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Impacts on University Planning 2012-2017 Plan

 Economic Environment

  • It appears that the national and state economy will be in a period of slow job growth for the next three or four years.
  • The State of Texas is facing a very large budget deficit of 12 to 21 billion dollars.
  • Without dramatic increases in business activity in Texas, it is unlikely that the sales and property tax revenues will increase significantly. There may be structural deficiencies in Texas’ tax base.
  • Construction costs may decline or increase very little over the next several years.
  • The competition for state tax revenues from Medicaid will continue.
  • During the last 20 years, the annual budget of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has grown by 390% from $793 million in FY 1990 to $3.1 billion in FY 2010.
  • As the economy fails to recover quickly, more professors will choose to delay retirement.
  • As the economy fails to quickly recover, more students will choose to return to the university in order to improve their job prospects.
  • With no resources for increased staffing and a rapidly growing university, the need to do more with less will continue.
  • With the slow economy, fundraising will be a challenge for the next few years.
  • Aging Baby Boomers will increase demands all across health care.
  • The rapid advance of technology and the need for constant upgrades assure U.S. technology professionals of consistent job security over the next ten years.
  • According to World Wide Learn, the top ten jobs for the decade and beyond include the following: 1) computer programmer, 2) day care provider professional, 3) elder care specialist, 4) employment specialist, 5) environmental engineer, 6) home health aide, 7) management consultant, 8) networking specialist, 9) physician’s assistant, and 10) social services coordinator.
  • Occupational Employment Projections to 2018, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, predicts a 16.6% increase in job openings between 2008 and 2018 for those with a doctoral degree in comparison to a 10.1% overall increase in job openings with medical scientists, biochemists, and biophysicists holding doctorates among the ten fastest growing occupations.
  • The present state of the economy has had a significant impact on college scholarships due to falling investment returns and declining philanthropic support.
  • Hays County is now ranked third in the nation for job growth over the past ten years.
  • Forced college cutbacks due to the economic crisis are making it more and more difficult for students to earn degrees. 
Political Environment
  • Texas will continue to elect representatives to state-wide posts who oppose higher taxes.
  • Texas will continue to promote low taxes as the way to promote growth.
  • There will be increasing pressure to constrain the rate of growth of tuition.
  • The accountability movement for higher education will remain powerful within Texas, and there will be much more pressure to retain and graduate students.
  • The national government will become less likely to send new revenues (stimulus dollars) to the states.
  • There will be more emphasis on the role of community colleges in responding to the need for more college graduates in Texas.
  • The change to the FBS in football – and a corresponding change in conferences – will have a positive impact on the image of the whole university.
  • The likelihood for increased taxes will have a significant impact on obtaining major gifts.
  • Students and their parents are asking universities to provide quality, extensive services to students even when there are no additional revenues. 
Social Environment and Demographic Environment
  • Rapid population growth in Texas will continue to fuel demand for a college education.
  • Much of the population growth in Texas will be Hispanics.
  • Texas will experience much more pressure to educate and graduate Hispanic students.
  • As the population ages, the biggest increase in jobs will be in health fields.
  • There will continue to be a surplus of PhD’s as compared to available tenure line positions in most disciplines.
  • Austin and San Antonio are increasingly attractive to both companies and skilled workers seeking opportunity in a lower-cost, high growth environment.
  • Media outlets are changing in size, scope and functionality. 
  • The Pride in Action Campaign will be completed no later than 2014.  The time leading up to the Campaign’s completion will bring a tremendous boost of pride in the University.
  • Demographic shifts in alumni population will create a need to provide more diversity in programming, activities and communications aimed to strengthen alumni connections. 
  • In Texas, the growth of the “minority-majority” will create a need for “out of the box” thinking and a greater need to understand the cultures the students bring to the campus in order to create unique environments for each group of students to make them successful. 
  • Students and parents will be in search of campuses that can provide a safe community. 
  • Parental involvement in higher education may become the norm. 
  • Student Affairs must measure success based on the learning outcomes results of students who engage in programs and services. 
  • Because faculty are expected to engage primarily in teaching and research endeavors with lesser emphasis on service, this may decrease their involvement in retention initiatives.
  • “Report Card” systems such as the Voluntary System of Accountability will become the norm and will be used by students and parents to select the institutions they feel will give them the best education overall.
  • Emphasis on sustainability will affect curricular offerings over the next few years.
  • College orientation programs may become more important for retention efforts.
  • Since there are more than 37 million adults in the nation between the ages of 25 and 64 (over 20% of the workforce) who have actually attended college but never graduated, we may see greater efforts to encourage these past students to return to college.
  • Higher education has struggled to adjust to the academic and student support needs of more demanding students and increased involvement of parents who intend to negotiate the student experience at college.
  • Greater diversity in the U.S. and a more global society encourage an educational experience that prepares students to be culturally competent global citizens.
  • Employers across the country have emphasized the importance of internships and the trend nationally is toward hiring interns with the potential of becoming full time employees.
  • Students increasingly come to college with symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety and more severe mental health problems. 
  • Campus safety and emergency preparation, management, and prevention have become ever more important in higher education.
  • Students come to college with rising expectations related to personalization and anytime access to amenities and leisure activities.
  • The demographics of Texas suggest that there will continue to be enrollment increases instead of enrollment decreases for the university. There is an expectation from the THECB that we continue to grow.
  • Retention and graduation rates have become measures of accountability and success for universities.  Incentive funding is generally tied to these two measures. 
  • Connecting students to affinity groups appears to have a more profound effect on the student’s willingness to stay involved at the university over time and to stay connected as alums post graduation.
  • Town and university relationships between students and non-students will remain important.

