Interactive Report: The State of Higher Ed Strategic Technology Planning

Explore The Data

Press Release

Apogee Launches Interactive Report on State of Higher Ed Strategic Planning
March 9, 2021

Report helps Higher Ed leaders uncover gaps and opportunities in current strategic plans

Austin, TX – March 10, 2021 – With the goal of helping higher education institutions strengthen their strategic technology plans, Apogee, the only managed services provider solely focused on higher education, today launched a State of Higher Ed Strategic Technology Planning Interactive Report that offers precise data to help higher ed leaders uncover gaps and opportunities in their strategic plans as they look to build agile strategies for 2021 and beyond. The site provides insights and solutions that let administrators understand where things stood pre-pandemic — whether their strategic plan initiatives were average, over-indexing vis-à-vis schools like theirs, or whether strategic imperatives were missed in light of pandemic hindsight — and how they can refine and strengthen their strategic plans in the future.

An infographic highlighting key findings from the company’s research into the online learning initiatives in higher ed strategic plans is also available. The research revealed that only 40% of institutions had online learning initiatives pre-pandemic. While schools increased overall pedagogical initiatives from 76% to 84% over the last five years, technology initiatives dropped from 71% to 64% over the same period. The data suggests that schools took their foot off the gas and wound up technologically unprepared for the emergency shift to remote learning during the pandemic and a more equitable future of blended, multi-modal learning.

“Emergency remote learning was a pandemic-driven solution. We now must shift to deploying true blended learning – enhancing traditional learning with online modalities – to deliver a compelling differentiator for student accessibility to higher education and their retention and ultimate success. Apogee’s research data, however, suggests that technology initiatives did not keep pace with pedagogical initiatives critical to a blended learning future,” said Teresa de Onis, vice president of marketing, Apogee. “With the interactive report, higher ed leaders can now interact with strategic planning data from 491 institutions and compare their strategic plans to schools like theirs or to schools they aspire to be like. By benchmarking against their peers, we hope the site can support colleges to refine and strengthen strategic initiatives, especially around technology preparedness which is playing a vital role in ensuring higher ed emerges stronger in a post-pandemic world.”

Apogee’s new interactive report delivers a rich experience by enabling users to see data for 16 higher ed initiatives and choose the enrollment size range of institutions they would like to explore: <1500, 1500-4999, and 5000+. The data for each initiative is then displayed by locale: city, suburb, town, rural. An interactive map showing the location and size of all schools is also available so that users can hover and find schools like theirs. The 16 initiatives that users can interact with are:

  • Student Success
  • New Program Development
  • Student Engagement
  • Customized/Personalized Learning
  • Retention
  • Improving Residential Living
  • Graduation/Persistence
  • Funding Models/Strategic Funding
  • Innovation/Technology
  • Admissions
  • Technology Infrastructure
  • Accessibility to Education
  • Online Learning
  • Assessment/Analytics
  • Experiential Learning
  • Diversity

The data for these initiatives is presented in easy-to-read charts that show the average for all 491 institutions in the study, and then compares the different groups based on size and locale to see which groups are average, over-index, or under-index.

“There are 48 combinations—16 initiatives by three school size ranges – with a view by locale,” said de Onis. “From student success to student engagement, to technology and innovation, online learning, residential living, and a lot more, these sub-initiatives offer a finely detailed and highly actionable view of what was learned.”

As an example, schools with fewer than 1,500 students in rural areas come in third on technology initiatives compared to schools of that size in cities and suburbs, and last on online learning initiatives, trailing the other locales by 5-25 points. A small school in a rural area may want to look at how their 2021 plan can better align technology and pedagogy and whether they are at a disadvantage currently.

For student engagement initiatives, our interactive report reveals that schools with 1,500 to 4,999 students in suburbs and towns under-index the average for all institutions in the study. Only 63% of these schools have student engagement initiatives in their strategic plans compared to 75% average of all institutions in the study.

“As a leader for an association that understands and advocates for the pivotal role that our colleges and universities play in California’s higher education system, I’m always looking for good data to help guide our members in their planning,” said Kristen Soares, President, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), which is comprised of 85 independent, non-profit institutions. “The Apogee interactive report on the State of Higher Ed Strategic Planning reveals what the pandemic brought to light — higher education’s existing strategic plans fell short of meeting the technology needs required by our blended learning future. For our members who are working on technology preparedness plans for 2021 and beyond, the data herein can provide a blueprint for future success.”

Request a Walk-Through of the Interactive Report for Your College

To celebrate this launch, Apogee is offering 10 spots for one-on-one personalized walk-throughs of the report so higher ed leaders can review data points of most interest to them, see how their campus compares, and obtain advice on next steps in their strategic planning process. Registration is open here to higher ed leaders in any of the sixteen initiative areas our report covers and will remain open until the spots are filled or March 31, 2021.

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