Thursday, September 30, 2010

"A" is for accreditation

For-profit colleges under fire over value, accreditation
For Chelsi Miller, the wake-up call came when University of Utah officials said her credits wouldn't transfer from her old school.

Utah's flagship public university accepted her to its pre-med program last fall but said her courses at Everest College, a national for-profit institution with a campus in Salt Lake City, wouldn't count toward her bachelor's degree. That left Miller with a 3.9 grade-point average for an associate's degree that she says did nothing to advance her education and career goals. And, she has more than $30,000 in student-loan debt.

She says Everest misled her when it suggested her credits would transfer and misrepresented what it would cost her.

"I feel as if I had been sold a college experience from a used-car salesman," says Miller, 26, of Midvale, Utah, who last week filed a class-action lawsuit in state court with two other students accusing Corinthian Colleges, Everest's owner, of fraud.

Miller's claim — which Corinthian disputes — is the latest in a string of actions raising questions about for-profit colleges, whose enrollments are soaring as many Americans beef up their education as a hedge in a tough job market.

Allied Health Sciences Community College Visitation Day.

This group loves adult students.

Lumina Foundation and Ivy Tech teaming up

With IU Continuing Education to produce more college graduates.

Lumina Foundation backs Ivy Tech program for adult degrees
Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation is extending a hefty helping hand to adult students with “some college” but no degree today.

Lumina is announcing it will support an Ivy Tech Foundation project that will enable Ivy Tech to team up with the Indiana University Division of Continuing Studies to get more adults into degree programs in general studies.

Through the partnership, Ivy Tech expects to produce 1,000 new graduates with associate degrees transferable to Indiana University. And IU will have its own partnership with the Manufacturing Institute — to help students earn industry-recognized certifications.

Nationwide, Lumina is giving $14.8 million to adult education programs.

Ivy Tech Foundation will get $784,200 to be used on its 28 campuses and several instructional centers to re-enroll former students who left college with at least 45 credits and get them back in class and headed toward a 4-year degree at IU.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Noel-Levitz and CAEL study on adult learner satisfaction available

Nothing startling in the report, but it does a fine job of reminding us what adult learners feel is important.  The report breaks its findings down into Four-Year College and University findings and Community College findings.  I've listed below the link a list of challenges for the four-year group--challenges in areas of high importance to adult learners but low satisfaction as served by the institutions:

Adult Learner Satisfaction Priorities Report: 2010
Challenges (high importance/low satisfaction):

• My instructors provide timely feedback about my academic progress.
• I receive timely responses to my requests for help and information.
• Sufficient course offerings within my program of study are available each term.
• I am able to choose course delivery that fits my life circumstances.
• I receive the help I need to make decisions about courses and programs that interest me.
• Billing for tuition and fees is tailored to meet my specific needs.

Social notworking


6 Things You Should Never Reveal on Facebook
Your birth date and place. Sure, you can say what day you were born, but if you provide the year and where you were born too, you’ve just given identity thieves a key to stealing your financial life, said Givens. A study done by Carnegie Mellon showed that a date and place of birth could be used to predict most — and sometimes all — of the numbers in your Social Security number, she said.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Professor accused of peddling non-credit for credit

We sometimes get requests to mix credit and non-credit students in the same class.  I typically refuse.  Technically, it can be done, as long the course requirements are not identical and that the credit students do--essentially--more academic work.  But I try to avoid it because it's always something that can bite you in the rear end.  Like here, at Portland State.  Of course, at PSU, the professor is accused of issuing his own transcripts.  Hmmm.  On the other hand, there is such a thing as non-credit transcripts.

PSU at odds with former business professor over international program
The institute offered the one-year, non-credit program in partnership with China's Dongbei University of Finance and Economics and three other Chinese universities, according to Mack's letter. Chinese students spent an undergraduate year taking classes at PSU. Mack said they paid reduced tuition because they were enrolled in a "non-credit certificate program."

But Molander represented the courses as for-credit, Mack wrote, issuing transcripts reflecting that. "These so-called 'transcripts' were created by Professor Molander," Mack wrote, "and made to appear to be official PSU documents."

Students who received Chinese degrees based on the courses used their credentials for admission to U.S. graduate business programs, including at PSU, Mack wrote.

Molander says that at Chinese universities' insistence, his institute referred to courses in terms of the number of credits that would be equivalent. Records were identified clearly as interim grades, he said. Chinese seniors don't need credits because they spend their final year writing theses, he said.

PSU's School of Business Administration, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, continues to operate the program -- which is now offered for-credit, Broderick said.

More on for-profits

More lawsuits target for-profit colleges
Disgruntled students, employees and shareholders have filed a flurry of lawsuits against for-profit colleges since a federal investigation last month found deceptive practices at 15 campuses.

The Government Accountability Office report was released Aug. 4, and class-action lawsuits have now been filed in California, Colorado, Arkansas and Utah by former students and employees, who argue in most cases that a school lied to them or misled them.

Some companies, including the University of Phoenix and Westwood College, closed campuses or launched internal investigations after the release of the report, which found that admissions officials in four cases encouraged applicants to commit fraud by lying on financial aid forms.

Shareholders have filed class-action lawsuits against at least five schools, noting the effect of the report on stock prices and citing securities fraud.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

And as Spock shows, the goatee makes the evil twin...

