Facing the Future: Fundamental Changes in Student Engagement

Last November Educause identified top Higher Education IT issues emerging from the Pandemic. Alternative futures were cited as the new normal because so much changed and will continue to change in coming years. Recovery will be different for everyone and solutions must be affordable, flexible and customizable. The scenarios of restore, evolve and transform were presented in this informative report that can be used to serve students. Many schools will execute this essential transformative exercise in different ways. A January 2021 Chronicle of Higher Education article regarding college reopening plans shows that state by state many are doing what they did last fall, but it also represents a fundamental and continuing change in how students are engaged.

Current and prospective students are far different than those of the past. New generations of students who were born into online banking, healthcare, shopping, social, gaming and communication expect a responsive and adaptive college experience. The previous model of higher ed was already changing and the Pandemic accelerated the process. Colleges and universities with brick-and-mortar overhead must also provide students with a professional and usable online environment that encompasses all aspects of student experience and reflect the mission and values of the institution.

As the Pandemic eases, it is clear education will not return to the old normal. Financial health, IT security, student enrollment and student retention are top priorities. New processes, procedures, applications and tools are required to meet the demands of the future student experience. Many institutions will have less money, less resources, less (or different) students as we are driven to address innovation and change. We can work together to redesign legacy systems and improve services such as Student Information Systems/ERP, Student Services, Student Support, Online Learning, Administrative Services and the growing needs of a mobile work force. How are you meeting these challenges at your institution?


Grajek, S. & Educause IT issues panel. (November 2020). Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/11/top-it-issues-2021-emerging-from-the-pandemic

Tracking Colleges’ Spring-Reopening Plans. (January 31, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/tracking-college-spring-reopening-plans

About the Author

Dr. Karl Horvath, currently the President of Campus Consortium is a versatile and objective technology and business leader who understands how to communicate, relate to others and build diverse teams using experience, emotional intelligence and self-awareness. His administrative work ranges from fortune 500 businesses to large non-profit organizations. Dr. Horvath’s academic career as a teacher and researcher began by attaining multiple academic and professional degrees while working full-time and raising a family. His experience combines a blend of interpersonal attributes, executive acumen and collaborative skills that achieves strategic vision and organizational transformation. He worked as a Chief Information Officer in Higher Education for over 20 years and volunteers to serve regional nonprofit organizations.