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Business Officer Magazine

Making Your Mark in the World

Sessions with a global or international focus were flagged in the schedule. Here are highlights from two of them.

Gateways for a Global Presence

At a session, "Expanding a University's Global Presence: Strategic and Financial Issues," representatives from the Ohio State University (OSU) and New York University (NYU) discussed the two models they have developed to increase their institutions' global footprint.

Ohio State has set up global gateways—offices in different countries—that act as embassies on behalf of the institution, said Christopher Carey, OSU's director of global gateways. These multidimensional, multipurpose platforms engage the academic, business, and alumni communities in activities, including study abroad, internships, institutional partnerships, and revenue-generating corporate partnerships, such as advising companies on career services, research, and consulting.

OSU opened its China gateway in Shanghai in February 2010, while the office in Mumbai, India, opened in March 2012. In 2014, OSU plans to open a gateway in São Paulo, Brazil. In order to choose these sites, OSU undertook a survey to find out where its faculty is engaged in the world in terms of research; where the students and alumni come from; and where Ohio companies are most engaged globally.

NYU initially considered itself to be a "global university" and expanded its study abroad programs and developed a broader international research agenda. Now, the institution considers itself to be a "global network university," which has led to the creation of full-service campuses abroad.

NYU has 11 international academic centers in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, including NYU Abu Dhabi, which opened in September 2010, and NYU Shanghai, where the first 300 students will matriculate this year. "For us it was the question of where it makes sense for us to set up global sites that tie with our academic mission," said Stephanie Pianka, NYU's vice president, financial operations and treasurer.

NYU's global network allows students and faculty to move around freely in a circulatory system of multiple campus locations. Its administrative functions (such as enrollment management, financial planning, HR, and student services) are fully integrated and coordinated.

Read the main story.

Lessons From the German Experience

What can American institutions learn from changes taking place in the German postsecondary education system? Presenters in the session titled "Transatlantic Lessons in Optimizing Institutional Effectiveness" summarized findings of a Fulbright Educational Experts seminar last fall, in which they were U.S. participants along with representatives from German institutions.

The seminar was designed to identify best practices in "doing more with less" at German and American public research universities. Participants met and compared notes regarding technology, business process, staffing, outsourcing, facility construction and management, instructional design, and revenue enhancement strategies to optimize institutional effectiveness.

In the past decade, German public institutions have restructured administrative and academic processes. Much of it can be tied to Bologna process reform, intended to strengthen the competitiveness of European higher education, foster student mobility and employability, increase compatibility across nations and institutions, and create standardized frameworks. Implementing the process in Germany required major curricular reform, and was not popular with more traditional faculty, especially research university faculty.

The team of 15 American CFOs experienced the case studies of five different German institutions. Americans found it surprising that German higher education employees are completely protected from dismissal, and that 100 percent of funding comes from the government and research—there is no tuition for public institutions. No tuition means no financial aid and no massive billing process.

Among other German efficiencies: Faculty workload is higher than at most U.S. institutions, with four to five courses per semester plus research; and bachelor degrees are usually completed in three years. Industry collaboration and coordination were essential in the success of Bologna process reform, as the business office was much more involved in classroom decisions than they are in the United States.

The Americans conveyed the importance of the CFO role, professionalizing the business side of higher education, and diversifying revenue sources.