Higher education leaders’ top priority: Build their institutions’ digital learning infrastructure

NEW YORK (November 18, 2021) – The New England Board of Higher Education will release two new reports at the fall TIAA Institute Fellows Symposium “Facing New Realities: Research Insights and Leaders’ Perspectives” on Friday, November 19.

Titled Fast Forward: Forces Defining the Future of Postsecondary Learning and Presidential Perspectives on Building Next-Generation Postsecondary Digital Learning Enterprises, the reports examine pandemic-accelerated trends impacting postsecondary education and how college and university presidents are investing in digital learning infrastructure.

Of the leaders surveyed, 82% intend to increase hybrid (both online and on-campus) learning and other support services as a result of the pandemic. The survey’s respondents also rank improving digital infrastructure a top priority.

“We are witnessing what will surely be remembered as a historic turning point in remote learning and digital access,” said David Richardson, Head of the TIAA Institute. “The pandemic forced higher education institutions to pivot to virtual instruction, and this underlined the importance of investing in learner-centered digital infrastructure to keep pace with the changing needs of students globally.”

Additional findings show that higher education leaders have made notable efforts to respond to the pandemic’s impact on students but are now challenged to build digital infrastructure while preparing for future uncertainties and potential disruptors.

“Efforts to develop learning capabilities and the requisite technological infrastructure for American higher education were overdue, even before the pandemic revealed the uneven readiness among higher ed institutions,” said New England Board of Higher Education President, Michael K. Thomas, “Developing next-generation digital learning infrastructure more quickly, evenly and efficiently will require vision, resources and strategic collaboration. Our nation’s colleges and universities need a "digital booster.”

The TIAA Institute symposium will also feature presentations from lead authors of the following studies:

Press contact: TIAA Media Team, 888-200-4062, media@tiaa.org

About the TIAA Institute
The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success. For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit www.tiaainstitute.org.

About TIAA
TIAA is a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people and thousands of institutions.  It is the #1 not-for-profit retirement market provider, paid more than $3.6 billion to retired clients in 2020 and has $1.3 trillion in assets under management (as of 9/30/2021).