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University Business, September 2013

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Cover Story


In the life of an institution, the chief financial officer helps drive the big narrative, but also digs down into the day-to-day. A CFO is strategist and analyst, decision-maker and inspirer, and protector and possibility-seeker all in one.

Only one-third of 3,400 U.S. college students say they’re satisfied with their meal plans, found a survey by food industry research firm Technomic. But schools are finding that to address the problem, they need to go beyond simply improving what winds up on diners’ plates.

While the “curb appeal” of well-manicured lawns as well as easy parking are crucial parts of the first impression a campus makes, how welcome visitors feel once inside the first building they encounter on campus is just as important.


For a school to operate at peak efficiency—and best serve students—it is necessary for various administrative departments to understand the purpose and daily operations of other offices.

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory set the record for the most related tweets in the UK—placing his Centre Court championship in the ranks of President Obama’s election night speech, the Pope’s inauguration, and—go figure—the Spice Girls reunion at the Olympics.

In higher education, we love, hate, and thrive on college rankings. The annual U.S. News and World Report top colleges list—as well as rankings by other news organizations—is anticipated with excitement and trepidation.


Michigan State University’s first massive open online course—Metropolitan Agriculture Value Creation—attracted 400 people from around the globe interested in learning about new ways to produce food in urban areas.

Campus Finance News

Today’s students are facing higher costs, greater debt and continually changing financial aid policies, yet many don’t have a clear understanding of how their financial decisions can impact their education and their future.

College-age students have grown up with mobile phones, and they’re used to having them work when and where they want. With a 342-acre campus that has more than 11,000 students and more than 430 buildings; making mobile phones work everywhere is a tall order for Yale University.

Student loan debt is topping $1 trillion, and borrowers aren’t the only ones with reason to be concerned. While higher education leaders aren’t responsible for the loans, they also have a stake in getting rising debt and default levels under control.

On Topic

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008, had been “happily retired” before assuming the leadership role at the Teagle Foundation in July.

Behind the News

More than 165 college and university presidents have asked President Obama and Congress to help close the “innovation deficit.” In an open letter coordinated by the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the presidents urge the

Campus HR directors have begun taking action on health benefits changes spurred by the Affordable Care Act, but major uncertainties remain as they cope with the legislation.

New York public and private colleges are now required to give every student written information about fire safety in residence halls and off-campus housing.

There’s been much buzz about what the new student loan legislation means for students. It lowered interest rates and made borrowing more affordable in the short term, but how will it affect colleges and universities?

Paul R. Brown began his new role as president of Monmouth University (N.J.) on Aug. 1. Previously, he served as dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University (Pa.), where he raised more than $40 million for endowed faculty chairs and in unrestricted funds.

Campus Apartments broke ground on an estimated $107 million housing project at Howard University (D.C.). in March. The 1,360-bed project, slated for August 2014 completion, includes two on-campus facilities that will bring underclassmen closer to the campus core.

Supporting the emotional health of students should be a priority on all campuses, and the nonprofit Jed Foundation is helping to make that happen. Colleges and universities can evaluate the care they provide with JedCampus, a program launched in May.

Casual observers of the 2013 National Association of Student Aid Administrators conference in Las Vegas this summer may have felt as if they were seeing double, with all the talk of “prior-prior year” income tax.