Higher education

Innovating the student experience, more than just an upgrade.

Pandemic interview series: Leaders in higher ed

We spoke with leaders at both private and public institutions – to take a pulse on pandemic-inspired changes within higher education, where nearly 50% of respondents anticipate making difficult but transformational changes in their institutions in the next 12 months. This interview series highlights everything from evolving approaches to serving and engaging students to operating model transformation. Learn more about what the future holds.


Tech Vision 2021: Higher education

For more than 20 years, Accenture has developed the Technology Vision research report as a systematic review across the enterprise landscape to identify emerging technology trends that will have the greatest impact on companies, government agencies and other organizations in the coming years. This year is the moment of truth: technology has sustained us through the pandemic and now continues to redefine how we work, live and interact. These are the key tech trends leaders must embrace to forge a better future – as seen through the eyes of Higher Education leaders.

Revolutionizing the campus experience

To support a safe reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern University built a hybrid, flexible learning model to give students a safe learning environment that fosters both human connection and supports high-quality education. The model, known as NUflex, was deployed within a matter of weeks and is supported by the university’s new Student Hub, which gives students an array of digital academic and social tools to stay engaged with their studies, peers and broader university community. During the first semester, more than 25,000 unique users used the COVID-19 Test Scheduler tool, helping the university maintain around 95% testing compliance.

These tools and practices have left a lasting mark on the future of teaching and learning at Northeastern and positioned the university as a bold and visionary leader in higher education.


Impact of COVID-19: Tune in to student sentiments

The COVID-19 outbreak disrupted the second half of the 2019–2020 academic year and the beginning of the 2020–2021 academic year. How are students and families feeling about what’s ahead? What do they value? What do they fear?

Accenture compared posts from February to September 2019 and February to September 2020 on public-facing digital and social media platforms. We analyzed more than 80 million posts from 27 million unique authors representing a mix of large (more than 15,000 students) public and private nonprofit, four-year institutions across the U.S.

Call it social listening at a time of social distancing. Here’s what we learned – and what it means for higher ed. Learn more.

The power of data

Universities collect data on students; much of it has not driven decision-making. Advanced analytics find the answers more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. These questions cover all aspects of operations—from student-facing to back-office.

Advanced analytics mean we don’t have to guess at the drivers of student success. Machine learning quickly identify factors that determine a student may be at risk—and then make decisions and prioritize actions for university administrators to intervene.

Analytics are a powerful source of insights that support effective decision making and strategic development. Concerns about the quality of data are usually misplaced. You likely already have enough data to drive preliminary insights, quickly identifying opportunities for growth. Privacy concerns are understandable. But anonymized, aggregated data is all you need to start making ground breaking discoveries.

Latest higher education insights

Hear from our subject matter experts and get their latest take on the most pressing issues facing higher education.

Lifelong learning: higher ed’s next silver bullet?

Samantha Fisher explains how higher education can lead with impact and successfully enable lifelong learning.

Higher ed’s post-vaccine workforce pendulum

Accenture’s survey showed that three quarters of higher ed employees want more remote work. Natalie details implications for changing expectations.

7 ways COVID-19 is accelerating trends in higher education

Jonathan Fry kicks off a blog series examining higher education trends that are being accelerated by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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