Thursday, June 30, 2011

This must be the cheapest city in Tennessee

Cookeville is among the finalists for the cheapest city in the country.  From Time.

There is a place, in these United States, where a loaf of bread will cost you 90 cents. Where a gallon of gas will set you back $2.65. Where you can rent a two-bedroom house for $450 a month. And that place is Harlingen, Texas, pop. 65,000.

Runners-up for the cheap-city title included Pueblo, Colo., Pryor Creek, Okla., and Cookeville, Tenn. Meanwhile the most expensive urban areas were, predictably, parts of New York City, Honolulu and San Francisco.

The graduate guarantee

This university is offering free post-graduate training to any of its graduates whose employers find deficiencies in their entry-level job skills.  It might be cost efficient for large universities to offer this same guarantee, and then provide any requested training to a third-party online vendor like JER.  Might work.  From NewsOK.

Oklahoma's Cameron University guarantees quality of its graduates
If an Oklahoma employer identifies a deficiency in core employment areas related to the graduate's major, the university will give the graduate free additional training, university officials announced this week. The guarantee applies to students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in spring 2012 or later, said Cameron University President Cindy Ross.

“We want to be accountable to the students, their families and the employers who hire them,” she said.

Ross said the university would consider requests for more training on a case-by-case basis. Each program would be customized to fit the needs of the graduate and his or her employer.

The university could provide training or education through a variety of methods, including distance learning programs, weekend seminars or job site visits by faculty members, she said.

Ross said she doesn't anticipate graduates will need additional training. She said the guarantee is an opportunity for university officials to demonstrate their certainty in the quality of Cameron's graduates and programs.

“I have every confidence that our graduates are competent and workforce ready,” she said.

Cameron University graduates about 1,000 students a year, including about 700 who earn bachelor's degrees.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And now, we'll hear something from the other side

An English professor argues against adult higher education.  Hmmmm.  The Center for Law and Social Policy, noting a national decline in the number of high school graduates, advocates for more adult college graduates to meet the country's workforce and economic needs in The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete College.  Frank Donoghue, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, disagrees with the report. He questions if adding more adult students is the best answer.  He notes that it's hard for adults to finish their degree.  Hence, many don't.  And finally, he notes, that "adult higher education feeds the for-profit machine." I'm afraid he loses me on this last point. Unless we outlaw for-profits or forbid adults to pursue higher education, it's hard to see how the fact that adults are currently voting with their feet to attend for-profits is relevant to his argument against more adult college students. Wouldn't it make more sense to make non-profit higher education more accommodating and attractive to adult and non-traditional students and starve the for-profits to death?  Wouldn't it make more sense to offer incentives for colleges and universities to improve their graduation rates?  Wouldn't in make more sense to offer better financial aid opportunities to adults to help offset debt?  If you're a critic of for-profits, which I take Dr. Donoghue to be, doing those things would limit their influence. 

I've linked to part of his essay below.  I'd call attention to a sentence in the first paragraph: "First, the notion that all Americans are entitled to a college education, regardless of their level of preparation, the degree of their intellectual curiosity, and, most basically, their ability to afford increasing tuitions, is increasingly unreasonable." I think if we held traditional students to those three standards, we'd find few of them in any of our institutions.  Especially the last, since financial need is why we created financial aid and Pell Grants and even the G.I. Bill.

More Adult College Students: A Frightening Proposal
It’s a simple demographic argument: Fewer high-school graduates mean fewer traditional college students. But the causes of my anxiety are threefold. First, the notion that all Americans are entitled to a college education, regardless of their level of preparation, the degree of their intellectual curiosity, and, most basically, their ability to afford increasing tuitions, is increasingly unreasonable. It rests on an uncritically accepted assumption, an odd amalgam of American exceptionalism and the delusion that the United States doesn’t have a markedly distinct class system.

Just because there will be fewer traditional-aged college students in the coming years, must we make up the shortfall by populating colleges with adult students? Must everyone go to college in order for us to compete in the global economy? India and China certainly don’t take that position.

Second, the report calls for adult college students to finish their degrees. Across the board, the U.S. college-graduation rate currently stands at about 50 percent, according to The New York Times. Among other wealthy nations, only Italy has a lower graduation rate. That statistic is appalling enough, but further details are even worse: just 20 percent of first-time students at public community colleges get a degree or certificate within three years.
Non-traditional students, however one defines them (with a partner, with children, with full-time jobs), can, I imagine, only face even tougher odds. So the exhortation that we send more adults to college rings hollow, since it’s so clear that very few of them will actually complete a degree program and therefore put themselves in a position for a good job in the new global economy. And many of those who don’t complete their degrees will find themselves in the worst possible economic crunch—they’ll essentially be high-school graduates with unaffordable amounts of debt racked up while they were in college.

