Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Money down a rathole?

Millions in state scholarship dollars in Kentucky have gone to for-profit institutions.  One, Decker College, went bankrupt.  From

Kentucky has paid $97 million since 1999 through its state scholarships to privately owned, for-profit colleges, including several under investigation for alleged consumer fraud or other possible wrongdoing, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader review of public records.

Some states, such as Ohio, have moved to reduce for-profit colleges' access to state educational aid, citing a need to put students at state colleges first in a time of repeated budget cuts.

Kentucky has not. The state gives nearly 8 percent of need-based student aid to for-profit colleges, which is twice the national average, according to a survey by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs. Only four states give a bigger portion of need-based aid to the industry, the association found.

Among Kentucky's for-profit schools to collect state aid was Decker College in Louisville, which went bankrupt in 2005 amid allegations of fraud and inadequate accreditation, leaving hundreds of students with loan debt and no chance to obtain degrees. Another, the Sullivan University System, saw a nearly 1,000 percent increase in its assets from 1998 to 2009, accumulating $76 million, according to court records.

New degree options

For the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus.  It will be interesting to watch the evolution of this operation from struggling private college to a public university continuing education branch campus.  The continuing education folks at UM are good, and I expect this will be a success. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

University of Memphis adds new degrees at Lambuth Campus
Students at the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus in Jackson will have more variety to choose from when seeking a degree next year.

The campus plans to add several new degree programs for the spring 2012 semester.

They include: Bachelor of Arts in English; Bachelor of Arts in communication; Bachelor of Arts in psychology; Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting; and Bachelor of Professional Studies in entertainment music industries (an individualized program through University College).

That's in addition to the nine undergraduate and six graduate degree programs already offered.

"We've been talking to student groups, students that are on the campus already and ones that are coming to visit," Dan Lattimore, dean of the University of Memphis Lambuth campus, said of the additions. "And those are the ones that seem to be the most desired immediately."

Call for proposals

August 8-10, 2012
Madison, Wisconsin

Sponsored by Distance Education Professional Development (DEPD)

CALL FOR PROPOSALS (Deadline: January 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm--CST)
NEW  this year is the Speed Solutions format. This is an opportunity to explain your distance education/training problem and your successful solution to the problem. Total amount of time for this format is 15 minutes which includes 5 minutes to discuss and answer questions from participants.

Submit your proposal to

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Charging for adult education

decreases participation.  As demand decreases, states can justify cutting programs.  I'm not saying that's the justification in Florida, but that's how it work.  From Scott Travis, writing in

New fees drive down adult education enrollment
Many of Florida’s high school dropouts are giving up the chance to go back to school because they now are required to pay tuition.

Enrollment in GED preparation classes has fallen 70 percent in Broward County and 61 percent in Palm Beach County.

Students are also fleeing several other adult education classes as well, including English classes for non-native speakers. Statewide, about 338,000 people took basic adult education classes last year, and state figures show the decline to be at least 38 percent this year. These classes used to be free, but students must now pay as much as $360 a year.

The drop in enrollment has raised concerns about Florida’s ability to create an educated workforce.

