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From UB

The smartphone has become ubiquitous on college campuses. In the U.S., some estimates indicate that 95 percent of 18- to 24-years-olds have a smartphone, and that number will continue to grow.

Students and instructors use their smartphones every day to communicate with friends, family and colleagues, manage their schedules, consume content, and much more. Their engagement with these devices is often very personalized, sending and receiving information that is meant specifically for them as individuals.

Looking the part: Students at Missouri University of Science & Technology need not venture off campus or even pay anything to find their first professional attire. After a résumé review in the career center, they can jaunt across the hall to the suit closet and emerge career-ready.

Raising awareness of traditional and newer career-preparation services, which thanks to technology can often be delivered remotely, is essential. Career centers are proving, too, that they can create innovative programming to entice participation. Here are several successful approaches worth adopting.

Various campus communities have different expectations of the career center. (Click to enlarge)

1. Encourage drop-ins.

During “career cafés” at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan campus in New Jersey, students can stop in for coffee and cookies, enjoy some music and chat with career counselors.

“With this generation, something pops into their head and they want to deal with it right then and there,” says Donna J. Robertson, university director of career development for the three-campus institution.

In an era in which every college or university expense must be scrutinized, tuition remission policy details may be worth analyzing. (Click to enlarge)

Almost 90 percent of colleges and universities offer tuition remission benefits to their employees and employees’ dependents. And with college tuition costs skyrocketing, that benefit has become increasingly sought-after—but expensive for the institution.

While many institutions that examine their tuition remission spending wind up reining in spending in this area, some schools are actually increasing the benefit to better recruit and retain top-notch talent.

Last year, leaders at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, increased the tuition benefit for employees’ spouses and children from 75 percent to full coverage. Employees themselves already received 100 percent remission.

Robert A. Walton is CEO of the National Association of College Stores

In the pursuit of streamlined processes and reduced risk, a significant question is often overlooked: Do you want a store that reflects the personality and values of your campus or do you want a cookie-cutter corporate showroom, focused on selling products and making a profit?

Achieving smooth deployment of a new student success system can be challenging, say administrators who have tackled the challenge. (Gettyimages.com: Godruma • Nidwlw • Aarrows)

Early alert systems. Transfer credit assessment tools. Adaptive technologies. Apps to push student reminders. Career assessment software. Colleges and universities nationwide use these and many other success technologies to help students improve grades, increase involvement and persist to graduation with as little debt as possible.

What do you see as the biggest mistake colleges and universities make when implementing student success technology?

“Retention technology can identify potential at-risk students, but then you need success coaches in place to effectively engage students. Helping coaches understand data and apply it proactively instead of reactively will empower them to reach out long before red flags surface.”

—Steve Pappageorge, chief product officer and senior vice president, Helix Education

Like many employers, higher ed institutions are reaching out to military veterans to fill skilled positions. Military service offers rich opportunities for individuals to develop a wide variety of skills that translate to well-paying jobs in the civilian world.

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.

Incorporating the local: A four-story atrium in Salisbury University’s 224,000-square-foot, $117 million library features a grand staircase with the silhouette of Chesapeake Bay crabs that was designed to echo colors of the nearby ocean.

While 98 percent of librarians in a 2015 Gale/Library Journal survey wished for better communication with faculty, only 45 percent of faculty expressed the same wish.

This gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity for libraries to make a case for their usefulness to faculty, in both their teaching and scholarship.

To promote faculty use of the library, Salisbury University in Maryland created a dedicated Faculty Center, including comfortable spaces and conference rooms to foster interaction among professors and instructors across disciplines.

Breaking the poverty cycle: Marcy Stidum not only created an apartment for homeless students, but she also helps them with financial planning and job searches.

By the end of August, two students had already lived in an emergency-housing apartment dedicated to the homeless at Kennesaw State University outside Atlanta. And the unit, one of the first of its kind in the country, had opened only two weeks earlier.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Faculty Excellence has experimented with alternative classroom designs that make it easier for instructors to use interactive learning methods—including in lecture hall-sized spaces.

Students enrolled in media ethics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall walked into a lecture hall that looked radically different than two years ago. Gone is the stadium-style seating. Now the room, used for a wide range of courses, has 100 rolling swivel chairs with adjustable tables and nine mounted video screens.

High-capacity classrooms: The collaborative BioSciences West classroom at The University of Arizona holds up to 112 students.

Active learning should allow students in traditional lecture halls to work in small groups solving problem sets or developing presentations. That can be accomplished without renovating the space, but the layout does present challenges.

Lecture courses can be made more interactive by breaking up class time with small-group activities.

The tiered education department classroom at McGill University in Montreal can accommodate up to 96 students.

What would you say to someone who needs convincing that lecture halls and other large spaces can also be active learning environments?

“Large, active learning classrooms support the largest number of students efficiently. The classroom can also be used outside classroom hours for collaborative activities. You’re really increasing the use and efficiency of the real estate.” —Andrew Kim, manager, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase

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