Finally (a hobbyhorse of mine you may have come to see regularly), adult higher education feeds the for-profit machine. I’m hardly against people in the 25 and up age category going to college—it’s admirable, and in some cases even inspiring. The fact is, though, that traditional colleges and universities aren’t set up to deal with an influx of non-traditonal [sic] students, but for-profit higher-education companies are, and always have been.

Fisk still facing financial problems

I hope they can get this fixed without losing their art collection in some fire sale.  From The Commercial Appeal .

Fisk University gets another six month warning from accrediting agency
Fisk University has been placed on another six months' warning by its accrediting body.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges ruled on Thursday that the financially troubled historically black university continues to fall short in several areas.

The Tennessean reports the school was cited for failure to comply with requirements on financial resources, financial stability, control of resources, federal student loan standards, and qualified administrators and academic officers.

The school has been operating at a $2 million annual deficit.

It has been trying to sell some of its artwork to raise money. It also has announced a six-year, $90 million fundraising campaign.

University officials declined to comment on the ruling.

That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.  Turns out, maybe, not so much.  From Kimberly Weisul writing in BNET.

What’s in a Name? It’s Not Just Anthony Weiner Who Should Wonder
Okay, so your last name isn’t Weiner. Still, your name may hold some important clues to your future, according to research from John Waggoner of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.

Previous research has shown that the names parents choose for their children varies with their socioeconomic status and their education level. Waggoner wondered, if, in turn, people’s names also broadcast some sort of expectations to others. He recruited 89 undergraduates, about half of whom were prospective teachers, and asked them to predict, on a scale of one to ten, about how well a student with a given name would perform academically.

The results? Participants in his study had lower expectations of people whose names were associated with lower education (on the part of moms) and lower socioeconomic status. “What future teachers expect is that Cody will do a lot worse in school, relatively, than Benjamin and Samuel,” Waggoner said.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I may have mentioned something earlier about liking my iPad

Considering a different tablet?  Here what to ask yourself. From Harry McCracken writing in Techland.

Tablets: 'Why Should Somebody Buy This Instead of an iPad?'
It's been fifteen months since the first iPad shipped. Nearly every sizable company that makes anything that looks even sort of like a computer or a phone has rushed into the market that Apple created. Many of these companies haven't yet shipped the tablets they've announced. Still, a critical mass of major iPad alternatives are now here–tablets such as Motorola's Xoom, RIM's PlayBook, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1.

And yet no Apple competitor has started selling anything that clearly answers a fundamental question: “Why should somebody buy this instead of an iPad?” Sure, it's easy to point at specific things that other devices do better (or at least differently) than the iPad, and some of the people reading this article can explain why they chose another tablet and don't regret the move. (If you're one of them, please do!) Still, sales figures for tablets show that when consumers compare the iPad to other choices, an overwhelming percentage conclude that the iPad is the best option.

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Hmmm.  I usually don't take issue with Time's top tens but some missing songs come quickly to mind: Under the Boardwalk.  Summertime Blues.  Summer Breeze.  School's Out.  What else have I missed?  I see an iTunes summer playlist in my future.

Beach Rock: The 10 Greatest Summer Anthems

Friday, June 24, 2011

At our annual retreat at our Valleybrook campus

Continuing education job openings

Colleges and universities are hiring continuing educators.  Here are some current job postings from the Chronicle of Higher Education and

Colorado State UniversityContinuing Education Program Manager

Palm Beach State CollegeAssociate Dean, Trade and Industry

Miami Dade CollegeProgram Manager, Adult Education

Goshen College: Executive Director of Adult and Online Programs

Lone Star College-KingwoodDirector, Continuing Education

Southwestern College:  Vice President for Professional Studies

La Salle UniversityDirector of Non-Credit Programs

Virginia TechAssistant Director for Continuing and Professional Education

Pennsylvania Highlands Community CollegeAssociate Vice President for Continuing Education

Southern New Hampshire UniversityAssociate Dean, Continuing Education

Tarrant County College DistrictVice President of Continuing Education

Inver Hills Community CollegeAcademic Director of Adult Learning

Black Hills State UniversityDean of the University Center - Rapid City

Lakeland Community CollegeDirector for the Holden University Center and Off-Site Facilities


I'm not sure the three-year degree is a good sounding bad idea yet.  Students may not be voting with their feet yet, but I still think the model has, ahem, legs. After all, we're driving the first year of college down to the high schools anyway. Although it won't be for everyone.  From Daniel de Cise in The Washington Post.
The recent proliferation of three-year degrees has heightened interest in accelerated study among college freshmen. But enthusiasm tends to peter out.

“A lot of students are interested in it,” said Dave McFadden, executive vice president of Manchester College. “A smaller number of students sign up for it, and an even smaller number finish it.”

