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University Business, June 2016

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Feature

To get a picture of who is responsible for predictive analytics on campuses and what their jobs look like, University Business interviewed four campus “data czars” to learn more about their work, how it impacts their institutions and how they make it all happen.

Just as websites morphed from digital brochures into versatile multimedia portals, electronic portfolios have evolved from information repositories to robust tools for showcasing student learning. Now, “ePortfolios,” house completed assignments, reflections on learning, photos, creative work and journal entries.

Because students from other countries, or simply from areas far from their desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are turning to virtual interviews as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

As rankings continue to cover the spectrum from the serious to the silly, grappling with their impact on and off campus raises crucial questions of equity, the true meaning of student success and the diverse roles of higher ed in modern society.

Focus

Besides freeing up IT to handle other tasks, new systems allow HR to be more efficient because data is located in one spot rather than spread through multiple systems that require multiple sign-ons. And new HR apps allow employees to use mobile devices to check benefits, complete a course or even schedule vacations.

It has been demonstrated amply that financial aid leveraging can, under the right circumstances, increase enrollment and net tuition revenue. For some, however, that isn’t the case.

The growing availability of custom and commercial software applications allows colleges and universities to transform classroom laboratory experiences into virtual equivalents that offer advantages over their physical precursors.

Campus Finance News

Revenue alone doesn’t drive every real estate initiative. Higher ed institutions involved in development, typically off-campus, also consider the economic revitalization of a blighted surrounding neighborhood and initiatives that support the core mission.

On Topic

Alice L. Brown doesn’t pull punches when discussing the problems of leadership at the small schools that constitute the Appalachian College Association. Some, she says, are barely surviving and their leaders seem reluctant to take the steps necessary to change course.

Behind the News

An eye-catching new home for STEM departments and programs at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven is part of the university’s efforts to boost its curriculum in those disciplines.

The Consumer Financial ProtectionBureau’s forthcoming “Payback Playbook” intends to simplify the student loan repayment process by presenting clear, customized repayment options.

The landmark WaterHub at Emory University in Atlanta is an eco-friendly water recycling plant that cleanses 400,000 gallons per day of wastewater for purposes other than drinking.

Administrators, faculty members and campus staff have been ordering all sorts of supplies from Amazon.com for years, but it was only recently that the e-tailing colossus jumped formally into the higher ed and business-to-business procurement market. And some in the procurement world see benefits ahead.

This fall, travel funded by the student government at Whitman College in Washington state will be taxed based on emissions generated in getting to and from the destination.

Three federal grant programs support colleges that qualify as Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs. The funding covers student support services and other initiatives—such as professional development to train administrators, faculty and staff to work more effectively with students whose first language may not be English.

New research finds mental health treatment of students pays off medically and financially. With those students now pressing administrators to increase mental health services, some colleges and universities are expanding their counseling staffs and other services.

Delaney, recently dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, oversaw a 20 percent rise in enrollment and an increase of $4.5 million in annual giving there.

Professional Opinion

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.

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.