“Generation Z”: the still-mysterious yet wildly important generation that has worked its way into the Higher Ed sphere. While their predecessors, the Millennials, are “the most researched generation in history” according to Vision Critical, we’re still figuring out how Gen Z will behave in the real world, and how their departure from the Millennial mentality will affect Higher Education operations.
I was intrigued by an October 2016 blog post in Inside Higher Ed titled “Still Waiting for Recovery.” It reports on a Campus Computing survey which finds that nearly a decade after the financial crisis began, many college and university IT officers note their budgets still haven’t recovered. They say the combination of budget cuts and ongoing demands for new services, top professionals and the latest technology is putting them in a tough position.
During the past decade, sweeping technological innovations and student demands began rapidly outpacing traditional educational methods. The impacts of these changes have continued to expand and academic and residential networks across college campuses have felt the pressure rise.
Internet is Not an Amenity, it is an Expectation
K-12 students are digital natives from their toddler years. Access to technology is all they’ve known.
At school, they continuously learn and master an ever-expanding array of tools, seeking a learning experience that models the real world – a world in which work and play go hand in hand.
Spoiled for choice and armed with a constant feedback loop online, our kids see a problem and don’t hesitate to take matters into their own hands. As a mother of two college-age children, I’ve seen how students bombard social media and explore off-campus housing options if they are unhappy with their school’s internet and video amenities. My daughter left her residential hall because the lack of Wi-Fi was a major hassle.
The 2020s are beckoning, and a new normal is taking shape in the fiercely-competitive Northeastern higher education landscape. According to the report “Knocking at the College Door,” the states of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont could see 65,000 fewer students coming through the educational pipeline and moving into higher education by 2028. As a result, graduating high school classes, which will be smaller than the classes of today, will likely be targeted for student recruitment from institutions in neighboring states looking to offset their declines.
Wireless is like water, you’ve got to have it. Seamless connectivity is now an institutional imperative that cuts across all facets of living, teaching and learning. It’s a business decision that’s key to giving your school a competitive advantage.