Monday, August 31, 2009

Growing your online programs

will require growing resources.

Going For Distance

“As a faculty member, when you’re teaching online, suddenly you have to be teaching 24/7,” said Samuel Smith, president emeritus of Washington State University. “…It’s more difficult, but the students get more contact.”

Given the extra work, more than 60 percent of faculty see inadequate compensation as a barrier to the further development of online courses. “If these rates of participation among faculty are going to continue to grow, institutions will have do a better job acknowledging the additional time and effort on the part of the faculty member,” said Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group and the survey’s lead researcher. For some, that might mean that their online work should figure into tenure and promotion decisions. For others, “acknowledgment” might equate to some extra cash in their paycheck.

This is not a new request -- nor is the fact that it takes longer to develop and administer a college course online a new revelation. The American Federation of Teachers report on guidelines for good practice in distance education acknowledges that it takes “anywhere from 66 to 500 percent longer” to prepare an online course than a face-to-face one, and “additional compensation should be provided to faculty to meet the extensive time commitments of distance education.”

The Four-Day Workweek Is Winning Fans

The Four-Day Workweek Is Winning Fans

Faculty Senate President

Dr. David Champouillon leads the audience at the 2009 Faculty Convocation in a chorus of "What a Wonderful School."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What the AASCU is recommending

on the Swine Flu. While our continuing education students tend to be off-campus and/or online, the flu could still impact our operations.

Recommendations for Faculty, Staff, and Administration

Faculty, staff, and administration suffering from H1N1 should follow the same self-isolation guidelines as students.
Faculty are encouraged not to require doctors’ notes to excuse absences from class due to illness; administrators are encouraged not to require doctors’ notes to excuse absences from work. This is due to the CDC’s anticipation that students and employees may not be able to obtain doctors’ notes in a timely manner after recovering from H1N1 or other illnesses due to the burden on health care facilities.

Facilities administrators should ensure facilities—particularly dormitories, classrooms, elevators, dining halls, and other high-contact areas—are cleaned frequently.

Administrators and faculty are encouraged to develop distance learning strategies, flextime and remote working arrangements, and other methods of limiting face-to-face contact while maintaining operations in the event of a campus outbreak of H1N1 flu. Such planning should include course coverage for faculty and continuity of business operations for administrators and staff.

Administrators are encouraged to tailor leave policies to accommodate the possibility of a widespread outbreak of H1N1 on campus and/or further CDC recommendations for campus closures/event cancellations in case of a major outbreak.

Senior administrators are encouraged to discuss setting up vaccination clinics on campus when vaccine supplies for H1N1 become available (at this writing, estimated to be October 2009).

AASCU will continue to monitor the situation closely and advise members as the fall flu season develops.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Cluetrain

Manifesto. I must confess that I hadn't heard of this until now. I've been investigating online marketing and social networks and discovered this at


Some advice on email marketing

From doteduguru. The link at the end will take you to the entire piece. Here's just one section, albeit an important one:

Keep in Mind How Subscribers Encounter Email

When I attended the Email Evolution Conference in February, the Email Design Workshop was incredibly useful, particularly in clarifying how subscribers encounter email. Subscribers view your email in the following order (provided they open and read your message):

1. Sender Name and Address

Be sure to use a sender name that is recognizable. (Ex: admissions@university is better than admit103457@university). Use this sender name consistently (unless you have developed multiple “voices” and the rapport to use them properly—but be sure to test a ton if you go this route). Avoiding individuals’ names is a good idea as well. But perhaps most importantly, be sure your brand is clear in your sender name.

2. Subject Line and Snippet Text

Subject line length is everything. If it’s short, you’ll get opens. If it’s long, statistics say your click-through rate is better. (Deciding on what your key metrics are will dictate which route you take most likely.)

Snippet text is the 40-75 characters from the top of the email message that get placed next to the subject line in Outlook, Gmail, and Mobile Devices. Good snippet text can significantly improve your email metrics.

3. Images Off.

Over half of all email inboxes block images in email by default. If you’re sending a message that is just one giant image, you could be in trouble. How you bypass this suppression:

  • Mix HTML text with the images. Be sure to have your HTML text carry the crux of the message—namely the call to action (CTA).
  • Provide Alt-Text on the images.
  • Use “Preheader” text that carries your CTA as well as possibly a link to where your completely visible message can be seen on a webpage.

