Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mayflower myths

From History.Com at

Myth: The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and the pilgrims celebrated it every year thereafter.
Fact: The first feast wasn't repeated, so it wasn't the beginning of a tradition. In fact, the colonists didn't even call the day Thanksgiving. To them, a thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they would go to church and thank God for a specific event, such as the winning of a battle. On such a religious day, the types of recreational activities that the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians participated in during the 1621 harvest feast--dancing, singing secular songs, playing games--wouldn't have been allowed. The feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered a thanksgiving in the pilgrims minds.

Myth: The original Thanksgiving feast took place on the fourth Thursday of November.
Fact: The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. After that first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Indians. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating thanksgiving after the harvest. During the American Revolution a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November, which he may have correlated it with the November 21, 1621, anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod. Since then, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941)

Myth: The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.
Fact: Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown.

Myth: The pilgrims brought furniture with them on the Mayflower.
Fact: The only furniture that the pilgrims brought on the Mayflower was chests and boxes. They constructed wooden furniture once they settled in Plymouth.

Myth: The Mayflower was headed for Virginia, but due to a navigational mistake it ended up in Cape Cod Massachusetts.
Fact: The Pilgrims were in fact planning to settle in Virginia, but not the modern-day state of Virginia. They were part of the Virginia Company, which had the rights to most of the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The pilgrims had intended to go to the Hudson River region in New York State, which would have been considered "Northern Virginia," but they landed in Cape Cod instead. Treacherous seas prevented them from venturing further south.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Thanksgiving, you shouldn't drink

and email. Google introduces Gmail Goggles to prevent you from drunkenly emailing photos of the bar or other unwelcome messages to all of your contacts. From's
5 Astounding Advances in the Science of Getting Drunk:

Google have released a ‘Gmail Goggles’ filter that you can set to automatically turn on during certain time periods. The default time is late at night on weekends but if you, like my father, prefer getting plastered in the morning because “that’s when they least expect it,” it can be set to turn on whenever you want. Once activated, the filter opens a new window whenever you try to send an email that asks if you’re really sure, and then runs you through some quick mental arithmetic before allowing it to be sent. No word yet on whether the filter also starts watering down your drinks when you begin violently sobbing while softly whispering the lyrics to John Cougar Mellencamp songs, or says you’ve had enough while repeatedly referring to you as “guy,” or calls the cops on you when you start taking clumsy, drunken swings at the monitor while insisting that it “doesn’t know you.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tennessee tuition increases

As high as 24%? From The Tennessean:

State higher education leaders will discuss tuition increases as high as 24 percent at public universities, an unprecedented jump they say signals the direness of Tennessee's economic woes.

When the Tennessee Higher Education Commission meets today in anticipation of next week's budget hearing with Gov. Phil Bredesen, administrators will see models of university tuition increases for 2009-10 ranging from 10 percent with no state funding change to 24 percent with a 15 percent cut.

Community college tuition increases would range between 10 percent and 29 percent.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Things I learned at TACHE

There is a rum distillery in Tennessee. Not only is Tennessee home to Jack Daniels, nearby in Kelso is Prichards' Distillery, producers of Prichards' Fine Rum. I'll have to look for it in northeast Tennessee.

Dinner before TACHE

At Pearl's Oyster House. Following a meeting with the hotel staff to iron out the final details before the TACHE conference starts, several of us had dinner together in downtown Memphis. Pearl's Oyster House was a great place with great service. Decent prices, as well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Walking in Memphis

at the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education annual conference. I'm driving eight hours today to save money, even though I swore seven years ago that I would never drive to Memphis again. I could be at the beach several times over in eight hours. At least I have good company--in the car with me is one past and the current TACHE President.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We had our annual

Retreat today. While we've sometimes met off campus and paid for food service, in this time of budget cuts, we met at free space in the VA Carnegie Library and brought our own food in. We used pens and notepads taken from the hotels where we've attended various conferences. The only state money we spent was human capital, the most expensive and most valuable asset we have. Here we are wrapping up the session with posters where we set goals that will allow us to thrive in difficult times. Dr. Jo Lobertini planned and executed the session, and did a great job!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tennessee Board of Regents in the news

Over adjunct salaries. But this is hardly surprising considering the tremendous budget constraints Tennessee Higher Education is facing. There is certainly more pressure to lower salaries than raise them.

From 6-6 Course Loads and No Benefits in
For the adjuncts at the six universities and 13 community colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, the solution they came up with was to ask politely. They worked with administrators to craft and re-craft a proposal to raise the maximum pay offered to adjuncts so that someone working a 5-5 course load (the kind of load that many tenure-track faculty members would consider unworkable) could be assured the chance of topping $20,000 in annual income. They weren’t even talking about such matters as health insurance (which isn’t provided).

