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10 Higher Ed Technology New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

By January 2, 2019

New Year’s resolutions in higher education technologyHappy New Year! For 2019, we’d like to share some trends and recommendations that may inspire your New Year’s Resolutions.

What are your intentions for 2019? Share with us on Twitter: @SalesforceOrg

1. Be Collaborative with Your Data

We’ve all heard “knowledge is power.” But what do you do with it?

Instead of assessing your value based on how much you know, ask yourself: How much have I helped my colleagues and students grow? This is what Jason Belland, Senior Director of Higher Ed Industry Solutions at, refers to as “data karma.” We suggest setting a few resolutions to:

    1. Define what trust means to you and your institution
    2. Get outside the building and walk the student journey
    3. Have a conversation about data karma

2. Commit to Equity in Admissions

What is your organization doing to improve access to college for under-represented groups? One inspirational example is how Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) created the Dallas County Promise program to build pathways to college for students who never thought a degree was a possibility. This program provides high school seniors with coaching and free tuition to one of the seven DCCCD community colleges.

“We follow what we call the ‘DCCCD Way,’ which includes four core values: creating jobs; increasing prosperity in our community; inspiring everyone to achieve; and improving the quality of life for all. It’s great to be part of this community and to partner with because, when I look at their values, they’re aligned with ours.”
– Dr. Joe May, Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District

3. Expand Your Horizons Through Internationalization

What goals do you have around preparing your students for increasingly global careers? Cross-cultural experiences are one of the many benefits of college. But internationalization today isn’t just about exchange programs. With a range of internationalization options, university stakeholders have important decisions to make around how internationalizing will impact their student, curriculum, culture, and university.

Take a look at Dr. Bradley Beecher’s first blog on international recruiting trends, and his e-book about internationalization.

4. Improve Brand Consistency Across Marketing and Communications

Data silos are a reality for many institutions, but they don’t need to hold you back indefinitely. Consider where your university is feeling the pain of data silos, and what stakeholders you might connect with to address this.

For example, Indiana University saw a massive opportunity to address irregularities with university messaging across all of its campuses. Individually, units and schools dispersed throughout the IU system had been sending an unknown number of unbranded, inconsistent emails every day, using disparate email-blasting tools. With Salesforce, they consolidated more than 400 separate email solution instances into a single instance powered by Marketing Cloud.

Now messages can be sent to student, faculty, and staff lists that are updated daily, meaning dramatically improved targeting. About 70% of the 35 million emails sent university-wide in the first year with Salesforce were properly branded based on email templates. We all know doing good is important, but looking good with on-brand communications helps, too!

5. Get Social for Admissions and Beyond

According to a recent survey by Inside Higher Ed, nearly 9 in 10 Admissions Directors say higher ed needs to better explain the value of a degree. In addition, only half of directors are satisfied with their institution’s social media strategy.

This is an opportunity for your social channels to tell your story. What are your alumni doing? Do you have success stories to highlight? How can you show the ROI of your institution’s experience? Get the complete research from Inside Higher Ed.

6. Create clear pathways and seamless experiences so students can focus on the business of learning

Student success has many components, and data shouldn’t live in silos across campus. Some of the most successful schools are building interfaces around their central data platforms for their staff in admissions, advising, and student services. Having a centralized platform enables staff to get holistic student views you can trust and effectively turn data into action and engagement. Once you begin breaking down silos, groups that never saw themselves cooperating realize that they have much in common, and that it makes sense to be on a common platform.

Have you consider creating a “one stop shop” or Solution Center? In 2019, consider how you could streamline and integrate student services in person, via email, on the phone, and online.
See how UMass Lowell did it!

7. Empower Every Staff Member to Have a Complete View of Students

When meeting with campus leaders, there are a few common themes we’ve seen on how to reimagine the student and staff experience.

  • Is the experience continuous? In everything you do, are you thinking, “How does this fit into a unified platform instead of multiple systems, to create a complete view of your students so your staff is in a position to succeed?”
  • Is it proactive? Are you able to use that unified data to reach out at the right time and influence behavior?
  • Is it personalized? Is every experience providing resources that are right for that individual student at that specific time in their journey? Do adult learners have what they need, as well as 18 year old students?

These are the building blocks of student trust and student empowerment. And it’s not just the student experience, but the staff experience too. Is it continuous, proactive, and personalized? That’s the foundation of trust and empowerment for students, faculty, and staff.

Behind every successful student is an empowered faculty or staff member. Consider ways to give advisors the data and tools they need to engage with students individually or in groups, then identify and address their specific needs proactively. Tools like Salesforce Advisor Link can help!

8. Volunteer Your Time, Talent, or Treasure

Equality begins with education, and access to quality education is the foundation for a diverse, empowered, and skilled society. From K-12 schools to college, education plays a critical role in shaping the lives of our future citizens to create a better tomorrow for everyone.

This year, consider ways to give back to education institutions that matter to you. Some ideas:

  • Interview high school students for your alma mater
  • Mentor middle school students, such as with the Boys and Girls Club
  • Organize an alumni event for your college or university
  • Lead an Hour of Code anywhere to help young adults prepare for tech careers
  • Donate to an education nonprofit like Stemettes,, or Commonlit

Artificial intelligence in higher education diagram of continuous learning

9. Explore New Ways to Engage Donors at Scale

While advancement is about building relationships, how you prioritize your time is important for developing those relationships. AI can help you prioritize your contact list to save time and improve results in advancement and more.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one way of making the most of your time in your fundraising to-do list. For more inspiration, watch this webinar on AI in higher ed.

Students on campus

10. Get Outside Your Office

When you’re designing a new process or system, invite students into the process. (Trust us: pizza helps!) Whether you’re getting feedback or work with students as data analysts, as Taylor University has done, take some time in 2019 to go on a listening tour to better understand the student experience.

About the Author
Nathalie MainlandNathalie Mainland is VP, Higher Education Solutions & Strategy at She has over 15 years of experience working in technology and education with organizations including Blackboard, Autodesk, and Pearson. Follow her on Twitter: @nmainland