Nominate a worthy continuing educator for this leadership award

The Idahlynn Karre Exemplary Leadership Award
Exemplary Leader Guidelines
To recognize exemplary organizational leadership, the Chair Academy is soliciting the names of exceptional post-secondary leaders and/or leadership teams. We recognize that one of the highest levels of recognition that a person can receive is to be honored by colleagues. The Chair Academy would like to team up with you and your college to celebrate those individuals or teams who you believe best exemplify and support academic and administrative excellence in leadership.  
Do you know someone who…
  • has developed a program to enhance the learning community at your institution?
  • has created programs to enhance diverse offerings and meet the needs of the ever-changing college population?
  • has created an environment in which others are empowered and is viewed as an exemplary leader by their colleagues?
  • has modeled loyalty, commitment, integrity, acceptance, and open communication to enhance the overall effectiveness of their department/area in their institution?
We will recognize your outstanding leaders or leadership teams at the Chair Academy’s 21st Annual International Leadership Conference  scheduled for March 26-29, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The award presentation is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, during our third general session.
All Exemplary Leaders will be showcased in the 2012 Idahlynn Karre Exemplary Leader Booklet, containing your Leader's photo and a description of why he or she is being recognized, which will be given to each conference participant.
Exemplary Leaders will receive an award at the award presentation on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
Your Exemplary Leader or team of leaders will be featured in the Summer 2012 edition of the Chair Academy’s journal, Leadership.
Your Exemplary Leader’s or team of leaders’ picture will also be featured on the Chair Academy webpage for one year.
Your Exemplary Leader’s or team of leaders’ college president will receive a formal notification of the leadership honor being bestowed.
Deadline submit nomination: December 18, 2011
Note: The Exemplary Leader(s), or their nominator, MUST be present at the conference to receive their award.
Complete the nomination form here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter is coming

Rex Barber, writing in The Johnson City Press, had a nice article on our upcoming Winter Session over Thanksgiving break.  We're excited that it's giving students an opportunity to complete their degrees more quickly.  The students featured are two of our majors. Here's a taste:

More school days: ETSU winter session offers chance to get ahead
Caryn Cash is an ETSU senior majoring in general studies. She plans to enroll in the master’s degree in occupational therapy following graduation.

Cash delayed college to serve as a medic in the Army for 6½ years, so she was eager to finish her degree to move on to graduate school.

“So the winter term prevents me from having to take 18 to 20 hours each semester,” Cash said. “And it won’t put so much pressure on me my final semester.”

Cash had been taking 16 hours of class each semester. A full-time load for an undergraduate student is considered to be 12 hours of classes.

“I just think it’s a great idea that ETSU did and I was like, ‘I’m taking advantage of it,’ ” Cash said of the winter session.

Chris Holmes also is a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, with an emphasis in marketing and management.

Holmes said the winter session will allow him to graduate in May rather than December 2012, which was his original plan.

“It’s amazing, because that means I’ll be able to enter the work force almost seven months earlier than I was supposed to,” he said. “There’s not that many words to tell you how wonderful it is to get done with school,” Holmes said.

The session will last a few weeks into the spring 2012 semester. It overlaps on purpose in part to give students the option of using their spring financial aid toward the winter term.

ETSU offers ice skating, storytelling and more at Renaissance Child Holiday Art Workshop

The East Tennessee State University Office of Professional Development is offering a Renaissance Child Holiday Art Workshop, Dec. 19-21.

This creative experience provides new activities each year for children ages 6-12. The schedule includes holiday arts and crafts, as well as a visit with a storyteller. An ice skating adventure at the Johnson Controls Ice Rink is also planned.

The workshop operates from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on the ETSU campus and costs $45 per day or $120 for all three days. Each child should bring a bag lunch and wear “paint friendly” clothing. Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084 or go to For more information, contact Angela McFall, program coordinator, at the same phone number or

Admissions trends

Nancy Griesemer, writing in, lists fifteen admission trends based on surveys taken by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.  They deal with traditional undergraduates, but the show that a shrinking population of high school graduates is applying earlier and more often. Number six, which I've listed below, might extrapolate to our transfer population.  The numbers of transfer students applying here have been large, but the yield has been disappointing.

15 college admissions trends worth watching
6. Yield is down. Colleges are enrolling increasingly smaller proportions of their accepted student pool. The average yield for fall 2010 went down to 41% from 49% ten years earlier.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving day advice

Seize the day.  From Tom Mylan, writing in Gilt Taste.

An Open Letter to All Thanksgiving Cooks
And finally, whatever you do, remember that Thanksgiving really isn’t about you, it’s about them. Keep them boozed up, free from hunger and don’t screw up their beloved sides, and you’re 80 percent of the way to loosening the icy grip of fear that torments all cooks as they lie in bed the night before Thanksgiving. Keep it simple. Keep it safe. Maybe even take a Xanax and truly enjoy the warm glow of having a house full of crazy people.

