Friday, May 29, 2009

The Nominations and Elections Committee of the American Association for Adult & Continuing Education (AAACE)

is requesting nominations for the election of President Elect.

The duties of the President Elect, as stated in the AAACE Policy and Procedures Manual (Revised 2008), are:
General coordinator of the AAACE annual conference for 2010.
Facilitate the association's purposes through an ongoing strategic planning process.
Serve on the Fiscal Planning Committee that develops the annual budget.
Appoints the chairperson for subsequent year (2010) of various committees including, Awards, Nominations. and Elections, Legislation, New Publications, and Conferences.
Presides at Board of Directors and Executive Committee meetings in the absence of the President.
The term of office for President-Elect is one year, then continues for a one-year term as President, and a one-year term as Past-President

The criteria for selecting the nominees for President Elect are:
Be a member of AAACE for a minimum of five (5) years as documented by the national office. Membership does not have to be consecutive, but must be a total of five or more years.
Have served in a leadership position in AAACE, and/or a commission, unit or affiliate organization. This will be demonstrated by a current resume submitted at the time of nomination.

For inquiries and questions about the positions, contact Dr. Carroll Londoner at , or telephone 804-740-0731.

A community college English professor

Talks about his job and his students in Why Community-College Teachers Don't Need a Ph.D.
My job: Carry a 5/5/4 teaching load with three preps, sometimes four. Be ready to get three different courses into shape on four days' notice. Be ready to teach composition, Homer, research skills, Mark Twain, a little public speaking, Dante, computer skills, T.S. Eliot, grammar, Hemingway, critical reading, Voltaire, business writing, Emily Dickinson, basic prosody, Flannery O'Connor, basic literary analysis, and whatever else needs teaching, off the top of my head if necessary (and yes, I've taught all of those in one academic year). Advise 50 students, 48 of whom are the first in their families to set foot on a college campus, 35 of whom are the first to finish high school. Serve on committees. Tutor students. Do whatever community-relations work the boss needs me to do. Endure enough professional-development activities to keep my superiors happy. Take care of all my own typing and most of my copying. Help students deal with the bureaucracy and our baffling computer systems.

Sometimes I counsel students in nonacademic matters. Sometimes I just listen to them. Some say things like "I'm just a dumb redneck" and "I know I'm too stupid to do this." They apologize for asking for help. The mothers — and half of my students are mothers — never tire of talking about kids and their problems. Sometimes I wonder how the hell a 20-year-old single woman who has a baby and cancer manages to get out of bed in the morning, much less come to class. I've held babies so that students could rummage in diaper bags to find the essays they wanted me to critique.
I resemble that remark. As a continuing educator, I often say that I've carried a lot of textbooks to students out in the hinterlands. And that's something the traditional professor, or even staff member, wouldn't think of doing. Of course that dates me--that was before textbooks could be ordered online and delivered to your home.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ms Zombie June

2009. "Where beauty eats brains."

The presidential search at Northeast State

has been whittled down to four finalists. My conspiracy-minded friends there think the candidate from UT will get the job because of the way she was inserted into the search. Maybe. Moving from a research university to a community college is a rare event. I've known Steve Campbell a long time and he's a good man. Here are the four:

Steven R. Campbell, vice president for business affairs at Northeast State.

R. Foster Chason, vice president for student affairs and athletic director at Walters State Community College in Morristown.

Janice Hoots Gilliam, vice president of student development services at Haywood Community College in Clyde, N.C.

Katherine High, chief of staff for the University of Tennessee system in Knoxville.

Search for new president at Northeast State Technical Community College narrowed

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The ETSU staff picnic

was held last Thursday to one of its largest crowds. Our own Barbara Charlton, leaving the School of Continuing Studies after over 20 years, received one of the staff awards. No one could be more deserving. Here's a couple of pictures. Barbara is second from the right on the bottom row, and I'm not sure why the young lady was dressed like this except to exhibit school spirit.

