When I started working in this industry in the late 1980's, summer seemed to provide a quiet respite from the typical grind of the academic year. If I remember correctly, my team would spend the summer data mining, analyzing and synthesizing the progress of the prior year, and building a plan for the upcoming year. Our work was refreshing and helped us see the institution from a higher, 30,000 foot view.
My sense if that the once nine month institutional cycle is certainly now a 12 month cycle. No longer is the summer spent in reflection, but most likely in activity, and the work of the academic year barely misses a beat in the summer. Many colleges and schools are busy sewing up their entering classes, making last minute adjustments to financial aid or new programs, and managing potential budgetary limitations.
While all of this points to a 12 month institutional cycle (which is similar to the rest of the work work, I might add), it also points to the need to make assessment and planning a priority. With less time for reflection, and more added to our summer picnic plate, the need for assessment and planning still do not go away. How is your team or institution responding? We welcome your comments.