Friday, March 30, 2012

Know these tricks before your continuing education job interview

Alison Green, aka Ask a Manager, lists ten strategies in that interviewers use to get to know the real you. I've listed three of these Jedi mind tricks below.  Be prepared.

10 Tricks Job Interviewers Use
1. Silence. Some interviewers will intentionally remain silent when you finish an answer, waiting to see if you'll start talking again. Most people are so uncomfortable with silence that they'll rush to fill it, and in doing so, they might offer information that's too candid or maybe damaging. The best strategy here? If your interviewer is using silence on you, remain silent right back. Chances are good that after about 10 seconds, the interviewer will start speaking again. If not, you can always ask, "Did I answer your question fully enough?"

2. Extreme friendliness. Good interviewers want you to let your guard down. By putting you at ease, they can get a better sense of who you really are (which is probably good for you) and maybe get you to relax and slip up (not so good for you). You're more likely to reveal something unflattering if you feel comfortable. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't relax, but do realize that this isn't a cozy chat with a friend; it's still an interview.

3. Asking "What do you know about us so far?" Interviewers ask this because they want to know if you did your homework. If you haven't prepared for the interview by learning all you can about the organization, it will show.

God help me, I do love top ten lists

10 of the Most Irritating Phrases in the English Language

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Underwear sales are up

And this is a good sign for the economy.  From Time's Moneyland.

Alternative Ways to Look at the Economy
The Indicator: Sales jumped 6.4% in 2011 and stock prices for the big underwear brands – namely Hanesbrands (up 33% in the last three months), Warnaco (up 14%) and Limited (up 20%) – are all doing well.

What It Really Means: None other than former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan was a true believer in the Underwear Index. Underwear sales are historically rock steady, so if they dipped even slightly, Greenspan believed it to be a harbinger of bad news. Early in 2009, underwear sales indeed dropped by 2.3%. But take heart: Sales jumped more than 6% in 2011, from $3.08 billion to $3.28 billion.

All hat and no cowboy?

Are you a leader or do you just play one on tv? Mike Myatt, writing in Forbes, shares three things that leaders should focus on.  I've listed one of them.

Is Your Leadership All Sizzle and No Steak?
Stop Talking – Start Doing: Here’s the thing; Leadership is about doing – not talking. While a leader’s actions must inspire and motivate, they must also challenge and convict. Anyone can be a big thinker, but not everyone can be a deep thinker. It’s not particularly difficult to be a prolific talker, but it’s never easy to be a prolific performer. Lots of people listen, few really hear, and even fewer understand. Most people can spot a problem, few can solve them, and even fewer can see beyond the solution to the next challenge or opportunity. Anyone can be part of a team, but not everyone can contribute to a team, and fewer yet can lead a team. The best leaders transfer and distribute their vision such that it is not just owned by the balance of the organization, but it’s improved and scaled by the organization.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ETSU's first Civility Week

Is going strong.  Student, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in a variety of events designed to cultivate a deeper understanding and value of diversity while nurturing a culture of kindness, courtesy and respect on campus. 

The schedule of events is attached here for your review and includes both fun and challenging activities like “Pyramid Soccer” and “The Label” as well as discussion groups about everything from “Religious Tolerance” to “Being LGBT at ETSU”.  Groups hosting activities throughout the week include:

·       Black Affairs Association
·       Diversity Events Committee
·       Hispanic American Student Community Alliance (HASCA)
·       International Programs & Services, International Learning Community and International Buccaneer Buddies
·       LGBTies: Gay-Straight Alliance
·       Student Government Association
·       The Office of Equity and Diversity:  Diversity Educators & Quest
·       The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life
·       The Office of Multicultural Affairs/ Erna P. Kaldegg Endowment
·       To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)

In apps, like in life

You get what you pay for. Fork over that 99 cents and save battery life. From Time's Techland.

New Study Shows that Free Apps Are Killing Your Battery
Is it worth it to buy the paid version of an app if you can download another version for free? If you value your battery life, it very well could be.

