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Not long ago, while touring a rural, tree-lined campus in Ohio, the president of a small, under-endowed liberal arts college asked me what new facility would turn around their dwindling admissions. Did they need a new airy atrium in the student union, with wireless internet and cappuccino? Or would a state-of-the-art fitness center attract more prospects?

When University Business editors interview senior higher ed administrators, one of the questions we like to ask is, "What was your smartest business decision?" Over the years that question has yielded a wide range of responses, from the seemingly trivial (such as not delivering junk mail to campus mailboxes) to the far-reaching (energy studies to maximize facility use).

STUDENTS AT MOST COLLEGES AND universities across the nation choose to work for a number of different reasons: as a way to obtain spending money, to help pay tuition, or simply as a social outlet. At work colleges, student jobs are serious business-an integral and compulsory part of the educational journey. Relying on student labor, the small fraternity of work colleges strives to reduce the debt load of students while providing practical work experience.


PICTURE THE DISTANCE LEARNING STUDENT, ALONE IN A room, bathed by the glow of a computer screen. During the fall 2006 term, nearly 3.5 million students took at least one online course, according to the 2007 Sloan Consortium report "Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning." Although students did so because they wanted an education, that desire alone might not carry them to completion. As online courses grow in popularity, providers are starting to take steps to ensure student persistence.

Web 2.0 is allowing higher education to expand the ways in which online information is made available to students, faculty and website visitors. College students today are more tech-savvy than ever and demand information access anywhere, any time.

And, while your teaching staff may not revise an exam based on students' demands, the way in which students expect information to be delivered digitally and online is just one challenge universities will have to give in on. And why not?

From past applicants and alumni, to current students and faculty, academic institutions store an ever-growing database of personal information, making them a prime target for identity thieves. This wealth of data also signifies the growing constituency to Identity theft and data security breaches pose serious threats to which they are accountable.