After two years of being virtual, it was great to reconnect with HEUG colleagues in-person at Alliance.
While it was fun to reminisce over memories of past Alliances, it is clear that there has been change while we have been away. For higher ed institutions, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way people work, communicate across campus, and engage with students new and old. Some of those changes were temporary but many are here to stay.
Over the course of the week, there were several highlights that stood out to our team.
IT organizations are facing a greater demand for services.
“Over the past several years, we have witnessed the shift in technology roles as IT departments evolved from operational enablers to strategic partners…higher-education executives increasingly view IT as an integral component in nearly every aspect of the strategic plan and mission.” - Session 9078: Tech Roles and the Future of Work
Although higher education institutions are historically known for being “slow-acting”, the pandemic forced colleges and universities to quickly respond to the needs of their campuses by moving online. As some students, faculty, and staff returned to campus in-person, the hybrid learning and work environment has and will continue to remain, placing strain on IT organizations’ financial and human capital resources. During the pandemic, many organizations turned to community-driven knowledge bases, like HEUG, to collaborate and solve an ever-evolving stream of challenges including supporting new business models and lowering costs through increased efficiencies.
Looking beyond the pandemic, improving speed and efficiency is necessary to thrive.
“Speed to innovation is critical to helping institutions manage – and thrive – during periods of future unpredictability.” - Session 8660: Keeping Your Foot On The Pedal Of Disruption
While uncertainty stays present in the higher education industry, the pandemic exposed demographic, financial, and technical issues affecting many institutions. Colleges and universities are evaluating and adopting improved methods for running with greater speed and efficiency to meet institutional and student needs. More institutions are turning to low-code and no-code platforms to drastically reduce development time and costs, enabling non-programmers to create efficient and effective applications.
Demographics in higher education are shifting
“To succeed in this new world, institutions need to keep abreast of how to best serve their current students, as well as how to fold in new student segments.” - Session 8893: How to support all learners from ages 16-65 amidst their changing mindsets
It is no surprise that major change in higher education is occurring — the traditional student population shrinking, and institutions are engaging with non-traditional populations more than ever before. To reach current and future populations, there is a need for colleges and universities to adopt technology that is customized, student-centered, and easily integrated into existing systems. By taking this approach, there is a higher likelihood of recruiting, admitting, and retaining students in addition to gaining insights into the needs and behaviors of a more diverse range of students.
Mutara was thrilled about the opportunity to attend Alliance 2022 — it gave our team the opportunity to connect with partners, share knowledge and experience with colleagues, and have fun with peers. As the higher education industry continues to evolve, we will continue to share thought leadership and solutions for our college and university partners. We look forward to Alliance 2023!