Monday, January 31, 2011

The other side

Read the justification here.

Lucy in the sky with master's

The first Masters degree in 'Beatles studies' has been awarded to a lady in Liverpool ... And before you ask, her name's not Eleanor Rigby.

It was in fact the former Miss Canada finalist and professional actress, 53 year old Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy, a student of Liverpool Hope University in the UK. She was one of the first 12 students to sign up for the MA in 'The Beatles, Popular Music and Society', when it began in 2009, and on Wednesday was announced as the course's first graduate.

Extension cuts

UT Extension to cut 60 agents, specialists across the state
Knox, Blount and Cocke counties are among those across the state losing agriculture expertise as the University of Tennessee Extension rolls out permanent cuts of 60 agents and specialists.

All of the cuts were achieved over the past two years through attrition and retirement incentives funded with federal stimulus money. Stimulus funds also provided for some of those retirees to continue working part time to fill in the gaps. The money - and nearly all of the part-time positions - will end on July 1.

Now the extension service must shuffle the remaining agents to cover counties where retirement and attrition left too many vacancies.

Nineteen agents will reapply for 28 open positions in other counties across the state. The other nine positions will then be opened for external candidates.

The cuts reflect a 15 percent drop in the number of agents and specialists in the state, a figure that has dwindled to 261. All 95 counties will continue to operate an office, and each office will staff between one and four agents.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today is

National Data Privacy Day
Today is National Data Privacy Day. It is a day for companies to think about how they handle customer privacy. And customers can examine methods for keeping their information private.

There are plenty of reasons to worry about data privacy. Identity theft is a big one. But posting the wrong things can also cost you a job. Or online advertisers might be building up a profile about you.

Continuing education job openings

The recession is over, and colleges and universities are hiring.  Here are some continuing education jobs from the Chronicle of Higher Education and HigherEdJobs.com .
Southern Wesleyan University:  Regional Director - Charleston, SC
Concordia University Texas:  Center Dean, Austin
Miami Dade College:  Director, Adult Education
Park University:  Dean, Park Distance Learning
Northern Arizona University:  Associate Vice President for Extended Campuses

We're all living

in Sleeper now, where smoking, deep fat, steak, cream pies, and hot fudge are known to be healthy.

The Downside of Antioxidants
Not so fast. First, studies piled up showing that taking antioxidants—even such common and seemingly innocuous ones as beta carotene and vitamins C and E—as supplements was not beneficial to health and might even be dangerous, though the reason for the danger wasn’t clear. (One always pays attention when a study concludes with a phrase like “seems to increase overall mortality.”) Now the research is challenging an even more fundamental tenet of the antioxidant craze. Many of the free radicals that are neutralized by antioxidants perform valuable functions in the body. The most important: fighting toxins (white blood cells churn out free radicals by the battalion to fight bacterial infection) and fighting cancer. Maybe it’s not such a fabulous idea to flood the body with something that neutralizes these warriors of the immune system. Or as British chemist and science writer David Bradley noted in his blog, Reactive Reports, “It’s always struck me as odd that you would want to ingest extra antioxidants anyway, given that oxidising agents are at the front-line of immune defence against pathogens and cancer cells ... Suffice to say that taking antioxidant supplements ... may not necessarily be good for your health if you already have health problems,” especially cancer or an infection.

Last day!

Without begging.

ACHE South: Call for Proposals - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 28th

ACHE South is seeking proposals for concurrent sessions for the 2011 conference, April 17 - 20, 2011. This year’s theme is “Viva Fiesta: A Celebration of Lifelong Learning.” Information about conference tracks and proposal guidelines can be found on the website.


Send proposals via email by Friday, January 28, 2011 as a Microsoft Word attachment to: Amy Johnson, East Tennessee State University, at johnsoad@etsu.edu.

Race to the top

Bill Theobald, writing in the Tennessean, gives the state of the state.
Tennessee trails majority of states in many areas
Here's a report card of how Tennessee rates at the beginning of a new Congress:

Income. Median family income for Tennessee in 2009 was $52,910 compared with $62,363 nationwide. In addition, 12.2 percent of families in the state were below the poverty line in 2009, compared with 9.9 percent nationwide.

Jobs.The November unemployment rate in Tennessee was 9.4 percent, slightly better than the national rate of 9.8 percent. Rates varied across the state, with the Knoxville area at 7.5 percent, metropolitan Nashville at 8.5 percent, Jackson at 9.6 percent and Clarksville at 10 percent.

The economy. Tennessee ranked 41st in economic growth in 2009. The state's gross domestic product (the sum of all goods and services produced) declined 3.1 percent from the previous year.

Health. A third of Tennesseans were obese in 2009, ranking the state third behind Mississippi and Louisiana. Twenty-two percent of adults smoked, putting the state in the top 10. Sixty-nine percent of state residents said they had participated in physical activity sometime in the last month. The national average was 76 percent.

