Friday, September 30, 2011

ACHE in Orlando

To get you fired up for the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting in Orlando, I'll be start a special feature beginning tomorrow.  I'm sure this will cement my reputation as a serious commentator on continuing higher education.

State of the South

Max Rose, the Autry Fellow at MDC, a nonprofit based in Durham, N.C., has an interesting opinion piece in a recent Tennessean.

TN, South hurt more than most
The South can be a prosperous region, thriving with a new generation of industry replacing textile mills and other low-wage, low-skill employers while providing jobs to a well-educated work force.

Or, the South can be a region in decline, short-changing its would-be job creators and skilled workers and missing the opportunity to create a new economy.

That’s the inescapable message in the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent poverty data, which show that while people are hurting throughout the country, half of the Americans who sank into poverty from 2009 to 2010 were in the South. Of the 2.6 million additional people in poverty, fully 1.5 million are in the South. This recession has been especially harsh on cities and among African-Americans and Latinos, who make up nearly a majority of our people under 15 years old:

More than 1 million young people have fallen into poverty in the South since 2007. About one in four children under 18 now live below the poverty line, including 377,000 in Tennessee.

Poverty in the South is growing fastest among African-Americans and Hispanics. In Tennessee, 29 percent of African-Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics now live below the poverty line. That’s a 6-percentage-point increase among Hispanics since the recession began.

For the first time, the Census found that fewer than half of Southerners under the age of 15 are non-Hispanic whites.

In the South, less than 35 percent of people at the age of entering the workforce have a degree or certificate beyond high school, compared to 39 percent nationwide. In Tennessee, that figure, at 33.5 percent, is lower than the region’s.

Nashville Cats

They don't call it Music City for nothing.  This is refreshing since so many initiatives like this ignore the arts and focus on basic skills.

Music makes us better at math. Music makes us better readers. Music makes us more creative and better able to concentrate in school. Or so countless studies have claimed.

Music Makes Us is a new initiative in the Nashville public school system that would tap into the vast resources of Music Row and expand music education at a time when other districts are cutting back or cutting out music classes entirely.

Starting next year, Metro Nashville Public Schools will expand music offerings. They’ll still have marching band and glee club, but thanks to an avalanche of promised donations and music industry volunteers, students also will have the option of joining a rock ’n’ roll band, or performing bluegrass or hip-hop, or signing up for a songwriting class or a course in DJ remixing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In Tennessee

It takes full-time students almost as long to complete an associate degree as it does to complete a bachelor's degree.  How can that be?

According to Complete College America, for 2007-08, the average time to degree for a full-time student earning an associate degree was 4.2 years.  For a bachelor's degree, it was 4.9 years.  For those attending part-time, it took students 4.8 years to earn an associate degree and 5.4 years to earn a bachelor's.  An although most associate degrees are 60 credit hours and most bachelor's are 120 hours, the average number of credits accumulated to degree was 79 and 135 for full-time students.  For part-time students the totals were nearly the same, 80 and 134.

Actually, I think those statistics for part-time students are pretty encouraging.  I would have expected it to take longer.

The complete report, Time is the Enemy, can be found here.

More meeting tips

I always want to improve meetings.  Jeff Haden, writing in BNET, has some interesting advise. I've listed the first one, which contains some universal truths but, in reality, would be hard to implement.  No regular Dean's Council?  Not likely. The whole list is worth your time.

9 Hardcore Steps to Leading Incredibly Effective Meetings
  1. Never set a regular schedule. Consistency breeds complacency. After a while the “Monday meeting” becomes just another entry on a calendar, and attendees stop preparing and quit caring. If at all possible, set a different date and time even for consistently held per-time-period meetings. If you meet weekly, alternate days of the week, mornings and afternoons, and even go so far as to set unusual times (like really early or really late in the day.) The more “unusual” you can make the meeting, the more likely your team is to see the meeting as notable and worth preparing for. And speaking of preparation…

Fewer graduate students

Hmmm.  Has graduate education gotten too expensive?  Or is this an early indicator that employment and the economy is improving.  No, seriously...

From Audrey Williams June writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

New Graduate-Student Enrollment Dips for First Time in 7 Years
Between the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2010, enrollment of new students fell by 1.1 percent, according to the report, "Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2000 to 2010," which was released today. In comparison, the enrollment of new graduate students a year earlier, in the fall of 2009, had increased by 5.5 percent from the year before. Applications to American graduate schools for the fall of 2010 were up by 8.4 percent from the previous year, the report says.

The report doesn't explain why the drop in enrollment occurred at a time when graduate programs would normally be packed. Historically, an economic downturn drives up the number of first-time graduate students as they seek advanced degrees to upgrade their skills to get an edge in the job market. But Debra W. Stewart, president of the council, said anecdotal evidence, from graduate students and the graduate schools that are members of the council, point to the protracted recession as the likely culprit.

"When a recession goes on as long as this one has, if people still have a job, they don't want to leave it to go to graduate school," Ms. Stewart said. "They're not going to do that if they believe they have one of the few jobs left out there."

Graduate students who would have pursued degrees in fields that aren't known for awarding stipends—such as education, business, and public administration, which all saw declines in enrollment, according to the report—might have also seen the money they saved to pay for their education dwindle as they tried to ride out the recession, Ms. Stewart said.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is a building spree coming

For Tennessee higher education?  Low interest rates could spur development.  From the Knoxville News Sentinel.

UT, Board of Regents looking to cash in on bond prices
Leaders at Tennessee's two higher education systems are looking to take advantage of historically low interest rates as a means of funding as much as $1.5 billion in new construction projects on college campuses across the state.

