Tag: Modern Campus

79% of Continuing Education Leaders Challenged By Limited Resources To Support Department Growth

Only 21% of continuing, workforce and online education leaders say their divisions have the staff needed to execute on their critical work. However, more than half of leaders also report that their division’s roles have increased since the pandemic. This is according to the Modern Campus State of Continuing Education 2022 report, conducted in partnership with The EvoLLLution and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

The study explores the opportunities and challenges facing leaders of professional, continuing and workforce education divisions at colleges and universities across North America. These divisions are often responsible for both making the expertise of the institution more accessible to the community and delivering critical upskilling and reskilling programming that help people find great jobs in sustainable careers.

Moreover, while two-thirds of survey respondents said they had support from senior executives to scale and grow, more than half pointed to administrative burden as their greatest obstacle to scale. In fact, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicate that they don’t have access to numbers as basic as real-time enrollment data—while being increasingly relied on to drive revenue and enrollment growth for the institution.

“The future of higher education is lifelong learning—we at Modern Campus know that. Engaging learners beyond traditional two- and four-year programs is the best way for colleges and universities to thrive,” said Brian Kibby, chief executive officer at Modern Campus. “This year’s State of Continuing Education research—along with nearly every conversation I have with presidents and provosts—confirms it. To support our communities, though, we need to better serve the CE and workforce development administrators who made it clear in this survey they don’t have the resources they need.”

While there’s little wide-ranging research available on the continuing, professional and workforce market, these units tend to be at the forefront of transformation and innovation in the higher education industry. Understanding the trends in CE provides a high-level view into where the rest of the postsecondary industry is moving.

“The results of this year’s State of Continuing Education study highlight what UPCEA members already know – that online and professional continuing education leaders often lack both the data and resources needed to achieve the institutional goals set out for their unit,” said Bob Hansen, chief executive officer at UPCEA. “This is a time of unparalleled opportunity for online and professional continuing education units to improve the broader higher education field, and the data in this study is a key tool as they advocate for institutional change.”

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Education IT Trends and Its Most Pressing Challenges

Amrit Ahluwalia

Response from Amrit Ahluwalia, director of strategic insights, Modern Campus.

I’ve had conversations with hundreds of provosts and senior administrators at colleges and universities across North America, and around the world, all reflecting on how the industry is evolving, how student needs are changing, and how institutions are adapting to keep pace with those shifts.

While many institutional leaders try to reflect on whether changes are flashes in the pan or meaningful disruption, the fact is that higher education has been on a consistent trajectory to make education increasingly modular and to make the student experience increasingly flexible and learner centric. 

Promising: Better Student Engagement 

We’re seeing colleges and universities invest in technologies built to support the learner in ways they haven’t before: Platforms built with the specific goal of engaging learners. Technologies that give learners direct pathways to success with clear career outcomes, that personalize the online experience or even simplify things like registration—these digital assets take the modern student from a ‘learner to earner’ in the most personalized and efficient path possible. The fact is that students enroll in higher education to get a job—58% of freshmen say this is their primary motivator for enrolling—and the industry is elevating to support those needs.  

Technologies that put the student engagement and experience first—that support the ‘learner-to-earner’ journey—must become the norm in higher education. The modern learner is savvy, they have alternatives to the traditional path to higher education and therefore colleges and universities must adapt to the needs of the modern learner.  We saw this during the pandemic: while freshman enrollment in higher education dropped 13% industry-wide, bootcamp enrollment grew 30%. The many alternatives to higher education keep pushing the status quo in how we serve modern learners. 

Challenging: Transactional Infrastructure 

It’s expensive for colleges and universities to attract students, but most institutions continue to focus on two- or four-year transactional relationships with students. This is a particular head-scratcher when 70% of learners are non-traditional, and when 68% of adults considering enrolling in education programming say they prefer non-degree or alternative credential options.   

The commercial world outside of postsecondary education, would go bankrupt if we focused on merely short term, transactional relationships. We always search for ways to provide an experience that lets us work with that customer for life; not for two or three or four years. If that’s the length of our relationship, we go out of business. The relationship between students and institutions must change to reflect the new model of lifelong learning, and it can start with systems and processes that make learners want to stay with you.  

