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Collaboration

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At Abilene Christian University in West Texas, technology managers were struggling with an outdated email system.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 “We were disenchanted with our current email system,” he says, adding that the system servers were outdated, expensive to maintain, and were running out of space.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.

 

THE FIRST WORD THAT SPRINGS to mind in conjunction with the phrase “liberal arts education” is not “technology.” In the 21st century, however, it should.

Historically, liberal arts colleges have not placed a heavy emphasis on technology, either in the curriculum or as a teaching tool. But we hit a tipping point earlier this decade on liberal arts campuses. Not a single young person on our campus can remember life before the internet. If we don’t teach even our most traditional courses—humanities, history, literature—using today’s technology, we are probably failing as educators.

 

JULY 1 WILL MARK THE START of the new budget year in most institutions across the country. Nothing new, as that’s the regular budget cycle of higher education. But new this year are the deep cuts some budgets have undergone due to the economic situation.

THE CALL CAME IN AT 9:22 P.M. ON THURSDAY, APRIL 2, FROM THE Radford University (Va.) EMS team, an all-student, volunteer rescue squad, that there had been a fatal shooting just one block from campus. Dennie Templeton, who directs the school’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, remembers the time exactly, because within 15 minutes he had set up an emergency operations center (EOC) to interact with the outside responders who were fast arriving at the 9,500-student school.

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