If these salary levels are surprising, it may be because they are frequently off the radar screen. The definitive annual survey of faculty salaries by the American Association of University Professors excludes part timers, so the institutions where the part timers in this article work don’t have their averages deflated by these pay levels.

After two years of encouraging meetings organized by AAUP leaders in Tennessee, the board — through its presidents council — decided this month that the current policy works just fine, and that there will be no increases in pay maximums.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Me and my gavel

I became President of the Association for Continuing Higher Education at the 70th Annual Conference and Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Here is a picture of Past President Chris Dougherty, trying to pull back the gavel so he could keep it another year! (Note the big grin on his face.) It was a wonderful conference, hosted expertly by Murray State University. With over 370 attendees, it was probably attended by more people than any other meeting--at least in recent memory. Susan Elkins and Sandra (Darkwing) Gladney co-chaired the planning committee, and Brian Van Horne and Dan Lavit co-chaired the local arrangement. Natalie Thurmond did yeoman work, and Janeen Winters helped man the registration booth even while seven months pregnant. Perhaps man is not the right verb...

Jennifer L. Copeland from

DemandEngine ( blogged from the ACHE Conference and Meeting. You can read her thoughts on keynoters and concurrent sessions at

A view of

The rowdy table at the ACHE Annual Luncheon, just before I gave my speech outlining the theme for next year's conference. I've been told I did some of my best speechifying. The text of the speech is available on an earlier posting at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas at Opryland

Taken from Amy's party room. Amy agreed to take a room that had a balcony but no bed. She did have a pull-out leather sofa bed. Chrismas comes early to Nashvegas.

Cross another off my list

of Redneck things to do. Take the boat ride down the river at the Orpyland Hotel. Heard the oral history. Here's a picture of a waterfall taken from the stern of the boat.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Off to Opryland

And the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting. It'll be a very busy few days as I become President at this meeting. For readers, here's an advance peek at the speech I'll deliver on Monday that presents the theme of the conference in Philadelphia next fall.

Unlocking the Transformational Power of Continuing Education

Thank you, ACHE Members including the Board of Directors and the new Home Office, Committee and Network Chairs, Educational Partners and Exhibitors, our friends from CAUCE, the Canadian association, and all other guests who may be joining us this afternoon.
It’s an honor for me to serve as the next President of ACHE, and to stand in front of you today. I’m especially pleased that this is taking place in my home state and in Nashville, which is almost my second home. There are some other folks here I’d like to recognize and thank for their encouragement and support. My wife, Kathy, is joining us. She has both supported and assisted me through over three decades of work and marriage, and whatever success I’ve achieved I owe to her. I’d also like to give a special shout out to my friends and colleagues from East Tennessee State University, and the rest of Tennessee and ACHE South. They continue to make me look good. And finally, I’d like to acknowledge some of the continuing educators from the Volunteer State whose shoulders I stand on today. There have been five ACHE Presidents from Tennessee, including a couple here today. Jo Goddard. Bill Barton. Wayne Whelan. Sam Bills. Bob Leiter. I’m proud to continue their tradition.

One of my more pleasant responsibilities is to name the theme for next year’s conference and meeting. I’ve given considerable thought to it. Since we’re in Music City, my first inclination was to tie the theme into country music. Continuing education often exists on the margin of our institutions, so I considered using Garth Brooks’s Friends in Low Places—but I thought that might hit too close to home with many us and many of our places. Since we’re often told we’re facing a wave of retirements in the near future, I thought about using Johnny Paycheck’s Take This Job and Shove It. But who can afford to retire anymore? And, since we’re all facing financial challenges, both at work and at home, our theme could have been If Money Talks, It Ain't on Speaking Terms with Me. But having attended many meetings in Nashville and Memphis, I’ve grown a bit tired of musical themes. So I went in another direction.

Although it often goes unheralded, continuing education is all about transformation. It is about improving the lives of people and changing the institutions that serve them. In a recent book, Succeeding in College: What it Means and How to Make it Happen, Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Shapiro identify the following about higher education that is certainly true for continuing higher education as well:

Whatever else higher education is about, it is always about changing people—moving them from Point A to Point B. Starting points differ enormously and so do destinations. But the ultimate aim of any educational encounter is transformation … No matter how terrific students are upon arrival, if they are not different in ways that matter upon departure, the college experience has been a failure.

