The process of establishing an institution can be extremely challenging, with unknown timelines between approval and opening. Also, there can be difficulties in securing land, constructing a building or finding suitable premises for hire. Another challenge is how and where to get the cash needed to finance all start-up operations. Without enough fund, it can be difficult to finance faculties, hire staff or purchase textbooks. The team mandated with this task should also come up with ways of recruiting new students. Another challenge is the idea of building a relationship with the local community where the institution will be established. Locals might be skeptical about the beginning of a new type of an institution which may be unfamiliar to them. These challenges are discussed further here below:
Starting from Scratch
The main challenge associated with establishing an institution from scratch is how the task-force will allocate their time resourcefully. Adequate attention should be given to the pressing operational needs of management and operation of the institution. Much time is needed for setting up of systems for developing guidelines and policies, recruiting students and staffs, overseeing ongoing building and renovations. Balancing different issues associated with the beginning of any new institution while also prioritizing quality assurance and curriculum design can be challenging. Combining operational and strategic leadership can bring pressure in opening a new institution. In almost all new learning institutions, the diseconomies of scale mean that the budget is constrained. Leaders often have to give back for this by taking on more than one responsibility.
Another main challenge is persuading the public to have confidence in an institution that has no known track record. In cases where marketing begins when there are few complete buildings and staff building confidence in the expected students and parents is a great task. This is a common situation in privately owned institutions. Therefore, in establishing an institution, the management needs to set up baits such as partial scholarships and other goods so as to make marketing easier and fruitful. It’s not surprising that such an institution will not recruit to capacity in the first year of operation.
When establishing an institution, it is important that you have good leadership plan that will change day a by day as the institution grows. Most learning institutions are dynamic; the leadership often cite a speedy rate of growth in the first few years. However, behind the speedy rate of growth is the leadership challenge. The growth rate is marked by an increase in the student population as well as the hiring of more staff. The management of student and the staff is complex and would necessitate rapid changes in leadership style and structure. To new institutions, this can be a great challenge.
The leadership team needs to discuss the balance between operational and strategic leadership. When the institution is at its start-up stages, there is a need to take on a number of different responsibilities simultaneously. It should focus on creating a good reputation and putting in place basic installations that are supposed to run the institution.