InformationManagement in Higher Education
Informationmanagement is the process of “apportioning, streamlining, reducingcosts, increasing effectiveness, and enhancing the quality of allprocesses that entail information, whether or not they arecomputerized,” (Webb 27). Institutions and departments have higherlearning have a huge pool of information that includes researchpapers, learning programs, processes, and intellectual property thatstaff, students, and faculty access for different uses. Throughefficient information management, administrative tasks such assupervision, teaching, reporting, matching roles, and counselingaresynchronized within institutional frameworks . In the moderncontext, automated information management systems criticallydetermine the efficiency of information management due todevelopments in information communications technology. Informationmanagement is, therefore, inseparable from database management due tothe fact that, the use of information and subsequent interpretationtakes place in form of data. Information management is alsoinseparable from knowledge management because institutions of higherlearning have a different core mandate from other institutions: toenhance access and utilization of educational resources andknowledge.
Informationmanagement in higher education is done through information systemsthat linked through a common database. Institutions that usedmultiple databases can now integrate them through moderntechnological solutions and personnel training. Integration ofmultiple databases into one central database for a higher educationinstitution or a governmental department in-charge of higher learninginvolves determining and introducing new data fields. The data fieldsaid in collecting the needed data for routine activities such aseducation accountability and accreditation issues. The process alsoinvolves electronic exchange of data among various units.Improvements in technology have facilitated smooth exchange ofinformation through such localized cloud connected servers that isunique to a specific institution or educational department. As statedabove higher education’s main business is to make knowledge asaccessible as possible. Thus, knowledge repositories must be part ofthe entire database for each institution. Higher educationinstitutions also need to hire or outsource information managementservices. Qualified persons with technical skills to design systemalgorithms are needed to continually merge and generate differentreports and forms concerning the core activities and processes ininstitutions. Additionally, the ever-improving state of informationcommunications technology demands that higher learning institutionsconduct frequent training and workshops that aim to improve thetechnical skills and knowledge of faculty, staff, and administratorsin information management. In fact the information managementimprovement scheme should be part of the strategic plans of allinstitutions.
Researchby Ann and Petrides (2000) indicated that improvement of informationuse through internally crafted information systems served higherlearning institutions better than those crafted by hiredprofessionals. In their assertions, Ann and Petrides observed that, areward system aiming to identify and encourage innovative methods isthe way to go for all institutions. The observations recognized thefact that the competitiveness of institutions is increasingly beingshaped by the value of their information systems. Institutions canimplement this strategy by adopting institution-wide teams and assignthem the responsibility to design, monitor, and evaluate howinformation management takes place in inside universities andcolleges . The target people for evaluation by such teams arethe faculty, staff, students, and even the administration. Acompiled report from the established team should guide theinstitutions on the people to reward so as to encourage efficient useof information systems. The findings would also provide anopportunity for the administration to allocate more resources towardstreamlining information management practices that mitigate thechallenges associated with the new information age.
Highereducation is not immune to cybercrime. In October 2013, a feature onthe “University Business” website found that foreign governmentsand criminal global criminal networks are orchestrating hacking andcreating nuisance viruses that target top universities and colleges. The wave of crime targets intellectual property, personal informationand strategic research. Higher education institutions face a newcyber challenge of protecting this information because it is costlyto have it also critically determines the reputation of aninstitution. Institutions in higher education are more vulnerablethan those in other sectors because they are open and inviting.Others involve students attempting to change grades. Institutionsneed to commit more resources towards cyber security. They have tomove away from the simple method of changing passwords every now andthen to creating ultrasecure research infrastructure that protectsensitive computer systems from close internet access.
Inconclusion, higher education institutions need to have workingsystems through which they can use information generated from withinand one that get in from outside sources. Thus, they need to beclear as to what information they generate, hold and have access to. Information management through modern information systems is theideal way through which institutions of higher learning can make useof valuable information for purposes of achieving short-term andlong-term goals. The definition of information management variesaccording to the context of every organization. In the context ofhigher education defining information management takes intoconsideration the fact that they are not for-profit organizationshence, information systems work to enhance the overall good of thestudents, the academia, and the society.
Petrides,Lisa A. CaseStudies on Information Technology in Higher Education: Implicationsfor Policy and Practice.Hershey, PA: Idea Group Pub, 2000. Internet resource.
Webb,Jela. StrategicInformation Management: A Practitioner`s Guide.Oxford: Chandos, 2008. Internet resource.