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For many institutions, last year’s pivots during the pandemic have evolved into strategic, long-term change. These changes have paved the way for a new era of learner success focused on flexibility, supporting lifelong learners, and holistic wellbeing. At the 2021 Education Summit, Salesforce.org leaders highlighted the opportunity for higher education institutions to shape this new era of learner success together.
The voices of over 2,000 students and staff echo the importance of these sentiments in the second edition of the Connected Student Report. The report, which surveyed 1,128 students and 1,076 staff members from 10 countries earlier this year, highlights what’s top of mind for students going into fall and how staff can drive student success throughout the entire education journey. Despite the diverse range of countries included in the survey, five global trends clearly emerged as important areas for all higher education institutions to consider going into the fall semester.
For further insight, here’s a look at the top five takeaways from the report.
The second edition of the Connected Student Report surveyed 1,128 students and 1,076 staff members from 10 countries.
Wellbeing continues to be a top challenge identified by both students and staff. Understandably, students are feeling extra isolated after the past year and want more opportunities to connect. Additional emotional and social factors contributing to student wellbeing challenges emerged during the pandemic and are likely here to stay going into the fall semester. And while students are understandably the focal point of wellbeing conversations in higher education, staff are also citing the need for extra wellbeing support from their institution.
Both students and staff expect more flexibility to be provided by their institutions coming out of the pandemic. In fact, flexible course options are a top consideration for prospective students when deciding to enroll at a particular college or university. For many, this newfound flexibility was one silver lining of the past year and many higher education leaders are now investing in more part-time learning options for students as a long term strategy for institution success.
Students continue to place a high value on how their institution is preparing them for a career post graduation. In fact, data from the report highlights how career concerns start long before students attend a college or university. Many higher education leaders have an opportunity to not only strengthen alumni and student connections with regards to certain career pathways, but also attract more students to their institutions by focusing on career prospects.
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Many institutions are investing in new business models with an emphasis on attracting and engaging lifelong learners. With the demand for shorter, more flexible programs on the rise and overall enrollment numbers declining, institutions are looking for ways to get back to growth and combat summer melt. Data within the report shows that many of these new models are likely here to stay as many institutions are expanding their offerings, hiring new leadership roles, and doubling down on strategic plans for the long term.
There’s no shortage of compelling feedback throughout the report to suggest that the adoption of new models and student-centric innovation requires the use of an agile platform to empower faculty and staff throughout the entire learner journey. The sudden shutdown proved the long-term worth of digital strategies in areas like virtual campus tours, digital advertising, virtual advising, and hybrid courses.
The pandemic has surely been a catalyst for lasting change across higher education, significantly altering how institutions drive learner success moving forward. In order for institutions to offer more flexibility, support lifelong learners, and focus on holistic wellbeing, addressing the needs of faculty and staff will be just as critical. The findings within the second edition of the Connect Student Report emphasize the importance of driving both learner and institution success while providing actionable steps for universities to take this fall.
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