You are here

Feature

Prior to 1997, the University of Michigan was a paper-laden institution. Financial Aid office staff members, in particular, were weighed down by a paper-intensive process and the need to purge documents every four years.

The new vice president for diversity and equity was working behind the scenes at the University of Virginia before his position even kicked in. A number of racial incidences had disturbed the Charlottesville campus in the early weeks of fall 2005, including epithets yelled out by pedestrians and people in cars, a slur scrawled on a student's message board, and the mistreatment of a black student at a fraternity party (beer was poured down the student's back, for one).

Taylor Behl was a pretty, sympathetic, and emotionally trusting 17-year-old freshman who came to the city of Richmond in late summer to begin studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. How can these things be certain? The photos she posted of herself and the writings in her online weblogs at LiveJournal.com and Myspace tell the story.

In 2004, Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., received an amazing gift. George Cornell--who is a university alumnus and philanthropist, a relative of the founder of Cornell University, and the son of one of the first employees at IBM--left the liberal arts college $93 million in his will when he passed away the prior year. The gift nearly doubled the college's $113 million endowment.

Would Cornell's generosity help Rollins achieve its institutional goals, or would it ruin the school by creating divisions over future strategic direction?

When Stephen Landry became chief information officer of Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., in 1996, the university had a pokey 56-kilobit telephone modem connection to the internet. One of Landry's first actions as CIO was to upgrade the connection to a T1 line, and he's been trying to stay ahead of technology ever since.

The challenge for today's colleges and universities is to reconcile their clear need to remain competitive while controlling their costs, which have been spiraling ever higher in recent years. Achieving academic effectiveness in more efficient ways is a matter of major concern at New York's Pace University, which led to the introduction of a tuition guarantee that locks in first-year rates over the course of five years.

In terms of expansion planning, University of St. Francis had done everything right. The Catholic institution in Joliet, Ill., got input from city officials and residents. School officials even had the Cathedral Area Preservation Association's (CAPA) support, which was key with the campus falling within that city section.

Technology took center stage October 18-21 in Orlando for the annual Educause conference. More than 200 technology companies and other exhibitors were on hand to showcase their latest products and services for higher education. The full list of vendors and their products can be found at www.educause.edu/e05/CorporateParticipation/5108.

This fall a couple dozen students across the United States took up blogging for their alma maters. In occasional or weekly posts they offer slices of campus life that the Admissions office can share with prospective students and their parents. Because these are blogs and not recruiting brochures, the writers have a chance, it seems, to tell it like it is.

Here's the good news: According to Chicago-area firm Teenage Research Unlimited, young people spent upwards of a whopping $169 billion in 2004. Those dollars can translate into significant business around colleges and can impact the way a school attracts Generation Y prospects.

The bad news: Figuring out how to build a retail portfolio makes for a real undertaking.

Pages