Top 10 sexiest evil twins of all time!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vote for worst, creepiest commercial, and so forth

But hurry.

Vote Here For Worst Ad In America 2010!
Now that the nominees have been announced for Consumerist's First Annual Worst Ad In America Awards, it's time to get your vote on!

You can only vote once, so choose wisely. Voting ends at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, 9/28/2010.

That's why we drink it here

The Very Many Varieties of Beer.  This poster is availabe for purchase at the Pop Chart Lab site.

Can we keep offering online education on the cheap?

Dean Dad points out the fallacy that online education increases capacity with minimal costs.  If you're content with poor student service, high non-completion rates, and dissatisfied students, that's probably true.  Quality online education requires technical and instructional support and the conversion of many student services from walk-in to Internet--from bricks to clicks as we used so say in our continuing education promotion.  That takes people, and people don't come cheap.

When “Degree” Becomes “Kind”
When changes like that happen, they upend “cost per student” calculations. When the marginal cost of another section is simply the cost of the adjunct who teaches it, the college comes out ahead with reasonable enrollments, even at our low tuition level. But when enrollment gains hit the point that you have to start adding staff in the library, the financial aid office, OSD, and the like, you fall behind again pretty quickly. That’s roughly where we are with online. The enrollments, and expectations of those enrolled, are getting to the point where we can’t just run it off the corner of someone’s desk anymore. That means an abrupt increase in our overhead costs at a time when any increase in overhead is deeply suspect, if not out of the question.

Much of the popular discussion of the economics of online education -- both in the press and in the academic blogs -- just gets it wrong. The institutional savings, if any, don’t come from larger class sizes. If you do online education right, it’s labor-intensive. Frankly, if reducing labor costs is your primary motive, you can’t do much better than the traditional overstuffed lecture taught by an adjunct. On a per-student basis, the labor costs of that are minuscule. The institutional savings from online education come mostly from infrastructure. Adding server space is dramatically (and increasingly) cheaper than adding classroom space. You don’t have to add parking, or heating costs, or seats in the library. When your physical campus is running full, this is no small consideration.

When you can add students without adding to infrastructure, and without adding to your support staff, you can come out ahead. We’ve coasted on that for several years now.

It’s becoming clear, though, that we can’t keep coasting that way. Online students are starting to demand a full panoply of services, and to expect that those services will be available on the same basis as the classes themselves. And the numbers now are big enough that the workarounds are simply untenable.
funny graphs - Freshman 15 Is My Goal
see more Funny Graphs

The maddening halfalogue

Half a dialogue, I guess.

Why Hearing Half of a Cell-Phone Conversation Drives You Nuts
Public cell-phone conversations are maddening for a lot of reasons — their ubiquity, their volume (the conversational equivalent of a leaf blower), their banality ("I prefer the asparagus tips, but these were overcooked..."). But a new study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that there might be something subtler at play: presented with half a conversation, our brains feel compelled to fill in the blanks.

Laura Emberson, a PhD candidate in psychology at Cornell University, came up with the idea to investigate the halfalogue when she was an undergraduate student commuting by bus and realized that she found it impossible to concentrate if someone was talking on a cell phone anywhere within earshot. In her recently completed study, she recorded a cell phone conversation between two people — first with both halves of the conversation audible, then again with only one half or the other recorded. Then she played either the full dialogue or the halfalogue to subjects while they tried to perform an onscreen task such as tracking a dot with a cursor.

The result was what she predicted: judging by their performances on the screen test, the people who heard the entire conversation were better able to proceed with the task than those who heard only half of it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

ETSU to hold opening celebration for centennial

East Tennessee State University will officially begin its 100th anniversary observance – Partnerships, Promise, and Hope for 100 Years – during the Centennial Opening Celebration on Friday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m. in the ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center.

The program will include remarks from ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton, Jr., a video presentation, and the announcement of the faculty and staff winners of the student choice awards contest. In addition, President Stanton will read the official centennial proclamation and sign commemorative copies to be given away following the program. A reception will also be held.

ETSU opened its doors on Oct. 2, 1911, as East Tennessee State Normal School with 29 students. This fall, enrollment passed 15,000 for the first time in the institution’s history. The university now has more than 100 degree programs, including 13 doctoral programs.

The public is invited to the event, and guests should enter the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center on the west side of the building. For more information, or to request special assistance, call ETSU University Relations, (423) 439-4317.

Save the date

Florida hopes a flat-rate tuition will help progress towards degree

In Tennessee, we did the opposite in pursuit of more tuition dollars.  Even though the state passed legislation mandating that we increase the number of graduates from our colleges and universities.

Florida universities weigh flat-rate tuition system
Florida's state university system is mulling a one-size-fits-all tuition structure for full-time students -- an idea that could lead some to graduate sooner, but also carries the risk of students biting off more than they can chew.

Under the plan, which could receive receive final approval from the state Board of Governors as soon as November, full-time students at participating universities would pay a flat rate per semester, regardless of how many classes he or she actually takes.

The pricing structure, known as block tuition, is already the norm at private universities across the country, and has been adopted by some high-profile public universities as well, including The University of Texas at Austin and UCLA.

