Thursday, March 31, 2011

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Songs with Silly Lyrics

As a continuing educator, I'm embarrassed I hadn't thought of this before

A course on cell phone photography.  This would be great for our learning-in-retirement group.  Immaculata University puts an ethics twist on it, however. Could tis be the end for tasteless Facebook photos?  From USA Today.

With cellphone photos constantly making headlines — images ranging from a US Airways jet afloat in the Hudson River to a shirtless Rep. Chris Lee, which led to his resignation — Flannery said his goal is "to sell the students on the notion that the camera phone and its usage in culture is news in the making."

"I think it's part of our responsibility ... to teach kids how to use this tool," he said, adding that it's no different from teaching proper use of a video camera in a broadcast news class.

Cellphone photography courses are not new. New York University has offered a cellphone video class each fall since 2009. Immaculata officials believe theirs is different in addressing the ethical aspects as well.

Stephen Vujevich, a 21-year-old senior, said he hopes the class will teach him how to be a responsible citizen journalist — by capturing and disseminating images from newsworthy moments — "instead of being the awkward onlooker."

"Society is rapid ... it's viral," said Vujevich, of New Kensington, Pa. "When something happens, people want to know about it."

About 20 students enrolled in the course this semester, the first time it has been offered. The university plans to offer again it next spring, though Martin said they may begin requiring smart phones.

About a third of the current class has older, less sophisticated phones that are unable to e-mail pictures or download photo editing apps; some cannot take horizontal photos, Martin said.

Flannery and Martin plan to exhibit the students' cellphone photos at a campus art show in April.

More love for adult and nontraditional students

Adult students have become low-hanging fruit.  Everyone wants to pick them now.  From Daniel Luzer's excellent blog, College Guide.

The Obama administration has made one of its education goals to get more than 11 million more people through college so that the United States can “again lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.”

Getting this to happen, however, isn’t really be about high school students, which observers tend to see as the future of college. According to an article by Alan Tripp in the Washington Post
Roughly 40 percent of America’s college students are non-traditional students. They are workers who’ve gone back to school, former members of the military embarking on new careers and single parents wanting to do better for their families. They could also be one of the most important game-changers in the ongoing national discussion on college completion and the continuing dialogue at College Inc. about how to fix higher education.
It’s these students, those who are independent from their parents, who often have children and jobs, who may actually be responsible for moving the numbers on college completion.

They’re also the students most likely to drop out of college.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The wealthiest colleges and universities have the fewest Pell-eligible students

Hmmm.  Why am I not surprised? From Lynn O'Shaughnessy's blog, The College Solution.

The Nation’s 15 Richest and Stingiest Colleges
Are the nation’s wealthiest colleges also the stingiest?

It’s easy to make that conclusion when you look at an analysis released today by The Chronicle of Higher Education that examined the number of poor students that the nation’s 50 wealthiest colleges are educating.

Less than 15% of students attending the 50 richest colleges in the 2008-2009 school year were considered poor. In contrast, 26% of students who attend other four-year colleges — state and non-profit private institutions - are considered low income.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Call for proposals

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is asking experts in entrepreneurship to submit proposals for presentations to be presented at the organization’s 9th Annual Conference in Portland, OR, to be held October 9-12. NACCE is looking for engaging presenters and content that successfully ties into the theme: The Impact of Entrepreneurship.

Proposals for dynamic, compelling, and interactive sessions are sought with content for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. “We’re looking for presentations that describe how entrepreneurship impacts education, just as much as how education impacts entrepreneurship,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle.

Those wishing to submit proposals, get more details on the conference theme and content and understand how their proposals might fit into the conference tracks can learn more at: Call for Papers.  All submissions must be made online and completed by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

This year’s conference tracks will focus content within four key areas:

Entrepreneurship Education: How do we educate entrepreneurs? What are the innovative approaches community colleges are taking? How are programs structured? How are they funded? How are they marketed? What is the nature of the content/curriculum? How are we demonstrating results?

The Entrepreneurial Community College: How are community college presidents and leadership (trustees, senior administrators) creating an entrepreneurial culture at their college? How are community colleges presidents and leadership demonstrating and encouraging entrepreneurial thinking in serving their local communities?

Community Partnership: How do we leverage the community college as an anchor of the community-based entrepreneurship movement? What strategies are community colleges employing to be a strong partner in growth with entrepreneurs, the businesses they’re creating and political and civic organizations? How are events, activities, relationships and deals structured?

The Impact of Entrepreneurship: How do we measure, understand and improve the impact entrepreneurship has in our communities? Are jobs being created? Are useful products, services, and technologies emerging? What is the impact on local economies? What are community colleges doing to make the connection between entrepreneurship and their community’s viability tangible?

Juggling responsibilities noted as prime reason adult college students drop out

Alan Tripp, CEO of InsideTrack, has a guest posting in Daniel de Vise's College Inc.  He discusses what Inside Track's research shows as the main reasons adult students do not complete college.  His conclusions feel right.  Unfortunately, these are some of the hardest things to design successful interventions for.  Personal reasons are hard to address. Financial problems are hard to assist with.  Engaging the students and creating a supportive, encouraging network--like in a cohort--can help.  Good advising aids retention as well.