Lake Forest, in the Chicago suburbs, promoted its program as a money-saver for students and parents. “We just really didn’t have any takers,” said Janet McCracken, dean of the faculty.

The three-year degree may not gain traction until it becomes standard in a large state university system, said Robert Zemsky, a higher education scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Initiatives in Ohio and Rhode Island have not borne fruit.

Or, the accelerated BA may be subsumed within a more ambitious goal: accelerated graduate study. Several universities in the Washington region have introduced accelerated master’s and doctoral degrees. Some schools combine those degrees with undergraduate study to deliver, say, a bachelor and master’s degree in four or five years, rather than the customary six.

Twitter study

++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
College Students - Is Twitter Hurting Your Grades? | Infographic |
Via: Masters Degree Guide

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tales of the non-traditional

The experience of these high school students is repeated here every semester.  We always have students whose first visit to campus is for graduation rehearsal--or graduation itself.  By Lisa Pemberton writing in The Seattle Times.

Education Online classmates to meet at graduation Seattle Times Newspaper
About 275 Washington teens will receive their diplomas and meet their classmates face to face for the first time at a graduation ceremony Saturday at Bellevue College.

Insight School of Washington's class of 2011 includes scores of Puget Sound-area teens; among them are valedictorian Spencer Smith, 18, and graduation speaker Jessica Dudley, both of Olympia.

Dudley, 17, divided her time between Olympia and Indonesia, going to school online and from across the globe while traveling with her father. She volunteered for the Indonesian Red Cross and headed up Insight's leadership club. She's hoping to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.

"I think that my virtual high-school experience has allowed me to work at my own pace," Dudley said in an email. "It has allowed me to take real time to grip and understand difficult problems and subjects while still being able to race through any subjects or topics ... already within my understanding."

Smith is a national gymnastics competitor, and the flexibility of online school allowed him to train to compete in the USA Gymnastic Open Championships. He plans to attend the University of Minnesota, school officials say.

Insight School of Washington is a tuition-free online public high school that was launched in September 2006. It is governed by the Quillayute Valley School District in Forks.

That's Doctor pimp.

He didn't spend six years in Pimp College to be called "mister," thank you very much. From The Huffington Post.

Professor Accused Of Running Prostitution Site
A New Jersey college professor has been arrested in New Mexico and is accused of operating a prostitution website.

David Flory teaches physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J.

On Sunday, police arrested the New York City resident in Albuquerque, N.M., on 40 counts of promoting prostitution. Police say Flory has long owned a vacation home in Santa Fe.

Albuquerque Police Lt. William Roseman told The Record newspaper Flory's website, Southwest Companions, was designed to give users access to more women once they gained Flory's trust.

Roseman says Flory told police he did not make money off of the website and saw it as a hobby.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More on summer programs

Summer enrollments are growing in Georgia as desperate students take all the classes they can before they run out of hope.  From Laura Diamond, writing in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

With HOPE cuts coming, students turn to summer school
Across the state, some students, such as Boone, are rushing to get as many credits as they can during the final days of full HOPE. While final numbers won’t be in for months, colleges are seeing a modest uptick in summer school enrollment.

As of last week, Georgia Southern University reported a summer enrollment increase of more than 5 percent, and Southern Polytechnic State University is up by more than 4 percent. Georgia Tech is up by about 1.5 percent, and Kennesaw State University reported a 1 percent increase.

Boone said summer classes “just made the most sense.” If he was in school this fall, he would have faced a nearly $500 shortfall between the scholarship and his semester tuition.

“I started college thinking I would graduate debt-free because of HOPE, and this is the only way I can make that happen,” said Boone, who is majoring in finance and marketing.

Students with at least a 3.0 GPA saw HOPE pay for all tuition and provide some money for books and fees. But lawmakers revised the scholarship to keep the Georgia Lottery-funded program stable instead of allowing it to run out of money.

Starting this fall, it will pay full tuition for only about 10 percent of recipients. The rest will receive scholarships that cover 90 percent of the 2010-11 academic year tuition rates — not the increased 2011-12 academic year rates.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More from the Apple Ed Summit

All about the apps this time.

This warms the cockles of my old English major heart

Sean Ryan gives us Famous Opening Lines from Novels Updated for the Modern Age.  How many of these can you identify?

“Alice was beginning to tire of sitting by her sister on the bank. She took out her iPhone and played Angry Birds for the next three hours.”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an internet startup to call his own.”

“Call me Ishmael_65.”

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. Videos of sneezing pandas and narcoleptic cats see to that.”

“For a long time I used to go to bed early, but then my girlfriend bought me an Xbox LIVE Gold membership.”

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into a giant insect. Not literally, obviously. He was playing an MMORPG and this was his avatar.”

“Mother died today. I posted it as my Facebook status.”

“It is a sin to write this. Well, in anything but Helvetica.”