A new study conducted by researchers at Purdue University found that 65% to 75% of the energy used by free apps is committed to user tracking, downloading ads and uploading user information. That means only 25% to 35% of the energy is used for performing tasks like, you know, actually running the app’s core function.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blue Grass & Barbeque

For our off-campus alumni, current students, and families, with a special focus on the Sevierville, Tennessee, area.

The School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach will host the first Blue Grass and Barbeque at the Tennessee Smokey's Stadium in Sevierville on Saturday, March 31.
11:30     Welcome and Information
Blue Grass Music by the ETSU Bluegrass Band
A Petting Zoo with small animals
Blow up Fun Zone for kids – bouncy ball and other amusements
Departmental displays and activities
Noon to 1:30     Lunch for students, their families and ETSU departmental participants. Several food options will be available for those who do not eat barbeque.
1:30-3:00     Fun

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finished the presentation.

Save the date

2012 Mountain Plains Adult Education Association Conference
Implementing Career Pathways in Adult Education                                                                              April 11-14, 2012
Helena, Montana

Registration information here.

ACHE MidAtlantic

Today I'll be making a presentation on our Winter Session at the ACHE MidAtlantic Regional Conference in Roanoke, Virginia.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I may have mentioned something earlier about liking my iPhone

Forgetta 'bout it

New Jersey receives top score of B+ in a report card of corruption risk in the United States.  Tennessee received a C (76%), with an A for Internal Auditing but a D- for Ethics Enforcement Agencies and an F for Redistricting. From iWatch News.

New Jersey: Best score in the country
New Jersey, contrary to its national reputation, is not all concrete and blacktop; nor is the Garden State one giant, toxic waste dump; and the majority of its 8.8 million residents are not bed-hopping, scantily-clad, tough-talking beach bums.

And neither, then, is New Jersey the most corrupt state in the nation, according to the State Integrity Investigation, a collaboration of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. In fact, the months-long probe ranks New Jersey ranks No. 1 for transparency and accountability in state government, with a grade of B+ and a numerical score of 87.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Could our long national nightmare be over?

Growing my hair back might motivate me to lose weight.  No, seriously. By Katy Steimetz, writing in Time's Healthland.

Researchers Identify a Protein that May Trigger Male Pattern Baldness. Could It Point the Way to a Cure?
Has the world finally found an answer to man’s hairiest question? Shall great tufts again sweep across the foreheads whence they retreated years ago?

Don’t start selling all your wig company stock just yet, but according to a recent study in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers have identified a protein that appears to play a role in male pattern baldness — and inhibiting that protein, they believe, may allow dormant hair follicles to rise again.

Could it be about the benjamins?

Reminds me of a quotation that I've seen attributed to Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Gertrude Stein, and others: "I've been rich and I've been poor.  Rich is better." From Liza Mundy in TIME Ideas.

Study: Men Are More Attracted to Women with High Salaries
But a growing body of research shows that while there may have once been a stigma to making money, high-earning women actually have an advantage in the dating-and-marriage market. In February 2012, the Hamilton Project, a Brookings Institution initiative that tracks trends in earnings and life prospects, found that marriage rates have risen for top female earners — the share of women in the very top earning percentile who are married grew by more than 10 percentage points — even as they have declined for women in lower earning brackets. (The report also suggested that the decline in those lower brackets may be because women can support themselves and are dissuaded from marriage by the declining earnings of men.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Know your new hires

gives us five of their characteristics.  Here are two of them, from Advertising Age.

What to Know About Your Newest Generation of Employees
Loyalty is back
Each of these employees is aware that hundreds of candidates competed for the job, and they're ready to commit to building a long-term career. But they need a reason to stay. They know they bring particular skills to the table based on their digital upbringing, and they want to be assured that those skills are tapped and appreciated.

Engagement is essential
That need to have their skills matter leads this group to want to engage with clients and, even more important, inside the agency. They respect the hierarchy but don't want to defer. Agency leaders should lean into this requirement, teaching, coaching and nurturing those skills while reinforcing traditional ones necessary for success.