Colleges are struggling with graduation rates and according to a recent analysis of 1,400 colleges and universities by the Chronicle of Higher Education, one third of four-year institutions experienced lower graduation rates over the six-year period ending in 2008. Not surprisingly, that downward turn is also reflected in news that the U.S., once a leader, is losing ground to other nations in the percentage of its citizens who complete college.

As experts look at ways to improve these outcomes, it is important to remember the millions of adult students who are now engaged in the pursuit of college degrees.

If we are to reverse the trend of lower graduation rates, we must address the specific needs of this group of students. We know non-traditional students hold much potential, but we also know that nearly two thirds of them drop out of college, which has a significant impact on graduation rates in the U.S.

The good news, however, is that new data tells us why adult college students drop out and how we can best impact them.
-- A plurality of students (30 percent) cited managing commitments (such as balancing work, family and school) as their reason for dropping out.

-- Difficulty managing finances, at 26 percent, was the second most common reason. (Among younger students – those under 25 – finances ranked first.)

— For 13 percent of adult students, effectiveness (maintaining momentum and seeing complex projects through to completion) was the main reason for dropping out.

— For 9 percent of students, lack of a commitment to graduation factored most prominently.

— Health problems and lack of support followed closely at 8.6 percent.
This information was uncovered by our research at InsideTrack, and is based on data for 45,000 students from 17 colleges and universities.

Based on our work with 250,000 students over the past decade, InsideTrack has learned another important fact about non-traditional students: nearly all of them have the academic capabilities they need to stay in school and graduate.

Will the Complete College Act create change?

While the new funding formula rewards outcomes (and doesn't reward cooperation among institutions), enrollment still is important as a funding resource.  Only about 40% of our overall funding comes from the state so we need to creatively raise the remaining 60%.  Tuition dollars is one path.  But things are changing as we examine ways to exploit (and I use the term in a good way) the new formula.  We are talking about three-year degrees, new sessions, new ways to attract adult students, and other options to maximize our state funding.  So, it appears, is everyone else.  From Jennifer Brooks writing in the Tennessean.

TN colleges get creative to increase graduation rate
The state of Tennessee gave colleges their marching orders: Raise your graduation rates, or else.

If graduation rates decline, so does state support for that institution. So state colleges and universities are getting creative in their efforts to make sure the students they enroll leave with diplomas in hand.

Campuses are bringing on extra advisers, bulking up tutoring and remedial classes, fast-tracking majors and cramming extra-credit courses into the gaps between semesters, all in an attempt to lock students on track to a degree.

Last week, the Obama administration set ambitious state-by-state goals to increase college graduation rates. Tennessee was challenged to see 49 to 60 percent of its adult residents with college degrees by 2020. Right now, 32 percent have degrees. . . .

The White House's college completion report singles out Tennessee for what it calls one of the nation's most comprehensive approaches to improving the graduation rate.

The report also suggests several "low-cost or no-cost" strategies — with specific examples of how each is already being used in some places — to improve college completion. These include setting higher high school academic standards, reducing the cost and the time it takes to achieve a degree and targeting nontraditional adult learners who have some college credits already, but no degree.

I need more fat friends

When every one around you is overweight, you think your weight is normal.  From Freakonomics.

Guess Why Some Overweight Adolescents Don’t Think They’re Overweight
According to new research by Mir M. Ali, an economist at the FDA’s Office of Regulations, Policy and Social Science, it’s because they’ve grown up around overweight parents and peers and therefore think their overweight status is, well, normal. The paper, coauthored with Aliaksandr Amialchuk and Francesco Renna, is called “Social Network and Weight Misperception Among Adolescents,” and is forthcoming in the Southern Economics Journal.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adult students driving college growth

In Oklahoma. From NewsOK.com.

Oklahoma adults seek college degrees during economic downturn
Oklahoma's colleges and universities have experienced record enrollment increases during recent years. Much of that growth has stemmed from the economy, said Cordell Jordan, a spokesman for Oklahoma City Community College.

Enrollment at OCCC has increased about 26 percent during the past two years, Jordan said.

Jordan, who also serves as an adjunct professor of business at OCCC, said about half of his students are nontraditional. He has also noticed many more traditional freshman students during recent years.

“The lines aren't as clear anymore,” Jordan said. “It isn't as traditional as it used to be.”

Community colleges typically attract more nontraditional students, but four-year schools have also experienced an increase in adult students during recent years.

The number of adult students at the University of Central Oklahoma increased from 78 in the fall of 2005 to 328 this fall. UCO classifies anyone who is 21 years or older who applies for undergraduate school as an adult student, said Myron Pope, vice president of enrollment management.

“With the job market the way it is, they know it's important to try to improve their skills,” Pope said.

Many colleges have added services to help nontraditional students, including distance learning programs, online courses and night and weekend classes. Without those services, many of today's students wouldn't be able to attend college.

