10 new trends defining the state of higher education

Establishing innovative strategies for growth and preparing for industry disruption are just two of a number of trends higher-ed leaders should expect to come their way in 2018, according to a new report.

The State of Higher Education 2018, from professional services firm Grant Thornton LLP, offers guidance around emerging and potential higher-education trends in 2018. The leadership challenges and opportunities outlined in the report are shaped by the firm’s interaction with higher-ed clients.

Trends include achieving growth strategies; preparing for disruption; outsourcing via shared services consortia; using public-private partnerships; mergers, partnerships, and collaborations; tailoring fundraising to generational nuances; using independent verification and validation ( IV&V) for cloud implementation success; innovations in campus facilities usage; preparing for social media reputation risks; and new ways to measure success.…Read More

Survey: Students seek academic info on school websites

When searching higher-ed websites, students tend to be more interested in information about academic majors and minors than a school’s ranking or cost, according to a new survey from best practice research company EAB.

According to the survey of nearly 5,000 students, 70 percent say finding information about majors and minors is their top priority when searching websites. Nineteen percent most want information about a school’s ranking or reputation, 45 percent say they want information about costs, and 24 percent are interested in financial aid.

In terms of digital advertising, students found general information (50 percent) and information about majors and minors (41 percent) most helpful.…Read More

10 eye-opening facts about faculty job satisfaction

Most full-time faculty members are satisfied with their roles and are more likely to feel so when they believe they have greater environmental support, according to a new report.

Faculty who expressed lower job satisfaction may have done so partly due to increasing use of part-time positions, according to “The Working Environment Matters: Faculty Member Job Satisfaction by Institution Type,” a report from the TIAA Institute.

The report examines faculty job satisfaction at various institutions and looks at how gender, race, age, and other personal factors meld with faculty expectations, experiences, and perceptions of the work environment.…Read More

New partnership targets cybersecurity threats

Five universities are banding together to launch a highly-specialized cybersecurity center to help combat cybersecurity threats.

Indiana University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will launch OmniSOC, a sector-based cybersecurity operations center, or SOC, which provides trusted, rapid, actionable cybersecurity intelligence to its members.

OmniSOC is a pioneering initiative of these Big Ten Academic Alliance universities. The aim is to help higher education institutions reduce the time from first awareness of a cybersecurity threat to mitigation for members.…Read More

5 ways data humanizes the student experience

University leaders know data is critical to their success, and many institutions are leveraging data to humanize the student experience and improve student outcomes.

During SXSW EDU, Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governor’s University (WGU), and Marni Baker Stein, WGU’s provost and chief academic officer, outlined some of the ways WGU uses data to improve its performance at all levels.

WGU, which is competency-based and totally online, adheres to a student-centric model that tailors learning experiences to student needs, Pulsipher says, and it focuses on programs instead of individual courses. In those programs, competencies are aligned with workforce demands. The goal is to produce students who are equipped to excel in the workforce.…Read More

Is the liberal arts degree in danger?

Despite rumblings that liberal arts degrees don’t hold strong value for today’s graduates, a new report reveals a number of high-earning occupations for liberal arts graduates to pursue–as long as they have specific skills.

Saving the Liberal Arts, the report from AEI and Burning Glass Technologies, offers an analysis of detailed information on job postings and worker resumes. The data reveal that employers are seeking employees with broad knowledge–the type of knowledge that comes from liberal arts–along with practical skills and knowledge.

Authors Mark Schneider, AEI visiting scholar, and Burning Glass Technologies chief executive officer Matthew Sigelman contend that liberal arts majors should tap into in-demand skills to improve their pay and potentially erase the salary gap with STEM graduates. Those graduates who lack practical skills, even if those skills require additional training, are more likely to be underemployed.…Read More

How digital courseware can ease students’ financial worries

More than 20 million students are currently enrolled in a 4-year degree program, and 7 in 10 students will graduate with not just a degree, but with student loan debt, too.

Digital tools can bring about new and positive change when it comes to higher-ed affordability, said Michael Hansen, chief executive officer of Cengage Learning, in a recent post.

When 38 percent of students say they earned a poor grade and 20 percent say they failed a course, all due to inability to afford the course materials, the focus should turn to education access and how funding restricts that access for many students, Hansen wrote.…Read More

3 predictors of students’ workforce confidence

Just roughly half (53 percent) of students believe their major will lead to a good job, according to a nationally-representative survey of 32,000 students at four-year universities.

Only one-third of students said they think they will graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the job market (34 percent) and in the workplace (36 percent), according to the Strada-Gallup 2017 College Student Survey.

The report points to a skills gap between higher ed and industry; 96 percent of chief academic officers said they believe their institution is very or somewhat effective at preparing students for the workforce, but just 11 percent of business leaders strongly agreed.…Read More

How do today’s students pay for graduate school?

The majority of graduate students believe an advanced degree is necessary to their career aspirations, and borrowing money is the top way students are paying for graduate school today, according to a new survey.

Two-thirds of grad students (64 percent) believe an advanced degree is the new minimum standard level of education for any professional occupation, and 95 percent say an advanced degree is necessary to enter, advance, accelerate, or remain competitive in their chosen career, according to “How America Pays for Graduate School,” the study from Sallie Mae and market research company Ipsos.

Fifteen percent of graduate students said they expected a salary increase of $50,000 or more after graduation. Twenty-one percent expected an increase of $20,000-$29,999.…Read More