God help me I do love top 11 lists

Who can forget Peppermint Patty versus Snoopy in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving? From Spencer Kornhaber writing in The Atlantic.

11 Great Thanksgiving Fights in Movies

Winter is coming

Registration for our inaugural Winter Session started last week and so far we have over 900 students enrolled.  This entirely online session meets over Christmas Break.

Awesome all-pie Thanksgving is awesome

Mmmmm . . . pie.  Here's the recipe for turkey and cranberry pie, from The Today Show on

Turkey and Cranberry Pie
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 whole turkey legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 1/2 quarts turkey or low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs parsley, leaves minced, stems reserved
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Easy Pie Dough, made without the sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
  1. Combine cranberries, sugar, and a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and add 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally and crushing berries with a wooden spoon until completely broken down, about 15 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Brown turkey legs in hot butter, turning to brown both sides, about 8 minutes total. Add stock, bay leaves, and parsley stems. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a heavy lid set slightly ajar, and cook until turkey is fall-apart tender, about 3 hours.
  3. Using tongs, transfer turkey legs to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Skim fat off of liquid using a ladle, then set liquid aside (there should be about 4 cups). When turkey is cool enough to handle, pick meat into 1- to 2-inch chunks, discarding skin and bones.
  4. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Heat until butter is melted then carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly until pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly pour turkey cooking liquid into pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until reduced to about 3 cups and as thick as heavy paint.
  5. Add turkey to pot and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in chopped parsley. Set aside until completely cool, at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Roll bottom pie crust out and fit inside a 9-inch pie plate. Add cranberry mixture to bottom and spread into a smooth, even layer. Pour turkey mixture on top of cranberries (you may have a little more than you can use).
  7. Roll out top crust and seal pie. Whisk egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush top crust with egg white mixture and cut 3 to 5 holes for ventilation. Sprinkle sparingly with coarse sea salt. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until deep golden brown and mixture is starting to bubble through the vents, about 45 minutes longer. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

God help me I do love top ten lists

My favorite from this list is The Sailor's Hornpipe which is, naturally, used in the opening credits to Popeye.  From Time.

Top 10 Tunes You Think You Know (But Really Don’t)

Everything I know about Thanksgiving

I learned from television.  Jeff Alexander, writing in Time, shares some holiday prime-time wisdom.
What TV Teaches Us About Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving can be a tough holiday, fraught with tension as old resentments threaten to bubble to the surface and the pressure to provide (or enjoy) the perfect meal brings out the worst in some people. Or at least that’s what I’ve learned about the holiday from watching television (which is where I, like plenty of other people, learned a lot of what I know about the world). Here are some other useful nuggets — nay, drumsticks — of wisdom to keep in mind as the holiday approaches, courtesy of some of the best Thanksgiving-themed television episodes ever:
Turkeys are flightless. The first time I saw a particularly memorable episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, I wasn’t old enough to know for sure that turkeys are flightless birds. That was, until the station manager attempted a marketing promo in which a flock was released from an airborne helicopter, and I suddenly got a lot older. After hearing Les Nessman’s horrified live commentary from the scene and Dr. Johnny Fever’s summary that “the Pinedale shopping mall has just been bombed with live turkeys,” I haven’t ever forgotten it. As God is my witness, I’ll never think turkeys can fly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On the realities of the workplace

Alison Green: mythbuster. Here's her first workplace myth, from her column On Careers in U.S. News and World Report.  She also blogs as Ask a Manager.

10 Workplace Myths Busted
1. Myth: If your boss is unfair or hostile, you might have legal recourse.

Fact: It’s not illegal for your boss to be unfair or a jerk. It’s unwise, but it’s not illegal. The exception to this: If your boss is being a jerk to you because of your race, gender, religion, or other protected class, then you do have legal options. But most jerky bosses act like jerks because that’s just the way they are, and that’s legal.

