Showing posts from April, 2011

God help me I do love Top 10 lists


Keep your mouth shut

Jeff Haden lists eight things you should never say to your staff.  Here's my favorite: “I can’t wait to go to Cancun next week.” I know I've never said that to anyone at work.

8 Things You Should Never Say to Employees

Tennessee Technology Centers get some love

From Washington Monthly in an article from last summer that I missed until now.  Merisotis and Jones point out that Tech Centers combine the best of for-profit education with traditional community college access and pricing.
Degrees of Speed
What the unemployed really need are public institutions that combine the best qualities of both types of schools: the low cost and public mission of community colleges, and the quicker-to-graduation curricula and job-placement focus of the best proprietary schools. A handful of education systems around the country—in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, and Washington State, for example—have attempted to build such programs. The most successful may be in Tennessee.

Whereas community colleges in most states offer both one-year certificate and two-year degree programs, Tennessee split these functions into different institutions when creating its community college system back in the 1960s. As a result, the state operates thirteen academically oriented communi…

I heard this joke at the ACHE South Conference

What's the difference between an extroverted engineer and an introverted engineer?  The extroverted engineer stares at your shoes.  This comes from Ron Brown writing in CBS MoneyWatch.
How Introverts Can Succeed at Work
While extroversion is often highly valued by companies, there are many people like you who have a more introverted style that may be less engaging and more deliberative. That doesn’t necessarily make you any less effective, but you have to be sure that some of the more negative features associated with being an introvert don’t come to define you. The risk, as you’ve started to see, is that you become viewed as quiet and inactive, as opposed to thorough and deliberate. So you may need to go an active campaign to let the important folks at your company know what your style is, recognize its strengths, and present yourself as more of a three-dimensional figure.

So you might focus on demonstrating your acumen in one-on-one interactions where you’re more comfortable. And…

Not a single Tennessee community college

Is eligible for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  The purpose of the prize is to "recognize community colleges with outstanding academic and workforce outcomes in both absolute performance and improvements over time. "   See all the institution competing at List of 120 Eligible Community Colleges.

More on the State of Interdisciplinarity

Each year, Dr. Jill Leroy-Frazier has her students conduct a mini-conference where several of them share research papers.  I am always humbled by the quality of their thinking.  One of my staff members attending last night's mini-conference, remarked, "I'm not doing enough thinking!"  "We're administrators, " I reassured her.  "We don't get paid to think."
Here are last night's presenters and their topics:  Veronica Limeberry, "The State of Interdisciplinarity Today: Food Security, Illusions of the Free Market, and Hope for the Future."
Stephanie Langley, "The Mysticism of Transdisciplinarity."

Cheryl Buckner, "An Interdisciplinary Approach When Using Suboxone to Treat Opiod Addictions."
Valerie Bodell, "Internal and External Stereotypes in Comics."

Patricia Gerard, "Cursive Writing as a Fading Literacy."

A message from PONSI

Effective June 1, 2011, The National Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (National PONSI) will now be called the National College Credit Recommendation Service. Our affiliation with the University of the State of New York, Regents Research Fund continues.

Since 1973, National PONSI (now called National CCRS) has been translating learning that takes place outside of the college classroom into college credit recommendations in keeping with our mission to increase access to higher education for working adults and other non-traditional students. We are pleased that your institution has expressed a willingness to consider awarding actual college credit to students who have taken courses evaluated by our organization.

We welcome your feedback and appreciate your patience as we transition to our new name. Please share our name change with members of your faculty and staff, and visit our directory, CCR Online, for information about evaluated learning experiences.

Thank you,

The Pro…

MALS Mini-Conference

The State of Interdisciplinarity. MALS students present their interdisciplinary research at this forum.

No room at the inn

Community college graduates find their transfer options limited in Washington.  From the Seattle Times.

For-profit colleges filling state transfer gap
Washington's community-college students are transferring to four-year colleges and universities in record numbers, but increasingly they are turning to private, for-profit schools to earn their bachelor's degrees.

