Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Racing in the other direction

Gail Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College, nails the for-profits.

Racing to the Bottom With For-Profit Colleges
Exacerbating matters is that just when a college degree is becoming the basic credential for entry into the middle class, billions of taxpayer dollars are being diverted to a questionable and expensive new player on the higher education scene: for-profit, investor-owned colleges. These institutions, with heavy investments in marketing, have enjoyed explosive growth. They also made enormous profits for their shareholders, with stock prices outperforming the S&P by about 400 percentage points for the last two years.

Of course, as we've learned from the banking industry, what's good for investors may not be good for the average American. That is certainly the case with the for-profits. Their startling growth has come at great cost to their students, taxpayers and public colleges.

Students who attend for-profits pay about seven times more than students attending a publicly-run community college. For-profits are masters at tapping government programs, such as Pell Grants and subsidized student loans, to help students pay their bills. While they educate about 9% of Americans, they receive 21% of Pell money and federally subsidized student loans.

For students, the bottom line is much worse. They leave for-profits heavy in debt and at great risk of defaulting on their loans. Almost one out of four bachelor's degree recipients from a for-profit graduates with more than $40,000 in debt, compared to 6% of public students. With such heavy debt load, the default rate for for-profit students is simply extraordinary. Nearly one-quarter of students default after four years, compared to less than 10% of borrowers from public colleges.

When students default, the for-profits come out unscathed. Taxpayers guarantee the loans, protecting lenders and the colleges. But students in default have their wages garnished, are ineligible for future student aid, and stand virtually no chance of ever securing a mortgage.

More than leaving students crushed under punishing debt, for-profits also don't make heavy investments in actually educating their students. Less than one-third of every dollar they spend goes into instruction, while the bulk is allocated for marketing, executive compensation, and shareholder profits.

Or in my case

A good, clean-shaven version?  Mu ha ha.

Is there an evil, goateed version of you somewhere in the multiverse?

Also see 11 Of The Craziest Things About The Universe.  In particular, the last one:
Out there in the universe there are an infinite number of copies of you reading an infinite number of copies my Top 11 Crazy Things About the Universe.

Race to the top

Once again, those of us in Tennessee are thankful for Mississippi.  And Alabama, who tied with us.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

funny graphs and charts
see more Funny Graphs

Race to the top

Obesity rising; Southern states have highest rates

Creating a college town

First, start with the college...

How Rock Hill can be a college town
A set of wide-ranging ideas - think bike lanes, tax incentives and maybe a burrito stand - is emerging from a group exploring ways to liven up the "college town" atmosphere around Winthrop University.

Over the past four months, a committee of 16 community leaders has held public forums, interviewed developers and business people and gotten advice from consultants.

The goal: To improve rundown areas around campus and give students and young people more to do around town.

Senator Byrd, adult student

died yesterday at age 92.  An advocate of continuing education, he was the only member of Congress to earn a law degree while in office.

Robert Byrd, Longest-Serving Senator, Dies
Raised by impoverished coal-mining relatives in depression-era Appalachia after his mother died in the 1918 influenza pandemic, Byrd showed an early gift for two things: self-education and rhetorical charm. He taught himself butchery as a young adult to get ahead in the grocery business, and later trained himself to become a successful impromptu preacher. The latter skill more than the former paved the way for his election first to the state house as a Democrat in 1946, then to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1952 and finally to the Senate in 1958. Unable to afford college early in life, he took night courses in the late '40s and earned his law degree over 10 years of part-time study after he arrived in Washington, D.C.

More on for-profits

For-Profit Colleges: Senate Probes Student-Loan Defaults

Monday, June 28, 2010

Governor assists flagship presidential search

Bredesen to UT: Choose president more carefully
Gov. Phil Bredesen has told the University of Tennessee board of directors to use care in choosing the university's next president and scolded the board for past choices. . . .
Former UT President John Petersen abruptly resigned in February 2009 after scrapping with the board over several issues, including donors and administration.
Bredesen dismissed former UT President John W. Shumaker in 2003 over his lavish spending and misuse of the university airplane. Shumaker — recruited from the University of Louisville — was UT president only 18 months.
J. Wade Gilley resigned as president in June 2001, citing health reasons, amid allegations of an improper relationship with a female administrator.

"We could have avoided those situations," Bredesen said.

Race to the top

Once considered a best buy, Tennessee colleges and universities are seeing tuition increases that make them less of a value and put more pressure on students to make up the difference.

This week, governing boards for the University of Tennessee system and the Board of Regents system, which includes Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University, voted for tuition hikes to offset dramatic cuts to state funding.

The decision comes as policymakers are considering new restrictions to trim the state's overextended HOPE lottery scholarship program.

The tuition increase represents one more hurdle to the state's goal of enrolling and graduating more college students. And the reliance on tuition isn't likely to go away, said Charles Manning, who oversees the Board of Regents system.

"I believe it will be quite some time before there is an increase in operating money coming from the state to our institutions," Manning said. "The irony is if you really care about students, you have to charge those students more and figure out a way to help those who have need."

Manning said that about half of a school's revenue comes from tuition. Over the past three years, the Regents system has lost 25 percent of its state funding, or $186 million. State officials said the tuition increases were necessary to offset that loss.