Missouri colleges take prophylactic action

Ba-doom Pshh. There's a domain rush to purchase .xxx sites before pornography takes them over.  From

Washington U., Mizzou aim to protect names from porn sites
The world is getting closer to the launching of a new Internet address system for pornography providers, and there are some eye-opening names being registered. Among them: and

Don't, however, expect to find naked co-eds at either of these sites.
In what amounts to a defensive maneuver, schools across the nation are snapping up the .xxx domain names that match their federally registered trademarks. It's simply a matter of trying to keep them out of the wrong hands.
"We don't want someone coming across our trademark on a porn site. God only knows what they'd come up with," said Terry Robb, director of information technology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, which also has registered and

Friday, November 18, 2011

TBR Chancellor recommends Brian Noland as ETSU’s next president

I was pleased with this selection.  In my evaluation of my sessions with Dr. Noland, I wrote that although he wasn't as polished as the other candidates, he was the smartest when it came to higher education.  I also said he could be great.  Plus, he seemed to really want to be here. This came from the TBR website.

Brian Noland is expected to be named the ninth president to lead East Tennessee State University pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents on Monday.

The Board will meet via telephone at 1:30 p.m. CST on Monday, Nov. 21, to consider TBR Chancellor John Morgan’s recommendation for Noland to replace Paul Stanton, who will retire from ETSU on Jan. 14 after leading the campus for some 15 years.Brian Noland

“Dr. Noland will be an outstanding president for ETSU,” expressed Morgan. “His proven experience as a leader and his exceptional commitment to the success of our students became evident when he met with campus and community members.

“Dr. Noland is well prepared to help ETSU and the Tennessee Board of Regents successfully meet the challenges of the Complete College Tennessee Act. He understands the connection between higher education and prosperity of the region and the state, and I believe he can be especially effective in helping the ETSU community embrace that reality.”

Noland, who currently serves as chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, was selected after an extensive nationwide search.

TCU continuing education activity for the day after Turkey Day...

Do you have plans for the day after Thanksgiving? Why not burn off some of those holiday treats with a hike around the Fort Worth Botanic Garden? Bring the whole family, young and old, on a low-impact, low-light tour of the Garden. Dress for the weather--we'll hike rain or shine! You must register by Wednesday, November 23 at noon.

Kids under 2 are free!
To register, click on the link below:

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

UT celebrates 50 years of African-American achievement

I first saw this on Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Looks like higher tuition for Tennesseans

Let's hope they come in on the small end rather than the large since I think higher tuitions are particularly hurting Tennessee's adult students.  From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Tennessee board recommends college tuition hikes of 5 to 8 percent » The Commercial Appeal
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission voted Thursday to request a $28 million increase in state appropriations next year for public higher education, coupled with student tuition increases ranging from 5 to 8 percent at the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The proposal also calls for tuition hikes ranging from 3 to 6 percent at the state's other public universities and community colleges, and from 5 to 10 percent at the Tennessee Technology Centers, where students can obtain vocational training.

Under the THEC plan, the tuition increases would occur on the lower end of each set of ranges if Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature approve the funding increase from state taxpayer revenue. But the hikes would fall on the upper end of the ranges if lawmakers approve a 5 percent reduction in higher education funding that the governor's office has asked state agencies to plan for.

Cultivate your career

Dan and Chip Heath, writing in Slate, offer four habits that can lead to success.  I've excerpted number three, which resembles networking quite a bit.

Principle 3: Maintain your bridges
A landmark 1973 sociology paper by Mark Granovetter described the surprising amount of benefit we receive from our acquaintances, whom he called “weak ties” (as distinct from our “strong ties,” who are our closest friends and family). For example, in one study, Granovetter interviewed people who’d found a job through their contacts. In about 83 percent of the cases, the critical job lead came from a weak tie—a person seen occasionally or rarely.
To understand why, consider the redundancy of your strong-tie network. Chances are, a lot of your strong ties know each other well (e.g., your mom knows your sister pretty well, and your two best friends probably see each other frequently). Information flows quickly and easily within the network, which means that to a reasonable extent, everyone knows the same things. Weak ties, by contrast, serve as bridges between separate networks. So when you talk with a weak tie, you’re tapping into a wealth of knowledge that you have no other way to access.

