Content Type: Expert Insight

As plans for reopening remain the focus on most campuses, enrollment teams need to be looking ahead to the critical admissions work they do in the fall to set up their academic classes for the next few years – building strong pipelines, cultivating affinity, engaging prospective students, and generating application demand.

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As higher education institutions and other organizations continue to move to an increasingly sustained virtual environment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, career services offices face the challenge of adapting to engage students and employers virtually. While many career services offices already migrated their offerings and events to a virtual environment this past spring, they must keep their websites up-to-date as staffing, hours, and programs continue to evolve across the late summer and fall.

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Facing an economic downturn and fierce competition for undergraduate enrollments, colleges and universities are looking for a silver lining: countercyclical enrollments. This tendency for enrollments to increase as the economy declines is well documented. But leadership at four-year institutions shouldn’t get their hopes up. Not every institution benefits equally from these additional students. The Great Recession had a far smaller impact on baccalaureate and graduate enrollments than it did on community colleges and vocational programs.

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Across the last few months, student affairs teams have been working diligently to transform their summer programs to a digital format—no easy task. EAB convened nearly 100 student affairs and enrollment professionals to share common challenges, exchange ideas, and learn from one another. Across these convenings, we discussed the many ways to introduce students to your institution, build a sense of affinity and community, and orient students to important resources and policies.

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Research offices today must address unpredictable funding shifts, complex regulations, and increased competition from other schools for grant funding. These challenges expand and diversify the scope of a research office’s work. To tackle these diverse challenges and improve university research functionality, leaders often look to optimize the organizational structure of their office. A smart organizational structure will help offices streamline processes, improve communication, and designate activity ownership.

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As university leaders strive to build organisations with greater technological dexterity, many have taken the critical first step of creating a digital strategy. A digital strategy should be a dynamic document, evolving over time and prompting the adoption of new tools and ways of working in responding to student and staff needs. Of course, that’s often easier said than done.
To ensure your entire campus community is involved in and guided by your digital strategy, you must build a common framework for understanding digital tools and concepts—also known as digital literacy.

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