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Given widespread protests against rising tuition and the impending doubling of student loan interest rates, one might expect to see students picketing on a college campus. But at Fairfield University (Conn.) in May, the shoe was on the other foot, as nearly 100 faculty and students picketed outside President Jeffrey P. von Arx’s annual address to faculty.

The reason? The Fairfield U administration, faced with budget woes and shrinking enrollment, wants to end a long-standing practice of paying professors as well as, or better than, peers in comparable institutions.

College campuses have long been accused of being bastions of liberal thought. But the most recent Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey of the nation’s entering students at four-year colleges and universities shows that current freshmen, at least, are arriving on campus with their own more liberal beliefs than previous classes. “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011” shares findings that students are more accepting of everything from same-sex marriages to affirmative action.

illustration of a professor behind a podium

Tenure-track positions at higher ed institutions are not always the most sought-after jobs on campus. At least, not lately.

University administrators are faced with many challenges, from better financial management to streamlining operations to staying competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining both staff and students.

For the majority of universities, talent management is a relatively untapped opportunity, and it offers both HR professionals and leaders of higher education institutions a proven and practical way to drive competitive advantage.

In August,, an anonymous workforce review site, created a "Best Universities to Work For" report based on user-submitted information. The University of Kansas came out on top with a score of 4.2 (very satisfied) and a president approval rating of 100 percent. Iowa State, Brigham Young (Utah) and Georgia Tech were all hot on Kansas' heels with scores of 4.1.

The idea that faculty members are uniquely qualified to determine the direction, standards, and practices of the institutions at which they teach and do research has been a tenet in higher education. At many colleges and universities, the faculty has almost sole responsibility for hiring, promoting, and granting tenure to its own.

"Leave your personal problems at the door." There are probably some managers who still support the antiquated belief that employees can shut off personal problems like a light switch once they set foot in the workplace. But how can a worker ignore the fact that he or she has lost a home, maxed out credit cards, drained the savings account, or stopped being able to pay the electric bill?


Campus excellence begins with the faculty. It's not just about hiring high-quality professors, but also about maintaining their skills through professional development programs. "I tell our students hiring is job one, two, and three," says John Roueche, director of the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) at The University of Texas at Austin, a graduate program for community college administrators. "But then you have to do something with them to continue to help them grow and keep them committed to the institution."

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.

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.