An exact pricing model for Florida schools has yet to be hammered out, and schools may decide to charge slightly different rates.

If a school chose 15 credit hours as the standard, a student taking only 12 credits would be paying for a class he or she wasn't taking. On the plus side, a student taking 18 credits would be taking an extra class for free.

If approved by the Board of Governors, schools could then request to make the switch -- or they could opt to keep the current per-credit pricing.

``We're giving it serious consideration,'' said University of Florida Provost Joseph Glover. ``It accelerates students' progress toward graduation. . .it's definitely an encouragement for students to take additional hours toward their degree.''

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
The Catholic University of AmericaProgram Coordinator
California State University San MarcosSenior Director, Programs
University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyDirector
Angelo State UniversityDirector of Extended Studies
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyAssociate Director, Engagement and Outreach

ELPA First Annual Leadership Conference

The Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Department at ETSU starts its continuing education program for area school leaders.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The worst state for student loan defaults

Is also home of the largest for-profit university.  Hmmmm.

The worst state for student loan defaults
At 10.9%, Arizona has the highest rate of default on federal student loans in the country, says the U.S. Department of Education.

Between 2007 and 2008, about 24,531 borrowers defaulted on loans within two years after their first repayments came due. These borrowers attended 90 colleges in Arizona.

The worst offenders: students attending for-profit colleges. The state’s default rate could be so high because it’s home to the University of Phoenix – where 70% of defaulting borrowers attended.

On the other hand, Arizona’s public universities have some of the lowest default rates in the state (4% for the University of Arizona).

Spending biggest bucks

To learn how to save big bucks.  Controversial study in Wisconsin.

When UW-Madison leaders quietly made it known last month they were searching for a consultant to examine how the university might run more efficiently and effectively, the few faculty and staff on campus aware of the proposal may well have been a bit uneasy with the whole idea.

The world of higher education, after all, is not an enterprise with an easy-to-measure bottom line. Of course, with the state facing a projected budget shortfall of at least $2.7 billion, no one was going to speak out against a project designed to save a few bucks during these economically challenging times.

But after university administrators told faculty leaders last week that such an endeavor would likely cost UW-Madison at least $3 million, some on campus started to openly question the merits of such a project.

Things to do while in Albuquerque for the ACHE Conference

Just kidding.  It's just hard for me to ignore a story like this one that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Graduate students in the department were the first to take on phone-sex work, about five years ago. They found it locally at People Exchanging Power, an Albuquerque-based company that offers people with various sexual fetishes a support network, phone-sex services, and opportunities to rendezvous with some of its employees in real life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To register, click here.

College still worth it?

Yes.  You've probably heard about a new report from the College board affirming the benefits of completing college.  Lower unemployment, higher lifetime earnings, yada yada yada.  Brad Tuttle, writing in It's Your Money, summarizes the findings of that report and other data sources below.

4.6 vs. 10.3 The unemployment rates in August 2010 for workers 25 and older with, respectively, four-year college degrees and just with high school degrees, according to the WSJ, which also reports that the median duration for being unemployed was 18.4 weeks for college grads and 27.5 weeks for high school grads.

New continuing education leader at Trident

Godow named vice president at Trident Technical College
Trident Technical College has named Skip Godow vice president of its Division of Continuing Education and Economic Development.

Godow will direct the department that promotes economic development through custom-designed programs and consulting services, including licensure and certification, career renewal enhancement, professional and organizational development, and customized work force training for companies such as Boeing and Bosch.

In his most recent role as executive director and CEO of the Lowcountry Graduate Center, Godow helped develop 20 new doctoral, master’s, certificate and noncredit programs. During his tenure, the graduate center won the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Innovator Award and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural 1773 Award for excellence in education.

Sometimes I miss Iowa

Nudes in University of Iowa art exhibit raise questions

Race to the top

The usual suspects: West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi.  And oh yeah, Tennessee.

States With The Lowest Percentage Of College Degree Holders

Today is

The First Day of Autumn.  Maybe.  There are some sites that suggest it starts tomorrow.

But I'm going to trust the U.S. Government (Tea Partiers feel free to object). 
The spring equinox marks the first day of the spring season. On this day, the Sun is directly over the earth's equator, and daylight lasts 12 hours in the Northern Hemisphere and increasing. This day is typically recognized as March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and marks the first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
 The summer solstice marks the first day of the summer season. On this day, the northern half of the Earth is tilted closest toward the Sun, and the Northern Hemisphere experiences the longest day (or most hours of daylight) of the year. This day is typically recognized as June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and marks the first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

The autumnal equinox marks the first day of the fall season. On this day, the Sun is again directly over the earth's equator, and daylight lasts 12 hours in the Northern Hemisphere and decreasing. This day is typically recognized as September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the first day of spring is recognized on September 23.

The winter solstice marks the first day of the winter season. On this day, the northern half of the Earth is tilted furthest from the Sun, and the Northern Hemisphere experiences the longest night (or most hours of darkness) of the year. This day is typically recognized as December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and marks the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2010, the equinoxes and solstices take place at:

First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox) 1:32 p.m. ET March 20
First Day of Summer (Summer Solstice) 7:28 a.m. ET June 21
First Day of Autumn (Autumnal Equinox) 11:09 p.m. ET September 22
First Day of Winter (Winter Solstice) 6:38 p.m. ET December 21

Monday, September 20, 2010

Continuing your education

Learn to turn down any free drink with brown in the title....

