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Articles: Administration & Management

Students at Connecticut College can access its student information system via mobile or desktop.

In today’s world of vast networks and complex data analysis, the student information system is becoming a powerful tool to track—and influence—student success. By looking at the big picture of data generated across an institution’s enterprise resource planning software, universities can begin to forecast student outcomes.

“Look for a system that is very easy to use and easily adopted. I would want to make sure the new SIS could be easily connected to the fundraising system, housing system and admission system. I’d look for the SIS to become the core of our operation and make sure everything can easily be integrated with it.”

—Jack Chen, CIO, Adelphi University

More than 40 years after it was established, Title IX continues to pose compliance challenges for higher education institutions struggling with sexual assault investigations. Some say the federal government doesn’t provide enough guidance.

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.

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