Looking Ahead: Thought Leaders Forecast Trends 2016

higher education trends

ILLUSTRATIONS © REDSHINESTUDIO

TOPIC: HYBRIDIZATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEMS

TREND: TOWARD CIOS ACTING AS INTEGRATORS

Carol Smith, CIO, DePauw University (www.depauw.edu), Greencastle, IN

As hybridization of administrative systems progresses to displace the single-vendor campus ERP, CIOs must exercise their skills as integrators to ensure that enterprise data stays connected and intact.

With promises of independence and agility for functional departments, flexibility for addressing emerging needs by single-function systems, and a shift from costly all-inclusive pricing to an à la carte pay-for-what-you-use menu, availability of specialized applications will compel institutions to assemble hybrid suites fine-tuned to their campus needs.

To keep institutional information unified as data becomes disaggregated across systems, CIOs must focus on the “Information” in IT and act as integrators on multiple levels. While assembling staff with expertise in managing applications and connecting data, other activities include lobbying vendors to develop common standards and APIs for synchronizing between systems; developing IT governance models that guide priorities for managing information and deploying systems across campus; negotiating sound agreements with Cloud providers to ensure secure and well-managed access to institutional data; and fostering communities of practice that connect and educate data managers across the enterprise.

Most importantly, CIOs must proactively explore these new administrative system models and lead as business thinkers to align administrative systems toward the needs of their campuses.

TOPIC: SMART CARDS

TREND: TOWARD SMART CARD SYSTEM INTEROPERABILITY

Jeremy Earles, credentials business leader, Allegion (www.allegion.com), Carmel, IN

We’re anticipating an acceleration of smart-card usage based on the capabilities that smart gives us. With the move to smart cards will come an unprecedented change: the merging of physical and logical access through system interoperability, which wasn’t previously possible with magnetic-stripe cards. With this transition, cardholder identities will be managed from a single source as opposed to the current standard of a separate piece of software for each of the card’s applications.

The need for interoperable systems and intelligence/data sharing is being standardized by the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), which has developed a Physical-Logical Access Interoperability (PLAI) specification. It will provide a standard way for enterprises to ensure the logical and physical access privileges associated with a cardholder’s role are always in sync.

There are two practical applications of the interoperability specification. The first is that security end-users could link physical and logical identities without having to build and maintain custom interfaces between physical security and logical systems.

Building on the idea that’s already in place with one-card systems, interoperability will offer greater efficiency and productivity for card management. Plus, it will have a broader identity management strategy to include logical access. This will offer greater security of identifications and reduced risk from management mistakes.

The second practical application is that it will be more cost effective to ensure cardholders are physically present before allowing them to log into applications and databases, an effective measure against cyber security breaches.

TOPIC: TRANSFORMATION OF MASS MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION PROGRAMS

TREND: TOWARD FLEXIBLE, CUSTOMIZABLE ACADEMIC FACILITIES

Bradley Lukanic, AIA, LEED-AP, executive director, Education, CannonDesign (www.cannondesign.com), New York, NY

Higher education’s learning landscape is evolving at a rapid pace with the global recession’s lingering effects, new learning and curriculum delivery perspectives, and the global interconnectivity and synergistic partnership between industry and education. While many academic programs are advancing and responding in various ways, mass media and communication programs, in particular, are experiencing an accelerated transformation. Fueling this educational growth is the convergence of enhanced information access, new technology mobility with on-the-go/real-time capture and record, coupled with expanded abilities to develop meaningful information and content, faster and easier.

The need for flexible, customizable academic facilities — combining and synthesizing cross-platform media and curriculum — is key for mass media and communication programs. Innovative spaces encompass all media platforms so learning is visible, realistic and inviting.

One example is Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media in New Jersey. All-in-one fusion spaces are designed to strengthen industry partnerships, blend traditional and digital learning, and physically link and engage learning spaces. Multimedia laboratories, a “newsroom of the future,” integrated media labs, screening rooms, a soundstage and post-production editing suites facilitate ambitious efforts with top media brands throughout the region with an on-campus news bureau.

TOPIC: GUNS ON CAMPUS

TREND: TOWARD “CONCEALED CARRY” LEGISLATION

William Taylor, president, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA, www.iaclea.org), West Hartford, CT

A trend that bears watching in 2016 is the movement in the states to adopt “concealed carry” legislation in response to active-shooter incidents, such as the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on October 1, 2015. In 2013, at least 19 state legislatures introduced legislation to allow concealed gun carry on campus and, in 2014, at least 14 states introduced similar bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Recent state legislation and court rulings have resulted in eight states that now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. During the 2015 legislative session, the Texas legislature passed a bill permitting concealed weapons on campus and making it the eighth state to permit guns on campus. The legislation will take effect in August 2016.

Although mass shootings on college campuses generate national publicity, such events are relatively rare. According to an FBI report on active-shooter incidents in the United States between the years 2000 and 2013, of the 160 mass shootings, just 7.5 percent took place on a college campus. Still, these shootings highlight the need for active-shooter training on college and university campuses. We expect the trend toward active shooter training and exercises to continue as we strive to protect and secure our nation’s college and university campuses.

TOPIC: SUSTAINABILITY

TREND: TOWARD TEACHING, LEARNING AND SCHOLARSHIP BECOMING A PRIORITY

Stephen Mulkey, Ph.D., president, Unity College (www.unity.edu), Unity, ME

Development of a sustainable relationship with our natural resources is an imperative for any meaningful quality of life as climate change poses the ultimate test of our adaptability as a species. The consequences of failing to respond will be catastrophic and irrevocable through a millennial time scale. Accordingly, I believe that it is appropriate to refer to this century as the environmental century.

