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Business Officer Magazine

Concurrent Sessions Cover Compliance and Collaboration

This bonus coverage of the NACUBO 2011 Annual Meeting, in Tampa, Florida, focuses on two presentations about organizationwide activities. One session explains that compliance rules are moving from a “gotcha” enforcement mentality to a “let’s agree on our ethical values” approach. The other describes the reasons why colocating a community college and a university has been such an effective move for both institutions. For comprehensive coverage of the 2011 annual meeting, see the September issue of Business Officer.

By Dorothy Wagener and Karla Hignite

Make Compliance Compatible With Your Culture's Values

"In the old view, compliance meant finding out who's doing something wrong and catching them," said Robert Roach, chief compliance officer, New York University. The new perspective, he said, is to try to build a positive culture, so that the compliance rules are a reflection of the organization's ethical values. In the NACUBO 2011 Annual Meeting session, "Effective Institutional Compliance Programs," Roach described essential elements of such initiatives.

 A code of ethical conduct is at the center, setting forth standards along with provisions for enforcement, discipline, and reporting obligations. Ground your compliance activities, advises Roach, in the federal sentencing guidelines for organizations. Then, make the information readily available and provide training for employees.

Roach said periodic risk assessments, with mitigation plans developed by employees as a group, promote ownership of the program. "Most employees will follow the rules if they feel they've been heard, they've participated in the process, and they feel fairly treated," he said.

Throughout the session, Roach had special advice for those at small institutions, advising them to model themselves on others' effective compliance work.

"Keep the risk management process simple and build it into existing business processes," he said. "Start small and build over time. If you identify a risk, you want to make sure you address it."

DOROTHY WAGENER is editor in chief of Business Officer.

The Daring Is in the Details

Sharing space is tough enough for faculty and staff at the same institution. In "Charting the Course for Colocating a Community College and a University," copresenters Lynda Warren, vice president of college services at Rogue Community College, Oregon, and Craig Morris, vice president of finance and administration at Southern Oregon University, Ashland, shared lessons learned from building the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, a jointly owned facility at the edge of RCC's Medford campus that opened for classes in fall 2008.

The project, a decade in the making, garnered early support from the state's governor and strong interest from the community for additional education opportunities. The 67,800—square-foot facility includes 28 classrooms, a science lecture hall and labs, faculty and support staff offices and conference rooms, a cafe, and student study areas. While a primary objective of the center is to improve communication and services for students who are dually enrolled at SOU and RCC, the two institutions are also partners in expanding professional and economic development opportunities to the larger Medford community, which includes collaboration on a small business development center and testing services center.

One key to the success of the venture is its 50-50 ownership split, Morris said. Each institution contributed $11.1 million upfront to ensure that both would have equal financial skin in the game. The decision to develop a detailed operating agreement has likewise proven invaluable for nurturing a strong working relationship between the two institutions. To draft the agreement, a joint facilities advisory committee oversaw the work of 37 subcommittees charged with identifying every possible decision that SOU and RCC would likely face in running a shared facility, Warren said. Issues addressed included space allocation and use, emergency repairs, student discipline, building security, vending, shipping and receiving, technology, insurance, and housekeeping. In addition to sharing library and IT staff, each institution has an on-site administrator and facilities representative to comanage the center.

Even faculty have been asked to join together in an unconventional way. Whereas original plans had faculty separated by floors—with SOU faculty on one floor and RCC faculty on another—the decision was made to instead integrate faculty by discipline. While this was met with some initial resistance, faculty from both institutions confess to loving the commingled arrangement, Morris said.

KARLA HIGNITE is a contributing editor for Business Officer.

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