Girls gone mild

Could the Facebook Big Brother effect is causing better behavior?  Maybe some bars on the beach will create cell free zones, where you have to check your phones at the door like cowboys would check their guns at the local saloon.  From , writing in The New York Times.

Spring Break Gets Tamer as World Watches Online -
In this era of “Jersey Shore” antics and “Girls Gone Wild,” where bikini tops vanish like unattended wallets, it would seem natural to assume that this generation of college student has outdone the spring break hordes of decades past on the carousal meter.

But today’s spring breakers — at least some of them — say they have been tamed, in part, not by parents or colleges or the fed-up cities they invade, but by the hand-held gizmos they hold dearest and the fear of being betrayed by an unsavory, unsanctioned photo or video popping up on Facebook or YouTube. . . . 

Camrea Sawyer, 22, a senior at Athens Technical College, was heading to the beach with her University of Georgia friends to chill and tan her already sun-crisped body. Keenly aware of the damage a misplaced, mistimed cellphone photo or video can do, she said she is careful.
“At the beach yesterday, I would put my beer can down, out of the picture every time,” Ms. Sawyer said. “I do worry about Facebook. I just know I need a job eventually.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ANTSHE 15th Annual Conference starts Friday

"Refreshing Your Past Downloading Your Future"
March 23 - 25, 2012                                          Hosted by Eastern Kentucky University
Conference Details posted here!

TACHE conference update

Pick a card.  The TACHE conference planning committee recently met at Volunteeer State Community College.  The opening keynoter is a magician, Joe M. Turner.  While we whiffed on our opportunity for a magical theme (i.e. continuing education: spinning gold from straw), I'm excited about this presentation.  If he wants to saw a continuing educator in half, I know some I'll volunteer!   

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, corporate speaker, mentalist, and magician Joe M. Turner, your event's "Chief Impossibility Officer," delivers creative and astonishing sleight-of-hand, illusions, and para-psychological presentations at corporate events and upscale private parties. Audiences across America and around the world are consistently entertained, informed, inspired and motivated by Joe's world-class magic and communication skills.

Monday, March 19, 2012

God help me, I do love Top 10 lists

Top 10 Worst Movies Based on TV Shows

Alliance for Continued Learning to offer spring classes

East Tennessee State University’s Alliance for Continued Learning (ACL) will offer a wide range of seminars and activities during the spring program beginning Tuesday, March 20, and ending Wednesday, April 25. 

Sessions begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. All classes will be held at Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church, 610 E. Watauga Ave., in Johnson City.

To give new members an opportunity to become acquainted with the group, the ACL will welcome participants at a continental breakfast on Tuesday, March 20, at 9:30 a.m. ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland will offer welcoming remarks.

The spring lineup will include the story of early ETSU faculty member Christine Burleson, “Rest, Rest Perturbed Spirit,” by Dr. Robert Sawyer of the ETSU Department of Literature and Language; “The Origin and History of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music” by musician and ETSU faculty member Dr. Lee Bidgood; and “Housing Solutions for Northeast Tennessee” presented by Retha Patton and Jeff Keeling of the Eastern Eight Community Development Corp.  

Among other sessions are artist Peter Paulin speaking about art history; Dawn and Jackie Peters explaining photo restoration and cemetery recording; Dr. John King of the ETSU Department of Communication outlining the way public relations is framed by world-wide news media; and Patricia Willard, who was educated at the Columbia Theological Seminary, presenting the two biblical stories of creation.  

Among the additional options are Dr. Jim Wilson, chair of the Watauga Association of Genealogy, who will teach how to “find your roots”; lawyer Randall Sermons outlining advance directives; and Dr. Marc Fagelson of the ETSU Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology discussing the effects of age on hearing.    

Field trips are planned to the Chester Inn in Jonesborough and ETSU’s Slocumb and Tipton galleries.  

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. A $40 fee allows participants to attend any or all sessions.

