Kirk Paille, Director of Solutions Architecture at Collegis Education, was a guest on The Gateway podcast to talk about higher ed technology. He and co-hosts Dr. Biagio Palese and Russell Devereaux discussed how Kirk’s 20 years of recruitment, sales and operations experience have afforded him a firsthand perspective on how technology continues to impact every aspect of college life.

Technology of Student Outreach

One area where Kirk has seen a rapid expansion in the use of higher ed technology is student outreach in admissions. He watched as email and phone calls were augmented first by CRM systems and then, even to his own surprise, by text and, ultimately, chat.

Listen to the audio clip:

“I’ve been in the game long enough, where I was like, ‘Oh, nobody’s gonna want to respond by text. I don’t think we should spend the money.’ I was wrong. I was very wrong. What we found was students absolutely loved to interact by text for quick questions, et cetera, et cetera, so texting has become like almost, in my mind, mandatory for admissions outreach.”

Kirk believes that when the objective is engagement with students, admissions teams should take full advantage of every technology at their disposal to give students the information they need to choose your school. From phone calls to chatbots, technology can play a crucial role in providing effective student experiences that build trust with your institution.

Changes in Online Programs

Kirk also observed how the perception of online education has changed, in large part due to the pandemic. Rather than being only a stop-gap measure for remote instruction during lockdowns, online learning technology has made higher education possible for a much broader population.

Listen to the audio clip:

“People now understand that online education is not going away. There’s a large population of students that want to do that, especially at the graduate level, or, or that adult degree–completer student that, you know, maybe they got their associate’s degree but never finished the bachelor’s. Now they’re married, kids, they don’t have the flexibility to go to a class three nights a week or, you know, traditional day school. So, you have to meet the students where they are, both in terms of the learning experience, but also in terms of the recruiting and enrollment experience.”

Microcredentials and Upskilling

The flexibility and application of technology that schools demonstrated during the pandemic will come in handy as higher education continues to evolve, in Kirk’s view. He doesn’t believe the bachelor’s degree will go away, but that at the post-graduate level, microcredentials and other upskilling options will give colleges an opportunity to use technology to serve more career-minded adults.

Listen to the audio clip

“I think at the postgraduate level, you know, as we think about once people have a bachelor’s degree, I think there’s also a lot of opportunity for schools to do more micro-credentialing, you know, smaller, smaller pieces, stackables, that kind of thing. To be able to give people, you don’t have to do a full four years. You don’t maybe you don’t need a master’s degree, maybe you could just get a certificate and a specific skill set to help upskill your career to be better.”

Listen to the Complete Episode

We recommend listening to the entire The Gateway episode with Kirk for insights from someone widely experienced in higher ed who values what technology brings to the table today, and where it can take the industry tomorrow. Because, when it comes to higher ed technology, it’s not a matter of IF, but HOW.

At Collegis, we partner with institutions to evolve their technology to deliver on strategies like student outreach, online learning, microcredentials, and much more.

What’s on your technology to-do list?

Author: Collegis Education staff

Collegis is passionate about education and driven by the technology that keeps institutions moving forward.