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Efficiency

HR cross-training

With budgets still tight and a workforce still lean, some higher ed institutions are applying an old approach that allows them to do more with less.

Cross-training employees, or training them to perform key tasks of a coworker’s job, is nothing new. Perhaps it’s never more appreciated than when employees take vacations, become ill, work on special projects, or quit their job.

With its four institutions—the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University, Keene State College, and Granite State College—the University System of New Hampshire is the largest provider of postsecondary education in the state, serving more than 35,000 students, and including more than 3,000 employees.

It’s nice to see something grow and take on a life of its own. When we first developed the Models of Efficiency program, we honestly didn’t know quite what to expect. We knew that, in the depths of one of the worst economic crises the country has faced in many years, people were desperately trying to find ways to “do more with less.” That mantra was drilled into the way we all did our jobs each day. Now, even as the economic picture improves, the “new normal” requires that college and university departments continue to rein in costs while improving service and effectiveness.

Every college strives to maximize electronic payments, but there will always be a need for departments to take in-person payments via check, cash, credit and debit card. Schools that handle these payments and the resulting departmental deposits the way they did 10 years ago, with paper forms and manual data entry, may be missing opportunities for efficiencies and savings. This web seminar, originally presented on April 26, 2012, looked at the benefits realized by the University of Illinois after implementation of the Nelnet cashiering solution.

With  smartphones and mobile devices everywhere on campus, students expect complete mobile access to everything from course assignments and grades to events and sports news. This web seminar, originally presented on April 11, 2012, explored how two schools use AT&T Campus Guide, enabling them to keep students and staff connected, informed and engaged while on the go.

Nadir Khan
Education Industry Solutions Consultant
AT&T

As the University Business editorial team began judging the entries for this first round of the Models of Efficiency program’s third year, a few things became clear. One is that, with so much practice, we are becoming all the more efficient in spotting the great efficiency success stories.

As we get ready to start the third year of our Models of Efficiency program, I want to take a moment to point with pride to the program’s success. Models of Efficiency is a national recognition program for those campus departments that have found ways to streamline operations, save money, and improve constituent satisfaction. That was the challenge we set forth when Models of Efficiency was first announced, and those solutions are just as important, if not more so, today.

Henry Ford brought efficiency to the forefront of American business with his assembly line, which introduced automobiles to the masses. “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed,” he once said. This same mentality has allowed this fall’s Models of Efficiency honorees to improve services provided by their departments, all without spending a fortune—and often while saving a bundle.

Sometimes you don’t even know you need a solution until one presents itself. At least that’s how Tegrity Lecture Capture grew from a classroom product to a tool embedded in nearly every aspect of Lawson State Community College. 

The college implemented Tegrity in 2005. With 60 percent of the Birmingham, AL, college’s students holding down full- or part-time work, the school hoped to increase engagement, improve its retention level and help working students with attendance issues, notes Academic Dean Sherri Davis. 

ith the costs of higher education continuing to soar, many colleges and universities are looking for innovative ways to lower expenses, while simultaneously pursuing their long-term sustainability goals. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is proving that both objectives are, indeed, achievable.

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