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The second year of the ongoing Models of Efficiency program continues to demonstrate that campus departments can be innovative and inspired when it comes to finding ways to provide superior service and maximize resources.

"We believe that improving the efficiency of administrative services yields cost savings and reputation benefits that can propel a college into the top tier of success," noted Miles Lasater, chief operations officer and cofounder of Higher One, which has sponsored the Models of Efficiency program from the start.

Programs that allow campus offices to become officially certified green in operations can pack a one-two staff engagement punch. In Bowen Close's experience overseeing sustainability as assistant director of facilities and campus services at Pomona College (Calif.), initially people already interested in improving their environmental impacts get engaged in the structure and assistance that such a program offers. As they work to get their colleagues involved in the effort, their enthusiasm is contagious.

Once administrators decide to focus on adding more group study areas to campus, a key question to answer is this: Should the spaces be out in the open or behind closed doors? "Rooms can be big and open, or they can be private rooms, which can be very modest," says Michael Prifti, managing principal of BLT Associates.

Call it the marathon without a finish line: As new network demands such as mobile computing and rich media increase, campus IT strategists are trying to keep running ahead, to ensure that their networks can meet the need.

Professionals who have helped create inviting places for groups to study on campus have vivid memories of the uninviting study spaces of yesterday. “When we studied as a group, if we studied as a group, it was typically in the dining hall,” recalls Jeff Vredevoogd, director of Herman Miller Education.

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.

Who are you and how did you find us? That's what admissions officers at colleges and universities all over the country are asking this year as "stealth applications" proliferate.

As new technologies are developed, many tried-and-true staples of academia have fallen. So it is with the carousel slide projector.

Long a staple of art history classes, slide projectors are becoming obsolete, and while many professors and instructors have plenty of media, they don't have a way to replace the projector itself.

For the University of Denver's multimedia department this presented an opportunity not only to solve an immediate problem but to create something that would go beyond the traditional uses of media objects.

Smart, highly educated, experienced executives moving into a new role are expected to hit the ground running. Their calendars are already packed with appointments and tasks, and their bosses (e.g., the president, chancellor, provost, or board, depending on the person's role) have pressing goals that need to be achieved ASAP. After a promising start, the new leader's performance veers off track. If a course correction isn't made, it can lead to derailment. Why?