digital measures industry insights 2017

Digital Measures Industry Insights for 2017

The Chronicle of Higher Education predicts “seismic shifts” will transform higher education in the next decade. As you turn the calendar to January and a new year, what do you expect from 2017? Here are a few of the trends we’re watching for the year ahead.

Evolving Accreditation Requirements

Though expected in higher education, “Accreditation …. has come into question in recent years, as accredited schools … are shut down due to poor practices,” according to a report by In fact, accrediting bodies including the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) have updated their standards in the past year. DM’s take: Accreditation requirements will drill deeper into faculty qualifications, educational practices and the impacts of universities on students and the larger community. Ensure that your faculty activity reporting (FAR) system is configured to collect this data and report it for accreditation and other purposes.

Accountability for Outcomes

“Experts across the ideological spectrum predict the federal government and the general public to demand more transparency in the data released about how graduates of specific campus programs fare in the job market,” according to University Business. DM’s take: Expect to see requests for more detailed reporting on how students fare once they leave your institution, and how engagement with students, such as collaborations with faculty, prepare them for success after graduation.

Retention Trumps Exclusivity

Exclusivity, exemplified by the Harvard Law legend of a culture designed to weed out students, is no longer acceptable, according to the University Innovation Alliance. With universities competing for students and being held accountable for low graduation rates, the new trend is student retention and success. “Look to your left, look to your right,” UIA advises in its post, How Can University Culture Change To Better Serve Students. “The institutions that make student progression and graduation a core part of their mission will be the ones who survive.” DM’s take: Expect more stakeholder focus on teacher qualifications and student mentoring.

A Changing Financial Landscape

“Revenue from key sources is continuing to fall, putting many institutions at severe financial risk,” according to research by The Boston Consulting Group. Flat or falling enrollment combined with budget cuts by state legislatures will challenge universities to do more with less in order to achieve their strategic plans. DM’s take: Leveraging a FAR solution drives efficiency and lowers cost of reporting while providing key reporting to university stakeholders. Consider FAR an investment in your university’s future.

Changing Educational Practices

“Many institutions are implementing evidence-based practices to advance student success,” according to a report commissioned by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). High-impact educational practices including internships, undergraduate research, practicums and supervised field work and first-year experiences to support the transition to college are in place at its member institutions. DM’s take: Prepare now to collect and report on your institution’s high-impact educational practices.

New Uses for Big Data

Big data isn’t just for university researchers. Predictive analytics are now used at institutions including Purdue University and Penn State to predict and alert when a student is at risk of a poor outcome, according to EducationDive. DM’s take: Good data is gold. Consider your university’s mission, strategic goals and accreditation reporting needs, as well as how you’ll capture information to measure your faculty’s contributions to them.

What are your predictions for higher education in 2017—and beyond? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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