Showing posts from March, 2009

Continuing education and

the NFL. Football players don't care about school?
Try telling that to the 95 NFL players now availing themselves of the league's continuing education program at some of the finest business schools throughout the country. Given an opportunity to learn from top teachers and professionals, they network, take copious notes and make plans for the years that will follow their playing days.Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, went back for a second helping. He took classes at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 2005 and spent part of the first week of March at Stanford University. "We went from 8 a.m. to 7:30 at night," Brees says. "There's a lot of reading, case studies on companies, and then the heads of those companies come in and we discuss the decisions they made and why they made them."About 220 players take part in a variety of programs each year, finishing their undergraduate degrees, beginning work on advanced degrees or…

New Mid-Atlantic chair

Jim Duffy conducts the business meeting. Tim Stanford is chair-elect and program chair (responsible for the next regional meeting program) and Jackie Martin is assistant program chair. Louise Chagnon is treasurer, and Renee Cook is secretary. Tim gathered input on what to do about next year's regional meeting in light of tight budgets and a tough economy, but the consensus was to hold the meeting. One comment was memorable--"If we cancel the meeting and no one makes us, we're saying that the meeting was not that important to begin with. And that's not true."

I may have mentioned that

From the Woods

And the ACHE Mid-Atlantic spring meeting.
Here's former President Jerry Hickerson entertaining at the Coffee House. I almost have no cell phone reception for iVanna. I had to march up a hill to call home. I'm feeling a bit disconnected. Untethered. I talk first thing in the morning at 8:00 tomorrow.

On this date

in 1886. Co-cola was invented.
There is only one soft drink in the South, and it's Coke. It's not Coca-Cola, it's Coke. Southerners have never heard of Pepsi, Mr. Pibb, Tab, or other carbonated beverages; and even if they have, they still call them Coke. To the Northerners visiting the South, it is a dead giveaway that "you ain't from around here" if you order a "pop," a "soda," or a "soft drink" in a restaurant. It is also bad form to insist that those are the correct terms for a carbonated beverage while in the South. Shootings have occurred over less. * From How to Speak Southern Part I at!816CDF33909F982F!556.entry

Off to the ACHE Mid-Atlantic

Regional Conference in West Virginia.
I decided to take my new convertible to The Woods Resort in Hedgesville, West Virginia. I will be speaking on the state of ACHE and learning from the speakers and concurrent sessions. I'll post a couple of pictures.

Who do you list

As a reference?

Rhode Island strip club holding job fair
Business is so good at the Foxy Lady in Providence, Rhode Island, that owners need to hire 25 to 30 more people. And not just dancers. Club co-owner Tom Tsoumas said he also needs managers, waitresses and other behind-the-scenes workers.
Tsoumas said because of the poor economy he is expecting to be shocked by the quality of applicants on Saturday. The state's unemployment rate is 10.3 percent. Read the story at WPRI's Web site.
And don't forget about Continuing Education for Exotic Dancers

More on what the stimulous means

To higher education in Tennessee. From

A similar pattern emerged this week in Tennessee, which is due about $970 million from the state stabilization fund. The budget proposed by Gov. Phil Bredesen would give Tennessee's public colleges $470 million of the $770 million fund that is supposed to be spent on filling holes in education budgets -- $100 million to replace cuts the institutions suffered in the current year, and another $370 million to make up for expected reductions in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 fiscal years. In addition, the budget would give public colleges another $136 million -- money the state itself must produce to fulfill the stimulus legislation's mandate that states continue to spend at least as much on higher education as they did in 2006, says Russ Deaton, director of fiscal policy & facilities analysis at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. (That "maintenance of effort" provision, as it is called, has put the stimulus …

Giving academic conferences

A bad name. Margaret Brooks, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, describes "Red Flag" conferences, meetings that sound like a combination presentation-mill and vanity press. What a brazen concept. Someone could establish a conference, solicit presentations and charge the presenters a conference fee, collect the money, hold the meeting on the cheap (or I suppose, not at all), then publish the conference proceedings. I had never come across this. Brooks writes:

