The Higher Ed Guide for the Corporate Community program is designed to help those new to the field understand its organizational structures, decision-making and strategic planning processes, procurement practices, funding models and approaches, stakeholders and influencers, and more. By the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Create awareness for how universities and colleges are structured and governed and its effect on pricing, funding and decision making.
  • Develop an understanding of how institutional priorities and leadership reporting structures impact who can make technology investment decisions and how to build meaningful relationships with them.
  • Understand how strategic planning models influence technology funding and its effect on when to engage.
  • Describe the higher education request for proposal (RFP) and procurement process and how to appropriately engage with it.


During the program, learners are expected to dedicate approximately 3-4 hours per week (synchronous and asynchronous) to have an engaged and successful learning experience. Once or twice a week, we will hold live, synchronous online meetings to discuss resources, activities, and projects in support of the four competencies:

  • Competency 1: Thu, 1/12 at 3pm-4:00pm ET
  • Competency 2: Tue, 1/17 at 3pm-4:00pm ET
  • Competency 3: Thu, 1/19 at 3pm-4:00pm ET
  • Competency 4: Tue, 1/24 at 3pm-4:30pm ET *(note this session is 90 minutes)


These competencies contain the following components:

  • Introduction: Overview, learning objectives, and activity checklist
  • Learning Materials: Readings, videos, and websites that contain the key content and information you will need to progress through the competency
  • Recommended Resources: Readings, videos, and websites that provide additional information relevant to your professional development
  • Activities/Assignments: Practice activities and assignments

Competency 1: Higher Education Organizational Structures

As a new vendor or consultant, you will need to know the unique structures of various higher education institutions, their governance structures and how this will influence and shape your work with them. By the end of this competency, you will be able to

  • Identify how higher education institutions are characterized, including their information technology management structure.
  • Examine how knowledge of institutional characteristics supports successful engagement with higher education partners.
  • Explore higher education accreditation and how requirements potentially impact product and service selection and priorities.

Competency 2: Stakeholders and Influencers of Technology Decisions

Once you understand the type of institution with which you're working, you'll need to understand how it works. No two institutions are exactly the same, even if they share many characteristics. To be successful in developing a successful relationship, you'll need to understand the overall framework of roles and responsibilities, as well as stakeholders and influencers. By the end of this competency, you will be able to

  • Identify institutional stakeholders relevant to your service and/or product.
  • Explain how leadership management and reporting structures affect the way technology investments are made in higher education.
  • Describe how stakeholders outside of IT influence technology investment decisions.
  • Discuss strategies to build relationships with stakeholders at higher education institutions.

Competency 3: Technology Planning and Funding

Funding resources are often based on an institution's strategic plan. A strategic plan will often provide a broad base of understanding by communicating mission, vision, and goals, as well as identifying specific initiatives and directions needed to meet success measures. As technology plays a more strategic role throughout the campus, the strategic plan also is more closely aligned with and tied to institutional planning. By the end of this competency, you will be able to

  • Review varying types of strategic planning efforts used across an institution and how they impact technology decisions and investments.
  • Describe customized approaches for securing engagements that support an institution's strategic plan.

Competency 4: The Procurement Process

Understanding the higher education sourcing, purchasing, and ongoing supplier management process of information technology goods and services in various categories (software, SaaS, cloud computing, hardware, services, etc.) is critical to successful engagement. By the end of this competency, you will be able to

  • Describe the procurement process at an institution you might engage with.
  • Explain how the procurement process in higher education influences engagement with vendors and explore optimal engagement approaches.
  • Explain how funding sources and models influence decisions and processes surrounding technology purchases.