The state had the sixth-highest rate of teen births in 2008. And 31.5 percent of Tennessee residents 65 or older reported that all of their natural teeth have been extracted, ranking the state second behind West Virginia.

Education. Tennessee's fourth- and eighth-graders scored at about the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading tests in 2009. Still, 37 percent of fourth-graders and 27 percent of eighth-graders were rated "below basic."

Tennesseans also trail the country in graduation rates, with about 82 percent having earned at least a high school degree compared with 85 percent nationwide. Twenty-two percent of state residents have earned at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 27.5 percent across the country.

Other grim figures include the state's fourth-place rating in violent crimes per 100,000 residents (based on data submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies) and its 15th-place ranking in 2008 for traffic fatalities per 100 million miles driven.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yield

U.S. News and World Report lists the most popular universities based on yield.  Both the University of Memphis at 60.5% and ETSU at 52.2% are in the top 30.

The Most Popular Universities
One of the best indicators of a school's popularity among students is the school's yield--the percentage of applicants accepted by a college who end up enrolling at that institution in the fall. The figures in these tables are from the fall 2009 entering class and show the students that were accepted, the students that enrolled, and the admit yield. The table highlights the most popular national universities, which are research-oriented institutions that offer degrees of all levels.

Memphis is number 13

Los Angeles is tops.  Nashville is among the least rude.

America's Rudest Cities
So which city is it? A major contender is our nation’s capital, which came in at No. 5. Paula Ford, a marketing director in Tampa, recalls the time when she was an intern in Washington, D.C., and fainted while riding to work on the Metro. “When I came to, I was slumped over, hanging out of my seat,” she says. “Nobody said anything to me or offered to help.” The Atlanta native says she would have gotten better treatment back in Georgia. “I would have had a circle around me, offering me a Coke, a wet towel, or asking to call someone. I think what happened to me definitely reflected the vibe of D.C.”

Indeed, Atlanta fared better in the AFC survey—though ranking only at No. 11. But there is something to that idea of southern charm: Nashville, Savannah, and Charleston, S.C., all ranked as the least rude of the 35 cities in the survey.

From the Urban Dictionary

I guess Green Bay is my rebound team since we're having some Packer fans over for a Super Bowl party. Sigh.

Rebound Team:: The team you start to root for after your home team is knocked out of the playoffs or if they just suck.

Guy 1: I can't believe the Ravens lost to the Steelers.
Guy 2: Yeah same here. The Jets are my rebound team because they play the Steelers next.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The worst we got is corruption?

Find the supporting data here.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Historically Misleading Films

Workforce development

David Bornstein, writing in the New York Times, describes an exciting workforce development program that appears to be successful.  This reminds me of an article I used to assign back in the dark ages to my developmental writing classes--called something like "Why don't I get an A?"  (I'm afraid I've learned too much since then and overwritten the exact title on my hard drive.)  Anyway, the article described how to act like a good student--focusing on behaviors that students can adopt to make them appear more like high achieving students.  When they acted like good students, their grades improved.  If anyone knows the name of this 70's article, please let me know.

Training Youths in the Ways of the Workplace - NYTimes.com
Year Up, a nonprofit, was founded by Gerald Chertavian, a social entrepreneur who started his career on Wall Street before building a technology firm that he and his partners sold for $83 million. When he was a college freshman, Chertavian began volunteering as a mentor and Big Brother to low-income youths. He did this for decades. He was impressed by the ambition and talents of the young people he got to know. But he saw that they had little scope to “plug in” to the mainstream economy. It wasn’t just that some had attended poor schools or lacked college credentials; they lacked exposures to the “professional culture” — and this, as much as any skill gap, kept them marginalized.

Year Up assists disadvantaged, mostly minority youths, whose only academic requirement is a high school degree or equivalency degree. It offers a six-month training program followed by a six-month internship in a large corporation like State Street, Fidelity Investments, JP Morgan Chase, Partners Healthcare, or AOL. Since its founding in Boston in 2000 with a class of 22 students, Year Up has expanded to eight cities and served 4,000 young adults. About 70 percent of its students complete the program and the organization reports that, within four months, 84 percent of graduates are either enrolled full time in college or have secured a job. The average starting wage is $15 per hour — roughly $30,000 per year. . . .
But none of the above fully explains Year Up’s success. The real difference is that Year Up takes great care to prepare its students to succeed in a professional culture. “We often talk about hard and soft skills,” says Chertavian. “To me, it’s actually hard and harder skills.” The merely hard skills are things that many training programs cover — for IT, it might be using software applications or installing hardware. The harder skills are more nuanced. They involve questions like: Do you know how to communicate in a team? If you’re running late, do you know to call ahead? If you don’t have enough work, do you know to be proactive and ask for more? Do you know how to write a professional sounding e-mail?
Chertavian points out that the social signals new employees send can make all the difference. “It’s how you make eye contact, it’s how you dress, it’s how you shake hands, it’s how you make small talk at a Christmas Party,” he says. “It’s when we speak, are you nodding your head? Are you leaning in and asking questions? It’s knowing how to introduce yourself. It’s knowing what’s appropriate for conversation. All of those things are learned. If you don’t have that context, boy, it feels real foreign to go through the security gate at Fidelity and exist in that environment.”