To no one's surprise

The Recession is increasing the use of part-time faculty and support staff. At ETSU, we had a voluntary buy out program with the goal of replacing only 1/3 of those leaving with full-time positions. Some of the gaps will be covering with temporary staff. The budget situation leaves little choice. And Dr. Manning's ideas keep coming up, presented with no real analysis.

"The big picture is that all institutions are employing more and more 'casual' employees," said Marc Bousquet, author of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation. "The crisis legitimates the option of bringing on more nontenured faculty."

Hard numbers are not yet available, but experts say the recent trend cuts across public universities and community colleges. Two-year institutions across the country--long at the forefront of the "perma-temp" trend in higher education--are replacing full-time faculty with part-timers or adjuncts to meet budget goals. The University of Connecticut, facing a 10 percent cut in state funding and a 22 percent drop in its endowment, is looking at hiring adjunct faculty to shore up course offerings and keep student-faculty ratios low. In Tennessee, Charles Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, proposed what he called an expansive "new business model" for state colleges: in addition to hiring more adjunct professors and putting full-time staff in "advisory roles," he suggested that students get tuition breaks for taking courses online and that advanced students take on some
of the teaching load.

You go

Grrrl. has listed 15 Words You Won't Believe They Added to the Dictionary. Besides Grrl (n. a young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality.), my favorites include:

Friday, May 22, 2009

The siren call of the iPhone


Here’s a brief overview of what we’re supposedly getting from Apple in June:

32GB and 16GB storage (up from the current 16GB and 8GB models)

$199 and $299 price points to be maintained

3.2-megapixel camera (up from the current 2-megapixel camera)

Video-recording and editing capabilities

Ability to send a picture and video via MMS

Discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device

OLED screen

1.5 times the battery life of the current models

Double the RAM and processing power

Built-in FM transmitter

Apple logo on back will glow

Rubber-tread backing

Sleeker design

Built-in compass

The camera, GPS, compass and Google map combined will identify photos and inform about photo locations

Turn-by-turn directions

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Free JMH webinar

Fast Solutions in a Slow Economy!

Free Webinar this Wednesday - Don't Miss Out!
"Reduce Costs: Find the right balance between direct mail and email"

Begins Wednesday, May 27th at 1:00pm

Register at

Reduce Costs!
Find the right balance between direct mail and email.
Presenter: Jacob Ensign, Business Analyst

In this webinar, you will learn to:

*Identify differences between direct and email marketing
*Develop smarter brochure mailing lists that increase your return
*Determine how many brochures you should send for each mailing
*Make the most of your marketing budget

Using historical data and a new approach to analyzing mailing lists, you can increase the ROI of your direct mailing lists, simultaneously reducing costs and increasing enrollments. We will show you how to use existing data to determine how many brochures to print and who to mail them to. This method is guaranteed to reach your best prospective students and the students most likely to return. It will also free up marketing dollars for less expensive marketing channels by trimming the “brochure mailing fat.”

ACHE leader Jeffery Alejandro

Is co-presenting a webinar on online faculty evaluation.

Coming July 15, When Online Faculty Receive Low Evaluations: Guidelines & Advice will deliver practical, effective strategies for dealing with low faculty evaluations. Led by Dr. Kay Dennis of Park University and Dr. Jeffery Alejandro of East Carolina University, it will provide you with keen insight on issues including:

How virtual-classroom best practices differ from traditional-classroom ones.

Which instructor traits and habits contribute most to online success.

How to create and administer an effective instructor training program.

How to establish and clearly communicate quality standards.

Methods you can share with faculty to enhance student engagement, motivation and satisfaction.
Selecting and using constructive performance-appraisal tools.

Advocating for the infrastructure and support needed to enhance faculty performance.

And more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Only two weeks left

to the deadline for submissions for the 2009 ACHE Crystal Marketing Award. So please submit your or your team's entry today!

The Crystal Marketing Award recognizes those institutions that achieve significant results from marketing communications tools to support any of their various continuing education programs. The strategic approach, overall quality, and results achieved are important criteria in determining the winner. A first-place award will be presented to the single entry that exemplifies the most creative and outstanding uses of marketing, either of a multi-faceted campaign or a single initiative. A number of honorable mentions may also be cited.

