Saturday, February 28, 2009

Philadelphia story

Scene from the lobby of the hotel where the 2009 ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting will take place next November.

The Conference Planning Committee is currently meeting.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sometimes continuing educators

and branch campus administrators try to do too much...

An Ohio college dean has resigned, saying she spray-painted a traffic sign on a neighboring campus.

Kent State University cited personal reasons for Betsy Boze's departure Friday as dean of the branch campus in Stark.

A police report says security officials saw a woman defacing the sign at Stark State College of Technology on Feb. 15. No charges have been filed.
Boze told The Canton Repository newspaper that she painted a sign to remove an arrow that was pointing to an incorrect parking lot. The schools share some parking.

Boze said the paint job wasn't graffiti and declined further comment.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Appalachian student research opportunity

2009 Appalachian
Student Research Forum

April 8-9, 2009
Centre at Millennium Park
Johnson City, Tennessee

Oral Presentation Registration Deadline:
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

Poster Presentation Registration Deadline: Friday, Mar. 13, 2009

For more information and to register, go to:

ACE President Molly Corbett Broad

on the Education Components of President Barack Obama’s Speech Before Congress.

“No president in modern times has used an address to a joint session of Congress to make such a clear case for higher education’s role in providing the solutions America needs to compete in the world economy—I applaud President Obama for his vision, and can say with certainty that every college and university in the country is ready to help him achieve it.

Especially important is the president’s appeal to the national interest and the responsibility of every citizen to aspire to at least one year of postsecondary study. If America is to compete economically—if we are to pull ourselves out of this recession—we must have a competitive work force and a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. We cannot afford to lose a single citizen—so important is this new investment in human capital.

The education components of the new economic stimulus package prove that President Obama will back his words with resources and action, and so I remain confident that his administration will focus its energy on reaching these ambitious new goals for student aid, educational attainment and research capacity. I trust the president knows that his efforts in these areas will be leveraged by the work of faculty and administrators at more than 4,000 colleges and universities. Working together, I believe we can achieve this goal and literally change the future of our great country.”

TBR chancellor search halted

And the rumors were true...

The Tennessee Board of Trustees oversees the University of Tennessee system. The regents oversee the rest of the state colleges and universities.

Bredesen floated the idea of consolidating the two systems in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press last week.

"This is a time to look at revisions," the governor said in the interview.

The fact that Manning and University of Tennessee President John Petersen had announced their departures presented "an interesting window of opportunity," he said.

"The governor does believe this situation is an opportunity for us to re-think the way we do business, and this could include a fresh look at the organization of our higher education system," Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said.

"He has emphasized keeping tuition and costs affordable and producing a greater number of graduates who are prepared for the jobs of the future."

Thomas pointed to the governor's remarks as a factor in the search committee's decision.

Welcome to AARP

Barbie turns 50 next month.

In her half century of existence, Barbie has become something of a Rorschach test for views about modern feminine identity. Either she's a sunny, self-confident, good-time girl—Doris Day in miniature—or, more commonly, she's the original bimbo, a relic of postwar paternalism that teaches its young owners to worship at the altar of blond hair, peach skin and formidable cleavage atop a waistline the size of a pinkie ring. Barbie has evolved ever so slightly over the years. Originally cast as a glamorous teen fashion model, she's now available in all the colors of the Benetton rainbow and dabbles in a variety of professions.

From the Urban Dictionary


The state of being removed from a position of prominence/importance due to a foolish mistake. Related to Michael Phelps being dropped by Kellogg after a picture of him with a bong was released.
Dude, after that bonehead move you are so off the box.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Continuing education pricing

and a request for peer information. I received this in an email today. Although Mary Alice is targeting Tennessee institutions, I'm sure she would be interested in what other, out-of-state institutions are doing as well...