When Candice Cook worked as a bartender in Washington, D.C., her bar offered a special free drink to especially ‘obnoxious customers’ called the Brown Squirrel. And by special, we mean the worst drink ever. It is essentially a free glass of leftovers.

“A Brown Squirrel is the draining board of the soda fountain as well as the mat where alcohol and other drinks are spilled, poured into a glass with cola and vodka,” Cook says. “It's pretty gross, and usually caused the obnoxious customer to leave, or at least stop being so obnoxious.”

Run the other way

When you see these kinds of recruiting tactics.

Eight Ways to Avoid For-Profit School Scams
On one hand, this growth is good news for students: more options make it easier to find the massage-therapy certification that the local community college didn't offer or to take courses online instead of commuting to a classroom. But the profit motive can be a nasty thing: investigative reporters and government inspectors have caught for-profit colleges using all sorts of underhanded tactics that hit students in the pocketbook, from overcharging for classes to pushing applicants toward unnecessary education loans to exaggerating the prospects of getting a job with one of their degrees. In short, for-profits sometimes pull shenanigans that do not put students' interests first.

Top rankings becoming more elusive

UT and UK are among Southern universities rethinking goals amid recession
UK isn't the only university in the South shouldering the tough economic conditions just as it was getting started on a major push to move up the higher-Ed rankings. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Clemson University in South Carolina also have outlined such goals and are determined to keep them going despite the short-term pains. . . .

With a challenge from Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, UT-Knoxville launched its plan earlier this year in the middle of the recession. Although there have been some cost-cutting efforts, such as a limit to the number of courses a student can drop, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said waiting until conditions improved would simply put the school further behind.

Continuing education booming at UC-San Diego

UCSD looks for big enrollment in extended studies
The UC San Diego’s extended studies program has reported record enrollment for the last academic year and expects similar numbers in the upcoming academic year, which begins this week.

UCSD Extension served 55,598 students in the 2009-10 academic year, according to figures released last week.

The program offers classes in about 125 fields, including life sciences, engineering, accounting, information technology and the arts.

Classes are held nights and weekends on the La Jolla campus and in Mission Valley and Sorrento Mesa for the convenience of working students.

“All the trends are that enrollment will keep going up,” said spokesman Henry DeVries. “We see it as a jobless recovery. People are using UC Extension to bridge to new careers or to keep the jobs they have.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Oddball Celebrity-Branded Products

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today is

How To Be Speakin' Pirate-Like

•Double up on all your adjectives and you'll be bountifully bombastic with your phrasing. Pirates never speak of "a big ship", they call it a "great, grand ship!" They never say never, they say "No nay ne'er!"
•Drop all your "g"'s when you speak and you'll get words like "rowin'", "sailin'" and "fightin'". Dropping all of your "v"'s will get you words like "ne'er", "e'er" and "o'er".

•Instead of saying "I am", sailors say, "I be". Instead of saying "You are", sailors say, "You be". Instead of saying, "They are", sailors say, "They be". Ne'er speak in anythin' but the present tense!

Friday, September 17, 2010

ETSU’s Alliance for Continued Learning to offer fall classes

East Tennessee State University’s Alliance for Continued Learning (ACL) will offer a wide range of seminars and activities during the spring program beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21, and ending Wednesday, Oct. 27. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday.

To give new members an opportunity to become acquainted with the group, the ACL will welcome all participants on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 9:30 a.m., in the meeting room provided by the Bank of Tennessee for the fall session at the Med Tech Branch, 100 Med Tech Parkway at North State of Franklin and Knob Creek roads. Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU’s Vice President for Health Affairs and University Chief Operating Officer, and David Atchley, Senior Vice President at the bank, will offer remarks.

The fall lineup will include sessions featuring ETSU mathematics faculty member Dr. Rick Norwood presenting “Let’s Read the Funnies!” while Fred Sauceman, ETSU Executive Assistant to the President for University Relations, offers “The Swine-Centric South with a Soup Bean Prelude.” Bo Wilkes of Mountain States Health Alliance will discuss the new Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Alan Bridwell will explain Johnson’s Depot and the history of Johnson City, and Rob Williams of the 11 Connects Storm Team will offer insight into the history and practice of weather forecasting.

Other topics include Charles Maynard of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park displaying the range of life found in that famous park, and Richie Hayward, an amateur photographer, showing a photo essay of the bears of Katmai.

Additional options range from Charlene Ehret of the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center talking about care and careers within her facility and ETSU English instructor Pat Buck leading discussions on the world of literature, to Helen Whitson of Bank of Tennessee giving hints for investing.

Field trips are planned to the International Storytelling Center for a performance by Donald Davis and to WJHL for a tour of the television weather studio.

Sponsored by the ETSU Office of Professional Development, the ACL is “member-empowered, member-driven and member-governed.” Participants decide the study groups, forums, classes, and other activities to be held, find leaders for the sessions, and elect officers. Most courses will be held at the Bank of Tennessee branch.

No educational pre-requisites, no examinations, and no grades are involved in the courses. A $40 fee allows participants to attend any or all sessions.

For more information or a schedule of classes, visit or call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084.

