4 measures to make diversity a priority in higher-ed IT

Higher-ed IT is not keeping pace with the U.S. workforce when it comes to employing underrepresented groups, according to survey data from EDUCAUSE.

EDUCAUSE asked the 1,592 respondents in its 2019 Higher Education Workforce Landscape study several questions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion to learn more about how IT professionals in higher education view these issues and efforts at their institutions.

Related content: 2 effective methods to increase campus diversity

Key findings from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the IT Workforce reveal that 47 percent of survey respondents say their IT organization reflects the diversity of their campus community and the community in which the campus is located–but nearly one-third disagree.

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This is how you connect your campus with cloud-managed wireless

With always-on connectivity, superior campus security, and the access students demand, higher education institutions can attract and retain students in an evolving competitive landscape. In order for campus leaders and IT teams to build unique and differentiated programs that will improve student experiences, a reliable network is required. Cisco Meraki provides colleges and universities with the power, flexibility, and control they need to keep campuses connected and secure, while providing students with the connectivity and digital resources they expect

Go to: Connect your campus with cloud managed wireless

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4 criteria for high-quality non-degree credentials

New research from the National Skills Coalition defines high-quality non-degree credentials and outlines the criteria that states should adopt for their quality assurance systems.

The paper, Expanding Opportunities: Defining Quality Non-Degree Credentials for States, defines a high-quality non-degree credential as one that “provides individuals with the means to equitably achieve their informed employment and educational goals.”

Related content: Why are non-degree credentials necessary?

Non-degree credentials–such as certificates awarded by an education institution, apprenticeship certificates earned through work-based learning, industry certifications awarded by a certification body (not a school or government agency), and occupational licenses awarded by a government licensing agency–help workers get better jobs while also reconnecting them to further postsecondary education and training opportunities.

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Cybersecurity is complex-learn how to do it right

Cybersecurity in higher education is a challenge of increasing complexity and dramatic consequence. The stakes are high as threat actors launch sophisticated attacks to steal information or disrupt operations. Cyber espionage is particularly prominent in higher education, which experiences threats and attacks comparable to or greater than those in commercial industry. IT departments may not be sufficiently resourced and funded to keep up with digital threats and often lack a comprehensive approach to ensuring optimal security. Learn how the Cybersecurity Framework created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology can help IT security managers plan for and realize strong network and data security to make the most effective use of their resources

Go to: ITs Guide to Cybersecurity Threats on Higher-ed Campuses

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5 ways to develop soft skills in the digital age

With the rise of automation, organizations worldwide have made soft skills like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking a top priority. To work successfully alongside machines, recent grads and the current workforce must rely on what makes them uniquely human.

According to the ManpowerGroup’s 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey, “the most important skill you can nurture is learnability” to stay employable for the long-term. Ironically, the term “learnability” often refers to how easy a software product or interface is to use. However, in the case of employability, it means professionals must become lifelong learners to remain usable themselves.

Related content: Here’s how to help students hone soft skills

There is a glaring need for soft skills in the workforce, but a significant gap remains between what skills recent grads think they have and what organizations believe they’re proficient in. Two recent surveys—one that polled students and one that gathered the employer perspective—revealed some startling discrepancies.

  • Oral communication skills: More than 65 percent of college students feel very confident they’re prepared to use oral communication skills in the workplace, while less than 30 percent of employers feel the same.
  • Critical-thinking skills: Nearly 70 percent of students are confident in their critical-thinking skills, while just 26 percent of employers have the same confidence in their abilities.
  • Collaboration skills: Nearly 80 percent of students believe they can work in teams successfully, while less than 40 percent of employers share that sentiment.

The soft-skill-development issue

These discrepancies are alarming, but what causes them?

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The science behind successful learning

Learning is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Learning has changed drastically in the last 5, 10, 20 years, will continue to change for the next 5, 10, 20 years, and all we can do to improve learning is to learn ourselves.

We have spent plenty of time working closely with educators and students and have encountered many common pain points surrounding learning – which brings us to the purpose behind this article—read about the five steps to improve learning with dynamic testing, instant feedback, practice, using technology and finally analytics.

Go to: The Science Behind Successful Learning

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States set their sights on transparent data for credentials

Alabama, Louisiana, and Minnesota are partnering with a nonprofit to focus on credentials, primarily around data transparency and literacy.

Through the partnership with Credential Engine, Alabama’s Office of the Governor, Louisiana’s Community and Technical College System, and the Minnesota State system will collaborate with partner agencies to publish data, including education and career outcomes, for thousands of apprenticeships, certificates, licenses, degrees, and other credentials to the cloud-based Credential Registry in an effort to bring clarity, understanding, and improved utility to state education data.

Related content: Non-degree credentials and their role in the economy

The partnership brings the total number of states and regions partnering with Credential Engine to publish information about their education and training programs to 14.

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Resilience: A critical protective factor in life

Life today takes a toll on our emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. People do not have the mental framework to adequately meet the overwhelming demands of modern life. This inadequacy leaves most people with growing levels of anxiety and depression; a disconnection to their experiences of joy, love, happiness, and inner peace; and as a lack of a sense of purpose in life with related personal and professional meaning.

How can we help children prepare for this daily negative bombardment? Social and emotional learning (SEL) frameworks and best practices hold the key to teaching self-awareness and producing the resilience factor in youth.

Related content: Digital tool targets mental health on campus

From children being bullied in schools because of ethnic or social status, to increased heroin abuse because of post-traumatic stress syndrome, to increased levels of adolescent depression and suicide due to increased stressors, to increased incidences of sexual assault and cutting on college campuses, to record levels of being overweight and obesity, just to name a few, we can agree that we need to do more to prevent mental illness in youth and to help them develop resilience.

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Work placement and IT support are critical for U.S. universities

Universities across the globe are facing tremendous pressure to evolve and innovate to meet the demands of today’s job market. Not only are they tasked with optimizing operations and academic programs with the latest technologies, but they also must fight back against a growing cultural cynicism about the value a degree provides students in the real-world.

Related content: Using workforce data to improve student outcomes

The challenges of student loan debt, scarce public financing and a hyper-competitive job market in a digital economy are making prospective students ask tough questions about the return on investment of higher education.

Upending decades of cultural emphasis on the value of higher education in the U.S., many of today’s hottest companies like Netflix, Google and Apple no longer require a college degree for employment. Top CEOs are speaking out and challenging universities to make programs that are relevant to industry or encouraging drastic reimagining of course delivery to drive vocational relevance.

According to Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory company, “analyses about the future of work focus on the impact of automation, the need to work alongside smart machines, the gig economy and the emergence of new types of careers.” Gartner suggests that “a shift toward more skills-based and practical training and a shift toward lifelong learning will be necessary.”

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What’s behind the explosion in cryptocurrency education?

Driven by rising awareness of cryptocurrencies and increasing demand from students, colleges and universities around the world are increasing blockchain and cryptocurrency education, according to an annual report.

The 2nd Annual Coinbase Report on Higher Education, from Coinbase and Qriously, outlines findings about rising student interest in cryptocurrency education, and highlights an increasing number of courses focused on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, or bitcoin taught across a range of disciplines.

Related content: How will blockchain transform higher ed?

Fifty-six percent of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course on cryptocurrency or blockchain, according to the report. That’s up from 42 percent in 2018.

Computer science classes still are the most common for cryptocurrency education, accounting for 32.2 percent. But finance, business, and economics classes collectively tally 19.8 percent, and law-school classes add another 10.7 percent.

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