Examples of marketing communications tools that could bring the Crystal Marketing Award to your organization include (but are not limited to): website design, electronic tools, print advertising campaign, broadcast spots (radio, television or Internet), publications, public relations events or a social networking campaign. The marketing/promotional initiative can include elements of print publication, radio and television, media relations, public relations activities, electronic communications, internal magazines, newsletters and similar tools. Institutions and members may submit multiple entries. However, each entry must be in support of a continuing education program or activity, not of other branches of the school.

For further information, submission guidelines and our nomination form, go to:
Submissions are due June 1, 2009.

We just had a meeting to discuss

Using Facebook and Twitter for university communication. It's a new world with new questions. For example, if I write a letter to the editor, I'm not allowed to list my university's name because I can't speak for the university. But if I Twitter about my job, it's clear where I work. There is certainly a loss of institutional control.

Here's a excerpt from Michael Staton's Engaging in the Social Web, Social Media, and the Facebook Phenomenon from
Engaging in social media is now a business imperative for universities. Even the skeptics are being converted because these outlets are responsible for a huge portion of the content and the traffic of the internet. According to Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research, three in four adults now use social tools on the internet to communicate. Younger audiences are simply living a good portion of their lives online. Katie Lynk Wartman, co-author of Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture (Routledge, 2008), explains "students now live their lives in hybrid environments." Most of that time is on the social web and in social media, particularly in the giant Facebook. When describing student usage patterns, Wartman points out "Facebook is their directory. It's the first place they go to find social information. You can think of a student union and how it acts as the hub of student activity and connection. Well, there's a new student union, and it's online."
Read the whole thing at "Engaging in the Social Web, Social Media, and the Facebook Phenomenon,"

Utah dissolves online consortium

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Utah Disbands E-Learning Consortium

It was supposed to help students "swirl," or take classes from different colleges at the same time.Most Utah public-college students apparently prefer their distance education straight.By next month, the Utah System of Higher Education plans to disband its Utah eLearning Connection. The decade-old consortium didn't grant degrees, but it served as a central broker where students could access online courses offered by 10 public colleges in Utah through one application and one registration site.

Sound familiar? The latest victim of recession budget cut carnage is closing as a related program in Texas also faces steep budget cuts. Analysts predicted the recession would be a "bumpy economic ride" for such consortia in a recent paper, "The Funding of Academic Collaborations," prepared by the technology cooperative WCET and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

The Utah consortium was "a fairly small operation," said Gary Wixom, assistant commissioner for academic affairs at the Utah System of Higher Education."As the Legislature and others looked at what needed to be done," he said, "it didn't have a high enough priority to withstand the reduction in funding."

With an annual budget of about $250,000, the Utah eLearning Connection served just 200 students. An announcement on the program's Web site says the consortium will work with its partners to "transition students to your designated home colleges." Three people are being laid off, Mr. Wixom said.

Two ideas animated the consortium. One was to help rural students gain access to college. The other was to make it easy for students to take courses at more than one campus simultaneously, says Charles A. Wight, associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah."I think they thought that market was larger than it really turned out to be," Mr. Wight says. -

Marc Parry

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Call for proposals


Two Calls for Paper Proposals

Following are important calls for paper proposals from the Commission for International Adult Education, and the publishers of Adult Learning:

Call for Paper Proposals - Commission for International Adult Education (CIAE), 2009 International Pre-Conference, Sunday evening, November 1 (7:00 pm), through early afternoon, Tuesday, November 3, 2009, Marriott Renaissance Hotel, Cleveland, Ohio. The deadline for submitting the proposed papers is July 15, 2009. For complete information and to complete the proposal form, Click Here.

