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Building the Intentional UniversityMinerva and the Future of Higher Education$
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Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ben Nelson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037150

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037150.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

A Novel Business and Operating Model

A Novel Business and Operating Model

(p.363) 27 A Novel Business and Operating Model
Building the Intentional University

Ben Nelson

The MIT Press

Undergraduate education is rarely viewed from a business model perspective. University budgets are notorious for intermingling costs associated with graduate and undergraduate instruction, research, campus upkeep, administration, sports, and other endeavors. Tracking costs is made particularly difficult because the institution, for the sake of efficiency, wants to utilize its assets across several lines of business. For example, a lecture hall may be filled by undergraduates in the morning, graduate students in the afternoon and rented out to a student club for an event in the evening. Rather than trying to solve how to allocate those costs more effectively, Minerva is built around an operational philosophy of direct accountability. Three underlying principles allow us to succeed: First, where the market provides an efficient alternative, utilize that alternative rather than creating our own. Second, dollars paid by a constituent should not subsidize activities that are not in the service of that constituent. Third, natural incentives should be aligned only with successful delivery of the mission—incentives that encourage discriminatory behavior, reduction in quality of instruction, lowering of admission standards, or any other non-mission-aligned activity carry with them substantial inherent penalties that always outweigh any potential rewards.

Keywords:   costs of higher education, administrative overhead, collegiate athletic costs, tenure, higher education business models, tuition funded research

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