4. Preview Pane. 7 in 10 use it. Bear in mind the smaller window and place critical information “above the fold.”

5. Full message.

A Primer for Effective Email Marketing

Can we help

Older veterans?

Oldest veterans want their GI Bill extended

College campuses are seeing an influx of students, prompted in part by the newest G.I. Bill for those who served after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the nation's oldest veterans will be missing. An earlier G.I. Bill, passed after World War II, had a 10-year time limit to use it after exiting the service. In light of a new bill with a 15-year limit, some local veterans are asking lawmakers to consider reopening the first bill's benefits so they can complete college careers abandoned decades ago.

The new limit recognizes hurdles to higher education that people with families in particular may face as they resume life at home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lev Grossman

Talks about life without his cell phone in Nerd World:

But its getting kind of exciting. It's like a game. Every time you leave your home or your office, you're launching yourself out into the great unknown. You're leaving the safe islands of connectivity for the deep scary ocean of total informational isolation. There's no way to alter your course if news breaks. The chips are down, the die is cast. You're a man on your own, on the run.

You know. Like James Bond. I'll take that vesper now please.

I Am on Day 5 Without a Cell Phone, and I Am James Bond

Monday, August 24, 2009

Steve & Barry's

And Nashville State Tech. The upside of empty office space is that it can be converted to continuing education classrooms. And colleges make good tenants. Back when I was on the local library board of directors in Iowa, we had a branch library in one of the Cedar Rapids' malls.

Nashville State may open satellite campus in Hickory Hollow Mall

Antioch’s Hickory Hollow Mall, with wings of empty shops, may experience a surge of new customers in the future—college students.

Mall officials are in discussions with Nashville State Technical Community College to open a satellite campus there. The campus would occupy 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of space inside the former Steve & Barry’s department store that closed earlier this year, said Matt Leiser, the mall’s manager on Monday.

The college is considering having general education classes there, that could potentially bring 3,000 to 4,000 students to the mall, said Brent Young, director of public affairs. Last year, the college served more than 14,000 students, Young said.

You can pry our syllabi

From from our cold, dead hands.

College and university employees are delaying retirement these days, according to findings from an ongoing TIAA-CREF Institute tracking study to measure the impact of financial market developments on retirement planning.

Conducted in March 2009, the study of investors age 50 and older reveals that nearly four in 10 (37%) say they have delayed their planned date of retirement (up from 33% a month earlier and from 28% in October 2008).

At a recent TIAA-CREF Institute Fellows Symposium entitled “Managing Risk in a Market Meltdown” the Institute presented these latest results. . . .

With more campus employees postponing retirement and uncertainty about the future, higher education leaders are examining new ways to manage employee retirement patterns, including:

• Early retirement incentive programs with clear goals and targets

• Coverage of healthcare expenses during retirement. TIAA-CREF recently introduced a potential solution, The Retiree Healthcare Savings Plan, a voluntary employer-sponsored defined-contribution savings account that offers a tax advantaged way for employees and retirees to accumulate funds to pay for future medical and health expenses.

• Increasing employees’ base salaries or giving instructors fewer courses to teach in exchange for an irrevocable declaration that they will retire within a certain time period

• Allowing faculty who reach 70 to continue being a member of the intellectual community; e.g., senior faculty members stop drawing a salary but retain their office, participate in seminars and teach courses

• A pay-for-performance system that allows rookie faculty to earn more than tenured faculty if requirements are met

• Buying back tenure from older faculty members with a lump sum cash payment

• Offering online communities for retirees. For example, TIAA-CREF created last year – one example of providing individuals with an outlet to talk with other retirees about financial issues as well as travel, family and living in retirement.

Now we need to keep them

With enrollments up across the country, the emphasis should now be on keeping those students retained and successful. In Tennessee, we're hearing talk about shifting funding priorities from enrollment to completion. Inside Enrollment Management has some basic information on retaining adult students. In continuing education, we are typically doing most of these (often as second nature) except for the last one.

Gaining focus: Some practices to consider for specific subpopulations

Don’t miss the poll findings related to transfer students, adult students, and online learners. Each of these populations is expected to grow and follow less traditional completion paths. For example, some students plan to transfer from a four-year institution back to a two-year institution and transfer back again to a four-year institution. For each of these populations, campuses must identify strategies and practices that engage and connect these learners to the campus.

