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Professional Opinion

Susan West Engelkemeyer is the president of Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts.

With increasing urgency, today’s colleges are being asked—by business, government and the nonprofit field—to impart so-called “21st century skills” of communication, collaboration, problem-solving and creativity to their students. What’s often missing from the list is leadership.

Jeffrey R. Docking is the president of Adrian College in Michigan and the author of "Crisis in Higher Education: A Plan To Save Small Liberal Arts Colleges in America."

Sometimes, well-known propositions lead to predictable conclusions. But not always. Occasionally, they lead to surprises—and even busted myths. Here’s one: Wealthy, private institutions willing to invest large endowments in financial aid for poorer students do the best job of expanding access to higher education.

Leigh Greden is advisor to the president, and Russ Olwell is interim director of government and community relations at Eastern Michigan University.

Programs to help employees purchase housing near campus have gained favor in the past decade. A housing program that improves neglected areas only increases the profile and potential of the entire campus community.

Nick Kalm is president and Courtney Harper is senior vice president at Reputation Partners, a communications consultancy that specializes in labor communications for universities and other organizations.

Unionization movements will continue to gain traction at colleges and universities, so it’s important for administrators to prepare. While pay, benefits and shared governance will be pressing issues, many institutions fail to develop a strategy to communicate with employees.

Lex O. McMillan III is president of Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.

If the heart of a liberal (hence, liberating) education is learning to see through the eyes of others—both living and dead—I now see clearly how the bumpy roads of Haiti led us to new learning about others and about ourselves.

Robert Miller is vice president for enrollment management of Centenary University.

Ubiquitous in the business world, big data is being adopted by higher education, particularly in the area of recruitment. With stagnant or declining recruitment budgets and increased competition for students, leveraging the data most colleges capture is a cost-effective approach that can yield significant results.

Herman Bulls is vice chairman of JLL Americas, specializing in delivering comprehensive real estate solutions to federal, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions.

The phrase “town and gown” is rooted in the notion that universities and the surrounding communities are naturally at odds. But forward-looking colleges and universities are finding deep value in blurring those lines, and instead are leveraging mixed-use developments to improve the community and campus alike.

David Seelow is the founding director of the Center for Game and Simulation-based Learning at Excelsior College.

Watching preschoolers play on touchscreen devices makes it clear that the future college students of America are the connected generation. Higher ed must embrace game-like learning just as progressive Silicon Valley companies have, or risk bored, disengaged, unprepared students in the classroom and in the workplace.

Bill Muse is vice president of administration and finance at Schreiner University in Texas.

Effective collaboration between administration, academic officers and faculty is crucial for effective leadership. Enrollment levels, academic freedom, financial viability and student success could all be affected if these individuals don’t team up to develop an effective strategy.

Jo Allen is president of Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The role of women’s colleges—far beyond their origins in offering access to college degrees—is to help women flourish. Some women’s colleges have focused on women’s leadership; some on career preparation in STEM and other areas where women have been under-represented; and still others on health care, education and areas where women excel.

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