The trend highlights the growing difficulty of transferring to a state-supported four-year college or university, according to the state Higher Education Coordinating Board, which reported the results in a study released Monday.

The trend is also a concern because, according to the U.S. Department of Education, about a quarter of students at for-profit institutions default on their student loans within three years of starting to pay them — a number that suggests students at these schools pay a high price for an education that does not prepare them adequately for a career after college.

During a five-year period ending …

ACHE South Award Winners

The following awards were presented at the Awards Luncheon at the ACHE South Regional Conference last week in San Antonio. The luncheon was sponsored by iCampus360.
Distinguished Program Award: Credit..........Adult Degree Completion Program.  Middle Tennessee State University.
Distinguished Program Award: Non-Credit..Explore Summer Program (ESP).  University of West Florida.
Mini-Grant Award..........................................Jeanette Tesmer.  University of Kentucky.
Continuing Education Leadership Award......Ruth Bettandorff, University of Georgia and Mary Bonhomme, Florida Institute of Technology.

This combines two of my favorite things

Top 10 Lists and cartoons.  From Time.

Top 10 Controversial Cartoons

Do you have a lot of vacation time banked?

The Evil HR Lady answers a question from a university administrator that many of us can relate to.  We're stretched so thin that vacations often move to the back burner.  And we suffer for it.
How Can I Make My Employees Take Vacation? At the end of the day, I don’t really care how other people use (or don’t use) their vacation time. I am just sick of trying to work with people that are constantly stressed out, burned out, and come to work angry. I have heard a number of employees say things to the effect of “If I have to work 60 hours one week to prepare to be gone for a week, and 60 hours the week I come back to get caught up, then I really haven’t had any time off at all. I have just re-arranged my work schedule.” I know I can’t change the entire work culture and single-handedly save the university, but how can I at least break this habit among my own employees and convince them that it really is OK (actually, necessary) to take some time off once in a while?

I may have mentioned something earlier about liking my iPhone

Doug Aamoth in Techland reveals there's an app that lets you mow your yard.
Nightmare Over: You Can Now Mow Your Lawn from an iPhone We've all been there. Does this sound familiar to you?
You're at work and you realize you forgot to mow your lawn. You rush home in a panic. You miss several important meetings—or meetings that your company considers important, yet you've calculated how much it'd cost to build a lifelike dummy of yourself that lives in the conference room and has a head that automatically nods whenever it detects nearby voices.
Those days are over thank to Husqvarna's My Automower, a free iPhone app that lets you control your lawn mower from afar. "Wow, Doug. And this app works with any lawnmower?" you just said out loud. No, of course not.
You'll need a special GPS-enabled Husqvarna (that's not any easier to type the second time around, by the way) lawn mower. They start at a cool $2,400 and leverage the magical science of roboti…

Perhaps she was just quoting Cee Lo Green

But you shouldn't use your university email to call folks names. And you should calm down, think twice, and wait a few minutes before firing off an angry email.  But I'm sympathetic.  Sometimes I miss Iowa.  From the Iowa City Press-Citizen

UI prof's response to GOP prompts outrage
A University of Iowa professor who studies same-sex relationships was so upset by a mass email from a campus Republican group promoting "Conservative Coming Out Week" that she fired off a vulgarity aimed at all Republicans.

Ellen Lewin, a professor of Anthropology and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies in the Department of Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies, responded to the email by writing, "F*** YOU, REPUBLICANS" from her official University of Iowa email account.

Lewin's message prompted a flurry of e-mails in response, all of which were published on The Iowa Republican, a GOP news website.

UI student and Chairwoman of the Iowa Federation of College Republ…

ETSU reports user satisfaction with online language instruction offered in partnership with Rosetta Stone

In 2010, East Tennessee State University’s Honors College and Office of Professional Development began a program that offered online language-learning courses available in 25 languages through Rosetta Stone, a leading provider of technology-based, language-learning solutions.