Orientation programs customized for each population. For example, if you don’t have one already, consider introducing an online orientation program only for online learners which highlights how to reach an advisor, pay your bill, register for classes, apply for financial aid, receive online tutorial support, and learn of institution online social networking opportunities;

Academic support programs for adult learners that are available early in the morning or later in the evening (often needed after their evening class is over);

Ensuring classes are offered in a sequence that allows students to graduate on time and has some back-up plans in case a student gets off track;

Articulation agreements that match students’ prescribed curriculum at the previous institution and provide an easy transfer process; and

Identifying classes with highest D, F, or W grades and determining highly interactive and intrusive activities to ensure students complete the course with expected learning outcomes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Unintended consequences

My wife has a friend whose daughter is a student at UTC. She has some horror stories, beginning with the fact that the daughter had a dorm reservation, a roommate, and a paid bill but UTC lost everything. Students had to be temporarily located in hotels, and the daughter's is several miles away from campus. Then, the shuttle to school that the college promised never showed up so the daughter had to walk to classes. Oh, and did I mention that the daughter is recovering from surgery and has a walking cast? Now I know I'm getting this third hand, but I can't help thinking something is going on in Chattanooga. This is from the

UTC enrolls 10,000 students for fall

This fall, UTC reached a 10-year goal of enrolling more than 10,000 students, but officials say the record-breaking numbers are a mixed blessing.

With 10,250 students currently signed up for classes at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, student parking spaces, seats in the dining hall and dorm rooms have become hot commodities. And the university, financially pressed by the economic downturn, has little to no money to pump into expanding infrastructure.

"It always is a challenge to make sure you are able to provide the classes and programs and the recreational opportunities that your student body needs to be successful," said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. "The feeling on the campus is very excited. There is lots of enthusiasm and energy, and you can feel it just walking across the campus."

Dr. Brown said he expects enrollment to fluctuate slightly in the next two weeks before numbers are finalized.

If the enrollment numbers hold up, it would mean a permanent $1.5 million to UTC's bottom line, he said.

While that money won't completely cover the cost of every additional student, "we'll be a lot closer," he said.

Additional money from students' fees for activities, special classes and similar items also will make up some of the difference, he added.

But reaching 10,000 in enrollment is a psychological milestone that will change the campus, he said.

"We are now at five figures, and it is a different kind of mentality," he said. "We will have a great critical mass in our programs. There will be enough enrollment in a given program so that it is robust and has lots of new thinking and enthusiasm."

But the school's growing numbers also draw mixed emotions from some students.

"I'm glad it's getting bigger," said Ryan Bean, a sophomore majoring in health and human performance. "(It) doesn't seem like any more people are here."

But some students believe the college needs to expand its size before adding more students.

"A couple of classes I wanted in filled too quickly," said Allisha Barnett, a freshman majoring in biology. "There's not enough room for them."

Ms. Barnett said the cafeteria is full every day, and she would rather sit outside to eat her lunch.

The perfect marriage: the iPhone

and Higher Education.

Tyler Auten was often spotted fiddling with his iPhone in class last semester. But the device wasn’t a distraction from homework -- it was his homework.

Auten was one of nine students learning to create iPhone applications, or apps, for a new course at New Jersey Institute of Technology last spring. More than halfway through the seminar, the information technology major dreamed up two apps of his own, developed them with the knowledge gained in class, and sold them on Apple’s online store for $0.99 each.

Auten’s programs have since been downloaded 11,000 times and netted him more than $1,000, with Apple keeping 30 percent of the revenue. “Kids Be Gone” aims to annoy children by emitting high-frequency tones only they can hear, while “Party Music Strobe” shines a strobe light to the beat of any song played on the iPhone. Of their success, the 22-year-old remarked, “The stupider the application is, the more sales you get.”

A growing number of universities are teaching students like Auten to program for the iPhone, Google's Android, and other smart phone systems, fueled by the belief that mobile development is the next technological gold mine. Over the past year, department-sponsored classes have sprouted at Stanford University, University of Southern California, New York University, Seneca College in Canada, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Mississippi State University, with other institutions
following their lead. Others are extension or student-taught courses, such as at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fall enrollment

is looking good.

