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Salisbury University alum Carey Haddock, here in front of Manokin Hall, was once an RA herself. Now she’s the trainer and supervisor for RAs at the school.

Parents and students expect RAs to solve roommate problems and ensure dorms are conducive to study and sleep. But with an amplified national discourse on sexual assault, gun violence and mental illness, today’s resident assistants are on the front lines of a whole host of issues related to safety and overall wellness.

Today's RAs receive enhanced training on a range of issues, from sex assault to homesickness. (Click to enlarge)

Even if an incident doesn’t happen in a residence hall, RAs must know what to expect during a potential crisis on campus, and how to better help their students, says David L. Perry, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Just as campus officials across the nation are engaged in active shooter response training because of tragedies like at Virginia Tech, RAs need to master the proper response procedures, including building lockdowns. They might be the only authority figures in the residence halls during a potential threat.

The setting: AAA Four Diamond Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, a 230-acre Spanish Revival resort. The conversation: technological innovation and leadership as well as institutional and student success, with UBTech’s attendees learning management insights, getting technology updates and networking with each other.

Faculty and students at Bridgewater College in Virginia complained increasingly in recent years about the unavailability of textbooks at the campus bookstore. To control inventory, the store stocked only a percentage of materials required if everyone purchased what was expected.

Campus business officers also noted a rapid decline in textbook revenue and related commissions, as students pursued lower-cost alternatives to purchasing books from the store.

Despite the economic and demographic factors that indicate challenging times ahead for higher ed, campuses across the country are busy building, according to a survey of college and university leaders by UB. With student enrollment growth being a big motivational factor for new buildings and renovations, it’s not surprising that academic buildings and residence halls are the top project types.

Facilities such as Davidson Math and Science Center, a recent additions to the University of Nevada, Reno campus, are built to detailed architectural design standards established by university officials.

Being recognized as a “beautiful campus” goes beyond just having curb appeal. In fact, institutions that are consistently chosen for so-called “most beautiful college campuses” rankings put a lot of resources and effort into demonstrating a correlation between campus aesthetics and academic reputation. For many, that commitment is paying off.

The allure of an attractive campus

President Marc Johnson of the University of Nevada, Reno doesn’t hesitate to say the campus itself is the school’s most effective recruiting tool.

The success center at Wisconsin’s Fox Valley Technical College in Wisconsin offers a variety of services and help areas. The facility,  formerly the library, was completed in 2014.

As the definition of student success continues to expand beyond retention and graduation rates, its physical presence on many campuses is also beginning to sprawl. Each school considering building a student success center must decide how to structure the space and integrate it into a wider student success strategy.

Proctors trained to spot signs that test-takers may be cheating work in centers such as this one, which has partnerships with more than 500 institutions worldwide.

It’s an uncomfortable truth for colleges and universities—cheating happens. And by many accounts, it happens a lot.

Although cheating isn’t new, technology facilitates it and student culture more readily accepts it. Students may believe outstanding scholastic performance—achieved by whatever means necessary—paves the difficult-to-navigate path to success.

More diverse student populations demand more of the health and wellness services offered on campus today. Colleges and universities must meet the unique needs of veterans, and students who are international, older, recovering from addictions, or who have physical or mental disabilities. Many schools are meeting this challenge by combining physical and mental health services under one roof, and even integrating recreation into the mix.

While it can be risky for people with physical disabilities to navigate between facilities outdoors, tunnels on campuses such as Wright State U allow for smooth building-to-building movement.

Rumors about the nearly two miles of tunnels that lie beneath Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, often revolve around its location near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Some people have suspected the tunnels were designed as an Air Force/Wright State bomb shelter—or even that top-secret military experiments have been conducted in laboratories there.