For more information or a schedule of classes, visit or call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084. Persons who require special assistance or who wish to arrange for a sign language interpreter should contact the same number.

I've seen many a tailgate down around here

Except of course, when there's a dog running around the truck bed.  Turns out, having the tailgate down doesn't help your mileage.  Here are two of the four gas saving tips found on MainStreet.

4 Gas-Saving Myths to Ignore
Turn off the air conditioning and lower the windows.
The theory here is that air conditioning draws energy from the engine, and that lowering the windows reduces drag. Thus, on a warm day you should turn off the air conditioning and lower the windows to boost your gas mileage. Unfortunately, there appears to be little truth to this method: Edmunds tested it back in 2005 and found that the mileage was the same no matter which method they used to cool themselves. If it’s hot out, don’t hesitate to blast the A/C.

Leave your tailgate down.
Many pickup truck drivers will leave the tailgate down, the idea being that having it up will “catch” the air flowing over the truck, acting as a sail that increases drag and makes you burn more gas. But the Discovery Channel's hit show MythBusters tested this one and then re-tested it and found that fuel efficiency was actually a little better with the tailgate up. That’s right, keeping your tailgate open actually made things worse, and putting a cover on the pickup truck’s bed had no real impact on fuel efficiency.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Or, you could just go to Roan Mountain

About thirty miles from here.  Cell phones don't work there. Of course, it's no Hana, Maui, Hawaii.  But you have to take that awful road to Hana.  From Businessweek.

Where Cell Phones Won't Work - Incredible Spots to Escape the Grid

Hana, Maui, Hawaii (1 BAR)

Once you’re in the remote town of Hana on Maui’s eastern coast, the Hana-Maui Hotel is the only "real" hotel—but that’s not a bad thing. The 69-acre property has no TVs or Internet access, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get a cell phone signal—and that’s exactly the point. Spend days by the pool or nearby Hamoa Beach. Unwind with morning yoga, a traditional Lomi Lomi massage, or a hike to the Seven Sacred Pools.

Thinking about your competition

Competition abounds in continuing education, and we can get too caught up in what Nearby For-Profit University and Small But Aggressive Private College is doing.  Benchmark with balance. Michael Hess has some good advice in CBS Money Watch.

Here are some common ways that competition can steer you the wrong way, and the alternatives:

Pricing: This is probably where competitor-obsessed decision-making is most dangerous, especially for small businesses. Author Mark Stiving said it best: "Pricing is not a sustainable competitive advantage." You may be desperate for sales, but it does you no good to get sucked into price competition that erodes your margins and might even put your business at risk. You might win some battles but lose the war.

The Alternative: Let others race to the bottom. Better to price where you need to be to run a healthy business, maximize the value of your product and company to customers, and only take business that is good for you. If you can't get the business you need without risking your financial health, there is either something wrong with what you're doing or you're in the wrong business. My father's favorite expression in running my family's successful, 50-year-old business was "Volume is vanity, profit is sanity."

Product: Companies that heavily weight product or service decisions based on what their competition is doing usually end up chasing the pack rather than leading it. Competitor comes out with a bigger widget, you come out with a bigger widget. It's possible to survive doing this, especially if you bring other value (a bigger widget that works better, etc.), but you risk being too late to market and always behind the curve, being perceived as a "me-too" company with less value to the market, or making/offering the wrong products or services. Just because other companies are doing it doesn't mean it's right for you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

MLA Twitter citation

Last Name, First Name (User Name). "The tweet in its entirety." Date, Time. Tweet. Still waiting on the APA version, I guess, but MLA citation holds a soft spot in my heart. From The Tennessean.

Twitter gains ground as academic source
The explosion of interest following MLA’s online post with the rule stunned her. Last week, Middle Tennessee State University’s @MTSUnews account tweeted: “Modern Language Assoc. has devised a standard format for citing tweets in an academic paper. How do you think they did?” and included a link to an article on The Atlantic’s website.

