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Graduates of The Citadel are encouraged to use their ePortfolios when applying for grad school or a job.

Just as websites morphed from digital brochures into versatile multimedia portals, electronic portfolios have evolved from information repositories to robust tools for showcasing student learning. Now, “ePortfolios,” house completed assignments, reflections on learning, photos, creative work and journal entries.

Portfolio providers: What are some uses for ePortfolios that you believe aren’t as common at colleges as they should be?

“We’d like to see more colleges using ePortfolios with guided learning pathways through a program or institution to assess learning at key points. The full potential for ePortfolios to encourage more integrative, deeper learning won’t be realized without a deliberate plan, ongoing assessment and higher stakes (such as program completion or graduation).”

—Webster Thompson, president, Taskstream

In the 2014-15 academic year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew at the highest rate in 35 years, increasing by 10 percent to more than 970,000 students. (Image: Thinkstock.com/Rawpixel Ltd)

Because students from other countries, or simply from areas far from their desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are turning to virtual interviews as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)

Determining the return on investment for virtual admissions interviews involves understanding the resources and when the technology will be used.

At the University of Rochester, the commitment is bigger than most. One full-time employee and eight senior students have been hired and trained just to conduct Skype interviews during this admissions cycle, says Jonathan Burdick, dean of college admission and vice provost for enrollment initiatives.

As rankings continue to cover the spectrum from the serious to the silly, grappling with their impact on and off campus raises crucial questions of equity, the true meaning of student success and the diverse roles of higher ed in modern society.

Eight years ago administrators laying plans for Guttman Community College in New York City set a goal: The school would make getting students to graduation a primary mission. The approach is now proliferating across the community college sector.

Community colleges have been in the news during the current election cycle, due to plans by some politicians—including President Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders—who suggest the federal government should provide free education for any citizen willing to put in the bookwork.

But so far this is just talk for colleges, which have yet to plan for the contingency of becoming a gratis educational option for the populace.

Health insurance, along with everything from faculty recruitment to information technology, is one of the emerging areas of shared services that regional consortia are now tackling. Their success in saving money and improving efficiencies has fueled a wave of new collaborations.

The new higher education alliances cropping up are not just of the regional variety.

A group of private colleges and universities created a consortium in fall 2015 to negotiate better deals on enterprise resource planning systems, which can account for up to 4 percent of an institution’s entire annual budget. The Higher Education Systems and Services Consortium (HESS) now has 65 members located in 15 states.

Colleges or universities looking to join a higher education consortium have two major options: alliances that are regionally based or those focused on a common goal.

Schools that choose to participate in a regional consortium have the advantage of being able to easily meet with other members to discuss common issues.

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