Green, K., Jaschik, S., and Lederman, D. (2011) Presidential Perspectives Inside Higher Education, March 4
Not much, it appears.
Inside Higher Ed sought the frank and confidential assessments of campus presidents about the issues that confront their institutions and the strategies they’re using in response…..A total of 956 campus and system presidents, chancellors, and CEOs, about 33 percent of those invited to participate, completed the questionnaire, making the 2011 Presidential Perspectives survey one of the largest surveys of American college and university presidents in recent decades.
Understandably, Presidents’ main concerns these days are about finances and government cuts. However, the questionnaire asked presidents to “rate the effectiveness of [their] institution’s investment” in an array of technology resources and services. The most effective investment across the different kinds of institution was consistently in library services (well done, librarians). Presidents in 55% of public universities thought investment was very effective in online distance education (very similar to presidents in for-profit institutions, surprisingly), and a slightly smaller proportion in on-campus use of technology.
However, only just over half felt that investment in technology in any area was very effective. The report comments that:
many presidents may be “ambivalent captives” to the personnel and financial resources their campuses invest in IT: although their institutions clearly have to continue to invest in information technology to support recruitment, instruction, and administrative operations, a significant proportion of presidents across all sectors and segments wish their institutions received a better return on the continued and significant investments they make in IT resources and services.
As Clayton Wright commented to me in an e-mail about this report:
‘Obviously, their biggest concern was about budgets/the economy. But, I found it interesting that there didn’t seem to be any mention of changing the teaching model and only about a third indicated a desire to expand their online offerings…… But if you have a major hit to your finances, wouldn’t you consider how you could deliver your service more effectively and efficiently?’
One reason I suspect that Presidents feel they are not getting as good a return on investment in technology, especially in the teaching and learning area, is that the goals for technology in teaching are so conservative: supporting the classroom model. Thus the intended ‘gains’ are not only relatively insignificant but also hard to measure. Presidents will not get a better return on investment until institutions start setting more ambitious goals for the use of technology in teaching and learning, which will involve the redesign of teaching, setting new and better learning outcomes that enable the exploitation of technology, and new methods of assessment. Until then, Presidents will remain ambivalent captives to technology.
For a good discussion of the report by the lead author see:
Green, K. (2011) Presidents Confront Technology, Inside Higher Education, March 4