During the environmental century, higher education has an ethical imperative to provide the foundation of a sustainable civilization. Higher education is broadly failing to meet this mandate. Most existing programs in environmental and sustainability science and studies provide inadequate training and lack budgetary autonomy equivalent to established academic units.

Although many universities define sustainability through operational activities, the primary purpose of higher education is not operational sustainability — it is teaching, learning, scholarship and outreach. Developing the capacity for proactive adaptation will require us to examine how we conduct teaching and research across the spectrum of higher education institutions. Education and research for proactive adaptation to rapid ecological change affecting human and natural systems is necessary if we are to produce holistic managers to conserve our natural heritage. All undergraduates should acquire basic ecological and sustainability literacy.

Teaching, learning and scholarship for sustainability must become the highest priority in higher education. Because of their direct control of the curriculum, faculty members have the collective power to implement these reforms.

TOPIC: LIBRARIES

TREND: TOWARD TRANSFORMED LIBRARIES CONTINUING TO SERVE AS CAMPUS HUBS

Ann Campion Riley, president, Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL, www.ala.org/acrl), Chicago, IL

In an era of technological change in higher education, nothing has changed more fundamentally or more rapidly than university libraries. Information must be available to students and faculty in multiple formats, at any time and in any place. The use of library space has expanded to include group study rooms, technology-driven laboratories, informal workspaces and cafés, all with an expanding array of technology.

Trends in higher education focus on undergraduate research, evidence-based learning, flipped classrooms and online learning, each requiring libraries to work more collaboratively with faculty and other partners in supporting the student learning experience. Modern librarians actively engage students who prefer online access to reference sources, database tutorials, library guides and more.

Amidst this change, libraries at leading universities have invested heavily in new learning spaces, innovative programs and enhanced digital resources. New learning spaces include expanded information commons, areas with versatile computer workstations, whiteboards of all types and study rooms as well as quiet areas. Staffing for the study spaces includes librarians as well as technology support staff.

Innovative programs enable universities and colleges to engage with their communities and address outreach and service, connecting the whole range of stakeholders and adding to the reach of the growth of knowledge. Enhanced digital resources can help bring campuses forward, often through partnerships with centers for faculty development. Librarians can play a key role in blended courses with both online and face-to-face components, along with increasing study of student learning outcomes for information literacy. Transformed libraries continue to serve as the hub at the center of campus, encompassing spaces for new ways of learning along with being centers for knowledge and discovery.

TOPIC: COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION

TREND: TOWARD STATES DECIDING IF HIGHER EDUCATION IS A PRIORITY

Sandy Baum, Ph.D., senior fellow, Urban Institute (www.urban.org), Washington, DC

The reason higher education has gotten so much more expensive is because state funding per student has declined. There is increased enrollment, and states have not increased their funding to keep up with enrollment. The way for states to increase their funding — someone has to pay for it — is to raise taxes or shift priorities to higher education. We need to decide as a society if we are going to place a priority on higher education and, if so, move forward accordingly. However, even if tuition were free, it would not completely solve students’ financial problems because they would still have living expenses. College pays off really well. And, for many students, it’s the best thing to do. But we need more support for them so they can meet their goals and succeed.

TOPIC: RECRUITING

TREND: TOWARD AGGRESSIVE AND EARLY, AND INCLUDING ANALYZING DATA

John Flato, vice president, Advisory Services, Universum (universumglobal.com), New York, NY

In most industries, campus recruiting is on the upswing. Career fairs are sold out and companies are being turned away because of a lack of space. This is a great sign for new graduates, who are coveted in most industries. Those with the most choices are majoring in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math), closely followed by business. One interesting new trend is that many companies are accelerating their recruiting process to match that of the most aggressive recruiters, the banks and consulting firms. Manufacturers are now on campus much earlier than in the past, which will heat up the competition. Another trend is that many companies are attempting to fill more than 50 percent of their full-time positions by hiring their interns into full-time positions. The phrase, “recruit once, hire twice” has taken on new meaning.

Social media and technologies are playing a larger and larger role in the recruitment process, as you might have predicted. Finally, the trend to aggregate and analyze data to make branding and hiring decisions, and the selection of where to recruit, has helped to provide return-on-investment decisions.

TOPIC: INCUBATORS AND INNOVATION

TREND: TOWARD REAL-WORLD COLLABORATION AND INNOVATION, BOTH LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY.

Robin Mamlet, managing partner, Education; Witt/Kieffer (www.wittkieffer.com), Oak Brook, IL

Many colleges and universities understand the power of leading change. One way to drive an agenda for change is to develop incubator facilities and campuses as places of experimentation in meeting new challenges, serving new populations, forging new partnerships and educating in new ways. Notable examples include the University of Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex — on a compound it purchased from Pfizer in 2009 — and the collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. These spaces include cyberspace and the vast opportunities that online and multi-site education offers.

New institutions require new types of leaders — those that are comfortable with ambiguity, can envision future facility and technological needs and can sail the ship while building it. They must mix traditional academic ideals with a start-up mentality. There aren’t a lot of academic leaders who fit this bill, at least on the surface, so search committees and executive recruiters are relying more and more upon advanced methods of leadership assessments to explore which candidates might be suitable for given situations. In incubator environments great teams combining different generations of leaders (Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial, for example) are essential.

Having spaces that encourage innovation are a powerful symbol of an institution’s ability to help its graduates create the future. Flexible classrooms, laboratories and other kinds of collaborative learning and research spaces can play a key role in recruiting students, faculty and researchers.

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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