The Center for Extended and Distance Education at Austin Peay State University is looking for ways to meet (and defeat) the current budget crunch that we are all feeling. We want to make sure that we are pricing our services fairly and that our prices are in line with other TACHE institutions across the state and that we are offering services comparable to those provided by other schools. Would you please take a minute to answer the following questions for us to help us gather the information we need for a realistic comparison. All of the following questions apply to your noncredit (CEU) programs only. Thanks for your time. We appreciate the help.

1. What do you pay instructors for standard leisure learning classes like Drawing, Spanish or Computer Literacy?
2. What do you pay instructors for IT Certification prep classes (like CompTIA, Cisco or Microsoft certifications)?
3. What do you pay consultants hired for business contracts (like training needs assessment, job design evaluation, etc.)?
4. What do you pay instructors for contract soft skills training for business and industry?
5. Do you have instructors on staff or do you use temporary part-time employees?
6. Do you offer contract hard skills training (like tool and die, HVAC, medical technology)? If so, what do you offer?
7. Do you offer contract soft skills training (like communication skills, team building, leadership)? If so, what do you offer?
8. Do you have someone on your staff whose primary job it is to generate contract sales to business and industry?
9. Do you provide CEU accreditation for outside entities (like for conferences and seminars hosted by someone other than your institution)? If so, what do you charge for the service?
10. Do you maintain a computer teaching lab for the sole use of noncredit programs? If so, do you receive TAF funds or other university support for the facility?
11. What is the average cost of a 12-hour noncredit class (like MS Word Basics or Intro to Spanish) at your institution? Does this fee include textbooks, lab fees or supply fees? If not, what are the average charges for those items?
12. Is your noncredit program self-supporting? If not, what percentage of the total budget is subsidized by your institution?

We will be glad to share the summary of all of the responses we receive with you if you would like a copy. Just note on your return email that you’d like to see the results. Thanks again for your time. mab

M. A. Burkhart
Coordinator, Noncredit and Customized Programs
Austin Peay State University
Center for Extended and Distance Education
P. O. Box 4678
Clarksville, TN 37044
Phone (931) 221-6487
Fax (931) 221-7748

No new chancellor

for TBR?
From the at

The Tennessee Board of Regents may suspend its search for a new chancellor to lead the 180,000-student system of universities, community colleges and technical schools.

Regents Vice Chairman Bob Thomas says he will make that recommendation today, when the committee looking for a successor to departing Chancellor Charles Manning meets by teleconference.

Thomas, who heads the search committee, says suspending the search will "allow time for clarification of current economic uncertainty" facing the Regents system and all other areas of state government. It "should in no way reflect on the quality of the applicants," he says.

Manning announced last year he would retire this June 30. The search for his successor has been under way since last fall.

I've heard rumors that with the president of the University of Tennessee system vacant and the TBR chancellor's position soon to be vacant--the governor may want use this opportunity to reshape higher education in Tennessee.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ACHE Award Time

ACHE Call for Awards. It's often hard from our busy schedules to take the time to nominate a program or individual for an award, but it's important we do so. ACHE awards constitute the best of what we do and who we are.

ACHE is taking submissions for the following awards:

~Special Recognition
~Meritorious Service
~Crystal Marketing
~Distinguished Program: Credit and Non-Credit
~Creative Use of Technology
~Older Adult Model Program
~Outstanding Services to Underserved Population Program

Please visit the ACHE Awards page for more information on these awards and how to submit the outstanding work you or someone you know is doing:

Today is

Fat Tuesday!

It's time to party it up, and Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash
Wednesday. It is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day. It is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a long fasting period for Christians. In addition to fasting, christians also give up something special that they enjoy. So, Fat Tuesday is a celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long lenten season.

We've had some good times in New Orleans. It's a wicked, wicked town and I love it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

ACHE South conference reminder

2009 Annual Conference

Hilton Capitol Center
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
April 27-29, 2009

To register for the conference, visit

For more information, contact:
Thad Laiche
LSU Continuing Education

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Stimulus Plan

Could send money to higher education in Tennessee. According to the

Tennessee higher education could receive more than $350 million over the next two years in federal stimulus money because of provisions that require the state to restore funding lost from previous years.

