Higher education trends: live-blogging a Gartner update

This morning I’m live-blogging a conference panel on higher education’s future.  The session is titled “Higher Education Trends, Predictions, Themes, and Future Scenarios” and the venue is the 2023 EDUCAUSE conference in Chicago.

I’m live-blogging it, old school.  So there might be typos and cryptic phrasing.  The session room is very dark, so I can’t get a good photo to share; the panel also didn’t use any slides, so I can’t post any of that.

The panel includes Paul Riley, Terri-Lunn Thayer, Mariana Brown, Tony Sheehan, Robert Yanckello.

Opening statement looks at two challenges facing higher ed.  First, financial challenges: enrollment, cost.  Second, reputational challenges: are students getting the right skills?  Pressure on changing credentials, remaking higher ed’s communications of its value.

How should a CIO respond?  Focus on campus strategic plan.  Understand the institution. Growth is often called for, but IT leaders will have to determine what to cut.  Focus on a student’s experience, making it smoother.

The next segment explored improving data and analytics.  Texas is requiring an upgrade from its campuses (public or all?).  Speaker wants academics to think of student data as a strategic asset.

Another theme: campuses need to identify what makes them distinctive from others.

Over to AI.  Introductory remarks about huge, rapid uptake of ChatGPT, concern about higher ed use. Some Gartner clients wanted to block generative AI.  Sea change: academic leadership now recognizes that the tools won’t go away, that the workplace will use them, so the question is how to best prepare students.

Over to enterprise systems (ERP): how to handle aging applications? How to handle modernization of ERP and student experience – change management.  How to keep staff current?

How is the CIO role changing?  First, as change manager across the institution – and that position across the institution is special.  Second, as educational leader (I think this means as champion of campus research, but am not sure).

What about vendors?  Now they are being more flexible, more configurable to appeal to wider audiences.

Some trends for the rest of the 2020s:

  • AI – how to make campuses more efficient
  • credentials – will the current set endure, or see new forms take hold?
  • personalization – in terms of content
  • polarization of sector (?) – how higher education institution competes?

CIOs managing student experience – the idea is wraparound support.  Slogan: “the last experience you had is the experience you expect everywhere.”  Also need to think of different levels: student, staff, general user experiences.  Question: what metrics do we use to assess student experience?

I ask what the panel thinks about the potential impact of climate change.  Gartner has received few queries on this. G has a sustainabioliyy team. Most queries are from Europe about power.  Early days. Some campuses call themselves sustainable, but they won’t stand up to stress tests.

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2 Responses to Higher education trends: live-blogging a Gartner update

  1. Glen McGhee says:

    Wow — lot going on. What was the average attendee like?

  2. Daisy Hartwell says:

    AI really is a challenge. tbh, I can’t think of any solution (baning is not an option, I guess).

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