Because you can never know too much about fonts

Or maybe, too little.  From

The 8 Worst Fonts In The World
Fonts are like cars on the street--we notice only the most beautiful or ugly, the funniest or the flashiest. The vast majority roll on regardless. There may be many reasons why we dislike or distrust certain fonts, and overuse and misuse are only starting points. Fonts may trigger memory as pungently as perfume: Gill Sans can summon up exam papers. Trajan may remind us of lousy choices at the cinema (you’ll see it on the posters of more bad films than any other font) and grueling evenings with Russell Crowe. There was a time when it looked as though he would only appear in films--A Beautiful Mind; Master and Commander; Mystery, Alaska--if the marketing team promised to use Trajan in its pseudo-Roman glory on all its promotional material (There is a funny and rather alarming YouTube clip about this.)

Most of the time we only notice typeface mistakes, or things before or behind their times. In the 1930s, people tutted over Futura and predicted fleeting fame; today we may be outraged by the grunge fonts Blackshirt and Aftershock Debris, but in a decade they may be everywhere, and a decade after that we may be bored with their blandness. Fortunately, choosing the worst fonts in the world is not merely an exercise in taste and personal vindictiveness--there has been academic research. In 2007, Anthony Cahalan published his study of font popularity (or otherwise) as part of Mark Batty’s Typographic Papers Series (Volume 1). He had sent an online questionnaire to more than a hundred designers, and asked them to identify: A) the fonts they used most B) the ones they believed were most highly visible C) the ones they liked least.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reconsidering PLA

I was driving back home from a meeting of the THEC Prior Learning Assessment Task Force thinking over what I'd heard.  (At the time, it was a bit disconcerting to be driving down from the Plateau on a steep stretch of highway in the rain and fog while Tom Petty's Free Falling was playing on the radio.  Free falling indeed.)   I  had presented an overview of PLA in our adult degree programs and listened to similar presentations from MTSU and UM.  MTSU has a relatively new program, and UM has a new, enthusiastic person in charge of theirs.  Their programs were a little more flexible and liberal than ours.  UM even allows PLA for graduate credit in their University College.

And I realized during that drive that our programs, policies, and regulations--although mostly in place when I got here--reflected the beliefs and philosophies that I had formed in the late 20th Century when I worked closely with the Council for Experiential Learning and prior learning.  I had tweaked some things at ETSU in that time, of course, but nothing substantial had changed.  In the meantime, we had gone from cutting edge to butter knife.  Now, don't get me wrong, we're still a knife, and everyone else in the state is a spoon.  We just may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer anymore. Ba-doom Pshh.(Have I carried the cutlery metaphor far enough?)

Could it be time to examine those policies after 20 years?  Absolutely.

So we'll look at our policies in light of the recommendations from this Task Force. Perhaps being a butter knife is right.  Perhaps we can do a better job of serving adult students and decreasing their time to degree. 

I am reminded that leaders need to step back every once in a while.  This allows others to step up, examine things with fresh eyes, and champion the changes if necessary. 

ACHE South call for proposals deadline extended

TO NOVEMBER 28, 2011.

Submit Proposals HERE.

Earlier online submission programs have been fixed.  For further information or for help, contact SHARON WOODWARD
My earlier posting about the call can be found here.

Award winner

Susan Elkins receives the Milton Phillips, Jr. Award at the TACHE annual conference last week in Gatlinburg.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Transfer students have lower completion rates

So the University of Minnesota will accept fewer of them.  To better serve those who get in, 'natch.  From The Minnesota Public Radio News.

U of M to accept fewer transfer students
If you're a college student thinking about transferring to the University of Minnesota, pay attention: it's about to get tougher to make the cut.