A recent user satisfaction survey gave Rosetta Stone® Classroom high marks for being accessible, convenient and user-friendly. Of the ETSU faculty, staff, students and community members taking the online offering, 80 percent reported feeling more proficient in their chosen language after completing the course. Among the most popular of the 25 languages available are Italian, English, Japanese, Latin, French, Spanish and Greek.

The non-credit professional development instruction is available to the community and does not require formal admission to ETSU. For a registration fee of $50, users receive two months of independent study in one language, available at all proficiency levels.

For more information, contact …

Job creation in Tennessee

Our new Jobs4TN strategy.  From the Johnson City Press.

Haslam's cuts to close down Johnson City's state planning office
As part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Jobs4TN plan, all employees at the state-run local planning office in Johnson City will lose their jobs when the office closes permanently in mid-July.

From the Urban Dictionary

Killing two pigs with one bird: A modern version of the popular saying "killing two birds with one stone." derived from the popular video game "angry birds."

I was killing two pigs with one bird by eating lunch and playing angry birds at the same time.

Save the date


Be the ball

Planning on attending ACHE 2011 in Orlando?  Here's some Zen-like advice on getting maximum return-on-investment from Jeff Kallay in Target X.
Heading to a conference? Here are six tips to maximize ROI.
Whether you’re attending, exhibiting or presenting the cost of participating at a conference is significant, and with budgets the way they are many of you are attending less and conferences.

Be sure to have a plan to maximize your conference ROI. Along with attending sessions featuring TargetX educators and stopping by our exhibits, here are six tips for earning a better return on any conference investment:

1. Be where you are.
2. Don’t feel pressured to do it all.
3. Figure out your balance.
4. Keep up with the buzz.
5. Dial in your deal making.
6. Make the one-day conference your friend.

Former ACHE Chairs

Drs. Brian Van Horn and Susan Elkins.

ACHE South Entertainment


Attending the ACHE South Conference

For the first time?  Here are some tips for remembering people's names from Amber Mac in Fast Company.
Work Smart: 5 Rules for Remembering Names
1. Hear the name (really listen for it).

2. Spell the name.

3. Comment on the name.

4. Use the name during a conversation.

5. Use the name when leaving.
Tennessee is the 49th least peaceful state in the union.  Red is the least peaceful; blue the most.  No wonder I'm up at night.

From Matt Stopera posting in I Love Charts.

Working on the conference

We've got the gift boxes all ready for conference attendees.

Conference prep

An assembly line getting materials ready for the ACHE South conference.

Predicting job migration

Dean Dad makes an interesting point.  He expects tight budgets at all institutions which will mean few salary increases for faculty and staff.  To get a raise, you'll have to get a new job.  To some extent that's always been true--someone who has worked at the same place for his or her career will probably be paid less than someone with the same position who has moved around.

A Fearless Prediction
That means that for many people, the only way to effect a meaningful increase in salary will be to change jobs. And those who do will be well-advised to negotiate hard at the point of hire, since they won’t be able to count on meaningful raises over time. If you’re fairly confident that any increases over the next half-decade or more will be below the rate of inflation, then you’d best get every penny you can upfront. It’s all downhill from there.

Incumbent employees will cry ‘foul’ over salary compression or inversion, and they’ll have a point. But when the rules favor one course of…

To confer, converse, and otherwise hob-nob with my brother wizards

At the ACHE South regional conference in San Antonio.  I hope to post a few pictures from the proceedings. A good time will be had by all, I'm sure.

I resemble that remark

I don't do all of these, but I'm guilty of number two.  I know, I know, my staff can probably find more than three annoying habits I have.  Anyway, I try not to drain enthusiasm too much or too often. Feel free to add you own annoying habits or list more of mine! By Kelly Goldsmith and Marshall Goldsmith in their Work/Life blog from BNET.

