6 Trends in Higher Ed IT: Lessons from EDUCAUSE 2019

Posted by on October 18, 2019

IT education trends

“Coming into the higher education world, it’s an amazing feeling to be allowed to grow. It’s a feeling of empowerment within our industry.”
   – Jeremiah Gould, University of Maine

This week, the Cherwell team had the opportunity to attend Educause 2019, one of the nation’s premiere events for the intersection of technology and education. With such a large gathering of technology experts and higher education enthusiasts, we couldn’t pass up the chance to see what tips, trends, and insights would stem from our two days together in Chicago.


Want to learn more? We captured six key trends from IT professionals on the front lines of university work and from the experts whose technologies are helping work flow across campus.


(And as a reminder, if you want to hear from other higher education institutions about how Cherwell solutions have positively impacted their work, pop over to see our higher ed case studies.)

1. Students Are the Purpose

“Remember your purpose, remember why you’re here. If you work for a college, you believe in higher education and you want to help students achieve their dreams. That’s why IT matters, we’re support the students.” – Bill Shell, Eastern Michigan University


“Have a singular focus on students.” – Ari Winkleman, CEO, Involvio


“IT and Higher Ed is an industry where you have to listen to the pain points and be able to react to those when evaluating new tech. Listen to your students first and foremost.” – Polly Blum, Industry Dive


“People—the students—come first, remember that.” – Jonathan Pletzke, SAS Institute


2. Meet the Customers (Students) Where They’re At

“From my perspective, the customer is always first. If they’re not happy, we’re not doing our jobs.” – Customer Aboma Galatta, IT Team Lead, University of Missouri


“Customer Experience is the future for higher education. You have to make the experience seamless, and technology can help that.” – Amanda Kwon, World Wide Technology, Inc.  


3. Tech Is Vital to a Quality Education

“I feel like in this day and age it’s hard to separate technology from anything, so all the more reason for it to be a part necessary part of education. I like that technology makes teaching more effective and more accessible for all.” – Jessica Kenney, University of Virginia, Graduate School of Learning Design & Technology


“Students are always engaging with tech whether it’s courses or collaboration. You have to engage with learning content anyways, so you might as make it count and meet your students where they are at.” – Sarah Wright, D2L


"Artificial intelligence will change everything for the better in Higher Ed.” – Prashant PandeyFlinders University


“The job market is forever changing because of technology. So, incorporating tech into education at a higher rate is so necessary, because it will produce better outcomes.” – Victoria Weilchko, SHI International


“Tech streamlines meetings and makes for better prepared boards for higher education, so that they can focus on the students and be free of obstacles.” – Jenni Washington, Passageways

4. There Are Opportunities to Serve Beyond IT

“We have three groups wanting what IT has. Employee benefits, HR, and IISMS want to be a part of what we’re building. Eventually we want to introduce facilities management for our campus to really impact our organization.” – Derek Schaubert, University of Texas, Dallas


“A lot of enterprises are tech driven, so you have to bring all sorts of tech into all areas of college institutions so that those audiences and students can better understand it post-college when they’re entering the workforce.” – Our friends at Google for Education


5. Security Is Essential


“Reminder, you can’t protect what you can’t see. And that goes for folks in Higher Education IT too!” – Nancy Hoang, Forescout


“You should never run your computer as an admin. If you click on the wrong thing, it can do way more damage.” – Scott Kodai, Chico State


“Don’t ever write your password on a sticky note next to your computer. Just don’t do it. You’d be surprised how common of a practice this still is.” – Christian Slater, Middle States Commission


6. The Importance of an Identity Management System in Higher Ed

“With identity management in tech, it’s super important to have to your roles defined well for higher education. Like who’s a student, what types of students you have, etc. so that you can provision the accounts correctly.” – Craig Williams, Wheaton College


“Have an identity management strategy. With all these database tools, you really need a centralized location. Disparate systems create more work and take the focus off of the students.” – Ryan Kiste, World Wide Technology, Inc.  


If you’re feeling inspired from all the advice from these Higher Ed leaders and want to learn more, we invite you to check out our ebook on higher education, IT Service Management Goes to School, or learn how the University of Missouri is enhancing the student experience via ITSM by watching our webinar. Today is the day to learn how your college or university can improve IT operations, enhance employee experience and drive business results further!


Read the eBook