“News breaks there first. Opinions are generated there that aren’t printed elsewhere,” said Feal, who maintains @MLAconvention and a personal account. “People were asking me all the time, ‘How do I cite Twitter?’ ”

She said the best part of the publicity is starting a fresh conversation about sources in general: whether they’re credible and original and how citations help readers find them.

We're just behind Hawaii and Colorado

Some good news for Tennessee.  Based on, apparently, gut feeling, Tennessee is viewed favorably.  I credit Country Music and Dollywood. And I understand Hawaii leading the pack but Colorado?  From the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Tennessee gets No. 3 favorable rating in poll
A poll of 700 registered voters conducted by Public Policy Polling lists Tennessee as the third most favorable state, behind Hawaii and Colorado.

The random, automated interviews were done by telephone during a four-month period ending in February. Those surveyed were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable view of the state, with no criteria specified. Forty-eight percent rated Tennessee favorable, 14 percent unfavorable and 38 percent were undecided.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

Pi Day: Events, Activities, & History

Welcome to our twenty-fourth annual Pi Day! Help us celebrate this never-ending number (3.14159 . . .) and Einstein's birthday as well. On the afternoon of March 14 participate in pi-related activities and enjoy a piece of pie.

New Kentucky consortium

It will interesting to see where this leads.  Could this have helped derail the attempt to create a new public university in the Bluegrass State?  From

12 Central Kentucky colleges launch higher education consortium Education
Presidents of 12 Central Kentucky colleges universities have formed the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium to work to improve college readiness, work-force needs, lifelong learning and economic development opportunities in the region.

"We're not ever sure where this may lead, but (with) the power of leadership of 12 university presidents, we can do anything," Bob Rumpke, executive director of Bluegrass Tomorrow, told an audience of about 150 members.

Economic development potential and quality of life issues are inextricably tied to educational achievement, he said.

Schools in the consortium are Asbury University, Berea College, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, Midway College, Morehead State University, Kentucky State University, Sullivan University, Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky.

Making the most of your professional conference

George S. McClellan is writing about student affairs conferences in this excerpt from The Chronicle of Higher Education, but he could be discussing conferences in any field.  I've known several colleagues who owe their current jobs to connections made at ACHE and TACHE. And Winter Session, the successful major initiative our Summer School Office started this year, came about from exposure to the idea at national conferences.  I first started thinking about at the NAASS conference I attended in (cough) Maui.  It's still a tough job but someone has to do it.

The Conference Season in Student Affairs
Attending a conference is, of course, an important part of professional development. But with many institutions still in the grip of budget woes, people in student affairs (and throughout higher education) are lately finding their opportunities for conference-going to be few and far between. So it is more important than ever for those fortunate enough to attend a conference to get the most out of the experience.

Conferences are an important source of new information, varying perspectives, and promising practices in our field. They can be valuable in helping you to build a network of professionals who can be a source of advice, information, and support—and who can alert you to job openings. And time spent away from the office, but with others who share an understanding of our work, can go a long way in helping to renew your commitment to your professional life.

Before you go to a conference, it's helpful to identify some broad goals. Are you hoping to gain greater depth of knowledge in your particular area of practice? Increase your knowledge in new areas? Identify colleagues with whom to network? Identify new professional opportunities and folks who can help you pursue them?

A variety of factors (among them, money, scheduling, and the perspective of your supervisor) may affect your choice of conference. An important question to consider is whether you hope to pursue depth of knowledge and wider networks, or greater breadth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

ETSU makes the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Nearby Carson-Newman College was a Presidential Awardee.

President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve.

The 2012 Honor Roll recipients were announced at the American Council on Education’s 94th Annual Meeting Ahead of the Curve on March 12, 2012, in Los Angeles, CA.

Want a little whine with that?

Wine critics taste stuff better than you and I.  No wonder I couldn't taste the smokey leather and  in that last bottle. Pass the blackberry wine please. From Time's Moneyland.