Planning your first big conference?

Louise M. Felsher, writing in Meetings and Conventions, lists three common mistakes to avoid.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Beginners and experienced planners alike too often make poor choices in these key areas

Dean Dad's advice to young faculty members

Will They Still Need Me When I’m 64?
The people who will do well in the future system -- in which I’d expect to see such 20th century conceits as “credit hours” tied to “seat time” go the way of the typewriter -- will be those who can adapt to change as it unfolds. That doesn’t mean blindly adopting each new fad as it comes along; it means bringing that wonderful critical intelligence to bear on new possibilities.

A cliche of economic history is that the early railroads failed because they thought they were in the railroad industry, but they were actually in the transportation industry. Trucks ate their lunch. The educators who will thrive in the future will be those who understand that they aren’t in the Tenured Professor business; they’re educators. That may mean online delivery, or mediated delivery, or modular approaches, or structured group tutoring, or mentoring, or I don’t know what. But outside of the elites, the one strategy I can almost guarantee will lose is digging in your heels and trying to stop history. If you don’t believe me, ask your local newspaper editor.

So yes, I imagine you’ll still have a job (assuming you do it well), but the job you still hold decades from now may not look a lot like the job you have now. If you’re smart, you’ll lean into the change.


Former St. John’s Dean Charged in $1 Million Scheme
On Wednesday, Ms. Chang, 57, was arrested at her 15-room colonial in Jamaica Estates and accused of embezzling about $1 million from the university, money that prosecutors said she used to pay for lingerie, trips to casinos and her son’s tuition bills. . . .

Ms. Chang’s lawyer, Todd Greenburg, in denying the charges against his client, said, “Every dime this woman spent was spent on behalf of St. John’s University, entertaining the people St. John’s University told her to entertain.”

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
Eastern Kentucky UniversityAdult Ed Instructor
Corning Community CollegeAssistant Director of Continuing Education
Saint Louis UniversityAssociate Dean - CEPS
Harvard UniversityProgram Coordinator
Dickinson State UniversityDirector, Office of Extended Learning
Troy University:  Assistant Site Coordinator
Southwest Minnesota State UniversityCollege Now Director

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Unforgettable TV Sounds

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Foreign language continuing education

We recently bought a license for Rosetta Stone and started offering noncredit classes in a variety of languages for native students, foreign students, faculty and staff, and the general public.  Response has been very good.  This is from the continuing education series in the New York Times.

Continuing Education for Foreign Languages
THEY may be preparing for a vacation in Europe, trying to communicate with colleagues abroad or immigrant clients at home or unlocking the skills, learned in college, that have retreated to an inaccessible part of the brain. For those aiming to learn a foreign language, continuing education courses can lead people toward fluency — or at least help them get by.

Three-month language classes at the University of California, Los Angeles, cost $480. At the New School, 13-week courses cost $590.

These days, online programs and CDs like Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur are grabbing the interest of people attracted by their convenience and relatively low cost. But more schools are offering their own online-only language courses as part of extension programs.

They thought it was funny

To flush all the toilets at the same time.

Hundreds of students evacuated after water main break at EKU

Making a presentation at ACHE or TACHE?

Farhad Manjoo in Slate has some good PowerPoint advice.  PowerPoint is ubiquitous at continuing education conferences, so much so that conference planner routinely place projectors in all meeting rooms.  If you use the hotel's equipment, this is a huge expense.  ACHE recently figured it would be cheaper to buy projectors for the national conference, use them once, and give them away as door prizes than to use the hotel projectors.

So when should you reach for PowerPoint? Only when your talk satisfies two conditions, says Garr Reynolds, the author of Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. The two iron laws of PowerPoint: You must be speaking to a large audience, and your topic must benefit from visuals. The visuals are key—your images and numbers must be of the sort that can be understood by people far away. You can't present a list of numbers or a complex math equation on a screen. "Having a visual is generally better than not having a visual," Reynolds says. "But having bad visuals is much worse than not having a visual."

To take an extreme example, then, PowerPoint wouldn't have been the right choice for the Gettysburg Address. Yes, Lincoln was speaking to a large audience, but any visuals (a graphic showing one new nation born 87 years ago, say) would have detracted from the solemnity of the moment. On the other hand, look at this excerpt of An Inconvenient Truth. Notice that nearly every one of Al Gore's slides presents a clear, compelling image that clarifies the point he's making in his talk. That's the way to do it. (A firm called Duarte Design helped Gore create his slides; they used Apple's Keynote software, not PowerPoint.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Bluegrass Ambassadors, one of 20 ETSU student bluegrass bands, performs at the Staff Convocation. ETSU has the only bluegrass program in the country.

ETSU’s Office of Professional Development offers fall activities for the "Renaissance Child"

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development will present the Renaissance Child Fall Enrichment Program Oct. 11-15 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The program is designed to give children ages 6-12 the opportunity to enjoy field trips, including ones to Fender’s Farm corn maze, Bays Mountain, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park and Cooper’s Gem Stone Mine. Other activities will be held on the ETSU campus and will feature arts and crafts as well as safe science experiments.

Campers should bring a bag lunch with a beverage each day and wear “paint-friendly” clothing, tennis shoes and a sweater or jacket.

