Monday, May 31, 2010

Tailoring Tennessee Higher Education

For seamless transfer.  Tailoring.  Seamless.  Badum-ching!

This is a result of legislation enacted with the hope of increasing college completion rates in Tennessee.  I think it's a good thing.  All academic majors in public colleges and universities would have the same first two years of required courses.  Numbered the same, as well.

TN colleges work to ensure that credits transfer
At colleges and universities around the state, plans are in motion to ensure that core classes — at least the two years' worth of course work for the most common majors — will be accepted without question, whether a student earned them at a technology center, a community college or any public university in the state. . . .
By January 2011, the first 10 core transfer majors should begin being taught at schools across the state. Teachers will still have freedom to draw up their lesson plans and choose their own books, but all students taking, say, Accounting 101 at a public institution in the state will be in a class with identical course credits that they know will count toward their degree, no matter where they go.

God help me, I do love top ten lists

Braaaains! The 10 essential zombie films

I may have mentioned previously that I love my iPhone

What students can teach us about iPhones

Getting Ready

For Johnson City's Blue Plum Festival next weekend. We have a booth and ordered a bunch of these bandannas to give to visitors. We'll try to track the number of people we talk to by counting how many of these bandannas we have left over.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Executive education can be a tough sell

College, Inc. reports on Senator Charles Grassley's letter to high cost continuing education programs.

Taxpayers paid $17k a month for executive ed
Grassley said a recent graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government reported that the government had paid $17,500 plus travel expenses for a four-week course, and that tuition had just gone up to $18,300.

He said the government's own Federal Executive Institute, part of the Office of Personnel Management, charges federal agencies $18,375 for a four-week program called Leadership for a Democratic Society.

And the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina charges $6,200 to $10,600 for a five-day course (Grassley put the five-day reference in boldface), according to research by the senator's office.

The iPhone isn't on this list

In case you were wondering.

20 cell phones with highest radiation levels

Continuing education job openings

Even in tough times, colleges and universities are still hiring. Here are some continuing education jobs from The Chronicle of Higher Education and

University of Denver:  Manager, Experiential Learning

Portland Community College:  Operations Manager, CLIMB Center

University of Utah:  Academic Program Manager, Univ of Utah Job # 40000

MVAEA Annual Conference coming up quickly

Missouri Valley Adult Education Association
Annual Conference
The Winds of Change: Facing the Changes in Adult Education
Wichita, Kansas
June 15-17, 2010
Conference Schedule.

Register here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is why I still don't know what I want to do

When I grow up.  I can't plan ahead.

Preparing to Land the Hot Jobs of 2018
That means you could pick a job from the Labor Department's "fastest-growing" list when you enter college, only to find the field in a slump by the time you graduate. For example, a 2006 high-school graduate eyeing the government's 2004-2014 forecast for nursing at that time would have read about excellent job prospects, with "thousands of job openings" predicted because experienced nurses were expected to retire.

While that forecast is likely to hold for the long term, the job market for students graduating from college this year is headed in the opposite direction: Thousands of experienced nurses who had been inactive or retired have been re-entering the work force because of the recession.
Similarly, a high-school grad in 2000 might have picked computer programming—No. 8 at the time on a government list of fast-growing, high-paying jobs—only to graduate to the aftermath of the dot-com collapse.

Niche organizations

I've talked before about niche continuing education professional organizations--small groups that focus on one aspect of the field like accelerated programs, non-traditional degree programs, and so forth.  If large organizations are struggling, I imagine these smaller ones are in dire straights. 

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that this organization exists, but I received today an invitation to attend the National Association of College and University Mail Services Annual Conference in Albuquerque this summer.  It's at the Hotel Albuquerque, also the site of the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting this fall.  It does look like a good conference.

Ironically, the brochure was mailed to me by mistake.  Wrong address, you see.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A message from the president

Of Upper Iowa University, a small, independent universty that is thriving.  Upper Iowa recently joined ACHE, and its large continuing education unit is led by former TACHE President Bill Duffy.  My favorite Duffy story is about the time he locked himself out on the balcony of his hotel room at the Park Vista in Gatlinburg, TN.  He had left his cell phone in his room as well.  He finally caught the attention of some other guests out on their balcony who called the front desk.  From College, Inc.  The blog, not the documentary.

Is the future of higher ed in Fayette, Iowa?
It is worth considering that the most rapid growth in demand for higher education may not be in the United States, but rather overseas in countries with a growing middle class, such as China and India, whose culture places a premium on higher education, and where there is less competition. We must find a way to capture a share of this growing international market in countries with friendly governments and trade-friendly policies, and where U.S. degrees and other products are in high demand.

For the academic community, this will require thinking beyond traditional study abroad programs, student and faculty exchanges, and recruitment to principle campuses in the United States. In other words, the usual embodiment of what is commonly known as "internationalism" on the campuses of most U.S. colleges and universities needs to change. Instead, the future is in international centers, branch campuses, and online degree programs that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. But, the window of opportunity for doing this may be limited.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

I guess this is in honor of Sex and the City coming out.  I'm happy to say I've only seen one chick flick on this list.

