New Study Delivers Insights on How Higher Ed Approaches Strategic Technology Planning Amid Continued Pandemic Challenges
AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 2, 2022) – Apogee, a leader in higher education managed technology services, has updated its ongoing study of higher education strategic plans with the completed analysis of 839 strategic plans of US colleges and universities. With the first study and report delivered in March 2021 and now with this update, Apogee has sought to provide higher ed leaders with a thorough understanding of the state of strategic planning and the role of technology on campuses of different sizes and in different locales. The findings are summarized and presented in the 2022 State of Higher Education Strategic Technology Planning Report, and a deeper dive into the data is available in the online interactive report.
About the Apogee 2022 State of Higher Education Strategic Technology Planning Report
Since 2020, Apogee has read and analyzed 839 higher ed strategic plans to understand the state of higher ed strategic technology planning. As of Oct. 1, 2021, only 500 institutions out of the 839 had an active strategic plan. This interactive report details the findings of these 500 active plans. The goal is to help institutions make data-driven planning decisions and tie their initiatives to technology strategies. Apogee believes that strategic planning is of paramount importance to ensure that higher education emerges from the pandemic stronger than before, with resilience to tackle the challenges that are certainly ahead.
The report focuses primarily on campuses with less than 5,000 students but includes a healthy representation of larger institutions to reference and compare strategic visions, for a 65/35 split. The company analyzed 16 campus initiatives across six main areas: technology, pedagogy, student life, student population, student outcomes, and funding, planning and governance.
“Though larger institutions have the innate advantages of more personnel and funding, we believe all institutions – especially smaller ones – need to double-down on strategic planning with a flexible goal-setting posture and aggressive technology planning that ties back to campus initiatives,” said Teresa de Onis, Apogee vice president of marketing and author of the report. “According to our research, smaller institutions are two times more likely to not have a strategic plan. Intentional strategic planning, with technology planning that keeps pace with and stays ahead of the altered environment, is fundamental.”
Insights from the Report
- The presence of technology initiatives decreased. The first study revealed that 66 percent of institutions explicitly called out technology initiatives in their strategic plans. Given the adoption of remote and blended learning modalities, it would be expected for schools to enhance their plans’ technology initiatives in 2021; however, only 62 percent of active plans in this year’s study included technology initiatives.
- Larger schools place more emphasis on technology initiatives in strategic plans. When strategic plans are broken down by school size, the disparity comes into even sharper focus: 70 percent of schools with enrollment over 5,000 document their plans for technology innovation and infrastructure, while only 54 percent of schools with enrollment under 5,000 document these plans.
- The gap between pedagogy and technology widened over time. Pedagogy initiatives increased alongside technology initiatives from 84 percent prior to 2020 to 88 percent afterward. While the increased focus on pedagogy planning since 2020 aligns with the increase in remote learning adoption, the inverse technology investment relationship suggests schools may either be unprepared for a future of blended, multimodal learning or expect a return to normalcy soon.
- Institutions are investing time and resources in preparing students for the future of work. Specific program areas that drive pedagogy initiatives, such as new program development and curriculum revision, increased by 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively. In addition, the study found a greater emphasis on career placement in plans created after 2020 – 52 percent of plans in the new study versus 42 percent in the year prior, suggesting that return on educational investment is top of mind.
- Institutions may be neglecting residential living improvements. In plans created before 2020, 38 percent of institutions showed a focus on improving residential living, but this number dropped to 25.6 percent in plans created after 2020. This could pose an issue for schools in the future if improving residential life on campus is not a strategic planning priority.
“As the statewide leader advocating for private, non-profit colleges in North Carolina, NCICU was pleased to be the first Apogee partner to host a webinar to deliver these insights to our colleges and universities to guide them in their strategic planning,” said Hope Williams, president of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. “The Apogee State of Higher Education Strategic Technology Planning Report reveals that initiatives such as student outcomes, pedagogy, student life, and planning and governance all rely on an underpinning of technology. The data compiled by Apogee can enable institutions of higher education to benchmark against other peer institutions to inform their strategic planning process.”
Established in Austin, Texas, in 1999, Apogee is a leading provider of managed technology services that enable colleges and universities to innovate to enrich the campus experience and foster student vitality. Uniquely positioned to serve higher education, Apogee supports a community of more than one million students and administrators at over 400 colleges and universities nationwide. The company’s comprehensive managed services portfolio includes managed campus networks, residential networks (ResNet), campus engagement, and HDTV and streaming video. Visit Apogee at apogee.us.
Laura M. Pennino
Pennino and Partners