This week I have yet another innovative idea for higher education. It will come as no surprise that with so many highly educated individuals on a college campus, it is difficult to admit that someone else’s idea is as good or better than your own. Look no further than the college application. Even though there are several applications that are accepted by many colleges, each of them allows the college to add supplemental questions, requests or even whole pages. I can easily understand that campus culture and unique focus on specific academic pursuits warrant different sorts of detailed information; but some of the hoops that students are asked to jump through border on ridiculous.
One of the places that colleges have grudgingly given in to over the years is the sharing of library materials. Books have been copied and shared online or have been lent to the other colleges outright. After all, why should every institution spend astronomical amounts of money to assemble a collection of paper copies of rare books when the information contained in the book is where the true value lies. Colleges have accepted that we are in the information age and in some areas are using the tools available to them very effectively.
With library loans and sharing as the template, where else can colleges us technology to become more efficient and lower their cost? Brandon Busteed believes that with the explosion of online resources and services now available that mental health services and career services are ripe for colleges to develop virtual models and share resources. With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, these kinds of services have become as common as staff meetings used to be in business offices. Of course, all the professionals on all the campuses across this great nation have their own notion about what this kind of system should do and be; but a little collaboration could form a network where information about what works and what does not is shared and the resulting database about how to handle every sort of scenario would become invaluable. With such a system, no one college would be on the hook for the entire cost. That sounds like saving a lot of money while addressing a growing issue on college campuses. Those savings can be passed along to students making their education a bit more affordable.