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Articles: Campus Life

Trends in campus chapels mirror those of places of worship in general: New and renovated spaces are becoming more tech-enabled and multifunctional, with added emphasis on creating a gathering place for an entire community, regardless of religious denomination.

Many second-year-experience programs work with only a few thousand dollars in their coffers. Leaders of these initiatives forge partnerships with other departments to curb spending and help students pick majors, choose the right study abroad program or connect with faculty through advising and social events.

Researchers believe more universities need to join the growing number of schools focusing resources on sophomores.

Traditionally, student success programs have focused primarily on transitioning first-year students from home to college. But now more higher ed leaders are realizing that to retain students and help them make informed decisions, they must expand these efforts to sophomores.

MONUMENTAL DISPLAY AT COLLEGE—The Anaconda Wire and Cable Company monument at Chapman University is made entirely of materials from the industrial plant that used to stand where its film school is now located.

In a renewal of social consciousness in American higher ed, colleges are refining stories of their history told through statues, signage and installations on campus. Many are turning this into an aesthetic opportunity, with historically accurate, engaging content presented in ways that visually enhance and individualize the campus. The concept is known as ambient learning.

INSPIRING ACTIVITIES—Students get to begin bonding with future classmates on Instant Admissions Day at Unity College in Maine. They also get some certainty about their higher ed futures.

Instant Admissions Day at Unity College in Maine provides benefits beyond the immediate acceptance of students’ applications. This accelerated enrollment approach provides a clearer picture of the 700-student private college’s incoming class.

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.

Many colleges and universities are investing millions of dollars to repurpose or even expand libraries to make room for collaborative learning, technology centers, dining areas, research support and other academic services.

The impacts of unionization by teaching and research assistants can be seen at several U.S. public universities (gettyimages.com: Daniel Vilaneuve)

Leaders at private colleges concerned about the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling allowing Columbia University teaching and research assistants to unionize can look to their peers at public universities to prepare for coming changes.

President Diana Natalicio’s “access and excellence” formula powers the University of Texas at El Paso's mission. Access means working with local schools to develop talented students of limited resources. On the excellence side, a robust research environment provides the financial and academic fuel.

Wine Spectator Learning Center

Sonoma State University (Calif.)

The $9.2 million Wine Spectator Learning Center will be a 14,500-square-foot centerpiece of Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute, the only school in the U.S. that offers a wine industry MBA.

Strengthening the community: An entire residence hall at Onondaga Community College is now dedicated to about a dozen themed living/learning communities—proving you need not be at a four-year institution to experience the living/learning experience.

A dozen or so living-learning communities at Onondaga Community College are designed around themes such as wellness, criminal justice and STEM. About 30 percent of students who live on campus will be a part of such of community this school year.

At the University of Oregon’s Collegiate Recovery Center, students can relax in a lounge with free coffee and tea.

To combat a surge in opioid overdoses and continued abuse of alcohol, colleges and universities are expanding services and facilities that aim to keep students in class as they recover from addiction. 

At schools such as Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, therapy dogs are brought in during finals week to help manage student stress. It’s an example of “universal design” because those diagnosed with anxiety aren’t the only ones to benefit.

Common oversights can occur even on campuses where leaders believe they have complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To avoid running afoul of the law, constant vigilance and ongoing review are essential because there are so many factors to consider.

Although some professors prohibit the use of laptops during class because of the distraction factor, laptop use for note-taking is one accommodation colleges may offer students, such as those with a mobility impairment. (Photo: Marist College)
  1. ADA awareness training should be mandatory and ongoing across all departments. If students come to a staff member requesting an accommodation, they should be referred to the disabilities services office, which will help ensure consistency and fairness. 
  2. Campuses see a range of disabilities that must be covered, from mental and emotional (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, etc.) to physical (asthma, cystic fibrosis, cancer, Type 1 diabetes, allergies, celiac disease, traumatic brain injury, etc.).

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