I've stayed in some low places in Pigeon Forge

But never here, thank goodness. The Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education will meet nearby this fall, in Gatlinburg, at the Park Vista--a wonderful hotel.

Hotel in Pigeon Forge TN tops list of nation's 10 dirtiest
The Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has been named the dirtiest hotel in America, according to traveler ratings on TripAdvisor.

Nearly 90 percent of those who reviewed the Pigeon Forge property recommended against staying there, said TripAdvisor, which released a top ten list of America’s dirtiest hotels this morning.

Travelers titled their reviews “Worst hotel stay of my life,” “Stay anywhere else but here,” and “Absolutely horrible!”

“We believe that candid reviews — good, bad and ugly — empower travelers to see it all so they can plan and experience the best possible trips,” said Karen Drake, TripAdvisor spokeswoman.

It is the first year the East Tennessee hotel has made the list, TripAdvisor said.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is our students learning?

Lumina Foundation for Education today released a proposed version of a Degree Profile, a framework for defining and ultimately measuring the general knowledge and skills that individual students need to acquire in order to earn degrees at various levels, such as associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Degree Profile is intended to help define generally what is expected of college graduates, regardless of their majors or fields of study. Lumina will fund experiments within a variety of settings.

“As part of our national goal to dramatically increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees, we need a shared understanding of what a degree represents in terms of learning,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “This Degree Profile is an initial attempt at that. We want to create a shared understanding of what these degrees mean, which doesn’t exist now, and then to test whether this Degree Profile can be implemented in ways that further our understanding.”

A new learning in retirement program

The university's Division of Continuing Studies is planning to launch a Lifelong Learning Program starting this fall. Modeled after the Elderhostel program that formed in the mid-1970s, Lifelong Learning will offer adults 50 and older learning opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere that doesn't involve entrance requirements, exams or grades.

"It's not a novel idea but it's new to eastern North Carolina," said Ron Kemp, a volunteer and chairman of the program's advisory panel.

North Carolina State University has operated a similar program, called Encore, for about 20 years. Last fall Encore classes explored topics such as modern Christianity, learning digital photography, investing, opera, gardening and multiple book discussions.

I may have mentioned something earlier about liking my iPhone

Just last week I left the house in a hurry to go to the store and only noticed after having driven a couple of miles that I had forgotten my billfold.  Wouldn't it be great, I thought, if I could just buy stuff with my iPhone and wouldn't have to worry about carrying cash or a credit card?  That day is here, Bob Sullivan reports.

Red Tape: Why buying coffee with an iPhone matters
All that may have changed this week, as Starbucks announced that it had begun accepting payments made with iPhones and BlackBerrys at most stores. A major retailer leaping into this world with both feet could send a 120-amp charge into electronic wallets -- particularly because the Starbucks "Mobile Card" e-payments is fun, easy, relatively safe and gives consumers a reason to whip out their gadget instead of their wallet.

First, I'll tell you why I was pleasantly surprised with the Starbucks experience. Then I'll tell you why the credit card industry has a lot to fear from mobile payments, and most specifically from Apple.

Regular readers of this column know I like to try everything, but I’m often unimpressed and concerned that gadget-makers regularly ignore practical consumer needs and security issues. I've tried mobile airplane boarding passes, for example, then been embarrassed as haggard TSA agents tried in vain to scan my iPod Touch at the airport security line, causing substantial backups. I expected much the same experience at Starbucks on Wednesday morning, when I took my iPod Touch into a store just hours after the announcement. I fully anticipated I'd be late for work while untrained employees argued with each other about how to use the system.
I was wrong. It was simple.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Huffington Post gives ETSU an A

I first mentioned this ranking last fall, with comparison grades for other universities in the state. 


Soon after a new study showed that nearly half of college students learn a negligible amount while in school, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni released a report identifying schools that push students to obtain well-rounded educations.

The report (PDF) and correlating website, titled "What Will They Learn," evaluated 718 national colleges and universities according to their general education requirements.

Those schools that have requirements in six or seven of the seven subjects identified as essential by the Council -- composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and natural or physical sciences -- earned an "A," while those that required zero or one of them got a failing mark. To determine which schools' requirements fit the bill, the Council looked through core requirements and course descriptions available online and through catalogues.

The continuing education law school

Turns 100.  This is really an interesting story.  We should get someone from the School to one of our continuing education conferences.

In 1911, a group of earnest young law school graduates started teaching free law classes at night in the basement of the Nashville YMCA. The idea was to make a legal education accessible to all "for the good of the town."

