Money watch

Seems like COVID-era pronouncements of the death of traditional higher education were premature, at least when it comes to receiving donations from corporate and alumni donors. The recent survey from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) ran the numbers: Voluntary support of U.S. higher education institutions totaled $59.50 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2022. That is an increase of 12.5% —$6.6 billion—over the previous fiscal year. Among the 781 institutions that reported in 2021 and 2022, support increased 11%. Nearly two-thirds of this core group reported their charitable giving totals increased by an average of 25.7%.

2023 reports indicate the spigot has not been turned off. Here are some of the most recent:

The Simons Foundation, a philanthropy working to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences, announced this month a historic $500 million endowment gift to Stony Brook University. The combined largesse of the Simons Foundation and Simons Foundation International — is the largest unrestricted donation to an institution of higher education in U.S. history.…Read More

Can the nation’s most innovative states help higher ed?

Colleges and universities in the most innovative states could leverage that innovation to strengthen internship and career opportunities for their students, and now, a new ranking lays out exactly which states are at the top of innovation.

The WalletHub ranking of the most innovative states compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 24 innovation indicators, including share of STEM professionals and tech-company density.

Read more: 4 insights about higher-ed innovation…Read More

Accreditation, innovation, and transparency in higher education

The Department of Education is engaged currently in a negotiated rule making process regarding accreditation in higher education. The issues under discussion are complex, but the principles undergirding them—and the strategies that policymakers can employ to achieve stronger outcomes for students and taxpayers—are relatively simple.

Senior research fellow for higher education Alana Dunagan, and co-founder Michael B. Horn highlight two key dynamics that put current accreditation at odds with innovations that expand access, tackle affordability, and increase the value of American higher education. They also provide recommendations to design an accreditation system that is friendlier to innovation across new instructional models and/or new business models in higher education.

Download paper.…Read More

How does your university stand up in terms of innovation?

Most higher-ed institutions recognize the importance of innovation, and many are hiring a dedicated innovation officer, according to The Emergence of the Chief Innovation Officer in Higher Education, from Russell Reynolds Associates.

Across the nation, two- and four-year institutions are supporting initiatives and programs that strive to bring innovative changes and experiences to their campuses and beyond.

Here are four colleges leading the way down the innovation path.…Read More

9 ways community colleges have embraced innovation

Supporting mobile devices is a top priority among a majority of community colleges surveyed in the Center for Digital Education’s annual Digital Community Colleges Survey, which offers an inside look at community college innovation and technology.

Other priorities include cybersecurity tools and testing, redesigning or upgrading websites, upgrading classroom technologies, digital content and curriculum, and disaster recovery/business continuity.

According to the survey, 34 percent of community colleges have a strategy in place for the use of mobile devices; 35 percent have a full-time chief information security officer or a similar full-time role; 71 percent of surveyed community colleges’ websites have responsive web design; and 88 percent have off-site data storage redundancies in place.…Read More

10 more higher-ed predictions for 2019

41 predictions weren’t enough, so we asked a handful of additional edtech executives to share their insight about what will happen in 2019. Here’s what they had to say.

Jim Chilton, CIO, Cengage

  • Hacking continues to get easier. Complex work with malicious intent is created by a few and used by many as attacks for income become mainstream. IT tech & security worker shortage grows worldwide, creating a fundamental shift in how people prepare for these jobs. We will see an emergence of apprenticeships and skills-specific training in technologies that companies need. Cyberattacks will begin to focus beyond businesses and target cities, grid systems, and transportation.

Chris Cummings, vice president of Learning, Cengage…Read More

How big data is driving innovation at Elon University

When big data produces new insights, the results can be stunning. Uncovering new growth opportunities, finding answers to long-asked organizational questions, and using IT resources more effectively are just a few of the outcomes big data can offer.

However, building the integrated data sets necessary for big data to work its magic has historically been challenging for colleges and universities, even more so than for businesses. While higher education institutions do aggregate massive amounts of data, often individual departments collect and review it in isolation.

Fortunately, the introduction of new technology, specifically designed with higher education in mind, is helping to drive a new wave of campus modernization. At Elon University in North Carolina, we’ve been able to harness the power of big data, increasing collaboration across departments and ultimately enhancing the college experience with a true focus on student success. With a renewed campus-wide focus on data and the technology to help us get there, we’ve successfully used big data insights to directly improve student and staff outcomes. Here’s how we did it.…Read More

AI can humanize teaching—if we let it

While the scientific nature of artificial intelligence (AI) has frequently been used as a marketing term in recent years, AI does have some fascinating implications for instruction.

But perhaps one of the biggest things to remember about AI is that it will not eliminate teaching—it will humanize it.

“We hear that AI will take away faculty—AI is, in fact, going to supplement the work we already do,” said Jennifer Sparrow, senior director of teaching and learning with technology at Penn State. In that role, she focuses on innovation and technology-enhanced teaching and learning.…Read More

9 college presidents on increasing innovation on campus

eCampus News asked higher-ed leaders: What are your best tips for encouraging your faculty and staff to be more innovative? Here’s what they told us.

“Over the years, our role as educators has been significantly transformed by technology. Today’s learners have moved beyond talking and writing on a whiteboard. We are engaging a student body that has grown accustomed to getting information rapidly and we have to incorporate this into every aspect of our engagement with them. One of the things we do to encourage our team to be more innovative is to offer year-round training on the use of new tools and technologies, best practices in student support, and programs and disciplines to create synergy inside and outside the classroom. We also provide funding to encourage the development of new methodologies. For instance, the $100,000 we received as part of the 2017 Aspen prize was used as a grant to fund 24 innovative faculty projects.”
—J. David Armstrong, Jr., president, Broward College

“Make it safe for faculty to fail when trying something new and provide at least small monetary support for the effort. At Henderson Community College, that support comes from the College Foundation.”
—Kris Williams, PhD, president/CEO, Henderson Community College, Kentucky…Read More

This one-year-old bioscience incubator is already a success

In its first year, Austin Community College’s (ACC) Bioscience Incubator (ABI) not only matched expectations, but exceeded them. More than 800 unique visitors from 10 countries toured the innovative space and more than 65 life science companies expressed interest in admission into ACC Bioscience Incubator. ABI has built a pipeline of biotech companies across the U.S.. There are currently nine member companies at the wet lab incubator with scientific projects ranging from environmental testing to new brain cancer therapeutics.

The Bioscience Incubator is accelerating Central Texas’ biotechnology economy by providing fully-equipped wet laboratory space and $1.2 million in biotechnology equipment to member life science companies while also training a highly-skilled workforce. The state-of-the-art, flexible facility moves technologies from ideas to products, allowing life science entrepreneurs to focus on innovation.

“This is innovation at its finest, which is what ACC is all about,” says Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO.…Read More