The program has limited enrollment and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee for the full week is $145. A reduced fee of $130 is available for those with ETSU identification cards.

For further information, or to register, call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084. Details are available online at

Motivation 101

Motivating staff and faculty during times of cut-backs, reductions in force, frozen wages, and increased responsibilities is tough.  It's not enough to remind people that they should feel good about having a job. Steve Tobak, writing in, reminds us of some basic principles.  While he is casting a wide net, I think these ten suggestions are particularly important for continuing education leaders to remember. (Although the English teacher in me needs to point out that in Number 3, the modifier dangles. You can't hold goals accountable.  Sometimes I hate myself.)

How to Seriously Motivate People
It’s entirely up to you, the manager, to provide an environment that will meet those conditions. It isn’t easy, but then, you’ve got to ask yourself what kind of manager you want to be? If the answer’s a great one, you’ll need these 10 techniques for seriously motivating your people:

1. Exhibit flawless work ethic. Lead by example. If you screw around, they’ll emulate you. Likewise, if you’re seriously hard-working, they’ll seek your approval by doing the same.

2. Indoctrinate them with the big picture. Everybody wants to be a part of something useful. Make the work important to them by telling them why it’s important to others.

3. Set goals and hold them accountable. Goal setting in most companies is ineffective. It’s either too top down, too bottom up, or there’s little or no follow-up. Strike a balance somewhere in the middle. Where is different for each situation.

4. Provide genuine, real-time feedback, good and bad, no BS. Ask for the same from them. This is one of the hardest things for any manager to do, especially the negative stuff.

5. Promote their accomplishments and take the heat for their failures. They need to know you’ve got their back.

6. Provide the tools they need to be effective; keep management off their backs; otherwise, get out of the way.

7. Give them as much responsibility as they can handle, no more, no less. That’s sort of tricky if you have a big group because it’s really an individual thing.

8. Communicate what’s going on as openly as you can within reason and without unduly burdening them with confidential information they don’t need to know.

9. Give them personal time to get important things done. We’re not talking about running errands, but important stuff that’s got to be done 9 to 5 like doctor’s appointments.

10. Have some empathy, humility, and a sense of humor. It’ll go a long way. Mostly, be yourself. No jokes about sociopaths; they probably don’t read management blogs anyway.

Trust the beard!

Beardedness in advertising: effects on endorsers' credibility and purchase intention
In line with this approach, results show that bearded endorsers are perceived to be more credible and to have a positive influence on purchase intention, but these effects occur only in relation to specific kinds of advertised products. Theoretical and operational implications for communication strategies are discussed.

Race to the top

Where you can pack heat and eat a nice meal in Nashville.

Along with hours, entrée prices, beer selections and smoking policies, diners and drinkers might want to know another key piece of information before choosing a restaurant or bar: Will anyone be packing?

A new website will try to answer that question, letting diners know which Nashville establishments allow guns inside and which ones prohibit them.

The site,, made its debut Friday in response to a new state law that allows gun carry permit holders to bear arms in any establishment that serves alcohol unless the owner explicitly bans guns. Permit holders aren't allowed to drink while carrying.

Ray Friedman, a Vanderbilt University management professor, and his daughter, Toni, a Hume-Fogg High School student, started the website and a nonprofit organization, Gun Free Dining Tennessee.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Long live the clicker!

'The lecture is dead'
Twenty years ago, he thought he was doing a fine job lecturing medical students in physics from the front of the room. They did well on complicated tests, and his student evaluation scores were high.

"I thought, 'Eric, you are a great teacher,' " he said.

But then Mazur, now the dean of applied physics, read somewhere that students weren't getting much out of introductory physics classes. He decided to verbally quiz them on Newtonian physics.

They couldn't do it. They could regurgitate formulas, but they couldn't talk about the forces a heavy truck and a light car would have on each other when they collided.

"Nothing was internalized. Zero. Or next to zero," he recalled. "I almost fell out of my ivory tower."

So he began to develop a new approach, drawing upon experiments in the 1960s at Cornell, where three analog buttons were placed on armrests so physics students could answer questions in class.

By the late '90s, those buttons had turned into clickers, the small, battery-operated touchpads students use to answer multiple-choice and polling questions in class.

A grasshopper walks into a college bar

The bartender says, "Hey, we have a drink named after you!"  "Really," says the grasshopper.  "You have a drink named Bob?"  Ba-doom Pshh. Humor + Bugs + Higher Education = Great Learning Experience.

Best college class in the nation? Playboy magazine says it's at Oregon State
No surprise, this: For the editors of Playboy, bees do it.

Proof arrives with the news that those profound wordsmiths have dubbed an insect course the nation's best college class of 2010 because it combines humor with learning. Equally unsurprising: It's taught in that hotbed of erotica, Corvallis.

In "Far Side Entomology," which has infested Oregon State University's course catalog for more than two decades, students study the significant roles that insects play in human existence. But the course material isn't all dreary larva and pupa. Michael Burgett, a honeybee man and OSU professor emeritus, uses Gary Larson's hilarious "Far Side" insect cartoons to pique students' interest and prod their creativity.

CAEL needs instructors

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning is seeking part-time, as-needed faculty-credentialed individuals to serve as Independent Contractors with the online Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Center.

