Finding and keeping excellent campus IT leaders is a major priority for CIOs and senior campus officials, according to the 2019 Campus Computing Survey.
Seventy-seven percent of surveyed CIOs and senior campus officials cited hiring and retention as one of their top challenges, and 78 percent specifically pointed to “noncompetitive campus salaries and benefits as a major problem in their quest to hire and retain.”
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And while the Great Recession of 2008 has ended, its effects still permeate campuses across the nation. Two-thirds (67 percent) of higher-ed leaders say institutional IT funding has not recovered from budget cuts institutions were forced to make during the recession.
“Personnel, not tech products, are the heart of the campus IT infrastructure,” says Kenneth C. Green, founding director of The Campus Computing Project, in a statement.
“We know that the demand for IT resources and services continues to grow. Concurrently, the continuing annual and mid-year campus IT budget cuts, as documented by the data from the annual Campus Computing Survey, affect IT hiring and personnel retention as well as institutional efforts to update technology and to enhance and expand campus IT resources and services.”
The report also raises the question of how much higher-ed leaders know about and are engaged with digital learning and digital transformation on campus.
It appears that “significant numbers” of campus leaders, including presidents, provosts, and CFOs, don’t know much about digital learning and digital transformation issues impacting their campuses. Just two-fifths of those surveyed say their presidents, provosts/chief academic officers, and CFOs are “well-informed” on digital learning and digital transformation. Less than one-third say those leaders are “very engaged” in these initiatives.
Senior campus officials can’t ignore these issues, though, because they will be instrumental in helping leaders form IT strategies and policies.
“Given the ubiquity of IT across almost anything and everything related to instruction, recruitment, campus services, analytics, and campus operations and management, it is increasingly important that senior campus officials – presidents, provosts, and CFOs – be both well-informed and very engaged,” says Green.
There also appears to be what the survey calls “organizational churn” in IT departments–including more than just one year ago.
Performance, personnel arrivals and departures, and budget issues are all contributing factors to central IT reorganizations.
Forty-three percent of IT departments have reorganized in the past two years, and 45 percent anticipate an IT department reorganization in the next two years.
“What is truly striking this year is the dramatic leap in the percentage of campuses that recently reorganized and also expect to do so again in the next 24 months–from 31 percent in 2018 to 55 percent in 2019,” according to the survey.