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’ He paused, looked at me and continued, ‘However, if you really must, make sure it’s on the internet and that you do it anonymously.’”

Tales of the non-traditional

More news about graduate and continuing and adult education students.  The Indiana experiment to outsource its degrees for working adults to Western Governors University seems to be working.  It's a shame a state university couldn't have stepped up to deliver this same service.

A year later, state branch of online university is thriving
Sloan is one of about 1,300 Hoosiers in 86 counties who have enrolled in the online university since Gov. Mitch Daniels signed an executive order creating the branch. He now will be one of its first graduates.

It's a milestone the university will celebrate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today on Monument Circle. Chancellor Allison Barber will launch WGU's "Go Further 92" county tour, with the goal of making more people aware of the higher education option.

Sloan is, in many ways, the type of student Daniels had in mind when he made Indiana the first state to have its own WGU branch, with a distinct in-state identity unlike the 19 western states whose governors formed WGU in 1997.

Sloan is 41, with a full-time job and a family. The average age of a WGU student in Indiana is 36 and, Barber said, 70 percent of them work full time. The online university is aimed at nontraditional students who are looking for ways to boost their careers. That's why the school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in only four areas: information technology, business, education and health professions.

Today is the first day of summer

Monday, June 20, 2011

At the Tennessee P-20 Apple Education Mobilization Summit at the Walters State Community College, Sevier County Campus

Summer school enrollments

I mentioned earlier that several of my colleagues had mentioned their summer enrollments were down while ours were up.  Evidently, this pattern is being repeated nationwide, as this aptly-named piece from Inside Higher Education reports.  I didn't pull it, but the University of Oklahoma's efforts are highlighted.  Seems they centralized the function and had great results.  Hmmmmm.

Trendless Summer
Last year, many colleges enjoyed record-breaking summer enrollment, growth that was largely attributed to the poor economy and students wanting to get out of college as quickly and cheaply as possible (many institutions mark down tuition and housing costs during the summer term).

This year, the results are more mixed, and it’s harder to discern a trend. While many colleges are reporting declines in summer enrollment for the first time since the economic downturn started, a few institutions are reaping the benefits of concerted marketing efforts – which, in one of the most extreme cases, boosted new student enrollment by 70 percent.

When politicans and the wealthy stop sending their kids to college

Then you can worry about whether a degree is worth it. Kevin Cary, writing in The New Republic, nails it...

Sally Cameron thought she had done everything right. After studying French and Arabic at a tony liberal arts college, she knew that graduate school would help her career chances. But when she hit the job market, her Ivy League management degree didn’t seem to matter. The worst recession in decades had pushed the unemployment rate to nearly 10 percent and good jobs were scarce. Sally paid the rent by tending bar and filled her time with volunteer work.

Meanwhile, experts and government officials warned that the days ahead would be grim. For decades, a growing number of students had streamed into higher education assuming that their degrees would lead to prosperity. Now people were openly questioning whether college was really worth it. As one George Washington University labor economist said, “A surfeit of any commodity—a BA or an MA—means that eventually it will stop paying off.”

Sally’s story sounds like the kind of depressing story filling the pages of newspapers and the popular press these days. Two weeks ago, the The New York Times published an article titled “Many With New College Degree Find the Job Market Humbling.” The piece immediately shot to the top of the Times’ “most emailed” list. Chemistry majors were tending bar, it noted, while labor economists were finding an alarming number of college graduates in jobs that did not require a college degree.

There’s only one difference: Sally Cameron earned her master’s degree from Yale in 1980. The Washington Post story that described her struggles was published in 1982. For going on four decades, the press has been raising alarms that college degrees may no longer be a sound investment. Two things about these stories have remained constant: They always feature an over-educated bartender, and they are always wrong.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Deadline for AAACE 2011 awards approaching fast

The deadline is June 30.  For more information, follow the links below.

Cyril O. Houle Award
For Outstanding Literature in Adult Education
Deadline: June 30th.
Imogene Okes Award
For Outstanding Research in Adult Education
Deadline: June 30th.
Malcolm Knowles Award
For Outstanding Adult Education Program of the Year
Deadline: June 30th.
Outstanding Service Medallion
Recognizing Persons having an Outstanding Record of Service
Deadline: June 30th.
President's Award 
For Exceptional and Innovative Leadership In Adult and Continuing Education
Deadline: June 30th.

Today is Father's Day

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some relief from regulation?

Although Inside Higher Ed calls this a setback in the title of its article, like it was a bad thing, this is good news. Getting approval from 49 states to deliver online courses to their residents was going to be daunting.  And even if the legislation was aimed at the bad guys, the rest of us get caught at well.