With the start of Fall Semester 11 days away, we already have three more students enrolled in our degree programs than at the official Census date last fall (Census is 14 days into the semester). This is 11% more than we had enrolled at this time last year. We added 37 in the time period last year between 8/1/ and Census, so if we match that, we'll have over 470 students in our four undergraduate and three graduate programs.

Our graduate degrees and certificate are down, but graduate students appear to be making their decisions to admit and enroll later this year. We had three MPS interviews yesterday and admitted all three. Each of our undergraduate degrees is up.

Beloit College

has released its Mindset List for this year's freshman class. It has 75 items, and here are the first ten:

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991.

  1. For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.

  2. Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons.

  3. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.

  4. They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

  5. Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.

  6. Salsa has always outsold ketchup.

  7. Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been HIV-positive.

  8. Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.

  9. They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

  10. Rap music has always been main stream.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Update on the Governor's plan

for higher education in Tennessee. He's looking at implementing some recommendations that are 10 years old. More importantly--he may be considering re-visiting Tennessee's funding formula. Just funding it at its recommended levels would be a big jump forward. And bless Rich Rhoda for bringing up adult students and their needs...

Bredesen to dust off old higher ed plan

Although one of the report's primary conclusions called for reorganizing the administrative structure of the higher education system into one large board with full authority and individual boards for each campus, Bredesen has said he's less interested in reorganizing -- an enormous political battle he would likely lose -- than on restructuring the funding "formula" to reward institutions that keep students moving toward graduation and then graduating them.

Performance funding now accounts for just 5.45 percent, or about $50 million a year, of the total formula.

Dr. Richard Rhoda, THEC's executive director, said Friday the governor is taking the right approach.

"He is assessing what the state needs from higher education and what kind of reforms would make that happen, then will determine if a reorganization is part of the solution," Rhoda said.

"A fourth area that I and THEC think needs reform is adult education: Tennessee needs to have a lot more educated adults in the work force in the near future, and the number of those coming out of high school is inadequate," Rhoda said. "We need to capture or recapture more older students."

Bredesen and Vanderbilt's Guthrie appear to agree on carving out top-tier research roles for UT Knoxville and the University of Memphis, emphasizing teaching and specific areas of focus for the other campuses, and giving the more cost-efficient community colleges a larger role for students seeking two-year degrees and those moving on to four-year schools.

Online student

perspective. We just interviewed a candidate for our Master in Professional Studies degree, an online degree offered in conjunction with the Regents Online Campus Collaborative. She had been in Hungary, playing professional basketball as she finished up her final semester as an undergraduate at ETSU--taking 18 hours of online courses.

"You have to understand," she said, "I didn't have friends there; I didn't speak the language. The television shows were in a different language. My laptop was my world. It was my classroom, my telephone, my television. It was my lifeline."

I still tend to underestimate the importance of home computers in higher education, and, it seems, in life in general....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today is

National Lefthanders Day. Ah, to use a apostrophe or not...

Left Handed Facts and Trivia:

Sinistrophobia is the fear of left-handedness or things on the left side.

While many people are left handed, very few are 100% left handed. For example, many Left handers golf and bat right handed. On the other hand, there is a high percentage of righties who are 100% right-handed.

Lefties are also called "southpaws". The term was coined in baseball to describe a left handed pitcher.

Tuesdays are Lefties luck day.

Only about 10% of the population is left handed.

During the 1600's people, thought left handers were witches and warlocks.

International Left Hander's Day was first celebrated on August 13, 1976. It was started by Lefthander's International.

They say everyone was born right handed, and only the greatest overcome it. (he,he,he)

It is believed that all polar bears are left handed. Also see Polar Bear Day.

There is a rumor that octopuses have but one right hand. Scientists are diligently studying this issue.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tennessee community colleges

are booming.

Economy, desire for degrees fill Tennessee community colleges

Enrollment at Nashville State shot up 65 percent this year. Last August, 4,118 students had enrolled for the fall semester. As of Tuesday, the enrollment figures stood at 6,771, leaving the school scrambling to find enough classrooms, chairs and instructors to accommodate the new student body.

"We have students who've lost their jobs and are coming back for a degree. We have students who are starting here before they go on to a four-year college," said Laura Potter, director of admissions. "Some have degrees and are coming back just to get a new skill."

