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Professional Opinion

Donna Fletcher is a higher ed professor of finance at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Legislators, parents and students are not the only ones asking questions about the cost and quality of higher education.

Gary A. Olson is president of Daemen College in New York.

Like all of the free tuition plans proposed to date, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan in its present form will have unintended consequences that could be devastating to the state’s economy.

Kevin Wayer is an international director and co-president of JLL’s Public Institutions group, providing real estate services to higher ed institutions.

To bridge the gap between dwindling public resources and the growing cost of infrastructure and facilities, a public-private partnership (P3) can be a solution that infuses capital into an overstretched budget and makes new development financially feasible.

COLLEGE SERVICES--Susan Brennan is associate vice president of University Career Services at Bentley University. Kara J. Della Croce is director of campus recruiting at Ernst & Young LLP.

Colleges and universities must face a harsh reality: Employer expectations of their graduates are changing. It’s not enough for candidates to have the professional or technical skills needed for a particular job. Hiring managers now want employees with the ability to apply both hard and soft skills to their role.

Sarah Bassler Millar and Richard Pearl, of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP, advise higher ed leaders that fiduciaries should be trained by outside counsel with expertise in ERISA retirement plans.

Recently, plaintiffs’ attorneys have brought dozens of lawsuits against universities alleging that their retirement plan fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). A failure to fulfill fiduciary duties under ERISA can lead to serious consequences, including personal liability under ERISA. There are steps fiduciaries can take to discharge their responsibilities and avoid these harsh results. 

Bill Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

Despite its sometimes rigid conventions and customs, higher education is still very good at finding innovative solutions to problems that face students. Today’s college graduates are struggling. They need the technical skills to enter the modern workforce and the ability to advance their careers—not one or the other.

Scott A. Bass is the provost at American University in Washington, D.C.

How many databases does your campus administer in the broad area of student support? American University uses more than 36 databases for different student-related administrative and learning management functions—yet, there is little to no integration.

Shani Lenore-Jenkins is associate vice president of enrollment at Maryville University.

While its primary focus is to educate students, a university is still a business with customers. Traditional marketing methods such as mailings, phone calls and old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground visits are no longer the best ways to reach today’s tech-savvy students, who find the information they need online.

Ken Artin, is a public finance lawyer at Bryant Miller Olive. He can be reached at kartin@bmolaw.com.

There is a great need for infrastructure such as classrooms, student housing, dining and wellness facilities. Public-private partnerships (P3s) are a form of contracting between the public sector and private industry that capitalizes on the potential for private investment in a project, while sharing risk between the public and private partners.

Weldon H. Latham is founder and chair of the Corporate Diversity Counseling Group and a member of the Higher Education Group of Jackson Lewis PC. He can be contacted at lathamw@jacksonlewis.com.

Universities welcome media coverage of college sports, groundbreaking research and alumni achievement—all of which generate recognition and revenues supporting their educational mission. Too often, however, racially charged events at universities have dominated those headlines.

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