HEat Index, Issue 16 – Considering leadership, future jobs, and three-year degrees

05/30/2024

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As we settle into summer, EDUCAUSE wants you to consider your future in a leadership role. Additionally, we discuss a predicted misalignment between credentials and the labor market, and the possibility of three-year bachelor’s degrees in this week’s issue. Oh, and we also talk about the FAFSA (yeah, it’s still a problem).   

After reading today’s issue, use the comments section to let us know if your institution is exploring three-year bachelor’s degrees! 

 

Thinking About a Leadership Role? 

From The Leadership Role: Considerations | EDUCAUSE Review   

To successfully prepare for and step into leadership roles as you move along your career path, you should consider several specific areas to improve your leadership toolkit and be prepared for that next opportunity.   

Our Thoughts 

Because August was synonymous with “new year” for almost my entire life (primary school directly through to twenty years working at institutions), summer has always been a time of professional reflection for me. This was especially true once I became a unit head and leader, with expectations for planning for the upcoming academic year.   

I think that is why I really enjoyed this piece from EDUCAUSE. It encourages you to think about your future as a leader in your field, providing concrete actions you can take to aid you with this professional journey. Additionally, it offers practical advice on differentiating between management and leadership, as leadership is not synonymous with supervising others. Developing the ability to lead others and effect change is crucial as you consider advancing your career. To me, summer is an excellent time to start reflecting on this and planning for your future.  

 

Credential and Job Misalignment Projected  

From Report finds “misalignment” between credentials and jobs | Inside Higher Ed  

A report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce highlights a significant mismatch between projected labor market demands and the credentials offered by institutions.  

Our Thoughts  

This is an important report for many higher education institutions. While the news media highlights “higher education” broadly, this reporting is often limited in scope and is focused on the 1% of institutions. For example, the campus protests that brought institutional presidents before Congress have been concentrated at 90 of the 3500+ institutions in the US.   

I provide this background to emphasize the importance of this report to many institutions, which are often tied directly to their local labor markets. This report emphasizes the urgent need for institutions to consider the realignment of their program offerings to better meet local and regional economic needs. This alignment is essential for enhancing the relevance of educational programs and improving employment outcomes for graduates. As a result, it could lead to increased institutional enrollments and further support regional economic development.  

 

Three-year Bachelor’s Degrees? 

From Three-year bachelor’s degrees are gaining momentum | University Business   

Three-year bachelor’s degrees, requiring 90-100 credits, appear increasingly likely to become more established this year.   

Our Thoughts 

It’s wonderful to see three-year bachelor’s degree programs back in the news after some initial reporting on them last year. With public confidence in higher education currently low, this is an opportune time for U.S. institutions to reconsider these offerings through pilot programs with their accreditor. This shift could address critical issues such as affordability and better alignment with labor market needs. Additionally, these programs could increase student retention and graduation rates while potentially lowering education costs.   

In many countries outside the U.S., three-year bachelor’s degree programs are quite common, particularly in Europe. These programs are designed to be more focused on a specific field of study and less costly than our traditional four-year models. They often have few elective or general education courses and allow students to enter the workforce earlier.  

While I recognize that not all degree programs are good candidates for three-year degrees, I think it is crucial for institutions to consider this option. By adapting their curriculum and program offerings, institutions can remain competitive and meet the needs of modern students.  

 

Current Students Face FAFSA Challenges Too 

From Current students are feeling the FAFSA burn, too | Inside Higher Ed   

The FAFSA debacle has impacted both current and new students equally, yet many feel excluded from discussions about potential solutions and calls for assistance.   

Our Thoughts 

There has been a lot of attention paid to the FAFSA challenges faced by incoming students (see Issue 1, Issue 4, Issue 8, and Issue 13) but much less to continuing students, even though they face the same issues. Addressing these challenges for current students is just as crucial due to its significant impact on student retention and enrollment stability.   

The confusion and difficulties experienced by continuing students, especially those with unique demographic backgrounds like first-generation or undocumented families, could result in increased dropout rates if not addressed effectively. Institutions should consider providing the same levels of support and clear communication to guide current students through these changes. While I recognize it is a challenging period in higher education, it is important to remember that retention efforts are just as vital to institutional health as recruitment.

Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor
Senior Solutions Ambassador at Evisions

Allen Taylor is a self-proclaimed higher education and data science nerd. He currently serves as a Senior Solutions Ambassador at Evisions and is based out of Pennsylvania. With over 20 years of higher education experience at numerous public, private, small, and large institutions, Allen has successfully lead institution-wide initiatives in areas such as student success, enrollment management, advising, and technology and has presented at national and regional conferences on his experiences. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Western Carolina University, a Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel from The University of Tennessee, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Teaching, Learning, and Technology from Lehigh University. When he’s trying to avoid working on his dissertation, you can find him exploring the outdoors, traveling at home and abroad, or in the kitchen trying to coax an even better loaf of bread from the oven.

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