Tomorrow’s Innovation, Today
A Blueprint for Community College Modernization
Community colleges may be commonly known as two-year schools, but their impact can last a lifetime. That’s because these vital institutions serve the ambitious goals of an increasingly diverse population of learners. Established professionals and trades people alike gravitate to community colleges to retool and enhance the skills they need in a global economy. Full- and part-time workers balance higher education with personal commitments to better themselves and their families. High school students can start a four-year degree at their local college. Graduates bring new talents and fresh ideas to their communities to enhance their value to the local economy and to society as a whole.
The latest data about community colleges tells a compelling story:
- 6.2 million students were enrolled in two-year colleges as of 2016 (source)
- 44 percent of enrollees were low-income students (compared to 15 percent of high-income learners) who made community colleges their first choice for higher education after high school (source)
- 70 percent of community college students work while in college (source)
What’s more, students are seeing an impressive financial payoff when they graduate with an associate’s degree. They earn an average of $5,400 more each year compared to peers who leave before attaining their degrees. (source)
Tomorrow’s Campus, Today
This growing and diverse student population, along with disruptions brought about by evolving technologies, are creating an opportunity for college leaders to rethink and revitalize their campuses.
Students expect modern digital capabilities when they come to campus or attend remotely. Constant access to applications and data is just one of the must-haves for students and faculty. They also expect their colleges to support a wide range of technology platforms, communications channels and devices — from laptops, smartphones and tablets to wearables, webcams and sensors.
In addition, administrators must capitalize on large volumes of digital information to successfully attract and retain students. This is also key to personalizing learning and proactively identifying students in danger of failing or dropping out.
To meet these needs, college IT departments must shift away from investments in monolithic — and expensive to maintain — legacy technologies that have set the standard for years. Instead, they should look to architectures powered by hybrid cloud platforms that quickly respond to changing academic opportunities. But limited budgets and staff resources often hold back community colleges from their modernization efforts.
Campus 360: Harnessing the Opportunity
In a landscape that’s changing so quickly, how can community colleges adapt? The answer is an emerging modernization strategy known as Campus 360. It lays out a multi-year transformation plan that:
- Creates flexible IT infrastructures with widespread automation and mobility.
- Delivers multiichannel environments that enable students and staff to collaborate effectively on any device
- Offers practical ways for colleges to gradually adopt innovations, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics and sophisticated automation, to gain new and actionable insights about students.
- Increases internal efficiencies and breaks down the barriers between legacy and modern IT resources.
Read our report for a detailed look at Campus 360 and its three core components:
Pillar 1: A flexible, cloud-based infrastructure
Pillar 2: A platform for a connected campus experience
Pillar 3: A data-driven culture focused on outcomes
Houston Community College: Cloud Brings Higher Education to Houston's Diverse Community
Lorain County Community College: Cloud Makes Multi-Channel Campuses Come to Life
Tower Insights: Narrowing the Digital Divide for a Modern Community College