3 Annoying Habits of Successful People
1. They need to win all the time.
2.  They try too hard to add value.
3. They are publicly critical.

This is a great idea

Instead of offering tax incentives (or perhaps in addition to) for business to create new jobs, Missouri is considering offering tuition credits.
Missouri House bill offers tuition credit to businesses creating jobs Missouri businesses could gain tuition credits for creating new jobs in a proposed bill now under consideration in the state House of Representatives.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Delus Johnson, R-St. Joseph, introduced House Bill 971 to the Higher Education Dommittee on Tuesday. The program, Missouri Jobs for Education, would award businesses and companies one year of free tuition for every five jobs they create in this state.

Tuition credits can be used to attend state universities by the employees of each business or company and relatives of the business owner. The credit expires if not used within 10 years of it being awarded.

Johnson said that the bill would make Missouri more attractive for out-of-state businesses looking to move. He called it a “reward for business and e…

From the Urban Dictionary

Work Paralysis: (n.) The inability to get work done because of its large quantity. Similar to writer's block, but applies to all work with a deadline.

The stack of paperwork had reached an all time high, and I was hit with work paralysis.

I haven't reached this stage yet, but I had a classic work-anxiety dream last night.  I dreamt I was teaching as an adjunct for Northeast State, and my class ready to start, but I was still 15 miles away at ETSU.  And as I tried to leave, I kept misplacing my iPad and had to stop and keep looking for it.  Then I couldn't find my car keys.  Or my iPhone. And then my jacket was missing.  In the meantime, I wasn't prepared for class, so I was going to break them into groups and discuss something.  Then the departmental secretary from Northeast State called and asked me where I was.  So I was late, unprepared, and wondering why in the heck I ever took on an additional teaching assignment.  But at least I had all my clothes on!  And it wasn…

A map of U.S. stereotypes


I'm with China on this

I hate 90% of all time travel stories.  They're a cheap plot device. And they can be creepy.  Look at that time-travelling pedophile in The Time Traveller's Wife, for example.

China Decides to Ban Time Travel
The decision was made earlier this month, with the country's State Administration for Radio, Film & Television stating that "The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."

What's wrong with these shows? They “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.”

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time

I know we're entrepreneurs in Continuing Education, but offering credit for a symposium featuring working exotic dancer is beyond problematic.  Yes, we've been called cash cows but usually the denomination isn't singles. From the Philadelphia City Paper.
Students say La Salle symposium featured strippers, lap dances
La Salle University officials acknowledged today that the university has launched "a full-scale investigation" into "reports regarding an incident which occurred on March 21" — an incident which, according to two students who witnessed the event and spoke with CP, involved a professor inviting a team of strippers to engage himself and students at an on-campus, for-credit symposium.

According to the students, the symposium, hosted at a satellite campus facility in Plymouth Meeting, was held by La Salle assistant professor of management Jack Rappaport. For a $150 admission fee, students earned credit in the College of Professional and Continuin…

Crushing college debt

Early in my career, I never worried about student debt.  Now I think about it all the time.  I remember one adult student telling me, "You know, I paid more for my new car that my degree will cost me.  And I'll have to replace that car in five or six years but my degree will not expire."  And this was at a private school, but even there college costs were reasonable.  I certainly believe in the value of higher education, but these high levels of debt are troubling. Fortunately, I could help my kids earn their bachelors degrees without debt.  Of course, they're on their own for graduate study. Anyway, Tamar Lewin in the New York Times notes that student loan debt is larger than credit card debt for the first year...
College Loans Weigh Heavier on Graduates
While many economists say student debt should be seen in a more favorable light, the rising loan bills nevertheless mean that many graduates will be paying them for a longer time.

“In the coming years, a lot of peop…

Today in Russia

It's Yuri's Night.  From Time.

