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Spectrum perspective: The New Brunswick campus of Rutgers will soon have two new buildings, one for the day program and another to provide housing for its participants.

A groundbreaking facility in development at Rutgers University will provide adults with autism opportunities to work on campus and live in apartments alongside clinical staff and graduate students.

Carol Patton: HR professionals should help employees better manage information.

It’s so easy to hit “send.” But experienced human resources professionals know better and are implementing creative strategies to share important news with employees while preventing them from overdosing on information.

Although employees are responsible for reading and acting upon messages they receive, some HR professionals are helping them better manage that information.

At the University of South Florida, current and former scholarship recipients were among those who signed a giant thank-you card presented to donors Barron and Dana Collier during a ceremony announcing their latest major gift.

Smart advancement teams put thought and research into making stewardship individual and heartfelt. But how far will institutions bend on their mission when a donor offers big bucks? Are donors negotiating for honorary degrees, access to students, influence over scholarships or a leg up in recruiting graduates?

Cynthia Brandenburg is an associate professor and the immediate past president of the faculty senate at Champlain College. Mike Kelly is an assistant professor and the current president of the Champlain’s faculty senate.

As faculty members at a small, tuition-driven private college in the northeast, the familiar refrain of contemporary higher education in shambles rings in our heads.

How will our college’s low-endowment—combined with less than optimal name recognition—reconcile with the declining number of high school graduates in our region? How will the arms race of amenities and the pressures of increased regulations direct the college’s scarce, but stable, resources to places outside the classroom?

Officials at the University of Missouri in 2012 looked at the business troubles of its academic press and decided the most prudent path forward was to shut it down. The community disagreed, lobbying against the closure, and the university recanted.

The whole affair emphasizes that academic publishing is not about dollars, but about the proliferation of scholarly and research-based writing, says David Rosenbaum, director of Mizzou’s press.

Artificial intelligence has come out of research labs and onto college and university campuses to aid students and faculty. It remains in the very early stages of making education more effective, accessible and affordable—but it’s beginning to transform learning environments and campus services.

Yale will analyze the cost of carbon at its Peabody Museum of Natural History and 19 other campus buildings to help guide other institutions. (Photo: Patrick Lynch/Yale)

Energy conservation at Yale now goes beyond lower utility bills. The institution broke new ground in higher ed recently with a pilot program to calculate the wider cost of carbon use at 20 of its New Haven, Connecticut, buildings, including the well-known Peabody Museum and the president’s office.

The point of pollution is just one cost, says Ryan Laemel, Yale’s project coordinator. “We pay downstream in the form of added healthcare costs and rising food prices due to declining agricultural productivity, for example.”

The traditional MBA, the flagship of graduate business education for more than a century, is losing ground as applicants increasingly turn to online degrees and specialized master’s programs in business-related fields.

President Freeman Hrabowski, who marched in Martin Luther King's civil rights protests of the 1960s, drives the University of Maryland, Baltimore County students to diversify the STEM world.  In the mean time, he has transformed the institution familiarly known as UMBC from a commuter school into a renowned research university.

Located in downtown Leesburg, Florida, Beacon College—the nation’s first accredited four-year-degree-granting institution for students with learning disabilities—has brought a century-old train station back to life as a student center. Students can socialize or workout in the 3,400-square-foot space.

CHALLENGE

Beacon College’s enrollment grew from 185 students in 2013 to more than 220 last year to 285 this year. The institution anticipates a total of 500 students in the next few years.

It would be difficult to work in higher education and not be aware of the numerous completion initiatives that are underway nationally, all focused on increasing the number of Americans with a college credential.

The voices that usually chime in to share scalable best practices include presidents, provosts, student affairs professionals and faculty. Rarely do my peers in advancement share how we are removing attainment barriers, but the creative thinking and work of fundraising offices are fueling new gains across campuses.

There are some 4,140 colleges and universities in America. If each spends an average of $50,000 per year in presenting speakers and lecturers--this becomes an annual investment which exceeds $200 million. In the campus public speaker marketplace, the majority of presenters receive fees and compensation of about $10,000 per engagement. Some receive $25,000+ and some earn $3,000-$5,000.

Thirty years ago, we knew that larger institutions would consume smaller, more fragile schools - pure mergers as they came to be known. Yet, during the early higher ed merger mania era, many found that consolidations of venerable institutions offered a creative and more equitable non-merger alternative – read as, Azusa Pacific University, Birmingham-Southern College, Carnegie Mellon University, Carson-Newman University, Case Western Reserve University, Clark Atlanta University, University of Detroit Mercy, and William and Hobart Smith Colleges.

James Scannell is president and Jennifer Wick is vice president of Scannell & Kurz, a higher education enrollment consulting division of Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Student retention, persistence, success and graduation remain top-of-mind issues for higher ed leaders amidst the advent of the College Scorecard, the push toward 60 percent of high school graduates earning college degrees by 2020, and families’ familiar concerns about return on investment.

The editors of UB magazine proudly present the 2016 Readers’ Choice Top Products, chosen from hundreds of nominations. This annual award programs alerts higher ed administrators and staff to the best products their peers use to achieve excellence at institutions throughout the country.

You—the nation’s higher ed leaders—submitted testimonials throughout 2015. Our editorial board carefully narrowed the list based on the quality and quantity of these testimonies.

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