Higher ed trend watch

College leaders share how their roles in higher ed are changing

Lori Fulton, director of institutional effectiveness, Pacific Northwest University

“In the beginning, I was focused on developing systems and processes to capture and collect data for analysis and reporting purposes with the aim of becoming the central source for institutional data. Now, I see that role becoming more of a mentor and facilitator of performance improvement—helping others learn how to effectively use their own data.”

Kathryn Jackson, director of Career Development Center, Loyola University Chicago

“My role has changed significantly! The majority of my energy is spent developing staff to encourage retention, designing and executing ways to collect data, and continuously trying to do more with relatively unchanged resources to better serve students. Finally, in my 23 years of college administration, there is no longer a ‘slow season’; even summers are full.”

Michael Lucas, director of IT Services, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

“As the IT organization of UMASS Lowell has matured, responsibilities of my position have changed to include more strategic planning and outreach to all departments outside of IT. Information technology is now viewed more as a solution expert rather than strictly a service provider.”

Cynthia Favre, director of career development, Gustavus Adolphus College

“I used to do lots of individual student appointments. Now I do lots of meetings to develop and implement programs and events to reach a larger audience. One by one was not getting the work done. I will need to do more with data. Collect it, analyze it, respond to what it tells us.”

Jason Umfress, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, College of Coastal Georgia

“Our roles have become more litigious is nature. The public (elected officials and the general population) are becoming much more interested in the economics of education and what a student’s return on investment is. This is causing us in higher education to think about how we talk about what we do in very different ways.”

C. Jeffery Knighton, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Gordon State College

“The biggest change is the degree of ownership we are expected to take for our students’ success. It is no longer acceptable to say that students were not college-ready. We must meet those students where they are and do all we can in terms of programs and services to ensure their success.”

Elizabeth Johnson, provost, Post University

“My role has changed to include much more than oversight of academic affairs. I work across the university on initiatives associated with the business of education: recruitment, marketing, admissions, retention and student engagement.

“In the years ahead, I expect to see a transformation in student learning, driven by digital technology and a true understanding and application of adult learning theory.”

Joyce Allen, dean of enrollment services and registrar, South Seattle College

“I am being asked to streamline practices to align across the colleges in our district in order to improve the intra-district experience. The pace of change initiatives is quickening. Looking ahead, I expect all levels of employees being asked to step up to greater levels of operational responsibility and to exercise increasing levels of personal judgement.”

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