The potential windfall could mean fewer or lower tuition increases and more money for academic programs, but they won’t result in new buildings or a permanent fix for the schools’ funding woes.

“It is a temporary crutch that will hopefully help the university not make devastating cuts right away,” said Sidney McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State University.

Included in the federal stimulus law, which was signed by President Obama Tuesday, is a stipulation that would require the state to use $180 million for higher education — the difference between 2005-06 and 2007-08 funding levels — for each of the next two years.

During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, Tennessee higher education received $1.3 billion from the state. Since then, higher education has taken two budget cuts, and was facing a $181 million reduction for the coming year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No wonder I'm getting all these requests

To be someone's friend on Facebook. Ten reasons Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies by Lev Grossman writing in at I especially like the last one:
We're not cool, and we don't care. There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it's way cooler not to be on Facebook. We've ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you're at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For-profit Education

in Nashville thrives in a poor economy. The discusses the impact of the recession on students looking to improve their career skills--at the same time that public higher education endures severe budget cuts:

But the cost to for-profit schools' students will be significantly higher at a time when thousands of Tennesseans are losing jobs and continuing their educations.

Even if they wanted to, Tennessee's community colleges and technology centers could not handle the increase by themselves. Community colleges — which tend to attract many of the same older students as for-profit schools — saw their first significant jump in enrollment in a decade last fall, just before the nation's economic collapse.

At the same time, state funding for the schools dropped to its lowest level in 10 years and will drop further this year, even with assistance from a federal stimulus package. Community colleges could benefit from additional federal funds for work force development, but they'll still have to handle more students with less support from the state.

It's "like me trying to wear the clothes I wore in ninth grade today," said George Van Allen, president of Nashville State Community College. "You can't grow that much and comfortably fit into the same restraints you did."

Tennessee has Number Two

America's 10 Most Miserable Cities. Based on nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather. From at

1. Stockton, Calif.
2. Memphis, Tenn.
3. Chicago, Ill.
4. Cleveland, Ohio
5. Modesto, Calif.
6. Flint, Mich.
7. Detroit, Mich.
8. Buffalo, N.Y.
9. Miami, Fla.
10. St. Louis, Mo.

Sandwiched between Stockton and Chicago is Memphis, Tenn. The home of FedEx has an incredibly high rate of violent crimes, with only Detroit faring worse. The 1,218 violent crimes per 100,000 residents is more than twice the rate in the New York City metro area. The city's sales tax and rate of government employees committing crimes also fall within the 10 highest in the U.S. Pro sports has been a mess in Memphis in recent years as well. The city's lone major franchise, the Memphis Grizzlies, has lost 74 percent of its games during the past three years, the worst in the NBA.

Are Hugs

The new handshake? Get the full discussion at at For the uninitiated, here are the various hugs mentioned in the article:

THE FULL FRONTAL: Total body contact, heart-to-heart embrace and firm squeeze. For parents, children and good friends.

THE ASS-OUT HUG: Nothing touches below the shoulders. Reserved for the office, bad dates and references to Vince Vaughn.

THE HIP-HOP HUG: A.k.a. the man hug and the hetero hug. Shake with right hand and hug with left, two slaps on the back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saw Slumdog Millionaire Yesterday

and loved it. It's a well made movie, and the English major in me delighted at the dickensonian (dickensesqe?) elements of the story. It's got a kid from the slums, a Fagin character, unlikely reunions, villains, redemption, and a chance at riches. And it's a pretty good story.

I'm glad I'm not an English professor in these days of the internet. I googled Slumdog Millionaire Dickens to see how many others had noted the connection and there were...a lot. In the old days, I might have considered writing a small monograph on the parallels but why bother. I imagine original literary research is quite difficult these days.