I found one group that sends out a series of garish, unsolicited e-mail messages to publicize its Las Vegas conference and associated journals. Everyone who goes to the meeting must pay a presenter fee, even merely to attend. In 2008 that minimum fee was $325. The name of the journal in which presenters will publish their papers is already preprinted on the online conference registration form. Participants are instructed not to e-mail the organizers before the event for any reason, even if they have a schedulin…

As a concession to the recession

We're forgoing Dollywood season tickets this year. I'm sure to lose some of my redneck cred, but Kathy and I are a little too busy to get down there often enough to make it worth our while.
One sure sign of springtime in the Smoky Mountains is Dollywood's opening day which is Saturday, March 28. Mark your calendars and make plans to enjoy Dollywood's 24th season. Explore the best in award-winning rides, live entertainment, authentic crafters and fantastic food plus four of the South's largest festivals, beginning with Festival of Nations (March 28 - April 27). It's the Smoky Mountain family adventure, and you'll only find it at Dollywood!

Joe's continuing education blog

Today is National Joe Day.

When : Always March 27th
National Joe Day is a chance to change your name, if only for today. Many people do not like their given name. They wish they could change it. A few actually do. On National Joe Day, it is perfectly okay to have everyone call you "Joe". Why Joe, and not Bob or Mike or Radcliffe? Simply, because everyone likes the name Joe.

This is referred to as a "National" day. However, we did not find any congressional records or presidential proclamations for this day.

Call for

Proposals. You are invited to submit a proposal to present a concurrent session or roundtable discussion for the 2009 AAACE Conference on a topic of concern and/or interest to practitioners, managers, teachers, faculty, advisors and/or students of adult and continuing education programs. The Conference, Adult Education: Together We Can!, will be held November 3 - 6, 2009 at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.

Proposals should be submitted online: Click Here for full information and application. The deadline for proposal submissions is Friday, May 15, 2009.

The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education is dedicated to the belief that lifelong learning contributes to human fulfillment and positive social change. We envision a more humane world made possible by the diverse practice of our members in helping adults acquire the knowledge, skills and values needed to lead productive and satisfying lives. Through its annual conference, adult educators can become mo…

Early college

It seems counter intuitive, but there is a growing trend to combine high school and lower division college work as a way to keep students from dropping out. From

Among the innovations . . . is the Early College High School Initiative, coordinated by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative, begun in 2002, recognizes more than 250 “early college high schools” in 24 states and the District of Columbia. These schools encourage their students -- currently more than 100,000 annually -- to graduate with not only a diploma but also an associate degree or two-year’s worth of college credit. Practitioners argue that they can improve the outcomes of their at-risk and underrepresented students by challenging -- instead of simply remediating -- them. In the process, these schools hope to boost their graduation rates, prepare their students for high-skill jobs and reduce the amount of time it takes them to earn a college degree. w…

Employees like to be treated well

But they also like to be used well.

Willis M. Watt, writing in Faculty Focus, lists the Top 10 Traits of an Effective Academic Leader . Here is the list. For more detail on the items, follow the link above.
Number 10: Follow procedures and adhere to policies.
Number 9: Submit to the authority of others.
Number 8: Take risks.
Number 7: Commitment.
Number 6: Be proactive.
Number 5: Expect conflict.
Number 4: Tell the truth, but with compassion.
Number 3: Listen.
Number 2: Love people.
Number 1: Check your attitude.

I may have mentioned that

I love my iPhone. My wife calls her Ivanna. Or iVanna might be the proper spelling. Now you can use it to help the environment. Salon has Go Green: 8 iPhone Apps to Help Save the Planet. Here are three of them:

Go Green (free) Displays a tip each time you launch it. That’s it. I came across a useful tip or two that I hadn’t considered before.
Green Tips (free) Displays a tip at launch. Hit the refresh button for more tips (though there are not many to cycle through). * The Green Lemur (free) By far the most full-featured of these three. Search, add tips to favorites, or browse by category. I did find some interesting ideas here as well.