Things change. Tuition increased from "free" to "among the cheapest in the nation." The school finally moved out of the Y and into a campus of its own a few decades ago. But it remains true to its mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education for those without the time or the money for traditional law school.

It still draws its teaching staff from the top ranks of the city's legal community: judges, attorneys, state Supreme Court justices. Students still rush to school at 6 p.m., tired from working all day, with four hours of class work stretching before them.

"You've got to really want it," said Jack A. Butler, a longtime Nashville attorney and instructor at the Nashville School of Law.

Butler would know. He graduated from what was then known as the YMCA Night Law School in 1962 and has taught at the school since 1978. Some of his students commute from as far away as Knoxville, Memphis and Johnson City — commuting as much as six hours a night, two to four nights a week, for four years.

It couldn't hurt

University of Memphis workers pray for raises
The employees gathered Saturday at the school's Wesley Foundation for a prayer vigil seeking pay hikes for university employees.

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis reports that about 285 University of Memphis employees make less than $11.62 per hour, the amount David H. Ciscel, a professor emeritus of economics at the school, determined was a living wage.

At the vigil, organized by university employees along with the United Campus Workers, Workers Interfaith Network and the Progressive Student Alliance, workers spoke on the challenges of earning less than a living wage.

Ciscel's study described a living wage as the pay required for a household to "live a minimally decent life" independent of monthly public assistance, food stamps, child-care subsidies and rent subsidies.

Queer eye for the adminstrative guy

Kara Spack writes about a new group formed to encourage and empower gay college and university administrators.

Gays in academia unite
Chuck Middleton is bearded, bald, gay — and the president of Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

He’s among about 30 gay and lesbian university leaders who have formed the group LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education to advocate for the advancement of gays to leadership positions.

In an online video for the group, which also features Raymond Crossman, president of Chicago’s Adler School of Professional Psychology, Middleton describes himself as an “out, bearded, bald, gay president” with a sense of humor.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Associate degrees that focus on job skills and employment

Michael Vasquez crunches the salary numbers for college graduates in Florida. This is good news for the unemployed who attend community colleges for retraining and other adults seeking that associate degree.

What the numbers say: Bachelor's degree recipients from the state's 11 public universities earned an average starting salary of $36,552 in 2009.

Meanwhile, those who received associate in science degrees from Florida community colleges earned an average of $47,708 -- a difference of $11,000 more per year.

The numbers prove ``something like an associate's degree certainly should not be dismissed as a meaningless level of education,'' suggested Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research at the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Long term, completing a more-advanced degree still tends to pay salary dividends. Continuing past an associate's degree to receive a bachelor's or master's typically improves a person's chances for future promotions -- and, therefore, future salary bumps.

``Where the real difference tends to lie is where the ceiling of the salary is,'' Koc said.

But when it comes to starting salaries, practicality matters.

Associate in science degree-holders tend to be older than traditional undergraduates at state universities, so some of the community college salary advantage may be purely due to that age difference.

Older students usually have more years in the workplace, and that lengthier résumé can command higher pay.


But graduating with workforce-ready skills also appears to be one of the key components for associate-holders' strong earnings. While state universities work to broaden students' horizons with courses in philosophy or world history, associate in science programs at community colleges are dominated by job-specific training courses for occupations such as legal assisting, early childhood education, and a variety of healthcare specialties.

From the Urban Dictionary

Premature exasperation

Becoming upset about something before knowing all (or any) of the details.

When my parents found out I had been in an accident, my father's premature exasperation kicked in. He freaked out before hearing that some drunkard had rear-ended me at a red light.

Continuing education job openings

The recession is over, and colleges and universities are hiring.  Here are some continuing education jobs from the Chronicle of Higher Education and HigherEdJobs.com .
California State University, StanislausDean, University Extended Education
Edison State CollegeCampus Dean
Lake Michigan CollegeAssociate Dean, Workforce Development
Webster UniversityDirector - Scott Air Force Base
Tarrant County College District: Director of Weekend College
Corning Community CollegeAssistant Director Continuing Education
New Opportunity School for WomenExecutive Director
Shaw UniversityDirector- CAPEs
University of Connecticut, Center for Continuing StudiesUniversity Director
University of Massachusetts - BostonAssistant Director of Credit Programs
San Francisco Community College District: Associate Dean, Contract Education/Continuing Education
Eastern Illinois University: Director of the Bachelor in General Studies Degree Program

Ball State UniversityDean, School of Extended Education


Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium: Executive Director

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This sounds like the start of a horror movie

I'd be careful attending classes at night at that community college. And I wouldn't investigate that noise in the basement.

Remains of 20 to 30 people found on Eastern State grounds
The remains of 20 to 30 people thought to be Eastern State Hospital residents in the 1800s have been found on the hospital grounds where the new Bluegrass Community and Technical College will be built, officials said Wednesday.

