It’s an imperative: Higher education must evolve and innovate, moving away from older models and forging new paths.
This year, EDUCAUSE’s top 10 IT issues are centered around foundational models that will carry higher education into its next iteration.
Informed by the pandemic, these models are based on leadership, data, and work and learning:
1. A Seat at the Table: Ensuring IT leadership is a full partner in institutional strategic planning. Digital capabilities have become a key success factor for colleges and universities. If an institution wants to be successful, people who understand the institution, as well as technology and data, need to be involved in strategic planning and decision-making.
2. Privacy and Cybersecurity 101: Embedding privacy and cybersecurity education and awareness in the curriculum and in the workplace. Privacy and cybersecurity are intertwined because much of what cybersecurity is trying to protect is personally identifiable information.
3. Evolve, Adapt, or Lose Talent: Creating a workplace that allows for and supports movement up down and sideways to accommodate shifts in personal and professional goals and to foster healthier work/life balance. Unfortunately for higher education, many corporations are outcompeting institutions on pay, benefits, work/life balance, and even organizational culture.
4. Smooth Sailing for the Student Experience: Using technology, data insight, and agility to create a frictionless student experience. To be successful, students need seamless access to campus resources and services—from dining to fitness to course materials. While efforts to provide frictionless student experiences in higher education lag far behind many consumer-level experiences, we have the opportunity to create a student-centered learning environment that provides a plethora of information and learning opportunities through mobile-friendly services.
5. Enriching the Leadership Playbook: Leading with humility and candor to engage, empower, and retain the IT workforce. Leadership makes an enormous difference in the ability to acquire and retain strong employees. Emotional intelligence in IT leadership has been steadily increasing in importance.
6. Expanding Enrollments and the Bottom Line: Focusing data and analytics initiatives on identifying academic programs with high potential for recruitment ROI. Institutions with more enrollment success have the resources to invest in activities that can continue this success. Data is at the heart of these activities, generating analytics to help recruiters make a number of decisions.
7. Moving from Data Insight to Data Action: Converting data analytics into action plans to power institutional performance, enhance operational efficiency, and improve student success. Analytics is one of the more important tools to help leaders and decision-makers understand how well they are operationalizing new strategic initiatives and how effective those initiatives are.
8. A New Era of IT Support: Updating IT services to support remote/hybrid work. Because everything is anywhere, what IT organizations are handling now is more complex and specialized, more widespread and far-reaching, and more difficult to secure than ever before.
9. Online, In-Person, or Hybrid? Yes: Developing a learning-first, technology-enabled learning strategy. The 2020 emergency pivot to online operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved current and incoming students’ perspectives on what they need to be successful in their studies.
10. SaaS, ERP, and CRM: An Alphabet Soup of Opportunity: Managing cost, risk, and value of investments in new ERP solutions. Once again, institutions are considering whether, when, and how to adopt an entirely new generation of administrative applications. So much, though, has changed since then.