Don't rock the boat, baby

The East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology will present an Executive Briefing at the Millennium Centre on Thursday, April 2. After registration starting at 7:30 a.m., the program begins at 8:15 a.m. and will feature an address by Capt. Michael Abrashoff, speaking on “It’s Your Ship.” A question-answer session follows the presentation.

When he was the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet, Abrashoff was selected to take charge of the U.S.S. Benfold, which was experiencing exceptionally low morale and unacceptably high turnover in personnel.

Abrashoff transformed the Benfold into the best ship in the U.S. Navy. His philosophy empowered his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of running the ship so that it excelled in efficiency and readiness.

To achieve his goals, Abrashoff developed a system he calls GrassRoots Leadership to improve conditions on the ship. Commitment and cohesion replaced command and contr…

Turn off your work computer

When you go home.
Even during an economic meltdown, when companies are scrambling to cut costs, businesses are wasting billions of dollars by leaving their PCs on at night. U.S. organizations squander $2.8 billion a year to power unused machines, emitting about 20 million tons of carbon dioxide — roughly the equivalent of 4 million cars — according to a report to be released Wednesday. About half of 108 million office PCs in the USA are not properly shut down at night, says the 2009 PC Energy Report, produced by 1E, an energy-management software company, and the non-profit Alliance to Save Energy. The report analyzed workplace PC power consumption in the USA, United Kingdom and Germany. Wastefulness does not just affect a company's bottom line, it creates environmental concerns, the report says. If the world's 1 billion PCs were powered down just one night, it would save enough energy to light the Empire State Building — inside and out — for over 30 years, it says. "Worker…

Lumina Special Report

on college attainment available. I've written in ACHE's Five Minutes about how continuing education can help meet the President's goals for higher education. The Lumina Foundation has a new report available through the link below that outlines their goals to increase college attainment:
Higher education has been elevated as a key topic on the national agenda in the last few months, spurred on in part by President Barack Obama's commitment to make American higher education "the best in the world." The President's goal aligns with Lumina Foundation's own 'Big Goal' to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality, two- or four-year college degrees and credentials from 39 percent to 60 percent by 2025. A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education provides a detailed explanation of Lumina's goal, along with state-by-state degree-attainment data and statistics.

ETSU's Alliance

for Continued Learning started its spring schedule today. Meeting in the Carnegie Library on the V.A. Campus, ACL President Rich Hayward, a retired policeman from Florida, is seen here welcoming the participants in this learning in retirement organization. From 10:00-12:00, the Jonesborough Novelty Band performed in their Habitat for Humanity Concert. The ACL schedule of events can be found at

The digital generation

The second annual Norton Online Living Report offers a dizzying cornucopia of facts and figures on the online habits of 9,000 people in a dozen countries that include the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, China, Japan, India and Brazil. But one conclusion is inescapable: There is a major disconnect between young and old.
The digital divide is most apparent in the two groups' attitudes toward the Internet. Six in 10 parents say that kids spend too much time online. And their kids spend nearly twice as much time online as their parents realize -- 39 hours a month. There, kids socialize, use Twitter-like services (23%) and make friends, according to Symantec, which commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the survey.
On one point, old and young agree: Seven in 10 adults say the Internet has improved their relationships, and nearly all of them use webcams and social networking. On average, they spend about five hours a week socializing online. They also go online to flirt, rekindle …

ACHE South

2009 Conference

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
April 27-29, 2009

New: Tuesday only Day rate of $115.00 and a Grad student rate of $75.00

For the Conference Program, Click Here

To register for the conference, visit
For more information:
Thad Laiche

Today is

National Goof Off Day.
Too bad it's Sunday. When : Always March 22nd
Now here's a day that just about everybody can relax and enjoy. It's a day to do anything and everything.....except what you're supposed to do today.
Assuming you won't get in trouble at work or school, go ahead and play some golf, or play video games all day. Spend extra time surfing the net. Go out and spend the day window shopping with your favorite friend. Or, just read sit down and read a book or watch Tv. This day is set aside for you to do anything you enjoy doing.
A few years ago, a survey was performed to identify the most popular activity for goofing off. The top activity was playing video games. Who conducted the survey? surprise. It kinda makes you wonder just who might have had the brainstorm to create this day......hmmmm.