Similar remains in unmarked graves were found on the state mental hospital's grounds in 2005.

It probably fattened up on barbecue

Legendary giant crayfish species discovered in Tennessee
In Tennessee, reports recently surfaced of a gigantic crayfish that no one had ever seen before. Much to their surprise, researchers found one hiding under a rock.

This crayfish is twice as big as its relatives, and there's only one other previously known species that's even remotely similar. This other species, Barbicambarus cornutus, was discovered in 1884 about 130 miles away in Kentucky, and can get as big as a lobster. This new crayfish has been named Barbicambarus simmonsi, with its species named for the scientist who discovered it. The Barbicambarus genus is unusual outside just its size, with tiny-hair like bristles on its antennae that look like tiny beards.

Considering how unusual such a creature is, aquatic biologist and co-discoverer Chris Taylor is convinced no one had ever seen this species before.

Meaner than Satan's housecat

and other Southern phrases may show up on Twitter.

Twitter is full of regional 'accents,' study finds
The words you write on Twitter can tell people more than just the status of your relationship or how you like the latest Bon Jovi CD. It may just indicate not only how you're living, but where you're living in the U.S.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University examined 380,000 messages from Twitter during one week in March 2010 and found that the social networking site is full of its own kinds of geographical dialects.

Take the word cool. Southern Californians tend to write the shorthand "coo," while their neighbors up north use the phonetic shorthand "koo."

The 4.5 million words the researchers examined were full of similar examples. Some were obvious - like "y'all" in the South or "yinz" in Pittsburgh - and some more mysterious. The word "suttin" was found over and over in New York City, a shorthand for "something."

Instead of making plans for happy hour

I was once asked: if an organization could teach only one thing to its employees, what single thing would have the most impact? My answer was immediate and clear: teach people how to learn. How to look at their past behavior, figure out what worked, and repeat it while admitting honestly what didn't and change it.

If a person can do that well, everything else takes care of itself. That's how people become life-long learners. And it's how companies become learning organizations. It requires confidence, openness, and letting go of defenses. But here's what it doesn't require: much time.

It only takes a few minutes. About five actually. A brief pause at the end of the day to consider what worked and what didn't.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No surprise to continuing education

The Chronicle of Higher Education examines undergraduate students. Forty percent are over 24 years old, including 23 percent 30 years or older.

Who Are the Undergraduates?
From teenagers coddled by helicopter parents to underage drinkers mad for Four Loko, popular depictions of undergraduates often paint them as young adults feeling their way through postadolescence. But—while a cadre of undergraduates certainly does leave home at 18 to live on leafy campuses and party hard—many others are commuters, full-time workers, and parents.

Roughly 22 million undergraduates attended college at some point in 2007-8, and the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study from that year provides a snapshot of where students are coming from and how they pursue their educations. More than a third of all undergraduates attend part-time, and most are not affluent. That's reflected in where students go to college—more than twice as many undergraduates attend the University of Phoenix's online campus as go to an Ivy League college.

Kicking ass and taking names

TSU interim president says layoffs, reorganization coming to the Nashville public university
Tennessee State University's new interim president says her time is short and not everyone is going to love her.

Portia Holmes told The Tennessean there will be layoffs, reorganization, changes in curriculum and in the way the business is done at the Nashville university. Holmes says it's all aimed at making TSU a better place for students.

Tennessee State's accreditation is in danger, its enrollment is sluggish and, when compared with other state universities, it is top-heavy with administrators. Students also complain of poor service.

To address the latter problem, Holmes plans to send observers to watch how financial aid and admissions employees do their jobs.

Request for 2011 awards nominations

ACHE South is seeking awards nominations for outstanding credit and non-credit programs, distinguished continuing higher education professionals, scholarships, and research grants. Recipients will be recognized at the 2011 South ACHE Spring Conference in San Antonio, TX on April 18, 2011.


For more information, awards descriptions, and nomination forms please visit the website at http://ache.uiw.edu/awards.

The application deadline is February 18, 2011.

If you have questions, please contact Dan Connell at d.connell@moreheadstate.edu  or (606) 783-2005.

Connectile dysfunction

Laura Vanderkam stopped using email over the holidays.  Not me.  Who knows when that Big Lots ad will be delivered to my mailbox!

Fighting the Email Addiction
I went on a complete email fast over the holidays. I was traveling outside the country, and so my phone didn’t really work. I could have stopped at an Internet cafe (or borrowed my husband’s Blackberry, which I eventually did after 5 days), but as an experiment, I decided to let things pile up.

And, in fact, I did miss some emails that normally I would have responded to instantly. A newspaper reporter wanted to interview me, and his deadline came and went. I was not on a radio show. But an opportunity to be on a panel was still on the table a few days later, as was a request for a quote for a different article. And everything else turned out to be pretty flexible. Or just not very important after all.