A bill that would repeal two Education Department program integrity rules -- the federal definition of a credit hour and the requirement that colleges and universities be authorized in every state in which they operate -- is now headed for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

The measure, H.R. 2117, the “Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act," is aimed at overturning some of the program integrity rules announced in October, which the House Republicans who sponsored the bill said they saw as a significant federal overreach into higher education administrative and curricular matters. The rules go into effect July 1.

When the program integrity rules were announced, the Education Department emphasized that they were aimed primarily at for-profit colleges and universities. But nonprofit institutions joined in criticizing the credit hour definition, saying it could interfere with a college’s right to determine its own curriculum. The rule would define a credit hour as an hour of lecture and two hours' work outside class. Colleges could determine their own equivalent for other academic activities like internships or laboratory work, and for academic rather than federal purposes. At a meeting last week of the federal advisory committee on accreditation, accreditors and committee members said verifying that colleges comply with the rule could take thousands of hours of employees’ and accreditors’ time.
I wholeheartedly agree with Dean Dad, who calls this action A Rare Moment of Sanity in Congress.

Tales of the non-traditional

Only this time, it's a different kind of nontraditional.  Not the traditional nontraditional, so to speak.  From The Detroit News.

Stephen Stafford chafes at the label "genius" — even if he is the youngest student in the history of Atlanta's Morehouse College.

"I just consider myself 15," says the former Detroit resident, who spoke Friday to a crowd of fellow teens at the Southfield Public Library, hoping to inspire them to focus on their studies and go to college.

Stephen made it to Morehouse at 13, the youngest student to enroll at the 150-year-old college once attended by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

His mother, Michelle Brown-Stafford, describes him as a child prodigy. Stephen began solving math problems at age 2.

Brown-Stafford said she and her husband, Stephen, realized their son was advanced beyond his years while he was in kindergarten. "His teacher said to us, 'I think you've got a child genius on your hands,' " said Brown-Stafford. "So when he was in the first grade, and my daughter, Martinique, was in the fourth grade, I began home schooling them."

Stephen was four grades ahead of his peers in all classes but English. "I was only three grades ahead in English," he said. "Math is a straight science, with straight answers, but English is more gray."

When Stephen's math expertise exceeded his mom's capability to teach him at 11, she approached Morehouse.

"He audited a class and got the highest score in the class," she said. "The dean told us he had a home there when he was ready, so he enrolled as a full-time student when he was 13."

Today is

Lebron James Day.  Everyone gets to leave work 12 minutes early. Ba-doom Pshh.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tales of the non-traditional

More news about graduation and continuing and adult education students.  This sounds like one of those retroactive functions, though, rather than an older student working his or her way through by taking courses late in life.  From The Huffington Post.

Man Who Quit College In 1932 Graduates At 99
An Oregon man who dropped out of college just short of graduation in 1932 has earned his degree at age 99.

Leo Plass received his associates degree a few days ago from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. The university decided to accept his career in carpentry (which included pit stops picking tomatoes and running a gas station), instead of extra class credits.

"Never dreamed of something like this happening to me," Plass told "It's out of this world."

In 1932, Eastern Oregon University was called Eastern Oregon Normal School. Plass was studying to be a teacher there. But, just couple credits shy of graduation, Plass' bank failed and a teaching salary of $80 a month wouldn't cut it. So when a friend offered him a spot in a logging outfit at $150 a month, Plass says he couldn't pass it up.

Dirtier than New York City?

Memphis is, according to a poll in Travel + Leisure.

America's Dirtiest Cities
No. 4  Memphis
Nothing is tidy about barbecue or the blues, two of Memphis’s biggest tourist draws. This city on the banks of The Big Muddy has more to work on than dirtiness; it came in last place in the AFC for being environmentally friendly, as well as for feeling safe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rewarding associate degrees retroactively

An interesting development in Michigan that I expect to see replicated in Tennessee.  As long as it's not too much work for the universities.  From Dave Murray, writing in The Grand Rapids Press.

GRCC and universities sign pact to award degrees retroactively, a move experts say could be replicated across the state
With lawmakers and business leaders looking on, presidents from GRCC and Davenport, Grand Valley State, Ferris State and Western Michigan universities signed an agreement to award transfer students associate degrees if they have at least 45 community college credits, and have earned at least 15 more at the other schools.

GVSU President Thomas Haas said students clearly benefit from the arrangement, but he said the region as a whole is helped by a better educated workforce.

“Look at the educational opportunities in Western Michigan all along the U.S. 131 corridor, from Western in Kalamazoo through Ferris State,” Haas said. “And we're here with business leaders working together to create the best workforce possible. Do I at GVSU benefit from this? Certainly, because the whole region benefits.”

GRCC President Steven Ender came up with the idea of awarding retroactive degrees as part of a brainstorming session with members of Talent 2025, a coalition of business leaders and educators.

Ender said the he noticed that nearly 3,000 GRCC students transferred to one of the four area universities, and about 700 had earned at least 45 credits toward an associate degree, but left before reaching the required 60 credits.

