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From UB

Say cheese: Most University of Alabama students avoid waiting in line at the Action Card office for an ID by submitting their application online. For anyone unable to access that system or who needs a replacement card, the office is ready to assist.

Regardless of the size of the staff or office, efficient campus card programs share several best practices: A focus on customer service, cutting-edge technology and collaboration with the campus community and beyond.

Effective card offices focus on bottom-line growth. “Two of the benefits we bring to our campus are cost reduction and revenue growth,” says John Beckwith, director of campus business services at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

For instance, before its single-card program launched in 1997, the campus had seven different cards for students to use, with separate ones for ID, library, transportation, event tickets, food services, laundry and room entry.

What aspects of customer service do campus card offices seem to do best with—and in what areas do they struggle the most? 

Intentional Endowments Network supports investment practices that produce financial returns while addressing environmental, social, governance and sustainability factors.

With college students increasingly calling on schools to divest endowments from fossil fuels, Becker College in Massachusetts became the first institution to mandate that all of its investments generate a positive impact on society—and a targeted financial return.

Eight years ago administrators laying plans for Guttman Community College in New York City set a goal: The school would make getting students to graduation a primary mission. The approach is now proliferating across the community college sector.

Community colleges have been in the news during the current election cycle, due to plans by some politicians—including President Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders—who suggest the federal government should provide free education for any citizen willing to put in the bookwork.

But so far this is just talk for colleges, which have yet to plan for the contingency of becoming a gratis educational option for the populace.

Bill Muse is vice president of administration and finance at Schreiner University in Texas.

Effective collaboration between administration, academic officers and faculty is crucial for effective leadership. Enrollment levels, academic freedom, financial viability and student success could all be affected if these individuals don’t team up to develop an effective strategy.

North Carolina's controversial “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act" jeopardizes $4.5 billion in federal higher ed funding.

In March, North Carolina passed a law that public colleges and universities require individuals to use restrooms that match their birth gender. Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina system, which serves more than 220,000 students, confirmed that all 17 campuses will comply.

Health insurance, along with everything from faculty recruitment to information technology, is one of the emerging areas of shared services that regional consortia are now tackling. Their success in saving money and improving efficiencies has fueled a wave of new collaborations.

Colleges or universities looking to join a higher education consortium have two major options: alliances that are regionally based or those focused on a common goal.

Schools that choose to participate in a regional consortium have the advantage of being able to easily meet with other members to discuss common issues.

The new higher education alliances cropping up are not just of the regional variety.

A group of private colleges and universities created a consortium in fall 2015 to negotiate better deals on enterprise resource planning systems, which can account for up to 4 percent of an institution’s entire annual budget. The Higher Education Systems and Services Consortium (HESS) now has 65 members located in 15 states.

Jo Allen is president of Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The role of women’s colleges—far beyond their origins in offering access to college degrees—is to help women flourish. Some women’s colleges have focused on women’s leadership; some on career preparation in STEM and other areas where women have been under-represented; and still others on health care, education and areas where women excel.

Accommodations in action: Administrators from several Bentley University departments worked together to help ensure Deyven Ferreras—who entered college with a mechanical device for his weakened heart—could safely and successfully pursue a postsecondary education.

Increasingly, colleges and universities enroll students with a wide array of physical and mental health conditions. Legal guidelines that put the onus on students to request accommodations—plus the departmentalization of services—can make it difficult to come up with a coordinated plan for a student.

Also at UConn: The La Comunidad Intelectual learning community focuses on Caribbean and Latin American cultures.

The University of Connecticut’s recent announcement of a planned learning community intended for first- and second-year African-American male students has reignited a decades-old debate regarding ethnically themed living spaces on campus.

The success of the studio concept does not just resonate for a graduate student audience, but can and should be articulated for undergraduates as well. If MBAs must work collaboratively, digitally and dynamically, so should undergraduate students.