UCO offers counseling, tutoring and other support services. The university also has increased the number of courses it offers electronically, Pope said.

Still, juggling classes and assignments is challenging for adults with careers or families.

Goodbye, Detroit

It was nice knowing you.  Latest Census data show Detroit lost 25% of its population.  From Freakonomics.

Detroit is Dying… Quickly
Census data released this week confirmed what we already knew: Detroit is dying. It’s just happening much faster than we thought. From 2000 to 2010, Detroit lost a quarter of its population; 273,500 people. According to news reports, local officials are stunned, including Mayor Dave Bing, who wants a recount.

After New Orleans, which lost 29 percent of its population in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Detroit’s 25 percent loss is the largest percentage drop in the history of an American city with more than 100,000 people. Just ten years ago, Detroit was the tenth largest city in the country. Demographers at the Brookings Institute now believe it might have fallen all the way to 18th, with just 713,777 people. That’s the smallest it’s been since 1910, just before the automotive boom brought millions of well-paid jobs and turned Detroit into the Motor City. It’s hard to imagine, but up until 1950, Detroit was the fourth biggest city in America. In 1960, it had the highest per-capita income in the U.S.

They got it from Tennessee

And our Complete College Act. From 2theadvocate.com.

A revised higher education funding formula approved Wednesday is based more on graduation rates and enrollment levels at the end of each academic semester, rather than the typical beginning count.

The new formula would punish the Southern University System the most.

The performance-based funding formula is designed to base 25 percent of each college’s operating budget on goals set last year by the LA GRAD Act legislation, which allows schools to hike tuition by up to 10 percent annually for meeting performance targets.

The updated formula was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Louisiana Board of Regents, despite some complaints by college leaders.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and some legislators have asked the Regents to simplify the formula and connect it more to the GRAD Act and graduation rates.

A CBS News report Tuesday highlighted LSU’s 60 percent rate in graduating students in six years as the focus of a story on major universities struggling to graduate students.

While LSU has the best rate of public colleges in the state and is on par with about half the Southeastern Conference, LSU still lags far behind the best of the public schools in the SEC like the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, which have graduation rates near or above 80 percent.

LSU makes a small gain as a result of the new funding formula. Baton Rouge Community College loses 2.65 percent, or nearly $300,000, and Southeastern Louisiana University would take a 3.18 percent hit, or $1.3 million.

The formula sets a maximum 4 percent funding cut that schools can receive from the formula and Southern University and LSU at Alexandria are the only universities to suffer the maximum loss.

Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said it is unfair to punish Southern more when the university needs the most help to turn its problems around.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why so serious?

Because I'm still alive! The cheerful, happy-go-lucky kids have all passed on. Implications from the Longevity Study.

We came to a new understanding about happiness and health. One of the findings that really astounds people, including us, is that the Longevity Project participants who were the most cheerful and had the best sense of humor as kids lived shorter lives, on average, than those who were less cheerful and joking. It was the most prudent and persistent individuals who stayed healthiest and lived the longest.

Part of the explanation lies in health behaviors – the cheerful, happy-go-lucky kids tended to take more risks with their health across the years, Friedman noted. While an optimistic approach can be helpful in a crisis, “we found that as a general life-orientation, too much of a sense that ‘everything will be just fine’ can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to health and long life. Prudence and persistence, however, led to a lot of important benefits for many years. It turns out that happiness is not a root cause of good health. Instead, happiness and health go together because they have common roots.

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.
Adult Learning Programs of Alaska:   Executive Director
California State University, SacramentoDean, College of Continuing Education
The University of Alabama, College of Continuing StudiesAssociate Dean, Professional Development and Community Engagement
Lenoir-Rhyne University:  Director, Asheville Graduate Center
Pima Community College DistrictAcademic Dean of Adult Education
University of New Mexico Valencia CampusDean/Chief Academic Officer
Blackhawk Technical College:  Dean of the Monroe Campus
Utah Valley UniversityCoordinator - Extended Studies
Tacoma Community CollegeAssociate Dean of Corporate Education
Dallas County Community College DistrictExecutive Dean, Corporate and Continuing Education
College of Lake CountyExecutive Director
University of Central FloridaDirector, Continuing Education
University of California, Santa CruzDean, University Extension in Silicon Valley


Central State UniversityDean, Central State University Dayton Campus

In Dollywood, there is no beer...

I thought they had already approved liquor by the drink in Pigeon Forge.  Then I remebered it was just Sevierville.  It's amazing what a down economy can push through...From the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Pigeon Forge to vote on liquor by the drink
Voters in the Smoky Mountain resort town of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., will decide for the second time in two years whether to legalize liquor by the drink.

The May 10 vote follows a similar referendum in 2009 when it was handily defeated.

Supporters believe it will put Pigeon Forge on a more equal footing with Gatlinburg and Sevierville, two nearby towns that already allow such sales.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Off to Savannah


For a little R&R and to check out sites for the 2013 ACHE South Conference.

Memphis is number three

Right behind Orlando and Las Vegas in Forbes' list of America's Emptiest Cities.