Top 10 Worst Chick Flicks

Economy driving students to summer school

We're experiencing growth with our summer school.  We're trying new marketing techniques, employing a part-time social media coordinator to keep updating our media.  Our summer school trends young and traditional, so we're marketing it differently than some of our other programs.

School's Not Out for Summer
Having a poor job market is something we correlate positively with,” said Richard Russo, director of summer sessions at the University of California at Berkeley. High unemployment drives nontraditional students to enroll in college at all times of the year, but a tough economy makes it more difficult for traditional-age students to find jobs and internships, or gives them greater awareness of the need to complete a degree as quickly and inexpensively as possible. “There’s more pressure; students are being pushed into the summer.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ACHE Webinar

The Association for Continuing Higher Education in partnership with Park University is pleased to announce our first professional development webinar.

From Battlefield to the Classroom: Facilitating Military and Veteran Student Transitions to Campus

June 25, 2010
12:00-1:30 CST

Registration Fees:
• Members- Free
• NonMembers- $10

About the Webinar

Significant numbers of demobilized servicemembers are returning from military service in Afghanistan and Iraq to their home towns and our college communities intending to use their education funding benefits to pursue post-secondary education. They are a unique population of adult learners who bring maturity, motivation, and team orientation to the classroom. Their observations, experiences, and personal stories can provide our college classrooms and communities with a wealth of knowledge and perspective as well as contributing outside the classroom in a myriad of ways: as mentors to other veterans entering college, as guest speakers to clubs and civic organizations, as literary contributors, and as student leaders.

Dr. Kathy Snead, President and Director of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), will focus on the transitional needs of the military student population and how colleges and universities might optimally facilitate their access and successful integration into the higher education community.

Voting in professional organizations

If you're an ACHE member, it's time to vote! 

The Association for Continuing Higher Education election is more than half over, and we'll be lucky to get more than a 10% voter turnout.  I know the stakes aren't enormous, except maybe to those running, but I'm always surprised by the low number of members who vote.  Is doesn't take much time.  I don't know if it's the electronic format or just the nature of professional organizations, but we fail to generate much enthusiasm for these elections.  And this year, the Home Office added a wonderful "meet the candidates" feature that highlighted the individuals running more than ever before.  It appears to have helped a little bit, but participation is still low.

In my state organization, TACHE, we vote only during our conferences and typically there is only one candidate.  Perhaps low turnout and low voter interest is due to a lack of interaction within ACHE.  Perhaps folks just don't know each other.  If so, we need to do a better job of connecting our members with not only the organization but with each other.  Our community pages give us the capability to do so.  But it's a struggle.  And our members are tremendously busy with their real jobs.

How does your organization do?

Highlighting summer school

“Scots and Scots-Irish in Appalachia” is the focus of a course to be offered by East Tennessee State University’s Appalachian, Scottish and Irish Studies (ASIS) Program during the first summer term (June 7-July 9).
Taught by ASIS Director Jane MacMorran, the course will examine the cultural connection between Appalachia and two of its major progenitors, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Topics to be covered include history, cultural identity, music, narrative, material culture, foodways, and heritage tourism. Students will hear guest speakers and participate in field trips.

This year, several students from the University of Edinburgh, with which ETSU has a long-standing exchange agreement, will take part in the class.

“Their participation will bring an important perspective to our study of cultural traditions,” MacMorran said.

During even-numbered years, the course is taught on the ETSU campus, while in odd-numbered years, students travel to Scotland and Ireland to gain a unique perspective on the Appalachian region’s connection to ancestral homes across the Atlantic. Last year, MacMorran led a group of 11 students to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The class will meet Mondays through Thursdays from 9:40-11:40 a.m., in addition to field trips.

For more information on this year’s course, contact MacMorran at (423) 439-7992 or

Monday, May 24, 2010

Justifying your dependents

Tennessee went through this last year--an audit of state employee dependents to establish that benefits were going to appropriate individuals.  I had a little difficulty proving my spouse and I were married.  They kept asking for more documentation.  I finally had to dig up my marriage license from 1976 and fax that in.  You'd think the auditors could have just googled us.  This comes from Inside Higher Ed.

Ensuring Insurance
That's the case in Georgia, where the state's public college system has undertaken an audit designed to ensure that health insurance coverage goes only to those who are qualified to receive it -- and to shave as much as $4.6 million off the $290 million that the University System of Georgia spends each year on employer-provided benefits. The so-called dependent eligibility audit, after an "amnesty period," requires all employees whose dependents are covered under the health insurance policy to submit documents (such as marriage licenses, birth certificates and tax returns) proving that their spouses and children warrant such coverage.

Similar audits are underway or planned at the University of Michigan, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Colorado System.

Employee groups in the Georgia system have not taken kindly to the audit. Viewed in isolation, said Hugh Hudson Jr., a Georgia State University historian who heads the state chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the idea of requiring faculty and staff members to prove that they're following the system's current policy may seem like no big deal.

But much else is happening in Georgia, Hudson said. State political leaders are imposing major budget cuts on public colleges, promising furloughs and threatening layoffs of tenured faculty members (a threat from which the university has since backed off), and legislators have taken aim at what they perceive to be the inappropriate research interests of some professors.

In that context, "we're told, 'Prove to me that you haven't been cheating.' This is the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back." It's hard not to view the current review of benefits, Hudson said, as "part of a larger sense of growing hostility toward the value of higher education and the faculty."

Small academic programs at risk

The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at small academic programs, often the target of budget reduction moves.  In Tennessee, we define low-producing undergraduate programs differently: as those producing an average of less than ten graduates a year over a five year period.  For most graduate programs, that benchmark is five graduates--although it is three for doctoral programs.  The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has been monitoring these programs for some time. 

For example, at a majority of colleges examined, at least one-quarter of all academic programs each awarded no more than seven bachelor's degrees in 2007-8, the most recent year for which data are available, The Chronicle found. Some of the most common small programs are physics and Germanic languages.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today is

Bike to Work Day.  It's Your Money asks:

How Much Can You Save by Biking to Work?

Not quite what we think of when we use the term nontraditional

But these are certainly different.  I tend to think of places for adult students like Thomas Edison State College and Regents College.  From The Huffington Post.


Continuing education job openings

Even in tough times, colleges and universities are still hiring. Here are some continuing education jobs from The Chronicle of Higher Education  and

San Diego State University:  Project Director

Institute of Noetic Sciences:  Director of Education

University of Wisconsin Colleges:  Outreach Program Manager

Coastal Carolina Community College:  Business & Industry Training Director

Wheelock College:  Director, Continuing Education

Texarkana College:  Dean, Workforce Education and Business Development

ETSU Buffalo Mountain Writers Workshop

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development will present the Buffalo Mountain Writers Workshop from June 8-15. The workshop theme is “Roots of Writing,” and courses will be taught by ETSU adjunct instructors Doris Wyatt and Cathy Whaley.

Designed as an innovative experience in writing for all genres and for authors from beginners to experienced writers, the workshop features special speakers Dr. Jack Higgs, ETSU Professor Emeritus and author of works on Appalachian literature and sports; Dr. Don Johnson, ETSU professor and Poet-in-Residence who is credited with numerous articles on Appalachian and American literature as well as books of poetry; Laura Higgs Kappel, former editor of Aruba Today and recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of New Orleans; and Elizabeth Hunter, former reporter and columnist for the Johnson City Press and now a columnist for Blue Ridge Country in addition to writing several works on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Neil Isaacs will speak at the final event of the week during a reception open to the public on Tuesday, June 15. Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Maryland, Isaacs is a sports writer for the Washington Post and the author of some 20 books on subjects ranging from Old and Middle English to Southern and modern American literature, film, gambling, contemporary sports and Harry Potter.

The workshops begin on Tuesday, June 8, at the Carnegie Library, Building 17, on the campus of the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center and run from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on weekdays.

A separate Teachers’ Writing Workshop, led by Kappel and Whaley, will take place on Saturday, June 12, from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Continuing Education Units admissible for re-certification purposes are available. There are no sessions on Sunday, June 13.

The workshop has an early registration fee of $175 before May 15 and $225 thereafter. The Saturday Teachers’ Writing Workshop has a separate fee of $75. Online registration is available at To register by phone, or for further information, call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (800) 222-3878 or e-mail Darla Dye at

An economist looks at tatts

No, I said tatts....

Who are tattoo-getters trying to signal to? Because tattoos are painful to get and close off some legitimate job-market opportunities, it isn’t hard to see why tattoos serve a purpose for people engaged in activities that make it likely they will eventually end up in prison. Most of the young people getting tattoos, however, aren’t on that path. Presumably they are mostly trying to signal something about themselves to potential mates. But it seems strange that a University of Chicago undergrad would want to signal, via a tattoo, that they are like the tough guy who ends up in jail. (An acquaintance of mine had a caduceus – the symbol of medicine – tattooed on his chest. He definitely felt it sent the right kind of message to girls at the beach. Just in case, though, he had it done all in blue ink, which is easier to remove.)
Maybe a tattoo is a signal that a person is wild, impulsive, and likes risk. I suppose those are traits I once would have sought in a woman, although they certainly wouldn’t be at the top of my list now!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This makes me sad all over

No one from Tennessee on the list except Vandy.  Who says money can't buy happiness?

The 100 Happiest Colleges

From my Urban Dictionary Calendar


The ability to quickly answer any given question using Internet resources, especially the Google search engine.

My Google-fu is strong this morning.  I've saved so much time I think I'll take a long lunch.

Southern Colleges and Universities

And graduation rates.  Last summer, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research issued a report, Diplomas and Dropouts: Which Colleges Actually Graduate Their Students (and Which Don't).  Here's an excerpt on the southern region:
The South has the dubious distinction of housing institutions with some of the lowest graduation rates in our sample. At the noncompetitive level, none of the five institutions with the lowest graduation rates in the region surpass 20 percent. At the less competitive level, schools like South University in Georgia and Edward Waters College in Florida graduate well under 15 percent of their students. Overall, of the seventy-eight schools in the South classified as noncompetitive or less competitive, only six (less than 8 percent) have graduation rates higher than 50 percent.

In contrast, not one of the twenty-nine schools rated highly competitive or most competitive failed to graduate half of their first-time students. There is considerable variation within selectivity categories as well. The gaps between the top and bottom graduation rates within the lowest selectivity categories are large: ninety-two percentage points for noncompetitive and forty-three percentage points for less competitive schools. Meanwhile, with the exception of the less competitive category, the range between the highest and lowest performers shrinks with each step up the selectivity scale, and it falls to just eighteen percentage points among the most competitive schools.

In the South, it is again relatively easy to find schools that look similar in most respects but that have significant disparities in graduation rates. The University of Louisville in Kentucky is a very competitive public research university that enrolls around seventeen thousand students and charges about $7,000 in tuition. It graduates only 44 percent of its students. In contrast, James Madison University in Virginia, another public university that enrolls about seventeen thousand students and charges slightly less than $7,000, graduates 81 percent of its students.

The Plus 50 Initiative

Is a program for community colleges working with a growing population of older students.  It is "sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges with a $3.2 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies."

Helping Older Learners Find Their Way
Jacquie Scarbrough admits that sometimes she felt her own career was “zig-zagging.”

In the last few years, she’s been a social policy and program planner, a developmental psychology Ph.D. student, an adjunct professor and a nonprofit organization founder. Scarbrough did not always see a linear direction in her career path.

But, as it turns out, her zigzag path was the perfect preparation for her current job as the advisor of the Plus 50 program—a national initiative administered by the American Association of Community Colleges—at Cape Cod Community College in Massachusetts. She counsels students age 50 and older on how to chart their academic careers. Scarbrough’s journey has helped her become a better student advisor for plus-50 students.

Three years and counting

Without a raise.  Is it any wonder morale is down at many state colleges and universities?  Kristin Clarke, writing in ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, offers some tricks to help, based on Bob Nelson's Keeping Up in a Down Economy: What the Best Companies Do to Get Results in Tough Times.

Three inexpensive ideas you can use to raise staff morale today
1. Have a clear, compelling direction, but be ready to "retool goals and make them more relevant to the current marketplace." "There's nothing more demotivating than to try to be reaching goals set last year when there's no chance of making them … and the same is true if goals are too easy," says Nelson.

2. Engage people at specific behavioral levels. Involve them in decisions and idea generation; communicate honestly and directly; and align business goals with what you need from them as a career strategy.

3. Follow up, recognize, and reward high performance. Nelson notes that one organization gives employees permission to "call in well" one day per year at their discretion to "clear their heads and get re-excited about work." Most effective (and free to boot)? "Writing a thank-you note or telling someone they did a really great job," he says.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why it's so hard to finish college

In four years these days.

Path to a degree no longer a straight shot

We're #1

I felt like Illinois had to be the front runner.

Most corrupt states in America

Only a month until R C & Moonpie Festival

In Bell Buckle, Tennessee.  It's not too late to enter a float in the parade.

And find other unusual celebrations at Top 10 Quirky Local Festivals.

Got any end-of-the-year money?

You can register now for the ACHE conference.

2010 ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting
Albuquerque, New Mexico
October 21-23, 2010

For information visit here.  To register, here.

Truth in advertising

From TargetX:

What makes a good message?
Young people today want the truth and have an uncanny ability to see through efforts to bend or enhance it. They crave authenticity, and that means it’s OK if you’re not the best at something. Instead, concentrate your messages on the things you do excel at. They’ll resonate with the prospective students who will truly fit in at your institution. And that’s the best way to ensure their happiness and your success.

Professional development for women

Clemson University is sponsoring an upcoming Professional Development for Women conference in Asheville June 11, 2010 at the Grove Park Inn and Spa. For more information or to register online, visit here.

June 11, 2010
Grove Park Inn and Spa
7:30 am Registration to 4 pm
$225 for one and $195 per each for teams of four or more.

Tuition includes tuition, all workbook materials, continental breakfast, networking luncheon and all refreshments.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ETSU's College for Parents

Moms, dads, and grandparents with questions about child development, discipline, effective communication techniques, special needs, and caring for a kid with an autism spectrum disorder may find the information they need during “College for Parents,” a weekend seminar series hosted by East Tennessee State University.

Three faculty experts from the Department of Human Development and Learning in the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education will lead the sessions. All Friday workshops will be held from 6-9 p.m. and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays.

“Development” will be the theme of the first workshop May 21-22 led by Dr. Mary Langenbrunner, an ETSU associate professor who has been teaching developmental processes to parents and students for more than 30 years. Langenbrunner will instruct parents on ways to recognize and use development experiences within the home. She will explain normal child and family development and strategies to help children through essential transitions.

During “Communication and Discipline” on June 4-5, ETSU professor Dr. Jim Bitter will discuss how to understand children’s misbehavior and how to incorporate emotion coaching for growth and development. Bitter is a national and international speaker on parenting and parent education and is the author of three books and more than 50 articles.

Dr. Kim Hale, an assistant professor in ETSU’s early childhood education program, will present “Parenting and Autism” June 25-26. Hale is a former school psychologist and has worked with parents of children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders on issues such as developmental difficulties, literacy, and reading.

The registration fee for each weekend workshop is $25 and includes all instructional materials. The sessions will be held in room 515 Warf-Pickel Hall. ETSU undergraduate and graduate students may be eligible to receive educational credit for enrolling.

To register or to request additional information or special accommodations, contact Angela Bayard in the ETSU School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach at (423) 439-4194 or

ETSU eRate

ETSU recently received Tennessee Board of Regent’s approval to implement an eRate for out-of-state students enrolled exclusively in online courses and programs.

Students must be enrolled in only ETSU online courses, and fees are substantially less than normal out-of-state fees.  For more information:

Name: Adam Greever
Phone: 423-439-8611

Social media and academic advising

Some expert advice from NACADA about incorporating social media into the academic advising process.

Academic Advising & Social Media
1. First and foremost, one should appreciate the importance of face-to-face communication in academic advising and view any forays into Social Media Environments as supplemental to advising in brick-and-mortar environments.

2. As is the case with all communication taking place at a distance, the recipient of the information cannot be verified when posting information in Social Media Environments. Advisors should be familiar with your institution’s FERPA compliance or other student records standards and technology use policies, and as is the case with email and telephone, refrain from discussing these topics in uncontrolled, on-line environments.

3. Advisors should remember that Social Media Environments do not represent the university to most students. This being the case, allowing your students the option of interacting with you in these spaces and regularly surveying your populations to ascertain their continuing level of comfort is recommended.

4. By accepting that Social Media Environments do not represent the university to our students and that we’re reaping great benefit from students’ willingness to engage us in these spaces, care should always be taken to not “clog the drain” with information. Note how likely students are to delete university-generated emails without reading them. Likewise, if one pushes too much information into Social Media Environments, students will stop paying attention and disengage.

5. Finally, Advisors should also bear in mind that these are public sites and as such care should be taken to ensure you are playing the role of the professional–even on personal profiles.

Jackson's Lambuth University hangs

By its teeth.  It'll be interesting to see if a for-profit snaps it up.

Lambuth's future may be decided next week


Economy down--moonshine up.  Buy your still and see more pictures here.

White Dog Rising: Why Moonshine is Having a Moment

Why is moonshine making a comeback? For the same reason absinthe did a few years ago. Because it's delicious. Because it's illegal. And because it's cool. Moonshine, both then and now, is whiskey as it comes out of the still: no oak barrels, no caramel color, no aging. It's just straight liquor from fermented corn or wheat mash. None of the luxury-tinged language that surrounds its grown-up siblings, like bourbon or Scotch, apply to the dog. There are no 12 years of "mellowing," no "complex vanilla notes." If you get one flavor out of a white whiskey you're doing well. Historically, you're doing well if you don't die or go blind after drinking it; the standards of moonshine manufacture, from George Washington's time forward, have not been especially high.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Marketing thoughts

The circles (no more strangers)
Consider this hierarchy: Strangers, Friends, Listeners, Customers, Sneezers, Fans and True Fans. One true fan is worth perhaps 10,000 times as much as a stranger. And yet if you're in search of strangers, odds are you're going to mistreat a true fan in order to seduce yet another stranger who probably won't reward you much.

Let's say a marketer has $10,000 to spend. Is it better to acquire new customers at $2,000 each (advertising is expensive) or spend $10 a customer to absolutely delight and overwhelm 1,000 true fans?

Or consider a non-profit looking to generate more donations. Is it better to embrace the core donor base and work with them to host small parties with their friends to spread the word, or would hiring a PR firm to get a bunch of articles placed pay off more efficiently?

Ahh, the Seventies...

They canceled final exams?

40 Years Later, a Proper Graduation

Backlash against the four-year degree

Economists and others are questioning whether we need increasing rates of college attendance.  It's expensive and if you don't finish, you're saddled with debt and no diploma.  Finishing is vital, obviously, and student debt is troubling.  But if you select a community college or a reasonably-priced public university, that debt can be reduced.  And I always remember what an adult student told me years ago:  "Sure I had to borrow money, but it's no more expensive than a new car.  And that car only lasts me a few years.  My degree lasts forever."

And while the unemployment rate for college graduates still trails the rate for high school graduates (4.9 percent versus 10.8 percent), the figure has more than doubled in less than two years.

"A four-year degree in business — what's that get you?" asked Karl Christopher, a placement counselor at the Columbia Area Career Center vocational program. "A shift supervisor position at a store in the mall."
“It is true that we need more nanosurgeons than we did 10 to 15 years ago,” said Professor Vedder, founder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a research nonprofit in Washington. “But the numbers are still relatively small compared to the numbers of nurses’ aides we’re going to need. We will need hundreds of thousands of them over the next decade.”

And much of their training, he added, might be feasible outside the college setting.

College degrees are simply not necessary for many jobs. Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Another graduation

I attended the commencement ceremony for my youngest son at the University of Tennessee on Friday.  UT breaks the ceremonies into separate colleges, and I was at the College of Business ceremony.  I had a chuckle when the first speaker remarked that state law required him to outline emergency evaluation procedures--instead of, I assume, evacuation procedures.  I pictured us having to frantically complete surveys as the smoke billowed out.  It was a nice ceremony.  I was a bit surprised by the lack of diversity on the stage.  Not even a suntan on any of the white guys. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

No surprises here

The WORST-PAYING College Degrees

Some tips on privacy for faculty and staff in the age of social media

Teaching Privacy: Friends Don’t Let Friends Post to Facebook

Continuing education job openings

Even in tough times, colleges and universities are still hiring. Here are some continuing education jobs from the The Chronicle of Higher Education and HigherEdJobs.

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical CollegeAssociate Dean, Continuing Education - Criminal Justice

North Orange County Community College DistrictDean - SCE Instruction & Student Services - Two Positions

Villanova University:  Assistant Director, Continuing Studies

Anna Maria College:  Manager Graduate and Continuing Education Recruitment

Ohio Dominican University:  Dean of LEAD

Claremont McKenna College:  Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study - Posting #M895

Brandman University - Irvine:  Learning & Development Specialist

University of Tennessee, Knoxville:  Coordinator III, Connections for Education Outreach

Why do some Ph.D.s take so long?

I have a son working on one of these--a Ph.D. in history.  Our paths to the Ph.D. have been vastly different.  I needed mine for a union card; he needs his to enter the profession.  And he needs to enter with a splash.

The Long-Haul Degree

Thursday, May 13, 2010

ETSU offers continuing education summer camps for children and teens

East Tennessee State University will offer a number of unique camps combining fun and learning this summer.

The Renaissance Child Camp for children ages 6 to 10 and Renaissance Challenge Camp for ages 11-13 provide age-appropriate science projects, problem-solving with math, numerous arts and crafts creations and various physical activities, including daily swimming at the Wayne G. Basler Center for Physical Activity.

The available dates for Renaissance Child Camps are June 21-25, July 12-16 and July 26-30, while Renaissance Challenge Camps are held June 28-July 2 and July 26-30.

Science and Forensics Camp, offered June 7-11 and July 19-23, is designed for ages 12-15. Campers will enjoy numerous science experiments focused around criminology and environmental forensics. Participants will also solve a mock crime scene and take a daily trip to the Center for Physical Activity where they may choose to swim, play basketball or racquetball, or participate in other activities.

Computer Camp for Teens, held June 14-18, welcomes those ages 12 or older with an interest in various types of computer activities.

All Renaissance Child, Renaissance Challenge, Science and Forensics, and Computer camps meet from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and cost $180 per week, or $170 when registering siblings or for more than one camp. The ETSU community receives a discounted fee of $165.

A new Summer Dance Camp, June 7-11, is available for dancers age 12 and older who have at least three years of dance experience. The camp will be led by Master Teacher Kevin Martin and will focus on ballet as the foundation of dance. Instruction includes classical technique, pointe and variations in addition to dance history and theory, modern technique and improvisation as well as stage makeup.  The fee for Summer Dance Camp is $250.

For registration or further information, visit the Web site at  or call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (800) 222-3878.

Big increases in nearby Georgia

For some, Georgia tuition increases by more than 16%

Worst downloads this spring

Speaking of which, my computer became infected with scareware yesterday and I was off the grid for a while.  This is a regular feature from The Download Blog:

Top 5 video: Worst downloads of the spring

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

50 or over?

Sign up for the AARP Spelling Bee this summer. My wife was treated unjustly by a spelling bee in Texas during her youth. Her word was Tarpon--but, pronounced with a Texan drawl, it came out "tar-pin." Not being familiar with the word, she sounded it out....

2010 National Spelling Bee AARP

Only in the South

No kidding: City wants goats to get rid of kudzu

The relatively constant movement of a variable throughout a period of time

David R. Wetzel discusses four trends in continuing education.

  1. Mobile Learning: Reliance on Portable Digital Devices
  2. Learning Networks: Reliance on Professional Social Networks
  3. Do-It-Yourself Learning: Access to Experts Without Formal Learning
  4. E-Learning: Advantages of this Trend

Today is Twilight Zone Day

Cue the creepy music.

 Twilight Zone Day

Twilight Zone Day is mysterious, weird, surreal and perhaps a little scary. We can think of many other adjectives, but I think you get the picture. Every once in a while, you have a day like this. And, today is designed to be that day.

The television show The Twilight Zone, was created, written and narrated by Rod Serling. It premiered on October 1, 1959. The episodes were wildly popular, stretched the imagination, and captivated viewers. The show aired from 1959-1964.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some adjuncts like status

This doesn't justify the frustration of many part-timers who desire a tenure track position, but it does reveal the complexity of the situation. From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Many Full-Time Adjuncts Prefer Working Off the Tenure Track
A national study of 300 faculty members who work off the tenure track has found that while many said their job conditions should be improved, most said they liked the freedom their positions offered precisely because they were not on the tenure track.

The study, "Contingent Faculty in a Tenure-Track World," whose findings echo the results of a survey of part-time adjuncts conducted last year by The Chronicle, was completed by the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

The center interviewed 300 non-tenure-track faculty members at 12 research universities across the country in 2008 and 2009. About 80 percent of themose worked full time, many of them on yearly contracts. Nationally, only about 20 percent of the professoriate works full time but off the tenure track. About 50 percent of the professoriate works as part-time adjuncts.

A nontraditional path to the presidency

I recall William Penn University from my time as a member of the Iowa Association for Lifelong Learning.  They've had adult degree programs for some time.  I've even been to Oskaloosa.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

From Cultivating Crops to Minds: an Iowan's Path to a University Presidency

It's never to late

To go back to school. If it's one thing I've learned in 20 plus years of continuing higher education, it's that you can always learn and always transform yourself.

Nevada Man To Graduate College -- More Than 60 Years After He Started

Stimulus countdown at UT

Next year could be painful.
In April, 316 UT Knoxville employees, including 162 lecturers, were notified that they are being paid with stimulus funds that expire in 2011.

The importance of fresh content

This posting from Target X describe actions that Butler University took to increase the yield from their marketing.  A lot of it involves social media.  I agree that constant updating is essential, and this summer we're experimenting with hiring a part-time social media coordinator to keep our summer school marketing content fresh. It's hard to simply add those responsibilities to current employees and expect the attention it requires.

Changes that work

•Deciding that fresh content was essential, Kristen told her student bloggers that they must post at least 3 times a week and include 2 links and a photo or video each time. Instead of updating the school’s Twitter account only once a day, she decided it would be updated 6 to 10 times a day (”We make sure our tweets are relevant and not just fluff,” she said). She completely revamped Butler’s Facebook presence to make it more compelling and to drive prospects to on-campus events.

•They launched a video contest called “Butler’s Best Cribs” that encouraged students to film their living space, then invited people to vote for their favorites. “We wanted people to see what the residence halls really look like,” Kristen said, “rather than just some staged room.” People must have appreciated the authenticity of the videos. There were more than 150,000 votes cast.

•They made the commitment to “constantly” update the website. “This generation always wants to see something new,” Kristen said. “They don’t want to come back to the website or Facebook page and see that it hasn’t changed in a week.”

•They hosted more yield events than in the past. And the effort will continue throughout the summer. Counselors will travel to different areas of the country to meet with incoming freshmen and their parents. “For us, recruiting stops the day after the student can withdraw from classes in the fall. We recruit all through summer and into the first few weeks of class.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

Outsourcing email

Schools Think Twice About Gmail Citing Security, Ideological Concerns

Continuing education job openings

Even in tough times, colleges and universities are still hiring. Here are some continuing education jobs from the The Chronicle of Higher Education  and

Kauai Community College:  Director of Continuing Education and Training

Kent State University:  Associate Provost - (Provost's Office) 990699

Stanford University:  Professional Education Program Coordinator (2yr fixed term - Nonexempt 1A4)

Troy University - Troy:   Associate Director of eCampus

Corning Community College:  Director of Academic Outreach

Putting the Volunteer State

On a diet.  More on the too fat to fight front from The Tennessean.

Would-be soldiers are too heavy to enlist
When Tennesseans get the call to fight, most of the young adults in the Volunteer State may have to stand down.

Nearly 75 percent of young adults in the country would be ineligible to enlist in the military because of lack of education, criminal records and obesity, according to a recent report from retired military leaders.

And the biggest culprit in Tennessee has been expanding waistlines, making about 45 percent of the state's 18- to 24-year-olds too fat to serve in the military. About 27 percent of young adults nationwide weigh too much.

Off to attend

The E-TACHE Regional Conference at the University of Tennessee Conference Center.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

ETSU alum Kenny Chesney's Nashville home is flooded.

More information here.  The flooding continues to take a terrible toll, and the expense for cleanup is projected at a billion dollars.  I'm finding musical slide shows popping up online:  quite appropriate for Music City, USA.  One that I found on the CNN website is posted below, and another, featuring a Johnny Cash tune, can be found here.


Not a good thing.

Lawsuit slams Donald Trump's online business school as a ripoff

Cognitive bias song

Saw this on the Freakonomics Blog.

I have one

How about you? tells you how to find out.

8 Ways to Tell if You Have a Good Boss

Not enough cartoons in them

Why men don't read books

It's even worse when I go topless

funny graphs and charts
see more Funny Graphs

College, Inc.

The recent PBS video on the for-profit education sector is available for viewing online.  It's awful that unsuspecting students end up with mountains of debt and wothless degrees.  And those are just the ones who finish.

FRONTLINE: college, inc. PBS
Even in lean times, the $400 billion business of higher education is booming. Nowhere is this more true than in one of the fastest-growing -- and most controversial -- sectors of the industry: for-profit colleges and universities that cater to non-traditional students, often confer degrees over the Internet, and, along the way, successfully capture billions of federal financial aid dollars.

In College, Inc., correspondent Martin Smith investigates the promise and explosive growth of the for-profit higher education industry. Through interviews with school executives, government officials, admissions counselors, former students and industry observers, the film explores the tension between the industry -- which says it's helping an underserved student population obtain a quality education and marketable job skills -- and critics who charge the for-profits with churning out worthless degrees that leave students with a mountain of debt.

At the center of it all stands a vulnerable population of potential students, often working adults eager for a university degree to move up the career ladder. FRONTLINE talks to a former staffer at a California-based for-profit university who says she was under pressure to sign up growing numbers of new students. "I didn't realize just how many students we were expected to recruit," says the former enrollment counselor. "They used to tell us, you know, 'Dig deep. Get to their pain. Get to what's bothering them. So, that way, you can convince them that a college degree is going to solve all their problems.'"

Graduates of another for-profit school -- a college nursing program in California -- tell FRONTLINE that they received their diplomas without ever setting foot in a hospital. Graduates at other for-profit schools report being unable to find a job, or make their student loan payments, because their degree was perceived to be of little worth by prospective employers. One woman who enrolled in a for-profit doctorate program in Dallas later learned that the school never acquired the proper accreditation she would need to get the job she trained for. She is now sinking in over $200,000 in student debt.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I could understand

If it was a Moonpie.

Middle schooler pulls gun on bus over Twinkies

Tennessee's higher education problem

Exemplified by the challenges facing a rural community college in northwest Tennessee.  Dyersburg State Community College.  I once interviewed for a job there, over 30 years ago, but I decided I didn't want to live near the New Madrid Fault.  It's just a matter of time, you know.  Oh, and I know Tina Morris mentioned in the article.  She used to be in continuing education there.  A former continuing educator who rides a motorcycle and likes to hunt.  Is it any wonder we liked to hang out with her at state conferences? From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

College degrees of any kind are rare in northwest Tennessee. One of the seven counties Dyersburg State serves, Lake County, has the lowest proportion of young adults with a college degree of any county in Tennessee—and the fifth-lowest of any county in the nation. Only 5 percent of people ages 25 to 34 have an associate degree or higher, compared with the national average of 38 percent and the statewide average of 31 percent. Even in Dyer County, where Dyersburg is located and where degree attainment is highest among the counties the college serves, only 20 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds have a college degree.

"When I graduated from school, it wasn't hard to get a pretty good job," said Tracey Crossno, 37, who enrolled at Dyersburg State this fall to study nursing after working as a mortgage processor. "I wasn't going to college because it wasn't a priority. I could make money instead of studying."

That attitude is beginning to change, college leaders said, particularly since high-paying manufacturing jobs are leaving the region. But it is still pervasive among older residents.

Forbes lists our most livable cities

While the harsh weather would keep a southern boy like me from moving to most of these cities, it's notable that they are centered around colleges and universities.

America's Most Livable Cities

Actually, it's not budget cuts

That target these two programs.  It's the fact that they're low-producing--fewer than three graduates a year.  But it's always easier to blame the budget....

UT budget cuts threaten two language programs

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Happy Cinco De Mayo: Top 10 Drunkest Holidays

Happy Cinco De Mayo

I'm not above using obscure Mexican battles to justify my drinking

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nashville floods

Spare schools.  Opryland is a mess; I'm glad ACHE is not meeting there this year. From The Tennessean.

Schools escape big damage

Monday, May 3, 2010

Improving your SWAG

Sophisticated, Wild-Assed Guessing.  Sort of.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Gospel of Well-Educated Guessing

Be prepared

When you come to campus for that job interview.  I know, I know, it seems like very basic advice, but it's still not always taken.  Herman Berliner, in his blog, Provost Prose, reminds us of this and other areas where interviews succeed or fail... 

In a number of cases, a candidate comes to the interview not fully prepared. If you go back to a pre-internet time, the expectation of what an outside candidate would know was lower. Colleges prepared materials; if you were familiar with what was sent to you, you were considered prepared. Now we send less but expect more with the internet being the facilitator of these higher expectations. Colleges and Universities have expansive websites and it is not difficult to drill down to schools, departments, majors, minors, and faculty members. If you have not done your homework, if you are not well prepared, and even if you look good on paper, you will likely not be a viable candidate after the interview. In other cases, a candidate may be knowledgeable but either says too much or too little. If there is a pattern of too much or too little (being inarticulate), once again the person will likely not be a viable candidate.