Innovation and initiative are integral to higher education success, but three schools recently stood out to judges of the 2011 AMX Innovation Awards. The University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine; Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada; and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey were selected from a field of over 500 nominations.
Most colleges and universities attending EduComm send one or two, sometimes three, people to the conference. Last June, Life University (Ga.) sent seven of its administrators and faculty to learn from the breakout sessions and see the latest higher education technology on the EduComm exhibit floor.
The second year of the ongoing Models of Efficiency program continues to demonstrate that campus departments can be innovative and inspired when it comes to finding ways to provide superior service and maximize resources.
"We believe that improving the efficiency of administrative services yields cost savings and reputation benefits that can propel a college into the top tier of success," noted Miles Lasater, chief operations officer and cofounder of Higher One, which has sponsored the Models of Efficiency program from the start.
The South Carolina Higher Education Efficiency and Administrative Policies Act, signed into law on August 3 by Gov. Nikki Haley, is a big step for transparency in South Carolina's public institutions. The twofold law requires them to post all purchasing transactions online and eliminates portions of the timely and costly process for having new facilities or major purchases approved.
More than one-quarter of teenage cell phone users have gone online with their devices, and online usage is greatest among students in households with less than $30,000 annual income, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, released in 2010. While that’s based on 2009 data, a May 2011 Pew survey of American adults revealed that more than one-third own a smartphone, so it’s likely teen use has increased also. Are prospective students using their mobile phones for the college search?
EduComm 2011 was a big success. Big in many ways. In addition to a record-setting attendance (more than 900 registered), EduComm 2011 had the biggest exhibit floor it has ever had, with more than 40 exhibitors.
Big, but not too big.
That's what we keep hearing from attendees. They tell us they like that EduComm is growing, but they also caution us not to grow too big. They fear we'll lose the intimacy and camaraderie that is evident in a conference our size. That's important to us.
American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.
The look of instructional technology is changing rapidly, as are the roles and strategies of the IT professional. Higher education technology’s legacy was characterized by six key areas: a strong sense of faculty ownership; hidden costs of free systems and networks; content and delivery mechanisms that were not well-differentiated; unstructured innovation; systems that would neither scale nor integrate; and service levels that were little more than “We’ll give it our best”--all with security being a mere afterthought.
In our wired, social media-saturated world, many of us are connected to family and friends on Facebook and to business colleagues and other professionals via LinkedIn. These connections are undeniably meaningful and beneficial to each of us personally, and potentially, professionally.
But what about networks that may exist for gaining access to a deeper, more sophisticated level of expertise, information sharing, timely guidance, or shared interests? The implications could be huge for those of us in the education space.
The academic calendar maintains its own particular cycle and pivots on its own particular axis. Critical dates, such as deadlines for the submission and changing of grades, must be honored. After all, should the calendar lose its adherence, the effects can be negative.
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.
A year ago, at the presentation I gave at the EduComm conference and within this column (June 2010 issue of UB), I made the argument--and plea--for a web and social media analytics revolution in higher education. I explained why and how institutions should rely on analytics to stop making marketing decisions on opinions, guesses, and hunches and start embracing a more data-driven approach.
So, have these past 12 months made a difference? Has higher education finally warmed up to the possibilities offered by web and social media analytics?