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Articles: Professional Development

While educators continue debating the use of mobile devices in the classroom, the tide seems to be shifting in favor of a new mobile paradigm as a way to ease students’ transition into the workplace.

In Project Bridge—what may be a first-of-its-kind program—student volunteers at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. are giving English lessons to catering and facilities staff.

The project was originally conceived by Patricia Tome, a modern languages professor who assigned her intermediate-level Spanish classes to tutor Rollins’ staff for a short time. In January 2012, the then-president of the Latin American Student Association, Tasha Bianchi-Macaraig, took over the program as student advisor.

Kirk Overstreet is assistant dean for adjunct faculty support at the College of DuPage.

College of DuPage, located just west of Chicago, is one of the largest community colleges in the United States, and it is the largest community college in the Midwest. The institution serves more than 30,000 students and offers a variety of courses, with more than 80 percent of its classes delivered face-to-face.

University of Southern California Rossier School of Education Professor Adrianna Kezar, co-director of the Pullias Center on Higher Education, studies the use of adjunct professors.

Adjunct faculty have long played a supporting role in higher education. These often overqualified professors work long hours for comparatively little pay, on the hope that it might lead to a full-time position. But somewhere along the way, the situation changed.

John Fragola (left) and Peter Grady use iPads to monitor the heat inside Dana English Hall on the Mount Carmel campus at Quinnipiac University. Both are licensed HVAC mechanics in the facilities department.

Members of the facilities crew at Quinnipiac University were spending a lot of time traveling back to their shop during the workday.

This situation, of course, was not unique to Quinnipiac, but department officials at the school set out to eliminate the trips workers had to make to retrieve new work orders, find information about equipment in manuals or look up floor plans. The central Connecticut institution has a 212-acre main campus, and two branches that are a half-mile and about five miles away.

While digital technologies have become central to our society and our lives in higher education, the continuing development of the internet, mobile phone applications, and social media brings the need for up-to-date professional development. Indeed, standing still with digital technology means we are falling behind, and your staff needs continuing opportunities to evaluate and implement new online options.

Casual observers of the 2013 National Association of Student Aid Administrators conference in Las Vegas this summer may have felt as if they were seeing double, with all the talk of “prior-prior year” income tax.

Texas Tech University is the only school in Texas to have an undergraduate institution, law school, and medical school on the same campus. It is also the U.S. university with the happiest employees, according to a new top 10 list released by CareerBliss, an online community featuring company reviews, salaries, and job listings.

Mention “teacher training” to the typical college professor and his eyebrow will raise like the wing of a raptor. Talons may follow.

College professors are experts in various disciplines—political science, mathematics, the biology of anthropology, the history of technology, and other disciplines from arcane to pedestrian. Teaching ability is universally presumed to accompany expertise in a discipline. Call it pedagogy by osmosis.

Registration is now open for UBTech 2013, University Business magazine’s annual higher-ed technology leadership conference, where more than 80 speakers will address the program’s theme of “Vanishing Boundaries; Emerging Opportunities.”

Perhaps nothing causes more administrative anxiety for deans at nursing schools than the nation’s nursing shortage. It not only poses a real threat to the country’s health care delivery system, but also to higher ed institutions that need nursing faculty.

Many are feeling the pinch. Positions remain unfilled, some for years. So nursing schools are rethinking and redesigning their traditional recruiting and retention strategies. Their solutions are quite varied, ranging from creating e-jobs and dual appointments to sharing existing faculty.

HR cross-training

With budgets still tight and a workforce still lean, some higher ed institutions are applying an old approach that allows them to do more with less.

Cross-training employees, or training them to perform key tasks of a coworker’s job, is nothing new. Perhaps it’s never more appreciated than when employees take vacations, become ill, work on special projects, or quit their job.

Our institutions of higher learning are populated by experts in a wide range of fields—smart people with strong problem-solving abilities. This past year, as a first-time college president, it occurred to me that I should make a concerted effort to harness this brainpower for the good of my institution and its students. I envisioned a program that would motivate faculty and staff at Marymount University (Va.) to engage in creative, collaborative thinking to develop cost-saving, revenue-generating, and process-improving initiatives.

Programmer Juan Mena was key in bringing  document management to the admission office.

At first glance, the issue faced by Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University (Calif.) may not seem too daunting: a few thousand applications a year and 1,600 students enrolled in 16 programs at five campuses. What’s so tough about that?

Four different programs were being used for end-of-course evaluations, and the disparate system was inconsistent and slow. The college purchased an online system with automatic emails delivering a personalized URL specifically for the class taken. The pilot achieved a savings of more than $17,000.

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