In Pictures: America's Emptiest Cities
Memphis, Tenn.
Home vacancy rate: 4.7%
Apartment vacancy rate: 16.1%.

Elvis Presley's hometown has a steady economy, but decaying rental properties near the city center drag its statistics down. With an apartment vacancy rate of 16.1% at the end of 2011, it lands on the list of Emptiest Cities even though prominent landlord Mark Fogelman says the rate in most parts of the city is less than 8%.

Welcome to the University of Greater New Orleans

It'll be interesting to see if this works out.  From Daniel Luzer in Washington Monthy.

Louisiana to Combine Two Colleges
On Tuesday the Louisiana board of regents narrowly approved Governor Bobby Jindal’s plan to merge the University of New Orleans and the historically black Southern University at New Orleans. This was over the opposition of virtually everyone from Southern University.

500 million here

A billion there--pretty soon it adds up.  Huge cuts in California. From the L.A. Times.

Facing an 18% cut in state funding, Cal State plans to reduce enrollment by 10,000, cut $11 million from the chancellor's office and shrink campus funding by $281 million. No tuition hikes are planned, chancellor says.

California State University plans to enroll 10,000 fewer students next year, slash spending in the chancellor's office and reduce faculty and staff to contend with a proposed $500-million cut in state funding, officials said Tuesday.
At a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Long Beach, Cal State administrators outlined a series of actions that will probably mean fewer instructors and classes and more crowded classrooms across the system's 23 campuses.

"We're facing potentially the worst financial situation Cal State has ever faced," trustee William Hauck said, noting that the predicament will get worse if tax extensions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown are not approved by voters. In that case, Cal State could face a $1-billion state funding reduction.

Call for proposals

60th Annual AAACE International Adult & Continuing Education Conference
In partnership with Adult Higher Education Alliance Annual Conference

October 30 through November 4, 2011
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Indianapolis, Indiana.

The 2011 Conference theme is Adult Learning for Our Complex World.

Tthe Call for Proposals for the 60th Annual AAACE National Conference is now available. Access this information at the Conference 2011 tab here.

The deadline for proposal submission is Friday, May 13, 2011.

They're back!

Cicadas.  The 13-year kind.

Cicadas are back

13-year cicadas expected in middle Tenn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Save the date for the 2011 TCU Wine Tour

TCU 2011 Wine Tour of the Willamette Valley: October 7 - 11

Join TCU Extended Education for the 8th annual wine tour and explore Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Known for its extraordinary pinot noirs, this lush valley also produces wonderful pinot gris, chardonnay and other varietals. This tour will take you to wineries for private tours and tastings, unique dining experiences, and amazing accommodations at The Allison Inn & Spa. Your tour includes:

• Pre-tour lodging at The Embassy Suites Portland Airport on October 7
• 3 days of winery tours and tastings. Wineries include: Stoller, Domaine Drouhin, Anam Cara, Raptor Ridge, Ponzi, Domaine Serene, Torri Mor, Lange, Anne Amie and Soter
• 3-night accommodations at The Allison Inn & Spa
• Breakfasts at The Allison
• Lunches at select wineries
• Authentic northwestern Salmon Bake at Stoller Vineyards
• Dinner at The Painted Lady Restaurant (numerous wine and dining awards)
• Winery reception and dinner at The Allison
• Optional visit to Red Ridge Herb Farm
• Optional spa experiences at The Allison Inn & Spa (fee-based)
• Charter transportation throughout the tour
Tour Fees:
Per person double occupancy: $2,120.00 (registrations must be made together)
Single occupancy supplement: $520.00
Airfare not included

Registration
Registration will open Monday, April 4 at 9:00am

New in 2011: Only online or phone registrations will be accepted. No walk-in registrations accepted due to limited staff availability and logistics.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 required for each registration. Trip balances due Friday, July 1, 2011. Registrations will be accepted in the order they are received. This trip tends to sell out quickly. This trip is not eligible for standard Extended Education discounts.

Online Registration Information
Website: http://www.lifelong.tcu.edu/

*You must create an online account for each individual to be registered. It is recommended that if you need to create an account, do so prior to April 4th. Go to My Account on the website to create your account.

* You must use a credit card and can register up to four individuals for the Wine Tour. You must have their online account information (ID # or email address) to do so.

Phone Registration
Call 817-257-7132. You must use a credit card and can register up to four individuals.
Flight Arrangements
TCU recommends that you do not make flight arrangements until after July 1 when trip balances are due and the trip is confirmed. Please fly in and out of Portland International Airport. Return flights on Tuesday, October 11 should not be scheduled prior to 12pm.

Save the date

National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning

Virtual Assessment.  Real Outcomes.
June 15 - 17, 2011 • Caesars Atlantic City, NJ


Thomas Edison State College/ National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning

Meanwhile, underground in Tennessee

This is the first I've heard of these cave drawings.  Interesting how they're keeping the locations secret.  I must have driven over them hundreds of times on my way to Nashville. From Slate.

