In the contemporary conditions of globalization, the rankings of educational institutions such as colleges and universities have become particularly significant for their status and reputation. The major ranking systems are usually financially supported by magazines and other media (Altbach 27).
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Rankings influence the choices of their possible consumers, such as students and their parents. Consequently, administrators in colleges and universities are concerned with the improvement of the rankings to attract more students (Gnolek 761). Institutions develop strategic plans to succeed in moving up in global ratings (Yung Chi Hou 481). Some use usual problem-solving approaches; the others are applying creative methods. The following case will be used to demonstrate the solutions to the university ranking problem with the use of diverse approaches.
The problem I am going to solve is connected with a business school that longs to enter the top ratings of educational institutions. It is a problem with the school administration. They made an attempt at a creative approach and invited an architect to design a new building for the business school. Although the architect completed the task, the unusual building did not take the school higher in the rankings. Thus, following the model of problem-solving, the following steps can be taken. Since the problem is defined, the next step demands to generate alternative solutions (Whetton and Kim 140).
For the business school, an alternative solution can include the invitation of a known professor specializing in one of the majors taken by the students of the school. It will serve the goal of attracting students interested in profound knowledge. However, it is a short-term goal. Making such cooperation a tradition or inviting experienced teachers and scholars to work can become a long-term alternative. The expected effect will be the increased number of students in a certain direction. The possible side-effects can be both positive and negative. Thus, a positive side-effect can be the expansion of the school and the attraction of international students.
A negative side-effect can be concealed in the fact that the school capacities will not be able to place all students in case their number increases rapidly. It is important to spread the information on the expected courses provided by the invited specialists well before the beginning of the semester. It can be done through advertising on the school website and external resources. A school site is also an excellent place for students’ feedback. They can comment on the lectures and express their wishes for the future. In that case, the school administration will manage to consider students’ desires and plan further development.
Often when standard problem-solving strategies are not efficient, it is advisable to apply creative problem-solving techniques. Creative methods can give unexpected positive results if applied properly. While analytical problem solving is aimed solely at resolving the problem, the creative approach is aimed at generating something innovative (Whetton and Kim 143).
I would like to suggest some creative approaches to the solution of the Ranking case. First of all, it is necessary to develop a new definition of the problem. Thus, the problem to solve is to make a business school a desirable place to study and guarantee its graduate’s competitiveness in the labor market. Multiple approaches to creativity provide a wide choice of techniques that can be applied. First of all, creativity can be achieved through imagination (Whetton and Kim 143).
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This approach, as applied to the business school, can be realized in the following way. School administration can attract students to a survey aimed at the definition of the existing problems and students’ desires and expectations. Based on the survey results, an innovative syllabus can be developed. This creative solution is aimed at the perspective. The students will have better results when interested in their education, and school graduates will advertise the school during their work.
Another approach to creative problem solving is an improvement. It can be used to renew and improve the relations of a business school with leading companies where students practice and can work after graduation. The ideas which will be profitable for the company can be suggested. Thus, graduate students can work part-time for the company during their final year for minimal salary and demonstrate their skills and knowledge during this period.
The competitiveness of school graduated in the labor market will also contribute to the rise of school in the ranking. The third possible approach to creative problem solving for the business school is incubation. It can be implemented through the involvement of both staff and students in school governance. They can participate in school work coordination and thus reveal their leadership potential and skills. Such an organization of work increases dedication, stimulates teamwork, and empowers further development.
Since I am familiar with the problem-solving approaches, I try to use them in my life. I consider the combination of rational and creative techniques the most efficient way to deal with any problem. The rational approach is necessary to evaluate the seriousness of the problem and develop the ways of solution. Next, the creative techniques can be applied. They provide alternative solutions that can improve the results.
Once I had a chance to practice the problem-solving approaches. I had to change the flat I lived in. The new apartment was big but not attractive with old furniture and dark walls. The problem was to repair the room. The rational approach would have been to invite professionals to repair the room, buy new furniture and decorations. It is logical but expensive for me. Thus, I decided to try creative problem-solving.
I redefined the problem, and after that, I needed to make the room more attractive. I invited some friends of mine. We examined the apartment, studied some design lessons on the Internet, and made a plan. It can be called the incubation approach since we worked in a team and revealed our hidden talents of designers. I bought some paint, fabric, and a necessary instrument. We painted the walls in bright colors, painted the furniture, and changed upholstery on the sofa. Finally, we put the curtains on the window and some pictures on the walls. I consider it the approach of improvement. We did not create anything new but improved what we had.
On the whole, diverse approaches to problem-solving allow looking at the issue from different angles. The logical approach allows seeing rational solutions, while creative techniques introduce multiple alternative solutions. Often a redefinition of a problem changes its perception and opens new perspectives for the solution. Thus, it is useful to combine rational and creative approaches to provide a comprehensive study of the problem and the choice of the best possible solution.
Altbach, Philip G. “The Globalization of College and University Rankings.” Change. 2012, pp. 26-31.
Gnolek, Shari L. et al. ” Modeling Change and Variation in U.S. News & WorldReport College Rankings: What would it really take to be in the Top 20?” Research in Higher Education, vol. 55, no. 8, 2014, pp. 761-779.
Whetton, David A., and Kim S. Cameron. Developing Management Skills. 9th ed., Pearson Education Inc., 2012.
Yung Chi Hou, Angela, et al. “An Analysis of Mobility in Global Rankings: Making Institutional Strategic Plans and Positioning for Building World-Class Universities.” Higher Education Research and development, vol. 31, no. 6, 2012, pp. 841-857.