Business issues

Investing Instead of Divesting

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Maybe punishing every evil company is less practical than supporting corporations that seek to do good. Rather than divest from tobacco companies or those that engage in ethically dubious business in Sudan, Dickinson and Middlebury colleges are trying to steer investment dollars toward companies and managed funds with strong environmental and social records.

Mergers and Survival

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Like so many small private colleges, Dana College, a small Lutheran institution on the outskirts of Omaha, has long been precariously close to its death.

“I’ve worried about the college as long as I’ve known the college,” says Myrvin Christopherson, a 1961 alumnus who was Dana’s president from 1986 until 2005. During those 19 years, not only did he weather several years of budget deficits and a fire that destroyed the college’s Old Main, but he also increased the college’s endowment from $1 million to more than 10 times that. “It was always able to pull through.”

As the Crow Flies

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Arizona State University has serious problems, and that’s just the way Michael Crow wants it.

Blind Spot

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SAN FRANCISCO – Colleges do a relatively good job of preventing cashiers and low-level employees from stealing, but they’re largely inept when it comes to monitoring mid- and upper-level managers who are the most likely to perpetrate significant fraud at an institution, an expert on such crimes said at the National Association of College and University Business Officers annual meeting here Sunday.

Getting to Know the CFO

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SAN FRANCISCO – The ever-growing population of college chief financial officers is dominated by well-educated, middle-aged white men who clash with deans and never feel they have enough money for their institutions, according to a survey released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

Private Partners

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SAN FRANCISCO – With resources drying up and debt mounting at many colleges, the idea of letting private developers finance building projects is increasingly seductive. But these arrangements are not without risks, and ratings agencies are watching some of them develop with skepticism, panelists told a group of college business officers here this week.

A Consultancy Within

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The list of problems (and opportunities) facing most colleges is long -- figuring out how to do more with less, setting priorities for investing time and money -- and some of those same challenges make it harder for institutions to solve them. As staffs and budgets stagnate or shrink, day-to-day demands often push aside the sort of strategic thinking and analysis that might pay dividends in the long term -- work for which institutions often turn to outside consultants for help.

Hendrix's Odyssey

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For Hendrix College, the past decade ushered in a series of unfortunate events.

Help for State Higher Ed

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WASHINGTON -- With state revenues stagnating and unemployment stuck at high levels in most states, the budget outlook for public higher education in the 2011 fiscal year remains rather bleak. But college leaders in most states are poised to get a gift from the nation's capital this week, in the form, oddly enough, of $16 billion in Medicaid funds.

United Front

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WASHINGTON -- Call it couples therapy for higher education administrators.


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