More pictures

From ACHE Great Plains. Courtesy of Robin Plumb.

3 + 1

Evidently, there is growing interest in 3+1 baccalaureate degree programs where students complete three years at the community college and their senior year at the four-year college or university. I can see where this might save students money, but it certainly limits students' exposure at the upper division level.

Now I'm not a college/university snob, but there are plenty issues here. In fact, a recent email from the Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, outlines some of those that need to be addressed before entering into such a partnership:

Section 1 (Integrity) – To what extent does the practice of using three years of lower division courses and only one year of upper division courses (3+1 verses 2+2) erode the academic integrity and quality of the baccalaureate degree.

CS 3.14 (Representation of accreditation status) – How does a two-year institution that is accredited to offer course work leading to an Associate degree (but not higher) assure that it is in compliance with these two standards when it offers 90 credit hours to its students and when the baccalaureate degree granting institution uses 30 of those credits as upper division work (these are two separate but related issues)?

CS 3.4.6 (Practices for awarding credit) – How do the involved institutions demonstrate that they are employing sound and acceptable practices for determining the level of credit awarded for courses? What is the fundamental difference between lower and upper division course credits?

CR 2.7.3 (General education) and CS 3.5.1 (College level competencies) – How will the baccalaureate degree granting institution assure that graduates have earned a minimum of 30 appropriate credits of general education and that graduates have been assessed to determine the extent to which they have attained the specified competencies?

CS 3.4.4 (Acceptance of academic credit), FR 4.2 (Program curriculum) and CR 2.7.2 (Program content) – How will the baccalaureate degree granting institution assure that transfer credits have learning outcomes comparable to the institution’s own degree programs and that its degree programs embody a coherent course of study?

Have any of you been involved in discussions about 3+ 1 programs? I hope the economy doesn't drive us to blindly jumping into arrangements like this. On the other hand, some community colleges are offering bachelor degrees so at least a 3+1 offers some senior college experience.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The ACHE 2009

Great Plains Region Conference. Here speaking at the conference is Chancellor Glen D. Johnson Jr., the chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. Johnson leads a state system comprised of 25 state colleges and universities, 10 constituent agencies, one higher education center and independent colleges and universities coordinated with the state system.

Tonight after happy hour we're off to Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill in Bricktown.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spent a delightful morning

Touring the College of Continuing Education and the College of Liberal Studies and the rest of the local University of Oklahoma Outreach offices. I say local because OU Outreach extends across the state, country, and world. This is a wonderful operation--sort of like continuing education heaven. The stuff most of us must farm out--marketing, printing, instructional technology--OU does in house. And every staff member I've met is talented, friendly, and proud of their work.


and information from the 2008 ACHE Conference has been posted. Yes, even the Hoe Down.
View the entire 2008 Nashville photo album!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What are the signs that the economy

is improving?

One is the Pasta Indicator...
Pasta is a cheap meal, and sales are shooting through the roof — rising 22% in 2008 after years of tepid growth, according to Nielsen Co. Much of the increase is due to commodities related price hikes. But the trend still means that pasta is claiming a larger portion of the average grocery basket. When pasta sales begin to slow you'll know times are getting better. One way to track the trend is by watching financial results at American Italian Pasta Co. (ticker: AIPC), which is North America's largest pasta producer. The stock has soared from $5 to $26 in the past 12 months while just about everything else got hammered. Revenue surged 43% to $569 million in 2008 — after declining or growing only modestly the previous three years. When this counter cyclical pasta packer hits a rough patch it could signal better times for the rest of us.
See the whole list on at

Monday, February 9, 2009

On the road

To visit Oklahoma, the Home Office, and the ACHE Great Plains regional conference.
I'll be back in the office on February 16. I hope to post a few pictures from the meeting.

