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Next Stop Chicago

Prepare for perspectives that might change your mind. Here’s a sample of what’s happening at the NACUBO Annual Meeting, July 12–15, when we shake things up in the Windy City.

By Apryl Motely

Engage at Roundtables and Forums

Have a seat at the table or head off to the forum. Once again, NACUBO will offer participants several unique learning opportunities. You’ll be able to select among various roundtables and forums offered during the concurrent sessions within the program. 

Roundtables. Discuss issues related to “hot topics” in higher education business and financial management. Roundtables planned for Chicago focus on budgeting, tax, and human resources issues.

Forums. Network with individuals with whom you share similar campus roles—or other common demographics—to discuss mutually relevant issues. Chicago forums highlight topics of interest to state system administrators and women and ethnic minority business officers.

Get Prepped at Preconference Workshops

Take full advantage of your travel to Chicago by enrolling in special preconference programs.

New Business Officers Program

The New Business Officers (NBO) Program (July 11–12) has established itself as a valuable experience for those new to the role of chief business officer. With more than 450 alumni as the program moves into its tenth year, this intensive two-day workshop covers the full range of issues that a chief business officer faces and guides you through the complexities of campus leadership. Content areas include leadership styles, planning, board relationships, and emerging issues. You will be challenged to evaluate your current practices and strategies, and you will have a great opportunity to exchange ideas and network with colleagues.

Attendance at the NBO Program, by application only, is limited to chief business and financial officers who report directly to the president and who have been in their current positions for less than three years. For more information or to submit an application, visit www.nacuboannualmeeting.org.

Taking the Next Step: Career Advancement in Higher Education (July 11–12) is designed for business office staff ready to gain the leadership skill and organizational perspective necessary to become chief business officers. Topics of the new, two-day program include understanding the role of the CBO, building relationships in the higher education environment, communicating effectively, applying critical thinking and decision making, and taking the strategic view. You’ll develop your personal plan of action in preparation for a move to the next career level.

Future Trends Impacting Community Colleges (July 12) will help you address emerging issues affecting community college business officers. If you had a crystal ball, what would it predict for your institution? No one is certain, but we can get you closer to the answers. Join your colleagues for this new, one-day program, and learn how to ensure a competitive response to the changing landscape in the years to come. Sessions, which include capital planning, economic development, and fundraising, will provide you with information on the new directions other community colleges are taking and will need to take within higher education. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with regional and national leaders. This critically informative session can be combined with your NACUBO 2008 Annual Meeting registration to provide you with a full spectrum of educational opportunities tailored to the business of community colleges.

For complete information or to register for the preconference programs, visit www.nacuboannualmeeting.org.

Take Your Pick of Concurrent Sessions

Earn CPE Credits
NACUBO’s annual conference meets several of your professional education needs. You can earn a possible 18 CPE credits as you attend sessions.

At the annual meeting, you’ll find a customized learning experience developed to target the specific needs of NACUBO’s primary member segments: community colleges, small institutions, research universities, and comprehensive and doctoral institutions. As a result of the guidance of NACUBO’s four constituent councils, you will find a collection of concurrent sessions that have been developed to address your particular points of interest identified within the framework of the larger annual meeting program.

Here are just a few of the programs that await you:

  • The Art of Executive Search. Cultivating leadership begins with finding and recruiting the right people. Learn some proven strategies for conducting successful executive searches, especially for positions reporting to the chief business officer.
  • Big Returns and Small Investments. Managing the transition points in the college choice process can yield significant improvements in an institution’s enrollment picture. Learn when and where to make investments in the recruitment and admission process to get your big return.
  • Enterprise Risk Management: A Practical Approach. Reputation is everything. If a risk event were to occur, is your institution prepared to respond? Enterprise risk management can help inventory the greatest risks, determine whether the right controls are in place to help mitigate those risks, and chart an active course of action.
  • Facility Condition Assessments for Community Colleges. Business officers and facilities directors need predictive planning tools to justify budgets for regular and deferred maintenance. Hear from one community college that used an assessment tool to plan for expenses, develop more accurate forecasting, and make high-impact operational decisions.
  • A Healthy Campus: It Is More Than Just Wellness. How can your campus have better health and lower health-care costs? Examine the growing need for a health and productivity management program. Discover how to sell and finance such a program to your administration—and control health-care costs while involving faculty and staff.
Licensed to Spend

Writer and policy expert Anya Kamenetz offers her views on what we must do now to keep an entire generation out of debt.

