HEat Index, Issue 2 – AI Guidelines, Skills-based Hiring, and High School Students Plan for College



Welcome to our second issue! In addition to a solid overview of one institution’s pathway for creating general AI guidelines for their campus, we spend time today reviewing various (and sometimes conflicting) reports on the perceived value of higher education and outcomes post-graduation.

As public skepticism about higher education remains high and four-year degree outcomes are increasingly questioned by members of Congress, higher education institutions should pay close attention to the various research reports being distributed as they provide welcome insights for future strategic planning. 

After reading through today’s issue, let us know your thoughts about the value of a college degree in the comments! 


Gen AI Campus Usage Guidelines 

From Creating Guidelines for the Use of Gen AI Across Campus | Campus Technology 

Engaging with stakeholders across campus, the University of Kentucky has published institutional guidelines for the use of generative AI in teaching and learning, research, and other areas.  

Our Thoughts 

What an in-depth article explaining how the University of Kentucky created their generative AI guidelines! With nearly 90% of institutions working on AI strategy (according to the most recent EDUCAUSE AI study we covered in the HEat Index, Issue 1), their approach can serve as a model for other institutions, highlighting the need for continuous adaptation, collaboration, and dialogue in harnessing AI’s potential while addressing its ethical and practical implications in higher education. 

Forming a task force comprised of experts from various disciplines across campus demonstrates the importance of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to the development of AI guidelines that everyone will agree to use. The taskforce’s commitment to regularly updating the guidelines ensures the University of Kentucky is navigating the rapidly evolving AI landscape responsibly.  

If I were developing guidelines on my campus, I’d see if I had any colleagues at the University of Kentucky who might offer additional advice based upon their experiences. 


Employers Don’t Seem to be Increasing Skills-based Hiring 

From Report: Employers don’t practice what they preach on skills-based hiring | HR Dive 

According to a report from The Burning Glass Institute and Harvard Business School, while businesses may have dropped degree requirements for many jobs, that has not necessarily translated into more skills-based hiring.  

Our Thoughts 

This report is interesting as it reveals that, despite public announcements by companies to adopt skills-based hiring and reduce degree requirements, actual changes in hiring practices are limited. This suggests that the value of a college degree remains significant in the job market. Although the transition to skills-based hiring is on-going, this report supports the idea that college graduates may benefit from additional collegiate experiences beyond the specific skills learned in their courses (such as increases in social capital and expanded social networks) that are still sought after by employers.  

However, higher education institutions should monitor these developments closely and consider adapting their career services to better prepare students for the current job market realities, balancing traditional degree programs with the development of specific, marketable skills that align more closely with evolving employer needs and expectations. 


Students Strategically Plan for College and Their Futures 

From As Public Skepticism of College Grows, Students Become Savvier Customers | EdSurge News 

As public skepticism for college increases (only 36% of American adults have confidence in higher education), high school students are increasingly evaluating their options for the future and comparing college against other opportunities.  

Our Thoughts 

An interesting piece and associated podcast detailing the shifting perception of the value of college education among high school students. Growing public skepticism, influenced by factors such as the high cost of education, the practicality of the curriculum, and the availability of non-collegiate career paths is leading more students to consider alternatives to college and challenging already strained enrollment management strategies at many institutions.   

However, in comparison to the article above, it seems some of these skills-based hiring paths leading to good careers envisioned by current high school students may not be materializing as anticipated. Even so, perception is important. These trends should challenge traditional higher education institutions to reassess and possibly restructure their offerings and value propositions, especially if they want to recruit and retain diverse students from various socioeconomic backgrounds. 


Four-Year Graduates are Underemployed 

From More than half of recent four-year college grads underemployed | Inside Higher Ed  

A new report from the Strada Institute for the Future of Work and the Burning Glass Institute has found that 52% of recent four-year college graduates are employed in a career that does not require a college degree.    

Our Thoughts 

Between the earlier report that skills-based hiring may be falling a bit flat and students making strategic decisions about their future, this report adds another layer of complexity to the higher education value proposition puzzle.  

Although there may be other social factors to consider for underemployment such as social inequity, student choice, and market forces, this report suggests that there may be misalignment between higher education curricular outcomes and job market needs. The findings underscore the importance for higher education institutions to enhance career preparation, including comprehensive career planning embedded throughout a student’s enrollment and providing additional opportunities for students to participate in internships and other practical experiences.  

Furthermore, it demonstrates the continuing need for more transparent and better employment outcomes data, which can be compared across institutions and academic programs. 

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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