Wine critics have special powers. Not superhero-type powers like the ability to fly or control the minds of strangers, but, according to a new study, top critics have the ability to taste subtle flavors and chemicals that the masses can’t detect. It’s this acute sense of taste that helps the experts describe and rate wines. But does it make sense to pay attention to ratings that are based on subtle taste differences that mean nothing to the average drinker? Perhaps, then, wine critics really can control minds: after all, they’ve managed to persuade plenty of wine drinkers to care about their opinions.

The Center for Adult Learning In Louisiana

Serves older students with some college experience.  This is an online program that includes accelerated classes and increased student support.  From The Advocate.

Colleges seek older students
Now, CALL and the Louisiana Board of Regents are moving forward with a stronger push to bring more adults back to college. CALL started more than three years ago, but it is just beginning to expand statewide after initially operating only as a pilot program within Northwestern State and Bossier Parish Community College.

Thus far, CALL has expanded to Southeastern Louisiana University, McNeese State University, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and LSU at Eunice with 20 online degree programs offered overall. CALL degree programs range from a criminal justice bachelor’s degree program at McNeese to the bachelor’s in nursing program at Southeastern.

The Board of Regents sponsored an Adult Learner Summit recently at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center that attracted about 150 education officials statewide.
Although four of the University of Louisiana System’s nine universities participate, CALL Executive Director Luke Dowden said a UL System “consortia degree” is in the works as well. “It’s nine institutions and one degree,” he said.

Thus far, the CALL program has graduated 471 students. But Dowden and state Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell want to dramatically increase their reach for potential adult students.
Dowden admits the CALL program requirements have made a lot of colleges reluctant to participate. CALL requires its program to be offered online, to have mostly accelerated classes, and to offer learning assessments and student support services. “Those are major leaps for some institutions,” he said.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daylight saving time explained

By CGP Grey.

ETSU to host sixth annual Intermountain Brain Injury Conference

The sixth annual Intermountain Brain Injury Conference, with the theme “Sports and Activity-Related Brain Injuries,” will be held Friday, March 23, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Johnson City. 

The day begins with registration at 8 a.m. and offers several informative sessions throughout the morning and afternoon, with Dr. Gary Solomon as keynote speaker. He is an associate professor of psychiatry and neurological surgery at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, as well as the team neuropsychologist for the Nashville Predators and the consulting neuropsychologist for the Tennessee Titans. His address is entitled “Sports Concussion: From Behavior to Biochemistry.” 

Other speakers include Jennifer Rayman of Project B.R.A.I.N. speaking on “Students with TBI: Understanding the Injury Sets the Stage for Success”; Jeffery Boaz of Fulmer Helmets discussing “Mitigating Brain Injuries with Improved Designs in Helmet Safety”; and Diane Dunkin, a physical therapist with James H. and Cecile C. Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital, presenting “Balance Impairments Post-Concussion.”

The event, which is a joint venture of East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development, the ETSU Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Roth Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health Associates, is sponsored by the Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center. 

The fee for attending the conference is $80 for those who register before March 9. Students may present their college identification and pay $30. Continuing education units (CEUs) and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) credits are available.

For further information, for special assistance for those with disabilities, or to register, contact Angela McFall at (800) 222-3878 or

Friday, March 9, 2012

Alternative to high gas prices

From xkcd.

We don't need no stinkin' badges (continued)

More on badges to certify online learning from The New York Times.  Maybe we should give out badges for attending professional conferences.  I could see an ACHE badge, something akin to a Boy Scout merit badge, that could be ironed on to a shirt.  Hmmmm. If matched with kerchief, that look could be fabulous.

Mozilla, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and others are working to devise a system of online educational “badges” certifying exactly which skills had been learned. Some companies, like Microsoft, already offer their own certificates for trained computer technicians.

