March 15, 2022 | Featured

    ACE 2022 in Review: Issues, Trends, and Sustainable Strategies

    In San Diego this week, hundreds of higher education professionals gathered to meet and explore practical solutions for today’s issues, discuss and analyze the year’s biggest trends, and discover sustainable strategies for the future.

    Inside Higher Education reported out on two major trend studies: The “2022 Trends Report” and “What Keeps Presidents Up at Night?”

    The “2022 Trends Report” focused on what higher ed leaders should be prepared for in the coming year, addressing questions like:

    • How are politics affecting institutions’ reputations, both with their campus communities and with the public?
    • What is the future of the faculty?
    • How will colleges align their physical footprint with the projected drop in enrollments?
    • What will students’ compelling needs be, and how will colleges meet them?

    “What Keeps President’s Up at Night,” looked at how colleges are changing in the wake of COVID-19 and how presidents can lead change at a time of immense uncertainty. This report also explores campus leaders’ candid views on these and other timely topics.

    Each report was featured in an individual session but the use of data in higher education was a running theme throughout many sessions. This was illuminated in the panel discussion, “Strategic Metrics: The Secret Ingredient to Transforming your Institution.” In this session, five higher ed leaders from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, PASCHE, WASC, and AGB Search  talked about the overabundance of data but shortage of clearly articulated and prioritized metrics that are necessary to lead universities through turbulent times.

    From various perspectives, the panel addressed the fact that strategic metrics are needed to measure progress on each university’s most critical initiatives and keep leaders accountable. The session explored case studies from three points of view—the university level, the system level, and the macro accreditation level.

    The University of North Carolina System created a strategic plan in 2017 around five key priorities: access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and excellent and diverse institutions. Each university in the system set goals in each of these areas. You can read more about our own work with the UNC System here.

    In the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, strategic metrics were utilized to build a coalition around a major transformation and consolidation initiative.

    The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission’s Better Conversations, Better Data initiative marries improvement-focused inquiry and contextualized metrics to promote equitable student success and institutional effectiveness.

    In short, the session really brought to light how critical strategic metrics can be used to not only to create a sense of urgency for change but also to rally the institution around specific, common goals.

    Beyond this panel, the theme of using data to inform decision making and institutional effectiveness initiatives was present throughout the conference. Not only was it great to learn about the ways in which your institutions are overcoming challenges and planning for the future, but it was also so nice to connect with everyone in person. We cannot wait for another great year at ACE.

    If you are interested in learning more about how HelioCampus can help institutions measure and evaluate their effectiveness and impact by connecting investments with both financial and student learning outcomes, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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