University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents officials are discussing with policymakers the potential for a major bond authorization during the next legislative session that could green light dozens of projects, including new science buildings on the Knoxville campus.

Historically, the state has used leftover revenue to pay for a handful of projects at time, though there has not been a new higher education construction project in several years, said UT President Joe DiPietro.

Tennessee community colleges get some extra money

AT&T gives $10,000 to each community college.  Evidently it's now possible to give funds this way because now we have a community college system, thanks to the Complete College Act.  Of course, $10,000 doesn't go as far as it used to since tuition has risen so dramatically.  From Randall Higgins writing in the Chattanooga

Community colleges get AT&T help
AT&T is contributing $10,000 to each of Tennessee's community colleges to accelerate students' progress toward certificates and degrees.

Chattanooga State and Cleveland State are among the recipients.

"This may prove to be a more attractive way for corporations to contribute. They would rather deal with one person than have 13 community colleges knocking on their door," said Cleveland State President Carl Hite, who was attending the Tennessee Board of Regents' quarterly meeting at Roane State Community College.

The Board of Regents sets policy for the state universities and colleges not in the University of Tennessee system, including community colleges.

"It is our goal to ensure that students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate," AT&T Regional Director Mary Steward Lewis said in a written statement.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Complete College Tennessee Act last year, said state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville. The act makes possible contributions like the one from AT&T, he said.

"These scholarships show what can happen when the private sector works with our institutions of higher learning to help students graduate," Bell said.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Motlow Community College receives workforce development grant

$3,291,515. It's the only community college in Tennessee to receive funding.

Obama Administration Awards Nearly $500 Million in First Round of Grants to Community Colleges for Job Training and Workforce Development
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter today announced nearly $500 million in grants to community colleges around the country for targeted training and workforce development to help economically dislocated workers who are changing careers. The grants support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide pathways to good jobs, including building instructional programs that meet specific industry needs.

This installment is the first in a $2 billion, four-year investment designed in combination with President Obama's American Jobs Act to provide additional support for hiring and re-employment services to increase opportunities for the unemployed.

"Making it possible for unemployed Americans to return to work is a top priority of President Obama's. This initiative is about providing access to training that leads to real jobs," said Secretary Solis. "These federal grants will enable community colleges, employers and other partners to prepare job candidates, through innovative programs, for new careers in high-wage, high-skills fields, including advanced manufacturing, transportation, health care and STEM occupations."

Today's announcement represents an initial round of community college and career training funds, which are being awarded to 32 grantees. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

The Jerk Store called

To offer you a nice raise.  So, now not only do taller, better-looking employees make more money, there's also a premium on nasty. From Jessica Stillman writing in BNET.

Nice Guys Earn 18 Percent Less, Study Says
Most of us discovered pretty early that life isn’t always fair, but that doesn’t mean the reality of injustice can’t surprise you again and again. Take a new study on pay and personality, for example. It reveals that “agreeable men,” or nice guys in everyday language, earn 18 percent less than jerks.

Using three different, large data sets, researchers from Cornell, Notre Dame and Western Ontario compared the earning of people who rated themselves as more or less agreeable. What makes a person agreeable? Study co-author Beth Livingston recently explained the quality to NPR:
Agreeableness is a complex personality trait and it really encompasses people who are kinder, more trusting, more cooperative. And those who are more disagreeable tend to be more competitive, arrogant, manipulative and they tend to value their relationships less than those who are agreeable.
The analysis revealed that despite general agreement that working with jerks is painful and demoralizing, arrogant and overbearing men still get paid more — 18 percent or $9,772 more to be exact. The difference in pay for more and less agreeable women was much smaller, just 5 percent or $1,828.

Nashville mayor wants more college graduates

Do I sense a Graduate!Philadelphia type of initiative starting to percolate?  I know there has been some interest shown and some discussions in the past.  Nashville has enough colleges and universities in the city to pull something off. It's encouraging that he leads his second term with this effort. From Michael Cass writing in The Tennessean.

Dean begins 2nd term urging Nashville to double college grads
Nashville should set a goal of doubling its number of college graduates in the next five years, Mayor Karl Dean said after taking office to start his second term Friday.

“When a city’s population of college graduates goes up, both income and gross metropolitan product goes up as well,” Dean said in his inaugural address to an estimated crowd of 500 people on the Public Square in front of the Metro Courthouse. “... The experts say this should take 10 years. I see no reason why we should not try to do it in five. There is nothing we as a city can accomplish that will have a greater or longer-lasting impact.”

The mayor said his office would work with Metro schools to decide how to measure growth in the population of residents with a two-year or four-year degree. Census data released this week in the 2010 American Community Survey said an estimated 20.6 percent of Nashville residents who are 25 and older have a four-year degree, while an estimated 6 percent have a two-year credential.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Everywhere I go now, I see an iPad

Looks like we need to enable our conference attendees to download the conference agenda into their mobile devices.  From Michael J. Shapiro, writing in Meetings and Conventions.

Embracing the iPad
"I'm a huge fan of the iPad," confesses Katja Morgenstern, CMP, a self-described "power user" of the device. Morgenstern, senior project manager for Atlanta-based Meeting Consultants Inc., typically syncs to her iPad the event orders she'll need, by day, while on-site at an event. "And I have them right there instead of having to carry the big binder around," she adds.

Finding a planner who isn't thrilled about leaving the binder behind is becoming a real challenge. "Those binders get heavy," Morgenstern says. "And God forbid you open one the wrong way -- your papers go everywhere."