Cash-strapped students will have to rely on financial aid such as the federal Pell grant, the lottery scholarship and Tennessee's need-based loans to fill in the gaps. But as tuition has risen, state lottery scholarships have remained flat.

Outsourcing to for-profits

For-Profit Colleges Find New Market Niche
Kaplan University has an offer for California community college students who cannot get a seat in a class they need: under a memorandum of understanding with the chancellor of the community college system, they can take the online version at Kaplan, with a 42 percent tuition discount.

The opportunity would not come cheap. Kaplan charges $216 a credit with the discount, compared with $26 a credit at California’s community colleges.

Race to the top

The Humane Society's manager of animal fighting issues, John Goodwin, said in the statement that as long as cockfighting offenses remain a misdemeanor, Tennessee "will continue to be a magnet for cockfighters."

Open door closing

Community Colleges Cutting Back on Open Access
But for students and professors at overstretched colleges, these are hardly the best of times. With state financing slashed almost everywhere, many institutions have cut so deeply into their course offerings and their faculty rosters that they cannot begin to handle the influx of students. 
In some parts of the country, the budget stresses are so serious that the whole concept of community colleges as open-access institutions — where anyone, with any educational background, can enroll at any point in life — is becoming more an aspiration than a reality.

Friday, June 25, 2010

ACHE / Park University webinar starting shortly.

From the "Emerging Risk" report on for-profits

This is taken from Daniel de Vise in College Inc.  Note the fourth item:  for-profits spend an amazing 1/3 of their budgets on marketing.  Imagine the branding you could do if you spent the same.  And targeting low-income students?  These students, of course, know the least about higher education and cannot make informed choices about institutions, programs, academic quality, and careers.  Reprehensible.

Do for-profit colleges spend too much on bus ads?
In fewer than 20 pages, the report pulls together a fairly comprehensive portrait of the data points that have congressional regulators worried.

1. For-profit colleges have exploded in enrollment. The 14 publicly traded companies in the industry enrolled 1.4 million students as of 2008, up from 200,000 students in eight companies 10 years earlier.

2. Online education is fueling the boom, facilitated by a 2005 rule change that allowed schools to furnish more than half their courses online.

3. For-profits gobble up student aid. The institutions enroll 10 percent of students but receive 23 percent of federal aid.

(Industry leaders say that's because the sector serves a disproportionate share of low-income and self-supporting students, a point its critics do not dispute. The report notes that for-profits "actively recruit primarily low-income students.)
4. For-profit colleges spend barely half of their budget on education and nearly one-third on recruiting and marketing, spending heavily "on television advertisements, billboards, phone solicitation, and web marketing." Some publicly traded schools spend as little as 32 percent on education.

5. Large numbers of students cycle through for-profit colleges. Completion rates are a mystery in the for-profit sector. But available data show the for-profits tend to enroll more students over the course of an academic year than their total starting enrollment. One school studied started the year with 62,000 students, enrolled another 117,000 students and ended the year with 86,000 students. Where did the rest go?

6. As previously noted on this blog, for-profit students borrow more than other students, and one-quarter of 2008 graduates borrowed more than $40,000.

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

Millikin University:  Director, Extended Programs

South Arkansas Community College:  Adult Education Director

Salt Lake Community College:  Vice Provost of Academic Affairs & Workforce Development

Arcadia University:  Program Coordinator - Center for Adult & Professional Education

Saint Louis University:  Coordinator

Northeastern University:  Program Manager

Dallas County Community College District:  Coordinator, Continuing Education & Workforce Development

Boise State University:  Site Coordinator

Austin Peay State University:  Director - High School Upward Bound

I'm making my staff wear black shirts and blue jeans

I got this cool picture from Farhad Manjoo's piece in Fast Company. It's dated July 1, 2010, so it comes from the future.

Invinciple Apple: 10 Lessons From the Coolest Company Anywhere

Picture credits: Clay McLachlan/Reuters ('98); Getty Images ('99); Gabe Palacio/Getty Images ('01); Justin Sullivan/Getty Images ('04, '05); Peer Grimm/dpa/Landov ('07); Paul Sakuma/AP Images ('08); Robert Galbraith/Reuters/Corbis ('09); AFP/Getty Images ('10)

Mmmmmm. Mennonite doughnuts

Local Mennonite community thriving in tough business conditions with diverse mixture of offerings, deep roots

Today is

National Catfish Day. 

On June 25, 1987, President Ronald Reagan began a presidential proclamation with the words "More and more Americans are discovering a uniquely American food delicacy — farm-raised catfish."
And when that wall comes down, Mr. Gorbachev, throw another fish in the fryer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome to Mayberry

For more information, see The Sermon for Today.

Instead, Newkirk says, schools should encourage old-fashioned exercises such as reading aloud and memorization. He says that when he uses these exercises in his college-level classes, his students thank him and tell him that it helps them concentrate, unlike the surfing they do online.

“One student told me even when he was reading a regular book, he’d come to a word and it would almost act like a hyperlink,” Newkirk said. “It would just send his mind off to some other thing. I think they recognize they’re missing out on something.”

