Editor's Note

Colleges Barred from Requiring Access to Social Media Passwords

North Carolina legislators passed a bill last month that prevents colleges and universities from requiring students to provide their passwords to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. The law was drafted in response to a student-athlete handbook rule forcing athletes to choose an administrator or coach to monitor their social media accounts throughout the academic year.

Sports Scandals: This Time...

"On the heels of numerous recent scandals, the higher education world is finally (again) examining the role of athletics in academia. And every time a new scandal erupts, we are shocked—shocked—that such things go on within the halls of academia. Ah, but there’s the rub: In many schools, and especially those with a proclivity to horrific headlines, the athletic department is acting as an autonomous fiefdom."

MOOCs March On

Whether you think they are hype or the next step in the evolution of learning, there’s no question that MOOCs have taken the education world by storm.

Platforms such as Coursera, edX, and UniversityNow offer free courses online to students anywhere, and are continuing to grow. Coursera now has more than 60 partners here and abroad, including École Polytechnique in France, the National University of Singapore, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Getting it Right, Now

Earlier this year work began on a document that, at the very least, formalizes expectations and minimum standards for schools and students venturing into online learning. With the growth of MOOCs and distance learning, we are entering a time when these alternate forms of learning will supplement and in some cases supplant traditional education models. Universities recognize that they need to find ways to provide cost-effective, quality education to an expanding base, even as their own funding gets slashed.

SIGS at UBTech 2013

We know that conference programs offer a variety of topics for attendees who want to sample from some of the best and brightest ideas in higher education.

But there are times when deeper discussion is warranted, beyond a breakout session presentation. So this year, for the first time, UBTech (June 10-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort) is launching a program of pre-conference special interest groups (SIGs), on the opening day of the show. It will be a chance for like-minded higher ed professionals to get together and share ideas and collaborate.

Speaking Up Against Unfair Labor Practices

Institutions end contracts with Adidas

When the PT Kizone factory in Indonesia went out of business in January 2011, 2,800 people lost their jobs. Most of the factory’s international clients fulfilled obligations to pay into a $3.4 million severance pool for the workers. One company that did not is sports apparel maker Adidas. As of mid-December, Adidas had refused to pay $1.8 million dollars owed to the workers.

Effective Efficiency

It’s nice to see something grow and take on a life of its own. When we first developed the Models of Efficiency program, we honestly didn’t know quite what to expect. We knew that, in the depths of one of the worst economic crises the country has faced in many years, people were desperately trying to find ways to “do more with less.” That mantra was drilled into the way we all did our jobs each day. Now, even as the economic picture improves, the “new normal” requires that college and university departments continue to rein in costs while improving service and effectiveness.

An Exciting Time

I recently had the opportunity to interview Richard Baraniuk for our continuing series on “Education Innovators.” Baraniuk, a professor at Rice University (Texas), is the founder of Connexions, an open education resource project, and its offshoot OpenStax College.

Our New Look

With this issue we are pleased to introduce a new logo for the University Business  brand.

Longtime readers of the magazine might remember the original logo of University Business from its debut in 1998. The covers were adorned with a giant “U” and understated name, punctuated by a bold period and the unattached tagline “Solutions for Higher Education.”

Penn State Fallout

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Pennsylvania State University has announced a program of performing background checks on all new hires. It’s just one of a number of penalties imposed on the university since the sex abuse charges came to light.

Let’s take a second to review some of the damage wreaked by that scandal. It led to the conviction of Sandusky on 45 counts of abuse, the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno for not acting on information he had, and the dismissal of university president Graham Spanier—to say nothing of the victims of the crime.­

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