Call for Article Proposals - Adult Learning Special Student Edition. Adult Learning is AAACE’s practitioner oriented journal, providing articles that approach practice issues with a problem solving emphasis. Current students studying Adult Education at the undergraduate or graduate level are invited to contribute an article to the peer-reviewed student edition to be available at the AAACE Conference in Cleveland, Ohio this November. The deadline for the submission of articles is August 30, 2009. For complete information and to contact Dr. Gabriele Strohschen, Editor of the Student Edition, Click Here.

The TACHE West

Regional Conference is on Friday. The deadline has been extended. Contact Melissa Lebonte at for more information.

West Tennessee Conference
Dyersburg State Community College
1510 Lake Road, Dyersburg TN 38024

9:40 – 9:55 am
DSCC Welcome
Dr. Mary Ann Sellars, Vice President
Dyersburg State Community College

9:55 – 10:00 am
Opening Comments and Introductions
Patricia Burnette, Junior Regional Director
Southwest Tennessee Community College

10:00 – 10:45 am
Superintendent Perspective
Mr. Myles Wilson
Fayette County Superintendent of Schools

10:45 – 10:55 am

11:00 – 11:45 am
The Power of Entrepreneurial Thinking
Dr. Jamie Frakes, Director
Small Business Development Center
Dyersburg State Community College

11:45 – 1:00 pm
TACHE News and Lunch
Melissa LaBonte, WTACHE Senior Regional Director
Lunch catered by Mary Lou’s Bits and Bytes

1:00 - 2:00 pm
How to WIN new students
Mr. Jim Russell, Executive Director
Tennessee Career Centers and Workforce Investment Network &
Lori Marberry, Youth Coordinator
Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board

2:00 – 2:15 pm

2:15 - 3:00 pm
Election Results and Adjourn

Another from

the Duh file. Part-time evening law schools meet the needs of working students. What else? Food saves starving man. Online classes use Internet. Winter brings cold weather....

Manz's dilemma captures the time-crunched lifestyle of the part-time law student. Weekdays after work, Manz heads to Fordham's Manhattan campus overlooking Lincoln Center for hours of legal instruction. He reads case after case whenever he gets the time, which often sucks up his weekends. And he endures the occasional jab from colleagues ("Where's your lunchbox?") when he straps on his backpack to do it all again. "The people I've met at Fordham night school are such unbelievably high-energy people," says Manz, 28, who started law school while working in business but now works as a law clerk at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. "A lot of them work in careers where it is very unusual to leave work at 5. I'm always the first one out of the office, but it comes at a price."

Part-time programs are available at scores of law schools across the country. Our rankings list 87 of them; one, Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., even has more part-time students than full-time. Not all areas of the nation are equally well served, although if you live near Washington, D.C., you'll find no shortage; five of the six top-ranked schools are within 40 miles of the U.S. Capitol. Typically, part-time programs are four years instead of three; some give students the flexibility to switch into their full-time programs.

What these schools have in common is that they're tailored for the working professional. "These are people who are out there working and can't afford just to leave their jobs and go to full-time law school," explains Andrew Cornblatt, dean of admissions for Georgetown University Law Center. Many choose this route for financial reasons; others, like Manz, want to keep current with their industry. "What I can tell you is, I have learned so much outside the classroom in the last four years in addition to what I learned inside the classroom [that] to give that up definitely would have hampered my development as a professional," Manz says.

Friday, May 15, 2009

ACHE New England

Upcoming regional meeting.

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Thursday, June 4, 2009

9:00AM – 9:30AM
Welcoming and Orientation

Ron Sundberg – Chair, ACHE New England
Susan Nesbitt - Director, Center for Continuing Studies, University of Connecticut
Ellen Griffin – Chair Elect, ACHE New England, Southern New Hampshire University

9:30AM – 10:45AM
Engagement Marketing for Adult Learners
Raymond Guillette and James McCormack, Bridgewater State College

11:00AM – 12:15AM
Cultivating New Populations: Taking Advantage of the Economic Downturn
Karen Goodman and Linda Richelson, Southern New Hampshire University

12:30PM – 1:30PM
Luncheon and Business Meeting
Guest Speaker : Richard Osborn - President, Association for Continuing Higher Education

1:45PM – 2:15PM

Keynote Address
Bill McClure – Director, Continuing and Professional Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

2:30PM – 3:45PM
Lead Generation for an Online Program on a Tight Budget
Jay C. Lacke, Becker College

3:45PM – 4:30PM
Best Practices Celebratory Reception and Roundtable Discussions

4:30 PM – End of Conference

Contact: Mary V. Feathers:
Phone: (860) 486-5713

In case you're wondering about going to the new Star Trek movie

Time lists the 10 biggest tech failures

I do miss my XM Radio, which came with one of my cars a few years ago. I dropped the service in a prophylactic budget cut.