With the fall semester just weeks away, Tennessee colleges and universities are still in the shadow of a recession that has gutted their budgets and cut deeply into families' ability to pay tuition.

"The community colleges are absolutely booming. We're hearing the technical centers are already at capacity as well," said Richard Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

"The economy is down. It's cause and effect."

It's also a needed boost for state colleges hit hard by 15 percent state budget cuts this year, with additional cutbacks on the horizon, Rhoda noted.

Despite an infusion of federal stimulus aid, most colleges have been forced to cut staff and scale back programs — raising the question of how they will handle a surge of new enrollments.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Philadelphia films

Check out this list of films set in Philadelphia, site of the ACHE 2009 Annual Conference and Meeting.

When you keep doing more with less

Eventually you get to the point where you're trying to do everything with nothing.

You may not have heard, but rumor has it that continuing education is becoming more and more competitive. Adult and nontraditional students have more options than ever before. It's hard out there...

Brenda Harms sums up our current predicament in the Stamats Higher Education Marketing Blog:
I had the pleasure of speaking with a number of individuals who were interested in discussing what I am calling the highly competitive, highly cluttered landscape of adult student recruiting.

As I listened to the concerns, the number of competitors, the inability to bring in the same numbers as years past – or even to increase numbers, I was struck by one thing. All of these programs are being asked to operate on minimal resources, both human and financial, in a marketplace that has shifted significantly in the last 10 years.

Gone are the days of being the “only game in town” for adult students. With the ever increasing number of on ground and online competitors, that advantage exists for very few any more. The key issue was really pinned down by a school and a program who I respect greatly in the adult student market. The point was that it used to be enough to be convenient, flexible, and affordable – but it no longer sets you apart.

The Increasingly Cluttered Landscape of Adult Student Recruitment

Selling your conference

I got this email today about the 2010 Teaching Professor Conference. I thought it did a good job of arguing the value of attending the conference. I can picture in my mind, a similar email coming from me about the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting...

If you're going to request funds for a professional conference nowadays, you'd better have a good reason.

Or six.

Higher-ed budgets are tight these days ... that's not exactly breaking news.
But the challenging economic picture hasn't completely shut the door on professional development opportunities ... it's simply created a greater need to demonstrate their value.

To put it another way, if you're going to go to a conference, you gotta have a good reason.

The Teaching Professor Conference is coming May 21-23, 2010, and there are at least six very good reasons for you to attend.

#1 It's the leading conference for people who love teaching. The Teaching Professor Conference is devoted exclusively to pedagogy and teaching excellence. That's reflected in our delegate roster: more than 600 of the nation's leading educators attended last year.

#2 It's a content-rich event for all experience levels. Whether you're a new professor seeking to build your teaching portfolio, or an experienced educator eager to refresh your skills and hone your expertise, you'll find impressive breadth and depth in the conference program.

#3 It's important to your institution. Accountability is the byword in higher education today. Increasingly, learning outcomes are driving decisions about accreditation and funding. And it's obvious: if your institution is going to experience excellent outcomes, it's going to need excellent educators to produce them.

#4 It's important for your students. You'll come away from the conference with a wealth of ideas to apply on your campus, all designed to help you enrich the academic experience for your students. And isn't that why you're in teaching in the first place?

#5 It's important for you. Learning from prominent speakers ... collaborating with your peers ... reexamining your assumptions ... reaffirming your convictions. The Teaching Professor Conference provides a fertile environment for critical thinking, intensive learning and personal growth.

#6 It's an exceptional value. One of the best arguments for The Teaching Professor Conference is just how much value it delivers ... and how little it costs. You'll find full pricing details here.
Keep in mind that the fee covers all three days, many of your meals, and every one of the keynotes, plenary sessions and workshops.

The free continuing education

state conference. This spring, the Georgia Adult Education Association changed their annual spring conference to a one-day, free, drive-in event. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I presented at one of their meetings and conducted some ACHE business at another--both at Jekyll Island. Great meetings, both.) Anyway, I recently asked the organization how the recent meeting went, and here is the response from Lauri Thompson:

Rick --

The conference went well. Considering that there's no travel money in
Georgia and that most everyone paid their own way it went very well. We had
about 25 or 30 participants and some excellent speakers. My personal favorite
was the auditor from Internal Controls at USG, John Fuchko. He was

Thanks for the inquiry,

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm waiting for

The First International iPhone Conference. Who knew there was a conference on the book?