Now, to be fair, this was over the holidays, and during a week when a major snowstorm kept many people on the East Coast at home anyway. My husband’s phone did work, so family members could reach us in an emergency. But it’s always good to remind myself that if a few days away from email doesn’t produce some sort of cosmic explosion, most likely a few hours on a regular workday — so I can focus on projects requiring deeper thought — won’t hurt anyone either.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As a Bears fan, I couldn't resist

Tips for marketing to Millennials

Ray Ulmer and TargetX expose Millennial myths:
- They like technology, but they’re not technical. Most expect the web to be easy to use and to streamline their efforts. They don’t want to work too hard to figure out how to do something.
- They’re largely unimpressed by fancy, multimedia design, viewing websites as tools to help them get things done. And they’re increasingly accessing sites through wireless connections that don’t support multimedia very well.
- They move fast and often miss information. They will immediately flee a website when confronted with a page of dense text, not even bothering to read the first sentence. Their lack of patience and their confidence in their ability to use the web reduces their interest in figuring out a website.

Mission creep

And less interest in the liberal arts.

Carnegie Classification Update Shows Boom in For-Profit and Professional Education
The Carnegie Foundation noted that there had been a 17-percent increase in institutions that awarded more than 60 percent of their degrees in professional fields over the past five years, while there was a 5-percent drop in institutions that awarded more than 60 percent of their degrees in the liberal arts.

More two-year colleges were also offering four-year degrees, with growth since 2005 of 23 percent to 49 percent, depending on the type of institution. Mr. Ekman said that the increase in the number of institutions awarding of professional degrees and four-year degrees was also no surprise.

"A lot of bachelor's institutions are offering master's, and a small number of master's institutions are offering doctorates," he said. "There is an appetite for more education at higher levels, and that's not a bad thing."

A private university with a large state grant

There's no such thing as a state university anymore.

 Thanks, But No Thanks
It is a notable sign of the times: more college leaders are arguing that the traditional model of funding public higher education is dysfunctional, and advocates of a new way forward say they’ve reached this conclusion after frustrating years of legislative sessions that are typically defined by handwringing and disappointment. In his pitch to lawmakers, Lariviere says he’s often reduced to the same tired declaration: “We’re doing very important work for the future. We need more money to do it well. Please give us more money.”

“We’ve been doing that for 30 years, or at least I have been, and it really hasn’t pushed the envelope very far,” he says.

At the heart of Lariviere’s plan is a request that the state commit to its 2010 level of funding – about $65 million per year – for 30 years, using the funds to pay debt service on bonds worth approximately $800 million. The university would match the bonds with $800 million in private gifts to create a $1.6 billion “public/private” endowment, which would – along with the university’s current $435 million endowment and tuition revenues – sustain university operations within the first year, according to university officials’ estimates.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Email message from Cleveland State

Another vanishing continuing education unit.  Let me be the first to predict that once programs move to the academic departments, they will disappear.  Starved to death.
We're writing to let you know that effective July 1, 2011, responsibility for continuing education programs is moving to academic departments at Cleveland State. The Division of Continuing Education will no longer exist after that time. However, some programs will be available through other departments in the fall or beyond.

Transition plans for this change are underway currently. Our English as a Second Language Program will definitely be continued, as will Emergency Preparedness programs and the Patient Advocacy Certificate Program. We also expect that the Nursing Refresher Course and our GMAT, GRE, and LSAT Test Prep programs will continue. We are actively working with academic departments to identify other programs that will continue. We are confident that Cleveland State will offer professional development and training programs in the future.

If you are pursuing a certificate program through the Division of Continuing Education, we strongly encourage you to finish it this semester. Check our Winter/Spring Schedule for the courses you need.

We' re offering dozens of professional development courses from January through May 2011, including over 20 certificate programs that can be completed this semester. This winter is a great time to take advantage of many opportunities to enhance your skills or add new credentials to your resume.

We will update our website when more information about the coming change and specific program continuation is available. We look forward to serving you in the next several months. Meanwhile, please contact us at conted@csuohio.edu  or (216) 687-2144 with any questions.

Thank you.

Call for proposals

Fifth Annual Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges
Serving Adult Learners Conference
Thursday, June 2, 2011
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania

The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges will be sponsoring its 5th Annual “Serving Adult Learners Conference” on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The fee for this one day conference is just $25.

We also invite you and your colleagues to submit a program proposal for the conference. Complete a “"Call for Proposals" form and e-mail it to phoward@muhlenberg.edu or fax it to 484-664-3532.

If you have any questions please contact Steve Young, Academic Advisor, DeSales University at steven.young@desales.edu. or any committee member listed on our “Save This Date” flyer. Thanks and we hope to see you on June 2, 2011 at Muhlenberg College!

Visit the conferencee website for additional details.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If we can't graduate more of our own

We'll import your graduates.  Perhaps offer a bounty or relocation bonus to every college grad who moves into the state.  Hmmm.