Today is the Spring

Or Vernal Equinox. You can celebrate by standing an egg on its end. You can also do that to celebrate Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and my birthday. Says
Bad Astronomy: Only on the day of the Vernal (spring) Equinox, can you stand a raw egg on its end. Good Astronomy: If you can stand a raw egg on end, it has nothing to do with the Equinox.
And from Spring officially arrives for everyone, including astronomers on March 20. The word "Equinox" literally means "equal night". It's all about the balance of light - not the myth of balancing eggs. On [Friday], both the day and night are the same length. But what's so special about it? It's a date that most of us recognize as symbolic of changing seasons. North of Earth's equator we welcome Spring, while people south of the equator are gearing up for the cooler temperatures of Autumn.These all too brief, but monumental moments in Earth-time, owe their sig…

How do we increase the number of adults

who have bachelor's degrees? Currently only about 25% of adults in this country have a baccaleaute degree. Start with low hanging fruit. ACE details some program in its recent CenterPoint site:

Reaching "ready adults" who have some college credits but lack a degree is one strategy that states are employing. The Non-Traditional No More project of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education helps states identify their ready-adult population and establish policies and services to reach out to them and help them finish. Recent grant recipients include the states of Arkansas, Colorado, and Nevada. Increasing the number of GED® credential recipients and two-year college students transitioning to four-year institutions is a focus of Kentucky's Double the Numbers Initiative, which involves postsecondary institutions in every region of the state.

Providing academic credit for prior learning experiences is a practice postsecondary institutions are employing to bring re…

New Faculty Majority Day

Is coming up next month. We should take note. After all, we use a lot of part-time faculty in continuing higher education. It's often not our choice--in credit programs the department chair typically hires faculty--but we rely on them nonetheless.

New Faculty Majority Day: Thursday, April 30, 2009
This day is dedicated to raising the visibility of all faculty teaching outside of the tenure system.

For more information, contact Bob Samuels:

I may have mentioned that

I love my iPhone. It keeps getting better. Apple said Tuesday that it is adding more than 100 new features for its iPhone and iPod touch via a software update due out later this year.

In Pictures: 10 Fun iPhone Games
In Pictures: What Your Future Phone Will Do
In Pictures: Seven Cool Features On The New iPhone
In Pictures: Seven Cool New iPhone Applications
In Pictures: Your Virtual Presence Is Requested
In Pictures: The Greenest-And Least Green-Electronics
The tweaks include many features iPhone users have long lobbied for. They include the ability to cut, copy and paste text; rotate from portrait mode to landscape mode in key applications; and the ability to send photos, locations and audio information over the cellphone network via MMS.
Other tweaks include Spotlight, a single application that allows users to search for information in Apple's mail, calendar and music applications; shake the phone to shuffle between songs; and record and share voice mail.
Apple discussed the updates as …

You can't just throw online programs

Out there to save money. A recent survey shows that community colleges are growing online courses but not programs. From

Online education is an area where community colleges appear to be responding quickly to student demand . . .but not necessarily with complete programs. The survey found that more than 71 percent of community colleges are reporting increases in online enrollments of 5 percent or greater. But there is a gap between enrollment in individual courses vs. in online degree or certificate programs. The survey found that 40 percent of community colleges were reporting online course enrollment increases of 5-10 percent, and 31 percent were reporting gains of greater than 10 percent. But when asked about increases in online degree programs, only 20 percent reported increases in the 5-10 percent range and 10 percent in the greater than 10 percent range. The numbers reflect the fact that it is much easier for a college to add a course online than an entire pro…

My new ride is

A new Mazda Miata, which is Italian for midlife crisis. No jokes please. I'm years away from midlife...

I hope there's still room

At the inn this fall. picks ten winners in the recession. Public higher education is number six, just ahead of Chocolate at #7 and just behind Resume Editing at #5.