Promising: Workforce Innovation 

Higher education technology is starting to provide the framework for more workforce-oriented education and credentials. There’s a tremendous amount of innovation that’s not necessarily coming from colleges and universities, where businesses like Guild Education, 2U, Coursera, and others are filling the skills gaps that many schools view as ‘too vocational’. Innovation is coming into their space in spades, and it’s disrupting the system. This makes higher education more competitive, and those colleges and universities will innovate as a result.  

Challenging: Low Coachability  

Higher education’s acceptance of innovative technologies can be slow. Many colleges and universities are seeing their competitors doing things like workforce innovation well, but they’re folding their arms saying, ‘Well, that’s not for us.’ There are people like Dr. Crow (president of ASU) who’ve been amplifying their technologies and facilities for decades, but other colleges and universities aren’t hearing the call. They’re not being coachable. The innovation is out there, but institutions need to take it and make it their own.

Modern Campus Adds Chief People Officer Jessica Phinn

Jessica Phinn

Modern Campus, a leading engagement platform for higher education, announced the appointment of Jessica Phinn as chief people officer. In this newly created role, Phinn will lead all aspects of human resources, from recruitment through onboarding, employee engagement and beyond. The announcement aligns with the wider focus of Modern Campus continuing its terrific growth, maximizing the potential of its over 400 team members to transform the higher education industry.

Phinn joins Modern Campus with a wealth of experience across more than 20 years of progressive human resources leadership at multiple large organizations, including Pepsi Bottling Group and Loblaw. Before joining Modern Campus, Phinn held the position of senior vice president, people and engagement at Nelson Education, Canada’s leading K-12 education company.

“Maintaining our rapid growth requires creativity and passion at every level of the organization,” said Brian Kibby, chief executive officer at Modern Campus. “Bringing in Jessica as Modern Campus’s Chief People Officer positions us to continue our exponential growth by harnessing the talent and engagement of every member of our team. Her leadership will enable us to create a truly welcoming environment for everyone who’s joined Modern Campus recently through acquisition, while continuing our tradition of excellence in building a workplace that rewards and nurtures leaders.”

“Modern Campus has a well-earned reputation as a beacon for top edtech talent, and because of this and the highly engaged leadership team, it is a role that I found to be extremely compatible and one that I simply couldn’t pass up,” Phinn said. “I’m a firm believer that employees are truly a company’s most valuable asset, and with this I found a perfect match in Modern Campus. I am truly excited to join the organization and engage with all my new colleagues as they continue on their growth trajectory.”

Phinn holds a Bachelor of Human Resources Management from York University and is a certified human resources leader (CHRL).

The rapid growth of Modern Campus is due in part to welcoming five new companies in the past 12 months. The company acquired interactive campus map and virtual tour provider nuCloud in early 2021, followed by academic catalog and curriculum management provider DIGARC, and student engagement and development leader Presence. In January of this year, Modern Campus announced its acquisitions of leading higher education text-messaging provider Signal Vine and Augusoft, a leader in enrollment management for continuing education and corporate education programs.

Modern Campus partnered with Partners in Publishing on this executive search.

A New, Strategic Role For Institutional IT: Delivering Student-Centricity

Amrit Ahluwalia

By Amrit Ahluwalia, director of strategic insights, Modern Campus.

Historically, education IT professionals have supported their respective colleges and universities from the behind the scenes. They’ve provided and maintained the critical infrastructure that allowed their institutions to serve learners, largely in the shadows, maintaining everything from server racks to campus Wi-Fi, to the printers in the library.

Of course, leading technology is no longer a “nice-to-have” for any business, and higher education is no different. Arguably, the technological infrastructure is as critical to helping set learners’ expectations of the institution as programming itself.

So, for the modern education IT professional, the most important topic they should be focused on is the student experience—both inside and outside the classroom.

By modernizing the digital experience being used to engage learners, IT professionals can help their respective institutions make massive strides to becoming environments better suited to the expectations of the modern learner, no matter their age.

Everyone today is first and foremost a digital consumer; they use Netflix, Amazon and Uber on a daily basis. Modern colleges and universities need to ensure students are able to access critical institutional information, resources and administrative tools when and where they want.

This means creating a secure environment that allows students to log into a portal to access receipts, request (and pay for!) transcripts and perform other bureaucratic and administrative tasks that are usually performed by front-line staff. It also means creating environments that automate adaptive communications, ensuring that learners are receiving relevant messaging from the institution through their preferred channels at the right time.