CAEL is seeking multiple Course Instructors to teach a fully online course detailing the portfolio development process; this course will bear learning objectives equivalent to a three-credit, 100/1000-level undergraduate course. Course Instructors will be responsible for delivery of instruction for all assigned sections, and for evaluation and assignment of grades and related credit recommendations to enrolled students.

CAEL is also seeking numerous Faculty Assessors to review individual student portfolios. All submitted work will be reviewed for undergraduate-level learning. Candidates must follow CAEL principles in assessing student learning, and, must review student work with a level of rigor appropriate to regional accreditation.

Additional information about each position, including instructions on how to apply, may be found here: Inquiries may be directed to

CAEL is an Equal Opportunity Employer, M/F/D/V.

Things to do this fall

Two festivals are nearby.   The Foothills Fall Festival is in Maryville and the famous Wooly Worm Festival is across the mountains in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  We predict the severity of the winter weather around here by wooly worm coloration.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More students attend Kentucky colleges and universities

Kentucky college enrollment hits all-time high
Enrollment in Kentucky's public and independent colleges and universities hit an all-time high this fall with 271,352 enrolled students, according to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Total fall enrollment increased by 3.8 percent over last year and 40.1 percent over the past 10 years, according to a preliminary fall enrollment report released Sunday at a meeting of the council.

Candidates speak out on TBR Chancellor

Actually, I think Ramsey's comment is kind of funny.  Although wildly inaccurate.  You'd be surprised at how many McCain-Palin bumper stickers you still see on cars in the faculty/staff parking lots at universities in Tennessee.

Debate on Regents' selections heats up
In separate recent interviews, Haslam and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike McWherter recently indicated they were comfortable with Morgan serving as Regents chancellor — McWherter more enthusiastically than Haslam.

Bredesen said that nothing was wrong with selecting a higher education leader who lacks a doctorate degree and that knowledge of state government is a plus. He noted that UT has had 'three failed presidents' with academic credentials after prior state-centered presidents — Andy Holt, Ed Boling and Joe Johnson — were successful.

Ramsey said he questioned the way the board dropped the doctorate requirement, though supporting the principle that academic credentials may be overrated. Many in the academic world, he said, 'step off campus and they're lost.'

"They like to get up in the morning, comb their beard, put on their wire-rim glasses, throw their little tweed vest on and go to school for three hours … and hate Republicans,' he said.

This is no way to get the college vote

But, of course, I can't speak for all the nuts.  Gingrich was speaking from Pella, Iowa; a lovely place.

Gingrich: University staffers are liberal ‘nuts’
Gingrich made the comment when asked about how to address political correctness in the education system. He advocated dumping teacher credentials in some situations to favor adjunct-type instructors. A practicing pharmacist, for example, probably could teach more effectively an hour a day than a chemistry teacher.

Citizen instructors also wouldn’t place pressure upon retirement systems or pay union dues and be able to teach freely, he said.

He continued:

“The other thing you also have to do is figure out how you’re going to take on political correctness in universities . . . They only recruit from people who are nuts. You end up with people who are so far to the left that they are literally not in contact with reality.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

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

Western Washington University:  Vice Provost for Extended Education and Summer Programs

Stanford University:  Program Manager, Programs & Marketing - Executive Education

Manhattan College:  Director of Adult Undergraduate Education

Kern Community College District:  Director, Workforce Development

Missouri University of Science and Technology:  Coordinator, Continuing Education

Arizona Western College:  Director of Conferences and Events

Arkansas State University:  Training and Development Coordinator

Seemed like a good idea at the time

Like New Coke.

Drake pulls D+ logo from website, keeps it on printed material

The Sarducci model of higher education

Outcome based.  Accelerated.  Cost-efficient.  High retention and graduation rates. Student centered.  State governments should get behind this.

Free webinar

The Future of Lifelong Learning & Technology Wednesday, September 15, 2010

1:00 PM (CST)

The field of continuing education and lifelong learning is in transition as it enters a new era of frugality. All programs (even once prosperous programs) must be focused more than ever on managing costs to survive and demonstrate self-sufficiency. Strategic investments in new technology along with more creative utilization of current staff and resources will be the keys to success.

Click here for more information or to register.

Plan to join William Draves of LERN and Cem Erdem of Augusoft as they discuss:

• The new economy and its impact on lifelong learning programs
• Paradigm shifts you will need to make to manage change and demonstrate success
• The influence of government and other international/global presences
• How strategic investments in technology can impact your bottom line

Thursday, September 9, 2010

From my Urban Dictionary Calendar

Academic chicken
Phrase - refers to academic work of poor quality in which you are essentially daring your professor or teacher to give you a bad grade

I just submitted the worst paper I have ever written. It is nothing short of academic chicken.
song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

These jobs are going, boys

And they ain't coming back.

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.

Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.

Consisting of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they require more hand labor, which is cheaper there. So though they were first developed by American engineers in the 1970s, none of the major brands make CFLs in the United States.

ASAE & the Center's Principles of Learning

Designed to reflect best practices in adult learning.  ASAE is the American Society of Association Executives.  If you've never visited their website, you should.  I came across this brief outline, which adult and continuing educators might find useful. 