Aiming to improve the experience and performance of transfer students, the university plans to allow fewer in the door. That means more competition for students hoping to make the jump to the university.
Bob McMaster, dean of undergraduate education, said university officials appreciate and welcome transfer students. He said 35 percent of undergraduates are transfers, considerably higher than many other research universities. For example, about 17 percent of students at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University are transfer students.

But after spending two years looking at how transfers students adjust to their new school, univeristy officials decided they have too many, McMaster said. He said the university, which now admits about 2,500 transfer students a year, plans to have transfer students make up 33 percent of the student population.

As a result, the university will accept 300 fewer transfer students next fall. McMaster said that will allow the school to concentrate more resources on fewer transfers.

I'm heading to a meeting on PLA not far from Occupy Nashville

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fadia Alvic receives TACHE Merit Award.

Call for proposals

UPCEA 2012 Annual Conference
March 28-30, 2012
Portland, Oregon.

The deadline to submit proposals for the UPCEA 2012 Annual Conference is Friday, November 18, 2011. To be considered as a presenter, you must submit your proposal electronically by that date.

Review the proposal guidelines online, and read the welcome letter from David Schejbal, the 2012 Conference Planning Chair, to learn about changes to this year's conference. 

TACHE starts today

Yesterday was all the pre-conference stuff.  It looks to be a excellent program with around 90 participants.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

They have the internet on computers now?

There's free wifi in all the rooms at the TACHE Conference.  That with the $99 room rate make for a sweet deal.  And there's still a lot of color in the leaves.  Today, Dr. Robbie Melton is conducting the preconference workshop: “Redefine, Reinvest, and Reinvent through Mobilization."

HERS Institutes

Applications are now open for nominations for the 2012-2013 HERS Institutes for Women in Higher Education Administration.

HERS offers TWO Summer Institutes - the first at Bryn Mawr College and the second at the University of Denver.  Both offer a TWO WEEK residency with a 12-day program of presentations, case studies, interviews and on-campus assignments. A comprehensive fee of $6600 covers tuition, meals & campus housing:

In addition, HERS offers an academic-year Institute with four interconnected 3-day seminars, providing the same core curriculum while taking advantage of opportunities for group assignments between sessions. The fee of $5400 for HERS Wellesley covers tuition & meals only; hotel accommodations are available at HERS Institute rates. 

HERS provides the opportunity for an EARLY APPLICATION DISCOUNT. All applications submitted for consideration by December 1, 2011 will be eligible for a $500 discount on HERS fees.  More information about the curriculum, faculty, fees, accommodations, application process and related deadlines can be found at our website: For other questions, please contact Shannon Martin-Roebuck at 303-871-3975 or

God help me I do love top ten lists

Remember Y2K?  And 2012 is just around the corner. From Time.

It's the End of the World as We Know It - Top 10 Failed Predictions

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Has there ever been a worse time to be a teacher

Especially in Tennessee?  Michael Winerip, writing in The New York Times, examines Race to the Top.

In Tennessee, Following the Rules for Evaluations Off a Cliff
But tweaking the rules may not be nearly enough. A recent article in Education Week said essentially that things were so bad in Tennessee, there was a danger that the grant program would be undermined elsewhere.

The state is micromanaging principals to a degree never seen before here, and perhaps anywhere. For example, Mr. Shelton is required to have a pre-observation conference with each teacher (which takes 20 minutes), observe the teacher for a period (50 minutes), conduct a post-observation conference (20 minutes), and fill out a rubric with 19 variables and give teachers a score from 1 to 5 (40 minutes).

He must have copies of his evaluations ready for any visit by a county evaluator, who evaluates whether Mr. Shelton has properly evaluated the teachers.

He is required to do at least four observations a year for the 65 teachers at his school, although the changes suggested last week would save paperwork by allowing two of the observations to be done back to back.

Teachers have it worse. Half of their assessment is based on their students’ results on state test scores, a serious problem for those who teach subjects with no state test
To solve that, the state is requiring teachers without test results to be evaluated based on the scores of teachers at their school with test results. So Emily Mitchell, a first-grade teacher at David Youree Elementary, will be evaluated using the school’s fifth-grade writing scores.

