Proposal Development

Once accepted into the Program Incubator, the program teams (which must include at least two team members for each department involved in interdisciplinary programs, at least three people from programs involving one department) will receive proposal development consultation and feedback in:

  • Curriculum development
  • Market analyses, including primary market research
  • Enrollment projections
  • Financial projections
  • Implementation plans
  • Marketing plans

This includes support from dedicated marketing and finance personnel.  Primary research for market analyses will at times incur additional costs that will be added to the amount to be repaid to the Provost’s Fund (see below) following program approval.

Incubator program development teams can expect guidance in:

  • Developing a full program proposal, including a market analysis, financial analysis and plan for loan repayment to the Provost’s Fund (usually for 1–2 semesters).
  • Determining program viability based on market-driven enrollment and financial analysis of a five-year horizon funding plan (start-up period).
  • Seeking input from potential employers and other primary market research.
  • Implementing innovative program delivery technologies (e.g., online learning).

Prospective program proposals will undergo three phases of development and analysis/review:

  • Curricular
  • Market
  • Financial

Each phase of development and analysis will focus on foundational aspects of the prospective program.  The Program Incubator Advisory Board will conduct a review associated with each analysis, informed by the input of the proposal development team and interested stakeholders (deans, chairs, faculty) to confirm the prospective program’s viability and provide input for iterative development.

Incubator Proposal Development Process


Proposal Development Process Flowchart of market analysis with three phases overlapping

Incubator Proposal Development Process

After a prospective program application is submitted, reviewed and accepted into the incubator, the proposal development team writes the program proposal in three iterative phases, culminating in a full proposal that is submitted into the program approval pipeline.

Phase I – Curriculum Development

The proposal development team will articulate the curricular aspects of the program, including:

  • The program’s description, including goals, rationale, connection to mission and the Beyond Boundaries strategic plan.
  • A description of prospective students, including likely sources of students, jobs graduates might seek, prospective employers, the earning potential of graduates.
  • Existing courses and courses to be developed, including enrollment capacity and prospective faculty.
  • Potential delivery format(s)
  • Potential challenges and innovations/synergies.

Review
The proposal development team will present the curricular components of the program to the Program Incubator Advisory Board and program-associated deans, chairs and faculty leaders.  The Program Incubator Advisory Board will assess the curricular viability of the program, identify issues for exploration/resolution, and suggest focal areas for primary market research.

Phase II – Market Analysis

The proposal development team, with support and facilitation, will conduct/seek a market analysis, informed by interview and/or survey data from potential employers and prospective students that includes:

  • An initial description of the target market with a specific focus on the likely career trajectories of graduates.
  • The sources and depth of the potential applicant pool.
  • A description of competitive programs that specifies their overlap with the prospective program’s target market, enrollment performance, cost, and methods of delivery.
  • A description of the characteristics of the proposed program that make it distinctive from the competition, a rational alternative for prospective students and of value in the labor market.

Review
The proposal development team will present the prospective program’s market analysis to the Program Incubator Advisory Board and program-associated deans, chairs and faculty leaders.  The Program Incubator Advisory Board will assess the market viability of the program and suggest program modifications in light of market conditions.

Phase III – Financial Analysis

Should the proposal development team determine the program is viable based on the market review, a financial analysis will be conducted that includes:

  • An estimation of revenue that includes assumptions based on:
    • Enrollment projections
    • Tuition revenue that appropriately reflects potential discounts
  • An estimation of expenses that includes:
    • Personnel requirements
    • Significant direct, capital and/or start-up expenses
  • An estimation of the incubator loan and repayment plan, based on projected expenses and revenue.

Review
The proposal development team will present the prospective program’s financial analysis to the Program Incubator Advisory Board and program-associated deans, chairs and faculty leaders.  The Program Incubator Advisory Board will assess the financial viability of the program and suggest program modifications in light of financial conditions.

The development of a final draft of the proposal that incorporates components from all three phases of the proposal development process will follow the financial review.