Jennifer Copeland will have a

Live Blog at the 2009 UCEA Marketing Seminar

Jennifer writes:

Starting Wednesday, February 11, I will be blogging live from the 2009 UCEA Marketing Seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona. Be on the lookout for posts on the following:
Marketing in the Age of the Internet
Innovation All-Stars - Research Driven Best Practices for Increasing lead Volume and Quality
New Ideas to Manage Continuing Education Outreach and Manage Success
Inquiry Management 2.0
and more!

Posts will start on Wednesday and run through mid-day Friday. Check out later this week for the latest from Scottsdale.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


94th Annual Conference
Boston, MA
April 1 - 4, 2009
The theme of the 2009 UCEA Conference is Transcending Boundaries. This conference brings together some 800 continuing higher education professionals for sessions addressing broad topics of interest to the profession as well as special sessions and workshops focused on particular areas of interest, including distance learning, quality assurance, leadership, marketing, programming for older adults, and research...
I'll be one of the 800 this year, representing ACHE as its president. It's been a long time since I've been to a UCEA national, although I've attended a regional meeting every once in a while.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A year ago today

Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, was hit by a tornado.
They're rebuilding but still have work to do. See what some of the rebuilt areas look like at See my original posting at

Today is

National Wear Red Day. When Americans nationwide wear red on the first Friday in February to show their support for women's heart disease awareness.

The Heart Truth created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. The Red Dress reminds women of the need to protect their heart health, and inspires them to take action. National Wear Red Day promotes the symbol and provides an opportunity for everyone to unite in this life-saving awareness movement by showing off a favorite red dress, shirt, or tie, or Red Dress Pin.

Join the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease; American Heart Association; and many other groups to promote National Wear Red Day in your local community. Visit The Heart Truth's National Wear Red Day toolkit to get free information, ideas, and materials to help share this special day.

It's too late for ACHE, but TACHE will meet there in 2010

Nashville's Best Places to Kiss.

The Frist Museum, pictured here, is Number 1. See the whole photo essay at the at

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It never hurts

To keep your vita current.
Remember, your contacts from organizations like ACHE and UCEA can help you land a new job even in this poor economy. Here's some other advice I ran across from PeopleShark at

This one is for jobseekers. ... But I get frustrated every time I hear so-called career coaches dole out bad advice on TV or in a blog. Here are a few insider tips. Warning: some of it is not upbeat and hopeful.

1. Never pay anyone to distribute your resume. Those services are scams.

2. This is not the time to switch careers. There are too many good, experienced folks on the market. Few companies are interested in hiring newbies, when seasoned professionals are available.

3. Write a cover letter. A well-written cover letter customized for the job. It may make no difference at all. But it may make all the difference in the world.

4. Don't send your resume via snail mail. It makes you look old-school, limits the exposure you will get and poses a compliance problem. When no one is looking, a recruiting coordinator will throw it away, because he/she doesn't know where to file it, or how to scan it.

5. The "black hole" demystified: Most mid- to large- companies (and many small companies) keep resumes in a massive database. They also subscribe to the job board databases (and pay a hefty price to do so). Recruiters and sometimes hiring managers search these databases when there aren't any top internal or referral candidates. Timing, keyword relevance and the number of similar resumes determines whether or not your resume shows up in search results.

6. Recruiters and managers do read resumes. They do so very quickly. The BS sensors are turned on "high". Tell me your company, your title, your responsibilities and what you accomplished in chronological order. Do not tell me about your personality traits. Everyone is a "team player" on a resume. Telling me so doesn't make you stand out. Makes you sound too eager to please. I want to know if you achieved your sales goals and in what context. I want to know if you shipped the widget on time. Don't tell me you were 100% perfect. I won't believe you.

7. Get someone you know and respect to refer you. This is your best shot.

8. If you don't have a real network of people you know, have lunch or drinks with, who know your work, you're up a creek without a paddle. This is why relationships are important. If you lose your job, and suddenly turn to LinkedIn or Facebook to build your network, you're in trouble. If you lose your job and you're already in my LinkedIn or Facebook, I will try to help you.