Having the paperwork in electronic format lightens the load, of course, but it also makes it easier to quickly search for information, respond to client needs, revise documents on-site and send them out when necessary. Accordingly, meetings management software is responding by becoming more mobile-centric: The ootoWeb meeting registration and management platform, for example, designed its mobile app for the iPad precisely to be a substitute for the weighty binder.

"I can honestly say that the on-site paper meeting binder is history as far as I'm concerned," enthuses Christine Kelly, the Cheshire, U.K.-based managing director of events and meetings agency Gemini International, and an ootoWeb customer. "The mobile applications added so much value to our on-site management of the event. We were able to access real-time data relating to both the attendee information and event planning, using the app on the iPad."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kiddie college

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development will present the Renaissance Child Fall Enrichment Program Oct. 10-14 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Many area schools will observe fall break that week.

The program is designed to give children ages 6-12 the opportunity to enjoy field trips, including ones to Fender’s Farm corn maze and Bays Mountain. Other excursions are in the planning stages. Various activities will be held on the ETSU campus and will feature arts and crafts as well as safe science experiments.

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

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

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

College rankings?

How about this?  The most unranked colleges. From

The 25 Most Unranked Colleges in America

ETSU graduate student Kamal Kafle honored as a Troy Polamalu ‘Student of the Year’

Troy Polamalu, strong safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers, played college football at the University of California. Like many NFL players, he left school for the opportunity to play professional football and did not receive a college diploma. Unlike most players, he returned to school and recently earned his college degree.

In honor of the occasion, Polamalu instituted his own “Student of the Year” awards for outstanding elementary, high school and college students.

Dr. Phil Pfeiffer of East Tennessee State University’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences had a graduate student who exemplified the qualities Polamalu outlined. Pfeiffer wanted that student to have a typically American type of recognition.

The student, Kamal Kafle, traveled to ETSU from his home in Nepal, where he had to leave his wife and infant daughter while he sought higher education. Pfeiffer noted in his nomination materials that “In spite of his limited background in software development—a skill our department emphasizes—and his imperfect command of written English—which our department also emphasizes—Kamal ‘quietly’ earned a 3.95 of a possible 4.0 grade point average.” In typical fashion, Kafle earned one of only three As in a class of 17 students by devoting many hours outside of the classroom to mastering the necessary skills for the class.

In addition to taking a full graduate course load, he works 20 hours a week to help put himself through school.

Troy Polamalu must have been impressed. He created a graduate category for his “Student of the Year” program and awarded that position to Kafle. Recently, Kafle received a signed Polamalu football jersey.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meanwhile, just over the mountains in North Carolina

Appalachian State makes major budget cuts. Eighteen full-time positions are cut, and ASU closes its Broyhill Inn and Conference Center. I hope continuing education makes it out ok. From the High Country Press.

18 Layoffs Part of ASU Budget Reductions
According to the ASU budget reduction summary, 18 graduate and undergraduate programs were terminated, merged or put on probation. McCracken said the master’s programs for family and consumer science education and technology education were eliminated, while master’s programs for computer science, child development (birth to kindergarten) and gerontology were put on probation.

Seventy-four tenure-track faculty lost reassigned time (reduction in teaching duties for research) or were put on probation for losing reassigned time, and 30 faculty off-campus scholarly assignments were stopped.

Operating budgets for colleges and departments were reduced by 30 to 40 percent.

The Belk Library operating budget was slashed by 35 percent, with library hours reduced by 25 percent—meaning the facility is no longer open 24 hours any days of the week.

The plan also includes the closing of the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, where ASU has been spending $700,000 in state appropriations on salaries and utilities, said Greg Lovins, interim vice chancellor for Business Affairs at ASU, in August.

ASU restructured its information technology (IT) system across campus and moved 16 IT positions from state-supported to fee-supported salaries. The university removed state funding for 17 positions in auxiliary units, center and institutes and Printing & Publications.

McCracken acknowledged that the community sees building projects or hears about ASU’s consideration of a move to a higher football division and questions cuts in faculty and staff positions.

I was complaining about assessment and learning outcomes

The other day, and I remembered this quotation from somewhere. I tried to find the source and couldn't.  Not even the interweb could help.  If you can help with identifying it, please let me know.

You can't make a horse grow by measuring it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Looking back on a career at odds with tradition

Murray Block is a former community college and university administrator who looks back from the right side of history.  He appears to have been an adult educator at heart.  He points out that "swimming against the traditional tide can result in muscle power, acceptance, and, eventually, a warm embrace.  Perseverance pays, particularly when it comes to finding ways to provide education for adults who want to learn."  He inspires me.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

My 64 Years of Fighting for Innovation
Perhaps I am drawn to the good fight, or perhaps the alternatives available on the fringes attract me and my interest in adult learning. My most recent "retirement" job is in the field of nonprofit distance learning, and when I joined my current employer, distance learning was regarded, at best, with skepticism. Again, advocacy for an educational program serving working adults, with a nontraditional learning model, is my daily work.

The numbers of adults seeking education through online and distance learning are now astounding, and I am fortunate to be at the epicenter of a quality program. Ten to 15 years from now, federal scrutiny and regulation will have, I hope, separated high-quality programs like ours from questionable programs that offer little or no benefit. Perhaps as traditional programs now turn to colleges like mine for expertise in developing supplemental online options, distance learning will gain further respect. Today legitimate online-learning institutions are striving for a seat at the table as community colleges were in the 1950s.

