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Vocation. This is a word with deep and important significance. Liberal Arts. This is an ideal of education with an equally deep set of meanings. Liberal arts colleges already do a great job developing a diverse group of socially responsible, critical thinkers, but they must start guiding students to their true vocation. For liberal arts colleges, the idea of knowledge for knowledge sake can no longer be your primary focus. That idea died with the onset of the Internet.

Administrators, faculty members and campus staff have been ordering all sorts of supplies from Amazon.com for years, but it was only recently that the e-tailing colossus jumped formally into the higher ed and business-to-business procurement market. And some in the procurement world see benefits ahead.

This fall, travel funded by the student government at Whitman College in Washington state will be taxed based on emissions generated in getting to and from the destination.

Passed in February as a two-year pilot program, the rule is likely the first of its kind imposed by a student government at a U.S. college.

Students traveling as part of a ski club or flying to New York City for a journalism conference, for example, will calculate the cost of their emissions, but not be charged directly.

David Seelow is the founding director of the Center for Game and Simulation-based Learning at Excelsior College.

Watching preschoolers play on touchscreen devices makes it clear that the future college students of America are the connected generation. Higher ed must embrace game-like learning just as progressive Silicon Valley companies have, or risk bored, disengaged, unprepared students in the classroom and in the workplace.

Celebrating while educating: At Manhattan College, the student group Fuerza Latina performs to share Latin American and Caribbean culture with others.

Three federal grant programs support colleges that qualify as Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs. The funding covers student support services and other initiatives—such as professional development to train administrators, faculty and staff to work more effectively with students whose first language may not be English.

Anxiety has replaced depression as the most common reason students seek counseling on campus. (Photo: Thinkstock.com/Max-kegfire)

New research finds mental health treatment of students pays off medically and financially. With those students now pressing administrators to increase mental health services, some colleges and universities are expanding their counseling staffs and other services.

John T. Delaney joins American University after serving as dean of the University of Pittsburgh's graduate school of business.

Delaney, recently dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, oversaw a 20 percent rise in enrollment and an increase of $4.5 million in annual giving there.

This FutureShock is the third in a trilogy of commentaries on the for-profit (private sector) higher education industry and the implications of an increasingly complex and skeptical regulatory environment. In this piece we focus on the emergent, some say irreversible, megatrend turning private sector schools, colleges, and universities into nonprofits and vice versa.

As rankings continue to cover the spectrum from the serious to the silly, grappling with their impact on and off campus raises crucial questions of equity, the true meaning of student success and the diverse roles of higher ed in modern society.

Whether in information technology, marketing or even academics, rarely does anything get done before knowing what other institutions did. In higher education, benchmarking data is often one of the first steps on the path to action.

In his book, Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses, Lawrence Ross says recent high-profile events represent a fraction of the racial conflicts occurring on campuses.

In his book, Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses, Lawrence Ross says recent high-profile events represent a fraction of the racial conflicts occurring on campuses.

Michigan State University ran a Facebook photo contest so students could show experiences made possible by financial aid.

Michigan State University

Social experiment: Facebook Photo contest

Facebook.com/msufinaid/

The idea: To show the positive side of financial aid, Michigan State held a contest that asked students to share a photo of an experience that would not have been possible had they not received aid. Ten students won $500 each.

Just 30 percent of financial aid professionals reported using social media to provide financial literacy content to students.

Financial aid offices that invest time on the major platforms say social media lightens the workload. On a higher level, social networks represent another way to provide students with financial literacy education that can advance institutional goals, including better retention and lower cohort default rates.

Alumni. That’s what alumni association magazines should, to a much greater extent, be about. At least they should if we want them to do better at marketing the university.

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.

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