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Provost primer

A new book helps chief academic officers find their way.

One of the more demanding jobs in higher ed belongs to the provost—the chief academic officer. With ever-widening fields of responsibility, the position often consists largely of on-the-job training.

James Martin and James Samels, authors of UB’s online “Future Shock” column, expect their new book will help change that. The Provost’s Handbook: The Role of the Chief Academic Officer (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015) is a collection of essays from veteran CAOs who offer perspective on many issues these administrators confront.

A clearer pathway to student success

New book offers a prescription for improving community college outcomes

As director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, Thomas Bailey is the nation’s preeminent scholar of community colleges. After recognizing that myriad reform efforts directed at community colleges showed little evidence of improved outcomes, he and his CCRC colleagues, Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins, set out to learn why and what can be done about it.

‘New American University’ fueled by scale, speed and diversity

Arizona State president sees an inclusive, tech-heavy higher ed model for a new time

Arizona State President Michael Crow is out to reinvent the public research university. Using ASU as the prototype, Crow sees the promise of an egalitarian ‘New American University’ committed to academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact.

Perfecting the online university

Some classrooms will survive, but digital advancements will draw more students away from traditional higher ed

Online degrees are poised to shake up the academy, says Kevin Carey, director of educational policy at the New America Foundation. That they haven’t yet is not the fault of technology as much as it is the perceived value of a traditional college diploma. That document tells little more than the applicant attended classes at a particular institution. Carey says digital assessments and data gathering from a “University of Everywhere,” pioneered by projects such as edX and Coursera, will provide far more insight on a graduate’s potential for success.

Managing money during volatile times

Colleges and universities are still trying to find equilibrium in a volatile economy

In How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, Jeffrey R. Brown, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-editor Caroline M. Hoxby, a Stanford economics professor, examine universities as complex economic organizations that operate in an intricate institutional and financial environment.

Toward more responsive campus mental health care

How improved awareness and intervention might prevent future tragedies

Aradhana Bela Sood's new book on the Virginia Tech massacre highlights what can be done to better treat people who are struggling emotionally. Sood, a senior professor for child mental health policy at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, says threat assessment and treating students quickly are keys.

Trying to answer the unanswerable

Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin talks about the motivation of discovery

A self-described “space nerd,” Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin brings an infectious sense of wonderment and discovery to almost everything she does. Leshin will share that enthusiasm as a keynote speaker at UBTech in June, discussing “How innovation is unleashed by asking unanswerable questions.”

Higher ed is a tough world, but it’s a world we made

Roger Williams’ president says higher ed deserves much of the criticism it gets.

People often go to college for the wrong reasons, with assumptions about how it’s going to benefit them, says Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University. An outspoken proponent of access and affordability, Farish—who will speak at the new UBThrive program this June—says colleges and students need to be more realistic about what to expect.

Technology demands a delicate balance in higher ed

Purdue’s CIO and UBTech speaker discusses the tension between education and technology

Gerry McCartney embraces technology as much as he rejects it. As CIO of the Purdue University system, as well as vice president for information technology, he knows that bringing technology to teaching requires a delicate balance. While it can simplify some processes, it still can’t replace what he calls “the learning moment.”

Breaking away from higher ed's herd mentality

Focus on academic and extracurricular achievements may come at the expense of individualism and independent thinking

In 2008, former Yale professor William Deresiewicz's scathing essay on elite colleges and universities went viral, gaining more than 100,000 views in a matter of weeks. His book Excellent Sheep: Thinking for Yourself, Inventing Your Life, and Other Things the Ivy League Won’t Teach You continues the theme.

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