Quite possibly the good fights in higher education are variations on a theme: tradition versus innovation. I've continuously witnessed how innovation has served to improve access: in the 1950s, when technical school provided vocational options for returning World War II veterans, and today, as my distance-learning college educates a new generation of nurses, engineers, business graduates, and liberal-arts majors, among others.

I can't wait for the next fine and noble tussle in higher education.

Bluefield College cuts tuition for adult students

Not too many others are going down this path.  Too bad.  I worry that many degree completion programs are now too expensive. It's also pretty cool how Bluefield is packaging a netbook and ebooks into the whole fee. From

Bluefield College is making it easier for working adults to return to school to complete a degree.

The school is reducing its annual tuition and fees for degree completion students by 25-percent.
“We want to ease the economic burden of adults who are trying to go back to college to complete their bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs. “This reduction in tuition puts us in a position to be a better value for students and helps them get that quality higher education they so deeply desire.”
Tuition for inSPIRE degree completion students at Bluefield College will now run $325 per credit hour, compared to $385 per credit hour this past spring.
That’s a 16-percent reduction. In addition to paying less tuition, BC inSPIRE students will receive a free Netbook computer and complimentary e-textbooks as part of the tuition package. Students enrolled in BC’s 36 hour core curriculum before the tuition adjustment paid roughly $15,360 in annual tuition and fees, including books, said Dr. Dale Henry. Now, he added, they’ll pay just $11,600 annually, which includes the Netbook computer and e-books.

ETSU enrollment again tops 15,000

Another enrollment increase here at ETSU.  Growth is good.  The last systemwide headcount figures I saw show showed flat enrollment: 1.2% for universities and
 -1.9% for community colleges.  Those students are taking fewer hours however as FTE is -0.8 for the system.  Good news aside, our adult degree programs dipped slightly.  Perhaps it's a sign the economy is improving; perhaps it's a sign that we've become too expensive for the part-time adult student.

Final census figures from East Tennessee State University report enrollment for the fall 2011 semester at 15,536, an increase of approximately 1.95 percent, or 302 students, from the fall 2010 semester.

The 15,536 enrollment figure includes all ETSU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students and residents from the James H. Quillen College of Medicine and the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.

“This is wonderful news to share, especially as our campus is just weeks away from turning 100 years old,” said ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr.  “Our story is an amazing one when you consider how we began as a training college for teachers with only 29 students and grew to a university with more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and an enrollment well above 15,000.”

The university welcomed its largest class of transfer students this fall – a total of 1,220 and an increase of 143 from one year ago.  The number of first-time freshmen is 2,087, which is approximately 40 students more than fall 2010.

“In recent years we have seen a steady increase in enrollment, and I believe there are a lot of factors working together that have made this possible,” said Dr. Ramona Williams, ETSU vice provost for Enrollment Services.  “Scholarship programs, like the HOPE Scholarship, are continuing to make Tennessee higher education a more affordable option, and the diversity of accredited degree programs we offer in the arts, humanities, business, technology, education, and the health sciences is very appealing to prospective students.”

Off-campus locations and the availability of online courses continue to make higher education more accessible, she added.

“The reasons why students come to the ETSU campus are many,” said Dr. Bert C. Bach, ETSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.  “It may be to seek professional advancement or a higher paying job, to acquire new skills, or simply to pursue intellectual challenges.  Whatever their educational and career goals are, we are here to support them.”

The ETSU School of Graduate Studies witnessed an increase of approximately 5 percent in the number of doctoral students.  According to Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Cecilia McIntosh, the school’s doctoral offerings now include 13 programs, including the recently approved Doctor of Practice in Nursing (DNP), which welcomed its inaugural class this year.  ETSU also accepted its first group of students in the new experimental psychology concentration.

McIntosh noted that when Stanton moved into the ETSU presidency in 1997, only three doctoral programs were offered by ETSU.  A total of 10 new ones were added during his administration, and ETSU also earned a Doctoral/Research Universities-Intensive classification by the Carnegie Foundation.

“President Stanton has been a true champion for doctoral education,” she said.

ETSU will celebrate its centennial during an event on Monday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.  The university will also make history this December when the first class of students begins the inaugural Winter Session on Dec. 20.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Created by Paul Duncanson in I Love Charts.

Call for Proposals

ACHE South Conference 2012

Theme:  “Racing to Excellence: Maintaining Traditions, Embracing Innovation”

The 2012 ACHE South Conference is being held in Lexington, Kentucky – Horse Capital of the World.  The city’s racetrack, Keeneland, celebrates its 75thanniversary in 2011.  The history of the track, its development just after the depression and its unique vision of a track that reinvests in the community, inspires the theme for this year’s conference.  As continuing educators we are often called upon in difficult economic times to reinvent our institutions, attract new populations to our colleges and universities, and think creatively about higher education’s responsibility for community and regional development.  In this way, one of our most important traditions is embracing innovation.  As an academic community we are also committed to lifelong learning, exceptional student service, and business and industry outreach. 