I refer to it as my threeway

at work. I upgraded and got two monitors. I love it! I can work much easier with open documents and don't have to keep opening and closing items. Everyone I talked to who has two monitors (and most of the folks at the Tennessee Board of Regents do) told me they would never go back to one.

Budget cuts here

at ETSU. It'll be interesting to see how we accommodate all of our printing needs now that the press is leaving. I wonder if we'll outsource to a company that will move to campus...

East Tennessee State to close University Press

Casualties of budget cutbacks at East Tennessee State University will include the in-house printing operation and the 11 people who run it.

The last day for University Press will be Aug. 31.

The Johnson City Press reported that employees were told on Tuesday their jobs would be eliminated.

Closing the print shop was recommended by a task force appointed by ETSU President Paul Stanton.

A campus-wide buyout offer was made in March and some jobs are expected to open up.

David Collins, ETSU vice president for finance and administration, said displaced press workers would be given a chance to apply for any that will be filled.

ASAP sent me an email listing the 5

Important aspects of registration. I though I'd share them with you, since they're good review. It's always good at this time of year to reflect back and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are your program offerings timely and are they popular amongst the demographic groups that you serve? Do you have access to information on what classes are popular across your demographic groups? Background Information on what classes have been taken by your target audience offer intelligence and paves the way for you to plan your future offerings and resources proactively to ensure the most success by offering follow-on courses or related courses.
  2. Did you reach out to all your potential customers? Your program offerings are items for sale and your registrants are your buyers. Unless someone registers for your program offerings, the revenue will not come in. The most important first step to take in ensuring a successful level of registrations is to make sure that you reach out to your target audience. There are many ways to do this. The traditional way is via brochures and catalogues that are either mailed to the homes or obtainable from your front office. However, these are expensive and wasteful options, and often catalogues are tossed out as junk without being read. The more cost-effective and environmentally friendly method is via the internet, in the form of mass emails or web-marketing initiatives.
  3. Are all your program offerings in one easily accessible place, 24 hours a day, everyday? When your marketing programs successfully draw customers to your website, You need to have all your programs displayed in a logical, organized, enticing and user-friendly manner ?
  4. Can a customer who wants to instantly register for your programs do so without your intervention? Research shows that customers generally gravitate to the easiest and most convenient route to purchase. When a customer comes to your website, their typical visit lasts about 30 seconds. You need to capture that opportunity window and make a sale when the customer is ready to buy. Are you ready to serve your customers when they are interested and ready to buy? Requiring your customers to download a form, fill it out and then fax it in is the traditional method of doing business. This is arcane and will soon become a thing of the past. In today's digital age, where convenience and instant gratification are key, such requirements are barriers to entry and put your organization at a disadvantage to your competition.
  5. Once your customers have registered for a class, do you have a means of tracking them and communicating with them? It is harder to acquire a new customer than to retain one. In order to retain a customer and keep them coming back to register for more classes, it is important to maintain an ongoing communication channel with your customers,and keep them updated on current and upcoming events and program offerings.

To view a 3-minute system overview of ASAP, please click here to get to the video clip located at

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Only ACHE members can access it

But the ACHE website has a new community home page. It's pretty slick and is going to get even slicker. Here's a peek:

You have reached the ACHE Community! We have created a number of tools to help you connect to other members, learn about upcoming events, manage your online profile and much more! Maximize the value of your membership by using this section to get the information you need. Everyone will reap the rewards of a strong, dynamic community of members that readily share and exchange information and other resources for their mutual benefit.Additional features will also be added soon, so be sure to check back frequently to see those developments as well.