University of Memphis employees unable to identify porn actress

So the investigation is over. Another student left behind. Even though there's no such thing as bad publicity, UM declines to prosecute. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

University of Memphis ends porn tape investigation
When an adult video surfaced on this week showing a woman leaving the University Center, the student center at the University of Memphis, wearing a U of M sweatshirt, a black baseball cap and Daisy Duke-style denim shorts, the university launched an investigation into whether she was a student.

That investigation consisted of typing a name that appeared on the video, "April Pratt," into the student directory. No results. Then, said Sheryl Lipman, a university lawyer, her face was shown "to some people on the academic side of things." Whoever those few people were -- Lipman wouldn't say Thursday -- they were unable to recognize the woman out of the 23,000-member student body.

Once you can fake these, you have it made

Steve Tobak has a list of desirable employee traits.  Excellent advice for new hires.  Like he says, avoid the dark side.  From BNET.

7 Traits Managers Find Irresistible
Look, I was a manager and executive for over 20 years, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that, unless your boss is completely clueless, he knows all he needs to know about you. No, there’s no such thing as Santa Claus, but there is a Santa Boss, and he knows when you’ve been bad or good, that’s for sure.

The point of all this is that you have a choice and it’s the single most important choice every employee makes:

Are you going to be a good employee or a bad employee? Are you going to believe in yourself, become the best you can be, and trust that that will pay off for you in the end? Or are you going to turn to the dark side and spend your life jealous, angry, and bitter?

If your answer is the former, then you need to pay attention to these …

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nontraditional student recognition week is celebrated at ETSU

ETSU is proud to announce participation in the annual nationwide celebration of Non-traditional Students in Higher Education.  Students are encouraged to plan events to recognize the non-traditional students on their campus, as well as highlight efforts that improved their adult student environment.  National Non-Traditional Student Week is held the first full week of November each year. 

For this year, ETSU’s new organization for nontraditional students, ALSO (Adult Learners’ Student Organization) and ACTS (Adult, Commuter and Transfer Services) will be hosting

Cider and Snacks

In the ARC on the 2nd floor of the DP Culp Center
Wednesday, November 9th
10 am to 2 pm
Feel free to drop in and join us to
meet other nontrads and the ACTS staff!

For more information, call ACTS at 423-439-5641

Deleted by request on 4/2/13.

Or, you could just change the school's mascot

This isn't too far from my hometown.  In fact, my brother lives there now.  From

Bat problems could cost Quincy U.
Quincy University has a bat problem, and it could cost big bucks to fix it.

The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that bats have taken up residence in the attic of Francis Hall on the college's campus.

Tim Weis is vice president for business and finance at Quincy University. He says getting rid of the bats could cost "six figures or more." Weis says the college is in the process of getting bids to deal with the issue.

Weis says Francis Hall was completed in 1898 and bats have been coming into the building for years, although he isn't sure how many bats are currently hanging around.

WGU is so hot right now

The Washington Monthly has a fascinating piece on Western Governors University.  Despite the emphasis on for-profits in the article's title, I think all colleges and universities should, if not fear WGU, at least learn from it.  WGU does a lot of good things, and it appears to retain online learner better than most.  I'm hoping that continuing education in Tennessee is serving adult college students well enough to prevent outsourcing that market to WGU, like Indiana and Washington did.

The College For-profits Should Fear
Robinson doesn’t remember exactly how he discovered Western Governors University; he thinks he may have clicked on an advertisement generated by a Google search. He noticed that the school was accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, a professional oversight body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education; that seemed promising. (WGU happens to be the only all-online school that bears that distinction.) He also noticed that the university was founded by the governors of nineteen U.S. states, which seemed a legitimate, if unusual, provenance. A phone call with an admissions counselor sealed the deal. He enrolled in July 2009.

