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The Venture Development Center has all the hallmarks of a typical startup: Computers running equations, whiteboards covered with revenue projections and caffeine-fueled meetings about venture capital in glass-walled rooms. But it's more than that: the center is also a University of Massachusetts, Boston incubator that houses dozens of fledgling bioscience and computer science firms.

Talent, technologies and capital converge at TechTown Detroit, an incubator formed by Wayne State University in partnership with General Motors and the Henry Ford Health System. Since 2004 TechTown has been housed in a 1920s-era building contributed by GM.

It takes more than good intentions and extra space to be successful in starting an incubator.

Here are three tips to to help campus departments of economic development go from idea to execution:

The numbers should unsettle enrollment professionals: College and university enrollment rates have decreased for each of the last four years and nothing indicates a reversal anytime soon.

Clockwise from top left: Lisa Daniels (Excelsior College), Vince Kellen (University of Kentucky), Thomas Blum (Sarah Lawrence College) and Elaine Lewis (Washburn University).

To get a picture of who is responsible for predictive analytics on campuses and what their jobs look like, University Business interviewed four campus “data czars” to learn more about their work, how it impacts their institutions and how they make it all happen.

Graduates of The Citadel are encouraged to use their ePortfolios when applying for grad school or a job.

Just as websites morphed from digital brochures into versatile multimedia portals, electronic portfolios have evolved from information repositories to robust tools for showcasing student learning. Now, “ePortfolios,” house completed assignments, reflections on learning, photos, creative work and journal entries.

Portfolio providers: What are some uses for ePortfolios that you believe aren’t as common at colleges as they should be?

“We’d like to see more colleges using ePortfolios with guided learning pathways through a program or institution to assess learning at key points. The full potential for ePortfolios to encourage more integrative, deeper learning won’t be realized without a deliberate plan, ongoing assessment and higher stakes (such as program completion or graduation).”

—Webster Thompson, president, Taskstream

In the 2014-15 academic year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew at the highest rate in 35 years, increasing by 10 percent to more than 970,000 students. (Image: Ltd)

Because students from other countries, or simply from areas far from their desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are turning to virtual interviews as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)

Determining the return on investment for virtual admissions interviews involves understanding the resources and when the technology will be used.

At the University of Rochester, the commitment is bigger than most. One full-time employee and eight senior students have been hired and trained just to conduct Skype interviews during this admissions cycle, says Jonathan Burdick, dean of college admission and vice provost for enrollment initiatives.

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.

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.