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Articles: Administration & Management

College and universities must face a harsh reality: employer expectations of their graduates are changing. As the world becomes more complex, so do employer demands. It’s not enough for candidates to have the professional or technical skills needed for a particular job. Hiring managers now want strong “right brain” attributes -- communication, collaboration and creativity – and the ability to apply both hard and soft skills to their role.

Considering that textbooks can account for 25 percent of a community college student’s degree, some institutions have banded together to develop more open educational resources.

The University of Maryland’s open source textbook initiative, known as “MOST,” has guided faculty through more than 50 OER adoptions. The program helps instructors assemble resources to significantly keep down the cost of course materials.

Open educational resources have grown over the last few years from one-off oddities in single courses to the basis of entire degree programs. Cutting out textbook costs for students tops the list of reasons administrators encourage faculty to develop and adopt these free—or very inexpensive—resources, also known as OER.

Nirmal P. Narvekar, now at Harvard, was previously CEO of Columbia University’s $9.6 billion endowment, which returned an average 10.1 percent during his leadership.

Nirmal P. Narvekar is the new president and CEO of Harvard’s $35.7 billion endowment, the largest fund in higher ed.

Narvekar, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. derivatives trader, was also previously CEO of Columbia University’s $9.6 billion fund, which returned an average 10.1 percent during his leadership from 2005 to 2015. At Harvard, he is expecting to improve fund performance and reorganize staff at Harvard Management Co., which oversees the endowment.

Technology can be a powerful resource for behavioral health care. It grants a level of comfort and anonymity to those who have questions or concerns about their mental health, making it easier to reach people who otherwise might not seek help.

Higher education historians often trace the modern growth and democratization of American higher learning to federal student financial aid – providing a system of higher education financing that has opened the doors of college and university campuses to students and families who would otherwise be unable to afford the spiraling costs of college tuition.   

This growth in government-sponsored student financial aid has also subsidized the sustainable growth and development of public, private non-profit, and more recently, for-profit institutions of higher learning.

Over the last several decades, programs in Health Coaching, Health Advocacy, and Nutrition have gone from rare to a significant number of undergraduate and graduate programs of varying lengths, prerequisites, and professional focus.  

How many databases does your campus administer in the broad area of student support?

American University utilizes more than 36 databases for different student-related administrative and learning management functions. Each data system was designed to serve the professional needs of discrete administrative units and is maintained and updated as needed. For the most part, these systems meet their intended purposes. Yet, there is little to no integration among these discrete data elements.

The ills of society are often magnified in the high-intensity atmosphere of college campuses.  Over the last two years, violent events involving police officers and a perceived lack of administrative responsiveness to incidents of on-campus racial bias have led to protests and confrontations. On most campuses, these demonstrations were organized to address issues of diversity, tolerance, inclusion, and sensitivity to others who are different from ourselves. Clearly, the inequities still extant in America have driven the conversation.

A student loan that goes into default costs 250 percent more than a loan paid back on schedule. (Gettyimages.com: wildpixel)

Some advocacy groups see student loan debt as not just a financial problem, but a growing social justice concern, as well. Now, some 40 civil rights, legal aid and public interest are urging the Department of Education to determine whether debt disproportionately impacts minorities.

Steve Mims’ new film, "Starving the Beast," documents a political and philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education.

Steve Mims’ new film, "Starving the Beast," documents a political and philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education—not as a public good for society, but as a “value proposition” to be borne by those pursuing a college degree.

Liberal Arts programs need certain elements of hands-on training to better equip their students for specific trades, careers or professions. At the same time, Tech Ed programs could benefit from the inclusion of instructional elements designed to produce more virtuous, knowledgeable and articulate graduates. If Liberal Arts programs of study could be made a little more like Tech Ed, perhaps graduates would find it easier to obtain suitable employment.

Colleges and universities are experimenting with strategies—from financial incentives to life coaching—aimed at coaxing veteran professors into starting the next chapter of their lives.

Faculty members are finding exciting new directions once they retire from their tenured professorships. But data suggests that faculty members are waiting longer to retire than they once did, with sometimes problematic implications for their institutions.

Under age-discrimination laws, college professors, like most American workers, can’t be forced into retirement. Congress ended mandatory age-70 faculty retirement in 1994, after the National Academy of Sciences predicted the change wouldn’t increase professors’ average retirement age.

Are universities hiring non-tenured adjuncts—who now make up two-thirds of the faculty workforce—because their tenured veterans won’t retire?

Delayed retirement is a contributing factor in the proliferation of adjuncts, says Brian Kaskie, associate professor of health policy at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health. Employees who can’t be fired and won’t retire are a burden administrators don’t want to assume.

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