EAB’s latest take on the coronavirus crisis and what it means for higher education

EAB’s latest take on the coronavirus crisis and what it means for higher education

EAB's Latest Take

Research ramp-up plans include exhaustive detail on how researchers can keep themselves and their colleagues safe as they return to their labs. But these plans can be daunting, sometimes providing too much detail and burying the most important information that individual PIs need to know. To help institutions craft more actionable ramp-up plans—and ensure they have taken the appropriate steps to safeguard researcher well-being—we have outlined the minimum health and safety measures they should enact for individual researchers.

IT leaders are now grappling with how to effectively implement contact tracing technology and protocols on their campuses and ensure that data is being protected and ethically utilized. Although these new capabilities are still taking shape, we can glean some early lessons about the challenges and opportunities that contact tracing technology presents by reviewing how international and local governments have approached these tools.

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that digital transformation (DX) is no longer a luxury, but a foundational investment for the higher education sector. To further unpack this new reality, EAB’s Nalika Vasudevan recently sat down (virtually) with Alan Hill, Chief Information and Digital Officer at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Alan shares his insights on balancing immediate IT needs in response to the pandemic with longer-term digital priorities and offers up advice for those universities just getting started with DX.

With the fall semester quickly approaching, many institutions are weighing how to facilitate safe, modified in-person campus operations. Residence halls—a cornerstone of socialization for most students—pose some of the greatest challenges for resuming campus life. If your leadership team is considering bringing residential students back to campus, here are four considerations to think about now. ­

Research leaders recognize that whenever activity can ramp back up, it won’t be as simple as flipping a switch—instead, it will need to occur in phases and take into consideration capacity limitations. EAB recently surveyed 47 research leaders about how they’re deciding when to begin ramping research back up—and which researchers they plan on bringing back to campus first.

EAB is now launching Emergency Response Tabletop Exercises specifically designed for colleges and universities. Created for cabinet leadership, these exercises help leaders anticipate potential crises, accelerate decision-making, and identify critical vulnerabilities in their existing policies. They also provide the space and materials for charting a course of action if and when a crisis occurs.

EAB’s Katie Langford sat down with Kathy Jones, Associate Vice President for Facilities, Engineering and Planning at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Kathy shared insights around Rice’s shift in campus operations, like what it means to enter a “full lock-down,” how to stagger essential staff schedules, and the importance of documentation for potential reimbursement.

In this short video, EAB’s Chief Information Security Officer, Brian Markham, shares early insights about online threats inspired by COVID-19 and tactics for campus community members to defend themselves.

In this short video, EAB’s Chief Information Security Officer, Brian Markham, discusses the top three activities that information security teams can undertake to identify and patch security vulnerabilities.

If you’ve struggled to keep up with what’s happening in Washington, you’re not alone. It didn’t seem possible for the pace of information coming from Congress, the White House, and the agencies to increase, but that’s exactly what has happened. This brief provides a snapshot of what’s going on and—perhaps more importantly—what you and your team can do now regardless of what happens in D.C.

The COVID-19 crisis is still unfolding, but higher education leaders are already projecting significant financial losses and preparing for a range of challenging budget scenarios. EAB recently surveyed over 100 business and finance leaders from higher education institutions across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland to learn how they’re responding to new financial pressures.

Prior to the crisis, however, campus dining spaces were already undergoing significant changes based on the preferences and eating habits of students in the Generation Z cohort. The impact of COVID-19 will amplify these student desires long after campuses reopen for business. Here are three ways COVID-19 will change campus dining—and the Gen Z-focused investments already well-positioned to support these evolving student needs.

If the COVID-19 crisis ends with this semester, that will be enough, and IT can take its well-deserved curtain call. But we may well need a longer-term response. Institutions needn’t think just yet about what the post-pandemic “new normal” will be, but they do need to shore up current improvisations for potentially extended use.

Facing new financial pressures from COVID-19, a growing number of institutions are contemplating furloughs as a way to avoid layoffs, retain staff, and generate short-term salary savings. Some are indefinitely furloughing staff whose jobs cannot be performed remotely. Others are asking all staff to take a pre-defined number of furlough days.

Even though campuses are empty and students away, colleges and universities have found new ways to demonstrate their role as a key contributor to the health of their communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Below, EAB has rounded up some of our favorite examples of higher education institutions doing good during this challenging time, illustrating the diversity of ways campuses are giving back to strengthen community ties and drive innovation.

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