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Collaboration

Thomas Edison, America's most prolific inventor, once explained his passion for innovation by saying, "There's always a better way." That's the spirit, if not the directive, for the campus departments profiled in the first round of 2011 Models of Efficiency honorees. When it comes to finding ways to streamline business processes or save time and money, the stories you'll read on the following pages will, we hope, inspire you and your department to look for your own ways to better serve constituents.

Who are you and how did you find us? That's what admissions officers at colleges and universities all over the country are asking this year as "stealth applications" proliferate.

As new technologies are developed, many tried-and-true staples of academia have fallen. So it is with the carousel slide projector.

Long a staple of art history classes, slide projectors are becoming obsolete, and while many professors and instructors have plenty of media, they don't have a way to replace the projector itself.

For the University of Denver's multimedia department this presented an opportunity not only to solve an immediate problem but to create something that would go beyond the traditional uses of media objects.

Smart, highly educated, experienced executives moving into a new role are expected to hit the ground running. Their calendars are already packed with appointments and tasks, and their bosses (e.g., the president, chancellor, provost, or board, depending on the person's role) have pressing goals that need to be achieved ASAP. After a promising start, the new leader's performance veers off track. If a course correction isn't made, it can lead to derailment. Why?

People rarely work in isolation. But it's not always easy to meet in person to work on a project. Connecting online can be done from almost anywhere. The collaboration possibilities run the gamut from passing a Word document back-and-forth via e-mail to holding a multiparty videoconference.

Read on to learn how a variety of online collaboration tools are helping college and university administrators execute projects more efficiently.

Over the past two years, Arizona State University has opened two new schools at its campuses in the Phoenix area. But these educational additions are not training future social workers, lawyers, or business executives. They'll be turning out qualified future college students, many of whom—ASU officials hope—will populate the state's universities years from now.

At Abilene Christian University in West Texas, technology managers were struggling with an outdated email system. While providing basic service, it lacked advanced functionality and was time-consuming and expensive to maintain. in addition, the full-time email administrator’s position had recently become vacant.

Kevin Roberts, chief information officer at ACU, knew it was time for a change. “We were disenchanted with our current email system,” he says, adding that the system servers were outdated, expensive to maintain, and were running out of space.

The 53-campus system includes seven state universities and 25 community and technical colleges offering more than 3,500 programs to 374,000 students and 140,000 continuing career education enrollees. With campuses five to six hours apart, Karen Bergmeier, ITS project lead- er and Cisco WebExTM solution liaison, found herself traveling four to five hours two to three times each week to conduct training on the system’s proprietary software.

 

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