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Management

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The installation and management of administrative systems to meet the growing needs of educational systems are requiring more sophisticated knowledge than has been needed in the past. Online technologies and applications, such as data warehousing and portals, are used to manage students and resources more efficiently. Users are more demanding in their requirements. They expect services such as:

 

  • Easy-to-use information systems
  • Immediate accessibility to information resources
  • Capability of information-sharing and cooperation with off-campus users
  • Network security
  • Proper maintenance of network facilities
  • Universal interfaces with other systems

 

The adoption of e-commerce applications and the use of e-business strategies are considered. For example, in the Educause Quarterly article, "Prepare your Campus for Business" (volume 25, number 2, 2000), the writers identify four strategies used at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, which they believe are relevant for all industries, including higher education. They list those strategies as "presence, integration, transformation and convergence."

The presence strategy creates a place on the Internet that describes the educational institution and includes lists of courses, services, online purchasing procedures, catalogs, etc. In the integration stage, the institution reaches beyond its own walls, linking with funding agencies, vendors, subcontractors, etc. The writers state that online student services, alumni communication and online procurement and payment for supplies are bound to improve services and reduce costs. During the transformation stage, strategic partnerships are formed. Finding the "best" vendors becomes a challenge. The convergence strategy recognizes the trend of other industries that are catering to the learning environment. Training companies, publishers, software vendors and hardware manufacturers are re-examining their capabilities as they converge into the learning industry.

Educational institutions are re-examining their own capabilities and management techniques. The outsourcing of some of the administrative functions is becoming more common so that institutions are able to better use their own expertise and resources.

A different problem seems to exist at the K-12 level. The states are becoming more involved in the administration of the schools, which has been resisted by the teachers' unions. However, a recent (December 2000) announcement stated, "School Employer Unions, Community and Edison Schools to Submit Joint Proposal to Manage Chester-Upland School District." According to the Regional Field Director for the Penna. State Education Association (PSEA), Roger Brown, the proposal has been submitted and a discussion is expected to be announced by March 1, 2001. If accepted, the two unions representing teachers and school support personnel, members of the community and Edison Schools, Inc., would be the first group in partnership to manage and improve an entire school district. The plan involves 10 schools, 6,200 students and an annual budget of $60 million.

The Chester-Upland Education Association represents 514 teachers and other education professionals, while the Chester-Upland Education Support Personnel Association represents 110 teaching assistants and secretaries. Both groups are local affiliates of the Penna. State Association, which represents 158,000 school employees throughout the state. The local communities would retain oversight of the schools, as the proposal calls for the formation of a new board comprised of union and community members to oversee Edison's work via a long-term contract. It also is to include a substantial investment from Edison: an estimated $15 million for new curriculum materials, professional development and technology infrastructure.

With and without outside assistance, educational institutions are revamping their management and administrative systems. The use of the Web is providing easy, anywhere, anytime access to information, thus eliminating voluminous paper documents. However, the development of those administrative systems is complex. To understand the totality of the system and its technology requirements is no easy task. A caution is heard - "Proceed slowly."

The installation and management of administrative systems to meet the growing needs of educational systems are requiring more sophisticated knowledge than has been needed in the past. Online technologies and applications, such as data warehousing and portals, are used to manage students and resources more efficiently. Users are more demanding in their requirements. They expect services such as:

 

  • Easy-to-use information systems
  • Immediate accessibility to information resources
  • Capability of information-sharing and cooperation with off-campus users
  • Network security
  • Proper maintenance of network facilities
  • Universal interfaces with other systems

 

The adoption of e-commerce applications and the use of e-business strategies are considered. For example, in the Educause Quarterly article, "Prepare your Campus for Business" (volume 25, number 2, 2000), the writers identify four strategies used at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, which they believe are relevant for all industries, including higher education. They list those strategies as "presence, integration, transformation and convergence."

The presence strategy creates a place on the Internet that describes the educational institution and includes lists of courses, services, online purchasing procedures, catalogs, etc. In the integration stage, the institution reaches beyond its own walls, linking with funding agencies, vendors, subcontractors, etc. The writers state that online student services, alumni communication and online procurement and payment for supplies are bound to improve services and reduce costs. During the transformation stage, strategic partnerships are formed. Finding the "best" vendors becomes a challenge. The convergence strategy recognizes the trend of other industries that are catering to the learning environment. Training companies, publishers, software vendors and hardware manufacturers are re-examining their capabilities as they converge into the learning industry.

Educational institutions are re-examining their own capabilities and management techniques. The outsourcing of some of the administrative functions is becoming more common so that institutions are able to better use their own expertise and resources.

A different problem seems to exist at the K-12 level. The states are becoming more involved in the administration of the schools, which has been resisted by the teachers' unions. However, a recent (December 2000) announcement stated, "School Employer Unions, Community and Edison Schools to Submit Joint Proposal to Manage Chester-Upland School District." According to the Regional Field Director for the Penna. State Education Association (PSEA), Roger Brown, the proposal has been submitted and a discussion is expected to be announced by March 1, 2001. If accepted, the two unions representing teachers and school support personnel, members of the community and Edison Schools, Inc., would be the first group in partnership to manage and improve an entire school district. The plan involves 10 schools, 6,200 students and an annual budget of $60 million.

The Chester-Upland Education Association represents 514 teachers and other education professionals, while the Chester-Upland Education Support Personnel Association represents 110 teaching assistants and secretaries. Both groups are local affiliates of the Penna. State Association, which represents 158,000 school employees throughout the state. The local communities would retain oversight of the schools, as the proposal calls for the formation of a new board comprised of union and community members to oversee Edison's work via a long-term contract. It also is to include a substantial investment from Edison: an estimated $15 million for new curriculum materials, professional development and technology infrastructure.

With and without outside assistance, educational institutions are revamping their management and administrative systems. The use of the Web is providing easy, anywhere, anytime access to information, thus eliminating voluminous paper documents. However, the development of those administrative systems is complex. To understand the totality of the system and its technology requirements is no easy task. A caution is heard - "Proceed slowly."

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2001 issue of THE Journal.

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