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April 2013

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Cover Story

As we launch the fourth year of our Models of Efficiency recognition program, we are seeing lots of familiar names.


As we launch the fourth year of our Models of Efficiency recognition program, we are seeing lots of familiar names.

Freshman move-in day: It’s hot, you’re hauling boxes into your room, you hope you have a good roommate, you’re worried about your class schedule, you need to get to the bookstore to stock up on required reading, and on and on and on.

Miami Dade College is the largest and most diverse higher ed institution in the U.S., serving a community as large as the state of Rhode Island. It has 175,000 students and offers more than 300 academic degree programs.

Historically, all 26,000 annual applicants to Johnson County Community College (Kan.) received up to three printed communiqués regarding their admissions status.

For newly minted alumni poised to land their first job or continue their studies in grad school, few items are more important than the transcript. Proof that the work was done, the grade earned, and the degree awarded, the transcript serves as the institution’s stamp of approval.

The piece of paper. That’s what students are shooting for—a diploma, the tangible proof that they’ve met all requirements, completed the courses they had to complete, and graduated.

Who wants to wait for that?

University of Wisconsin-Stout graduates didn’t have any choice.

Despite a freeze introduced three years ago on full-time hiring, which was necessitated by statewide funding cuts to higher education, Miami Dade College still regularly hires part-time workers to fill support roles.

Until 2009, students at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (N.C.) could wait as long as two hours to be seen by a counselor in student services, which includes the offices of admissions, advising, financial aid, and the registrar.

It costs much more to recruit new students than to keep the ones you have, which is why retention is so important to colleges and universities.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more paper-laden function than accounts payable. Receipts, invoices, check requests, purchase orders, contracts, and more keep A/P personnel knee-deep in forms and documentation.


Some of us east-coasters are urban-centric when it comes to identifying with the last American higher learning frontier—rising out of the Rocky Mountains and continental college town divide.

Clark Kerr, one-time president of the University of California system, once characterized the university as “a series of individual faculty entrepreneurs held together by a common grievance over parking.” It’s a lighthearted definition, but one rooted in truth.

Most financial aid offices are already beginning to receive appeals from families looking to improve their aid awards.

More than 1,130 U.S. higher ed institutions have implemented smoke-free campus policies, and the number is expected to climb, according to the organization Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

Maintaining healthy town/gown relations enhances campus life and generally makes the institutional mission easier to achieve. In recent years, however, community college officials are finding that efforts must go beyond providing cultural venues that locals can access.


Massive open online courses are all the rage. By allowing anyone to take an online course—in the original form and without receiving a recognized credential from an institution—MOOCs appear to skirt the edges of the complex, multilevel regulatory framework governing American higher education.

It’s one of modern cinema’s most familiar and resonant moments: the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon’s character humiliates a Harvard student, contending that the Ivy Leaguer blew $150,000 to learn less than Will could learn with a library card.

Campus Finance News

Until a few years ago, a visitor to a college campus might have thought credit card vendors operated branch offices there, so pervasive was their marketing. For many students, getting their first credit card was a step toward adulthood.

In Every Issue

Whether you think they are hype or the next step in the evolution of learning, there’s no question that MOOCs have taken the education world by storm.

Toughpad Tablet

A father I know asked his 9th-grader how his math grades had jumped from C to A-, when prior personal tutoring hadn’t helped. The reply: “Dad, it’s easy! I taught myself using Khan Academy.”

Education Innovators

Behind the News

It used to be that when a student left high school and entered college, he or she could expect to graduate four years later.

A 46,000-square-foot abandoned furniture warehouse has been given new life as the continuing education and industrial center at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, N.C.

When students in an honors business and professional communications course at Robert Morris University (Pa.) conducted research on textbooks, a survey revealed that 14 percent of their peers knew at least one student who dropped out of school because he or she could not afford to pay for textbook

Frederik Logevall, the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, has been appointed the university’s vice provost for international relations, to begin July 1.

As a result of March’s sequestration, colleges and universities are starting to figure out how to deal with government cuts from student loan funding and the trickle down of major cuts to agencies that support the bulk of institutional research and development.