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Professional Opinion

Meg Mott is a professor of political theory at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vt.

Recently, the White House Council on Women and Girls issued a report pledging to “make our campuses safer” from sexual assault.

According to their research, “1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while she’s in college,” a troubling statistic which the authors explain by “the dynamics of college life.” Female undergraduates, we are told, are abused while intoxicated by men whom they know in passing.

Jeff Vredevoogd, director of Herman Miller Education, leads the firm’s efforts to expand the understanding of evolving learning trends in higher education.

Campus leaders are increasingly confronted with transformation—from students acting as consumers to universities acting more like businesses to the rapid evolution of faculty.

Yet perhaps the most prominent change is the proliferation of technology-based learning methods. Online courses have created a new world of education—one where learning can occur anytime and anywhere.

Leslie M. Gomez is a partner in the White Collar Litigation and Investigations Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

A senior administrator recently described the issues related to sexual misconduct as a dormant volcano that lies beneath main administration buildings on campuses across the country. This is a sentiment echoed by many administrators committed to successfully responding to issues of sexual violence and harassment, but sometimes uncertain how to get there. With prevalence rates high and reporting rates low, colleges face challenges in designing and implementing effective responses. But an integrated institutional plan can help.

The challenges for executives operating state-wide higher education Systems and the flagship research universities within those Systems have grown more baffling with each passing year. From UMass and UNC to LSU, Wisconsin, and Oregon, we hear regularly about frustrated and embroiled leadership.

Stephen Madigosky is a professor of environmental science at Widener University in Chester, Pa.

I live in a world of lectures, faculty meetings and final exams. For my environmental science students and me at Widener University in Chester, Pa., however, it’s also a world of hands-on research on a butterfly farm in Costa Rica, or experiential learning in the rainforests of Peru.

This world didn’t include university food service contracts, price points, or product launches until my chance meeting with an alumnus who shared a passion for environmental sustainability. That meeting led to a simple, delicious cup of coffee.

Many small institutions wrestle with the annual assessment of how to manage routine capital projects. A backlog of deferred maintenance items can further complicate planning.

Universities, research institutions, academics and scientists have increasingly been under the bright light scrutiny of the legal system. While not unprecedented for courts and litigators to pull questions of science and research into the courtroom, public debates and high stakes litigation have recently forced some academics and scientists to center stage.

For decades, academic libraries have been distinguishing elements of campuses across the nation. Providing abundant resources along with quiet environments conducive to individual study, these buildings withstood the test of time, serving the needs of students and faculty alike. Today, modern technology, along with rapidly changing student study habits and expectations, are significantly reducing the demand for brick and mortar resource centers.

Similar to their corporate counterparts, institutions of higher education have to operate in a fiscally responsible manner, which means managing budgets and achieving bottom line results. While there are many factors that contribute to success in this arena, the recent decline in state support for higher education is making it more difficult for colleges and university to grow and thrive. Today’s reality is that reduced funding puts more pressure on colleges and universities as they compete for limited dollars.

As a frontline supervisor in Facilities Management, I often think about succession planning in our various organizations across the globe. I ask myself a lot of questions like; what would happen if our director won a million dollars or was offered that ultimate dream job? What would happen if our management team decided to relocate to other institutions? What is going to happen when the management decides to retire?

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