It's those nonaccountable expenses

That can get UT presidents in trouble.  Oh, and also emails and carpets and planes ...

Trustees decide $450,000 enough to get top candidate for UT president
A day before a vote on budget cuts and tuition hikes, trustees debated whether $450,000 would be a high enough salary to attract a top candidate to be the University of Tennessee's next system president.

In the end, trustees passed the compensation package out of committee, one of several issues hashed out in the first of a two-day board of trustees meeting at the Institute of Agriculture on the Knoxville campus.

The discussion on whether the salary was high enough was a necessary one, said Interim President Jan Simek, considering the university system's need to cut costs and the need to be competitive when it comes to the future.

The package includes an annual $20,000 housing allowance, expected after the decision to put the former presidential house on the market, and a nonaccountable expense account of $12,000 to $16,000 per year.

Former President John Petersen, who resigned in February 2009, had a base salary of $420,000.

If you happen to find yourself in England at the end of the month...

FACE Forum for Access and Continuing Education

FACE 2010
Which Way Now To Widen Participation: Lifelong Learning, Economy and Society
30th June to 2nd July
Hosted by Southampton Solent University
Download a Flyer


is now UPCEA.  University Professional and Continuing Education Association. 

I apologize if this is old news--I haven't been a member for some time and last attended a conference in 2009.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

10 places not to see before you die

Got an interview coming up?

How to Shine in a Job Interview

Degrees on the chopping block in Louisiana

Physics and chemistry?  Really?

NSU plans to cut degree programs for budget reasons
Northwestern State University administrators met with a group of students Monday to answer questions about plans to cut some degree programs as a result of budget cuts faced by schools throughout the state.

The bachelor's degree programs on the chopping block include heritage resources, physics, physics education, chemistry, chemistry education, journalism, sociology and political science, according to a list given to school administrators by NSU Provost Lisa Abney's office.

The heritage resources master's degree program is also on the list.

Advice on getting that job

At your local community college. You may not want to teach, but even in continuing education, you have to understand the community college philosophy.  Fortunately, the two cultures are very, very similar.

Learn to speak community-college lingo. Teaching experience at a two-year college is important because search committees are looking for people who are familiar with our colleges and understand what we're about. When you teach on a community-college campus, even as an adjunct, you begin to absorb the culture and learn to speak our language.
That language is focused on teaching and learning, not on research, and may be considerably different from the dialect you spoke as a graduate student. We talk about learning styles, classroom technology, developmental studies, assessment, advising, and student success. You can pick up the lingo pretty quickly by listening to your full-time colleagues, participating in hallway conversations, and attending department meetings. And your ability to speak and understand the lingo will serve you well during your next interview for a full-time position.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Take the money and run

Where do the faculty come from for some of these for-profits?  Do they know what they're peddling? 

But in June, just as Parnell was finishing the 8-month-long program at the for-profit school, she learned her hard work and thousands of dollars in federal loans had been wasted. The school's program wasn't approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Parnell was no closer to qualifying for a nursing job than when she started.
In a June 2 letter, the Chicago-based Illinois School of Health Careers informed its students that graduates of the patient care technician program would not be able to take the state's certified nursing assistant exam because the program lacked the IDPH's approval.

Rum 101

Free Cuba.  I'll drink to that.

 Rum's dark and stormy past
Like its history, the best rum is dark and complex. And as I have discovered through careful research, you can put rum in almost anything. Favorites include: rum and Thai iced tea, rum and black coffee, and the mojito. I also think it's worth drinking a Cuba libre every now and then, just in the interest of historical appreciation, though I would never waste good quality rum by mixing it with Coke. Which brings me to my final point: although fruity cocktails can be delicious (particularly when fresh juice is used), the best rum is worthy of being showcased, not obscured. A fine rum and soda (with a dash of fresh orange juice for body) is an ideal accessory for a summer afternoon.

Can't make the grade?

Change the grade.  Your lawyer may just have been a C student...

In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That :
In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not.

Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New iPhone operating system

Now available for downloading.  Some new features include multitasking, spell check 5X digital zoom for the camera, the ability to search test messages (although keeping your text messages can only get you in trouble), and persistent Wi-Fi.  Expect slow downloads due to high traffic.

Welcome, iOS 4 iPhone Atlas

Today is

Summer solstice.  Summer weather has been present around here for a few weeks.  It's been like a jungle...

Thousands celebrate solstice. Partying at Stonehenge. 


Not so fast.  Maybe Blink twice.
The Trouble With Intuition
Gladwell's message in Blink has been interpreted by some readers as a broad license to rely on intuition and dispense with analysis, which can lead to flawed decisions. In his book, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System From Crisis—and Themselves (Viking, 2009), the New York Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin notes that the former Lehman Brothers president Joseph Gregory was a devotee of Blink who even hired Gladwell to lecture his employees "on trusting their instincts when making difficult decisions." (Gregory was removed from power as his firm circled the bankruptcy drain in 2008.)
Intuition means different things to different people. To some it refers to a sudden flash of insight, or even the spiritual experience of discovering a previously hidden truth. In its more mundane form, intuition refers to a way of knowing and deciding that is distinct from and complements logical analysis. The psychologist Daniel Kahneman nicely contrasts the two: "Intuitive thinking is perception-like, rapid, effortless. ... Deliberate thinking is reasoning-like, critical, and analytic; it is also slow, effortful, controlled, and rule-governed." Intuition can help us make good decisions without expending the time and effort needed to calculate the optimal decision, but shortcuts sometimes lead to dead ends. Kahneman received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 2002 for his work with the late Amos Tversky that showed how people often rely on intuitive heuristics (rules of thumb) rather than rational analysis, and how those mental shortcuts often lead us to make decisions that are systematically biased and suboptimal.