Under the plan, the universities would identify eligible students, and the community college would see if they are interested in accepting the degree.

How effective is dual enrollment?

Iowa is trying to find out. I wonder if this question is being asked nationwide?  I foresee a doctoral dissertation or two on the subject in the future for ETSU.  From Sheena Dooley writing in The Des Moines Register.

Does earning college credit during high school prepare students?
Thousands of Iowa high school students earn community college credit, yet education officials don't know how well-prepared those students are for college.

More than 38,200 high school students took classes last year for credit through community colleges, 50 percent more than the figure five years earlier, according to a new Iowa Department of Education study. Those students accounted for more than 25 percent of the enrollment at the state's community colleges.

State education officials, though, haven't tracked passing and failing rates of the classes and they don't know whether course work is as rigorous as that offered at the college level, officials said.

Officials, however, are in the process of collecting the data, said Roger Utman, administrator for the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation at the Iowa Department of Education.

Iowa State University is also studying the performance of students who take the college classes through their high schools to see how prepared they are once they reach college, said Wolfgang Kliemann, ISU's chairman of the math department.

ISU researchers have found that community college students - including high school students who take advanced classes - have more problems with college coursework once they reach ISU, Kliemann said. They have not yet been able to look specifically at high school students who earned college credit, because they are waiting for information from the state, he said.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TBR tuition increases from 8.8 to 11 percent

Faculty and staff may get a 3% raise, the first raise in four years.  ETSU, Austin Peay, and Tennessee State have the lowest increase at 8.8%.  It's nice to have a raise, but I wish they could have addressed the lower-paid employees somehow.  Perhaps given a larger percentage to them and a smaller percentage to higher-paid employees. From The Tennessean.

Regents schools seek tuition hike up to 11 percent
Students at Tennessee Board of Regents schools can expect tuition increases between 8.8 percent and 11 percent this fall.

Faculty and staff at those schools, meanwhile, could be getting their first raise in four years.

The board’s finance committee met Monday to finalize proposed tuition increases for the 2011-12 school year. The increases, which will go into effect this fall, will offset another round of state budget cuts to higher education, as well as the cost of a proposed 3 percent salary increase for faculty and staff in the TBR system.

Zero red balloons

Pellissippi State Community College has canceled its annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.

President Allen Edwards told faculty and staff in an email today about the decision to stop the popular festival, but said the school had informed the balloon pilots three to four months ago that it was unlikely to continue.

"We certainly have mixed feelings about it," Edwards said. "It was terrific, but when you have traffic backed up for miles on the Pellissippi Parkway, and can't get in because it's too crowded and rain is threatening, it's not a very good feeling. We loved it, but it had outgrown us."

The festival, which was a fundraiser for the school's foundation, ran for seven years and was typically held in late September.

Tennessee average with number of state legislators who hold college degrees

At 74%.  However, fewer have attended out-of-state institutions than state legislators nationwide. The most popular college or university?  The University of Tennessee - Knoxville.  This comes from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Degrees in the Statehouse: Tennessee

Today is

Flag Day.

Today in History: June 14
Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are your summer enrollments up?

I heard from some community college colleagues that their summer enrollments were down.  They blamed the increased cost of tuition, although the rate is the same as it has been for fall and spring.  Our summer enrollments are up.

We are expecting a tuition increase of close to 10% for fall for all Tennessee public institutions except the University of Tennessee.  We'll learn UT's increase later.  I haven't checked the numbers, but someone from Northeast State told me that if that increase takes place this fall, a course at his community college will cost as much as one at ETSU did three years ago.  That's amazing.

Perhaps the high cost of tuition is hitting those lower-income students now and affecting community colleges first.  Or perhaps this is a sign that the economy is improving and people are finding jobs.

How are your summer enrollments?

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Controversial Music Videos

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I wonder if they'll do a conference evaluation at the end?

Starts tomorrow. There's an interview with the association's executive director in this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Learning-Assessment Specialists to Gather at Group's First Conference
The inaugural national conference of the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education  will get under way on Sunday at the University of Kentucky. Approximately 150 people are expected to attend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tales of the non-traditional

More news about graduation and adult and continuing education students.  From Bill Graves, writing in The Oregonian.

This year 18,896 graduated from state universities, and about 10,600 will participate in commencement this weekend.

Using age as a measure, about 38 percent of undergraduates are non-traditional. The proportion age 25 or older: 21 percent at the University of Oregon; 27 percent at Oregon State University; 60 percent at PSU; and 68 percent at Eastern Oregon University.

Non-traditional students look even higher by another measure -- transfers into the school they are graduating from. For example, one-third of graduates at the University of Oregon and two-thirds at Portland State are transfers. Nearly a fourth of Western Oregon University's graduates are married, and eight married couples will graduate Saturday.