Some educators doubt that such credentials will ever command as much respect as a diploma from a well-known college. And of course, to be trustworthy, alternative credentials would have to be at least as cheat-proof as traditional ones. And that is not so simple.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

TACHE planning committee getting ready to start

We're a major sponsor of MerleFest this year

We decided to spend some of our marketing funds across the mountains in North Carolina this year.  We have online programs and scholarship programs targeted for border states.  We'll hand out ETSU merchandise listing our School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach website and see if our visits increase.  This is from the High Country Press, where high refers to the elevation, not the mental state of the MerleFest audience.

MerleFest Adds Patrick Simmons, Darrell Scott & John Cowan Performance to Friday’s Schedule
A performance from a trio of stellar artists – Patrick Simmons, Darrell Scott & John Cowan – has been added to the Friday night schedule of MerleFest 25, presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 26-29.

This star-filled addition to the festival lineup is announced as fans can still take advantage of the early bird ticket discount, available through March 12, 2012. Ticket purchases for MerleFest 25 can be made on the web at or by calling 1-800-343-7857.

MerleFest is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans, gathering to celebrate the memory of musician Eddy Merle Watson, beloved son of American music icon Doc Watson. The festival hosts over 90 artists, performing on 14 stages during the course of the four-day event. A complete list of confirmed performers is available at

ELS Center opens at ETSU

This week, ELS Language Centers is opening a new center on the campus of East Tennessee State University that will offer international students English language training and assistance with the college admissions process.

ELS is the world’s largest group of campus-based English language instruction centers, with more than 60 study locations in the United States, Canada and Australia, as well as 14 international sites.

Approximately seven students from Saudi Arabia begin their studies at ETSU today, March 5.  Once the students complete the course, they will be eligible to apply for admission to a college or university and will not be required to take any additional language assessment exams.

ETSU hopes to increase enrollment in the program during the months ahead.

According to Dr. Amy Johnson, interim director of undergraduate and RODP programs for the School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach, the course is structured into four-week segments, and students will remain enrolled in the program as long as needed.

“In addition to the language instruction, the students will experience the campus in a variety of ways,” Johnson said.  “They can enjoy meals in the cafeteria, visit our Center for Physical Activity, and they will learn about the process of applying to college.  This is a wonderful outreach opportunity that will help improve access to higher education for students who are facing language barriers.”

The center at ETSU will be under the direction of Matthew Laubengayer, who brings many years of experience with the ELS center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Cheryl Jones is the academic director and comes to ETSU from ELS/Houston-Clear Lake, Texas, and ELS/Grand Rapids, Mich.

For more information about the ELS Center at ETSU, call (423) 439-7147.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Perhaps I'll check out the retirement scene

When ACHE holds its an Annual Conference and Meeting in Austin this fall.  That scene is certainly more my style than the party scene anymore. CBS News Moneywatch lists the top ten retirement communities, led by Austin, Texas.

The 10 best places to retire
Austin is a big city in small town disguise. With a population of 790,400, the Texas capital is bigger than all of the "big cities" on the list. But it has managed to maintain the "Keep Austin Weird" credo that has made it a favorite among both retirees and young people.

The outdoors is the biggest attraction. The staggeringly beautiful, rough-hewn Hill Country, spring-fed swimming holes, a string of lakes along the Colorado River, and 10 months of warm temperatures (too warm in the summer) draw hikers and boaters and bikers outdoors. Lance Armstrong lives and trains here, and Lady Bird Johnson Lake (Town Lake to locals), which runs through the city's center, is a favorite training spot for rowers.

And of course there's the music. Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss music, to be consumed along with barbecued ribs and Lone Star long necks. Or, for the high-tech set, Norah Jones, to be consumed along with interactive startups, at the annual South by Southwest (SXWS) conference next month. There's also a lyric opera, a symphony, and a ballet company. But that's the icing. For the practical retiree, housing costs (median price: $235,000), good medical facilities, the many programs at the University of Texas, and no state income tax are the cake.

Indiana Jones denied tenure

Dr. Jones's letter denying tenure at Marshall University is leaked to McSweeney's Internet Tendency.  Here's an excerpt.

