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Articles: Asset & Investments

While most auxiliary service departments look for opportunities to bring in more money as a means of funding their operations, examining ways to reduce expenses can work just as well. That’s what Bradley Markley, director of facility services at Messiah College in Grantham, Penn., has been doing for the last four years, with impressive results.

an arrow holding a dollar bill on a dartboard

As the name reveals, auxiliary services will never be directly related to the core mission of colleges and universities. But as ever-tightening resources have become the reality for institutions, the revenue-generating possibilities for these departments have become more important than ever.

In light of the current economic conditions and the decreased value of most endowments, many organizations are re-examining their investment strategies. Often overlooked: Spending policies must have not just the proper annual spending amount but also be adequately defined. 

Steve Jobs once opined, “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” Today, this classic metaphor provides us with a cogent expression of Jobs’ counter-intuitive resistance to the temptation of conformity, and his passionate desire to explore uncharted territory and discover unfound treasures.

Proposals are in from institutions vying to build a tech campus in the “city that never sleeps” as part of the “Applied Sciences NYC” initiative. It’s the beginning of an effort to bring New York City to the forefront of technology start-ups and innovation. The request for proposal was announced in July by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other members of his cabinet, and the initiative will provide a university, institution, or consortium city-owned land and up to $100 million to cover building costs.

Leaders from 16 community colleges around the country gathered at the White House in September to participate in a roundtable discussion on the role community colleges play in America. The discussion was part of the Obama administration’s Champions of Change program, a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping to meet the many challenges of the 21st century. Education Gateways recently spoke to four of the Champions of Change honorees about the challenges and opportunities they face as presidents of their institutions.

Institutions should invest as much effort in “getting to their data” as they do in choosing and installing a business intelligence tool, says Daryl Orts, vice president of engineering technologies at Noetix.

“Good data models are essential, whether you’re doing real-time operational reporting, building a data warehouse, or both,” Orts relates.

Have you noticed colleagues on campus talking more about business intelligence lately? Considering how much these tools have evolved recently, it wouldn’t be surprising.

Henry Ford brought efficiency to the forefront of American business with his assembly line, which introduced automobiles to the masses. “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed,” he once said. This same mentality has allowed this fall’s Models of Efficiency honorees to improve services provided by their departments, all without spending a fortune—and often while saving a bundle.

Student Loan Default Rates on the Rise

New figures released last month by the U.S. Department of Education show a sharp increase in the rate at which student loan borrowers are defaulting at colleges and universities across the country. According to the report, “two-year cohort default rates” show that 8.8 percent of student loan borrowers who entered repayment in 2009 had defaulted by the end of 2010, up from 7 percent over 2008.

Navigating through the numerous obstacles of a property insurance claim can be a daunting task, especially in an environment as complex and regulated as a college or university campus. Being aware of common obstacles as well as those unique to higher education, and having a claims management plan in place from the onset, will lead to a faster and more comprehensive recovery.

There has been a rash of major embezzlement cases cropping up like a pox at institutions of higher learning all around the country. While employee theft occurs daily at all types of organizations, we have tracked a disproportionate number of significant misappropriations at U.S. colleges and universities. The damage, while significant, is not only financial. Institutional reputation, alumni relations, endowment growth, employee productivity, and even enrollment, can all be negatively affected by a major defalcation.

You can’t just toss an old computer into the corner trash can when it has outlived its usefulness.

Because of the environmental issues involved, special care must be taken in disposing of such equipment. Often, that involves paying for proper disposal. If you do choose to trash aging PCs in a Dumpster, you need to wipe any sensitive data from each one’s hard drive for security and privacy reasons.

Doing more with less is the new normal in higher education. And as college and university administrators work to increase efficiencies, the areas of planning and assessment have grown in importance as strategic tools to manage resources.

Thomas Edison, America's most prolific inventor, once explained his passion for innovation by saying, "There's always a better way." That's the spirit, if not the directive, for the campus departments profiled in the first round of 2011 Models of Efficiency honorees. When it comes to finding ways to streamline business processes or save time and money, the stories you'll read on the following pages will, we hope, inspire you and your department to look for your own ways to better serve constituents.

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