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Risk Management

Until recently, many 403(b) employee retirement plans were viewed not as actual plans but as clusters of individual employee contracts with different vendors. Higher ed institutions were like middle men, with their role limited to passing through employee contributions to individual plans. Administrators saw little need to pay much attention to their 403(b) plans or to exercise much oversight of third-party mutual funds or insurance companies managing employee funds.

With Latinos now representing one in six U.S. residents, the international competitiveness of the nation will depend on the academic success of Latino students, notes the opening of a recent College Board report on Latino college completion. Although the national average of 25- to 34-year-olds in 2009 who had attained an associate degree or higher was 41 percent, just 19 percent of Latinos had done so.

cyber bullying

School violence, the threat of violence, and harassment continues to worry educators locally, nationally and internationally. Although violence exits in its rawest form, i.e., shootings, rape, kidnapping, and bomb threats; more passive and pervasive forms of harassment and/or bullying also exist.

In the event of a severe allergic reaction, a delay of even a few minutes in getting an epinephrine injection can make a scary situation deadly. That appears to be what happened to Kennesaw State University (Ga.) student Tyler Cody Davis, who, on August 18, ate at the campus dining hall, later returned there in distress to seek emergency assistance, and not long after was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to a KSU statement.

More than a year ago, following a public meeting to describe the process and methodology we would use to refresh Augustana College's (Ill.) strategic plan, I was confronted by a respected colleague. He warned me that all my "talk about and emphasis on risk was going to scare people about the process and disenfranchise them." For the moment, I was at a loss.


Everyone has heard that bed bugs are on the rise, and there is no end in sight. These invasive parasites bring a host of serious complications, and the unfortunate truth is that many educational facility personnel are not recognizing the potential threat they are facing.

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.

Future Shock

Darwin put it this way: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." This simple truth in nature may best describe the evolution of the most nimble higher ed ownership models in the 21st century.