We want to be strategic when growing our university. Hanover Research’s market viability and demand studies are a critical piece to the success of the SmartGrowth program, helping us to not only determine what opportunities to pursue, but also identify the ideas we may need to say ‘no’ to.
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
Saint Leo University (Saint Leo), a Catholic teaching institution, serves traditional and non-traditional
students on the Saint Leo campus and in over 40 teaching locations and online.
As Saint Leo explores opportunities to expand its academic curriculum, it faces a key challenge: identifying
high-demand programs that will benefit prospective students across its various teaching channels.
Saint Leo partnered with Hanover Research in 2007 to address this research need. Hanover’s assessment
of various markets has been integral to the university’s efforts to strengthen its portfolio of academic
At least 13 of the over 30 programs Hanover evaluated over the past seven years have become official
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Since partnering with Hanover, Saint Leo honed its internal processes for identifying and pursuing new
academic programming opportunities.
The institution launched SmartGrowth, a three-step process designed to inform the university’s decision of whether to move forward with a new program or campus expansion. Hanover’s services are built into the third phase of the SmartGrowth process, detailed below.
SmartGrowth Workbook for Academic Programs
This framework for identifying and developing viable new academic programs was created by Saint Leo and integrates the institution’s partnership with Hanover.
The lead advocate communicates the new program idea to key stakeholders and identifies individuals who can assist in validating the concept.
The Office of Assessment and Institutional Research works with the program advocate to: (1) identify ideas that appear viable and that the university would be willing to support; (2) review preliminary market data; and (3) ensure appropriate organizational resource allocation to investigate the proposed program. The pre-qualification phase quickly screens out non-viable ideas so that the university allocates resources toward evaluating the most promising programs.
Hanover helps validate the viability of a new offering. Once programs pass through the pre-qualification review, administrators commission Hanover to: (1) investigate market demand, including employability of graduates; (2) conduct program-specific research, including an analysis of the competitive landscape and tuition rates; and (3) evaluate scalability, including assessment of demand in select geographic areas.
The research process addresses the following key questions pertaining to the proposed program location(s):
- What is the unmet labor market need for graduates with this degree?
- How does Saint Leo’s pricing compare to the competition’s?
- Is the projected demand for the program sufficient to support development?
View Saint Leo’s full SmartGrowth expansion framework and planning worksheet by completing the form below.
In partnership, Saint Leo will continue to use Hanover’s research capabilities to validate the viability of new offerings, review existing academic programming, and identify strategies for improving the institution’s market positioning.