10 Winners in the Recession
6. Public Universities: The recession may be hurting public colleges' budgets, but it's boosting their appeal to students. The Connecticut State University System expects an 11 percent rise in applications this year, while Oregon State University's applications have grown by 12 percent. And in a record-breaking year at the University of Texas, numbers are up 6 percent.

We love our guns in Tennessee.

In fact, we're trying to pass laws to allow them in state parks and bars. I have no problem with people packing, and I'm reminded of Dolly Parton reminiscing that she never went to the big city (Knoxville) without bringing her pistol. But the increase in guns in the public schools should trouble even the NRA. Nashville Metro Schools are leading the state... Ten guns have been confiscated by police from students, relatives and trespassers since school began in August. In the past five year school years, 47 weapons have been confiscated on school grounds. That number is part of what put Metro at the top of the list of major offenses among Tennessee school districts in the past five years, according to records from the Tennessee Department of Education. The state requires victimization reports anytime a school has an aggravated assault, an aggravated sexual battery, a dangerous weapon recovered on campus, or an assault against a teacher or authority figure. There have been 70 tot…

Happy Saint Patrick's Day


Tips on hybrid courses

Or blended learning. The following tips on improving blended learning course design come from Ike Shibley, a Penn State Professor. The entire seminar is available for purchase on a CD from Faculty Focus at Shibley's ten tips are summarized in a recent email as the following:
1. Start with Learning Goals: Your first thought should not be “what portions of my course can I move online?” But rather, “What do I want my students to learn, and how will I know they’ve learned it?”
2. Create Ways for Students to Learn Before Class: Assign work that addresses the lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy prior to class so students have some exposure to the topic.
3. Create Ways for Students to Learn In Class: When you’re face-to-face, build on the knowledge gained through pre-class assignments with more active learning exercises in class.
4. Create Ways for Students to Learn After Class: Activities include short writing assignments, homework problems, and online quizzes – anyt…

A wine adventure

From continuing education at Texas Christian University. Hmmm. Obviously not a Baptist-affiliated university. After all, drinking could lead to dancing...
The 2009 Napa and Sonoma Wine Trip (October 7 - 11) will open for registration on Tuesday, March 24th at 8:30am.
Only 41 registrations will be accepted, and it is on a first-come, first-served basis. The 2008 trip sold-out in 27 hours! Individuals registered for double-occupancy rooms must register at the same time. A $300 non-refundable deposit is required for registration. For more information on registration and trip information, please go to our website link listed below or contact our office at 817-257-7132.

Don't cripple us

When we're needed the most. From The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education's The Challenge to States: Preserving College Access and Affordability in a Time of Crisis at The world has changed in ways that render the traditional patterns of response to economic downturns—reducing college access and
affordability—counterproductive to the economic well-being of the states and the nation. With rising unemployment, the need and demand for higher education will only increase as displaced workers seek new skills. When the nation and the world emerge from this recession, the competitive knowledge-based global economy will continue to demand more college-educated workers. As 78 million baby boomers—the largest and best-educated generation in the nation’s history—prepare for retirement, those who will replace them in the workforce must equal and exceed their levels of education and skills. Yet large proportions of our young and growing populati…

Didn't we just have

A Friday the 13th?

Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.[2]Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales,[6] and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new pro…

Flirting will get you nowhere

I'll give you 30 minutes to stop. And you really don't like Star Trek?
Lie, Cheat, Flirt. What People Will Do to Keep a JobGiven the state of the economy, perhaps it comes as no big shock that 13% of the survey respondents said they would outright lie or exaggerate to keep their jobs — even though such behavior is forbidden by many company ethics policies. About 2% said they would take credit for someone else's work or flirt with the boss to get ahead, and 4% would lie about having common interests with their boss to deepen their bond with a superior.,8599,1884573,00.html

On this date

In 1912. The Girl Scouts were founded.

Survey says

Higher Ed Can Still Make a Difference

From Dian Schaffhauser at at

While the majority of Americans see their country falling behind other nations economically, they also believe the nation can improve its standing with more college degrees, according to a new survey from Kaplan. The Kaplan University Education Insights Survey found 83 percent of adults in the United States agree that the country is falling behind, with seven in 10 saying that the nation can improve its standing if more people earn college degrees.