What’s more, IT has a role to play in supporting the delivery of high-quality academic experiences. That’s not to say the CIO will be teaching classes, of course. But it does mean creating an infrastructure that allows program catalogs—which are generally PDFs uploaded to the website—to be digitized and updated from a single location. It also means creating workflow structures that allow program approval processes to be automated and simplified, so that everyone from the program chair to the accreditation body is in the loop when something changes.

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Modern Campus Acquires Augusoft

Modern Campus has acquired Augusoft, an enrollment management solution for continuing and corporate education programs. The acquisition extends the Modern Campus customer base to nearly 2,000 colleges and universities across North America and allows the company to further advance and improve the delivery of continuing education while engaging modern learners for life.

With enrollment for traditional two- and four-year programs declining across most campuses, higher education institutions are investing in continuing, professional, and workforce education to fuel enrollment growth while delivering on their institutional mission to expand learning experiences, reach diverse populations, and create employment opportunities.

Modern Campus’s Destiny One product is the recognized leader in non-traditional student management, with a broad set of offerings that enable colleges and universities to thrive in continuing, online, and professional education. With Augusoft and its flagship Lumens product, Modern Campus now offers the most robust set of capabilities including products, services, and partnerships to serve the complete needs of non-traditional learners.

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Education IT Trends and Its Most Pressing Challenges

Response by Amrit Ahluwalia, director of strategic insights, Modern Campus.

I’ve had conversations with hundreds of provosts and senior administrators at colleges and universities across North America, and around the world, all reflecting on how the industry is evolving, how student needs are changing, and how institutions are adapting to keep pace with those shifts. While many institutional leaders try to reflect on whether changes are flashes in the pan or meaningful disruption, the fact is that higher education has been on a consistent trajectory to make education increasingly modular and to make the student experience increasingly flexible and learner centric. 

Promising: Better Student Engagement 

We’re seeing colleges and universities invest in technologies built to support the learner in ways they haven’t before: Platforms built with the specific goal of engaging learners. Technologies that give learners direct pathways to success with clear career outcomes, that personalize the online experience or even simplify things like registration—these digital assets take the modern student from a ‘learner to earner’ in the most personalized and efficient path possible. The fact is that students enroll in higher education to get a job—58% of freshmen say this is their primary motivator for enrolling—and the industry is elevating to support those needs.  

Technologies that put the student engagement and experience first—that support the ‘learner-to-earner’ journey—must become the norm in higher education. The modern learner is savvy, they have alternatives to the traditional path to higher education and therefore colleges and universities must adapt to the needs of the modern learner.  We saw this during the pandemic: while freshman enrollment in higher education dropped 13% industry-wide, bootcamp enrollment grew 30%. The many alternatives to higher education keep pushing the status quo in how we serve modern learners. 

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40% of High School Students Will Lose Interest In A College After A Poor Website Experience

Laptop, Woman, Education, Study, YoungU.S.-based high school students say the website is their most influential resource when conducting college research, and 40% will lose interest in a college or university if the website is frustrating or disappointing.

This, according to “Personal Connection: How to Maximize Enrollment, Retention and Re-Engagement, a research paper developed by Modern Campus, the industry’s leading “student first” modern learner engagement platform.

The research comes from Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s E-Expectations Trend Report, an annual survey of high school students exploring their behaviors and experiences as they research prospective colleges. The 2021 edition highlights the rising importance of personalization in engaging prospective students—and the need for colleges and universities to stand out in the increasingly competitive postsecondary marketplace.

“Modern learners think and act like consumers, so it’s critical for colleges and universities to build websites, social media presences and outreach strategies that address their needs and interests,” said Peter DeVries, president and chief operating officer of Modern Campus. “Those that do will thrive. We know this because we see it in our customers every day—on average they grow annual revenue by 19% and enrollments by 14%.”

Like any customer in any industry, prospective students conducting their college research are primarily trying to understand how the institutions they are considering match their needs and expectations.

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Modern Campus Acquires Presence, Leading Campus Engagement and Learning Platform

Modern Campus announces the acquisition of Presence, a campus engagement and learning platform for higher education institutions. The acquisition extends Modern Campus’s learning partners to more than 1,400 colleges and universities across North America and enables each to serve their students with a massively personalized experience throughout the “learner to earner” journey.

With a practical approach to impacting student engagement, Presence helps higher education institutions increase student engagement to power retention, graduation rates and workforce readiness. A data-focused student engagement, learning and retention platform for student affairs divisions, Presence enables higher education institutions to:

Manage and automate processes: Simplify complicated and inconsistent practices by standardizing how involvement opportunities are structured and advertised. Integrated in one platform, users can improve both operational workflows and student accessibility.

