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At Juniata College in Pennsylvania, students took Arabic for the first time last fall by enrolling in a course at Gettysburg College via video conference.

Amherst College students, meanwhile, can major in architectural studies by taking classes at four neighboring colleges. And at Cabrini College near Philadelphia, students from five institutions researched viruses last summer in a new undergraduate science program.

Creating new academic initiatives with other institutions relies on three key ingredients: interest in the program from faculty and students; commitment from each campus administration; and a reasonable opportunity for success.

This advice comes from Neal Abraham, a physics professor and executive director of the Five Colleges, Incorporated in Massachusetts. It’s the second largest consortia in the country behind the Claremont University Consortium in California.

Here are some other tips from consortia leaders:

Two- and four-year colleges across the nation have plugged the black hole of remediation with a range of programs designed to keep students enrolled while steering them toward greater levels of success.

With the need to host both one-on-one donor chats plus receptions for a hundred or more alumni and friends, campus alumni houses tend to be versatile venues. While great rooms must have space for that next big event, the aim is for an intimate group not to feel swallowed up by the space.

There is a lot of money to be had, but only a select group of elite athletic programs are reaping high financial rewards. Smaller institutions with less competitive athletics programs are left to scramble for what they can get—mere pennies in comparison.

Fans pack the University of Kentucky arena for every basketball game, keeping ticket revenues high. (Photo: UK Athletics)

As one would expect, successful athletic programs benefit their college or university in a number of ways—particularly in the admissions arena. They raise public awareness of the school, reaching prospective students who may not otherwise have heard of or looked at the university, says Scott Verzyl, associate vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions for the University of South Carolina.

A more centralized approach to course scheduling at Somerset Community College has increased the rates of filled classroom seats and helped students fit in the courses they need to graduate on time. Between 2008 and 2014, the average seat-fill rate has increased by 24 percent and the average student credit load has increased by 48 percent.

Students don’t quite run the show when it comes to course scheduling. But colleges and universities are striving to make it easier for them—with their ongoing juggle of work, family and school commitments.

Survey said: Students at Volunteer State Community College had their scheduling dreams come true when officials changed Monday/Wednesday/Friday courses to Monday/Wednesday, allowing for a four-day week. A survey had been executed to determine why Tuesday/Thursday sessions were filling much more quickly than sessions that met the other three days.

Course scheduling technology providers were asked: What are the biggest hurdles colleges face when trying to implement the scheduling options that students may want?

“Most institutions add new programs and course offerings at a much higher rate than they remove them. This leads to many programs and courses lacking the enrollment required to make them financially sustainable. Different modalities—hybrid, online, accelerated, etc.—can be attractive to certain students, but they add significant complexity to resource scheduling.”

Casper College in Wyoming upgraded its phones by moving from two separate systems to a single VoIP-based one, which makes switchboard operator Cindy Burgess’ job easier.

Providers’ advice on easing the transition to a new IP-based phone system.

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.

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