This is what we do. We take students who have limited access to traditional higher education, and we transform them into an educated citizenry. We take unemployed, unskilled, and underemployed workers and transform them into a productive workforce. We take entry-level employees, young professionals, and mid-level managers and transform them into executives and leaders. We take practicing professionals and provide the training that keeps them licensed and up-to-date. We take immigrants and transform them into citizens. We take folks in transition from one life stage to another and transform them to the next: from single to married, from married to divorced, from partners to parents, from parents to grandparents, from full-time workers to retirees. We do this through continuing education.

We don’t just transform people—we also transform institutions. Better yet, we transformed institutions. We made institutions reach beyond their walls. We made institutions stay open past 5:00 pm. We made institutions offer online programs. We made institutions serve our military, serve our communities, serve our children, serve our elderly, serve our workforce. We created a business model that has been copied by consultants, trainers, and proprietary colleges and universities. In a very real sense, we helped create our own competition. We did this through continuing education.

So the theme of our 2009 Annual Conference and Meeting is Unlocking the Transformational Power of Continuing Education. We will be meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I know we face a challenging year, but continuing education is too important to struggle for long. We’ll offer programs, we’ll serve students, and we’ll strengthen our communities. And again, in Philadelphia, we’ll meet as professionals to learn, to share, to network, to teach, to discover, and to renew. After all, this is what we do.

I am honored to represent the Association for Continuing Higher Education for the next year. If there’s anything I can do to help you in your job or in your career, feel free to call on me. I’ll see you all next fall in the City of Brotherly Love.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What the election tells us

About your job search.

How Obama Got Hired
Karen Burns

We've just witnessed one of the longest and most arduous job hunts in the history of job hunts. Thousands of interviews. A résumé-vetting process from hell. Reference-checking you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

Not many people would or could work that hard to get a job. But Sen. Barack Obama did, and congratulations to him. Job hunting yourself? Here are three tips you can pick up from President-elect Obama:

How the boss feels about you is key. Every serious job candidate has strengths and weaknesses. Every hiring decision is a risk, a leap of faith. Decision time is often an emotional time, which is why so many choices come down to chemistry. A boss wants employees he feels he can trust and wouldn't mind spending eight hours a day with. Tip No. 1: People hire people they like.

Persistence is a major, frequently ignored, factor. Much of the hiring process feels out of the job hunter's control. But persistence? That is a tool totally within your power to exploit. The candidates worked extremely hard for our votes. They were examples worth learning from. Tip No. 2: People hire people who show they
really want the job.

Experience doesn't count as much as you'd think. At the beginning of the campaign, Obama's short résumé was a big issue. One that, given the importance of the position, you'd think would be a deciding factor. But in the end, experience didn't matter. Tip No. 3: People hire people they believe can do the job.

May your own job hunt be equally successful. And, let's hope, shorter. Permanent Link at

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at .

Non-Traditional Student Recognition Week

November 2 - 9, 2008

ANTSHE is proud to announce its annual nationwide celebration of Non-traditional Students in Higher Education. Institutions and members are encouraged to plan events to recognize the non-traditional students on their campus, as well as highlight efforts that improved their adult student environment.
The Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education is an international partnership of students, academic professionals, institutions, and organizations whose mission is to encourage and coordinate support, education, and advocacy for the adult learner

Locally, ETSU's celebration of Non-Traditional Student Recognition Week is sponsored by the NET, ETSU’s Non-Traditional Student Organization and Alpha Sigma Lambda: The Premier National Honor Society for Nontraditional Adult Students ASL will meet in conjunction with the ACHE Conference and Meeting this weekend in Nashville.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Everthing I know about higher education

I learned in Kindergarten. From Faculty Focus:

Five Things College Professors Can Learn from K-12 Educators
By Sara E. Quay, Anthony Pastelis, Kathleen McLaughlin, and Elizabeth Cain

Unlike their college-level counterparts, those who teach at the K-12 level spend a significant portion of their education studying the “how” of teaching. What they learn can be invaluable to college professors who enter classrooms with vast content knowledge but little (or no) background in teaching and learning. As those who teach these teachers, we’d like to showcase five teaching strategies college professors can learn from those who teach younger students.
The five are (1) multiple intelligences, (2) assessment, (3) lesson plans, (4) special needs, and (5) student aspirations.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How much is my BA in English

Now Worth? New thoughts on the value of higher education from Kim Clark, writing in at

How Much Is That College Degree Really Worth?
A new report estimates—to the dollar—how much a degree boosts your income and other

Baum's research showed that college graduates earn, on average, about $20,000 a year more than those who finished their educations at high school. Add that up over a 40-year working life and the total differential is about $800,000, she figures. But since much of that bonus is earned many years from now, subtracting out the impact of inflation means that $800,000 in future dollars is worth only about $450,000 in today's dollars.

