In 2012, Stevens Strategy conducted a comprehensive strategic analysis project with Wilson College, which was experiencing serious enrollment and financial difficulty. Its total enrollment at the time we began our work with them was 762 students resulting in a 3 million dollar deficit.
We worked with Wilson’s new President, Barbara Mistick and the entire campus community to:
– gather and present data revealing many threats but also many opportunities;
– help the college community work through mountains of data we collected and analyzed and process the market research we completed that indicated coeducation was a key part of the solution to their difficulties;
– support an intensely emotional process to accept the loss of their undergraduate women’s college mission and build a path for the college to thrive;
– help the college community understand that coeducation alone would not guarantee survival;
– help them develop an extraordinarily wide-ranging plan to reorganize academic and co-curricular programming that reflected nearly $30 million in capital improvements and new program expenses over eight years;
– conduct a pricing elasticity study and competitor pricing analysis that resulted in a major reduction in book price, and in 2017, repeated the studies resulting in a modest increase in book price; and
– wrap all this work up into a comprehensive 8-year financial planning model that predicted more than a doubling of enrollment by fiscal year 2020 and financial stability.
The college has achieved seven years of consistent growth since 2012, reporting the highest enrollment in its history in the fall of 2019 (more than doubling from 746 in 2012 to 1620 in 2019), well on the way to meeting the planning model predictions through 2020.
We have provided sound and professional consulting support to over 100 colleges, including Wilson. But difficult decisions and outstanding results don’t occur just because a competent consultant suggests them, they can only occur with competent institutional leadership, too. Wilson College was blessed with expert leadership from a brave and capable President, Barbara Mistick, who began her tenure as President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities on September 1 st , 2019.
Please take a look at Wilson college’s report on their progress through fall 2018, and join me in congratulating its amazingly successful leader for her accomplishments there and her new position at NAICU.