I was recently reading the annual Noel Levitz report on incoming Freshmen Attitudes when it struck me just how reliant the Higher Education industry, as well as the Education industry as a whole is on data reports such as this. I’d like to state loud and clear that I resoundingly believe there is not only a place for these studies, but that they should be given priority when making informed decisions as an education professional. However, is there still not a place for intuition in planning for the future? Are we not a field of experts, capable of not only responding to trends but prescribing new methodologies?
Admittedly, those who bridge the Education/Technology gap know that Higher Education has lagged behind the curve in the adaptation and understanding of practical tools. Every day we at SimpleApply try to adjust the general strategy from being reactive to proactive. We could discuss ad nauseum why this problem exists; budgetary constraints, limited staff, turnover, politics, reliance on high priced vendors. The fact is it doesn’t have to be that way. As an IT Professional with confidence in the needs and direction of their institution, you can steer the boat, and not simply ride a ship in rough water. Doing so will allow you to focus on what’s important as you see it. It will allow you to prioritize your initiatives and undertake fewer tasks with better results. It stops you from following the fad. Like a football team who fires its coach and starts fresh every year with a new offense, responding to every data trend never allows your staff to build momentum.
Below is a list of several popular technology projects. How do these rank to you? Does your list fall in line with what the data is saying?
- Update existing solutions to new regulations (IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting, Net Price Calculator Requirement, Section 508 accessibility)
- A new Learning Management System
- An updated Website and Content Management System
- Implementing a Social Media strategy (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter) to increase enrollment
- Improving upon your existing toolset (Application, Registration, Email Marketing)