Topics for proposals consistent with this year’s Racing to Excellence theme include but are not limited to:
  • Joyful Victory*: Tradition of Commitment to Lifelong Learning – innovative programs, accelerated degree programs, military education, study abroad, service learning, programs for returning veterans, experiential learning, adult learning, literacy programs, service-learning/civic engagement, graduation requirements
  • It’s Tricky*: Innovation with a Mission business and industry partnerships, workforce and professional development, web marketing, internal and external communication and promotional strategies, budgeting, student surveys, responsiveness to learner needs, adult student degree-completion programs, access through distance learning, student research, placement of continuing education within the institution, inclusion of civic and community engagement practices in the curriculum and throughout the institution
  • Dialed In*:  A Tradition of Service- value of continuing education, civic and community engagement practices, promotion and tenure policies revisited, restructuring  faculty enrichment and rewards, military admission and tuition policies, curricular flexibility for adult degree-completion programs, global competitiveness and offerings, financial aid for adult students
  • Smart Bid*:  Innovative Programs- nontraditional delivery methods, technology, customer service, certificate programs, customized training, off-campus locations, alternative scheduling, hybrid courses, programs for the military, developmental (remedial) programs, service-learning or community-based learning in the curriculum
    *Dialed In, Smart Bid, It’s Tricky, and Joyful Victory are all names of 2011 North American Racing Starters
Guidelines for Concurrent Session Proposals:  Concurrent sessions will be 50-minutes in length, with session times on Tuesday, April 24, Wednesday, April 25, and Thursday, April 26, for a total of 12-15 different presentations.

To propose a concurrent session, please provide the following items of information in the format below:
  1. Name, Institution, Mailing Address, Telephone, Fax, E-mail for all presenters
  2. Title of presentation.
  3. Abstract of presentation (70-80 words)
  4. Brief biography of presenter(s)
  5. One page double-spaced Presentation Summary, including pertinence to conference theme.
  6. Special AV equipment needs.
Submit Proposals online to by November 7, 2011 Questions about proposal submission should be directed to Sharon Woodward, Western Kentucky University,

Those submitting proposals will be notified of the decision by December 9, 2011.

For my money

The star of last week's UPCEA and ACHE's Future of Online Learning Summit was was Sylvia Manning, President of the Higher Learning Commission.  Funny and smart.  Here are a couple of things she said.  I may not have these transcribed completely accurately, but I've captured the gist.
"I know we're looking at outputs now, but inputs are important too.  If I'm deciding between two identical cars to take on vacation, I'll take the one with a full tank of gas."

"My favorite quote about plagiarism comes from Tom Lehrer: Plagiarize, Plagiarize / Remember Why the Good Lord Made Your Eyes."

Monday, September 19, 2011

We made another top 50 list

Hi Rick,

I posted an article, “50 Best Blogs for Online Educators”. I just thought I'd share it with you in case you thought it would appeal to your readers.


I am happy to let you know that your site has been included in this list.

Thanks for your time!
Jasmine Hall

Maybe he was around for the birth of country music

io9 has this story about an auction of eBay for a Civil War photograph of a soldier who looks remarkably like Nicolas Cage.  It's a man who lived in nearby Bristol, so he may have descendants roaming around here. Grab a wooden stake and let's roll. The photograph is from the eBay site.

Was Nicolas Cage a vampire during the Civil War? This $1,000,000 photograph holds the answers

Alliance for Continued Learning to offer fall classes

East Tennessee State University’s Alliance for Continued Learning (ACL) will offer a wide range of classes and activities during the fall session beginning Tuesday, Sept. 20, and ending with a special Wednesday session on Oct. 26. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

To give new members an opportunity to become acquainted with the group, the ACL will welcome all participants at a continental breakfast on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 9:30 a.m., at Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church, 610 E. Watauga Ave., Johnson City. ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. will offer welcoming remarks and there will be a performance by ETSU’s Bluegrass Band.

The fall session offers a variety of experiences. Among the literary and historical topics are “Ritual and Rite - Everywhere in Our Lives,” by ETSU Professor Emeritus of English Dr. Anne LeCroy, “A World of Literature,” by ETSU’s Pat Buck, and retired minister Dr. John Martin will present “The Bible in the Modern World.” Carlos Whaley will offer “A Survey of the Civil War in East Tennessee from 1861-1864 and Women’s Role in the Civil War.” Martha Query, who has interviewed nearly 100 people for her research, will present “Remembering World War II: Personal Accounts.”

In other seminars, Dr. Steve Falling, a photographer and retired Eastman Chemical Co. researcher, will discuss Norwegian history, culture and scenic beauty; Dr. David Valentine will present a photographic program of his river cruising in Southern France; and Dr. George O’Neill will share his experiences cruising aboard the British ship “Minerva II.” ETSU Director of Clinical Services Teresa Boggs will give insight into autism in “The Speech and Language of Autistic Children.”

Most courses will be held at Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Field trips are planned to Tipton-Haynes Historic Site and Rocky Mount Living History Museum.

Sponsored by the ETSU Office of Professional Development, the ACL is “member-powered, 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.

No educational pre-requisites, examinations, or grades are involved in the courses. Although a $40 fee allows participants to attend any or all sessions, some trips may require additional fees.

For more information or a schedule of classes or special arrangements for those with disabilities, call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Panel discussion at The Future of Online Learning Summit.

Today, we're observing

 Constitution Day.

Constitution Day - September 17, 2011 Observed September 16, 2011
Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Chicago for The Future of Online Learning Summit. Marilyn is here until next summer.

The old English major in me

Loves stuff like this.  An essay, not just on the Smurfs but--wait for it--Smurfette. And I have to admit that I always wondered what the deal was with just one female Smurf.  I can rest easy tonight. From Jason Richard writing in The Atlantic.

The Problem With Smurfette
So Smurfette's existence—and the apparent tie between her goodness and her looks—is problematic from a feminist perspective, to say the least. And yet the the Smurfs, which began in 1958 as a Belgian comic by artist Pierre Culliford (a.k.a. Peyo), have endured. Matt Murray, author of the new book The World of Smurfs: A Celebration of Tiny Blue Proportions, chalks up the Smurfette narrative to being a reflection of its time and place.

