Professional Opinion

Humanizing the financial aid process

A comprehensive, empathetic approach helps foster student success

With national student debt at a stunning $1.2 trillion and financial pressure playing a key factor in retention, colleges must take the initiative to help students maximize opportunities for financial aid. Yet many colleges have downsized their financial aid offices and automated various functions.

How are colleges retooling for sustainability

Acting locally with a green mindset and cost-cutting savvy, universities have breathed new life into old spaces.

Higher education institutions can venerate or perpetuate hallowed traditions. Institutions have had a reputation for infrastructure conservatism. William Rees’ 2003 article “Impeding Sustainability? The Ecological Footprint of Higher Education” states “the real challenge for higher education is to help articulate an alternative life-sustaining worldview.” Today, campuses lead the transformation to sustainability, demonstrating its value nationwide.

How digital publishing is changing campus experiences

Through digital publishing and mobile-ready content, school communications can be experienced in fresh, modern ways.

When Duke University class of 2008 arrived on campus to start their freshman year, they had no idea they would become pioneers. Why? Because each of the incoming freshmen received a free iPod as part of a program aimed at fostering innovative uses of technology in the classroom. I led the Apple team that helped Duke experiment with creative academic uses for the devices and I was on campus when the students received their free iPods; it was memorable as the students cheered with excitement as each one was given their new mobile device.

Implementing shared services in higher education

How universities can benefit from a concept frequently and successfully implemented in the corporate world.

In the past few years, many universities have begun to explore a concept frequently and successfully implemented in the corporate world, but previously rare in higher education: shared services. The term “shared services” refers to a streamlining process where administrative tasks or technology management services that regularly occurred across several departments in the organization are placed under the authority of one unit.

Earth U: Inspiring institutions of sustainability

A new generation of environmental education and research institutions are trying to head off the spectre of near term food, water and, energy shortages.

"There is no magic wand that can resolve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline."
—Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

The case against proctoring

The practice of proctoring derives from a perceived need to prevent "academic dishonesty," but it is a costly process in which the vast majority of students are made to suffer because of a few supposed bad actors.

The need for proctoring derives from the perceived need to prevent “academic dishonesty”, aka cheating. The issues with proctoring include 1) the assumption of guilty until proven innocent (all students are potential cheaters), 2) the cost borne by the student directly or indirectly, 3) the Orwellian loss of privacy, and 4) that the vast majority of students are made to suffer because of a few perceived bad actors.

Business office efficiencies for better financial health

To confront today’s financial challenges, every college and university needs to create more operational efficiency. Some of these efficiencies start in the business office.

To confront today’s financial challenges, every college and university needs to create more operational efficiency. Some of these efficiencies start in the business office.

For instance, key aspects of higher education financial management are paper-intensive and outdated —a stark contrast to the first-class technology used in campus classrooms. A primary target for business officers should be eliminating paper checks, which simply are not efficient -- in terms of money or time -- for vendor payments, student tuition refunds, or employee payroll.

Higher education on trial

The questions of the cross-examination

Higher education is in the dock in 2014. The questions are flying:

Why does it cost so much? Why does it cost more each year?

Why do so many students not finish? Why can’t they get good jobs? Why is it not equally accessible to all?

Why is it not doing a better job training teachers for K12?

What do we have to show for the trillion dollars in student loan debt? Who will repay it?

Life and learning on the fast track

Is the trend toward accelerated degrees the natural outcome of decades of degree inflation?

Some see the three year baccalaureate as a fad which will ultimately dilute the depth, breadth, and rigor of the true college learning and living experience. Other commentators see the accelerated credentials megatrend as the natural outcome of decades of degree inflation.

Think about the fact that an associate’s degree is no longer the coin of the realm in contemporary American higher education, business, and industry. In fact, in the current economy, one wonders whether four years is too long for a bachelors degree? Enter the three year baccalaureate.

How colleges and universities can guard against inflation

With money supply increasing, the probability of higher inflation also is rising

Monetary policy in the United States took a dramatic turn with the introduction of quantitative easing after the financial crisis of 2008.

Although it achieved its primary objective by forcing down long-term interest rates, it also increased the supply of money in the economy, which has contributed to inflationary pressures in the past.

While we are fortunate to have witnessed a lengthy and very low inflationary environment, as money supply increases, the probability of higher inflation also increases.

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