Are “high demand” programs setting your institution up for failure?


While good in theory, high demand programs can put strain on ill-prepared students and faculty requirements.

Conversations around the planning table for new programs often hinge around the word “demand.” Employer demand usually gets the first mention, and hopefully student demand gets a nod as well. Yet instead of plugging an institution into the heartbeat of their local economy, sometimes “high-demand” programs actually set the institution up for failure.

Consider data analytics. Programs in data analytics are gaining attraction to both employers and prospective students, with seemingly no end in sight. So, to answer this demand, many colleges have begun pooling resources and forming teams to incorporate data analytics programs into their institutional offerings.

Yet, the development and maintenance of a data analytics degree program can provide more logistical challenges than it’s worth, for two main reasons: an ill-prepared student body and difficulty in meeting faculty requirements.

Students are underprepared for these programs

Preparation for some degrees, particularly those in the STEM fields, really starts in grade school—long before these programs have been marked with the “high demand” signifier.

While students may understand that a degree in data analytics would give them a competitive advantage in the workforce, many students simply do not have the background in subjects like calculus and statistics to adequately prepare them for success in these programs.

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