More education still means higher salaries

The Census Bureau chimes in.  From

Still, it’s clear that educational attainment is still far and away the biggest determinant of our long-term earning power. And the Census Bureau report is hardly the first to take a hard look at the correlation between education and income. A study released in August by the American Institutes for Research found that college students who drop out before getting their degrees can expect to lose out on $7,700 of income per year. And kids who drop out of high school are a lot more likely to end up poorer than their parents.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The deadline for free TACHE registration expires tomorrow

ACEware Systems, Inc. has generously offered to cover the cost of two conference registrations for the 2011 TACHE Conference in Gatlinburg November 9-11, 2011.

Don’t miss the opportunity for one of your staff members to win this free conference registration. Please share this notice with all at your institution who may be interested in attending the upcoming conference.

1. The individual is employed by a current TACHE member institution, and
2. The individual is a new CE Professional, and
3. The individual is a first time attendee at a TACHE annual conference.

How to Register for the Free 2011 TACHE
1. Send an e-mail to Randy Wilson, Chair of the TACHE Sponsorship Committee, at
2. In the Subject Line, insert “TACHE Free Conference.”
3. In the text of the email, include your name, institution, e-mail, phone number, and number of months working in continuing education.

The deadline to register is September 15, 2011.

Two names will be drawn to receive a free 2011 TACHE conference registration
valued at $159, compliments of ACEware Systems, Inc. Winners will be notified by September 30.


A mouse in training to be a rat

At least that's what I told was the definition of an assistant dean--back when I was one.  Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, has some common-sense advice for those thinking of rathood.

Becoming a Dean
It's all about personalities. I came to say that almost daily as a dean, whatever the situation or problem I faced. That's because the most important part of my job was listening to people. When faculty members would apologize for taking my time, I would respond sincerely that I was there for them, that I valued talking with them.

That worked because I meant it: Dogs, children, and faculty members can spot a fake a mile away. (And I mean no disrespect to any of the three by linking them together. They're my favorites.) If you don't value faculty members and treasure time spent with them, don't become a dean, because that is the first prerequisite of the office.

That has always been the case, in flush times as well as in lean times, but it's been especially true since 2001, when I entered the dean's office and we started cutting budgets and never stopped. As the budget got tighter and tighter, my "cookie funds" (a term I crafted for money that could be used to finance unexpected faculty expenses) had dried up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God help me, I do love top ten lists

And innovative ways to ingest caffeine. I am a little leery of Perky Jerky, however.

10 Ways to Eat Your Caffeine

News from the old alma mater

An innovative course at WIU.  From University Business Magazine.

Magic is Hard Work University Business Magazine
Most people go to Disney to relax and have fun. For the past three years, David Zanolla, a communication instructor at Western Illinois University , has taken students in his Disney World Communication Culture course to see the principles they learn about in class in action. “The people who needed the most convincing were the parents,” he says, adding that the spring break timeframe is usually thought of as party time. But with a daily schedule of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., students have a full plate.

When Zanolla heard the WIU Honors College was accepting proposals for a special topic seminar, he expanded a well-received supplemental lecture about Disney Culture he’d been presenting to his freshman class into a one-credit course. The idea turned into a full-semester course with the Orlando trip about mid-way through.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nationwide, community college enrollment

Shows no growth.  In Tennessee, it's looking like community college enrollments are dipping slightly, with universities showing small increases on average. From Tabitha Whissemore, writing in The Community College Times.

Flat enrollments for the fall
After record-high increases over the last few years, community colleges are seeing enrollments return to more normal rates of increase, and a growing number of colleges are even reporting declines.

Although many colleges won’t know their final enrollment number for another week or two, officials note they don’t expect too much variance in the data, which show, on average, a range of decreases from 5 percent to increases of about 5 percent. The reasons for the subdued numbers vary, but much of it boils down to funding, both for the colleges and for the students.
For information about Michigan's community college, go to Michigan community colleges see enrollment dip after years of growth.

Friday, September 9, 2011

ETSU to present the Buffalo Mountain Writer’s Workshop for Creative Non-Fiction

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development will present the Buffalo Mountain Writer’s Workshop for Creative Non-Fiction this fall.

The event will begin with guest author Jim Minick presenting a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Farmhouse Gallery and Gardens in Unicoi County. The Farmhouse is co-sponsoring the event.

Minick says the series is a “writing course focusing on the diverse forms of this genre—one that requires us to create art from our own lives and the world around us” through such venues as memoirs, biography or travelogues.

Minick is the author of The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family, published by Thomas Dunne of St. Martin’s Press. The book was named the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance “Best Non-fiction Book” for 2010.

The series will continue with ETSU instructor Charles Moore teaching a five-week class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1 on the ETSU campus. Moore has taught composition and literature as an adjunct instructor and has presented many lectures on Appalachia. His blogspots may be viewed at and

The one-day writer’s workshop has a fee of $59, which includes lunch; the weekly class is $49; and a combination of the two has a registration fee of $89.

For more information, contact the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (800) 222-3878, or visit the Web site at

College rankings

Do they really mean anything? And will they ever end? The Commercial Appeal wonders the same thing.

'Healthiest' campus or 'happiest'?
This year, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a top-50 "best value" college, reported the Princeton Review.

Forbes listed it as 512th on a list of its 650 "America's best colleges."