Using The Community

• Update your member profile today!
One of the problems many member-based organizations face is keeping current information about their members. We want to know about you and stay in touch. Click here to update your profile.

• Read the Journal of Continuing Higher Education online!
As a member, you can read thought-provoking and timely articles on adult continuing education topics via online access to the Journal through our publisher, Taylor and Francis Group.

• Share thoughts and ideas!
Our Bulletin Board is a dynamic forum for day-to-day questions and ideas posted by ACHE members. Share yours today!
• Find out about regional and national events!
Check to see what events are happening in your region or nationally and get registered for many of these events through our Event List and Calendar!

• Find and contact other ACHE members!
Use View All Members, Advanced Search, and Simple Search to search and filter our directory to locate and contact other ACHE members!

Exam week

Nashville considering a separate adult

high school. The reports that Nashville may add adult high school. It's aimed, though, for younger adults and wouldn't seem to help those older students needing a GED or diploma.

Metro Nashville Schools is considering a $1.1 million adult high school that would place dropouts and struggling students on a fast track to earning a high school diploma.

The school would open next year and serve hundreds of students with morning, afternoon and evening classes. Students age 17-21 who have completed 10th grade could earn two course credits every eight weeks at two locations, tentatively planned for the Old Cockrill Building and Opry Mills Mall Career Center.

The schools would replace some of the adult education services being offered at Cohn Adult High School, said school officials, and therefore would not be an additional cost.

"This is a no-frills education," Register said. "This is get a diploma and graduate from high school for students who can't do a traditional high school routine."

Students would be responsible for their own transportation and would have to earn the same number of credits and pass the same exams as traditional students, according to school officials. The board members will have to OK the school before it can open next year.

Today is

Dance like a chicken day.

Dance Like a Chicken Day is for those who like to do the "Chicken Dance". All 'ya gotta do is dance like a chicken. While any dance song will do, there's no dance like the Chicken dance.

It's tradition at every wedding reception to play and to dance the Chicken Dance. It gets people of all ages up dancing and mingling. It puts a smile on everyone's face. The Chicken Dance is not limited to weddings. It is also played at other social events where there is a band and dancing.

The only problem is that events are way too [in]frequent for a chicken dance lover. Therefore, today exists to provide you with another opportunity to dance like a chicken. So, don't pass up this priceless opportunity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Work + Leisure =

Weisure. I blame the blackberries....

(CNN) -- The line dividing work and leisure time is blurring right before our eyes, says one expert, and it's creating a phenomenon called "weisure time."

Many who haven't already abandoned the 9-to-5 workday for the 24-7 life of weisure probably will do so soon, according to New York University sociologist Dalton Conley, who coined the word. It's the next step in the evolving work-life culture.

"Increasingly, it's not clear what constitutes work and what constitutes fun," be it "in an office or at home or out in the street," Conley said. Activities and social spaces are becoming work-play ambiguous, he says, as "all of these worlds that were once very distinct are now blurring together."

Free webinar

From DemandEngine:

Enrolling in a Recession: Strategies to Reduce Costs and Improve Results
May 19, 2009
4pm EST

Register now.
With an uncertain job market, students across age groups are actively seeking educational opportunities and retraining, waiting out the economic storm in safe harbor. At the same time, enrollment managers are being asked to do more with less, fundamentally changing their traditional marketing paradigm. How do you succeed in these challenging times?

In this free webinar, learn how to shift your enrollment marketing playbook to produce better results at a lower cost. Discover ways to better utilize online, offline, and social approaches and measurements to increase engagement, nurture relationships, and yield measurable results. This session is a must of university leaders looking to maximize their limited resources.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So just how old

is the typical community college student anyway? In Confessions of a Community College Dean, the blogger wonders if public statements about the "average" age of community college student is skewed to present those students as quite different from those who are actually attending:

Sometimes, Facts Actually Matter

A month or two ago, I got into a colloquy on the blog about average ages of community college students.

