As students and administrators seek anytime, anywhere access to the cloud, higher ed IT teams must face their fears and get to work.
There's good news for on-campus IT departments in the 2012 Campus Computing Survey: The number of organizations facing budget cuts for central IT resources and services continues to decline.
For the 2012–2013 academic year, the figure is 27 percent, down from 35.8 percent for the previous year, 41.6 percent in 2010 and 50 percent in fall 2009.
Even so, campuses report that they aren't achieving the return on investment that they'd like to see on their IT spending. Inside the numbers, researchers found senior IT officials offered a mixed assessment of the impact of those dollars.
Three-fifths of respondents characterized their investments in library resources and administrative information systems as "very effective," while just over half (55.2 percent) said the same of IT for on-campus instruction. At public research institutions, only two-fifths (41.7 percent) assessed IT investments to support research and scholarship as "very effective."
While not all higher education budgets are contracting, the reality is that educators, researchers and IT professionals must be more creative in securing the funding they need for specific gaps in critical infrastructure and classroom technology. At CDW•G, we think it's important to help stakeholders find the resources they need. That's why we sponsor the GetEdFunding website, GetEdFunding.com, which launched last fall.
The site is a robust resource for educators and institutions searching for the funds they need to supplement IT budgets, expand programming and generally prepare students for the innovative mindset and complex skills they'll need to compete in the real world.
The GetEdFunding database is populated from a wide range of print and electronic sources, including some program administrators themselves. Created by educational professionals, for educational professionals, the site is designed to be easy to use and relevant.
Site registration is free. Once registered, users can create a custom search to cull applicable grants and awards from listings totaling more than 750.
Forty-one focus areas let searchers find awards and grants that serve specific student categories, while the eight content areas target opportunities that fund initiatives geared to nine different subjects (including the arts, science and world languages).
Fourteen 21st century themes (collaboration, critical thinking, digital literacy and innovation, among them) allow users to dig deeper into the modern skills that are such essential components of today's curricula.
Matches can be saved to a "My Grants" section for later review. Data filters also include "New Opportunities," enabling quick views of the latest information added in any category.
In the case of federal funding awards, efforts are made to gain a better sense of the likelihood of future funding.
Programs pending congressional approval also are included so that they're on users' radar as future resource possibilities.
GetEdFunding also includes a "Resources" section that shares thought leadership in classroom technology and infrastructure.
In the months ahead, the site will provide advice from grant writers as well as application tips.
Given the wide variety of funding opportunities available, the GetEdFunding website helps professors, administrators, grant-writers and other stakeholders to simplify their research into new alternative funding options and additional resources.