Higher education, like most sectors, has faced an incredible array of new challenges over the last two years. While there’s no single solution, successfully adapting requires a digital strategy that seamlessly connects faculty and students.

That’s more challenging when long-established models are in flux. For example, a report out this summer says that almost half of students (49%) would prefer a hybrid learning environment. The report reveals: “Institutions must evolve their program offerings, support, and experiences to adapt to the continued disruption … stemming from the pandemic.” Coupled with high levels of teacher burnout, it’s clear that change is needed. And it goes beyond teaching and learning.  

Our upcoming event, How to create a more connected campus experience (September 28), explores the challenges and solutions to creating and maintaining a thriving campus. We’ll also hear first-hand from Oral Roberts University about how they implemented their unified digital communications strategy.

Appspace has extensive experience helping major universities across the globe with communication and workplace issues. We’ve identified three of the biggest challenges higher education institutions face when creating a connected, cohesive campus experience.  

1. Communicating across campus

College campuses have historically relied on physical communication methods for sharing news and information. Printed posters, signs, and the school paper all needed to be distributed around the physical campus. Today, communication needs to work smarter. Email may still do the job for newsletters and announcements but isn’t good enough when it comes to emergencies. Social media only benefits students and faculty who use the platforms. 

Institutions need to be able to reach students instantly, on and off campus, from a centralized place. Make sure your tech allows you to publish information once and display it wherever it needs to be seen – on digital screens and personal devices. This makes it simple to scale communication efforts and reach staff and students anywhere.

2. Managing campus spaces and safety

Keeping the campus environment safe for everyone is critical. That means having proper capacity control and resource allocation tools in place. 

A recent survey by Campus Technology reveals that security is among the top issues getting the most attention or resources in higher education institutions’ digital transformation journeys. 

Institutions need technology that allows them to control and enable space reservation and visitor management. For example, staff should be able to book rooms and spaces themselves, freeing up administration time. And virtual maps should show the campus spaces and resources available for studying or meeting. The right technology gives the institution the necessary control and lets people self-serve when that option makes sense. 

3. Faculty and staff retention

Fatigue and burnout are among the biggest challenges in many industries today, and according to a report by The Chronicle for Higher Education, higher education is no exception. Professors are anxious and burnt out from pivoting, juggling work and childcare, worrying about the economy, and more. Educators are retiring earlier than they anticipated or reducing their course load to offset the fatigue.

34% of higher education employees are demanding better technology to help make work easier and less stressful. So how can institutions help? 

One quick win: Ensure faculty members can always get (and share) information quickly and easily. Alerts and policy updates should be instantly available via mobile apps and digital signage on campus. Add a robust intranet to your arsenal, and it becomes an up-to-date resource and knowledge center where users can post questions and answers and can start up or join groups that support their interests or research needs. 

Join us to learn more about how Appspace can power your campus