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University Business, December 2015

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Cover Story

Effective student success initiatives begin long before that first day of classes and often continue beyond graduation. The colleges and universities highlighted in the third round of UB’s national Models of Excellence awards program demonstrate a commitment to that holistic experience.

Feature

Effective student success initiatives begin long before that first day of classes and often continue beyond graduation. The colleges and universities highlighted in the third round of UB’s national Models of Excellence awards program demonstrate a commitment to that holistic experience.

Given the amount of innovation transpiring daily on the American college campus, it’s not surprising that higher ed institutions have become destinations for the broader community. Outside groups host conferences, retreats, weddings and other social events at campus facilities, while travelers can sometimes find a room for the night.

Colleges and universities that provide fresh, high-quality food do more than please students—offering good food is also good business. Here are several ways dining program leaders can increase satisfaction and meal plan participation while keeping operating costs stable.

Focus

With freshman discount rates once again on the rise, it will be more important than ever for institutions to review whether their methodologies for developing a budget for financial aid are sufficiently robust.

Technology

Campus cards accomplish many tasks—from purchasing meals and vending machine snacks to unlocking dorm rooms and other campus facilities. A growing number of colleges and universities now offer even greater convenience, having replaced less-secure swipe cards with “contactless” cards and mobile devices that perform the same functions.

Campus Finance News

Wellness benefits have transformed into all kinds of unique offerings, ranging from on-site vegetable gardens to fitness centers. Meanwhile, traditional “do-everything-for-me” benefits have disappeared.

On Topic

Higher education is supposed to be a critical first step on the ladder that leads to economic mobility. But William Elliott and Melinda Lewis say that students often leave school with debilitating debt that delays or even prevents any upward climb on that ladder.

Behind the News

Although it has been a boon to commercial services such as Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others, cloud computing hasn’t completely caught on in higher education.

Texas A&M University’s campaign to raise $4 billion for research, facilities and scholarships represents the largest-ever fundraising effort in a state known for going big.

A series of initiatives championed by Gov. Bill Haslam in Tennessee—home of the Tennessee Promise free community college initiative—promotes higher education to learners of all ages.

Nearly a decade in the making, the new science building at Clayton State University in Georgia adds a much-needed 58,610 square feet of learning facilities to campus.

While renovating the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, workers found a “chemical hearth” hidden behind the walls.

North Carolina State University has installed near its library a 16-foot-tall solar tree where students and others can charge laptops, phones and tablets.

Oregon’s 17 community colleges expect a jump in fall 2016 enrollment, when the first group of eligible students takes advantage of the state’s new free tuition plan created this summer. The program is modeled after the groundbreaking Tennessee Promise initiative that enrolled its first students this year.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has been elected president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. Spellings is currently president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Professional Opinion

The college presidency is a high-risk occupation. The old challenges—fundraising, strategic planning, managing enrollment, protecting students—are still there, along with newer trials involving demographic shifts, flatlining family incomes, access, and compliance to growing governmental regulation.

Just imagine this nightmare scenario playing out at your institution of higher education: armed agents in navy blue “FBI,” “ICE” and “DHS” windbreakers wandering the halls, stuffing files into boxes marked for evidence, removing and taking possession of computer hard drives, and sealing off rooms

Much of what we read today about higher education tends to dwell on constraints and reductions, but at least one sector of academe is actually growing.