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Efficiency








Clemson University, located in the Upstate of South Carolina, has always been quick to use technology tools to advance the accessibility of higher education.

With 55 sites around the world, 17,000 students and 5,000 faculty and staff, distance learning, training, support and the accessibility to other suites of e-education tools is critical.

Adobe Connect is a key tool in that effort, said Deb Charles, manager of instructional services for the university's computing and information technology department.

For years, Butte College in California put up with an internal IT system that left huge gaps in the ability of administrators, faculty, staff, and students to electronically communicate with each other. Administrators were unable to send memos targeted to, say, faculty members or the public works staff. Professors were unable to communicate with specific classes. And students had to go through separate log-in procedures to access the system's Web Advisor - and Blackboard - functions, as well as their e-mail accounts.

The financial pressures on institutions and the scrutiny on spending continue. But campus administrative offices also continue to find new ways to change their practices for the better.

As the stories of our Summer 2010 Models of Efficiency honorees demonstrate, there are a multitude of good ideas being implemented that streamline processes without reducing the quality of service that campus constituents deserve, and in many cases expect.

Summer is typically a time for relaxing—for most people. In higher education, no one rests for long. Running an institution is often just as time-consuming and intense as at any time of the year, and this summer seems to be more turbulent than ever. As many institutions continue to face the dual problems of booming enrollments and deeper cuts, they must also contend with myriad other issues brought on by new federal regulations in student aid, institutional funding, and health care.

Change in academia tends to occur gradually, but the University of Missouri- Columbia turned that conventional wisdom on its head when it implemented a lecture capture system that students and faculty alike embraced with unprecedented speed.

The search for a lecture capture system began in the spring of 2009, after several faculty members approached the technology department saying they wanted to implement lecture capture for their classes, said Danna Vessell, the university's director of educational technologies.

As a reader of this magazine, you were probably not surprised--much less chagrined--by the 2009 publication of a three-volume set of books entitled, The Business of Higher Education (Praeger Publishers, 2009). Nor, I would wager, do you find University Business an unusual magazine title. As the CEO of a college, neither do I.

But we need to recognize that, for many constituencies of the academy not among University Business readers, the phrase "university business" may sound odd, if not oxymoronic. And that is true for at least two reasons.

We asked what makes your administrative department an efficiency model, and you delivered. Everyone in higher education is being forced to do more with less. Stellar campus administrative departments are continually working to also do it all better than ever before.

We're starting the new year by announcing a new recognition program here at University Business, a program that honors those administrative departments that have found a way to work smarter and better. We call it Models of Efficiency, and it gets to the heart of what University Business is all about, a message that is reflected in our tag line, "Solutions for Higher Education Management."

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