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Articles: Operational Efficiencies

Every day when an employee resigns from their job, either voluntarily (or involuntarily) they’re “walking out the door” with a very valuable asset. No these instances don’t require security or are considered criminal in nature. What they leave with is their institutional knowledge or memory from their last organization. This is what happens to an organization loses its best, brightest, most experienced and knowledgeable employees. What do they take with them, and what do we lose? Part of it is the organization’s institutional knowledge or history.

Course scheduling is tied integrally to two of an institution’s most expensive resources—facilities and faculty.

Course scheduling is tied integrally to two of an institution’s most expensive resources—facilities and faculty. Managing schedules involves more than just cracking a complex logistical code each semester—it’s also a potential bane or boon to the operating budget.

Appalachian State University (N.C.): Policy says that faculty should generally not be paid extra for teaching courses on top of normal course loads. It mentions making other arrangements, such as a course reduction the following semester.

California State University: Overload assignment may not exceed 25 percent of a full-time position.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz, a RuffaloCODY company.

The often-used businesses term “right-sizing” has in recent years become common in higher education. Though sometimes used as a euphemism for “downsizing,” it more rightly refers to an effort to optimize enrollment, human resources, programs and facilities—in other words, fixed costs.

There are a host of factors that should go into the analysis when an institution is attempting to match demand with its capacity to meet that demand.

Marist University's open-source HR recruitment system saves money and attracts higher-quality candidates.

“Your reputation is at risk.” That was the message relayed to Marist College Vice President and CIO Bill Thirsk by a hiring manager who had been contacted by a former employment candidate. The job seeker had attempted to apply for a position through the New York college’s online employment system, only to give up because the user experience was so frustrating.

Since 1995, the University of Alabama has issued electronic debit and ID cards, called Action Cards, to its students. These personalized, chip-and-magnetic-stripe plastic cards provide students with access to buildings and events, meals in the dining halls and spending money for on- and off-campus retailers. The cards also have a photo on the front for visual identification.

In two short years, Western Iowa Tech Community College upgraded from generic paper-based admissions packets to a personalized packet to online microsites tailored to each prospective student’s needs and interests. Besides achieving higher application rates, the new MyHub program is saving on paper, printing and mailing.

Located in Myrtle Hall, the Pratt Institute’s Bursar and Financial Aid offices have taken a holistic approach to serving students.

Managing personal finance is difficult enough for working professionals. For college students, it can be almost impossible. Part of the reason is that there are multiple finance-related aspects to higher education, and they have different, often confusing languages, says Nedi Goga, executive director of student financial services and compliance at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Digitized recordkeeping streamlines processes for staff working in Admissions and Records while also providing students with access to forms at any time.

Higher education administrators looking to increase efficiency frequently cite document management as a major roadblock. Even so, the numerous flaws in the system used by the College of the Desert’s admissions and records department went beyond the typical woes.

University of Montana gave Pinecone Awards as part of the web template project launch, with awards given to staffers in categories such as best user experience and most innovative.

Faced with increased competition for students and declining enrollment, the University of Montana centralized the oversight of its web presence to create a unified look and feel across all of its websites. The use of new templates reduced reliance on outside design firms, cut costs, helped meet accessibility compliance, and increased the pace at which new sites were created.

Executives from Central State U, Wright State U, Clark State Community  College and Xerox are working to perfect the campus printing process.

Wright State University invested significantly in printing equipment only to see demand decline. That lead administrators to overhaul the Ohio institution’s entire printing system. They switched to a variable pay-per-print model based on volume and relying on one supplier to manage all its equipment.

Applicants with dreams of attending Portland State now learn the outcome of their applications at least two weeks earlier than before.

Applications from prospective Portland State University students and all supplementary materials are captured electronically and automatically routed for processing. This digital record keeping continues as students matriculate. Integration with Banner gives admissions counselors and others the ability to view student records without touching a single piece of paper.

UBThrive sessions will focus on key themes of growth and organizational structure as they relate to executive leadership, the student experience, operational efficiency and finance.

Anyone on campus interested in learning how to launch innovative programs around student and institutional success will want to attend UBThrive, a conference launching in 2015. From June 15 to 17 in Orlando, higher ed leaders will have the opportunity to hear from peers who are creatively fostering success on campus.

More institutions are creating energy conversation plans that cover the entire campus rather than just individual buildings.

Conservation on campus is about saving money and electricity at a time of lagging state funding and soaring global demand for power. Colleges with successful energy sustainability programs have combined mechanical improvements with campaigns to get their communities to adopt new behaviors.

The University of Baltimore set clear sustainability goals when it began planning its new law school building.

“It had to be [LEED] Platinum, but it also had to be an environment that would be exciting for staff and students to spend days and late nights studying in,” says Nebeye Sertsu, vice president for facilities management and capital planning. “We embedded in the design how we interact with students, how we represent the city and how we talk about our campus to prospective students.”

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