9. Are you an A-player? Be honest. If you're not, it will take longer to find a job.

10. Your demeanor, what you wear, not slurping over lunch, your attitude when answering interview questions, all of these superficial things are important. Get several tell-it-like-it-is people in your life to offer critiques. Listen to them.

11. You may be forced to take a pay cut or title cut. Suck it up. It's a buyer's market.

12. So you see a job and the job description matches you to a T. You never get called. WTF? Because job descriptions are often recycled and don't tell the real story. Fact of life.

13. Keep at it. Persistence (but not stalking) pays off. Here are a few ways I have found and hired candidates:
*Candidate was referred by a senior person
*Candidate was referred by a junior person
*Searched a candidate database, looked at the first 20 results, selected the best of the bunch for interviews, hired the person who seemed most likely to succeed
*Searched the Internet for speakers, bloggers, committee members, people quoted in articles, etc.
*Searched social networking sites, especially LinkedIn
*Advertised on job boards, websites, association sites, etc.
*Met the candidate at a conference or event, on a plane, in line at the Target at a cocktail party, found the business card at the bottom of my purse months later
*Yelled over the cube for help from a colleague
*Opened my email and the perfect candidate just happened to be there

As you can see, hiring can be a totally random process. That's because of the volume. There are many, many people and few jobs. Then you add criteria and assessments and team environment and salary and it becomes a crapshoot, with similar odds. If you play craps long enough, though, you will win. You will.

ACHE South

is seeking awards nominations for outstanding credit and non-credit programs, distinguished continuing higher education professionals, scholarships, and research grants.
Recipients will be recognized at the 2009 South ACHE Spring Conference in historic downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana on April 28, 2009.

For more information, awards descriptions, and nomination forms please visit our website at

The application deadline is February 27, 2009.

If you have questions, please contact Dan Connell at or (606) 783-2005.

iPhone Update

I was recently able to push my Outlook email automatically to my iPhone, instead of having to access it through the web. I am a happy man! My wife said I handle my iPhone so much she expects me to morph into some Borg-like creature with it permanently attached to my hand. I should be so lucky!
Resistance is futile. The assimilation will not be televised.
Posted from my iPhone.

More on the Manning


From Inside Higher Ed's A Tale of Two Chancellors at

The backlash from the Manning memo is illustrative of the potential perils of pushing for transformative change on the accelerated timelines that a faltering economy may well demand. In the rush to make hard decisions that have been put off for years or decades, higher education leaders risk losing the very support they’ll need to get just about anything done. If history is any indicator, consensus building matters, and matters greatly.

Manning clearly tried to guard against appearing to act unilaterally, noting in his memo that his aim was “to provide a beginning point with thought-provoking ideas, not to set forth a definitive, prescriptive list.” But the suggestions felt prescriptive to many, and ideas like creating a system with “even greater use of adjuncts” were quickly dismissed as cost-cutting measures that would ultimately deteriorate quality. As might be expected, valuable constituencies grew adversarial.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

They don't want

The Interweb.
This would make going to college nearly impossible for these folks. Every course here requires web usage to some degree. I've said for a couple of years that students without computers will have a difficult time pursuing a degree--especially if they're off campus and cannot use campus computer labs. I don't see how they could do it...

About one in four American adults don't use the Internet. And many of them couldn't care less about getting online.

A report last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that although price is a barrier for dial-up users in switching to broadband, one-third of those without a Net connection simply aren't interested in e-mailing or exploring the Web.

PEW SURVEY: From business to fun, is generation gap closing online?

The findings come amid the settling-in of an Internet-focused White House, one that pushed an $819 billion economic stimulus package that contains billions for broadband expansion. (It passed last week in the House.) Still, the new Pew numbers suggest that a noteworthy digital divide lingers in the USA.

"There certainly are those people who have no interest in getting connected to the Internet," says Ben Scott, policy director for Free Press, which runs the Internet for Everyone initiative in Washington. "That does not mean that they won't one day."

