Four things higher education leaders are worried about—and how IT can support them

As part of this year’s National Meeting research, IT Forum analysts have compiled work from different EAB research forums to offer “views across the quad.” These conversations with different higher education leaders give IT staff insight to understand and prepare for upcoming challenges across the industry.

Each EAB research forum is organized around the challenges and needs of different campus executives. For IT, sitting at the nexus of these competing consumer bases can make prioritizing campus needs and promoting cross-silo solutions a challenge. But with insight into the top-of-mind issues for Provosts, Chief Business Officers, Enrollment Managers, and Heads of Online Education, IT staff can better prepare to serve their communities effectively in 2018 and beyond.

Provosts are turning to new metrics to measure academic vital signs

In the Academic Affairs Forum, researchers leveraged their extensive network of academic Deans and Provosts to understand nationwide top-level concerns. Across institutions, academic strategic plans emphasized similar goals: enrollment growth, cost efficiency, student outcomes, scholarship, and faculty diversity and inclusion. While aspirations were high, the Forum found that few institutions established measurable objectives for their academic units to meet these strategic imperatives. To help Provosts and Deans turn empty metrics into meaningful information, researchers encouraged leadership to reorient their analysis.

In measuring cost efficiency, for instance, the Forum advocated that Provosts ditch traditional metrics such as student-faculty ratio and faculty workload. Instead, institutions should measure more nuanced metrics such as instructional gap capacity, student credit hour per FTE, and unfunded course releases.

What this means for IT: Expect academic units to rely more on data-driven decision making, along with a greater emphasis on nuanced metrics and real-time reporting for ongoing capacity issues. As academic needs flex across the year, Provosts will look for reliable data to inform term-by-term decisions.

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