Editor's Note

Taking Control of the Debate

I recently read a story about a family whose son is struggling to pay off nearly $200,000 in medical school debt. The family plans to help pay the debt by auctioning an 84-year-old home run baseball hit by Yankee great Lou Gehrig.

The UB Reader Advisory Panel

We here at University Business are always interested in what you have to say. Your insight and comments on our articles have always been welcomed. Unfortunately, we usually don’t get to hear from you until after an issue has come out. Well, we’re about to change all that.

I am pleased to announce the launch of the UB Reader Advisory Panel, and extend an invitation for you to join.

A Useful Ranking Tool

After a somewhat slow start, higher education institutions are increasingly taking advantage of social media to market themselves and keep constituents aware of what they are doing. A recent social media adoption study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth shows usage rates are increasing steadily in every year. For example, university Twitter usage jumped from 59 percent in the 2009-2010 school year to 89 percent in the 2010-2011 school year. Similarly, Facebook usage increased dramatically from 61 percent in 2008-2009 to 98 percent in 2010-2011.

Toward First-Generation Success

New research confirms what many in higher education have long suspected: Students who are the first in their families to attend college—first-generation college students—are at an unseen academic disadvantage in college.

Character Studies

Everyone remembers the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones, with his iconic Fedora and bullwhip, narrowly escapes from a Peruvian temple with a stolen golden idol, avoiding the path of a rolling boulder and a band of arrow-wielding Hovitos tribesmen. In the next scene, we see Dr. Jones home again, teaching an archaeology class at “Marshall College.” He stands before the class in a bowtie and glasses (which, oddly, he doesn’t seem to need for the rest of the film). 

Change is Coming

Registration is now open for UBTech. “The conference formerly known as EduComm” returns to the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, June 11-13. With the theme Technology Changes Everything, UBTech 2012 will feature a wide assortment of sessions focusing on how technology impacts Campus Networks and Infrastructure, Facilities Planning and Design, Teaching and Learning Technologies, Marketing Your Institution, and Financial Services. This year the conference also includes, for the first time, four pre-conference summits.

Lesson Learned

As this issue of University Business was being prepared to go to press, we were all stopped in our tracks as word came, first via social media and then from conventional news sources, that another shooting had taken place at Virginia Tech.

Point of Pride

As we get ready to start the third year of our Models of Efficiency program, I want to take a moment to point with pride to the program’s success. Models of Efficiency is a national recognition program for those campus departments that have found ways to streamline operations, save money, and improve constituent satisfaction. That was the challenge we set forth when Models of Efficiency was first announced, and those solutions are just as important, if not more so, today.

New Look, New Functionality

Visitors to the University Business website last month began seeing a redesigned site, built from the ground up to add more features and greater functionality. To give you an idea of what you'll find on the new site, I turned to Stephanie Martinez, CIO of Professional Media Group, which publishes University Business.

"The UB website was built using Drupal 7, an open-source content management system," she says. "The Drupal CMS allows us to manage content more efficiently, and it is very scalable. New features can be added easily."

Counting Chickens Before They Hatch

As another school Semester begins, administrators will be confronted with a segment of their student population that does not go on to graduate. Attrition is nothing new, of course. It happens every year, as students begin their college careers in earnest, but find, for one reason or another, that they can't continue. Perhaps the student has financial difficulties or is simply not prepared academically or emotionally for the rigors of college.

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