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University Business, July 2015

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Feature

Faculty and students at Bridgewater College in Virginia complained increasingly in recent years about the unavailability of textbooks at the campus bookstore. To control inventory, the store stocked only a percentage of materials required if everyone purchased what was expected.

Despite the economic and demographic factors that indicate challenging times ahead for higher ed, campuses across the country are busy building, according to a survey of college and university leaders by UB. With student enrollment growth being a big motivational factor for new buildings and renovations, it’s not surprising that academic buildings and residence halls are the top project types.

As the definition of student success continues to expand beyond retention and graduation rates, its physical presence on many campuses is also beginning to sprawl. Each school considering building a student success center must decide how to structure the space and integrate it into a wider student success strategy.

Focus

Heather DeBlanc says there’s been a lot of buzz lately at conferences among attorneys and insurance consultants about the Affordable Care Act.

Who watches online videos today? Maybe a better question is, who doesn’t? Video is an engaging, emotional and effective way to communicate and influence. So it was just a matter of time until video got prime real estate on a school’s home page.

Technology

From stand-alone help desks to spaces in bookstores and other high-traffic areas, technology services are becoming more visible on college campuses. Many colleges and universities have modeled new help desks after the Genius Bar in Apple Stores.

Campus Finance News

Loan default rates and an expanding focus on student success have made strong student financial literacy efforts a higher ed norm. But as students and their parents continue to grapple with paying for school, money management lessons from colleges are becoming a family affair.

On Topic

Arizona State President Michael Crow is out to reinvent the public research university. Using ASU as the prototype, Crow sees the promise of an egalitarian ‘New American University’ committed to academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact.

Behind the News

When it comes to fundraising, most colleges and universities surveyed (59 percent) boost their effort through social media.

Starbucks made headlines last spring as more than just a campus hot spot when it announced a free college tuition plan for its employees.

Lone Star College has the fourth highest number of international students among U.S. two-year institutions, but the Houston-area school does not recruit abroad aggressively. Like many community colleges, it relies on local immigrant communities to spread the word with friends and family in foreign countries.

In March, Twitter unveiled its newest acquisition, a live video streaming app called Periscope. Following closely on the heels of a rival app called Meerkat, Periscope made waves by enabling anyone with a mobile device (iOS or Android) to broadcast from virtually anywhere.

Online learning, specifically MOOCs, has inspired many doomsday forecasts regarding the fate of traditional higher education—which, of course, has yet to collapse.

In June Gregory L. Fenves assumed the role of president of The University of Texas at Austin. He had been provost and executive vice president since 2013.

Professional Opinion

Much has been written about the future role of the traditional university. In the traditional higher education model, the need to adapt to the future pressures of competition and demographics will be necessary for survival of many small private colleges and numerous public institutions.

Allegations of sex abuse, once hidden from public view at universities, are seeing the light of day at record levels. That attention leads to inevitable questions: How can a school conduct the required investigation when a complaint is made, and deal with victim concerns that schools turn a blind eye to their needs?