You are here


As 2010 comes to a close, campus officials still have concerns about economic realities, but as many in higher education have learned firsthand, a department doesn't need an overabundance of budget dollars and staff members to operate effectively. In fact, tighter budgets bring on creative problem solving, and it's entirely possible to save time and money while raising service to a higher level.


Nearly a decade ago, Oklahoma City Community College installed state-of-the-art administrative system technology from Datatel that linked its student, finance, and human resources information systems together. It worked wonderfully - until staff turnover and training lapses diminished its utility.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.