HEat Index, Issue 18 – AI Action Plan, Graduate Programs, and Congressional Scrutiny



In our rapidly evolving higher education environment, institutions face numerous challenges and opportunities. In this week’s issue, we explore the integration of AI guidelines into existing policies and the fluctuating dynamics of graduate enrollment. We conclude with a look at the impact of media portrayals on the public perception of higher education. We hope you gain insights and practical strategies to help you to navigate these complex situations.  

After reading today’s issue, use the comments section to let us know how your institution would implement the AI action plan from EDUCAUSE! 


AI Action Plan 

From 2024 EDUCAUSE Action Plan: AI Policies and Guidelines | EDUCAUSE   

Using a framework of governance, operations, and pedagogy, EDUCAUSE presents an action plan of steps institutions can undertake over the next two years to establish effective AI policies and guidelines.  

Our Thoughts 

As stated in the article, “institutions need not start from scratch in developing their AI policies,” and this practical guide is a wonderful starting point for institutions. It helps address the urgent need for comprehensive AI policies and guidelines. This isn’t just about leveraging technology for operational efficiency; it’s about ensuring ethical practices, protecting data privacy, and preparing students and staff for a future increasingly influenced by AI.   

The action plan’s emphasis on collaborative efforts, both within and across institutions, highlights the importance of a unified approach to AI policy development. This is particularly relevant as it can prevent redundancy and ensure that best practices are shared and adopted widely. Ultimately, guides such as this help higher education effectively navigate the evolving AI landscape. 


The Future of Graduate Programs  

From Grad programs have been a cash cow; now universities are starting to fret over graduate enrollment | The Hechinger Report  

The Hechinger Report takes a detailed look at the rise of graduate programs, as enrollments decrease and people consider alternatives.   

Our Thoughts  

There is a lot of discussion about the upcoming Demographic Cliff in 2025 and its effects on undergraduate enrollment. However, the impact on graduate education, which has grown increasingly important to the financial health of many institutions, receives less attention. This article highlights the evolving landscape of graduate education, including declining domestic enrollment, the rise of international students, and the impact of alternative educational options.   

The findings suggest that higher education institutions should consider adapting their graduate programs to changing market demands. With declining undergraduate numbers and increasing skepticism about the return on investment for graduate degrees, universities must innovate to stay competitive. This includes creating interdisciplinary programs, enhancing online and flexible learning options, and focusing on the practical applications of graduate education to meet labor market needs. This proactive approach is vital for maintaining enrollment and ensuring the long-term viability of graduate programs. 


A Nonrepresentative Sample of Institutions 

From Congress targets unrepresentative sliver of higher ed | Inside Higher Ed   

Inside Higher Ed highlights the differences between the small share of institutions recently featured in the media and in higher education at large.    

Our Thoughts 

I understand that some may find this article controversial, and it is not my intention to favor any particular political ideology. Yet, the narrative portrayed in the media for these twelve institutions under Congressional scrutiny often diverges sharply from the everyday experiences on our campuses. This gap highlights the complexity of the issues we face. It’s crucial to acknowledge that even minor segments under scrutiny, such as these institutions that account for only 1.1% of enrolled students, can significantly influence public perception and shape legislative trends across the entire higher education landscape.  

Institutions should promote their own narratives to counteract this distorted view of higher education, showcasing how they bolster local communities and transform lives. This proactive approach can help counter the negative perceptions being fueled by media coverage of elite institutions and instill greater public confidence in higher education. By telling our stories of student success, we can emphasize the value and relevance of higher education in today’s socio-economic climate. 

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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