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Articles: Technology

Joseph Brennan is vice president of communications and marketing, and clinical professor of business at the University at Albany. Mark Weaver owns Communications Counsel, an Ohio-based firm that advises universities on crisis communications. He teaches at The Ohio State University College of Law, the University of Akron, and the School of Government at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Based on our decades of experience counseling campus CEOs, we’ve identified the key behaviors successful presidents use to lead their institutions through the tough times.

Phishing is just one type of “social engineering”—the criminal act of manipulating people to surrender confidential information. In the past five years, it’s become a constant threat, and many college leaders see it as the No. 1 cybercrime they face.

In a move that will ultimately bring its public online content in line with new federal accessibility standards, the University of California, Berkeley has begun removing older videos and other documents that don’t meet the mark.

Sometimes it becomes clear very early on that a facilities project—especially a solar initiative—will be complicated.

Deciding where to install a solar array is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make.

Respond yes or no to the following questions as a first step in determining which type of installation makes more sense for your campus.

Rooftop installation

Are there obstructions on the roof—such as skylights, HVAC systems or other equipment—that would make it difficult to install solar panels?

CLICK AND LEARN–The University of Washington’s sustainability map features seven main categories related to higher ed campus sustainability and dozens  of examples, from the location of charging stations to recycling bins.

Many institutions shine a spotlight on their sustainability efforts by creating online maps to showcase eco-friendly sites and green activities on campus—areas of interest to both the student body and the general public.

James Martin is a professor of English at Mount Ida College in Massachusetts. James Samels is the CEO and president of The Education Alliance and the founder of Samels & Associates, a law firm concentrating in higher ed law.

In Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities (2017, Johns Hopkins University Press), James Martin and James Samels bring together higher education leaders to discuss how institutions might cooperate with their competitors to survive.

MOBILE MINDFULNESS—UT Austin higher ed students and faculty using  Thrive at UT can take a few minutes to read daily and weekly gratitude reflections. Interactive quizzes help students apply the concepts to their own lives.

A well-being app encourages students at The University of Texas at Austin to stay in the moment—via the device that often takes them out of it: their phone.

Higher ed administrators are using apps and platforms behind the scenes to help create efficiencies, increase productivity, and manage projects and workflow.

1. Set some ground rules. After introducing Slack, some users felt it was hard to cut through the clutter of irrelevant information, says Dominic Abbate, the creative director at The George Washington University. So they responded by setting up specific channels designated for non-work chit-chat like #food and #just-for-fun.

2. Listen to feedback. When Cherwell’s adoption rate was lagging because the tool was too complex and IT-focused, The University of New Mexico’s IT team redesigned the portal to make it more customer-friendly.

Yammer (free)

Good for: Collaboration and communication

Who’s using it: Penn State

From event planning to website redesign, setting up Yammer networking groups to share ideas, get feedback and check in on the progress of projects can help large campuses stay connected.

Trello (free)

Good for: Tracking projects

Who’s using it: The George Washington University

Disabilities services administrators at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, University of Connecticut and Landmark College in Vermont recommend the following assistive technology for students with executive dysfunction:

A PLACE TO GATHER, MOURN, REFLECT—Hours after the April 16 tragedy, a higher ed student organization placed 32 “Hokie Stones” on the campus Drillfield. Later, stones weighing 300 pounds each were permanently placed in the field, with paths to allow for easier viewing.

A decade and well over 100 school shootings since the Virginia Tech tragedy, the higher ed community has considered and implemented changes in policy and practice recommended after the full investigation. 

Higher ed institutions in the U.S. lead the world when it comes to producing graduates who go on to create unicorns—private start-up companies worth in excess of $1 billion, such as Uber, Facebook or SpaceX.

Tom Durso is associate vice president for college relations and marketing at Albright College.

Director of media relations used to be a title with a fairly straightforward and obvious list of responsibilities. Then the internet happened.

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