Who’s in the driver’s seat—higher education institutions or the wide array of companies offering credit to college and university students? Each group has a vested interest in who is holding the wheel and in which direction the country’s financial future is headed.

On a personal level, is this the first generation of individuals who won’t do better than their parents? If so, what will become of the American dream? Now a full-time writer for Fast Company magazine, Anya Kamenetz first posed these provocative questions in her book Generation Debt: Why Now Is a Terrible Time to Be Young (2006, Riverhead Hardcover). The genesis of the book was a series of columns Kamenetz wrote for The Village Voice in 2005.

Kamenetz is also a columnist for Yahoo Finance, and her writing has appeared in New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Nation. She will share her observations and concerns about this debt crisis at NACUBO’s upcoming annual meeting in Chicago.

As college and university students are besieged by credit card and loan companies, Kamenetz contends that higher ed students don’t have the skills to manage their finances now or in the future. “We need drivers’ education for credit cards,” Kamenetz says. “When we lived in a mostly cash economy, it was a relatively simple system. Now there’s much more complication.”

Easy Money, Difficult Payback

Kamenetz observes that while technology has resulted in the proliferation of mechanisms for getting money and spending it, there has not been a coinciding increase in the amount of financial education available to the public. However, she believes that colleges and universities can and should make a difference in this area. “Higher education institutions have a role and a responsibility to teach financial literacy,” she says. “They are often the places where students first experience credit cards. [Institutions] can definitely help in providing more education to students about their finances.”

Kamenetz also advocates a revamp of programs that seem to make financial management more difficult for students from the start. Poor initial practices have a long-range impact on young people’s future financial solvency. While conducting research for her book, Kamenetz interviewed hundreds of young people all over the country, chronicling their struggles to make ends meet. Many were paying thousands of dollars in credit card or loan debt.

Reforms to the Rescue

Not surprisingly, student loan programs are at the top of Kamenetz’s list of what needs reform and increased regulation. “Obviously, the student loan program that we have today was created over time and won’t necessarily be changed overnight,” Kamenetz says. “But we need a more efficient way to finance higher education. For-profit companies receive high levels of subsidies when the market should be setting these rates. And this seems to result in a loss of resources within this system.”

Kamenetz views increased regulation of Sallie Mae as an important step legislators have taken to remedy the problem. She also acknowledges that moving forward, “there should be a role for private enterprise in the student loan system, but the bulk of federal dollars must go toward helping students.” Further, there must be a system for students to receive “impartial information about their options for financing their education. This means increased transparency and full disclosure of business relationships.”

Containing Costs

Kamenetz’s position on controlling the costs of higher education track with her perceptions of the difficulties many students and their families face in financing a college or university education. “The answer to that is market competition as well,” she says. “I go to campuses and speak to students about how the cost of higher education is rising at a rate three times that of inflation.” Kamenetz acknowledges that some of the rise in costs is understandable “given the highly intensive, skilled labor needed to operate colleges and universities, which are constantly adapting to our society and environment.” At the same time, she doesn’t believe that the higher education sector has been subject to the same rules of efficiency as the private sector.

Kamenetz and her husband traveled to India last year, where the market for higher education is quite different: “Their higher education system,” she says, “is expanding very fast; they can’t meet the demand. People are engaged in trying to set standards for determining what’s a good college to attend and what’s not. They are greedy for higher education.”

As for the United States, Kamenetz sees community colleges as a potential source of innovation in higher education because “they have a reputation to build based on practical delivery of services to students. These institutions tend to be more open about costs and what it takes to serve students.”

Hear Kamenetz
Anya Kamenetz will be the speaker at a featured session on Monday, July 14, 3:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m

Despite the challenges that are ahead, Kamenetz is encouraged by the increased awareness of the problem of student loan debt since Generation Debt was published a little more than two years ago. “People realize that debt does make a difference,” she says. “There’s been more discussion of what student loan debt can do to people’s lives over the long term.” However, she remains concerned about the media’s tendency to “still paint [her] generation as irresponsible instead of one that is being acted upon by larger economic trends.”

