STRATEGY FOCUS POINTS
1. Building sustainability
To reach its sustainability targets, GEM has identified two primary methods for growing and diversifying the assessment center’s business model:
Growing our assessment services
Expanding services beyond assessments
GEM’s assessment service expansion will include:
Competency-based program assessments
The addition of course-based project assessments and bachelor’s degree-level assessments
Critical review and badging services for new micro-credentialing programs
GEM has already begun to test its capacity for some project-based learning programs outside the university, providing assessment services to One Summer Chicago, the largest summer youth employment program in the U.S., and to the city of Birmingham, Alabama.
GEM will also expand into new areas of work that benefit both learners and the university. This includes:
Online tutoring and coaching for SNHU and other students around academic progress and professional development
Expanding technology help desk functions
Providing student admissions support and administrative services to the university
Over the next twelve months, GEM will continue to pilot these growth strategies and conduct additional market assessments that gauge internal and external demand by service and geography. Based on the results, GEM will:
Actively hire and use the talents of faculty in other parts of the world, allowing them to work with GEM remotely
Explore opening another assessment center
2. Maintaining and strengthening GEM’s core
GEM’s first priority is to maintain the strength and impact of its model across existing sites.
In addition to providing physical space and technological resources to learners in challenging and resource-constrained environments, partners provide the essential in-person academic, psychosocial and student-related support that students need. GEM takes great care to select partners who are best positioned to provide these supportive services to learners in each country and has developed strong working relationships and controls to ensure partner quality and commitment.
GEM will continue to provide direct support for partners and implement new strategies to manage fidelity to GEM’s standards and practices, while providing the necessary flexibility for partners to adapt their programs to regional needs. In addition, GEM will allocate additional resources directly for students, in order to provide emergency support in times of crisis.
Furthermore, GEM will invest additional resources into student academic and professional support connected to work and programs that build learners’ social capital and their connection to practical employment opportunities. This includes:
Organizing more networking events among current students, alumni and employers
Collaborating with employers to ensure local workplace relevance in the development of new competency-based education projects
Finally, GEM will organize convenings and other retreats for GEM staff, partners and students to exchange knowledge, build relationships, and ensure continuous learning and improvement across program sites to maximize its impact.
3. Leading through innovation
Beyond supporting its core programming and ensuring that all sites meet its high standards of operations, GEM will be exploring new opportunities to test the viability of its model in different contexts. The precise nature of these projects will be determined predominantly by:
Revenue generated through GEM Hub
Opportunities that emerge
Collaborative engagement with funders and donors
Among the international pilots being considered is a project in Haiti that integrates the GEM model as a secondary school extension and a project in South Africa with a local NGO that would integrate South African students into their humanitarian work. GEM is also looking at potential applications to the model in the U.S. with different marginalized populations, including pilot projects for incarcerated learners, resettled refugee populations and Native American learners.
|Goal||Key Activities||Key Outcome
|Building Sustainability||Grow assessment and other services provided at GEM assessment centers through internal and external contracts||Sustainable business model that drives student numbers and program growth
|Maintaining and Strengthening Core||Continue to iterate partnership and delivery model for optimal outcomes for transition into sustaining phase||Maintain on-time student graduation rates across all sites (minimum 80% across sites)
|Leading Through Innovation||Pilot the model's potential in one or more settings such as secondary schools or populations such as incarcerated learners. Native American students or recently resettled learners||Test model viability in new/different contexts
1 Ma, J., Pender, M., & Welch, M. Education pays 2016: The benefits of higher education for individuals and Society, (2016). The College Board. Retrieved from: https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2016-full-report.pdf