This month in EDUCAUSE: Year-end wrap, highlights, and best practices

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My name is Irene Knokh and I’m the EDUCAUSE ambassador for U-M. I share articles of interest, upcoming trends, and advocate on your behalf for EDUCAUSE.

Welcome to the December edition! ‘Tis the homestretch!

For the different perspectives on the top 2023 issues from federal, corporate, teaching and senior IT leaders’ view, visit the 2023 Top IT Issues report. Below are some highlights as we wrap up 2022.

Top 2023 IT Issues and Foundations model article is an in-depth summary of what we learned the pandemic; for 2023, there are three (3), “building blocks” that will guide the future work. These are leadership, data, work, and learning.

Highlights of key lessons from the IT Issues and Foundations model article:

  • Work doesn’t only happen in the physical space for faculty, students, and staff. Students want the flexibility of physical and hybrid presence options. IT Teams can complete the work successfully in hybrid or remote circumstances. Work and life mesh with each other—it is essential to provide staff the flexibility needed to manage both. Institutional culture must evolve-and it is important to ensure that IT staff have “a seat at the table,” especially since everyone needs an understanding of the institutions’ priorities and missions.
  • Technology is used to enhance and improve learning experience; equitable access to technological options is key in evaluating optimal approaches for student and staff learners. Education is not “in service” to the technology.
  • Privacy and security are critical; although most institutions have training and security structure, it is important to verse students in these issues. How is data used? How should everyone be protected against AI biases and what is done with the data? Are students able to think critically and ask important questions? Having a better grasp of both will ensure that students, as well as staff, become better digital citizens.
  • IT contributors must have options for progressing in roles—money is important, and it is not the only thing. Meaningful work and being valued are vital — staff don’t leave institutions. Employees leave leadership. It’s the role of leaders to support, engage, and empower students, faculty, and staff (“Leading with Wisdom and Humility”).
  • IT systems must be streamlined to support students’ experience, “Everything is everywhere at once.”

Below is the snapshot of all issues with links to relevant articles:

Taken together, the 2023 Top 10 IT Issues form a basis for the new foundation models, structured by three building blocks: 1) leadership (Leading with Wisdom); 2) data (The Ultra-Intelligent Institution); and 3) work and learning (Everything Is Anywhere). Highlights include:

  1. A Seat at the Table: Ensuring IT leadership is a full partner in institutional strategic planning
  2. Privacy and Cybersecurity 101: Embedding privacy and cybersecurity education and awareness in the curriculum and in the workplace
  3. Evolve, Adapt, or Lose Talent: Creating a workplace that allows for and supports movement up down and sideways to accommodate shifts in personal and professional goals and to foster healthier work/life balance
  4. Smooth Sailing for the Student Experience: Using technology, data insight, and agility to create a frictionless student experience
  5. Enriching the Leadership Playbook: Leading with humility and candor to engage, empower, and retain the IT workforce
  6. Expanding Enrollments and the Bottom Line: Focusing data and analytics initiatives on identifying academic programs with high potential for recruitment ROI
  7. Moving from Data Insight to Data Action: Converting data analytics into action plans to power institutional performance, enhance operational efficiency, and improve student success
  8. A New Era of IT Support: Updating IT services to support remote/hybrid work
  9. Online, In-Person, or Hybrid? Yes: Developing a learning-first, technology-enabled learning strategy
  10. SaaS, ERP, and CRM: An Alphabet Soup of Opportunity: Managing cost, risk, and value of investments in new ERP solutions

From Thinking to Doing

Review the state of Digital Transformation, Cultural Change, and “From Thinking to Doing” blueprint in the Looking Forward: Your 2023 planning guide. The guide is a review of key issues, challenges, and lessons learned in the past two years-with an emphasis on what needs to happen to support students, faculty, and staff.

IT 2023 Teaching and Learning

In the Teaching and Learning Perspectives on the 2023 top 10 IT issues, the discussion centers around retaining and investing in top talent, and endeavoring to resolve challenges before the become huge. The motto for the students is “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and the institutions’ goal is to make it happen. “Thus, institutions will need to invest in simulcast classrooms as well as in the pedagogy and processes to offer high-flexibility classes. As enrollment pressures continue, the
higher education institutions that embrace this new model of high flexibility will be much more successful than the ones that do not.”

IT 2023 Federal Policies Thoughts

As I’ve been reading the Federal Policy Perspectives on the EDUCAUSE 2023 Top 10 IT Issues, the reminder about non flagship schools stuck with me: “When you’re putting together a policy [cybersecurity, privacy], if you’re thinking about flagship
universities and their ability to do something, please also keep in mind the small rural community college or the small private liberal arts institution that isn’t located in a high-population area with a concentration of technology and cybersecurity professionals. These institutions often rely on staff to wear many hats, and increasing the volume or complexity of requirements very much adds to or, in many cases, multiplies the impact on staff of trying to stay in compliance.” —Keith “Mac” McIntosh,
Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Richmond

How are medium and small institutions, and community colleges even in larger areas deal with all these issues? “Please don’t forget about us.”

A note of gratitude

Thank you to Chris Eagle, EDUCAUSE coordinator at U-M, and Stephanie Dascola, Michigan IT News editor, for always encouraging and supporting me to write and not ever give up! Thank you to Annaliese Gottschalk, Michigan IT News co-editor, for your involvement in getting my newsletter published each month and reading through my “let’s edit this a bit” emails.

Readers: All of us work through constant changes, new information, integrating teaching and learning together—and just trying to stay on top of it! Thank you for everything that you do!

“See you” in February 2023! 


If you have any questions about the content, tidbits you’d like to share, or anything EDUCAUSE related, email Irene Knokh, instructional design and technology consultant, Professional Development and Education for Nursing, or Chris Eagle, EDUCAUSE coordinator for U-M.