College graduates continued to relocate to many fast-growing cities in the Sunbelt during the recession, a possible sign of the region's economic appeal, according to Census data released Tuesday.

Among the top 10 metropolitan areas with the fastest average net growth in the number of arrivals with college degrees between 2007 and 2009, seven were in the south and southwest, including Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C., according to an analysis of Census data by William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

The new data mirror the trend in recent years of the South outpacing other parts of the nation in both migration and population growth.

Some shifts in the migration of individuals with bachelor's degrees are difficult to explain. The growth could reflect college-educated workers stuck in a particular area, Mr. Frey said, rather than lured elsewhere by better job prospects. The Census data measure the net number of migrants to and from metro areas. That means that in some cases growth reflects that fewer people are leaving than in the past—which could occur if workers are stuck in underwater mortgages or unable to relocate for other reasons.

Sometimes there is such a thing as bad publicity

University of Phoenix enrollment dropped 42 percent in the last three months of 2010 and is expected to plummet further.

Officials at the university's parent company, the Apollo Group, told the Arizona Republic that they expect enrollment to decrease an additional 40 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The university and other for-profit colleges have recently faced increasing government and media scrutiny, due in large part to high student loan default rates, nefarious recruiting practices and low graduation rates.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow days

Five straight days of snow.  Most of the schools and colleges in the area have been closed or delayed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The median is the message

Some colleges and universities are adding information to transcripts to put letter grades in perspective.

But at least in the realm of theory, there is widespread agreement that providing extra context on transcripts is a good thing.

“It’s generally recognized that an A by itself is not very meaningful,” said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. “Giving statistical context to assist recipients of a transcript in understanding the grades is definitely helpful.”

But as a practical matter, it is not so easy.

Save the date

N.C. woman spreads message: The rapture will occur on May 21, 2011
By her reckoning, the Lord's return will fall on a springtime Saturday. And if the world weren't ending, you might find people celebrating other notable highlights of the day: Mr. T's birthday, Montenegro's independence or the Red Sox-White Sox game.

Jump start your new semester

In some ways, the results undermine the claims that many advertisements make today. Not only were there notable differences between competing energy drinks and sodas, but we found that a good ol’ cup of Joe still trumps energy drinks if your goal is to get the biggest caffeine boost for your money.

Contact your adult students now

Keep them connected to your program. We're aggressively contacting all our majors at least once a month to try to keep them engaged.  We'll study the results at the end of the year to see if we've retained them better.  From College Inc.:

Winter break is high season for dropouts
One of the things we've noticed in our work with thousands of students each day is that the holidays are also a time when many students make a decision to change course. This is particularly true of first-year students just three or four months into their college careers. In fact, half of all students who drop out of college will do so within their first year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Preparing for a faculty job interview?

The Tenured Radical offered some advice on how to prepare:

Tell Us About Your Dissertation: And Other Commonly Fumbled Interview Questions
As has been frequently indicated over the four years of Tenured Radical's existence, Interviewing R Us. Why? Well, it is probably not too modest to say that over the years we have interviewed a great many people in hotel rooms, been interviewed by more than a few hiring committees ourselves, and have hung out in the bar afterward talking to other hiring committees about what they saw that day. Over time, we have developed a perspective on what works and what doesn't. It isn't the only perspective, but to paraphrase Monty Python, it is the perspective which is ours.

So for those of you lucky enough to have AHA or MLA interviews, here is our list of the most frequent fumbles and how to avoid them.

I may have mentioned something earlier about liking my iPhone

Let's get physical....

Giving Your iPhone a Physical Keyboard
A new iPhone case with a flip-out keyboard may tip the balance in Apple’s favor by offering the best of both worlds. ThinkGeek Inc.’s new TK-421 case is designed for the iPhone 3G S or iPhone 4 and sells for $49.99.

Compared with typing on iPhone’s virtual keyboard, the physical one offers faster, more accurate typing and increased productivity. For business users, it means they’ll be able to fire off dozens of emails in less time and with fewer spelling errors and smudges on their phone display.

Save the date

Adult Learning Conference
Creating Successful Adult Learners
February 17-18, 2011
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN
 
Featuring Stephen Brookfield as the keynote speaker.
 
For more information or to register visit the conference website.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Highly educated stay hitched

According to The National Marriage Project, U.Va., "Divorce rates are up for moderately educated Americans, relative to those who are highly educated. From the 1970s to the 1990s, divorce or separation within the first 10 years of marriage became less likely for the highly educated (15 percent down to 11 percent), slightly more likely for the moderately educated (36 up to 37 percent), and less likely for the least educated (46 down to 36 percent)."