Then, if you subtract out the cost of a college degree—about $30,000 in tuition and books for students who get no aid and attend public in-state universities—and the money a student could have earned at a job instead of attending school, the real net value in today's dollars is somewhere in the $300,000 range, a number confirmed by other studies.

But, especially these days, that still makes a college degree one of the most lucrative investments a person can make, Baum notes.

Better yet, college graduates can go on to earn advanced degrees, which return even bigger payoffs. The average holder of a bachelor's degree earns about $51,000 a year, Baum calculates. But those who've gone on to earn MBAs, law degrees, or other professional degrees earn about $100,000 a year.

All right, Mr. De Mill

I'm ready for my close-up.

Southern Appalachian International Film Festival

With the continuing sponsorship and support of East Tennessee State University, and the added support this year of the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS), Pellissippi State Technical Community College (PSTCC) and the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA), the third annual Southern Appalachian International Film Festival (SOAPIFF) is expanding its outreach this November.

The celebration of cinema showcases over 100 films – some of which are world, United States or Tennessee premieres – as well as related lectures and exhibits. SOAPIFF 2008 runs Nov. 13-16 in Johnson City, and Nov. 21-23 in Knoxville. All films are free and open to the public.
Included among the offerings are Appalachian films, international and foreign language films, features, documentaries, children’s films, art/experimental films, animation, gender issues and LGBTQ films, classic silent movies, horror films, minority issue films and environmental films.
In Johnson City, films will be screened on ETSU’s campus, at the Acoustic Coffeehouse on West Walnut Street, and at Numan’s on East Main Street. In Knoxville, films will be shown at the KMA and at Pellissippi State’s Goins Auditorium and Clayton Performing Arts Center.
The 2008 SOAPIFF Opening Gala takes place on Thursday, Nov. 13, at The Charles, 308 E. Main Street, featuring food and assorted beverages, entertainment with live music, and the announcement of winning films in the 2008 juried competition. Tickets for this 7 p.m. event are $20 at the door.

Among SOAPIFF highlights this year is the popular Appalachian screen, which is showcasing a number of works including the Tennessee premieres of “Egg Fight” and “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear,” plus filmmakers from Appalshop who will speak at ETSU and PSTCC.

For more information visit

Monday, November 3, 2008

Taken from the deck of our cabin

in Sevierville last weekend. We spent the weekend with three other couples at Sterling Springs Resort and Spa where we predicted the impending resignation of UT's football coach Phil Fulmer Four of the people there were UT grads, including one who tried to change his team's fortunes by donning what could only be called a UT pimp hat--a bright orange fedora suitable mainly for hunting.

They like to say

Thomas Jefferson started the University of Virginia because he couldn't get in to William and Mary. Or so a graduate tells me. William and Mary is on Newsweek's list of Hot Colleges:

College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.

It still calls itself a college, even though it has significant graduate
programs. William & Mary has only 5,700 undergraduates, which is small for a state school, and considers that a recruiting tool. All freshmen take a seminar with a senior professor and only 16 other students. Since 1999, applicants have jumped 34 percent.

See the other hot schools at

I still have

Some eligibility left. Just another reminder that age is not a barrier. Or as Satchel Paige said: "Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter." From Mike Miller's Beyond the Arc at

Ken Mink’s ready for his shot.

The Roane State (Tenn.) senior may become the world’s oldest college basketball player on Monday. He’s no ordinary senior. The last time Mink played college hoops, Dwight Eisenhower was President.

The 73-year-old hoopster has garnered plenty of attention in his return to the court. Newspapers, TV and Internet stories have popped up about Mink. “The Today Show” wants him as a guest. A Hollywood screenwriter reportedly wants to capture his story.

When the Raiders open their season against King College, the Guinness Book of World Records will be paying attention. “Inside Edition” will have a film crew on hand. The attention’s nice, but right now, Mink’s more concerned about how he’ll fare. He last played college hoops at Lees College (Ky.) in 1956. If Mink does see the court, he knows he’ll be a little nervous. It’s been a while since he’s been on that stage.

“Fifty-two years,” Mink says. “Can I retain that memory? Can I recapture that? I don’t know. It’s going to be a mystery for me.”

Thankfully, there won’t be a lot of pressure on Mink. Roane, a community college about 35 miles west of Knoxville, is expected to be among its league’s better teams this season. According to its coach, Randy Nesbit, the Raiders are a deep, fairly talented team. If Mink does play, it’ll probably be for a few minutes. But don’t expect him to be left behind.

All I have to say is he better not try to bring that s***t to the Lunch League in Johnson City. I've still got a little game left...