• Cutting Edge

Innovating on a tight budget in higher ed

On the Cutting EDge podcast, Clackamas Community College Chief Information Officer Saby Waraich says he’s leaning on innovative ideas to help weather the workforce and budgetary challenges facing higher education institutions today.

“What I am seeing is there’s so much demand from IT services, but that [student enrollment] pipeline is basically draining out, so that is affecting the budget right now,” Waraich says. “That makes it really challenging to hire or ask for funding for new initiatives.”

But that doesn’t mean institutions like Clackamas Community College — which serves 5,000 undergraduate students south of Portland, Oregon — can stop working to improve their services, Waraich says.

“The big piece right now we’re juggling is how can we keep the college safe, and at the same time try to look for those small wins and those opportunities to innovate,” he says.

Waraich says he wants to do a proof of concept using automation, which will build on a proof of concept the college is doing with chatbots.

“Which [proof of concept] is going to take some of that load off?” Waraich says. “We’re taking that one small step at a time.”

Hear more from the higher education information technology community every two weeks on the Cutting EDge podcast. Listen here.

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Cutting Edge


Every two weeks, the Cutting EDge Podcast will bring you the latest in higher education technology news and analysis. The program will explore trending topics in depth and highlight news across the campus IT landscape. Each episode will feature conversations with top executives across higher education on things like hybrid learning, emerging technology, cybersecurity and modernization.

Hosted by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is the vice president of content and community for StateScoop & EdScoop at Scoop News Group. Williams has spent nearly a decade in the government IT market, covering the ins-and-outs of state and local government as well as higher education. Williams started his journalism career in regional journalism in his native Pennsylvania, and also worked as a reporter for Campaigns & Elections magazine.