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Articles: UB Archive

EduComm 2011 was a big success. Big in many ways. In addition to a record-setting attendance (more than 900 registered), EduComm 2011 had the biggest exhibit floor it has ever had, with more than 40 exhibitors.

Big, but not too big.

That's what we keep hearing from attendees. They tell us they like that EduComm is growing, but they also caution us not to grow too big. They fear we'll lose the intimacy and camaraderie that is evident in a conference our size. That's important to us.

 

“How much does LEED cost”? University administrators and facilities directors across the country are grappling with the need to design and construct their buildings sustainably with all the obvious long-term benefits but within their “first cost” budget.

Picture two overworked accounting clerks, their desks completely covered in paper register receipts, and an accounts payable manager who needs a wheeled hand cart to deliver 5,000 paper checks to the mail room for distribution to students so they could buy books for classes. This is what the business office at Macomb Community College (Mich.) looked like prior to 2008, before the start of classes, says Bobbie Remias, director of finance and investments.

Faced with a rising applicant population and the desire to continue to provide one-on-one attention to strong student candidates, officials at LIM College in New York City feared declining enrollment if they could not find a way to clone their four admissions counselors or completely revamp the counselors’ role. With the help of consultants from GDA Integrated Services, LIM (formerly known as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising) managed to do both, in a manner of speaking.

Three of the most dreaded words in the English language are “financial aid application.” Parents hate it. Students fear it. And administrators try not to be overwhelmed by all the documentation associated with it.

The number and quality of personal relationships are frequently what drive college freshmen to remain at a particular college or university. The national average for freshmen retention is right around 75 percent, reports Brian Yates, executive director of the Center for Academic Support and Advising Services (CASAS) at Liberty University (Va.). And yet officials at Liberty, which had a freshman retention rate in line with the national average, felt they could do better.

Caught up in cloud fever, campus IT leaders across the nation have virtualized their server rooms. Having fewer servers didn't make the world come to an end; in fact, just the opposite happened. Staffers have more time to work on critical tasks and energy bills have gone down since IT departments aren't cooling massive data centers anymore.

Transfer used to be what happened when students realized too late that they picked a college or university that wasn't right for them. It wasn't until recently that the valuable market of transfer students has started being studied and really tapped into.

"For a while, transfers were kind of looked at as extra," says Bonita C. Jacobs, executive director of The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Texas. Admissions offices began realizing they'd be left behind if they didn't start recruiting transfers.

On March 24, 2010, the day after President Obama signed sweeping health care reform legislation into law, Robert T. Kakuk's phone didn't stop ringing.

Employees were eager to add their adult children under the age of 26 back on to their health insurance policy, one provision of the Affordable Care Act, explains Kakuk, director of total compensation and human resources information systems at Western Michigan University, which supports approximately 2,800 benefits-eligible employees.

Is 2011 going to be the “Year of the Mobile Web” for higher education? A few studies have already hinted it. According to a white paper published by The Nielsen Company in December 2010, “Mobile Youth Around the World,” 48 percent of the 15- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. now browse the web on their mobile devices--even though only 33 percent own smartphones. The Pew Internet and American Life Project concurred in its own report, “Mobile Access 2010,” released in July 2010.

Capella University’s financial aid office faces challenges few other higher institutions do. Unlike universities with traditional four-year students, Capella serves a population of 39,000 students with an average age of 39 and work and family responsibilities that can interfere with their studies. Capella learners are more likely to start and stop their degree pursuits. And with each change in enrollment status comes a need to change financial aid status. Prior to 2009, a single financial aid adjustment took only 15 minutes to process, but 15 days to get to.

Across many college campuses, one of the most innovative, yet sometimes controversial, initiatives in recent years has been the embrace and development of online programs. While avoiding the philosophical debate between online educational delivery and traditional on-campus programs, it is more critical to discuss the philosophy of the creation of online learning and its relevance in American economic growth.

America knows higher education. No other country in the world possesses the breadth and depth of comprehensive educational delivery like our uniquely American system.

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