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Articles: Campus Life

Student success and controlling costs are the top priorities for higher ed leaders in2 015. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Experts in higher education administration and management predict that 2015 will bring intense and sometimes surprising governance, financial and legal challenges to the sea of potential worries for university leaders. A few critical issues that will bubble to the surface involve financial health, academic performance, student wellness and continuity in leadership.

The contemporary campus recreation center has graduated from yesterday’s dingy weight room. In fact, at many institutions, the rec center serves as a multipurpose space, hosting celebrations on special occasions and promoting student wellness in body and mind throughout the semester.

Power nap pod: EnergyPods at Saint Leo U help students and faculty catch up on zzz’s.

Saint Leo University installed four "EnergyPods" in a residence hall common room to give a boost to students who may have let their sleep patterns slip. The Central Florida school is not alone in providing nap space beyond hard library desks and random couches.

 Students and staff weighed in on insti-tutional goals via question-based missions.

Emerson College tapped its own Engagement Game Lab to create a series of online missions that allow students, faculty, staff and alumni to share ideas about the goals President Lee Pelton has set for the Boston school.

Paying students to explore entrepreneurial ideas: Hope College in Michigan pays students $10 an hour for up to 10 hours a week when they enroll in entrepreneurial programs offered by its Center for Faithful Leadership (CFL).

Many administrators say a significant number of students are willing to pay for residence halls that have more in common with modern hotels than with the cramped, concrete-block dormitories built in the 1960s and 70s. However, questions of who can—and can’t—afford the higher rates may arise around the housing allocation process as campus living becomes more luxurious.

Fraternities are in flux as institutions struggle to find a balance between maintaining tradition and keeping students safe.

Among recent developments, Wesleyan University in Connecticut ordered fraternities to become co-educational and Clemson University in South Carolina suspended its fraternities after a student’s death during an apparent hazing event.

Wesleyan’s decision was partially spurred by its student government association, which called for the campus’ three remaining all-male frats to become co-ed. A petition was presented to university President Michael Roth.

Boston is taking the lead in keeping college athletes safe during games.

Its city council recently approved the College Athlete Head Injury Gameday Safety Protocol—legislation that bans athletes who have or may have concussions from re-entering games and requires higher ed institutions to have an emergency medical action plan for host venues. Also, a neurotrauma consultant must be at all Division I football, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse matches in Boston.

India and China are sending the most students to U.S. colleges to study STEM subjects.

The American higher education system still holds a global appeal, attracting nearly 1 million international students as of July, and more than one-third of these students are traveling stateside to study STEM fields. That’s according to the latest quarterly report from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, “SEVIS by the Numbers.”

Colleges and universities across the country are poised to lose more than credibility if they don’t comply with sexual assault regulations and policies.

At Dartmouth University’s national sexual assault summit in July, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education Catherine E. Lhamon spoke bluntly.

Sixteen states have joined the "15 to Finish” campaign to encourage students to take full course loads each semester.

West Virginia is the latest state to encourage college students to take 15 credits or more every semester so they can graduate on time.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Complete College America, the “15 to Finish” campaign is already in 15 other states, most notably Hawaii, which first developed the program. In its first year, 2011-12, the state was able to increase the number of students taking 15 hours per semester by more than 17 percent.

Paula V. Smith is a professor of English and director of the Purposeful Risk Engagement Project at Grinnell College in Iowa.

Is enterprise risk management worth the effort? What’s gained by evaluating top risks across an entire college or university?

A recent survey of 921 higher education leaders found a “conflicted” attitude toward comprehensive risk programs. Academic leaders say that ERM is an institutional priority, yet many of them don’t follow through. At Grinnell, we examined risks across the institution and found these seven methods of ERM can help a campus learn to engage with risk in productive and creative ways.

Sociology professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa say find many recent college graduates are ill-prepared to land decent jobs.

When Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published Academically Adrift in 2011, it exposed the shortcomings of undergraduate learning.

Colleges and universities are ramping up services for international freshmen and sophomores as administrators increasingly look abroad to further diversify their campuses and to expand enrollment with students who pay full tuition.

Whether it’s purchasing textbooks every semester or meeting daily needs such as meals, snacks or health and beauty aids, students who find the right dining and retail stores on campus have a better college experience.

Many higher ed institutions are adding shops and brand-name eateries, as well as renovating bookstores to keep up with current technology trends.