Engage more students: Meet students where they are and simplify how they find involvement opportunities to ensure effective advertisement, quick access and more direct engagement. Remove barriers to involvement, including every student with automatic profiles.

Track and collect engagement data: Measure participation both qualitatively and quantitatively. Utilize scalable data collection through mobile devices and collect survey and assessment data in a single tool.
Assess behaviors and trends: Make data-driven decisions to increase engagement, ensure retention and boost graduation rates. Synced live with student information system data, users can identify trends, compare effectiveness and identify under-involved students.

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Modern Campus Acquires Academic Catalog and Curriculum Management Provider, DIGARC

Modern Campus, a modern learner engagement platform, today announced the acquisition of DIGARC, a provider of academic catalog and curriculum management, class and student scheduling and student pathfinder software for higher education. The acquisition enables Modern Campus to accelerate its commitment to customer success by revolutionizing learner engagement with massively personalized digital experiences.

Founded in 2001, DIGARC is committed to aiding higher education institutions to engage students through the power of a connected, integrated curriculum. Today, its catalog management software solutions are used by nearly 800 higher education institutions. DIGARC enhances the student experience, helping them better navigate degree planning, and ultimately improve retention and graduation rates.

Modern Campus will integrate its award-winning web experience platform and personalization engine with DIGARC’s comprehensive course curriculum management software. Together, they will empower higher education institutions to solve two of the biggest challenges they face today: attracting and converting prospective students, and creating a highly personalized and engaging pathway to on-time graduation. In most institutions today, accessing the course catalog – typically the first stop for prospective students after the homepage – requires navigating an often-cumbersome menu structure.

Likewise, current students often struggle to set a path to successful program completion. With DIGARC, Modern Campus Omni CMS and Personalization by Modern Campus, higher education institutions can enable a modern student catalog experience with personalized content, pathways and recommendations.

“There’s never been a more exciting time in higher education. The modern learner is a savvy consumer and their expectations of higher education institutions have changed. They expect a highly personalized, Netflix-like experience. They’re primarily focused on maximizing the return on one of the most important and largest investments they’ll make – their post-secondary education,” said Brian Kibby, chief executive officer of Modern Campus. “For colleges and universities experiencing decreased enrollment, they need every advantage available to attract, engage and graduate the modern learner on time. The combination of DIGARC and Modern Campus helps deliver this, combining a highly personalized web experience with world-class catalog navigation.”

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Our Community Colleges: The Fastest Path From Learner To Earner

By Mark Triest, chief revenue officer, Modern Campus.

Mark Triest

In my 30 years of serving higher education, I have had the privilege of visiting hundreds of community colleges across the country. I have seen firsthand their level of caring and concern is second to none, and the value offered is unequaled.

The problem is, many people don’t. All too often, prospective students have a perception that going immediately to a four-year college or university, despite the costs, carries more clout or is somehow academically superior to community colleges. Many parents are often swayed into a mindset that community colleges are second best—whatever the reasons (keeping up with the proverbial “Joneses?”) and at whatever the costs (loan debt that few can afford).

The reality is that community colleges help students transform from learners to earners. To start, students with an associate’s degree earn significantly more than high school graduates, and because of their talent and training, are attractive to employers upon graduation. Further still, students transferring from two-year colleges are highly sought after by four-year universities because they can handle college level work and are more likely to graduate.

There’s so much that community colleges do—for their students, neighbors and communities—that we should celebrate, including:

Pathways: Community colleges also offer program pathways to help students translate their interests into a career, affordable—and in some cases, free—tuition. 

Relevance: Community colleges have strong relationships with local industry and employers, giving graduates a leg up on finding a job immediately after graduation. This also improves the local tax base and encourages other businesses to come to town because the population is educated. 

Support: Most impressive, these schools provide built-in support for first-generation, low-income and returning students. 

Outcomes: Given the diverse audiences served by community colleges, they deliver a healthy program mix leading to certificates, workforce credentials, associate’s degrees and even bachelor’s degrees. 

Diversity: Community colleges serve a varied student population: students directly out of high school, employees interested in upskills or earning a degree, people in transition who want to augment training in their field or who want to change careers altogether, and the entrepreneurial workforce, people who want to work for themselves and need a specific skill set.

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