Category: Higher Education

Higher Education

Enhanced Student Service Keeps IT Budget Cuts at Bay

Enhanced Student Service Keeps IT Budget Cuts at Bay

Every day, it seems we’re hit with another news story about devastating cuts to public funding for institutions of higher education. For that reason, I was not surprised when “Funding IT” emerged as the #1 issue for respondents to EDUCAUSE Review’s annual survey of IT leaders. What’s most interesting, though, is the undeniable relationship between that issue and the #2 survey result, “Administrative/ERP/Information Systems.” With “Funding IT” holding the top spot, you’d better believe that IT leaders will be laser-focused on justifying and containing costs for administering core enterprise systems. These systems typically represent large investments which, as reflected in the survey findings, have the potential to become even larger over time. For that reason, it might seem as though the only impact that survey result #2 could have on result #1 is a negative one – that the expense of deploying and maintaining core enterprise apps will only further deplete already thin funding sources. But, instead of wallowing in that defeatist perspective, I suggest seizing opportunities to better leverage those systems in order to fuel funding, not exhaust it.
Decentralizing IT Support – A Sustainable Model for Higher Ed?

Decentralizing IT Support – A Sustainable Model for Higher Ed?

On today’s college campuses, it’s not only at track and field events that batons are being passed. In various administrative offices, handoffs of a different kind are also occurring – and with rising frequency. There, it’s central IT handing the baton of line of business (LOB) system administration and support to department-specific IT staff or directly to functional area business leaders. For most schools, faced with reduced funding for IT, this trend toward decentralized LOB application support isn’t merely a preference. It’s a necessity. But, is this model sustainable?
The Secret to Improving College Enrollment-Managing Transfer Students

The Secret to Improving College Enrollment: Managing Transfer Students

In the days of my youth, May marked the recurrence of a spring rite familiar to those who grew up in the “Rock Era.” Someone would crank up the volume, and out would come the blaring vocals of that maestro of the macabre, Alice Cooper: “School’s out for summer! School’s out forever!” Forever?! Not for you, college or university employee. You want your newly admitted students to actually enroll. You need your current undergraduates to return. And, you need all of them to keep on returning – steadily returning, toward an on-time graduation. If significant numbers of new or existing students choose not to do that, your ability to meet enrollment, retention and graduation goals can quickly erode.
Escape the Admissions Processing Wasteland 2 ECM-Driven Steps to Fast, Quality Decisions (Part II)

Escape the Admissions Processing Wasteland: 2 ECM-Driven Steps to Fast, Quality Decisions (Part II)

In part one of my cautionary take on the Admissions Office “wasteland,” I identified two key steps in implementing and leveraging enterprise content management (ECM) to bring speed and quality to application processing and review: 1. Purge Paper 2. Monitor Metrics To reiterate, both recommended actions effectively target “waste” in terms of costs (budget) and resources (people). But, the “purge paper” step takes speed and efficiency only so far.
Escape the Admissions Processing Wasteland 2 ECM-Driven Steps to Fast, Quality Decisions (Part I)

Escape the Admissions Processing Wasteland: 2 ECM-Driven Steps to Fast, Quality Decisions (Part I)

“April is the cruelest month.” Or, at least it is to T.S. Eliot, who said so in the oft-quoted opening line of his very famous poem The Waste Land. But, based on the ebb-and-flow of application volumes and processing spikes, folks in Admissions offices would likely disagree. In highly selective institutions, April means coming up for air and relaxing a bit after the intensity of the review/decision season. And, in any type of higher education institution, it’s the time of the midterm lull before the next seasonal or semester-approaching upswing in applications.
Avoid Student Information System Madness 4 Chores ECM Can Eliminate

Avoid Student Information System Madness: 4 Chores ECM Can Eliminate

Contrary to popular belief, the real madness of March, as it relates to higher education, is not NCAA basketball. Yes, many of you are no doubt suffering the frustration of watching your carefully conceived brackets crumble in the face of bad calls and buzzer beaters. But, let’s face it: you never really expected any ROI from that investment, did you? No, the real March madness – heck, the year-long madness, more likely – is going on far from the court. It’s happening on the desks and screens of the users of your core business app, your student information system, familiarly referred to as SIS. That’s where the madness of inefficiency may well be undermining staff performance, office morale, student service and general institutional effectiveness. The likely culprit? That’s easy. It’s the disconnect between the structured data stored in SIS and the unstructured data and documents that currently live outside of SIS. These items are critically related to the activities and transactions being driven through SIS. Coincidentally, while the basketball season is winding down, the activities of the user groups for the three commonly used student information systems are ramping up: Datatel, Banner and PeopleSoft. In fact, I’m writing this commentary in between stops on the road.

Document Management Helps Johns Hopkins University Admissions Weather Snowmageddon 2010

With a winter storm revving up to deliver a second blow this evening (the weather cognoscenti are calling it “mammoth,” “massive” and “colossal”), today and tomorrow feels a little like déjà vu for those of us in the Midwest and Northeast. Almost exactly one year ago today, on Feb. 5, 2010, much of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states were buried under more than 20 inches of snow. The blizzard – designated “Snowmaggedon” by President Barack Obama – left thousands without power and shut down the government. It stranded a number of Johns Hopkins University’s admissions staff at home. Bad news for the admissions staff, which was facing a looming admissions deadline and the largest applicant pool in the university’s history: nearly 2,000 more than its previous record.
Graduation rate expectations and budget cuts: The state of ECM in higher education in 2011

Graduation rate expectations and budget cuts: The state of ECM in higher education in 2011

Ten years ago, the U.S. was considered the most educated in the nation. Today, it ranks 12th among 36 developed nations. Realizing this, the Oval Office is pushing to improve this measure. Specifically, the goal it’s presenting is to increase the number of college degree-holding U.S. citizens from 40 percent to 60 percent in the next 10 years. But, of course, here’s the catch – the keepers of the budgets – the states – are almost all cutting education funding, making a spending increase for universities to get more staffing very, very unlikely. So how in the world are colleges and universities going to graduate an extra eight million people with two-and four-year degrees by 2020 without additional funding or resources? Since the down economy hit, the “do more with less” mantra has been quite loud – and the federal push will likely elevate it to a full-blown yell. If colleges and universities are going to even come close to meeting these goals, they’d better learn quickly to put this mantra into practice. But it’s the question of how to put it into practice that trips them up. Luckily, University Business recently tackled a similar initiative. Throughout the year, they’ve been featuring higher education institutions which have taken steps in the right direction to maximum efficiency, which, most of the time, is led by an enterprise software deployment or two.