In an election year, certainly college and university students are among the key constituencies being courted by presidential candidates. Kamenetz hopes this will present a key opportunity for higher education advocates. “On the one hand, candidates are more serious about courting the student vote. Most campaigns have student coordinators on campuses all over the country,” Kamenetz says. “However, I don’t know if this is translating into attention to their issues, but I have optimism about this election.” In fact, higher education institutions can take a lesson from politicians by “making students central to their operations and giving them a role in the decision-making process. I see the best colleges making an effort to do that.”

Events and Entertainment

Effective professional meetings are enhanced by networking and cultural opportunities—and the annual meeting will include a rich array of choices. Review the final program schedule so that you don’t miss out on the fun.

  • NACUBO Fitness. Keep in shape with a morning fitness program that gives you the energy to tackle a full day of programming. Saturday through Tuesday from 6:30a.m to 7:30a.m., NACUBO Fitness will offer yoga, Pilates, and a meeting place for runners. No sign-up is necessary.
  • Second Annual “Serving the Community” Event. Continuing the practice begun last year in New Orleans, NACUBO is organizing another volunteer service project. Sign up for the community event, scheduled for Saturday morning, July 12, when you register for the meeting.

    The project will supply painting, planting, and general assistance to a University of Chicago Charter School. These schools provide a rigorous academic program to disadvantaged students from the south side of Chicago, preparing them for success at colleges and universities across the country. Project volunteers will be divided into teams of 10 and will be provided with shirts, gloves, and all necessary supplies to accomplish their assigned tasks. 

    NACUBO has partnered with TIAA-CREF to manage and support this event. According to Kathleen Zemaitis, TIAA-CREF’s community affairs manager, who will be coordinating all aspects of the project: “Last year we were impressed by the energy and enthusiasm that the volunteers brought to the event. This year we are planning to tackle an even greater project.”

    Participation is free of charge. Transportation will be provided from the annual meeting hotels. Participation will be limited to 125 volunteers—don’t wait to sign up.
  • Tasty Opening Event. Attend “A Taste of NACUBO” on Saturday, July 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Field Museum. The museum is part of a lakefront museum campus that also includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. You’ll experience the NACUBO version of Chicago’s renowned summer festival, “The Taste of Chicago,” featuring the city’s signature food items and live entertainment.

Corporate Showcases

Ten Corporate Showcases will bring attendees new solutions on a variety of topics. These showcases will be integrated with the rest of the program, so it will be possible to catch several throughout the meeting. Advance sign-up is not necessary. Check the program for the final schedule of these showcases:

Citi Institutional Consulting: Peeling Back the Onion on Endowment Management Expenses: Adding It All Up

Datatel: ActiveCampus Portal: A New World of Collaboration and Social Networking in Higher Education

Higher One: Improving the Student Experience with Electronic Refund Distribution

JPMorgan Chase: Better, Faster and Costs Less

QlikTech Inc: BI Analysis with QlikView: Experience the Power of Simplicity

SAP Public Services: Transforming Budgeting and Forecasting at the University of Michigan

SAS Institute: The Value of Financial Transparency in the World of Higher Education

Sodexo Education: Sodexo’s Facilities Management Approach to Supporting Sustainability

SunGard Higher Education: Too Much Data, Too Few Insights? The New Paradigm for Collecting and Analyzing the “Right” Data to Improve Institutional Performance

TIAA-CREF: 403(b) Regulations: A Look at the Changes

Political Perspectives

When You Can Hear Cook and Rothenberg
Cook and Rothenberg will close the NACUBO 2008 Annual Meeting, addressing the general session on Tuesday, July 15, 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

Two of the nation’s leading authorities on U.S. elections and political trends, Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg, will present their analysis of the factors shaping the 2008 presidential election. Find out who or what will influence the issues most important to your institution.

Charlie Cook is publisher of The Cook Political Report; a political analyst for the National Journal Group, where he writes weekly for National Journal magazine; and a political analyst for NBC News.

Stuart Rothenberg is the editor of the The Rothenberg Political Report and a regular columnist for Roll Call newspaper.

Sign On for Some Perspective

For more information and to register for the NACUBO 2008 Annual Meeting, visit www.nacuboannualmeeting.org.

APRYL MOTLEY, Columbia, Maryland, covers higher education business issues for Business Officer.