Educational facilities, similar to other organizations, may encounter financial difficulties. The educational leader (EL) interviewed for the present paper is at a higher education level and performs as a head of a nursing school (NS) in New Jersey. The interviewee is a middle-aged man with substantial experience working in the educational field, focusing on the healthcare industry. He was glad to answer questions and shared some sources he had used during his work but asked to stay anonymous due to the NS’s confidentiality policy. The report provides information on the EL’s decision-making regarding a financial problem, staff management, and spending.
Answers to Interview Questions
The EL stated that a financial issue in education that involved decision-making on his part was supplying the NS with new technology (NT) equipment. Students and faculty expect higher education organizations to have technology resources to ensure access to the Internet and maintain such systems as student information, accounting, and academic support (Barr & McClellan, 2018). Moreover, the pandemic has caused the rapid move to online learning, with instructors requiring NT to adapt course materials (Lederer et al., 2020). However, the provision of NT has been a financial challenge for public and private colleges, and the spread of COVID-19 has generated an additional economic disruption (Barr & McClellan, 2018; Blankenberger & Williams, 2020). The EL shared that the NS needed to advance its NT assets a year prior to the pandemic and that the outbreak had made the situation more difficult.
The decisions presented by the EL focused on attracting more funding, finding ways to update some of the technology resources, helping students, and training the personnel. The EL admitted that the NS had received some financial aid at the beginning of the pandemic, but the administration resolved to delay purchasing NT. The NS determined to modernize systems the institution already had, supply hardware for students in most need, and train instructors for online teaching, which is similar to decisions made by other organizations (Busta, 2021). Burmicky et al. (2021) have examined 15 community colleges and suggest that higher education organizations should facilitate professional development to prepare human assets who are committed to student success and can meet the learners’ needs. Consequently, the decisions described by the EL seem reasonable because they are based on distributing financial resources of the NS to help students access online education and enhance the faculty’s skills to provide better instruction.
The EL claimed that for the period he has been overseeing the NS, his role in increasing and decreasing staff was quite significant. He shared that he had to make final decisions to let go of some employees who were not performing well enough and were causing difficulties to students, the institution, and finances. The EL stated that he has been more involved in raising the number of personnel and, in particular, attracting highly qualified professionals. He said that while the NS has many skilled instructors, specialists in other positions are often scarce. Notably, the hardship of hiring employees can be explained by considering that higher education actively competes with other industries (Barr & McClellan, 2018). For instance, technical support staff and managers are required in different sectors, and businesses are interested in recruiting doctoral candidates and talented faculty from healthcare (Barr & McClellan, 2018). Accordingly, the EL shared that his role in decreasing and increasing staff was deciding when some workers should be fired and assisting the human resources department in finding competent employees for highly demanded positions.
The EL stated that when the NS encountered the financial problem of needing to purchase NT, he resolved to control spending by identifying what expenses could be shortened. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the EL chose to distribute costs based on the needs of students and personnel. For example, as mentioned above, one such decision was to spend the funds acquired for NT on training employees and helping learners access online classes. In addition, the NS resolved to fire some underperforming workers. The pandemic has forced organizations to change their plans drastically, and one way for higher education institutions to manage finances is by reducing labor (Friga, 2020; Liu et al., 2021). Consequently, the EL controlled spending by determining the needs of the NS’s stakeholders.
To summarize, the interviewed educational leader, a head of a nursing school, has faced a financial problem of needing funds to purchase new technology equipment for the institution. The issue became more challenging due to the pandemic and the necessity to transfer instruction in the online format, which generated financial restrictions. Although the NS has attracted some capital to acquire NT, the EL had to change plans and make new decisions on managing online education while resolving the matter with NT. Like the leaders of other higher education organizations, the EL determined to control spending by updating technology resources the NS already had, providing aid to some students, and training instructors. Moreover, the EL also decided to let go of some staff members who were not benefiting the NS and its learners to maintain labor expenses. On the other hand, the EL stated that he participates in the process of finding competent professionals for various positions in the NS. Information from the used sources suggests that the EL reacted to the financial problem and the effects of the pandemic similarly to other leaders in the sector. Overall, the interview was quite insightful and provided a better understanding of higher education.
Barr, M. J., & McClellan, G. S. (2018). Budgets and financial management in higher education (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
Blankenberger, B., & Williams, A. M. (2020). COVID and the impact on higher education: The essential role of integrity and accountability. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 42(3), 404-423.
Burmicky, J., Sáenz, V. B., & Ryu, W. (2021). Exploring how community college presidents make human resources decisions for financial aid departments in an era of uncertainty. Journal of Education Human Resources, 1-22.
Busta, H. (2021). Colleges held off on major technology purchases during the pandemic, report says. Higher Ed Dive. Web.
Friga, P. N. (2020). The great recession was bad for higher education. Coronavirus could be worse. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Web.
Lederer, A. M., Hoban, M. T., Lipson, S. K., Zhou, S., & Eisenberg, D. (2020). More than inconvenienced: The unique needs of US college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Education & Behavior, 48(1), 14-19.
Liu, B. F., Shi, D., Lim, J. R., Islam, K., Edwards, A. L., & Seeger, M. (2021). When crises hit home: How U.S. education leaders navigate values during uncertain times. Journal of Business Ethics, 197(2), 353–368.