Behind the News

Mobile College Searches Catching On?

More than one-quarter of teenage cell phone users have gone online with their devices, and online usage is greatest among students in households with less than $30,000 annual income, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, released in 2010. While that’s based on 2009 data, a May 2011 Pew survey of American adults revealed that more than one-third own a smartphone, so it’s likely teen use has increased also. Are prospective students using their mobile phones for the college search?

Creating a Culture of Inclusiveness

Research has shown that minority students are more likely to succeed when faculty and staff are equally diverse. While many institutions are still trying to boost campus diversity, Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.) doesn't have that problem.

Taking the LEED in Sustainability

Harvard University has long been known to take the lead in research, public administration, and business and law studies, so why not sustainability? The university has become the first higher education institution to have earned 50 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications for new construction or renovation to existing buildings. LEED-certified buildings save money on energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment.

Stopping Out, Stepping Back In

How institutions are helping adult learners return to school

In this tough job climate, a college degree is more important than ever. That’s why the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is helping students who’ve put their education on hold before completing a degree—or “stopped out”—return to finish their bachelor’s degrees. Stop-outs are different from drop-outs in that they don’t want to leave school.
Grad TX aims to connect the 3 million adults over 25 in the state who have some college credit and no degree.

Community colleges moving further into baccalaureate territory

California may join 21 other states whose community colleges are permitted to offer baccalaureate degrees

Fifteen California community colleges received initial approval in January to offer four-year degrees in a limited number of specialties as soon as next year.

If approved, the plan could—at a fraction of the cost of four-year schools—produce thousands of new workers in a state that needs more employees in areas such as healthcare and the automotive industries.

Campus groundbreakings: Infinity Hall at the University of Florida

William Jessup University opens 40,000-square-foot residence hall

Infinity Hall at the University of Florida

This $15.9 million residence hall—billed as the nation’s first entrepreneurial-based academic residential community—is being privately developed by Signet Development (Jacksonville, Fla.) in partnership with the university’s Department of Housing and Residence Education.

Its 90,000 square feet will include four floors of suites, team meeting rooms, an entertainment room, flexible spaces to support the school’s entrepreneurship programs, a resident apartment and a maintenance shop.

Ivies change alcohol policies to curb dangerous behavior

Crafting a comprehensive plan is key when creating a safer campus environment

Dartmouth College has launched a new campaign to combat harmful student behavior, including sexual assault and high-risk drinking.

Under the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” plan, the Ivy League school will no longer serve hard alcohol (30 proof or higher) on campus and will increase penalties for underage students found in possession of hard alcohol. Also in the works:

Which college presidents published the most op-eds in 2014?

Leaders tackle big-picture pieces and hot-button issues

There were big-picture pieces on race relations, immigration, climate change, incarceration, veterans, gender issues and the proliferation of firearms.

And there were hot-button campus issues such as sexual assaults, alcohol, college access, free speech, college cost and debt, emotionally unstable students, and abuses in sports programs.

Outbreak forces review of college vaccination mandates

Many states not requiring immunizations for college students

Recent campus outbreaks of easily spread but preventable diseases have forced administrators across the nation to review their institutions’ immunization policies.

Immunization policy on potentially deadly illnesses—including measles, meningitis, rubella and mumps—has a rather dense structure that varies by state (and often, by university or system). And these policies are becoming ever more important to clarify, define and enforce on campus.

Higher ed taps deeper into endowments

Average rate of return for endowments rises for second straight year

U.S. colleges and universities last year paid for operations with bigger chunks of their endowments to compensate for declines in key sources of revenue, particularly tuition and public funding.

The good news is that the average rate of return rose for the second straight year, from 11.7 percent in FY2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014, according to the “NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments,” released in January.

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