in higher education, and we have the background and expertise to help them do so.

NCHEMS has expertise in many interrelated areas in the higher education field, including:

Our work focuses on the alignment and inter-connectedness of these areas, as we help our clients and stakeholders more clearly understand how these areas are critical to sustainable, impactful solutions. We also offer our clients and stakeholders ideas for practical strategies and proven practices based on our extensive experience assisting many states and systems of higher education.

Our Knowledge First Framework™

NCHEMS’ Knowledge First Framework™ guides our consulting and technical assistance work and is adaptable through any phase of a project, depending on the needs of our clients and stakeholders. Our deep knowledge, experience, and research and analytics capabilities open the doors to possibilities that ensure success on each project.

The core components in our Knowledge First Framework™include:

Listening to Understand

We spend the time necessary to really understand the context and history behind the problem our stakeholders are seeking to solve. This background knowledge is crucial to diagnosing the specifics of the challenges they face.

In addition to listening deeply to the clients and stakeholders with whom we consult, we are experienced in vetting solutions for complex challenges with a variety of stakeholders, including:

  • Legislators
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Community partners
  • Workforce agencies
  • Employers
  • Students

While decisions may not always be made collectively, NCHEMS’ proposed and implemented solutions will be a better fit when the stakeholders can meaningfully engage with the process. We are a non-partisan, non-profit organization that can help engage stakeholders in ways that individuals internal to the decisions may not be able to.

Conducting Objective Research

Our recommendations are independent and impartial. They are driven by data obtained from comprehensive research paired with rich knowledge and evolving expertise. This enables us to provide the insights necessary to evaluate each potential solution.

Objective research is key to any engagement that NCHEMS embarks on. Our rich hands-on experience with the institutional, state and national postsecondary datasets allows us to provide a detailed base of evidence and information as a critical initial step to answering the many questions important to higher education leaders today.

Presenting Viable Options and Ideas

We incorporate all the critical elements, data, and information. Through deep stakeholder engagement, we help to guide and generate innovative solutions that will create the best outcomes from a set of competing possibilities.

Our process includes the presentation of viable solutions, based on research and expertise, and the thought process through which our clients and stakeholders can determine which solution will work best for their needs. We help utilize quantitative and qualitative data to inform both the offered solutions and the decision-making process for solution selection.

Facilitating Decision Making

We engage stakeholders in discussion and evaluation of different options to arrive at a solution or (set of solutions) that achieves their goals and empowers their work.

NCHEMS advances the knowledge base for strategy and policy development as well as implementation at the institutional, system, and state levels.

Supporting Implementation

Our work isn’t done after collaborating with stakeholders on a solution to their challenges. We set them up for success every step of the way by providing the support structures they need to ensure the plan is implemented properly.

NCHEMS’ Knowledge First Framework™ guides our consulting and technical assistance work and is adaptable through any phase of a project, depending on the needs of our clients and stakeholders. Our deep knowledge, experience, and research and analytics capabilities open the doors to possibilities that ensure success on each project.

Looking Ahead

The potential students entering higher education are changing along multiple dimensions. Some of those include:

  • There will be fewer young people coming out of high school.
  • Students’ race and ethnicity will be even more diverse.
  • Students will be more used to studying with online learning materials and interacting with instructors, tutors, advisors, and peers in that medium. They will expect this option.
  • Future students seem likely to be seeking shorter pathways to living-wage jobs and careers than just those offered by traditional degree programs.

As this materializes, NCHEMS will continue to collect the most promising practices in supporting students in new ways. NCHEMS will also continue to reconceptualize how states and institutions of higher education can adjust to new financial realities resulting from fewer traditional-aged students, who may have different needs than those for whom the U.S. higher education structures were originally designed. NCHEMS will continue to explore successful models from all sectors that can be adapted to a scale to enable institutions and systems of institutions to evolve. As it has done in the past, NCHEMS will develop the tools to assist the community.

Visit our Projects page to learn more about our consulting and technical assistance work.

Contact us today to schedule a conversation.

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