Maintaining educational excellence in a post crisis world
Higher Education is an industry in flux - and that was true even before COVID hit. But the acceleration of challenging trends, from remote learning to restricted funding, mean institutions must now completely rethink their operating models to deliver the level of quality demanded by students and society. And doing this means establishing a solid but flexible foundation.
Higher Education faces distinct obstacles as a sector – and not all of them can be blamed on COVID. In the 21st century, students are an increasingly diverse and demanding audience, expecting institutions to provide them with an experience and outcomes that match their investment.
And the realities of the economy post-2008 – combined with renewed scrutiny from both governments and society at large – mean that funding is increasingly restricted, and institutions are being forced to justify their price, delivery models, and value to society.
This is leading to a crisis for many institutions – with enrollments down by almost 20% in some institution types.
Embracing new ways of working to overcome the challenges
In this kind of environment, pressure to streamline operations and make better use of technology to deliver a great experience, provide more scientific data for decision-making, and satisfy compliance and regulatory requirements was naturally strong already. But recent events have both sharpened the need while also adding additional new challenges, like necessary remote learning capabilities, to the list.
So far institutions have largely failed to accept that they need to change their approach in order to survive. As our own Lead Product Manager puts it:
“The most pressing threat to higher education institutions comes from the inside, not outside. It’s the hesitation to embrace the changes needed to thrive against the trifecta of changing learner demographics, learner expectations and the question of value of higher education.”
It’s clear that overcoming these challenges will require big changes to the way institutions manage students and resources. We believe that this future-looking change must be strategically aligned in the platforms you use. Replacing the brittle, restrictive systems of the past with something reliable enough to allow you to deliver everything you require now as standard while still allowing the flexibility for as yet unknown future needs.
Use the right technology, do more with less – for real this time
When correctly implemented, modern enterprise technology for Finance, HCM and Student can have an amazing transformative effect. Removing redundancies, silos, and confusion that inevitably trickles down to affect the student experience, and reducing the total cost of your operations. Modern solutions also bring your institution into alignment across departments, meaning your people can more easily identify opportunities for innovation.
Make better use of the data your operations generate
Everyone recognizes the power of data to help refine and optimize operations. But according to recent research, less than half of all higher education institutions have actually taken the initiative to collect and integrate data from across their key systems – and fewer still actively use it to improve their programs.
To make use of data productively, you must ensure that your systems collect and store it ethically (and, of course, legally). As data protection laws evolve constantly, it’ll be vital to pick systems that allow you to deploy clear and consistent data governance in line with all relevant regulations. (You’ll be in an even better position with a platform that can both accommodate current regulatory frameworks and adapt to any future changes.)
Ensure that you manage your people’s experience as well as you manage your students’ experience
A 5% increase in your employee turnover increases the chance that a given student will fail to graduate on time by 35%. This means that minimizing turnover must be an absolute priority to ensure not just a good student experience, but institutional continuity and reputation.
For this reason, implementing a proven and flexible HCM solution is vital for the long-term health of your institution. Keeping your staff satisfied and engaged is good for you, the institution, and for students. But achieving a good standard of people management requires a subtle combination of the correct organizational policy, excellent communication, and a Human Capital Management platform that makes the employer-employee relationship a positive experience that’s easy to navigate.
Experience what Unit4 can do to help safeguard your institution’s future at X4U, our first global virtual event.
Register for access to over 40 sessions, including:
- Building a foundation of resilience and adaptability: hear from Raechelle Clemmons, VP of Industry Relations and Corporate Strategy at the Tambellini Group, about planning for long-term institutional viability.
- People Process Technology: Change Management: learn the principles to create an organizational culture that can change quickly when needed, empower your people to re-envision their work, and enable them to realize opportunities.
- University of Waterloo Cloud ERP Implementation: one of our customers shares insights from their implementation of Unit4 ERP in the cloud.
- Unit4 Student Management Update: join our Higher Education business and product team for the latest updates on Unit4 Student Management. And hear from Manchester Metropolitan University about the benefits they’ve experience with Unit4 Student Management