Top 10 IT Issues in 2022 according to EDUCAUSE1 February 2022 6 min reading
University leaders agree that in this day and age, it is impossible to run a university without the use of modern information technology. Most university executives also admit that now, for the first time, they see technology not as a separate issue, but as a driver and even an enabler of their strategy, according to the EDUCAUSE 2022 Top 10 IT Issues report.
EDUCAUSE is a non-profit association founded in the United States whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. Among other things, the organization maintains the EDUCAUSE Library, an online library of more than 21,000 publications and papers on technology in higher education. The most popular of these are the annual reports prepared by the EDUCAUSE community of experts.
One of these reports is the EDUCAUSE 2022 Top 10 IT Issues that presents the top 10 technology-related challenges facing higher education today. The report was compiled by a group of EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel experts and Susan Grajek, Vice President of EDUCAUSE, based on responses from US higher education institutions.
The report focused on how technology can help create the best possible higher education – ” the higher education we deserve”, the publication’s authors emphasized. Challenges were not viewed by respondents as problems, but opportunities for growth. Many of the university leaders surveyed indicated that right now we have the best opportunity to redefine education and reconceptualize higher education.
What technology-related challenges should university leaders pay special attention to so their organizations are ready for a postcovid future? Based on our reading of the report and related materials, we’ve compiled a list of the top challenges and advice on what actions are key in 2022.
Top 10 IT Challenges 2022 according to EDUCAUSE and how to tackle them
- Be ready for digital transformation
Cybersecurity is a key challenge of 2022. Establish processes, develop control protocols, adjust infrastructure, and develop staff competencies to ensure data security and integrity. Any negligence in this area can lead to disruption of university operations and incidents resulting in reputational damage, data leakage and financial loss.
- Digitize and grow – or go out of business
Digital transformation in universities is happening here and now, whether we want it or not. Be at the forefront of change and accelerate digitization at your university to improve operational efficiency, agility, and staff development. Develop a strategy to manage your university’s growing collection of IT services and solutions.
- The academic workforce of the (digital) future
Ensure that your staff is upskilled and proficient in the use of modern information technology. It is essential to provide students with an education that builds their engagement and meets their expectations. Give faculty the modern learning tools they need to create and deliver valuable classes and teaching materials.
- Learn from the pandemic
COVID-19 was an incentive for the rapid growth of IT in higher education. Use this experience to build a student-centered IT ecosystem that provides equal access to quality online learning. Also create remote working opportunities for teaching and administrative staff, for example by digitizing the organization’s workflow.
- Digital vs traditional
Create a balanced, hybrid education model and provide both digital and physical spaces for working and learning. Ask yourself – has the LMS platform in the age of pandemics become the equivalent of the traditional campus? For faculty and students, technologies that allow access to learning anywhere, anytime are just as important as classrooms.
- Equitable access to education
Strive to achieve full, equal digital access for all students by investing in infrastructure, tools and skills and address digital exclusion. Build a culture of accessibility at the university, make organizational changes and put the student first.
- There is no going back to pre-pandemic operating methods
We will not return to the pre-pandemic world. Universities that choose to return to the status quo will fall behind. Institutions that are able to reevaluate their mission and strategy, manage change, effectively execute plans, and accurately measure their impact will thrive. Use the right technologies to help achieve these ambitions faster and at less cost.
- Move to the cloud
Develop a strategy to migrate to the cloud and to solutions delivered as a service (SaaS). Cloud services will help you reduce IT-related costs, including infrastructure expenses, ensure the security and reliability of your university’s IT, and help you meet the growing demand for computing power. The SaaS model offers solutions for students (e.g. e-learning platforms) as well as for researchers and administration.
- Prepare for future crises
Usually, we learn the importance of anticipating and preparing for disasters too late. Create a plan to prepare for future crises and to maintain business continuity in an ever-changing environment. Consider how organizational changes and investments made in the wake of a pandemic can be used in the future.
- Foster students’ creativity
Educate students to be prepared for the future challenges of the job market by providing them with modern tools that enable collaboration, projects and creativity. As indicated in the report, in just five years many students will be working in professions that do not exist today. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new solutions and tools!
The EDUCAUSE report makes it clear that the most important things for the future of the university are:
- a vision and mission that is shared by all departments of the university and that incorporates digital transformation,
- putting student success at the center of university operations and treating student success as institutional success,
- a sustainable business model that allows the university to operate efficiently and manage effectively based on data.
The report identifies a variety of ways technology can support meeting these goals, overcoming challenges, and preparing for the postcovid era. We strongly encourage you to read the full report on the EDUCAUSE website!
Susan Grajek, the 2021–2022 EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel, Top 10 IT Issues 2022: The Higher Education We Deserve (EDUCAUSE Review, 2021).
Mike Corn, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification 2.0: What It Means for Higher Education (EDUCAUSE Review, 2021).
Tanya Joosten, Nicole Weber, Margaret Baker, Abigail Schletzbaum, and Abby McGuire, Planning for a Blended Future: A Research-Driven Guide for Educators (Every Learner Everywhere, 2021).
Christopher Brooks, Mark McCormack, Driving Digital Transformation in Higher Education (EDUCAUSE Research, 2020).
Susan Grajek, Betsy Reinitz, Getting Ready for Digital Transformation: Change Your Culture, Workforce, and Technology (EDUCAUSE Review, 2019).
Sean Burns, Flexibility, Agility, and the Three Dx Shifts: Culture, Workforce, and Technology (EDUCAUSE Research, 2021).
Dana C. Gierdowski, D. Christopher Brooks, Joseph Galanek, EDUCAUSE 2020 Student Technology Report: Supporting the Whole Student (EDUCAUSE Research, 2020).