And you feel like you're on a treadmill at your continuing education job?

Well, this staff member at the University of Kentucky has you beat.  From

UK employee's treadmill desk keeps her fit and alert
Kathryn Cunningham has a desk job at the University of Kentucky. But that doesn't mean she's stationary all day. She walks at her desk.

Cunningham spent about $2,000 on a treadmill desk, which she has been using since moving into her tiny one-person office in the UK Science Library last fall.

"I like this because it goes along with what we do in the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching: break through constraints," said Cunningham, who helps design courses and feedback surveys for the center.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Panel Discussion

Keith Young and Joe Combs.

E-TACHE meeting is getting ready to start.

Jackson's Lane College

Is fourth on U.S. News and World Report's list of the ten least expensive private colleges. Bring your jaypan fan to the dorm....

10 Least Expensive Private Colleges
Lane College is a private institution that was founded in 1882. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,146, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 25 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Lane College's ranking in the 2011 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, Tier 2. Its tuition and fees are $8,000 (2010-11).

God help me I do love Top 10 lists

Post removed by blogger.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I liked this movie better when it was named

Accepted.  Just kidding.  This is real life.  From the

Pittsburghers seek to create an innovative, low-cost college: The Saxifrage School
Imagine a freshman English class set in the back room of your neighborhood bar, or a philosophy lecture reverberating inside a church footsteps from home.

Picture dual majors that require proficiency not only in literature but also in renovating a house.

If this sounds like an unusual notion of a four-year college, that's only the start.

North Side resident Timothy Cook and a group of his peers say the traditional college experience doesn't guarantee that students will acquire the balance of physical and intellectual skills they need to lead self-sufficient lives.

And besides, the whole thing costs too darn much.

So they have set out on a quest that, depending on your level of optimism, is either a model for the future or nothing short of a pipe dream.

This group that has almost no capital -- let alone experience in such an endeavor -- wants to create its own stripped-down version of college.

Mary Cone Barrie Scholarship for Lifelong Learning

I got an email from Rachel Kuper at Destiny Solutions notifying me about the deadline for this scholarship for non-traditional students. It's a great opportunity for our students and a wonderful service from Destiny Solutions. 
Mary Cone Barrie Scholarship for Lifelong Learning, sponsored by Destiny Solutions

Destiny Solutions created the Mary Cone Barrie Scholarship to applaud the efforts of two exceptional lifelong learners.

The annual scholarship is available to any currently enrolled non-traditional learner residing in Canada or the United States who has changed their life and the lives of others through lifelong learning.

Each award is valued at $2,500. Applications are due by July 29, 2011. For more information visit our website at  or Contact:

Rachel Kuper
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Destiny Solutions
416-480-0500 x. 214

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Negotiating with a hotel?

Knowing what to ask is crucial.  Steven Babitsky and James J. Mangraviti, Jr., give out some tips in

5 Questions to Ask During Hotel Negotiations
Many meeting planners dread negotiating with hotels. They dislike the confrontation. They don't like the games and posturing. It's unpleasant and uncomfortable, but it's an important part of what planners need to do -- and do well.

The good news: To immediately improve your negotiating skills, all you need to do is ask the right questions. By asking simple, polite, low-key questions, you will ease the stress of the situation and get a better deal for your organization.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Magical history tour

Kathy and I used some vacation time last week to visit the Virginia Coast. I didn't post any pictures at the time so the bad guys who read my blog wouldn't know I was away from home. Anyway, we went to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Kitty Hawk, and visited three lighthouses in the Outer Banks. On the way home we stopped at the home of James Monroe. Some pictures follow...

Knoxville on Amazon's well-read city list Reveals the Most Well-Read Cities in America
1. Cambridge, Mass.
2. Alexandria, Va.
3. Berkeley, Calif.
4. Ann Arbor, Mich.
5. Boulder, Colo.
6. Miami
7. Salt Lake City
8. Gainesville, Fla.
9. Seattle
10. Arlington, Va.
11. Knoxville, Tenn.
12. Orlando, Fla.
13. Pittsburgh
14. Washington, D.C.
15. Bellevue, Wash.
16. Columbia, S.C.
17. St. Louis, Mo.
18. Cincinnati
19. Portland, Ore.
20. Atlanta

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Meanwhile, just over the mountains in North Carolina

The baseball coach at Montreat College feels the heat over recruiting a female pitcher.  I see a Lifetime movie in the works.  From Tyler Norris Goode, writing in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Rare baseball scholarship offer yields uncommon reaction for Montreat College
Montreat College baseball coach Michael Bender expected some publicity when he offered a small athletic scholarship to a female pitcher.

He didn't anticipate a frenzy.

Even though right-handed pitcher Marti Sementelli hasn't signed a letter of intent to play for the Cavaliers, Bender said the story was mentioned on the bottom ticker of CNN before he spoke to anyone at the network.