America's Ancient Cave Art
Over the past few decades, in Tennessee, archaeologists have unearthed an elaborate cave­-art tradition thousands of years old. The pictures are found in dark­ zone sites—places where the Native American people who made the artwork did so at personal risk, crawling meters or, in some cases, miles underground with cane torches—as opposed to sites in the "twilight zone," speleologists' jargon for the stretch, just beyond the entry chamber, which is exposed to diffuse sunlight. A pair of local hobby cavers, friends who worked for the U.S. Forest Service, found the first of these sites in 1979. They'd been exploring an old root cellar and wriggled up into a higher passage. The walls were covered in a thin layer of clay sediment left there during long­ ago floods and maintained by the cave's unchanging temperature and humidity. The stuff was still soft. It looked at first as though someone had finger­-painted all over, maybe a child—the men debated even saying anything. But the older of them was a student of local history. He knew some of those images from looking at drawings of pots and shell ornaments that emerged from the fields around there: bird men, a dancing warrior figure, a snake with horns. Here were naturalistic animals, too: an owl and turtle. Some of the pictures seemed to have been first made and then ritually mutilated in some way, stabbed or beaten with a stick.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

And beaches. 10 bargain beach getaways

Midlevel continuing education salaries

Salaries at public institutions remain frozen but they are up slightly for privates.  From Alex Richards, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Median Salaries of Midlevel Workers by Job Category and Type of Institution, 2010-11

AllDoctoralMaster'sBaccalaureate2-Year
Academic affairs
Conference/workshop education coordinator, continuing education$43,734$43,939$42,731$39,778$47,228
Continuing-education specialist$49,903$52,738$49,153$48,606$49,903

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another stuttering song

Not everyone embraces eLearning

Especially if it's forced upon you.  From Michael Davis, wriing in the Columbia Missourian.

MU history department opposes E-courses
MU's history department adopted a resolution last week that opposes the "imposition" of E-courses at MU, according to a letter from department Chair Russ Zguta.

According to the letter, the resolution identifies three main concerns:
  • E-courses undermine faculty control of the curriculum.
  • They drain financial resources from MU departments.
  • They dilute the quality and integrity of education on campus.
The department adopted the resolution after a discussion during a March 8 faculty meeting, the letter stated. Zguta has sent the resolution to other departments in the College of Arts and Science to gauge interest in co-sponsoring it, the letter stated.

Heady times for Western Governors University

Just a few years ago, it appeared to be struggling.  Now, like Indiana did, Washington wants to partner with them. Timing is everything.  From the Seattle Times.

At a time when Washington's higher-education budget is being slashed, some lawmakers believe a partnership with WGU could provide more access to college programs without costing the state any money. Earlier this session, the House voted 70-26 in favor of HB 1822, which would create a partnership between the state and WGU, similar to a partnership WGU established last year with the state of Indiana. The measure is now before the Senate.

Critics say the legislation raises philosophical questions about just what constitutes a college education. They say WGU is not a substitute for a four-year degree at a traditional college because students don't get the rich give-and-take between their professors and other students.

Training over thinking?

Johann Neem, an associate professor of history at Western Washington University, says a college degree should mean more than getting training to do a specific job; it should also develop deeper thinking skills, and include exposure to the arts and sciences.

WGU President Robert Mendenhall calls the university "a faster and more cost-effective path" for a working adult to get a degree than going to a traditional college or university. He says it does require students to complete course work and demonstrate competency in the liberal arts.

Most WGU students would have a hard time getting accepted into a four-year state school, or if they were, would struggle to finish because they are working full-time, he said.

WGU students get credit for what they already know, also known as competency-based learning. For example, a student majoring in information technology who has already mastered a skill on the job — one that isn't reflected in his or her academic résumé — could get credit for that work after demonstrating knowledge of the skill, Mendenhall said.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kaкого черта?

University of Tennessee saves foreign language programs from budget cuts
The two programs had been identified for elimination before the university decided to roll all foreign languages into one degree and instead offer concentrations in any of eight languages that are offered. The change is in response to a $56 million budget cut for the Knoxville campus.

College of Arts and Sciences associate dean Richard Hinde told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the more obscure languages will now be less vulnerable to tight budgets.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission requires a report on the number of graduates in each degree program. Russian and Italian are on the commission's lineup of low-producing programs.

TACHE conference planning


God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Things You Should Never Say at Work

Unintended consequences

Regulations that go after the for-profits hurts community colleges as well.   From Jennifer Brooks, writing in the Tennessean.

Nashville State Community College is considering getting out of the student loan business.
Too many of its students are defaulting on their loans, putting the school at risk of federal sanctions. Rather than risk losing access to federal Pell grants and work-study funds, Nashville State might cut its losses — by cutting its ties to the federal student loan program.
 "The train wreck is coming, so why don't you get off the train?" said Nashville State President George Van Allen, who will make his decision sometime in the coming year.

