Articles: Operational Efficiencies

07/2013
When Ellison Hall got flooded, student records could have been destroyed­—but were spared.

Central Oklahoma sits snugly in Tornado Alley, but it was a flood, not a twister, that shocked officials at The University of Oklahoma into the realization that student advising records were one natural disaster away from disappearing forever.

07/2013
Tracking help requests at Carthage College has resulted in time and money savings­—as well as happier users.

The Library and Information Services (LIS) department at Carthage College (Wis.) has provided support services to the campus community since 2001.

07/2013
Refunds at American Public U are now processed daily, compared to what used to take 10 to 20 days.

Ask any taxpayer who impatiently begins checking the mailbox within days of filing an income tax return: People may wait until the last minute to pay a bill, but when owed a refund, they want it as quickly as possible.

Recently, I participated in a meeting of Oregon college presidents that explored ways to streamline educational offerings and create efficiencies based on one another’s strengths.

At Schreiner University (Texas), our team has applied the transformative power of technology to achieve our identifying motto “Learning by Heart”—a personalized, integrated education that prepares our students for meaningful work and purposeful lives in a changing global society.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that colleges and universities were largely run as academic entities, unworried about growth and profit, and doing much of their administrative paperwork by hand or with outdated computer programs. Fast forward to 2013, and we believe the polar opposite to be true.

As we launch the fourth year of our Models of Efficiency recognition program, we are seeing lots of familiar names.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more paper-laden function than accounts payable. Receipts, invoices, check requests, purchase orders, contracts, and more keep A/P personnel knee-deep in forms and documentation.

Freshman move-in day: It’s hot, you’re hauling boxes into your room, you hope you have a good roommate, you’re worried about your class schedule, you need to get to the bookstore to stock up on required reading, and on and on and on.

Miami Dade College is the largest and most diverse higher ed institution in the U.S., serving a community as large as the state of Rhode Island. It has 175,000 students and offers more than 300 academic degree programs.

Historically, all 26,000 annual applicants to Johnson County Community College (Kan.) received up to three printed communiqués regarding their admissions status.

For newly minted alumni poised to land their first job or continue their studies in grad school, few items are more important than the transcript. Proof that the work was done, the grade earned, and the degree awarded, the transcript serves as the institution’s stamp of approval.

The piece of paper. That’s what students are shooting for—a diploma, the tangible proof that they’ve met all requirements, completed the courses they had to complete, and graduated.

Who wants to wait for that?

University of Wisconsin-Stout graduates didn’t have any choice.

Despite a freeze introduced three years ago on full-time hiring, which was necessitated by statewide funding cuts to higher education, Miami Dade College still regularly hires part-time workers to fill support roles.

Until 2009, students at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (N.C.) could wait as long as two hours to be seen by a counselor in student services, which includes the offices of admissions, advising, financial aid, and the registrar.

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