"America has the talent to be competitive," said Peter Smith, senior vice president for Academic Strategies "If we can help close the ‘degree gap'--by making higher education more accessible to more Americans--we will stop wasting our talent, increase our global competitiveness, and get more people into sustainable, higher paying careers."

This finding comes on the heels of a study by the National Center for …

Don't worry

Be happy.

If you’re interested in how happy and healthy people are in your area, go to the State and Congressional Resource for Well-Being home page. There, you can find well-being index numbers broken down by Congressional district level. You’ll discover, for example, that California’s 14th district, located between San Francisco to San Jose, has the highest well-being index level. That district, considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley, also happens to have the second highest median family income of all 435 districts — and the first highest median male income of any district in the country. Catherine Rampell at

Mrs. Bill Gates

Has suffered enough. Set her free, Bill, set her free...

"Every now and then I look at my friends and say, 'Ooh, I wouldn't mind having that iPhone'." Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft mogul Bill, discussing the fact that Apple gadgets are banned from the couple's mansion.

Still accepting registrations

The Redesign Alliance
Third Annual Conference March 22 - 24, 2009 The Rosen Centre Hotel Orlando, FL
The Third Annual Redesign Alliance Conference will bring together faculty, administrators and staff from institutions and companies who have been engaged in large-scale course redesign and will create a place where new colleagues can learn about the benefits of course redesign and how to implement course redesign on their home campuses. The meeting is open to the higher education community.
Registration: Click here to register.
Hotel Reservation: Call 1-800-204-7234 to make a reservation.
A block of rooms have been reserved at the Rosen Centre Hotel at the discounted single/double room rate of $175/night. To receive the discounted rate you must identify yourself as an attendee of "The Redesign Alliance" Conference.
Conference fee: Register before February 19 and save $100: member $300; non-member $650 Registrations received after February 19: member $400; non-member $750

My wife put this Dilbert strip

On our refrigerator this morning. And it has Internet access. Is she even listening?

Higher ed in Tennessee

Dodges a bullet.

Gov. Phil Bredesen says Tennessee's share of the federal stimulus money should avoid double-digit tuition increases at public colleges and universities.The Democratic governor said at a news conference in Nashville Monday that the $4.5 billion in federal funds that will flow through the state will reduce the severity of budget cuts. He said he plans to lay out details of his budget proposal to lawmakers later this month.Bredesen said the federal money will defer some of the more drastic cuts that had been considered at state schools.He said higher education has "dodged a bullet" over the short term.

Do you want your professional organization to advocate public policy?

Public policy? (This originally appeared in Five Minutes with ACHE )

Does ACHE Speak for You?

You recently received an e-mail from me encouraging you to contact members of Congress in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. On the surface, this seems like a simple request. But the decision to contact you was actually quite complicated, and I want to tell you why. I also hope to get your feedback on the issue of advocacy as a whole.

First a little background. During the Board of Directors meeting at the Nashville Annual Conference and Meeting, a longtime ACHE member asked us to work in support of changing the Internal Revenue Service regulation on tax benefits for employer-provided educational assistance. Currently, $5,250 of the benefits can be excluded from counting as taxable income.

As the member explained, "Most employers in our area limit the total of tuition reimbursement to a figure of between $5000 and $5250. We understood tha…

Tennessee has the country's

Manliest city--Nashville. And thanks to Combos snacks for their support (I love Combos!). From the Associated Press:
Nashville came out on top in the study conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces. Mars Snackfood US and its Combos snack food brand commissioned the study. The ranking is part of the Combos launch of its Ultimate Man Zone Sweepstakes, which awards prize packages to upgrade men's tailgating, grilling, home theater or gaming zones."New York City finished last out of 50 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. City rankingsCities lost ranking points for "emasculating" characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines. Nashville grabbed the top spot in the ranking thanks to its high number of NASCAR enthusiasts, popularity of hunting and fishing, and concentration of barbecue restaurants. Rounding out the top five were: Charlotte, N.C.; Oklahoma City; Cincinnati; and Denver.

