A Look Ahead at Higher Education

The future of education isn’t bleak. We believe the story of higher education is one of hope, hope for the students you educate and hope for the success of your institution.

In this changing environment, your institution can thrive with
- Modular technology
- Advances in student-facing technology
- Collaboration
- Use of the cloud
- Integration
- Choice of configuration over customization
- Creation of a smooth implementation environment
- Vendors or partners who listen
- Superior UX
- Risk mitigation

“The decade ahead for higher ed presents a very different set of challenges than what we’ve had before,” said Brad Wheeler, Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer at Indiana University. “One, I think institutions are gonna really have to learn how to keep our money in our mission. In the (last) decade we saw the birth rate really fall off and so we’re going to see a much smaller set of undergraduates and still a large set of institutions chasing them. So by definition, market forces will take hold. Institutions have to become more effective service providers. That’s a journey for higher ed, and we have to keep our money in our mission to be able to do that.”

We understand those challenges and can help you keep more money in your mission while still updating and reinventing your software and systems. So if you don’t already know our story, we’d like to introduce ourselves.

Our mission is to give you operational control with lower costs through collaboration and delivery in the cloud. Our software is consumed open source—either through the cloud or on-premises—so no one can take it away, close it down or discontinue it. We believe in collaboration and sharing—implementation templates, training materials, best practices, and reporting structures—to reduce what used to be recurring costs.

“I don't know any other environment where we have the ability to collaborate with colleagues across the country,” said Jason DeFay, Director of Research Administration Initiatives at the University of California San Diego. “Different regulatory environments with different political climates … some large, some small, some public, some private … and come out with a solution.”

It all started in 2004 when strategic thinkers at three like-minded universities saw a need for software and systems built for higher education. They wanted to respond to the multi-million market of enterprise resource management systems. They knew colleges and universities needed a system that meets their unique needs, cost less to operate and gave business officers control over their destinies. So Kuali (a Malay word for wok or pot, to symbolize the organizers coming together to add things to the pot) was born.

“Kuali was founded around a community,” Wheeler said. “It’s universities that wanted to solve similar problems in similar ways around similar times. And, it wasn’t just the software, it was also best practices. Learning how to share our research protocols, share how we do financial systems and risk mitigation and controls.”

Initially called the Kuali Project, it focused on a financial system. Its success led to the addition of a Research Project, and the formation of the Kuali Foundation. The foundation grew and grew, bringing users together with its twice-annual Kuali Days events as well as ongoing forums and user groups.

By 2014, the Kuali community got together to discuss ways to improve delivery of its suite of products. They decided the best option was to launch Kuali, Inc., an agile for-profit group that could garner additional investments, hire excellent talent, and deliver products more quickly to the market. Institutions continue to collaborate and leverage resources through the non-profit foundation and contract with the for-profit arm for cloud delivery and software development.

We now have five products purpose-built for higher education.
- Curriculum and Catalog Management: Solutions to help you simplify curriculum and catalog management.
- Research: Solutions to help you grow your capacity for knowledge discovery.
- Build: Design and build the apps you need with no coding.
- Financials: Solutions to help you manage with certainty.
- Ready: Solutions to help you be more prepared.

“Kuali is managed differently than ‘corporations,’” said Susan Oswalt, Technical Project Manager in Information Technology Services at the University of California San Diego. “It’s pretty casual; people are really down to earth. It’s really unique, it’s almost like a university, but without all the politics and all of the rules.”

We have nearly 100 employees and add partners every year. We’re moving forward on a mission to modernize academic administration with affordable modular software products, making it possible for colleges and universities to put more of their money into research and education.

“I think Kuali solely focusing on higher ed keeps them focused so that the company doesn’t seem like they are bottom-line driven, it looks more like they are consumer-centric,” said Steve Dowdy, Director of Research Information Systems & Integration at the University of Maryland.

Our purpose is to be a partner with institutions of higher education, not only as a provider of software and services. We’re a community of users who work continuously to deliver flexible, affordable open-source solutions that make sense.

“I’ve used other products before … but I have never met multiple individuals that are willing to help me,” said Chanell Rome, Electronic Research Administration Business Analyst at the University of Maryland College Park, of Kuali employees. “I can at least tell you three or four individuals just right now that I can call at any moment or send them an email and they’re willing to help me, and that’s huge, and they know me, they know what I’ve implemented, they know my history, they know about me personally. They’re just an amazing group of individuals, and I feel like we’re kind of a family.”

After all, we were founded by people like you, and our inventors are part of the higher education community, so we know what you’re up against. We want to create the products you need, in the format you need. We want to be your partner.

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