About 35% of dial-up customers — whose connection speeds are typically a fraction of broadband users' — said cost was a problem. About one in five dial-up customers said nothing could get them to upgrade.

John Horrigan, the report's author, says low-income and older Americans account for most of the non-users, whose median age is 61. He says that even if they find no need for logging on today, they might in the future — particularly if, say, a doctor wanted to share medical records.

Eventually, Horrigan says, the digital divisions will make it "more costly to be excluded."

Pew says the surveys, conducted in May 2008 and December 2007, also show that pockets of the population that don't use the Internet would need more than just a connection — they would also need training and hands-on support.

"In moments of technological change, whether it be electricity or television, a certain segment of the population seems to hold out and say, 'I'm just fine with my outhouse' or 'Who needs a phone line?' " Scott says. "That doesn't mean that those people are misinformed or misguided. It's just the natural progression of technology adoption."

Still, Internet use and high-speed adoption have swelled during the past several years, with "substantial growth in the broadband marketplace," a report from the U.S. Commerce Department said last month.

About 190 million Americans used the Internet in December, according to comScore, which tracks such data. Worldwide, that number grew to more than 1 billion.

The Manning Model

The soon-to-be-retired TBR Chancellor, caused quite a ruckus with his suggestions for changes to the system. We should have a new chancellor by the end of March. This is what he or she will be stepping into--from The Chronicle for Higher Education at (Still, I think there has been something of an over-reaction since I haven't seen any serious discussion of the strengths or weaknesses of the proposal. Let's give him a fair trial before we hang him...)

Charles W. Manning . . .issued a "new business model" for the system's six universities and 13 community colleges. The plan, which faculty members had never seen before Mr. Manning unveiled it, asks the Tennessee board to consider sweeping changes. The reason? The system is facing close to a 20-percent reduction in state funds over two years.

Mr. Manning's plan would offer cut-rate tuition to undergraduates who agreed to take courses online "with no direct support from a faculty member." The proposal calls for full-time professors to assume an "oversight" role as the university employs more adjuncts and asks advanced students to start teaching beginning students. It says that, in general, the university system should consider "abandoning some of the ingrained structures that restrict our approach."

Mr. Manning asked professors and administrators to submit "a summary of your thoughts" about the proposal, which he said he hoped the board would act on by this spring.

When faculty members saw the plan they balked. "I agree that this economic situation is difficult, and we may need to be thinking outside the box," says Alfred Lutz, president of the Faculty Senate at Middle Tennessee State University. "But our thinking should not be beyond the pale." Mr. Lutz says the chancellor's proposal strikes at the heart of the way higher education has traditionally operated, and its language about "abandoning ingrained structures" poses a threat to academic freedom and tenure. "I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this," he adds.

In an interview, Mr. Manning acknowledged that the faculty's reaction to his plan had been "extreme." He now says the plan "was never intended to be brought to the board for action." But the board has already begun discussing it, and the chancellor said he wanted faculty members and others to comment by March 1.

"This is fantastically quick turnaround for a system as large as ours," says Nathan Garner, an associate professor of computers and information systems at Cleveland State Community College, in Tennessee.

Snow day

Today! No school. No university. No community college. 7 degrees outside.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time to recognize ACHE's best


ACHE is taking submissions for the following awards:

~Special Recognition
~Meritorious Service
~Crystal Marketing
~Distinguished Program: Credit and Non-Credit
~Creative Use of Technology
~Older Adult Model Program
~Outstanding Services to Underserved Population Program

Please visit the ACHE Awards page for more information on these awards and how to submit the outstanding work someone you know is doing:

Deadline extended until Friday

Submission Guidelines
Proposed sessions should be submitted electronically as Word (.doc) or Rich Text (.rtf) documents by Monday, February 9, 2009. You should be notified on the status of your submission by April 15, 2009.