I had to link to this for the title alone

1) Know Exactly Who You Are…And Don’t Apologize

It would be an understatement to say that Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are unique individuals. And they’ve paid the price for that uniqueness. They’ve been kicked off of record labels, voted the worst band in the world by national magazines and were named by Time Magazine as having one of the top 10 viral videos of the year for less than flattering reasons. Through all of it, they stayed true to themselves and never deviated. They didn’t change to try to be everything to everyone to appeal to a broader audience. In fact, they did exactly the opposite. And they’ve made millions because of it.

Higher Ed Translation: There’s nothing wrong with being different. Some of the most fun schools I’ve worked with are religious schools like Houghton College, Calvin College and Taylor University. They are extremely up front about who they are and the type of students they want because there’s a very specific type of student that would be happy and successful there. They feel unique and they don’t try to be everything to everyone.

Barnes & Noble E-Book Sales Surpass Real Books

E-books gaining ground. When will this be the preferred way to purchase textbooks?

Just days after Amazon announced that its Kindle e-reader was its best-selling product http://www.mainstreet.com/node/20065 , Barnes & Noble said that its own e-reader, the Nook, had become the company’s biggest best-seller ever. The line of e-readers was buoyed by sales of the latest model, the Nook Color – though like Amazon, it was vague on exact sales figures.

Most interestingly, the company also announced that sales of e-books on its website, BN.com, now exceed sales of print books. While the company again did not release exact sales figures, a press release touted the fact that more than 1 million Nook books were sold on Christmas day alone. Amazon similarly announced earlier this year that its digital book sales  had exceeded sales of hardcover print books.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To infinity and beyond!

I got fliers for the LERN Annual Conference in New Orleans (November 30-December 3) and the UPCEA Annual Conference in Toronto (April 6-9) today. (I would link to the conference websites but they're not available yet.)

LERN calls its event the largest continuing education conference in the world, and UPCEA call its the largest single gathering of higher education professionals who develop, implement, and promote professional and continuing education and online learning the North America and beyond. 

Hmmm. 2011 must be the year to promote size.

What the future of engagement may look like

John Seely Brown, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, and Richard Adler outline future challenges that land grant universities face in the near future in the latest Change magazine. 

They predict that universities will operate more like continuing education organizations (my phrasing, not theirs), with a shift in emphasis to community engagement--using North Carolina State as a model. Coincidentally, I just read where NC State will start an Early College High School in 2011.

From Engagement to Ecotone: Land-Grant Universities in the 21st Century
While the Internet continues to evolve at astonishing speed, educational institutions change more slowly. If achieving success in the 21st century requires a fundamentally different type of preparation, then the question of how well higher education is preparing students for this new world becomes increasingly urgent.

Will existing universities embrace new forms of learning and interdisciplinary inquiry that respond to the needs of 21st-century students? And what might a blending of traditional and new forms of learning look like?

Universities are likely to remain important as places where people who share an interest in learning gather and where students interact with a wide range of scholars and with other students in explorations that generate new knowledge. They will also remain places where students can be certified for their mastery of specific bodies of knowledge. Yet they will begin to support new modes of learning as well—a both/and scenario where codified knowledge is preserved and transmitted and new knowledge is built through problem-based, interdisciplinary modes of scholarship. What happens on campus outside of the classroom will become increasingly important over time, while what goes on inside the lecture hall will be transformed or become increasingly irrelevant.

I may have mentioned something earlier about liking my iPhone

And I got an iPad for Christmas!  The Chronicle of Higher Education lists some apps that may interest faculty and administrators.

A handful of colleges are running expensive pilot projects in which they give out iPhones or iPads to students and professors to see what happens when everyone goes mobile.

Some of the most innovative applications for hand-held devices, however, have come from professors working on their own. They find ways to adapt popular smartphone software to the classroom setting, or even write their own code.

Continuing education 101

We'll have job security in continuing education as long as articles like this are considered news.  And after that, we'll have to change our job titles to reflect integration into mainstream higher education.

Older students face challenges when they return to college
Attentive as he is, the information is of little use to Smith. His parents stopped supporting him almost 20 years ago.

He doesn't have a roommate, but he does have the following: a wife, who has also gone back to college full time; three children, all in school; aging parents he cares for; a life supported by loans, grants and government aid; and the dream of a college degree as a path to a better future.

Roger Smith is 36 and one of a growing number of students enrolling in colleges and universities later in life. He’s a full-time health sciences major and hopes to go to nursing school after he graduates in May.

Mid-life students such as Smith juggle school projects, homework and midterm exams with household chores, paying bills and putting food on the table. They sit in college classrooms surrounded by 19- and 20-year-olds, then go home to spouses and children of their own. They put themselves in debt, deferring sleep and material luxuries for the promise of more security

Monday, January 3, 2011

Southern Illinois needs women

SIU looks to recruit more women, even out numbers
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is looking for a few good women.

Officials with the university say they hope to boost enrollment by addressing a gender disparity, noting that the university consistently had more male students than female students. That held true in 2010, with 10,867 male students outnumbering the 9,170 female ones.