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Public funding levels and the various approaches to affordability—from debt-free college to private-sector loans—will continue to dominate higher ed debates in and outside campus administrative offices.

A greater level of accountability around access and outcomes looms on the horizon for higher ed administrators in 2017 and beyond. Experts across the ideological spectrum predict the federal government and the general public to demand more transparency in the data released about how graduates of specific campus programs fare in the job market. 

Student success is inherently at the center of every institution’s mission, and this round of Models of Excellence showcases eight initiatives dedicated to supporting that goal, from before a student’s first class right through—and beyond—graduation.

“Look for a system that is very easy to use and easily adopted. I would want to make sure the new SIS could be easily connected to the fundraising system, housing system and admission system. I’d look for the SIS to become the core of our operation and make sure everything can easily be integrated with it.”

—Jack Chen, CIO, Adelphi University

Students at Connecticut College can access its student information system via mobile or desktop.

In today’s world of vast networks and complex data analysis, the student information system is becoming a powerful tool to track—and influence—student success. By looking at the big picture of data generated across an institution’s enterprise resource planning software, universities can begin to forecast student outcomes.

Considering that textbooks can account for 25 percent of a community college student’s degree, some institutions have banded together to develop more open educational resources.

The University of Maryland’s open source textbook initiative, known as “MOST,” has guided faculty through more than 50 OER adoptions. The program helps instructors assemble resources to significantly keep down the cost of course materials.

Open educational resources have grown over the last few years from one-off oddities in single courses to the basis of entire degree programs. Cutting out textbook costs for students tops the list of reasons administrators encourage faculty to develop and adopt these free—or very inexpensive—resources, also known as OER.

Are universities hiring non-tenured adjuncts—who now make up two-thirds of the faculty workforce—because their tenured veterans won’t retire?

Delayed retirement is a contributing factor in the proliferation of adjuncts, says Brian Kaskie, associate professor of health policy at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health. Employees who can’t be fired and won’t retire are a burden administrators don’t want to assume.

Under age-discrimination laws, college professors, like most American workers, can’t be forced into retirement. Congress ended mandatory age-70 faculty retirement in 1994, after the National Academy of Sciences predicted the change wouldn’t increase professors’ average retirement age.

Colleges and universities are experimenting with strategies—from financial incentives to life coaching—aimed at coaxing veteran professors into starting the next chapter of their lives.

Faculty members are finding exciting new directions once they retire from their tenured professorships. But data suggests that faculty members are waiting longer to retire than they once did, with sometimes problematic implications for their institutions.

TRAINING FOR EMT JOBS—At Rowan College at Burlington County’s TEC Building, employees of the paramedics company Virtua can put their tuition reimbursement benefits to use. RCBC is growing and improving its Health Sciences programs in partnership with the company.

There is no one-size-fits-all partnership between the community college and industry. Arrangements can range from brief partnerships that fill immediate hiring needs to long-term strategic relationships that provide ongoing training and development for current and future employees.

The Industry Workforce Needs Coalition, a national network of businesses striving to increase the number of skilled workers, outlines three separate levels of industry-aligned partnerships:

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