Please e-mail your proposal to:
Roger Maclean
Executive Director,
Office of Educational Outreach
Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville, Il 62026
Phone: 618-650-3217

For additional information, please view the ACHE 2009 site at:

Today is the day

The music died.

Feb. 3, 1959, the day an airplane carrying Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson), and Ritchie Valens crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn't take one more step.

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
Don Maclean, American Pie, 1971.

Some community colleges offering free classes

for laid off workers.

A small but growing number of government agencies and colleges are rushing to help laid-off workers afford retraining and college courses by offering them free or greatly discounted tuition. Most of the new scholarships for the jobless are being given by community colleges. Many of them cover only a handful of specific job-related programs. And, generally, the financial aid doesn't cover extra costs of college, including fees, textbooks, or transportation. What's more, many are being offered for a limited time so interested students should call their local community colleges as soon as possible.

But the tuition grants are a godsend for people like Frank DeCristina, 52, of Bloomington, Minn., who lost a job supervising computer assembly late last year. If he weren't taking two free business courses at nearby Normandale Community College, "I'd be pretty depressed ... It's pretty bleak" to be sending out several résumés a day, get almost no response, and still having to pay big heating bills in the single-digit Minnesota winter, he says. His classes—especially the one on salesmanship—are giving him new hope and ideas about landing his next job. He's already started redesigning his résumé to focuson the industries he's targeting.

Margaret Lee, president of Oakton Community College in Illinois, says she decided to offer free career certification courses to the local jobless because "we wanted to have some good news to tell people." The good news could spread. Lee has already gotten calls from colleagues at other community colleges asking for advice on how to set up similar free programs in their communities.

Kim Clark writing in See the list of instititions at

Nothing in the South, so far. There may be opportunities for continuing education to use grant funds to offer re-training. The federal stimulus package contains some money for adult education--or at least it did.

Taking a more enlightened view,

Some States Propose Plans to Spare Colleges From Cut

Even as they face major shortfalls in their budgets, some governors have proposed plans to spare public universities from the worst of the cuts.

Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri, a Democrat, announced a plan that would continue to provide the state's colleges with the same amount of state aid they received for this fiscal year — $807.9-million — as long as university officials vowed not to raise tuition or fees for the 2009-10 academic year. Missouri faces a budget deficit of about $342-million this year, and that could rise to as high as $1-billion in 2010.

Maryland's governor, Martin O'Malley, also a Democrat, proposed to fully finance the state's university system despite a predicted shortfall of almost $2-billion for the next fiscal year. Governor O'Malley's proposed budget would cut state spending over all by 1.3 percent from the current year, yet he set aside enough money to allow the university system to freeze tuition at current levels for the fourth year in a row.

In Oregon universities would benefit from a $175-million economic-stimulus plan that state officials have proposed to try to create jobs. The officials have recommended financing maintenance projects to combat unemployment, and higher education was expected to receive $88-million from the package for repairs.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Budget woes next door

In South Carolina:

S.C. college and universities are scouring their budgets as they prepare for another cut in their state money that could be 8 percent — or even bigger.

This year’s cut would come on top of last year’s reductions. Those cuts, totaling 17.7 percent, were the largest drop in state support for higher education in the nation, according to the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University.

For S.C. students and their families, the budget cuts could mean tuition increases. Those increases could result in fewer South Carolinians attending college. That could lower their earning potential and hurt the economy of South Carolina.

School officials say they fear that more budget cuts could force them to make additional reductions to programs and staff.

“From this point on, additional deep cuts will likely result in lost jobs and damage to the core educational mission,” College of Charleston president P. George Benson told state lawmakers during a House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting last week.

Benson told lawmakers about his college’s record number of applicants, its high national ranking and the high SAT scores of incoming freshmen.

But, he added, the college will be hurt by more budget cuts. “We are teetering on the edge of a downward spiral to mediocrity.”

Wayne Washington, at