Coming into EDUCAUSE 2013 I have 2 big questions rambling around my brain:
What Are the Long-Term Economic Prospects of Existing Colleges and Universities?
What Leadership Role Should EdTech Professionals Play in Addressing the Postsecondary Economic Problems?
Money is much on my mind.
The Moody's Investor Service report from January of 2013: "US Higher Education Outlook Negative in 2013: Revenue Pressure on All Fronts Intensifies Need to Grapple with Traditional Cost Structure" opens with these sobering words:
"For 2013, Moody’s revises its outlook for the entire US higher education sector to negative, marking a shift to negative from stable for even the sector’s market leading diversified colleges and universities...The new sector-wide negative outlook reflects mounting pressure on all key university revenue sources, requiring bolder actions by university leaders to reduce costs and increase operating efficiency. "
I don't mean to endorse the conclusions of the Moody's report. Certainly there has been some articulate and persuasive responses to the Moody's report, such as Vassar's president Catharine Bond Hill's rejoinder.
What I do know is that I don't know enough to accurately evaluate the claims of the Moody's report (is higher really facing an economic crisis?), and I'm not sure how to connect everything that we do and see at EDUCAUSE with the larger economic challenges facing postsecondary education.
How can we, as academic IT professionals, become better educated about larger higher education economic issues?
Should educational technology people (the EDUCAUSE crowd) expand our understanding, and possibly influence, beyond the traditional domains of learning and technology and into areas such as finance, enrollment, marketing, revenues and institutional budgeting?
For educational IT to be truly strategic do we need to gain an understanding, and be part of the conversations, around the larger macro forces impacting higher education?
Do we need to figure out how to connect our expertise and knowledge around information technology and learning to the financial and economic challenges facing so many colleges and universities?
I'm not really sure how to make the leap from being able to impact higher ed IT to being able to impact (or really understand) higher ed economics.
It is not quite clear to me how to bridge what we usually do at EDUCAUSE to questions about revenues, budgets, and costs.
Nor do I understand how mid-career educational technology folks like myself can find a way to contribute to addressing the larger economic and structural challenges facing higher education.
Where does higher ed IT fit in with in with higher ed economics?
Will the big postsecondary economic questions be addressed this week at EDUCAUSE?