Critics say Nashville State would be joining a growing list of schools that panicked and cut its students off from a resource many of them need to get through school. Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis and most of the state's technology centers already have cut ties with the federal loan program.
As a result, 22 percent of Tennessee community college and technology center students had no access to federal student loans as of 2008, according to the Project on Student Debt. The nonprofit opposes the idea of public community colleges cutting ties to the federal Stafford loan program.. . .
 The entire state of Tennessee has one of the highest student default rates in the nation — 8.8 percent in 2008. That figure is expected to increase significantly as schools move to a new system that calculates loan debt over a three-year period, rather than the old two-year system.
 
About a quarter of Nashville State's students take out federal student loans — and about a quarter of that number fail to make their loan payments and go into default within three years of graduation.
In 2008, Nashville State's student loan default rate topped 13 percent. Under a new U.S. Department of Education calculation that considers a school's default rate for three years instead of the current two, Nashville State's will be almost 25 percent. If a school's default rate tops 30 percent for three years, the department starts cutting off its access to other federal student aid programs.

Call for proposals

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges
Innovation, Imagination, and Excellence: Rethinking Accreditation in the 21st Century
December 3-6, 2011
Orlando, Florida

For more information, visit here.
Deadline for proposals is March 25, 2011.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the road

To help plan this fall's Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education conference.  We're holding it in Gatlinburg after having been in Nashville and Memphis the past few years.  I hope to post a few pictures from the planning meeting.  I'm wearing green, including a Guinness fedora.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finally saw The King's Speech

It was a well-made movie, to draw upon the terminology of my old English major.  And I liked it.  It inspired me to make an CD of rock and roll stuttering songs.  You know--the Who's My Generation, Bachman Turner Overdrive's You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, Elton John's Bennie and the Jets, and so on.  There's an interesting story about You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet available here.  Oh yeah, here is a link to an ebook from Nick Morgan that contains lessons from the film.

5 Leadership Lessons From 'The King's Speech'

Of course, this could change depending upon where Charlie Sheen is staying

At any given point in time. Our own Memphis is number 15.

The U.S. cities with the most drunk driving offenders

I always knew Batman was Ivy League

Turns out, though, he attended a branch campus.  Holy continuing education, Batman.  From Cyriaque Lamar writing in io9.

Where did Batman go to college?
Its wording and format are highly unusual. And its geographic references are mysterious: the diploma is from YALE UNIVERSITY AT GOTHAM, with NEW HAVEN appearing below GOTHAM. We can only speculate that, in the Bat-universe, Yale Law School has a branch campus in Gotham City.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You know times are bad

When a 2% cut seems like flat funding.  A report on the Tennessee governor's budget from the Johnson City Press.

Haslam budget cuts $20M in higher ed., 1,200 jobs; local DCS facilities targeted
State spending on higher education would be reduced by 2 percent, or about $20 million, under Haslam's plan, though it does not take tuition increases into account. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission in November recommended raising tuition at least 7 percent at state universities and 5 percent at community colleges and technology centers.

Haslam wants to put about $70 million back in the state's rainy day fund to prepare for the next economic downturn, and urged lawmakers to build up maximum reserves as the economy improves and the state starts collecting more revenue.

"Before we scratch the itch to spend those new dollars, decide whether a better use of the excess funds is an even greater down payment in the rainy day fund," he said.

I missed pi day

Yesterday.  Mmmmmm, pi. From Jason Oberholtzer's blog.

Pi Day was first celebrated in 1989 at the San Francisco Exploratorium as a gimmick, the creation of physicist Larry Shaw, but the holiday has gained momentum around the world as a day for mixing math awareness with general goofiness and specific gluttony.
Pi Day graduated from fad to law in 2009, and is observed nationally, thanks to non-binding resolution (HRES 224) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The secular celebration of pie consumption and the finer points of π-related mathematics occurs annually on March 14th (3/14, 3.14 – get it?) and, in lesser form, on Pi Approximation Day, July 22nd (22/7, a common equation which exceeds, but is used to approximate π).

Using continuing education to offset cuts

North Carolina State University plans to emphasize summer school and distance education to improve efficiencies in the face of budget cuts as much as 15%.  On the other hand, they're eliminating the position of vice chancellor for extension, engagement, and economic development.  I'm assuming they will retain the functions....From the NewsObserver.com.

NCSU tries to manage cuts
Among other things, the reorganization plan calls for collating business operations into a handful of offices, and for putting more emphasis on summer school and distance learning to make more efficient use of the university's infrastructure and to help students graduate sooner.

Arden said that such major changes were inevitable given a long-running slide in North Carolina and nationally in state funding for universities, a slide that accelerated when the economy soured.

"These are organizational efficiencies we're going to have to achieve over the coming years if we're going to be a leading, world-class university," he said. "The institutions that are going to emerge as the strongest in higher education are those that figure out how to operate more effectively and efficiently, and devote a greater percent of their resources to their core mission. And that's what we're trying to do here."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Focusing on adult college students in Nevada

With dire budgets cuts facing higher education in Nevada, the Las Vegas Sun notes that it's not just traditional-aged students who will suffer.  J. Patrick Coolican explains.

Who takes the hit when education funding is cut?
There seems to be a misconception out there that when we talk about supporting higher education we’re talking about fraternity boys playing beer pong or guys in tweed coats smoking pipes and ruminating about Dostoevsky.

