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Survey: More IT Education Needed for Campus Leadership

Campus IT leaders are facing many of the same issues that plague the private sector when it comes to hiring and retaining top qualified personnel and 78 percent of IT officials think that college and university salaries and benefits are the main culprit behind the IT crisis.

Part of the problem is that two-fifths of campus presidents, provosts and chief financial officers are not well-informed or very engaged on digital learning and digital transformation issues, and 67 percent of campus IT leaders report that IT funding has not recovered from budget cuts from the Great Recession of 2008.

These findings come from the fall 2019 Campus Computing Survey conducted by the Campus Computing Project. IT leaders from 235 institutions responded to the online survey between Sept. 10 and Oct. 7.

Chart showing how engagement levels of campus leaders in IT

"Personnel, not tech products, are the heart of the campus IT infrastructure," said Kenneth C. Green, founding director of the Campus Computing Project. "We know that the demand for campus IT resources and services continues to grow. Concurrently, the continuing annual and mid-year campus IT budget cuts, as documented by the data from the annual Campus Computing Survey, affect IT hiring and personnel retention as well as institutional efforts to update technology and to enhance and expand campus IT resources and services."

As a result of the hiring challenges, many campus IT leaders are now responsible for developing strategies to educate their presidents, provosts and CFOs on key IT planning and policy issues that need to be addressed on the institutional level, as well as matters that relate to students and faculty.

The survey also provides insights into how colleges and universities are managing their technology services:

  • Campus CIOs rank IT data security (83 percent), hiring/retaining IT talent (77 percent), leveraging IT to support student success (73 percent) and providing adequate user support (71 percent) as their top four campus IT priorities.
  • Ninety-four percent of CIOs think digital curricular resources make learning more efficient and effective for students, but only 18 percent of general education classes use courseware.
  • Twelve percent of campuses have a formal program to assess the impact of IT on instruction and learning outcomes, and survey data from the last 10 years shows that many campuses do not evaluate the impact and benefits of their IT investments.
  • Over 40 percent of CIOs rate library resources and services, student recruitment and on-campus teaching and instruction as their most effective IT investments.
  • Campus IT leaders report that 30 percent of their institutions outsource some aspect of their online programs, but the vast majority of survey participants do not view outsourcing as a profitable strategy.
  • Almost three-fourths of student IT fees go towards core campus IT budgets. Only a fourth use student fees to support new resources and services.

The full 2019 report is available on the Campus Computing Project website.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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