ASAE & The Center's Seven Principles of Learning
A Framework for Learning
At ASAE & The Center, our approach to learning is different. As much as possible, we try to put the attention on the learner and the impact of the learning, not on a "speaker." To help us achieve this goal, we adhere to the following principles in the design, delivery, and evaluation of our programs.

1.  Learning involves both support and challenge. You'll be encouraged to take risks, question assumptions, and fully engage in the learning process.

2.  Learning involves changing both thinking and action. You'll examine your own beliefs and consider new perspectives, while being provided with the tools to put ideas into action.

3.  Learning is an ongoing process of self-discovery. The Center's learning experiences will help you become more self-aware, gaining understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs.

4.  Participants need to feel that the learning experience is both relevant to their situation and authentic to them as a person. The Center's learning experiences will strive to relate the material directly to your own experiences.

5.  Learners and faculty should be involved as equal contributors in the learning process. The Center's learning experiences are designed to encourage you to become full partners in co-creating the learning experience.

6.  Learning is a social activity and happens best in the context of a trusting community. The Center's learning experiences provide a friendly, welcoming environment and strive to build personal connections and a sense of community among participants.

7.  Learning experiences should surprise and delight participants. The Center's learning experiences are fun, interesting and meaningful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Welcome to

 Lake Wobegon.
Survey: Most of us think we're hotter than average
In an magazine survey, about 60 percent of men and women alike said they were pretty satisfied with the way they look, thank you very much — even though many of them admit that they wouldn’t exactly call their bodies “ideal.” (It’s worth noting that’s about the same percentage of Americans who are overweight.)

In fact, most of us think we're better-looking than average — between a 6 and a 7 on a 10-point scale — according to the online survey of nearly 26,000 and readers, ranging in age from 18 to 75. The survey was conducted by UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles, researchers.

The under-30s are an especially confident group: 28 percent of young women and 30 percent of young men rate themselves between an 8 and a 10.

For-profits and the G.I. Bill

Universities need to become as accessible as their for-profit competition to better serve veterans.  This is a market we can't lose. Who you gonna call?  Continuing education.

GI Bill tuition pouring into for-profit schools
For profit colleges are targeting soldiers and vets – and the US government’s footing the bill.

U.S. spending on veterans’ education will hit $9.5 billion this year thanks to additions to the GI Bill. But eight out of the top 10 colleges with the most Veterans Affairs-funded students are for-profit schools, like the University of Phoenix and the American Military University.

Students currently and formerly in the military are drawn to the flexible schedules and convenience of online courses and multiple campus locations. Some schools entice with tuition discounts for members of the armed forces.

For instance: Kaplan University lowers undergrad tuition by 55% for active-duty military and 38% for veterans.

In light of recent investigations into the underhanded recruiting practices of for-profit colleges, VA officials are increasingly concerned these schools are delivering expensive degrees that don’t translate into viable employment.

Gambling on higher education

SDSU’s gaming institute focuses on tribal casinos
Michael Murray thought he would be working in a tropical paradise about now.

But that was before the 25-year-old, who grew up in Temecula and Santee, came across the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University.

“I went to San Diego State to do hotels,” Murray said. “I wanted to do a hotel in Hawaii.”

Instead of showing up for work on the shores of Oahu or Maui, Murray now heads to the eastern edge of El Cajon to start his overnight shift as a slot operations supervisor at Sycuan Casino.

And he says he couldn’t be happier about it.

“I like the people in slots, the people I work with and the guests,” Murray said. “The benefits are good. The pay is good. It doesn’t even seem like a job. It’s exactly what I wanted.”

The tribal gaming institute is part of SDSU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. It was launched with a $5.5 million endowment from the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians in 2005.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is 75 years old

Kathy and I drove topless on the parkway on Sunday.  We stopped a while in Little Switzwerland and Mount Mitchell.  It was a clear, sunny day--something relatively rare on the mountain.  Little did we know that the Parkway was turning 75.  This is one celebration, not too far from here.

Blue Ridge Heritage Days Honors Parkway Anniversary September 11 to 19
The Town of Blowing Rock will host a series of events and activities honoring the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th anniversary beginning Saturday, September 11, with Art in the Park. Events will continue through Sunday, September 19, and will include the street festival, the showing of Disney’s Cars as the Movie in the Moonlight, tours of downtown Blowing Rock and various musical performances.

The highlight of Blue Ridge Heritage Days will be the street festival, however, and tents on Main Street will house artists who will demonstrate everything from broom making to pottery turning. Entertainment will also be provided throughout the day and will include a street dance, concerts, cloggers and a Liar’s Contest judged by audience response. For specific times of events throughout the festival, see the schedule of events below.

Car lovers can also appreciate vehicles of the past and present during a parade of cars beginning on Sunset Drive at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and ending on the Parkway. With the theme, “75 Cars for 75 Years,” it is the town’s hope the parade will feature a different car for each year of the Parkway’s existence. The cars will be available for viewing beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church on Sunset Drive.

The festival will affect two blocks on Main Street, but vehicular access to the street will still be available via Sunset Drive, Chestnut Drive, Chestnut Street and Park Avenue. Morris Street will be accessible via Chestnut Drive, and parking will be available at the Maple Street parking lot, the parking deck on Wallingford and Broyhill Park.

For more information on Blue Ridge Heritage Days, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at 828-295-7851 or click to