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Professional Opinion

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?

Spencer Parker had a plan: Take his high school volleyball stardom to college, spend a couple of years at a smaller school to develop his academic and athletic skills, then move on to a larger setting. Become a volleyball star on a bigger stage. But the nagging desire to play college football, the lingering effect of a successful season as high school quarterback, was relentless.

Craig Marshall says digital signage can give students the real-time information they expect.

As the world becomes more connected, it is changing the way we view information and interact with it. By 2014, it is estimated there will be approximately 2 billion computers, 5 billion smartphones, 7 billion people, and 10 billion smart devices. Smart devices are all around us; they are in our home, our car, our office and our schools, virtually everywhere we look.

In today’s competitive higher education market, colleges and universities must prove the value of the degrees they bestow to graduates each year. Traditional measures, such as graduation rates, grade point averages, and cohort default rates, have become only a few of the ways colleges and universities are evaluated. Students and their parents want to be assured that their investment in a college education will pay off in the form of a self-sustaining and financially-secure career path.

With so many students depending on community college as their best—and sometimes only—option for higher education, it’s time for community colleges to get their fair share of education funds. While these schools enroll 53 percent of all undergraduate students at public institutions, they receive only about 25 percent of the federal funding available.

Colleges and universities nationwide marked the 10th annual Campus Sustainability Day in October with events and discussions that reflect on the success of the sustainability movement in higher education.

In my experience as president of a university where liberal arts and professional programs serve as complements, I have found that engaging students—both before they arrive on campus, and while they are completing their studies—is vital to creating the overall college experience that students are seeking. The more connected prospective and current students feel to the university early on, the more likely they are to feel a positive connection through graduation and beyond.

From the perspective of a retired university president, the expressions of concern from most of America’s higher education leaders about President Obama’s proposed “Plan to Make College More Affordable” are a lot like looking a gift horse in the mouth. My former colleagues are portraying the plan as another potential serious intrusion on the historic autonomy of America’s colleges and universities.

Increasingly, colleges and universities, like their corporate counterparts, are being asked to do more with less. Vendors can play a key role in offering expertise, reducing workload, and saving money.

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