Articles: Human Resources

Does being an executive-level higher ed administrator “pay off” in perks? Presidents and chancellors, at least, may well think it does.

In her role as web manager and assistant director of institutional marketing at Elms College (Mass.), Karolina Kilfeather routinely relies on student workers to help carry the department’s workload.  She has found that while they may make valuable contributions, students often pose special management challenges.

Although many campuses are tobacco-free, it would be rare to find 100 percent compliance among staff, faculty, and students. There are usually a handful of smokers huddled together in a corner, puffing away.

More than 1,130 U.S. higher ed institutions have implemented smoke-free campus policies, and the number is expected to climb, according to the organization Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. The University of California can soon be added to the list.  Starting in 2014, each of its 10 campuses will be tobacco-free, says UC, Riverside spokesperson Kris Lovekin.

The Universities of Oregon, Illinois, and Virginia have plenty in common. They all rate as leading research institutions, boast a high-achieving graduate and undergraduate student body, and field formidable athletic teams that compete regularly for national championships.

Part-time faculty play a vital role in university life. They teach large intro courses and classes; they are more likely to teach evening classes, which provides flexibility in course scheduling and attracts students who work during the day; and they accept last-minute teaching assignments when campuses add new class sections due to high student demand.

Perhaps nothing causes more administrative anxiety for deans at nursing schools than the nation’s nursing shortage. It not only poses a real threat to the country’s health care delivery system, but also to higher ed institutions that need nursing faculty.

Bullies aren’t just on the playground. In fact, 62 percent of higher ed employees surveyed for a recent study reported witnessing or experiencing bullying in the past 18 months. That’s exactly one-quarter more than the 37 percent of the general workforce who report the same, according to Workplace Bullying Institute Data.

With campus leaders looking to streamline operations and save resources, electronic payroll options are very appealing. The printing, envelope stuffing, and mailing costs associated with paper checks make them an administrative burden, says Anthony Peculic, senior director of product strategy at ADP.

As university presidents gathered at this fall’s conferences and seminars, the usual question of “How was your summer?” likely produced more than perfunctory, polite responses. It was a wild season for a number of higher education leaders.

HR cross-training

With budgets still tight and a workforce still lean, some higher ed institutions are applying an old approach that allows them to do more with less.

Cross-training employees, or training them to perform key tasks of a coworker’s job, is nothing new. Perhaps it’s never more appreciated than when employees take vacations, become ill, work on special projects, or quit their job.

The Rutgers (N.J.) spying case and the Penn State abuse scandal, among others, highlight the liability risks of all types facing colleges and universities. From the other end of the risk spectrum, Tulane University’s (La.) long struggle to rebuild and recoup losses stemming from Hurricane Katrina illustrates the complexity of property damage risk management.

Universities and colleges are struggling to compete for high quality senior administrative leaders. Tight budgets compound the challenge, since recruiting, selecting, and relocating candidates require significant investments.

The higher education chief information officer role has origins that date back around three decades. This relatively nascent position is evolving at breakneck speed, adapting to the rapidly changing information technology landscape and a higher ed space also undergoing unprecedented change.

09/2012

Over the past 10 years, tenure at colleges and universities has come under fire from a variety of sources, especially legislators and politicians, most of whom have little or only tangential experience within the academic community. A recent pro and con about tenure by those more connected to the academy also appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

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