There’s perfectly good justification for those aspects of university life, as the fortunate sons and daughters of Nevada privilege can attest. But the reality is that our higher ed system is mostly geared toward getting large numbers of nontraditional students the basic skills and training they need to get jobs.

Of the 114,000 students in the Nevada System of Higher Education, for instance, 44,000 of them last fall were students at the College of Southern Nevada.

Let’s meet some.

Update on Indiana's plan to outsource continuing higher education

Last summer, the state of Indiana contracted with Western Governors University to serve adult college students.  It has attracted 1200 students, all of them online.  The Chronicle of Higher Education explains how it has worked out.

Online Public University Plans to Turn Indiana Dropouts Into Graduates
Western Governors University Indiana has tailored its approach to working adults who have some college experience and want to finish their degrees in a short time at relatively low cost. Students pay $6,000 a year for as many credits as they can complete, compared with an average in-state tuition of $7,600 at Indiana's other public four-year institutions. And since WGU is a state institution, students can use state financial aid to pay for tuition.

Instead of traditional courses, Western Governors uses "competency-based learning," which allows students to work at their own pace through a set of suggested study materials, most of them available online. Students demonstrate that they have mastered the material by completing a standardized examination. . . .

One answer is that traditional higher education hasn't focused on adult learners and can't transform itself quickly enough to make a difference in the short term, says Jamie P. Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation for Education, a philanthropy that backs efforts, such as WGU Indiana, that aim to improve college completion.

Governor Daniels, who said in an interview with The Chronicle that he would like to see other colleges in Indiana develop similar approaches, has a more direct answer: "Higher education is highly resistant to change."

Friday, March 11, 2011


From I Love Charts.

Lousy Smarch Weather


Actually, although it snowed last night, this is from Sunday.

Car phone of the future.

From the frontlines of teaching in community colleges

Had I accepted some job offers in the past, I would have ended up at a community college. The instutitions have always served adult students, and they've typically been more responsive to those students' needs than universities.  And, if the theory of multiverses is correct, there's a Rick Osborn in one of them sitting in an administrative office at a community college in the midwest, possibly blogging about the opportunity he once had to work at a university.  I admire the work they do at community colleges, but it also seems overwhelming from an outsider's view.  By Kate Geiselman, writing in Salon.

My hard lessons teaching community college
If I didn't think that community colleges could save plenty of people, I could not do my job. But I don't think they can save everyone, and I don't think that everyone is in need of salvation. They are expected to fill an enormous void in our culture and in our educational system, to bridge a gap that in many cases seems unbridgeable, to break down barriers of race and class. And at their best, they do every bit of that.

An acquaintance who teaches at the nearby private university once asked me if I'd like to trade my tenure and my associate professorship for a crappy adjunct job at a four-year institution, as though any university position were better than what I do. Many people ask me how I do it -- how I handle all of the challenges of dealing with a sometimes difficult, frequently underprepared and often (as we like to call it) "at risk" student body. And the frank answer is that I don't. I don't always "do it." I don't always have the patience or the time these students need, but I do what I can. Sometimes the best kind of doing is just teaching.

In his last State of the Union address, Obama trotted out community colleges once again as the great hope. The place where "every American" can have access to an affordable, quality education. Access isn't completion. Completion isn't success. As much as we tell ourselves otherwise, college isn't for everyone. Safety nets fail. Bootstraps break.

But the beauty is, sometimes they don't.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Call for proposals

2011 NCWE/NCCET Conference
Growing the Workforce for a New American Economy
October 22-25, 2011
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch

For more information or to submit a proposal, go here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh, she said "texting" . . .

Although I love my iPhone and iPad, I rarely take them to bed.  At least at home. By Carla Fried writing in CBS MoneyWatch.com.

Why Texting in Bed Can Be Bad for Your Career
Somewhat paradoxically, staying connected to the office from bed could be bad for your career. A persistent sleep deficit makes you less productive, and the sort of crank who doesn’t collaborate well with colleagues.

Here’s how you can, um, sleep your way to the top:
  • Shut down the gadgets. Watching television in bed has always been a popular pre-sleep ritual. Indeed, 79 percent of NSF survey respondents say they watch television in the hour before they try to go to sleep. But now, more Americans are engaging with interactive technology: 40 percent say they are working on their computer in bed, 38 percent report texting in bed, and 19 percent are dealing with work-related emails (39 percent say they are emailing with friends and family.) Sleep researchers say these kinds of devices may not be as sleep-inducing as passively watching late-night TV, or gulp, actually reading. “Unfortunately cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may also be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep,” says Russell Rosenberg, head of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 task force.

Race to the bottom in Pennsylvania

Governor guts higher education; his budget proposes spending a billion less on education.  Why is it countries like China and India keep investing more in education while in the United States, it's always on the chopping block?  From the Post-Gazette.com.

The 50 percent loss in state funding applies to the 14 state-owned universities -- including California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock -- as well as four state-related schools: the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State, Temple and Lincoln universities.