I can remember when credit hours

were equal to clock hours. Sigh.

Credit Hours Should Be Worth the Cost, House Panel Members Say

Everything old is new again

In case you've forgotten what you learned years ago in Continuing Education 101...

For Robert Morris U., the Nontraditional-Student Market Is New Again
Instead, the target market will be adults seeking options and flexibility—"the convenience factor trumps everything else" for online students, she says. The programs will be housed in the university's existing schools and will be taught by many of the same faculty members who teach in classrooms, but the online sections of courses will be smaller, and new sections will start every couple of months.

"Online students have high expectations in terms of responsiveness," Ms. Tannehill says, and that's why the university has hired a call center that will respond to a potential online student within minutes of his or her first contact. Adult students are likely to have done their research in advance, to know exactly what they want, and to want it within a few weeks, if not a matter of days. "Everybody has to be flexible," she says. "You do your best planning, but I guarantee you you'll shift your plans before classes begin."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Minnesota governor's prediction

Some faculty distressed by Pawlenty's online ed vision
"Do you really think in 20 years somebody's going to put on their backpack, drive a half hour to the University of Minnesota from the suburbs, haul their keister across campus, and sit and listen to some boring person drone on about econ 101 or Spanish 101?" Pawlenty asked Stewart, host of "The Daily Show."

"Can't I just pull that down on my iPhone or iPad whenever the heck I feel like it, from wherever I feel like it?" he said. "And instead of paying thousands of dollars, can I pay $199 for iCollege instead of 99 cents for iTunes?"

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

Moravian College:  Dean of the Center for Continuing, Professional, and Graduate Studies

Elmira College:  Director of Continuing Education

University of Wisconsin:  Assistant Dean

Felician College:  Site Director of Off-Campus Programs

Mt. San Antonio College:  Director, Community & Career Education

Bellevue College:  Senior Program Manager

Cuesta College:  Workforce, Economic Development & Community Programs Work Experience Coordinator

Dallas County Community College District:  Senior Coordinator, Client Management

Stark State College:  Dean, Corporate Services and Continuing Education

University of Montana:  Dean of Continuing Education

Central Michigan University:  Program Administrator

Mmmmm...fried pickles

I had my first one only last year.  I'm afraid it won't be my last.  And just this month, I had my first fried Twinkie.

Southern guilty pleasure foods

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Hit me with her best shot.

10 best moments from Pat Benatar's memoir

Wisdom from Scott Adams

Adams Complexity Threshold
The Adams Complexity Threshold is the point at which something is so complicated it no longer works.

The Gulf oil spill is probably a case of complexity reaching the threshold. It was literally impossible for anyone to know if the oil rig was safe or not. The engineering was too complex. I'm sure management thought it was safe, or hoped it was safe, or hallucinated that it was safe. It wasn't possible to know for sure.

Maybe someday we'll learn there was one person who skipped a safety step, but that's exactly the sort of thing you can't get away with in a less complex world, where everyone understands the whole process and can notice a mistake. It's our nature to blame a specific person for a specific screw-up, but complexity is what guarantees mistakes will happen and won't be caught.

Enron is another case of complexity crossing the threshold. No one really understood what Enron was doing, except for a few crooks, and they intentionally used complexity to conceal their treachery. I lived in California when Enron literally made the lights go out, and even the Governor didn't know why.

The financial meltdown, health care, defense spending, our tax code, problems in the Middle East - you name it. They have all become unsolvable because of their complexity. We want to blame individuals for being stubborn or corrupt or even stupid. But the real enemy is complexity.
Complexity is often a natural outgrowth of success. Man-made complexity is simply a combination of things that we figured out how to do right, one layered on top of the other, until failure is achieved.
Try leaving the house with the family. It used to be as simple as getting in the car and driving away. Lately it has become more complicated than the Normandy invasion. You need cell phones, car chargers, iPods, sunglasses, address for the navigation unit, and sweaters, if not layers. Someone needs a snack, and someone needs an Advil. There's something you need to drop off along the way. Remember to stop at a mailbox, then pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, and get gas. Then remember that the iron might be plugged in, and drive back home to check. Repeat.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still using email to communicate with students?

There's a better way.

A new study from Ball State University says that text messaging on mobile devices has overtaken e-mail and instant messaging (IM) as their main form of communication. Ninety-seven percent of students surveyed reported sending/receiving text messages as compared to 30 percent for e-mail and 25 percent with IM.
Smart phones now account for 49 percent of mobile communication devices on college campuses, up from 38 percent in October 2009 and 27 percent in February 2009, says BSU's Michael Hanley, director of the university's Institute for Mobile Media Research. ...