With that, Robinson stumbled into one of the most unassuming but revolutionary institutions in American higher education. Western Governors differs in several respects from the crush of online schools that have mushroomed in recent years to serve working adults like Robinson. For one thing, unlike the Phoenixes, Capellas, Ashfords, and Grand Canyons that plaster America’s billboards, Web sites, and subway cars with ads, Western Governors is a nonprofit institution. That means no $100 million marketing budget, and no 30 percent profit margin. For anyone actually enrolled at Western Governors, the biggest difference is simply its price. The average annual cost of tuition at for-profit universities is around $15,600. Tuition at Western Governors, meanwhile, costs a flat rate of just under $6,000 a year.

Friday, November 4, 2011

One of our MALS faculty receives an award

ETSU’s Women’s Studies Program announces 2011 Notable Women award winners

East Tennessee State University’s Women’s Studies Program has announced Dr. Marie Tedesco and Kathleen Higginson Grover as the 2011 recipients of the Notable Women of ETSU awards.

Tedesco is the director of the Master of Arts program in liberal studies, offered through the ETSU Division of Cross-Disciplinary Studies, and Grover teaches English classes in the Department of Literature and Language.

The two award recipients will be honored at the annual Notable Women of ETSU Colloquium on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5-7 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center’s East Tennessee Room.

The evening also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Colloquium and the accomplishments of ETSU’s women scholars over the past decade.

The public is invited to this free event, and current and former students of the honorees are especially welcome. Refreshments will be served at the ceremony.

For further information, contact the ETSU Women’s Studies Program at (423) 439-4125 or       

Remember Movember

Grow a mustache for a good cause and write a novel this month.  Or be a slacker.

About Movember
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

Once registered at, men start Movember 1st clean shaven. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Part├ęs held around the world by Movember, for Movember. 

Let the midnight special shine a light on me

I first heard about third shift classes 20 years ago; then assumed they had given way to online classes. Maybe they are making a comeback.  From USA Today.

Colleges start offering 'midnight classes' for offbeat needs
A handful of colleges across the USA are offering "midnight classes" that cater to the schedules of students with children, inflexible jobs or just a yen to stay up all night. On overburdened campuses, the late-late classes have the chance to use space that's booked during conventional hours.

Midnight classes are still a relative rarity but are growing in popularity among community colleges, which are geared toward working students. Many of those colleges have ballooning enrollments and overbooked traditional night and weekend classes.

"They would rather do anything than turn students away," says Norma Kent of the American Association of Community Colleges. "If you've got faculty that's willing to teach at an unconventional hour, then it's a solution for a lot of things."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outside the box, looking in

Late yesterday afternoon, I was in a meeting I called to discuss how various offices of the university would need to work with us in order to operate a new entrepreneurial enterprise.  In the Spring, we will be starting an intensive English center for international students.  That will follow on the heels of our initial Winter Session, an online five-week session that we are piloting over what has traditionally been Christmas break. Both efforts require the help of numerous university offices, faculty, and staff.  And most readily offer that assistance.

As I thought about it afterwardsthat's been my continuing higher education career in a nutshell.  We try new things.  Some succeed, some don't.  In the arc of my career, most have succeeded.  That's what I am paid for.  And every success has impacted other offices and required new procedures while creating new problems. 

I may not be the heart of the university, but I help keep it strong.

Winter is coming

ETSU Winter Session, that is.  ETSU Winter Session has been in development for nearly two years and will pilot this year on December 20, 2011.  The primary purpose of Winter Session is to provide students additional course options that enable them to reach their academic goals on time or in less time. Winter Session is designed to resemble Summer Sessions in some ways, but is also a Part of Term for spring so in other ways it follows the guidelines for a traditional spring term.  Registration starts November 14.

Winter Session webpage:

ACHE Great Plains call for proposals

ACHE 2012 Great Plains
Regional Conference
“Sustainable Leadership:  Bold Thinking About Who We Are”
February 23 – 24, 2012
Columbia College
Columbia, Missouri

Download the Proposal Submission Form.  Deadline to submit is November 14, 2012.