The Fiske Guide to Colleges labeled it as one of 25 "best buy" public universities this year. And Playboy, which gives its rankings in April, made the Vols' flagship the country's No. 8 party school.

Although that last bit rivals Vanderbilt University, which Newsweek ranked this year as both the nation's No. 7 "horniest" college and its No. 22 "happiest" campus -- two positions that are almost surely entwined somehow.

UT gets ranked so often and so prominently that it maintains a webpage just to showcase them:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lemonade on the Lawn for our adult students.

Tomorrow is

Dress Up Like Steve Jobs Day. This new made-up holiday from iPhone Life (Why on earth haven't I been getting this publication?) is highlighted in Time's Techland.

IMPORTANT: Friday Is ‘Dress Up Like Steve Jobs Day’
Back to the issue at hand: Friday is "Dress Up Like Steve Jobs Day"—a holiday of sorts manufactured by iPhone Life magazine, per the publication's Facebook page.

We have all been instructed "to wear jeans and a black t-shirt for one day on Friday, September 9th, 2011," though as we all know, the truly authentic outfit would be a black, long-sleeve cashmere and silk mock turtleneck, Levi's 501 jeans, and gray New Balance sneakers (style #992).

That's a total financial outlay of around $400. Steve has "Apple money," though, so maybe the jeans and black t-shirt thing is easier. And aside from paying homage to the Apple co-founder, iPhone Life promises that photos of the best outfits will be published in an upcoming issue.

There are graduation rates

And there are graduation rates.  Why adult and continuing education programs, which serve a lot of transfer students (among other clientelle), may appear less successful than they really are. reminds us that not all graduate rates are created equal.

Graduation rates give incomplete picture
When it comes to measuring schools by graduation rates, students like Buddy Pearson are a bit of a problem.

It's going to take Pearson, of Cuba, Mo., more than five years to complete his education at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he's doing no favors for the school's four-year graduation rate.

"I've been having a good time while I'm here. I'm really not in that much of a hurry," Pearson said.
But he's working toward a double major in civil and architectural engineering, illustrating one of the hazards of trying to measure a school based on graduation rates.
Education experts argue that some schools are essentially penalized in ratings because of their student mix.

In 2009, Missouri S&T's four-year graduation rate stood at 25 percent. But its six-year rate is a much stronger 63 percent, reflecting the extra time it can take to finish engineering degrees, which often include lengthy internships like Pearson's recent eight-month stint with a firm in Kansas City.
Further, the graduation rates collected by the federal government only track freshmen who start and finish at the same school. Transfers are left out.

That's painful for schools like the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri Baptist University, where transfers make up the majority of each year's new students.

Our long nightmare may be over

No more baldness?  From Time's Healthland.

Stem Cell Discovery Offers Clues for Reversing Baldness
Yale researchers report that signals from stem cells in the fatty layer of the skin may trigger the growth of new hair. The study in mice may lead to better understanding and treatments to reverse baldness in humans.

Researchers know that men with male pattern baldness still have the stem cells that are necessary for hair growth in their follicle roots, but the cells are dormant and can't spur growth. It's also been known that the hair follicle stem cells need signals from within the skin to grow hair. The question is, where do the signals come from?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I may have mentioned earlier

That I hate personality profiles like Myers-Briggs.  In fact, I once walked out of an ACHE Region 7 Conference when it started out with a personality profile. That's why I resonated with Steve Tobak's recent The Corner Office in

Why People Don't Change
Don’t get me wrong; I have changed a lot since then. But what the DiSC program revealed had nothing to do with it. I changed when my goals changed - for reasons we’ll get to in a minute - and I realized the behavior that had served me in the past was no longer effective.

That’s what this post is about: the difference between identifying behavioral characteristics, which DiSC and similar programs like Myers-Briggs are probably very good at, and actually doing something about it, i.e. modifying behavior, which is a whole different ball game.

The real value of behavioral profiles systems

Not only was the DiSC system dead-on, it also provided tips on how I can be more effective and showed my staff why I behaved like a lunatic from time to time. That said, I think the real value in the exercise was that, for a day, we all got to be on the same level discovering what each of us was really all about. I remember it being fun and disarming.

Personally, I think we achieved similar results from our quarterly dinners out - getting to know each other in a different setting over good food and even better wine. That made it easier to face issues and crises together, as a team. We could look each other in the eye and know there’s a real live person with real emotions in there, beneath the bravado and confidence we project as part of our daily lives as executives.

When I mentioned night schools yesterday

I didn't mean this kind.  What were they thinking? From The Miami Herald.

A K-8 school by day, adult club by night?
By day, the Balere Language Academy is an A-rated charter school, home to children in kindergarten through middle school.

But when the kids are tucked into bed, Balere apparently becomes a playground of a different kind.

Party fliers, printed and on the Web, indicate that the campus at 10875 Quail Roost Dr. has been hosting raunchy, booze-soaked bashes into the wee hours. One flier for an upcoming party features a voluptuous, scantily clad woman posing with champagne bottles. Another shows a woman in a string bikini bending over suggestively and a man with flashy jewelry sitting on a stack of currency in front of a gold sports car.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An online business model

The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the success that Southern New Hampshire University has had with its online initiative.  SNHU is active in ACHE, and it's nice to see them recognized.  This is, however, an old continuing education model present at many private colleges where the adult, night, evening college, or off-campus division operates separately and subsidizes the traditional operation.  Sometimes, courses for the evening program cannot be used in the day school. I've worked in such an evening school...

