Hoefflin Featured in Future of Technology Publication

CBORD President Jim Hoefflin was recently interviewed in a publication about the future of technology on college and university campuses. Positioned alongside industry leaders from around the nation, Hoefflin provided insight into how the pandemic affected institutions, what technology universities should prioritize moving forward, and ideas to inform strategic planning.

Hoefflin’s interview was featured in the lead story as part of USA Today’s special publication on the Future of Higher Education Technology. Both digital and print editions were released on June 25, 2021, and will be distributed at higher education conferences later this year. 

CBORD is the recognized leader in building connected campuses through technology solutions. View insights from the panel of experts online or read Hoefflin’s full interview below.

Q: What challenges do colleges and universities have when changing their infrastructure to ensure student and institutional success? 

A: Last year taught us how important flexibility and adaptability were to higher education. This not only applied to campus populations, but also to the technology that powers them. Aging hardware of on-premise solutions can cause a huge financial strain on IT departments. Additionally, this technology requires staff on site to maintain the systems. Cloud-based solutions can really transform campus operations by enabling remote management of software systems.

In terms of physical infrastructure, building enhancements and growth can be expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient to students, faculty, and staff. However, improvements to security and safety are critical factors to student satisfaction and success. Developing multi-year campus improvement plans that tie together technology and physical growth can help campuses better prepare for the inconvenience of construction and the cost that it requires.

Q: What areas should institutions prioritize in 2021 and 2022?

A: Remote access to software applications, contactless transactions to minimize germ transmission, and labor-optimizing infrastructure were all key to safely reopening campuses in fall 2020. Challenged by difficulties fully staffing positions in IT and foodservice/retail, we see these as critical components in the coming months and years, and believe cloud-based technology, mobile access and payments, and self-service solutions can enhance safety and adaptability of campus services.

Also, aligning auxiliary services under one unified system provides better, more equal access to every aspect of campus life. Many universities already utilize a one-card solution, but implementing integrated technology across campus housing, dining, foodservice, security, and card offices ties these services together for a seamless experience for students, faculty, and staff. 

Q: What kinds of technology should colleges and universities be looking to invest in?

A: Students want easy, quick access to campus services and prefer to use a mobile device or smartwatch instead of a plastic ID card. Many of our university partners have implemented a mobile application to manage campus card activity or have enabled student IDs in mobile wallet for completely contactless access and payments.

We’re also seeing emerging trends with biometric hand and facial recognition devices and self-service kiosks in several areas of campus. The most popular adaptation is in campus dining, where biometric readers can provide access and deduct a meal plan in a single transaction. Kiosks can be used for order only or order and pay to manage flow and traffic during busy meal periods. Both solutions also can help universities tackle labor shortages, optimize personnel costs, and move customers through lines faster. 

Q: How does data inform strategic decision-making for college and university leaders? 

A: Aggregating data from multiple sources into a single solution is imperative to fully understanding the breadth and needs of your student population. You can identify trends in campus housing, dining, and extracurricular activities to understand the services students use most. You can also compare card-related activity to academic performance to detect the correlation between on-campus engagement and student outcomes. I think it’s important to look at both the learning side of higher education and the living and community aspects to truly gain insight and information that can drive strategic planning and foster success. 

Q: What resources are necessary to help students thrive in higher education programs?

A: For most students, going to college is the first time they live outside of their primary household. They’re learning independence and personal responsibility while also exploring new relationships, ideas, and paths for their future. Fostering maturity and growth goes hand in hand with preparing an individual for a career. Providing fair access to housing, food, books and supplies, and technology for every student is key to both academic and life success.

Contact us to learn more about CBORD solutions for higher education.