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University Business, January 2017

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Cover Story

A greater level of accountability around access and outcomes looms on the horizon for higher ed administrators in 2017 and beyond. Experts across the ideological spectrum predict the federal government and the general public to demand more transparency in the data released about how graduates of specific campus programs fare in the job market. 

Feature

“College is more important than ever for career success, yet too expensive for far too many students. 3+1 provides all the benefits of both community colleges and four-year universities while lowering the tuition and debt burden on students and increasing our capacity to serve more students at both community colleges and universities. This is the future model of college affordability.”

Outlook 2017 is UB’s third annual special issue aimed at providing insight on the major trends expected to impact campus leaders in the year to come.

American higher education in 2016 faced increased pressure on performance. Colleges and universities were also being pushed to eliminate administrative and academic silos to help students of all ages and backgrounds succeed. Here’s a look back at what made headlines in higher ed this past year and how campuses responded.

A facilities administrator from a suburban institution of 5,000 to 10,000 students says his department faces three challenging realities: increased pressure to reduce operation costs, diminishing resources and a rising deferred maintenance program.

Keeping student tuition and fees down is the top priority for 2017 selected by campus CFOs and other finance department administrators in a UB survey—yet tuition revenue and nontuition student fees are the biggest anticipated funding categories for the coming year.

Ensuring students are prepared for college and then do well academically, emotionally, physically and financially are key goals of student success initiatives on campuses today. Top institutional officials have student success on their minds—most of them even more so than in 2016, according to a UB survey that includes responses from 66 presidents, chancellors and provosts. 

Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education, billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos, is more of a household name in K12 than higher ed circles.

A greater level of accountability around access and outcomes looms on the horizon for higher ed administrators in 2017 and beyond. Experts across the ideological spectrum predict the federal government and the general public to demand more transparency in the data released about how graduates of specific campus programs fare in the job market. 

Focus

Enrollment management presents one of the most pressing challenges for many institutions in the current higher education landscape. Uncertain economic conditions, stretched institutional budgets, dependence on tuition revenue, increased competition for top students, and changing demographics have all intensified the need for effective enrollment strategies—and for exceptional managers to champion those strategies.

Higher ed marketing leaders have to master the art of blending powerful and personalized customer experiences with the science of measuring and optimizing the impact of their initiatives. 

Yet many chief marketing officers haven’t embraced their “inner data-lover self.”

Technology

Campus technology leaders report significant new investment to come this year in the area of academic tech tools such as lecture capture, AV equipment and active classroom initiatives.

On Topic

He holds a law degree and an MBA. He has a background as a dot-com pioneer, corporate chief, consultant, and world traveler. He’s an experienced pilot and also sang in an award-winning male chorus. John Williams, president of Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, might well be a contender for Dos Equis’ next World’s Most Interesting Man.

Behind the News

Campus newspapers face many of the same challenges confronting the professional media—inconsistent readership, dwindling financial resources, and competition with bloggers and social media.

The University of Notre Dame, University of the Ozarks and Ursinus College each announce an upcoming facility to be constructed on their campuses in the future.

A Texas judge’s eleventh-hour injunction against a controversial labor regulation change has left more than 4 million U.S. workers, including thousands in higher education, in limbo. Scheduled to go into effect December 1, the so-called Overtime Rule would have made full-time employees earning less than $47,476 eligible for a pay raise or overtime pay.

In a renewal of social consciousness in American higher ed, colleges are refining stories of their history told through statues, signage and installations on campus. Many are turning this into an aesthetic opportunity, with historically accurate, engaging content presented in ways that visually enhance and individualize the campus. The concept is known as ambient learning.

Stephanie Murphy, a security specialist with the Columbus State Community College police department, realized officers were having trouble communicating with one segment of the Ohio institution’s 26,000 students. 

Maenette K.P. Ah Nee-Benham is the new chancellor of the University of Hawai’i West O’ahu. A native Hawaiian, Benham was previously the inaugural dean of the Hawai’inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at University of Hawai’i Manoa, the only college of indigenous knowledge at a Research I institution in the U.S.

Professional Opinion

Colleges and universities must face a harsh reality: Employer expectations of their graduates are changing. It’s not enough for candidates to have the professional or technical skills needed for a particular job.

Recently, plaintiffs’ attorneys have brought dozens of lawsuits against universities alleging that their retirement plan fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). A failure to fulfill fiduciary duties under ERISA can lead to serious consequences, including personal liability under ERISA. There are steps fiduciaries can take to discharge their responsibilities and avoid these harsh results.