Higher Education is currently positioned in a unique situation. The Covid-19 crisis has forced academic leaders to implement digital solutions to cope with the brave new world of online and remote learning.
Right now, higher education leaders are faced with the chance to create a better education platform for their institution, one that will contribute to the overall betterment of the national and global education system. Because it is now when the cards are on the table, the future outcome of each institution will depend on what strategies leaders choose during this academic summer break. Not an easy task but an exciting one, nevertheless.
A simple formula for the steps that academic leaders should focus on this summer can be summarized in three Rs that may become a formula of academic success for the years to come.
Resilience and Cyber Resilience
Cyber resilience has ever been more important than today. Academic leaders need to take some time to consider and ensure security and system resilience as core requirements.
Phishing attacks and the exploitation of inadequately security patched systems and poorly implemented remote and distributed working solutions represent potential risks.
This summer offers a great opportunity to review and test remote and distributed working solutions to ensure they are secure. Introducing multi-factor authentication (MFA) as well as firewalls, VPNs, malware and antivirus and backup all critical systems and information are some of the things to do.
Re-thinking: Campus Design
There is so much to rethink this summer, but perhaps one of the most important things is about the future of the existing facilities and how to rethink campus design post Covid-19.
Indeed, with most of the learning being remote the campus will remain mostly empty. How to shape the use of physical spaces? Some or most existing areas in universities will need to be repurposed. This is the same approach many companies are going through as well.
The traditional lecture model has been ripe for disruption for a long time. This set-up has not changed much for the past 200 years. The pandemic has brought the opportunity for this change to happen.
There is a need to re-think and re-design the campus for agility and to ensure that developments are resilient.
Re-invention: Partnerships and Industry Collaboration
To re-evaluate and re-invent is another paramount factor to consider this summer. The re-invention of the purpose of the future universities and how they will serve their communities. Is thinking about re-invention that we think about commercial partnerships with companies, government bodies, or a large institution.
Thanks to industry collaboration, universities get funds, credibility, and the opportunity to offer students to work in real-world projects. In exchange, companies get access to the talent they need with the skills they need in addition to a wider pool of research.
This scenario can be combined with re-purposing campus space. Enterprises may use campus space to create workspaces and use them to give employees additional work flexibility if they want to work from a different location.
Thinking this over this summer may create more than one opportunity. Startup incubators may be re-located in otherwise empty areas on campus, and this may be beneficial for many.
I Know What You’ll Do This Summer
Many university leaders across the globe are seeking to regroup with their peers this summer in order to change their structure and to ensure they remain future-ready not just for the immediate post-pandemic the next fall but for the long-term toward a sustainable future in higher education.
Join Fierce Education and higher education executives for a ‘Business & Leadership: Summer Edition’ virtual event on July 14 to discuss these and other topics, and to learn what some university leaders are doing to alter their business models to excel in this new Education 3.0 world. Register here.
For more articles on how higher education leaders are using the summer break to prepare for the next school year, go to: The Time is Now for Higher Education Leaders to Plan for Next Semester