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Business Continuity

Few students—traditional or nontraditional—complete their work within the 9-5 work day. Rather, libraries and dorm rooms are bustling late into the night with students burning the midnight oil. But, according to findings from the 2012 ACUTA (The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education) ResNet Survey, only 9 percent of colleges and universities offer 24/7 network support.

The only consistency about cell phone policies for campus employees is that there isn’t any. Likewise, the level of human resources office involvement is as different as the kinds of cell phones or data plans that are available today. In some cases, cell phone policies are developed and implemented by IT or the business office. Other times, HR helps create the policy, then stands on the sidelines. Some schools don’t even have a policy, or don’t request HR’s participation at all.

What should HR leaders do? Should their department even have a role?

Jobs aren’t easy to come by these days. Instead of blaming the economy—or themselves—some students are blaming their alma maters.

After graduates from New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley School of Law (Mich.) accused the schools of misinterpreting graduates’ employment and salary statistics and filed class action suits against them last summer, two firms have warned they are planning to go after other law schools this year.

Jordan Zimmerman

Once a school like Penn State or Syracuse has gone through the ethical and public relations disaster of a child sexual abuse scandal ... what comes next? How do you fix what’s broken? Can you even think about rebuilding the brand?

Yes ... but it’s tough. It takes character, both for the organization and on a personal level.

Emerging from this kind of crisis means going through three different stages: denial, damage control, and decision. Lots of people, and lots of institutions, never make it through to that third stage.

In his 2011 State of the Union message, President Obama proclaimed that the "first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation." The Bayh-Dole Act, which I co-sponsored with Senator Robert Dole in 1980, has done just that. I've watched with great interest as the Bayh-Dole Act has established our university technology transfer system as a model for the world by permitting universities, small businesses, and nonprofits to own and manage patentable inventions arising from research conducted in their labs using federal funds.

There has been a rash of major embezzlement cases cropping up like a pox at institutions of higher learning all around the country. While employee theft occurs daily at all types of organizations, we have tracked a disproportionate number of significant misappropriations at U.S. colleges and universities. The damage, while significant, is not only financial. Institutional reputation, alumni relations, endowment growth, employee productivity, and even enrollment, can all be negatively affected by a major defalcation.

Some of the scariest risks on campus remain hidden until the moment that students, teachers, and staff experience them. Until the shooter kills, the funding disappears, or the opposing party files the lawsuit, everything seems fine. Then, the overwhelming grief takes hold or the power to educate diminishes due to lack of resources. That's why, as campus leaders know, action must be taken before the risk occurs.

The tornadoes that ripped across the South in April devastated everything in their paths. Some institutions had to close their doors before semester’s end.

Thomas Edison, America's most prolific inventor, once explained his passion for innovation by saying, "There's always a better way." That's the spirit, if not the directive, for the campus departments profiled in the first round of 2011 Models of Efficiency honorees. When it comes to finding ways to streamline business processes or save time and money, the stories you'll read on the following pages will, we hope, inspire you and your department to look for your own ways to better serve constituents.

I know that spring is finally upon us because my wife has started organizing her vegetable garden. The garden, like the start of baseball season and the sound of lawn mowers instead of snow blowers, is a sure sign of longer days and warmer evenings.