FY 2016 budget targets higher-ed opportunity

Proposed budget focuses on improving postsecondary access, completion rates

budget-requestMore students would have access to higher education under President Obama’s FY 2016 budget request, which he sent to Congress on Feb. 2, 2015.

The budget includes four focus areas for education, including increasing equity and opportunity for all students; expanding high-quality early learning programs; supporting teachers and school leaders; and improving access, affordability and student outcomes in postsecondary education.

The proposed budget fully funds Pell Grants and ties the maximum away to inflation beyond 2017, to ensure that Pell Grants maintain their value for students and families.

America’s College Promise, Obama’s much-discussed free community college plan, would receive $60.3 billion over 10 years for a total of $1.36 billion.

The partnership with states asks states to invest more in public higher education and training, asks community colleges to strengthen their programs and improve student outcomes, and asks students to attend at least half-time, earn good grades, and stay on the path to graduation.

Next page: Budget priorities for postsecondary programs


Op-ed: Internet time vs. academic time

A CIO describes how leadership can be effective in managing academic governance in a timely manner.

time-academic-cioA question that I’m asked in almost every interview is how I handled the transition from being an entrepreneur to working at a small liberal arts college.

Implied is the question: “how did you bear the excruciatingly slow pace of higher-ed governance, when you used to work in fast-paced ‘internet time?’”

There’s a “bumper sticker” answer, and there’s the real answer.

The bumper sticker answer is that the pace of higher-ed decision making allows the ball to slow down so you can see it (to mangle a sports metaphor).

The real answer is that shared governance, as practiced in higher education, is complex; to practice effectively within the academy, it takes time. The time it takes, is the time it takes.

Does that mean that every project and initiative at colleges and universities has to happen at an “academic time” pace?

Absolutely not. 

(Next page: Where shared governance begins and ends)


CIOs give 5 tips for being successful on social media

Some of the country’s most-followed CIOs on social media outline how others can get started

social-media-cioJust attend any national higher education conference and you’ll see that being a Chief Information Officer (CIO) at an institution today also means being active on social networking sites.

CIOs at universities across the county are being asked to help their institution’s brand outreach and community growth by embracing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, like LinkedIn.

But whether it’s using Twitter to update students about network maintenance, or using Google Apps to manage projects, social media is growing and many CIOs need a cohesive strategy to make sure they’re not just posting the equivalent of YouTube cat videos in random tweets.

Finding new and innovative uses for improving productivity while also building a professional network, can be accomplished, say the most active—but also successful—CIOs on social networks.

We talked to four CIOs from universities across the country to put together a short list of essential social media tips to make communicating with students, administrators and faculty not only easy, but effective:

1. Start

Perhaps the best tip CIOs who use social media can give to other university administrators is to simply start using social media. “If you are not using social platforms to engage your stakeholders, even a few small steps can help you engage and learn more about what is important to your team, faculty members, students and community,” said Scott Studham, the CIO for the University of Minnesota.

Although there may be a stigma that social media is a waste of time, or has no place in a professional environment outside of promotion or advertising, the best way CIOs can help dispel these negative ideas is to begin using social media in ways that help manage projects or help connect with students in addition to building their professional network. “If you are skeptical that’s fine, but if you haven’t used it and are skeptical then think again,” Stephen Lamb, CIO at British Columbia Institute of Technology, said. “Social media tools like Twitter can appear irrelevant, frivolous or even overwhelming at first glance, but as with most tools, how you use it is where you will find the value.  So my best advice is dive in.”

(Next page: Knowing your market; controlling content)