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Articles: UB Archive

Universities are information-rich environments - and not just in the academic sense. Year by year, students apply, attend and graduate, repeatedly filling out exhaustive forms. Their families provide extensive filings to qualify for financial aid. Professors come and go, some staying to earn tenure, others visiting on temporary assignment, providing detailed personal information along the way.

A recent, unsuccessful effort by Senate leaders to provide a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States illegally sparked debate over the provision among financial aid administrators. The provision, commonly referred to as the DREAM Act, would allow the children of illegal immigrants to earn citizenship through higher education or military service.

Beyond local butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, when was the last time you remember shopping at a family-owned and operated bookstore, pharmacy, or haberdasher, let alone a family-owned and operated school, college, or university?

As 2010 comes to a close, campus officials still have concerns about economic realities, but as many in higher education have learned firsthand, a department doesn't need an overabundance of budget dollars and staff members to operate effectively. In fact, tighter budgets bring on creative problem solving, and it's entirely possible to save time and money while raising service to a higher level.

Even in these digital times, undergraduate admissions remains a paper-laden discipline. Viewbooks, search pieces, postcards, catalogs, applications, and more need to be printed, enveloped, and mailed, a process not only costly but also inefficient. Most inquirers to any one school, after all, end up attending elsewhere.

It wasn’t as if the admissions office at Boston University did nothing to keep from drowning in paper, working 12-hour days and weekends, and falling behind on customer service.

Administrators engaged in annual streamlining, but with BU’s applicant pool increasing by more than 10,000 over the past five years, it was difficult to keep up. More than 200,000 supporting credentials had to be processed and filed, and 38,000 applications needed to be ready for admissions staff to read by April 1. The entire process was time-consuming and cumbersome.

There were any number of reasons why The George Washington University needed to automate the way it paid stipends to the thousands of students who work there as tutors, teachers, researchers, or facilitators.

It wasn’t an idea mentioned at a conference or a snippet noted in a magazine or a suggestion from a listserv that sparked Jamie Belinne’s brainstorm. It was the time she spent waiting in her doctor’s office during an illness six years ago.

Faculty and staff at every college and university in the United States like to talk about the real-world, hands-on education it imparts to its students.

Student-athletes face the daunting task of keeping up with their studies while also devoting considerable time to practicing, competing, and traveling. That pressure extends upward to coaches, administrators, and faculty members, who are required to assess student progress and make adjustments amidst wildly varying schedules.

As far back as 1995, Sacred Heart University (Conn.) was requiring all full-time undergraduates to purchase a laptop; as early as 2002, Sacred Heart students, faculty, and staff enjoyed campuswide Wi-Fi.

Yet this self-described “pioneer in mobile computing” spent years outsourcing technical support to an off-campus call center.

Limited hours of operation, unpredictable wait times, and lackluster customer service frustrated university officials; the expense and lack of reliability and accountability were drags on the institution’s bottom line.

College campuses are typically beautiful places. Tree-lined walkways, verdant quads, and stately buildings make for a pleasant place to take a walk.

But for staff at the University of St. Francis (Ill.), too many campus strolls took up time that could be better spent on other tasks - such as tending to prospective students. And the paper files they were delivering from office to office belied the university’s commitment to environmentalism.

Start with an understanding of campus culture, stir in a strong sense of community, blend in a brand new dining facility and dining program, season with an educational component, and simmer for a sensory delight that will satisfy the hardiest appetite.

Colleges and universities rely on their buried infrastructure, including water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, to keep campus life running smoothly. Unfortunately, many institutions have patchwork systems of underground infrastructure, for which they lack accurate maps and often require more detailed information on the condition of these critical assets.

In the current economic climate, the majority of private universities are stuck between "a rock and a hard place" with both undergraduate admissions and fundraising efforts significantly challenged.