“I think the media probably got hold of this before they should have,” said Bender, Montreat's second-year coach. “I'm not trying to skirt away from this because I have given her this opportunity, and I knew that some of this would come with it. It's hard because I didn't really want to be known around Asheville for this; I kind of wanted to be known around Asheville for playing pretty good baseball.”

Instead, Bender said he's received unpleasant emails from Montreat alumni as well as current players threatening to transfer because he extended a collegiate opportunity to a female pitcher from Birmingham High School in Lake Balboa, Calif.

The unconference

Conference planning outside of the box.  Although I think these ideas work better for small meetings (and perhaps even better for conference planning meetings), it's always good to examine what we do.  This comes from Jonathan Vetner writing in

Planning the Unconference - Meetings And Conventions
The structure of most educational meetings is almost exactly the same: lectures and panel discussions, theater- and classroom-style seating, and almost zero audience participation. Connections happen by chance, and unless attendees are extroverted and learn by sitting and listening, they come away with very little.

However, as a growing number of forward-thinking meeting professionals are proving, conferences can be better. "Unconferences" are formats that make meetings interactive, engaging and a whole lot more fun. Although unconferences have been around for years, the formats are being implemented more frequently than ever.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

California community colleges considering self-supporting model

This is an interesting idea although I think you need to build in some incentives for departments to offer these courses.  Perhaps any excess funds left over after pay the faculty could return to the department to support faculty travel and other activities.  This is an entrepreneurial model that operates like many summer sessions--although summer tuition rates usually don't differ from that of the regular academic year. From Inside Higher Education

Community College If You Can Pay
The California Legislature is considering a bill that critics say would create separate community college courses for the “haves” and the “have-nots” on some campuses.

The bill would allow two-year institutions to create “extension programs” offering credit courses. The courses would have to be “self-supporting, with all costs recovered,” and could not supplant existing courses funded with state dollars. But the courses could be quite similar to the regular courses — just with much higher tuition rates.

Those supporting the bill argue that, by having this ability, community colleges would be able to provide additional credit courses to meet student demand “at no additional cost to the state” — something they argue is essential given that demand at community colleges has ballooned as state funding of them has been steeply cut in recent years. Those opposed to the bill, however, argue that it would lead many community colleges to offer courses via extension that are similar to traditional courses but simply cost more, creating “a confusing two-tier structure that does not follow the colleges’ mission” of open-access education. And since the much higher tuition rates would likely limit enrollment of low-income students, critics see the community colleges creating sections for wealthy students, at a time when students of all socioeconomic groups are facing wait lists.

Real colleges and universities in fiction

I considered this topic for my dissertation, before settling on adults college students in films. From the

Tina Fey studied drama at the University of Virginia. But that genteel Southern collegiate pedigree would hardly suit Liz Lemon, her “30 Rock” alter ego. Instead, we are told that Lemon — Northern and cerebral, but also middle-class and hopelessly dorky — attended Bryn Mawr College and the University of Maryland, “on a partial competitive jazz dance scholarship.”

Real colleges pop up all over our fictional landscapes, their names invoked to breathe life and depth into characters. The universities of Minnesota and Virginia serve as backdrops in “Freedom,” Jonathan Franzen’s celebrated novel. “The Simpsons” caricatured the Seven Sisters in an episode touching on the collegiate aspirations of bookish daughter Lisa. (“Come to Radcliffe and meet Harvard men,” they beckon. “Or come to Wellesley and marry them.”) And the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network” essentially stars Harvard University — although the campus we see on-screen is actually that of a stand-in, Johns Hopkins University.

A citation in fiction means an institution’s brand is sufficiently familiar to help define a fictional character: Princeton preppy. Penn State party boy. MIT brainiac. Harvard kingmaker. Berkeley radical. Notre Dame jock.

ACHE registration is open

Take advantage of the Early Bird rate of $455!
October 13-15, 2011.

Register here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tinkering with another Tennessee icon

A new whiskey is coming from Jack Daniels.  From
Jack Daniel's rolls out honey-flavored whiskey formula
The Lynchburg, Tenn.-based distillery has been using the same formula to make Tennessee sippin' whiskey - even drawing water from the same limestone spring - for 137 years.

The recent introduction of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey marks a rare departure from the famous original oak-mellowed recipe.

"It's a huge deal for us. It's been over a decade since we launched a new product," said Casey Nelson, brand manager for the new Honey Jack, which is being called a liqueur.

Tread lightly in Memphis

As it's one of the worst urban areas in the country for pedestrian safety. But Nashville isn't much better, coming in at 14. Be careful in Florida.  From Transportation for America.

1.Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2.Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3.Jacksonville, FL
4.Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
5.Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
6.Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
7.Memphis, TN-MS-AR
8.Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
9.Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
10.Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX