2024 AI Breakout Report: Perceptions of Planning and Readiness


Executives and those with AI responsibilities are the least uncertain. In general, where differences emerged, executives and those with AI responsibilities were more likely to agree with statements about the presence AI strategy, the maturity of implementation, and/or the readiness of AI at their institutions. Moreover, respondents were more likely to agree with statements about AI strategy and implementation in areas that were tied more closely to their responsibilities. Interestingly, a significant number of respondents indicated that they did not know about their institution's strategic planning and readiness—in many cases close to a third of respondents selected "don't know" as their response option. Unsurprisingly, executives and individuals with AI responsibilities were the most in the know.

Institutions should prevent small gaps in awareness about AI strategy from becoming larger. Many institutions are likely still in early stages of AI strategy and planning, which may explain why upper-level leadership and individuals working on AI-specific duties are more aware of their institution's efforts and are more likely to agree with statements about the progress of those efforts. Moving forward, higher education leaders can use these findings to further explore similarities and differences in awareness and sentiments toward AI at their institutions. Identifying gaps in awareness and sentiments (especially early in the process) can help institutions conduct targeted outreach and find ways not only to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of what is going with AI at their institution but also to foster engagement and effective collaboration throughout the strategic planning and implementation process. By identifying and understanding even small differences, institutions can get a head start and prevent gaps in awareness and engagement from becoming larger.

Areas with largest differences in sentiments based on position and responsibilities:

  • AI as an investment and strategic priority
  • Establishment of collaborative working groups
  • AI being considered as mission critical by IT leaders
  • Faculty interest in incorporating AI into teaching
  • Faculty autonomy in choosing which AI technologies to use in their courses

Areas with little or no differences in sentiments based on position and responsibilities:

  • Implementation of policies and guidelines to enable decision-making about AI use
  • Establishment of a mechanism for AI governance
  • Implementation of analytics that ensures AI use is aligned with strategic goals
  • Scalability and adaptability of AI services, programs, and technologies
  • Adoption of technology that ensures privacy and security of data used for AI
  • Support of AI technology via a centralized system
  • Strain on IT resources and staff
  • Resources for supporting students, faculty, and staff with disabilities in their use of AI

How Prepared Is Your Institution? Higher education institutions can now use the EDUCAUSE Higher Education Generative AI Readiness Assessment to guide their approach to strategic initiatives surrounding generative AI. The assessment is designed to provide a sense of an institution's preparedness for strategic AI initiatives. It can be used to develop an understanding of the current state and the potential of generative AI at higher education institutions, and as an opportunity for discussion with others.