Yuri Gagarin: Anniversary Honors for First Man in Space
It's not for nothing that Russia, the U.S. space community and most former Soviet republics celebrate every April 12 as Yuri's Night, with speeches, parties and commemorative events. It's not for nothing, too, that this year the list of countries joining the celebration has expanded to 71 — including Belgium, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Greece, India, the Maldives, Malaysia and even Iran — or that the inevitable website complete with the inevitable online gift shop has been launched. (The Gagarin T-shirts, embroidered patch and temporary tattoos are still in stock, but the "flashy blinky-light LED lapel pin" is sold out.)

Just as inevitably, the 50th anniversary has gotten the revisionists going, questioning not only what the point of human space travel is when unmanned probes can go so much farther so much more cheaply (a fair, if spiritless, question) but also j…

Has there ever been a worse time to be a teacher?

Jennifer Brooks, writing in the Tennessean.

Teacher morale hits rock bottom
For Principal William Moody, finding good teachers isn't the problem.

"If these weren't good teachers, I wouldn't let them through the door of this building," said Moody, principal at Two Rivers Middle School.

The problem is keeping them. It's getting rare for him to see teachers over age 30. Too many veterans, he said, are giving up on the profession and leaving for less stressful careers.

"I don't know why anyone would want to be a teacher these days," said Moody, who was named Metro Middle School Principal of the Year in 2009. "I've never seen it as difficult to be a teacher as it is right now."

Teachers never expected the job to be easy. The hours can be long, the students difficult, the pay lackluster. But lately — between the intense pressure to improve test scores and the political rhetoric about "bad teachers" who get overpaid to work nine …

Today is

The 150th Anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, the start of the Civil War.  John Swansburg has a slide show of a road trip you can take this year in Slate.

A Civil War road trip.
I should start by saying this: I am not a Civil War buff. Not even close. The last time I studied the war was over a bowl of Wheat Chex the day I was to be tested on the material in 11th grade. I don't know McClellan from McPherson or Hooker from Halleck. Everything I know about J.E.B. Stuart I learned from the short fiction of Barry Hannah. But I am aware that millions of Americans visit Civil War battlefields each year. I also know that the number of Civil War tourists is about to spike: April 12, 2011, marks the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, which even I remember is the event that ignited the hostilities between North and South. Over the next four years, scores of fathers will use the sesquicentennial celebration as an excuse to don their safari shirts and trundle forbearing wive…

ETSU will be looking for a new president

Dr. Stanton retires January 14, 2012.  Jan Breenwood and Betty Turner Asher, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education outline some of the challenges the search committee will face.  Of course, politics would never be a factor--wait for it--in Tennessee.
4 Roadblocks to Hiring Public-University Leaders
Economics. The challenges of the economic climate can affect searches in many ways. Prospective candidates may have an upside-down mortgage, owing more money than their home is currently worth, and/or may live in a housing market where property is not selling or is slow to sell. A candidate recently told us that he could no longer consider administrative posts at public universities, because public boards couldn't match the salary that he received from his private university and couldn't waive tuition for his children. He wanted to make one more career move, but he had to base his decision not only on mutual interest and a good fit with an institution, but also on the compensa…

Locking in that keynote speaker

This is the time of year many of us are finalizing the program for fall conferences.  The ACHE conference planning committee meeting just finished up in Orlanda.  The TACHE agenda for the Gartlinburg conference is just lacking a few final confirmations.  Josh Bernoff, in his blog Empowered, gives advice on how speakers actually like to work.  I've listed his first two points below.

How to hire anybody (including me) to give a speech
I'm not a prima donna -- I don't need my own case of Evian water, or a chauffeur-driven limo to the airport. But there are a few simple things that will make things go much better. These rules apply to me, but they also likely apply to anybody else who gives speeches regularly -- and that includes most authors who are moderately successful. In writing this, I'm hoping that sharing the perspective from the speaker's point of view may be revealing for you. Let's begin . . .