Top producers of minority associate degrees

Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, Tennessee was ranked 71 out of the top 100 minority associate degree producers in 2007. Southwest had 476 graduates, an increase of 22% over the previous year. Southwest was the only Tennessee institution listed. The top producer was Miami Wade College, and the top community college was Broward Community College followed by El Paso Community College.

The microlecture

And distance learning. From David Sheih, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
The microlectures, which last from 60 seconds to three minutes, do little more than introduce key terms and concepts. In an online class on academic reading, for example, students learning about word construction listen to an 80-second microlecture that introduces word parts and explains that they have a bearing on the meaning of words, said Michelle Meeks, a reading instructor. Students then use an online dictionary to look up a list of 25 prefixes, suffixes, and word roots, writing up their findings and discussing them on a message board. Sandra Tracy, dean of the school of extended learning at San Juan, said she initially doubted that microlectures could be effective — they just didn't seem long enough. "At first it's one of the most unnatural things," Ms. Tracy said. "But it's an intriguing concept — it gets you away from the idea of a talking head; it's more like s…

And you think English majors

Have a hard time finding a job. From UB Buzz at

Here's some fun higher ed news from across the pond. Liverpool Hope University has launched a new Master of Arts degree in The Beatles, being touted as the first qualification of its kind. The course, ''The Beatles, Popular Music and Society," will consist of four 12-week modules, involving specific issues relating to the Fab Four, plus a dissertation. "There have been over 8,000 books about The Beatles but there has never been [a] serious academic study and that is what we are going to address," explains Mike Brocken, a senior lecturer in Popular Music at the university, in a media release.Brocken cites the university, located in the band's hometown, is the appropriate place to offer such a study. He adds that officials at the British institution expect the MA degree will attract a great deal of attention in the UK and abroad. Inquires about the course are alrea…

Read ebooks

On your iPhone. The iKindle application is now available for the iPhone. I may have mentioned that I love my iPhone, but I'm not sure about reading books on it. My eyes may be a little too old...

Anyway, James Kendrick reports that the iKindle Rocks! on at I am also very impressed with the speed of Kindle on the iPhone. Things just happen instantly, which goes a long way to providing an enjoyable reading experience. Even changing the font size (five choices available) happens instantly, with no visible re-pagination needed. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere is the inability to read ebooks on the iKindle in landscape. It’s not something I do ordinarily but I know some folks like reading on the iPhone in landscape to provide a wider view. You can’t do that here; it’s portrait-only for now, I’m afraid.

The recession

And Number 2. From Punk Rock Human Resources at

I have a very good friend who once confessed to me that he only poops at work. Apparently, it is the American dream to get paid to poop. Why poop at home if someone is paying you to work? Might as well poop on the clock.

I thought this was crazy — until I started to hate my job and took this methodology on a test run. I only pooped at work. If I traveled, I waited until I arrived at the office or off-site meeting to poop. Even though I am an advocate of pooping when nature calls — and I take Benefiber to keep my plumbing in good shape — I starting holding my urge to poop until I arrived at the office. Out at lunch and need to poop? Too bad. It had to wait until I am back in the building. I am making this confession because your company is spending six figures to implement a Gallup employee survey and you are not asking a critical question: Where do you poop? Believe me, the answer is both a valid an…

Georgia eliminating community colleges

and merging them with its technical college system?
Perhaps no state has been hit harder than Georgia, which is considering what officials acknowledge are extreme measures to close a $2.2 billion budget deficit. Among them is a proposal to eliminate the state’s eight community colleges, essentially merging them into the technical college system. If that happens, they would be subsumed into a system that itself is contracting rapidly: 13 of the state’s technical colleges are scheduled to merge into six in July. The proposal is under study by a working group appointed by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, members of which have tried to reassure Georgians that students would be able to transfer among institutions easily. But students and educators say the proposal, if enacted, would be a body blow to poor students and students in rural communities. “A lot of people would probably be scared to leave home to go to a university, whereas here, you may drive 30 minutes to an hou…