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Professional Opinion

In the past few years, many universities have begun to explore a concept frequently and successfully implemented in the corporate world, but previously rare in higher education: shared services. The term “shared services” refers to a streamlining process where administrative tasks or technology management services that regularly occurred across several departments in the organization are placed under the authority of one unit.

"There is no magic wand that can resolve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline."
—Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

The need for proctoring derives from the perceived need to prevent “academic dishonesty”, aka cheating. The issues with proctoring include 1) the assumption of guilty until proven innocent (all students are potential cheaters), 2) the cost borne by the student directly or indirectly, 3) the Orwellian loss of privacy, and 4) that the vast majority of students are made to suffer because of a few perceived bad actors.

To confront today’s financial challenges, every college and university needs to create more operational efficiency. Some of these efficiencies start in the business office.

For instance, key aspects of higher education financial management are paper-intensive and outdated —a stark contrast to the first-class technology used in campus classrooms. A primary target for business officers should be eliminating paper checks, which simply are not efficient -- in terms of money or time -- for vendor payments, student tuition refunds, or employee payroll.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

Shirley Mullen is president of Houghton College (N.Y.).

Higher education is in the dock in 2014. The questions are flying:

Why does it cost so much? Why does it cost more each year?

Why do so many students not finish? Why can’t they get good jobs? Why is it not equally accessible to all?

Why is it not doing a better job training teachers for K12?

What do we have to show for the trillion dollars in student loan debt? Who will repay it?

Some see the three year baccalaureate as a fad which will ultimately dilute the depth, breadth, and rigor of the true college learning and living experience. Other commentators see the accelerated credentials megatrend as the natural outcome of decades of degree inflation.

Think about the fact that an associate’s degree is no longer the coin of the realm in contemporary American higher education, business, and industry. In fact, in the current economy, one wonders whether four years is too long for a bachelors degree? Enter the three year baccalaureate.

William M. Courson is president of Lancaster Pollard Investment Advisory Group.

Monetary policy in the United States took a dramatic turn with the introduction of quantitative easing after the financial crisis of 2008.

Although it achieved its primary objective by forcing down long-term interest rates, it also increased the supply of money in the economy, which has contributed to inflationary pressures in the past.

While we are fortunate to have witnessed a lengthy and very low inflationary environment, as money supply increases, the probability of higher inflation also increases.

A graduating senior applying for a position completed a successful phone interview and travelled to a face-to-face interview with the company. Instead of an interview, the candidate was told upon arrival that the company had discovered ‘inappropriate’ posts and behavior in his social media. The candidate was directly rebuked and dismissed without any hope of ever obtaining a position in the company.

Yes, this is a true story from a CEO, who had wished they had looked at social media earlier in the process.

Doug Karpp is vice president at Hiscox USA, a specialist insurer, and is responsible for Hiscox’s crime book.

Higher education is big business, but many schools are operating with barely more fiscal security than the average kid’s lemonade stand.

Thefts from colleges are persistent, increasing and coming from all around campus. Common targets for embezzlers include bookstores and cafeterias, tuition collection, and even government grants to professors. Administrators should implement a proactive risk management program that includes checks and balances in the accounting department, regular audits of invoices and other fraud prevention techniques.

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