Technological Environment

  • More on-line content and instruction will be promoted as a way to lower demands for new buildings and to meet the needs for flexibility in class schedules.
  • As more students have computers and other mobile devices, there will be less demand for dedicated computer labs.
  • As the costs of computers decline, university expenditures for computers should decline.
  • New media for marketing the university will be driven by new technologies.
  • E-books will play a more important role in classroom instruction.
  • Mobile applications will become more important in instruction.
  • Changes in technology have greatly affected the way media relations professionals do their jobs and this will continue to be the case. 
  • Providing an appropriate technological environment to steward alumni (and students) through their life span with the University is becoming even more important. 
  • As personal information becomes more ubiquitous, we will have to guard our students, donors, and employees from undue encroachment.
  • Consumerization of IT refers to the rapid convergence of traditional information technologies and consumer electronics wherein new and innovative technologies first emerge in the consumer marketplace and then rapidly inject themselves into enterprise business processes; i.e., into the teaching, learning, research, and administrative processes of Texas State. Each year brings new models and brands of consumer devices (e.g. smartphones, netbooks), entirely new classes of devices (e.g., iPad, Kindle), and new Web-based personal services (e.g., Google Apps, Twitter, Flickr). 
  • The explosive growth of social media, Internet gaming, and Web 2.0 technologies (e.g., Facebook, World of Warcraft, YouTube) reflects another facet of consumerization. 
  • Virtually all campus constituents now carry at least one portable, Internet-ready device at all times. 
  • The ubiquity of mobile devices with GPS capability has enriched opportunities for a new class of             “location-aware” applications that provide “augmented reality” experiences. 
  • Popular mobile applications demand stable, high quality, and high bandwidth wireless network connections campus-wide. 
  • While libraries remain popular as information portals, information is more likely acquired from remote, licensed, on-line databases, or from the library’s own digitized collection of institutional scholarship, than from the monographs in the library’s physical collection. 
  • Academic libraries are transforming their spaces from collection repositories to “Learning Commons” comprised of collaborative work areas, individual study spaces, multi-media studios, highly adaptable furnishings, and specially configured technology, along with support staff to facilitate effective use of the facility.
  • Digitized works and associated distribution technologies are also disrupting the traditional rules and norms related to scholarship and intellectual property rights.
  • The consumerization of IT, increased user mobility, and the digitization of enormous quantities of information are rapidly escalating demands on the underlying IT infrastructure.
  • Economic reality requires institutions to extract the last full measure of value from existing technologies. 
  • Infrastructure development will focus on the strategies that afford maximum agility, flexibility, resiliency, and scalability.
  • Threats to information security and personal privacy are continuously evolving and increasingly sophisticated. 
  • Due to their immense popularity, social media sites and mobile devices are rapidly becoming preferred attack vectors for cyber criminals. 
  • The trend toward students’ rising use of new technologies, including social networks, will impact staff needs to further acclimate themselves with the technology students are using.