The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
16-18 October 2009

The Book Conference serves as an inclusive forum for examining the past, current and future role of the book. It proceeds from recognition that although the book is an old medium of expression, it embodies thousands of years' experience of recording knowledge. The pervasive influence of this experience continues to shape newer forms of information technology, while at the same time providing a reference point for innovation.

Call for Presentations

Deadline Sept. 1

Today’s reality is virtual, and your strategies for adapting and excelling in this new marketing arena are in great demand. If you’ve developed and implemented successful plans that have bridged the marketing gap and linked the ever-changing real and virtual worlds, consider being a presenter at the 2010 UCEA Marketing Seminar.

The popular three-day event next February will be attended by hundreds of marketing professionals and feature more than 20 scheduled sessions. The attendees will be eager to learn your top tools, tips, and techniques.
The UCEA Marketing Seminar Planning Committee is seeking presentation proposals that feature effective, innovative, and successful marketing and recruiting strategies and practices.
These areas are timely presentation topics:
Marketing Strategy
Interactive Marketing
Marketing Management
(Customer Relationship Management)
Building Identity

The submission deadline is Sept. 1, 2009. Submit your proposal using our required form.


The diversity of attendees (institution size, budget, staff size, etc.)
The timing. Sessions last 75 minutes, including a 15-minute question-and-answer period.
The structure. Case studies and panel discussions are encouraged.
The audience. Audience interaction is desirable.
We look forward to seeing you in February!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The new G.I. Bill

Does this explain some of our enrollment increases?

Under the new GI Bill passed by Congress in 2008, another generation of war veterans—and their families—will begin receiving expanded educational assistance this year. The benefits are considerable—more than some Defense Department officials, who were concerned about the possibility of U.S. troops leaving the military to take advantage of the bill, had backed. The federal government will cover tuition and fees for vets at any public university. If they choose private universities, the government will cover the equivalent of the cost of the state's most expensive public university. The law also gives a $1,000 stipend for books and a fairly hefty monthly grant for room and board, equal to the military's housing allowance. Perhaps most striking, troops can transfer these benefits to their spouses and children, a measure that had been proposed by World War II widows—and promptly rejected by Congress.

About 100,000 student vets and their families are expected to take part in the program this school year. They will be further aided because some 575 private universities have joined what's known as the Yellow Ribbon program, in which the institutions have agreed to offer grants that will cover the difference between their own pricier tuition and that of state schools. To encourage schools to sign up, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will pick up half of the cost of the program.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The University of New Orleans

Closes its Metropolitan College. I had a conversation recently with a colleague and I told him "What seems different about this recession is that I'm not hearing about colleges and universities closing their continuing education operations." He agreed.

Well, here is one that's closing, and it's an important one. The reporter called me on my iPhone as I was driving home from Nashville last week. I was afraid I would sound a bit rattled. Although I tended to say tend too much, I think I got my point across.

John Pope writing in August 1 issue of The Times-Picayune:

The image is part of the American dream: the shift worker who puts in a full day on the job and then heads to night classes to earn a college degree and build a better life. **************

To accommodate these students -- people who are older than the typical collegians and have jobs, mortgages and families -- colleges not only offer evening classes but also have set up departments to make things easier for them.

Among four-year colleges, major departments offering night classes have existed at Tulane and Loyola universities and the University of New Orleans.

But last month, in implementing steep budget cuts, the University of New Orleans announced the closing of Metropolitan College, which has housed these classes and UNO's international programs.

Formed in 1980, Metropolitan College had enrolled 952 students just before Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. Enrollment was 643 in the spring of 2006, according to UNO figures, and 703 last fall. Its budget for the 2008-09 academic year was $4.7 million.

Chancellor Tim Ryan insists that act was a matter of administrative streamlining to save money by eliminating duplication. Besides, he said, the courses still exist, but the administrative aspects have been transferred to academic departments, with, for instance, the history department handling courses for traditional and nontraditional students.

But others in the field of continuing education worry that such a move, similar to changes made to Loyola University's City College as part of post-Hurricane Katrina restructuring, eliminates the support structure that these students need.