If enacted, they likely would amount to the largest single-year cut ever in American public higher education, according to the Washington D.C.-based American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

"There have been some very large proposed cuts from governors this year, but this is so far off the charts it doesn't even seem plausible," said Daniel Hurley, the association's director of state relations and policy analysis.

He said universities that had already faced repeated state cutbacks the last decade won't be able to offset a hit this large simply by raising tuition, even though predictions of a sizable increase in-state tuition are already reverberating on campuses.

Virtual faculty

This won't be the last such hire at Kentucky.  We'll see more and more of this, and it's certainly true that faculty can teach from anywhere.  In fact, the thought of retiring and teaching part-time online from the beach is appealing to me. However, this re-defines the role of faculty and could lead to disengagement from the institution.   Will these distant faculty attend departmental meetings, serve on committees, run for Faculty Senate, or complain about parking like everyone else? From Kentucky.com.

University of Kentucky hires education professor who'll work from Iowa
The University of Kentucky is hiring its first remotely based professor — educational technology specialist Scott McLeod, who will do most of his work from his home in Ames, Iowa.

McLeod, who is now in New Zealand while on sabbatical from Iowa State University, will be an associate professor in the UK College of Education and director of technology and innovation. That role is designed to help educators use technology to improve achievement of students from kindergarten through college. He also will teach one course each semester.

McLeod, 42, will be paid $115,000 for nine months, compared with his $80,000 salary at Iowa State.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Early bird registration extended for ACHE South conference

Early Bird Deadline - Extended to March 11, 2011

Register today to come to the ACHE South 2011 conference in San Antonio, Texas April 17 - 20. 

The theme for the conference is: Viva FIESTA! A Celebration of Lifelong Learning.  The committee has planned a conference program that you are certain to remember.

Fifteen breakout sessions will provide valuable tools and information that can easily be utilized back at your workplace.  You will leave refreshed and inspired!

Keynote presenters include:
  • Dr. Brenda Harms, client consultant, Stamats
  • Mark Campbell, vice-president for LearningCounts.org at CAEL
  • Mark D. Sifford, Project Director, ConAP (Concurrent Admissions Program for Army Enlistees)
Your local arrangements hosts from the University of the Incarnate Word promise it'll also be a festive atmosphere in the inviting surroundings of the San Antonio River walk where the conference hotel is located. Special pre-conference excursions are available for those coming in early to enjoy the final days of San Antonio's annual Fiesta celebration.

Register today to get the Early Bird rate until Friday, March 11 at ache.uiw.edu and get ready to Celebrate Lifelong Learning!

This bodes well for my future

I always knew being skinny wouldn't pay off in the long run.  I had my required health screening from my health insurance nazis, and my BMI placed me a long way from skinny.  From Sean Silverthorne, writing in BNET.com.

Want a Big Pay Raise? Lose Some Weight (If You're a Woman)
If you are a woman and need an extra incentive to lose some weight, how about this one: Your paycheck could be $16,000 per year higher over the length of your career.

If you are a man, however, different rules apply (shocker). If your poundage drops too far, your pay could dip also, to the tune of $8,000 annually.

So says recent research by Timothy A. Judge of the University of Florida and Daniel M. Cable of London Business School.
According to an account of the study in the StarTribune.com, a woman who is 25 pounds below the mean earns $389,300 more across a 25-year time span than an average-weight woman. A man, on the other hand, earns $210,925 less, on average if his weight is 25 pounds below the mean.

ETSU's main campus learning in retirement organization


is starting classes this month.  ACL is an activity of the School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach.  So is the group located in Kingsport.

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, March 22, and ending Wednesday, April 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 at a continental breakfast on Tuesday, March 22, at 9:30 a.m., at Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church, 610 E. Watauga Ave., in Johnson City. ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. will offer welcoming remarks.

The spring lineup will include a Centennial-themed session, “A University in Profile: Fascinating Folks from the 100-Year History of ETSU,” by Fred Sauceman, the university’s executive assistant to the president for University Relations; the story of the Korean people told by the ETSU College of Business and Technology’s Dr. Don Shemwell, who recently taught in Korea; and a program of St. Patrick’s Day stories presented by the Homespun Storytelling Guild.  

Among other sessions are environmentalist Anne League speaking about mountaintop removal; nano technology explained by Dr. Ray Mohseni of the ETSU Department of Chemistry; disaster preparedness outlined by Angie Minor of the Tennessee Department of Health; and Marcia Songer, until recently the director of the ETSU Honors-in-Discipline Program, sharing her experiences from her visit to Tibet and Nepal.

Additional options range from retired minister John Martin talking about Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung and the dynamics of symbols; ETSU Literature and Language professor Dr. Tess Lloyd and the difficulties of compiling an anthology of Appalachian literature for the 21st century; and local educator Bill Campbell showing the great male singers in cinema.

Field trips are planned to the Nathanael Greene Museum and the City Garage Car Museum in Greeneville, as well as to Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.

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 Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church.

No educational pre-requisites, examinations, or 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 http://www.acljc.org/ or call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084.