1.Great to meet you. Let me introduce you to the people who he…

There are rankings

And there are rankings.  Writing in the American-Statesman, Ralph K.M Haurwitz talks about the University of Texas.

Business group seeks to improve universities
The statement notes that UT is ranked 45th and Texas A&M University 63rd among the nation's universities by U.S. News & World Report.

"What if our football team was ranked 45th?" Keener said. "There would be some serious discussion about how to improve."

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 Westfield State University: Assistant Director of Professional Development California State University: Dean, University Extended Education Elmhurst College: Dean, Adult and Graduate Programs Western Illinois University:  Central Illinois Adult Education Service Center - Faculty Assistant/Resource Specialist Western Kentucky University:  Program Director, Summer and Winter Terms Rancho Santiago Community College District:  Vice President, Continuing Education,  Associate Dean, Extended Opportunities Programs & Services Chemeketa Community College:  Dean of Academic Transitions College of Southern Maryland:  Director of Community Education Bay Path College:  Founding Dean, School of Adult and Professional Studies Virginia Tech:  Associate Vice President for Engagement Quincy University:  Director of Online Learning and …

Still hope for English majors like me

Critical thinking and the ability to write well never go out of style.  From Jessica Stillman's Blog Entry-Level Rebel.
Need Innovation? Hire Humanities Grads Exactly what valuable intellectual skills do humanities grads offer? Golsby-Smith outlines four: complexity and ambiguity, innovation, communication and presentation, and customer and employee satisfaction. Check out the complete post to read the author’s explanation of how pondering the classics can help in these areas.
The relative merits of tech and liberal arts degrees is an interesting discussion for business leaders, but what does the debate look like from the perspective of someone trying to decide on a college major? Should you study liberal arts if you want to rule in business? There’s anecdotal evidence that a humanities degree can help you in business and A-list economist/ blogger Tyler Cowen is a convert to the liberal-arts-for-business idea, but beware that the statistics are against you (especially if money is a…

Doc Watson, David Holt to bring ‘Hills of Home’ concert to ETSU

“Hills of Home,” a show of folk tunes and mountain wisdom from living legend Doc Watson and storyteller and musician David Holt, will be presented at East Tennessee State University on Thursday, April 14.
This concert, sponsored by the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium. “We cover the gamut of mountain musical traditions from old-time to bluegrass, from ballads to blues,” says Holt. “It is particularly fun for me, because I get to play not only banjo, but slide guitar, and throw in a little hambone as well.” Doc Watson’s soulful singing and signature guitar playing highlight the show, and the two are joined by Watson’s grandson, Richard Watson.
“Legacy,” the CD that relates to the concert and covers much of the same ground, was honored with a 2002 Grammy Award for “Best Traditional Folk Recording.”
The show includes plenty of down-to-earth folk wisdom, as National Medal of Arts and N…
Sounds about right.  From I Love Charts.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

On this date

The Kingsmen recorded "Louie Louie."  Find out more about the song here.  And those unintelligable lyrics?  Find them here.

Algebra II predicts success?

Hmmm.  I'm a little skeptical that there's cause and effect here.  From The Washington Post.

Requiring Algebra II in high school gains momentum nationwide
Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success, according to research that has launched a growing national movement to require it of graduates.

In recent years, 20 states and the District have moved to raise graduation requirements to include Algebra II, and its complexities are being demanded of more and more students.

The effort has been led by Achieve, a group organized by governors and business leaders and funded by corporations and their foundations, to improve the skills of the workforce. Although U.S. economic strength has been attributed in part to high levels of education, the workforce is lagging in the percentage of younger workers with college degrees, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

But exactly how to raise the …

And I suppose Readers Digest will buy an accelerated college

Magazines buying for-profit colleges?  Are for-profits truly such a cash cow?  From Daniel Luzer's College Guide.

Fancy Magazines Buy Un-Fancy Colleges
Emboldened by the success of certain media companies moving into proprietary education, several of America’s magazines of ideas have purchased or created their own for-profit colleges in an effort to help support unprofitable, though apparently valuable, journalism ventures.

