Feature

Learning Disabled Students Welcome

Special centers at colleges and universities are making a positive difference for a growing student population.

At first glance, the sprawling University of Arizona and University of Connecticut campuses might not have much in common with Adelphi University and Curry College, smaller private institutions in the suburbs of New York City and Boston, respectively. But all of these schools have built robust programs for undergraduates with learning disabilities (LD), distinguishing themselves in the process.

They’re among an expanding number of institutions working closely with students who decades ago might have struggled to graduate—or not made it to college at all.

Who Goes There?

ID management policies and best practices

Modern technology has a lot of upsides. On the downside is the fact that you need an ID and password to access most of it. Keeping your own logins straight is hard enough; keeping them straight for thousands of people on a college campus is even harder.

Guns on Campus: Five years after Virginia Tech tragedy

In the five years since the Virginia Tech tragedy, the debate over allowing concealed weapons on campus rages on.

First things first. This story is not about the Second Amendment of The United States Constitution, which grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Every state recognizes that right and, at the state level, 49 of them include a provision for licensed owners to carry concealed handguns in public. Instead, this story is about the debate over whether that right should extend to carrying firearms onto the country’s colleges and universities.

Technology & Information Systems, Victor Valley College

Orient Express

Justin Gatewood remembers the annoying hurdles he had to jump over to attend an orientation session when he enrolled at Victor Valley College (Calif.). “I had to take time off work and drive over to the campus and sit in a classroom and listen to a counselor for an hour or so and then drive back,” he says. “It had to be all coordinated. It was an ordeal.”

Information Technology, Office of Student Financial Services, and Finance and Accounting, Houston Community College

Streamlining Payments

Community college students are more likely to have extra demands on their time and attention, from jobs to family commitments. Anything colleges can do to relieve administrative burdens means more time that students can concentrate on their studies. At Houston Community College, the Information Technology office teamed with the Office of Student Financial Services and the Finance and Accounting office to move to paperless cashiering.

Purchasing, Payment Services, and Travel, The University of Central Oklahoma

Printer Clean-Up Saving Green

The University of Central Oklahoma once had a desktop printer or multifunction copy machine for nearly every faculty and staff member on campus. In 2009, 1,313 desktop printers and 135 multifunction copy machines were being used by 1,500 faculty and staff members. Denise Smith, director of Purchasing, Payment Services, and Travel, shares that UCO saw an opportunity for consolidation that could reduce spending and improve sustainability on campus.

Provost Information Technology & Office of the Registrar, Texas A&M University

Rapid Adjustments

The idea of students substituting courses in a degree plan is not unheard of, but such requests must be carefully managed. Before the fall of 2011, Texas A&M University was dealing with the challenging and costly issue of processing undergraduate course adjustments within the Degree Audit office in the Office of the Registrar using a paper-based process. Requests were initiated by an advisor, then sent to the department head and dean before arriving at Degree Audit.

Office of the Registrar, Academic Advising, & Information Technology, Catawba College

Digital Registration With a Human Touch

The classic registration scenario of bouncing students from their advisor to select classes, to the Business Office to check for holds, and finally to the Registrar’s Office to stand in line is so 20th century—but hard to escape. Everyone at Catawba College (N.C.) agreed it was time to modernize, but faculty advisors did not want their role in the process diminished or to lose a touch point with students. “Advising is an important part of Catawba’s mission to give every student the personal attention needed to be successful,” shares Joanna Jasper, chief information officer.

Registrars Office & Information Technology, Houston Community College

“SPEEDE” Transcript Evaluation

As students “swirl” through higher education, taking classes at multiple institutions either consecutively or simultaneously, the need for institutions to quickly receive and process transcripts becomes more important. To comply with accreditation standards, Houston Community College was supposed to have all transcripts evaluated by the end of a student’s first semester, a goal their paper-based process was not allowing them to meet in 2008.

Student Affairs Center, Ogeechee Technical College

Touch Screen Organizational Machine

At some point during the year, nearly every one of the 4,400 students at Ogeechee Technical College (Ga.) will have a reason to visit the college’s Student Affairs Center (SAC). This central administrative unit houses Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar, and Career Services. In 2011, 24,869 student appointments were made with as many as 320 students a day visiting during peak times; during quieter periods, between 80 and 100 students are seen.

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