"College students are increasingly adopting the smart phone as the core mobile communication and entertainment device for their hectic lifestyles," observed Hanley. "In the few years since instant messaging leaped from the computer to the cell phone, a new mobile lifestyle has evolved for college students. And except for studying, the computer is quickly being left behind."

Other findings from the survey:

•The use of cell phones is nearly universal on campus, with 99.8 percent of students having a cell phone.
•Nearly nine in 10 students with smart phones access the Internet from the device, versus less than half with a feature phone.
•Cell phone camera usage has soared, with 97 percent of smart phone owners taking and sending photographs while 87 percent take and send video.

Race to the top

Howdy, neighbors.

States With The Fewest College Degree Holders

Flagship tuition increasing

At a higher rate than other publics in Tennessee.  More evidence that we haven't had state supported higher education in Tennessee for some time.  Just state assisted.  When I moved here, Tennessee was a low tuition state and students from Virginia and North Carolina could often attend here and pay less, even with out of state tuition, than they would pay in their own state.

UT pushing significant tuition increase
Although system officials are proposing an across-the-board tuition jump, tuition revenues still will be highest at UT this year. On top of the 8.5 percent increase to their baseline tuition, students in engineering, nursing and business on the Knoxville campus will pay a higher tuition rate, a move approved earlier this year.

"We are trying the best we can to prepare for the ultimate cliff in 2012," when federal stimulus dollars dry up, Mr. Dye said.

In the last decade, the UT system has changed the way it supports itself. State appropriations as a percentage of total revenues have declined from 53 percent of UT's total budget in 2002 to 49 percent of the total budget this year.

At the same time, tuition and fees climbed as part of overall revenues, making up 28 percent of the budget in 2002 and now reaching 39 percent, budget documents show.

Dual enrollment dilemma

As we drive college down into the high schools.  I understand the utility of dual enrollment for the senior year in high school.  But how young is too young for college?  And is there even such a thing as too young?

"You can be the best driver in the world at age 12, but you can't get a driver's license," said Mojock. "You can also vote at 18, but does that 18-year-old always know what he or she's talking about? That's not always the case. We're trying to be accommodating, and every occasion is a different endeavor. Still, we accept that age is a placeholder for certain readiness in a number of other areas in our society. I don't see how this is out of the question. We're not being arbitrary."
Mojock noted that the college considers "experience" and "relative maturity" when considered whether to let in someone younger than 15 years old. Though he acknowledged that he rarely grants waivers to this rule, he admitted the college has accepted younger students in the past. For example, the college's commencement speaker this year was a 16-year-old graduate who started taking dual-enrollment courses when she was 14 years old.
By and large, Mojock argued, a 15-year-old student is better qualified for the college environment than someone two years younger, because he or she has probably had more interaction with those of a traditional college age. For those younger than 15, Mojock said he worries about issues of "safety and security" on his campus, given that it is open to the entire community and not as strictly guarded as a high school campus.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Training versus education

A new report outlines the tension between higher education and career preparation.  In continuing education, we tend to side with the career-oriented folks. 

U.S. 'On A Collision Course With The Future' In Terms Of Projected Demand For Educated Workers
A landmark report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce forecasts an uneven relationship between colleges and the job market. Although more future jobs will require advanced education, colleges are not doing enough to prepare their students for the projected workforce. . . .

The report also predicts that as more people obtain postsecondary degrees, it will become more difficult for them to join the middle and upper income classes.
The New York Times has a different slant on the same report:

 More Employers to Require Some College, Report Says
“High school graduates and dropouts will find themselves largely left behind in the coming decade as employer demand for workers with postsecondary degrees continues to surge,” write the report’s authors, led by Anthony P. Carnevale, the center’s director.

And yet the report further underscores a trend evident in recent years in reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: sometimes a certificate in a particular trade, a two-year associate’s degree or just a few years of college may be as valuable to one’s career (and income) as a traditional bachelor’s degree.

Tightening the rules

For the for-profits.  But delaying gainful employment.

Education Department takes aim at for-profit colleges
The Education Department is proposing a number of rules today designed to protect college students and taxpayers from abusive or fraudulent practices, including aggressive recruitment tactics and allowing ineligible students to enroll and receive aid.

We used to call this

Knowing your audience.  From Seth Godin's Blog:

Trying to please
Who is your marketing or your product or your effort trying to please?

Every campaign that I've ever seen fail has failed for precisely the same reason: it pleases the wrong person. Think about it... it wouldn't have launched if it hadn't pleased the boss or the client, right? Pleasing the wrong person meant failure.

The same thing is true on a deeper level in your career choice or what you write or what you say or what you sell or how you sell it: if you are working hard to please the wrong people, you'll fail.

Does that critic or that buyer or that spouse or that girlfriend or that investor really matter as much as you think they do?

Today is

 Bloomsday.  The day we honor James Joyce and Ulysses.  Even after all these years, I can recite this line from Ulysses: Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. It has a sing-song quality that sticks with you like a nursery rhyme.

More on a liberal education

I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.