Last month The National bought the for-profit Hudson University for an undisclosed sum, apparently betting that high tuition and low overhead costs will allow the company to siphon money into the publication, which usually runs in the red.

The historically liberal, and non-profit, Mother Smith magazine somehow managed to scramble together $35 million to purchase a 25 percent stake in Academy of Design University, a for-profit graphic design school in San Francisco where tuition is $15,000 a year.

Several other low-earning, high status publications are reported…

We need the dues

The University of Washington adds more out-of-state students to increase revenue.  This is not only a rational but politically-savvy move.  If parents complain that their honor student can't get into UW but lesser-qualified Oregon students can, perhaps politicians will increase funding.  From Katherine Long, writing in the Seattle Times.
Why straight-A's may not get you into UW this year Soon after the University of Washington's acceptance letters for undergraduate admission went out in the mail last month, the rumors started flying at local high schools.
High-school seniors with top test scores didn't get in.
Students who got into more prestigious schools were wait-listed at the UW.
Valedictorians with straight-A's were denied admission, while out-of-state students with lower grades were accepted.
Turns out all those rumors are true.
A series of worsening revenue forecasts and a $5 billion state budget shortfall have made it even more likely that the Legislature wi…

Haunted ETSU

An English professor investigating the ghost in Burleson Hall finds less than meets the eye.  Sorry, I couldn't wait until Halloween. From The Johnson City Press.

Chasing an ETSU ghost tale
Professor Robert Sawyer prefers to think of Christine Burleson as a genial spirit, if he must, rather than a haunting ghost roaming the halls of the literature and language department at East Tennessee State University.

Sawyer, a professor of Shakespeare and British studies at ETSU, researched the legend of Burleson, who also taught Shakespeare at ETSU from 1925 until her suicide in 1967. His attempt was to dispel any notion of her haunting the campus as a special project for the school’s centennial celebration going on now. He will present his findings in a lecture on campus Tuesday.

“That legend has kind of taken on a life of its own,” Sawyer said. “Even when they do tours for ETSU freshmen, they walk by the building and say: ‘This is the building where Christine Burleson haunts her father’s…

KATN, part 3

Update on Tennessee State University's interim president from the Tennessean.

TSU's interim chief hails progress, acknowledges bumps along way
Shields declined to comment on the personnel changes, but they follow months of intense scrutiny into the way TSU does business. The coming months promise more staff shake-ups. TSU's payroll is top-heavy with administrators. Part of Wednesday's presentation was a chart that showed that 5 percent of TSU's staff are top administrators, while professors and instructors make up just 37 percent of employees.

At neighboring Middle Tennessee State University, which is three times TSU's size, top administrators are 4 percent of the staff and instructors are 43 percent.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools declined to reaffirm TSU's accreditation in December, giving the university one year to meet the accrediting body's standards. The university has drafted a new report that will be ready for faculty review by …

Statistics are no substitute for judgment (Henry Clay)

Fargo beckons. By Carla Fried, writing in The Daily Money.

Why North Dakota May Be the Best State in the Country to Live In While many states are confronting severe budget shortfalls and dragging economies, North Dakota has a different sort of problem. It’s stuck deciding how best to deal with a budget surplus. Yes, a surplus. North Dakota’s balance sheet is so strong it recently reduced individual income taxes and property taxes by a combined $400 million, and is debating further cuts.
That’s not exactly what residents of California ($25.4 billion projected budget shortfall for the 2012 fiscal year), Texas ($13.4 billion), New Jersey ($10.5 billion), New York ($10 billion), and 42 more states with projected 2012 budget shortfalls are in line for.
I can just hear the snarky comment formulating in your head right about now — something about North Dakota’s rough winters, and comparative lack of high-brow culture or pro sports teams, no doubt. Duly noted. But if we keep the conversation …