How Big Can E-Learning Get? At Southern New Hampshire U., Very Big 
But rather than limping along, this obscure institution is becoming a regional powerhouse—online.

With 7,000 online students, the university has grown into the second-largest online education provider in college-saturated New England, aiming to blow the University of Massachusetts out of the top spot. It recently began testing TV advertisements in national markets like Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, too, sensing that scandals tarring for-profit colleges have opened an opportunity for nonprofit competitors.

Academe is abuzz with talk of "disruptive innovation"—the idea, described by Harvard's Clayton M. Christensen, that the prestige-chasing, tuition-raising business model of higher education is broken, and that something new and cheaper, rooted in online learning, promises to displace it.

Southern New Hampshire, which is showcased in Mr. Christensen's new book, The Innovative University, offers a case study of what happens when a college leader adopts some of the Harvard Business School professor's strategies for managing disruptive change. Southern New Hampshire's deep dive into Web teaching raises many questions facing colleges migrating online: How big will e-learning get? What will that mean for campuses? How will it break apart the role of traditional professors?

Lambuth reborn

UM's continuing education unit and my friend Dan Lattimore is running the show.  It appears, though, unlike most CE units, UM's will have to deal with resident students. From The Commercial Appeal.

Ex-Lambuth dons Tiger blue as University of Memphis campus east
And what a new setup it is. By mixing former students from the Methodist liberal arts college with the diverse -- and often older -- students from Jackson State Community College with 18-year-olds who would have otherwise headed to the university's main campus in Memphis, the new student population takes as long to chew over as any sentence describing it.

Teaching them will be 20 carryovers from Lambuth's faculty, "which was most of what they had left," explained Dan Lattimore, the U of M vice provost who is leading the Lambuth satellite. Six other professors were brought over from Jackson State, home to U of M's previous one-room satellite campus in Jackson. Most classes don't even start until 5 p.m.

There are about 360 new students, of whom about 45 are Lambuth holdovers, while around 150 are transfers from Jackson State. In total, there are between 125 and 150 full-time students (the campus has a capacity for 600 residents, although currently only 64 spots are available).

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'd never heard of the accident hump

Until I read this on  It explains why boys are such knuckleheads.  I really should read more widely.

How the “Accident Hump” Tells Us Boys Are Maturing Faster
We’ve known for a while that girls have been maturing at a faster rate for much of the last 100 years, if not longer. Disease reduction and better nutrition are thought to be the biggest factors. But what about boys? Researchers have long thought they were maturing faster too. But lacking the obvious (monthly) data, the evidence proved tricky.

Now, a German researcher believes he’s found the answer by looking at, of all things, male teenage death rates. When girls hit puberty, they get their period. When boys hit puberty, they start doing stupid stuff, hence what’s called “The accident hump,” a spike in mortality rates that coincides with the peak of male hormone production during puberty. That hump it seems has been shifting to earlier and earlier in life.

The new study, by Joshua Goldstein, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, finds that the age of sexual maturity for boys has been decreasing by about 2.5 months each decade, since at least the middle of the 18th century.

Meanwhile, across the mountains

The realities of budget cuts sink in as students start college in North Carolina.  From The Charlotte Observer.

UNCC students feel the deep cuts
The cut this year, $33.5 million, or 16.2 percent, means 295 lost jobs at UNCC (including 171 faculty positions). Only two other schools in the UNC system - UNC Chapel Hill and Western Carolina University - face a larger percentage of cuts.

Overall, the system's loss is $414 million.

"That has a huge impact on everything we do," said Beth Hardin, UNCC's vice chancellor for business affairs. "We just don't have enough people to teach."

Fewer professors means fewer course offerings and bulging classes, which also means some students may have to go a semester or two longer to get their degrees, UNCC officials say.

Larger classes mean the university will have to rearrange spaces to seat all those students. The university, Hardin said, has received no state money to build new classrooms.

Adding to the stress, faculty and staff have worked without pay raises in four years.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Breaking redneck news from the area calls this The redneck trifecta: NASCAR, streaking and a raccoon.  That's the best headline I've read in some time.  Never let it be said that I don't appreciate the entertainment value of the Bistol Motor Speedway.

The report comes from, a local television station.  You can watch the WCYB video on their website here.  The written story can be found at the link below.

Race Weekend Streaker Arrested, Raccoon Found in Car

Can dual enrollment decrease college remedial courses?

At least one college in Texas is trying to find out.  I'd never really thought about this as a benefit of dual enrollment.  This Washington Post article also discusses other strategies to limit remedial college education.

Fresh approaches to old problem: Roughly 1 of 3 college students requires remediation
So the college decided to partner with every public school district in its area to offer dual enrollment in high schools, a practice with momentum around Texas and across the country but more often involving high achievers looking to score early college credit.

The college sends instructors into high schools, or uses existing faculty there, and deputizes them as “adjuncts” to provide extra coursework in exchange for modest honoraria. The students earn South Texas College credit and complete the work along with their regular high school course load while staying on track to graduate on time.

The inexpensive approach is aimed at eliminating the need and cost of postsecondary remediation courses that don’t earn college credit, a significant problem for students.

“These are those students that may be first generation, that may be high risk, that with a little bit more help may be successful in college,” Mejia said. “We give them a lot of help.”

For Mauricio Perez, 22, in McAllen, Texas, that meant working on his English. He’s been in the U.S. only four years from his native Mexico. His high school grades improved with his newfound language skills and he graduated high school on time. Perez now attends South Texas full time, with an eye on becoming a high school Spanish teacher. 
“I thought if I did well in high school why not do well in college,” he said.