Tallulah Bankhead

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Illinois approves plan to let universities borrow money

Against what the state owes them.  As long as the state is promising money but not actually delivering the funds, maybe Illinois could promise to pay the interest that the schools will be paying on those loans taken out...

Quinn OKs letting universities borrow to make up state's shortfall

iPhone fidelity

It's expensive.  But we all knew that, didn't we? 

Evidently, these folks in Chattanooga didn't get the message.  They're already lining up to get the new iPhone, god bless them.

iPhone pre-order line forms

No telephone in heaven

And a tear sprang in her eyes.  Have to use Skype, instead.  Online education has transformed Christian colleges.

Christian colleges flourish in distance learning environment

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Most Annoying Sounds

Monday, June 14, 2010

Since True Blood Season Three started

last night.  Here's a link that combines higher education, scholarship, and vampires.  I enjoy True Blood too much, I'm afraid.

All the Dead Are Vampires

Leveraging eLearning

Instead of offering popular programs to grow income, the Pennsylvania system wants to pool resources to maintain low-enrollment programs.  This is like the RODP model we use in Tennessee.

Leaders of Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities want more of their students to enroll in collaborative degree programs that would rely on courses and instructors based on more than one campus.

A report being presented in Harrisburg Monday to the faculty union is expected to include recommendations for "shared programs" in foreign languages like French, German and Spanish and in physics, said State System of Higher Education officials, including Karen Ball, vice chancellor for external relations.

These pilot programs, potentially using software that enables distance learning, would involve degree programs that on individual campuses may be under-enrolled, officials said.

"The idea is not to have the student be campus-bound," Ms. Ball said Friday. "The focus is to have our students benefit from being part of a system.

"These students will get part of their program or a course offering from faculty that's on a campus that's not their [home] campus," she added.

Crichton College in Memphis is now

Victory University.  Crichton was sold to Significant Federation, LLC last December.  It retains its SACS accreditation.

Crichton College Announces Name Change to Victory University
“The name 'Victory University' embodies our vision for the professional and spiritual goals of our students,” stated Dr. John, M. Borek, Jr., President of Victory University. “'Victory' becomes the expectation we set for ourselves professionally, spiritually, and personally.”

Dr. Borek added, “Victory University has a strong heritage. It is vital to the Board of Directors and Administration that the vision of the founding leaders of the school 70 years ago is honored by the current institution. We remain committed to the mission that Victory University will educate students to think critically, grow spiritually, and change the world.”

Founded in 1941, Victory University, formerly Crichton College, is an accredited, Christian liberal arts college committed to engaging students both academically and spiritually so they become agents of community transformation today and beyond. VU educates students to think critically, grow spiritually, and change the world.

Today is

Flag Day.
  • The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
  • In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
  • The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
  • The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
  • After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It's called "half staff" on land ,and "half mast" on a ship.
  • When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or "union", is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
  • The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.
  • The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.
  • Never let your flag touch the ground, never...period.
  • Fold your flag when storing. Don't just stuff it in a drawer or box.
  • When your flag is old and has seen better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On this date

In 1880,  John Lee Richmond pitches baseball's first "Perfect Game."  Luckily there was no bad call by an umpire to spoil it at the end.  Also, no instant replay.  Oh wait--there's still no official instant replay.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Maybe her husband wouldn't pour her a cold one

Rub her feet, give her something to eat, or fix her up her favorite treat.

Shania Twain: Officially divorced

A professional theater course available this summer in Northeast Tennessee

Members of the East Tennessee Repertory Theatre, which is the region’s only professional equity theatre company, will teach “The Professional Theatre Experience” this summer on the East Tennessee State University and Northeast State Community College campuses. The course will meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – noon beginning July 12 and continuing through Aug. 13, which coincides with the second term of the ETSU summer semester.

“The Professional Theatre Experience” will provide instruction on the art and business of acting and will allow students to earn experience toward becoming a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Participants will appear in the production of Robin Goodfellow to be presented at Northeast State and also have the opportunity to work with a company of Equity Actors in a performance of The Dining Room at ETSU.

The course is open to ETSU and NSCC students as well as members of the community. Undergraduate and graduate credit is available to eligible participants. The cost is $750 for undergraduates, $1,101 for graduate students, and $1,000 for non-credit enrollees.

No audition is required.

Instructors will include ETSU faculty member Bobby Funk and Elizabeth McKnight Sloan, director of theatre at NSCC. Patrick Cronin, ETSU director of theatre, will serve as guest lecturer. All three are members of the East Tennessee Repertory Theatre, along with ETSU assistant professor Herb Parker.

For registration information, email Persons with questions regarding classes or performances should email Funk at or Sloan at

So you're volunteering to work the hospitality room

At the next continuing education conference.  Here's a tip so you can bartend and network.

Batch Your Cocktails for Easy Party Bartending

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

Saint Louis University:  Program Assistant

University of Delaware:  5286 Academic Coordinator (Level 13) Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Western Oregon University: Career & Professional Programs Manager

Moraine Valley Community College:  Director, Non-Traditional Learning

What advertisements tell us

In this case, about the University of Phoenix and Harvard.  From Kevin Carey, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The second ad, published in The New York Times's Education Life section, featured a young woman wearing a Harvard T-shirt, sitting studiously in front of academic-looking stone columns. The ad touted "Harvard Summer School," where anyone with $4,450 and a dream can live in "historic Harvard houses" for seven weeks. ("JFK slept here," the Web site says, "and so did Henry David Thoreau, Natalie Portman, and Al Gore.") But they'll also need an additional $2,580 per four-credit class, which may be taught by either Harvard College professors or "visiting scholars" (i.e., not Harvard professors).

But there's a catch: You can apply those credits toward a Harvard degree only if you get accepted at Harvard, and good luck with that. Or you can transfer the credits to another college, but only if the other college accepts them. One should be even more wary of online credits from Harvard Summer School, as the list of institutions that won't accept them includes ... Harvard College.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

From my Urban Dictionary Calendar

Attachment Disorder. 

When a person forgets to attach a document to an e-mail after explicitly stating that it is present. 

I always forget to attach the picture before I hit send.  I must have an attachment disorder.

And if you have fully recovered from attachment disorder, here are some tips on e-mail etiquette:

10 Rules of E-mail Etiquette

Despite what Shakespeare said

Names are important.  The Bard never heard of branding.

Career College Association to Change Its Name
The Career College Association, which represents more than 1,000 mostly for-profit colleges and universities, is changing its name to the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. The new name and acronym "APSCU" (not to be confused with the recently renamed APLU, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, or with AASCU, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities) were chosen to represent the 1,800-member association's evolution from its trade-school roots, said Harris N. Miller, its president, in a statement issued from its annual meeting, in Las Vegas. Said Mr. Miller: "The phrase 'private sector' is synonymous with innovation in virtually every walk of life, and the public's faith in private-sector solutions to solve most of society's biggest challenges will carry over into the realm of higher education too."

College athletics and online courses

No longer mix for this university.

Brigham Young University's Independent Study program appears to be wildly successful. At any given time, students are taking more than 100,000 high school courses and 22,000 college classes, for a variety of reasons: to get courses out of the way in the summer, finish high school or college early, or improve their performance in classes in which they struggled. Based on those numbers and the fees the program charges for its nearly 600 online courses, the program generates millions of dollars in revenue a year. (BYU officials won't say.)

A tiny fraction of its enrollments -- about 500 a year -- are high school athletes seeking to use the BYU program's courses to meet the National Collegiate Athletic Association's freshman eligibility standards. Yet for the second time in several years, dealings with the high-stakes world of big-time college athletics appear to pose a potentially serious threat to the 90-year-old program's status. Last month, the NCAA decided to "de-certify" the BYU program (and one other, the American School) as a legitimate provider of "nontraditional" courses. The decision came in response to a change in NCAA rules this spring requiring "nontraditional" courses to include regular interaction between students and professors, and to set specific timeframes in which the courses must be completed.

Race to the top

Tennessee seventh in gun-related deaths, survey finds

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blue lighting summer school

I once worked at a private college that offered adult students a BOGO.  Buy one course and get another course free if the student hadn't been enrolled in a college or university for the past five years.  It worked pretty well, even if I did have to endure being called the Kmart of higher education one time.

College tuition discounts draw in students for summer
A competitive market for returning summer undergraduates has five New Jersey colleges vying for the business with offers of free housing, 50% discounts and 'buy one, get the second half-off' deals.

Memphis City Schools try continuing education

An effort like this does take a few years to get truly established.  It could be a hard sell to taxpayers, however.  Especially the private party.

Memphis City Schools learning to lead leaders 
The Urban Education Center is the umbrella organization for the professional development the district intends to offer districts within 400 miles of Memphis.
It invested $140,700 this year and expects to lose $46,000 but turn a $23,000 profit next year and $130,000 the year after that.
The three-day forum that starts Monday is the flagship event. How it sells is key to the success of the whole program.
The cost is $495, including a private party on Beale Street.
Late Friday, 1,106 people had registered; 110 were paying customers. The rest are employees.
When few people registered last year, the district decided to waive registration fees and sent word to employees to attend.
About 1,400 did, most of them teachers and administrators from Memphis and Shelby County. Almost no one paid admission.

Not as bad as it could have been

Part-time students won't see the increases that full-time students will.  This will help one of our more fragile students markets--adult students.

Tennessee higher education had been bracing for a 9 percent budget cut next year. Instead, the final version of the budget the legislature passed last week contained a 6 percent budget cut.

For the 2010-11 academic year, tuition at Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech will rise by about 5.2 percent per semester — about $120 — for students carrying 12 credit hours. For students carrying 15 credits or more, tuition will increase an average of 7.8 percent, or $180 per semester. For students carrying 18 hours, tuition goes up 10.2 percent, or $240 per semester.

A nice defense of higher education

by Charles B. Reed, chancellor, California State University.

California State University system: Investing in higher education is a win-win -
The Public Policy Institute of California predicts that if the state doesn't increase higher education funding, it will have 1 million fewer college graduates than it needs by 2025. The institute acknowledges the difficulties of finding the needed investments in the current budget climate, but it says failing to do so "will cost California even more."
Just how much more is evident from a new study by ICF International. It found that the California State University system's 1.96 million graduates employed in the state earn an additional $42 billion annually because of their advanced degrees. Losing the economic activity that future graduates would generate could cost California hundreds of thousands of jobs and dilute the most important ingredient in California's economic success: a highly educated, diverse workforce capable of fostering the innovation and entrepreneurship of the 21st century.

