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No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal assistance. —20 U.S.C. § 1681(a), better known as Title IX

“The last thing colleges want to do is put a former student in collections,” says Harrison Wadsworth, executive director of the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations. But when internal efforts to collect tuition don’t work, it’s important to have somewhere to turn for help.

Yammer (free)

Good for: Collaboration and communication

Who’s using it: Penn State

From event planning to website redesign, setting up Yammer networking groups to share ideas, get feedback and check in on the progress of projects can help large campuses stay connected.

Trello (free)

Good for: Tracking projects

Who’s using it: The George Washington University

1. Set some ground rules. After introducing Slack, some users felt it was hard to cut through the clutter of irrelevant information, says Dominic Abbate, the creative director at The George Washington University. So they responded by setting up specific channels designated for non-work chit-chat like #food and #just-for-fun.

2. Listen to feedback. When Cherwell’s adoption rate was lagging because the tool was too complex and IT-focused, The University of New Mexico’s IT team redesigned the portal to make it more customer-friendly.

Disabilities services administrators at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, University of Connecticut and Landmark College in Vermont recommend the following assistive technology for students with executive dysfunction:

First-year college students with executive function (EF) difficulties arrive on campus and can be overwhelmed by the independence.

A link to Virginia Tech’s We Remember website, created immediately after the tragedy, holds a prominent place at the top right of the university’s home page.

Each spring, updated commemoration event information gets posted to the site, www.weremember.vt.edu—with all previous content remaining accessible and the victims’ photos and biographies easy to find.

“Nothing has ever been taken down,” says Mark Owczarski, assistant vice president for news and information at the university. “It’s there as public record.”

“The reaction to people who are threatening in the workplace, classroom or laboratory environment has changed,” says International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Executive Director Sue Riseling.

“We've seen a tremendous number of cases where there is a mental illness component. Of course, that’s why you want to intervene early and get them the medical help they need.”

Despite the expanded awareness, higher ed currently struggles to keep pace with the growing need for mental health services, with a shortage of available professionals.

A PLACE TO GATHER, MOURN, REFLECT—Hours after the April 16 tragedy, a higher ed student organization placed 32 “Hokie Stones” on the campus Drillfield. Later, stones weighing 300 pounds each were permanently placed in the field, with paths to allow for easier viewing.

A decade and well over 100 school shootings since the Virginia Tech tragedy, the higher ed community has considered and implemented changes in policy and practice recommended after the full investigation. 

Many small towns and rural regions rely on the nation’s 600 rural community and tribal colleges to provide employees who will keep local economies alive.

But these institutions, which also serve as cultural centers, face a range pressures in supporting the day-to-day needs of a dwindling number of high school graduates with less money to spend, says Randy Smith, director of the Rural Community College Alliance.

For instance, Sisseton Wahpeton College in South Dakota—where Smith is president—provides campus shuttle service to students who live as far as 30 miles away.

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