An alert reader send me an email exchange he had with the AACC on this exact question. The AACC Fast Facts page for 2009 has the following to say about average ages of cc students:

Average age: >>>>>29
21 or younger: >>>>47%
22 to 39: >>>>>>>>40%

Obviously, that can't be right. If 47 percent of cc students are 21 or younger, how could the 50th percentile be 29? The numbers don't make sense.

In the email exchange, Kent Phillippe, Senior Research Associate at the AACC , noted that the '29' figure is both several years behind the rest of the data, and a 'mean,' rather than a median. In other words, it's pulled upward by a small number of much older students. As he put it, the median age is “probably around 22 or 23.”

The word “probably” is revealing. It suggests that they haven't bothered to figure it out.

If the 47th percentile is 21, I'll go out on a big ol' limb and postulate that the median age is 22. This squares with the numbers at my own college, where the mean age is 25 but the median is 21.

This may seem pedantic, but it's actually kind of important. If the public image of community colleges is based on thirty-year-olds returning to college after getting laid off, but the reality of community colleges is an increasing influx of traditional-aged students with the goal of transfer, then we'd expect to see policy interventions that don't mesh with the facts on the ground. We'd expect to see, for example, lots of federal grant programs geared towards quick-fix job training for displaced workers, when the real growth is in 18 year olds who struggled in high school math or whose parents don't have the money for Faraway State. We'd expect to see policymakers focus on short-term certificate programs, when the real need is in remedial math.

Monday, May 11, 2009

You're only as old

As you think you are. Or at least to the extent that you believe in the stereotypes of aging. Time reports on a study that shows that older participants did worse on exams when reminded about the diminished cognitive ability of senior citizens. This might be useful to keep in mind for our continuing education programs aimed at underserved populations as well as learning-in-retirement programs--groups which may be sensitive to stereotyping.

How Stereotypes Defeat the Stereotyped

Research psychologists at North Carolina State University in Raleigh recruited 103 volunteers, ages 60 to 82, to perform simple arithmetic and recall tests. To conduct the experiment, the psychologists manipulated about half of the participants into feeling stereotype threat by telling them that the entire purpose of the tests was "to examine aging effects on memory." That statement was designed to prime the participants' worry that their advanced age would affect their performance. To emphasize the issue of elderliness, the researchers also asked this group of participants to write down their age before beginning the tests.

By contrast, participants in the control group were told that the tests had been constructed to correct for any biases that might be associated with age, a white lie imparted to damp down stereotype threat. These participants weren't asked to write down their age.

Those in the first group performed significantly worse on the memory tests than those whose internal stereotypes hadn't been triggered. Interestingly, people between the ages of 60 and 70 were far more susceptible to stereotype threat than those aged 71 to 82. The authors theorize, persuasively, that people who have just entered their seventh decade are more sensitive to stereotype threat than those who have already been considered old for a decade.

Friday, May 8, 2009

At our annual graduation

Picnic. We have a picnic following Commencement rehearsal for graduates of our Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Applied Science, B.S. in Professional Studies, B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of Professional Studies, and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies programs. It grows each year and this time we had more than fifty folks attending. Sometimes, it's the first opportunity for online students to meet their advisors face-to-face. Lots of hugs and proud family members at this event.

They call me


"Just think, I am Dr. Dolly!" she said Friday after receiving an honorary doctorate of humane and musical letters from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Always joking about her buxom figure, she added, "So when people say something about 'Double-D,' they will be thinking of something entirely different."

So when all the newspapers close

these grads will be able to access with their iPhones.

Missouri Journalism School Requires iPhone/iPod Touch

University of Missouri's School of Journalism will require incoming freshmen to have an iPod Touch or an iPhone, the Missourian reports. The devices are being pushed as a learning device to encourage students to rewatch lectures. "Lectures are the worst possible learning format," said an associate dean at the journalism school. "There's been some research done that shows if a student can hear that lecture a second time, they retain three times as much of that lecture."