We tried to get into Tootsies during the ACHE Conference

in Nashville two years ago.  It was too crowded.  Turns out Kenny Chesney was playing, unannounced.

Kris Kristofferson helps celebrate Tootsies anniversary

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

But only 10?  Seems like a hundred.

Weak Point: 10 Terrible Movies Adapted from Video Games

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meanwhile, just down the road in Bluff City . . .

People around here really hate those red light cameras.  I figure it's just a tax on lawbreakers.  And if we have to increase taxes, why not do so on criminals?  And I speak as one who has been so taxed.

Man takes over Bluff City, TN police website after it expires

A man who opposes police use of cameras to send speeding tickets snatched a bully pulpit when the Bluff City Police Department allowed its website to expire.

Computer network designer Brian McCrary of Gray discovered the police site was up for grabs, so he paid domain provider Go Daddy for the rights and is the proud new owner of

McCrary, who told the Bristol Herald Courier he received a $90 speeding citation, took over the site May 22.

The parody site McCrary put up shows a smiling cartoon police badge clutching green currency. It also posts gripes from other people who've been cited.

Bluff City Police Chief David Nelson said the officer who managed the site had been on medical leave and the expiration slipped up on the department.

For-profits and the gainful employment rule

I wonder if this would affect the Wal-Mart college?

Facing Cuts in Federal Aid, For-Profit Colleges Are in a Fight
Any day now, the federal Department of Education will formally propose new regulations that would cut off federal aid to for-profit colleges whose graduates cannot earn enough to repay their student loans.  
The regulations, known as the “gainful employment” rules, are an effort to rein in the high debt loads students take on when they enroll in for-profit colleges that offer certificates or degrees in fields like nursing or culinary arts. Students at for-profit colleges are much more likely than others to default on their loans.
 Under the regulations, a draft of which came out in February, for-profit colleges would not be eligible to receive federal student aid if their graduates’ debt load was too high to be repaid, over 10 years, with 8 percent of their starting salary.  
The Career College Association, which represents 1,450 for-profit colleges, is lobbying fiercely against the regulations, which it argues are wrong-headed, unnecessary and likely to restrict needy students’ access to vocational training and higher education. With so many community colleges overcrowded, the for-profit colleges say, their programs represent the nation’s best hope for training much-needed health care workers and technicians.

Flagship tuition increasing

And I love the Vanderbilt line. The last line is just depressing...

UT tuition to increase, but by how much is not known yet
Campuses in the UT system are formulating budget proposals and a tuition increase, which Interim President Jan Simek hadn't seen as of last week, said a spokesman in his office.

"You can't cover all that gap with tuition, or all the sudden you become Vanderbilt," said Hank Dye, a UT system spokesman. "It's harder this year, and everybody is going to squeeze every last day hoping that something gets better."

Tuition has steadily increased over the last decade, more than doubling since 2000.

Back when I was an English graduate student

We called this Freudian literary criticism.  Except it was done by English majors, not doctors-to-be.  Thirty years later, stuff like this still appeals to me--I still recall fondly "Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey!".  Much more fun than analyzing Bella from Twilight.

Fictional Stars, Real Problems

Is higher education a bubble about to burst?

Interesting enough, Glenn Reynolds states this as fact, not question.  Hmmmm.  I think higher education has a much longer track record of value than the housing market ever had.  My parents were happy when they sold a house and made only a little money.  They figured if they broke even, they had lived free for those years.  I do agree that students are looking harder at value and cost avoidance, but I also think that education, and higher education in particular, is the most established means to increase your socio-economic status.  We can't all win the lottery.

Higher education's bubble is about to burst
It's a story of an industry that may sound familiar.

The buyers think what they're buying will appreciate in value, making them rich in the future. The product grows more and more elaborate, and more and more expensive, but the expense is offset by cheap credit provided by sellers eager to encourage buyers to buy.

Buyers see that everyone else is taking on mounds of debt, and so are more comfortable when they do so themselves; besides, for a generation, the value of what they're buying has gone up steadily. What could go wrong? Everything continues smoothly until, at some point, it doesn't.

Yes, this sounds like the housing bubble, but I'm afraid it's also sounding a lot like a still-inflating higher education bubble. And despite (or because of) the fact that my day job involves higher education, I think it's better for us to face up to what's going on before the bubble bursts messily.

College has gotten a lot more expensive. A recent Money magazine report notes: "After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982. ... Normal supply and demand can't begin to explain cost increases of this magnitude."

Commencement ain't what it used to be

Ceremony versus celebration. One of our graduates had found an over sized mortar board this spring, and he looked something like the Mad Hatter.  But I've never seen something like outlined below.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education

Commencement Matters

At two separate ceremonies, the proceedings were briefly interrupted when streakers, wearing nothing but mortar boards, raced across the stage. (On one such occasion, a doctoral student whom I had just hooded turned to me and joked, "I told you a college education today will cost the shirt off your back—and apparently more.")