Because these students can face difficulties such as caring for sick children, dealing with job-related stress and stretching a paycheck -- difficulties that don't confront most traditional college students -- they need a school structure that understands their situation and caters to their needs, said Richard Marksbury, dean of Tulane's School of Continuing Studies.

"They're going to school to better themselves, so you have to learn to work with them, " he said. "One shoe size doesn't fit all."

Different priorities

Rick Osborn agrees. He is the president of the Association for ContinuingHigher Education, a national organization.

"What tends to happen is that institutions tend to think they can decentralize and let various academic departments deal with nontraditional students, " said Osborn, who will become East Tennessee State University's dean of continuing studies this

"Those students get neglected, " he said, "because faculty and departments are focused on 18-year-olds."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Number 13

I got this email this morning.

Hi Rick,

We posted an article, "100 Excellent Continuing Ed Sites for teachers” ( and I thought that you or your readers might find it appealing.

I am happy to let you know that your site has been included in this list.

Thanks for your time!

Amber Johnson

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ETSU designated

A 2010 ‘Best Southeastern College’ by The Princeton Review.

East Tennessee State University has been named a “Best
Southeastern College” by The Princeton Review, and is one of just 141 four-year schools in 12 states to receive this istinction. Other states with institutions earning the “Best in the Southeast” designation for inclusion in 2009 Best Colleges: Region by Region on The Princeton Review’s Web site are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. For consideration in the “region’s best” listing, institutions must meet “standards of excellence within their region” and undergo an anonymous survey of the student body. ETSU has consistently been chosen for this recognition.

According to Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s vice president for publishing, “We commend all of the schools named this year as our ‘regional best’ colleges primarily for their excellent academic programs. We chose schools based on institutional data we collected from several hundred schools in each region, our visits to schools over the years, and the opinions of independent and high school-based college advisors whose recommendations we invite.

A Tennessee college emphasizes

religion and revenue. Crichton College in Memphis changes from non-profit to profit.

For-Profit, For God

“The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil,” says Gregory K. Hollifield, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Bible and Theology at Crichton College, in Tennessee. “What scripture says is love of money is the root of all evil.”

That’s an important distinction at Crichton, which is converting from nonprofit to for-profit status but with the intent of maintaining its Christian mission, even emphasizing it -- certainly from a marketing standpoint.

“We will be announcing a new name and the school will be sort of re-branded to be probably a little more blatantly Christian than some of the other schools that are out there,” says Michael K. Clifford, chairman of SignificantFederation and the main investor behind the Crichton takeover. “It’s going to go deep into its history and deep into its roots and resurrect some of its Christian commitment of the past. We’re going to put the programs online so we can reach out around the world; we have a Christian leader who will join with us after the closing. I can’t tell you who it is, but it’s a brand name that will help us guide the philosophy of the institution,” Clifford says

Online academic fraud

in Texas.

‘Gross Academic Fraud' at UTB/TSC Rocked Office of Distance Education

A two-month investigation by University of Texas-Brownsville/Texas Southmost College police found school employees in 2008 had committed “gross academic fraud” after student employees and regular staff used their positions to steal test answers, according to a UTB police report obtained by The Brownsville Herald.

The wrongdoing occurred within the Blackboard Learning System, an online service commonly used at universities. The system allows professors to post tests and course materials for students, teach entire courses online and keep online grade books. Blackboard generally serves to enrich the learning experience; however, former student employees of the school’s Office of Distance Education, which manages Blackboard, confessed to an investigator that they had used the online system to access test answers to help themselves cheat, give the answers to other students, and even to sell.

The employees involved no longer work for the office, according to Michael
Blanchard, the school’s attorney.

Diploma mills

and the economy? The Skeptic's Dictionary has an interesting slant on diploma mills, especially those used by new age authors and proponents. Did you know the author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus has his doctorate from a diploma mill? Here's the tongue-in-cheek conclusion:

By some perverse logic, one might see the diploma mill as part of an
economic stimulus package. People buy degrees from diploma mills. The owners of the mills pay taxes on their earnings. The buyers of the phony degrees get more money in wages than they pay for their diplomas, and they pay more in taxes on their higher wages. The government can then use the additional revenue to give to banks so they can give bonuses to their executives who can then use the money to start up their own diploma or accreditation mill. diploma mill