Students who have no desire to buy an iPod Touch ($229) or an iPhone ($199) will not actually be penalized for not having one, and school officials say the devices are listed as "required" only to make the purchase of one more eligible for financial aid. Students will also be able to view lectures on their computers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In iPhone heaven

There's always service, a battery charge lasts forever, and all the applications are free. And no one makes fun of your ABBA playlist.

My iPhone, iVanna, is in a better place today after she refused to take a charge or connect to iTunes for the past 12 hours. She fought the good fight but her battery just gave out. (Sadly, in her waning minutes, even though she had no service, she would still alert me to meetings and new emails.)
I got the 3G iPhone. I was thinking of upgrading anyway, so now I've replaced her with a trophy phone.

The Class of Katrina

Is now graduating. ACHE colleague Terrence Fitzmorris gave a moving account of the aftermath of Katrina at both the ACHE South regional conference and the Annual Conference and Meeting in L.A. I got to spend a few hours in New Orleans on my trip to the ACHE South Conference in Baton Rouge. Stopped by the Cafe Du Monde. The Big Easy is still a long way from recovered.

Matt Limback, a Tulane student from Chesterfield, Mich., who had to flee less than 24 hours after arriving on campus, said he never gave any thought to transferring to another school. When he returned, the university dispatched him and others to the hardest-hit areas of the city to help with the cleanup.

“It was pretty dismal when on the first couple of weekends back they send you down to the Ninth Ward, where you're going through houses where you find dead animals, dead pets,” Limback said.

But he and other graduating students said they were grateful to have been part of the city’s healing.

Are you Twittering

I was in a meeting this week where a faculty member who teaches in our off-campus cohorts recommended using Twittering as a communication tool for his students. He thought it would be a good way of sharing information on school closings, teacher running late, etc. I wonder how many continuing education programs have incorporated Twitter?

The Chronicle of Higher Education had a recent testimonial on Twitter:

Mr. Parry's first instinct was that Twittering would encourage students to speak in sound bites and self-obsess. But now he calls it "the single thing that changed the classroom dynamics more than anything I've ever done teaching."

It's about birds

But I had to follow this Newsweek link because...well, just in case.
After all, it could be a Star Trek reference.

Promiscuous Blue Tits

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Former TACHE President

and ACHE member Barbara Belzer died today. Barbara, a Tennessee leader in continuing higher education, worked at the University of Memphis. The last time I spent much time with her, we were having a drink at the Applebee's in Dickson, Tennessee, following the first day of Regents Online Continuing Education meeting. Several years ago, when she was TACHE President-Elect, her conference was at Gatlinburg; she and I worked closely together to secure Brenda White Wright as a keynoter and the ETSU Bluegrass Band as entertainment. I'll miss her.

Proprietary school company buys Daniel Webster College


The giant college company that runs ITT Technical Institutes across the country has announced that it was buying the financially struggling Daniel Webster College, in New Hampshire.

With the purchase, ITT Educational Service will add a regionally accredited institution to its roster, a move that could better position it to compete for students who want degrees from institutions with that level of accreditation. Daniel Webster is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The sale would allow the college to carry out plans to extend its bachelor's and master's programs via distance education. "We have the vision," Mr. Myers said in an interview. "They have the money."

Daniel Webster, founded in 1965, was carrying debts of about $28-million, which ITT will assume. The company's willingness to preserve Daniel Webster's name and to continue to allow faculty members to control the curriculum was an attractive part of its offer, Mr. Myers said.

The purchase of the residential college, which enrolls about 1,200 students and occupies a 52-acre campus in Nashua, N.H., and another location in Portsmouth, N.H., is a departure for ITT. Generally it has grown by developing its own brand-name branches. The company now operates 105 campuses in 37 states.

ITT did not disclose the purchase price but noted that the amount would have no material effect on the company's financial performance. In the first quarter of 2009, ITT reported revenues of $288-million and said its total enrollment, of 65,620 as of March 31, was 21 percent higher than it was a year ago.

Happy Cinco de Mayo