With the end of the of the spring semester only weeks away, I can’t help but reflect back on my college graduation.
If memory serves me, a State Senator was the keynote and it was a pleasant, albeit drawn out, exercise of rituals and generic pep talks.
Nothing in particular spoke to me, and I don’t feel I was any better prepared for “the real world” because of my attendance.
This year's recipient of CUPA-HR's highest honor, the Donald E. Dickason Award, was Barbara Taylor.
Barbara recently retired from her role as Associate Vice Chancellor for HR at the University of Arkansas. In addition to a wonderful memento of acknowledgment that I am sure is displayed on her bookshelf, the University of Arkansas receives a $4000 award for its endowment.
Barbara asked that this $4000 be designated to the University of Arkansas Staff Scholarship Fund.
For those of us who work in higher ed, this is probably the most important article that you will read this week.
Budget shortfalls and changes in state support very clearly top the list of the most pressing issues for college and university campuses according to campus CEOs. Well, duh. If these issues were not at the top of the list for a CEO, we would have to immediately find the yellow brick road that takes us to that campus!
As expected, most campuses have responded with changes you would expect ... cutting admin costs, hiring more part-time faculty, raising tuition and student fees. What many institutions are not doing (according to the survey) is making some really tough decisions about cutting fixed costs such as unsustainable benefits guarantees to retirees and making real, substantial changes to the core business model for their institutions.
Just read a good article in today's WSJ regarding women and the workforce. It is interesting (and good) to see the strides that women have made in "catching up" to men in the workforce and "catching up" or surpassing them in education.
There is a great 2/27 article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed that includes some really interesting solutions to tackle the increasing cost of health care for college and university campuses.
Some campuses are effectively using health care consortia, some have defected from ineffective consortia. Some campuses are really pushing campus wellness programs and creating onsite healthcare facilities for employees (there is a great article about Mount Vernon Nazarene University's onsite facility in our most recent publication of CUPA-HR's Higher Education Workplace magazine). Other campus HR leaders are ACTIVELY MANAGING their health insurance plans and engaging in tough, proactive negotiations with health care insurers.