Higher ed research roundup

Academic dean salary trends, workforce preparation findings and ways to improve your international admissions website

Below are reports and studies on academic dean salary trends, workforce preparation findings, and ways colleges can improve their international admissions websites.

Few women and minority deans earning the big bucks: Women make up less than one-third of the highest-paid academic deans (those heading up schools of medicine, law, engineering, pharmacy and agriculture). These academic dean salary findings come from the “CUPA-HR 2019 Administrators in Higher Education Annual Report” which looked at 42 types of dean positions for a survey of nearly 52,000 administrators. Five of the lowest-paid dean positions (continuing education, occupational studies, divinity, students and instruction) are 47% female. Racial or ethnic minorities have the lowest representation in the highest-paid dean position, dean of medicine. Yet minorities make up more than one-quarter of the low-paying deans of students roles, the academic dean salary report finds. Overall, women make up about half of all administrators (the same as last year), while the percentage of racial or ethnic minority administrators has risen slightly this year, to 16%.

Gen Zers not feeling prepared for workforce: New research from Ellucian indicates a need for colleges to incorporate or expand upon certifications, credentials and other microlearning opportunities to help students master soft skills. “Credential Clout: How higher ed can prepare for an evolving job market” is based on a survey of 500 students, ages 18-45, who are currently enrolled in a college of credential program, and 500 recruiters and hiring managers who fill salaried positions. Overall, 39% of college students feel very prepared for the workforce as a result of their educational program. For Gen Zers (ages 18-21), 36% feel very prepared, while 49% of millennials (ages 22-37) do, and 68% of Gen Xers (ages 38-53) do. Nearly half of executive recruiters think further education is needed more than once a year to stay relevant in the workplace, and 40% find communication skills are lacking in job candidates.

Wanted by international prospects: Student-friendly admissions sites: UniQuest research on stealth applicants indicates that prospective international students are relying more on international admissions college websites than on any other channel to get to know institutions before they apply. After reviewing more than 55 U.S. higher ed websites, the company—which provides consulting on international student recruitment—recommends some relatively simple tweaks to help drive meaningful improvement in engaging international prospects.

Related: Video interview uses for international student admissions

One is to have a dedicated page for this audience, with a link from the institution’s homepage. A number of websites analyzed needed navigation improvements for easier information access for internationals, who especially seek details on majors offered, costs, application or admissions requirements, and scholarships. Make sure such links are accessible “above the fold,” not requiring prospective students to scroll down. Other tips involve differentiating the college related to its international student experience, by avoiding Americanisms in copy and by making it incredibly easy to make contact, with call-to-action buttons on international admissions landing pages.

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