Back From Yet Another Globetrotting Adventure, Indiana Jones Checks His Mail And Discovers That His Bid For Tenure Has Been Denied.
Though Dr. Jones conducts “field research” far more often than anyone else in the department, he has consistently failed to report the results of his excavations, provide any credible evidence of attending the archaeological conferences he claims to attend, or produce a single published article in any peer-reviewed journal. Someone might tell Dr. Jones that in academia “publish or perish” is the rule. Shockingly, there is little evidence to date that Dr. Jones has successfully excavated even one object since he arrived at Marshall College. Marcus Brody, curator of our natural-history museum, assured me this was not so and graciously pointed out several pieces in the collection that he claimed were procured through Dr. Jones’s efforts, but, quite frankly, we have not one shred of documentation that can demonstrate the provenance or legal ownership of these objects.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Race to the top

We're the tenth most miserable state.  Just ahead of Nevada and just behind Florida.  Good thing I offset this by working in a happy profession.  The most miserable? West Virginia. From 24/7 Wall St.

America’s Most Miserable States

10. Tennessee
> Well-being index score: 65
> Life expectancy: 76.2 (8th lowest)
> Obesity: 30.8% (9th highest)
> Median household income: $41,461 (6th lowest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 83.6% (21st lowest)
Since last year, Tennessee residents feel their situation has gotten significantly worse. The state’s already-poor scores in the well-being categories that measure life evaluation, emotional health and physical health have all declined in 2011 compared to 2010. The state’s economy is in very poor shape. Unemployment is above the national average, the poverty rate is the 10th highest in the country and median income is the sixth-lowest in the country. Physical health and healthy behavior, two categories measured by the index, are among the poorest. Tennessee residents have the 14th-highest rate of smoking in the country. The obesity rate is ninth-highest rate in the country with 30.8% of residents considered obese. The state also has the fifth-highest rate of heart disease in the country.

Job ad jargon

Avoid the fixer-upper position.  And here I'm always looking for a detail-oriented, self-starting team player.  Silly me.  From Time's Moneyland.

Decoding Job Ads: Why to Avoid a ‘Fast-Paced Work Environment’
Another expert, Kevin Fleming, who owns a career- and life-coaching company, issues warnings about seemingly harmless terms such as team player (“code phrase for someone who will allow us to do whatever we want to you”), detail-oriented (“watch out for control freaks”), and self-starter (“code phrase for, ‘Can you make ambivalence and lack of direction work?’”).

Why do the folks who write job ads insist on rolling out these phrases time after time? In the same way that realtors want to paint the property for sale in the most flattering language, hiring managers hope to describe job openings in ways that will attract the best candidates possible. Certainly, they do not want to scare off potential candidates by being completely upfront and honest about the fact that, say, you’re going to work 70 hours a week and only get paid for 40, or that the boss is so passive-aggressive he’ll put your mother-in-law to shame.

Monday, March 5, 2012

KACL spring classes to feature social media, avoiding financial scams, America’s first 50 years, discoveries at the Gray Fossil Site and more

Beginning Monday, March 12, and continuing until April 20, the Kingsport Alliance for Continued Learning (KACL) will offer weekday classes on a variety of subjects presented by authorities in the fields of history, English, social networking, biology, law, Spanish and nuclear physics.

KACL, in partnership with East Tennessee State University at Kingsport, will offer morning classes from 10 a.m. – noon, while afternoon classes are held from 1:30–3:30 p.m. There will be no sessions during Easter week, April 2-6. Classes are held on the campus of ETSU at Kingsport, 1501 University Blvd., near Allandale Mansion, with the exception of a visit to Greeneville on Tuesday, April 17, to U.S. President Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop and museum, the Dickson Mansion and the Nathanael Greene Museum. The excursion costs $15.  

For a fee of $45, enrollees can take advantage of any or all classes. Additional members of the immediate family can enroll for only $22 each. 

The classes feature audience discussions with presenters, and there are no tests or homework.

The history of the United States’ first 50 years will be the theme of classes on Monday mornings, March 26-April 23, with a focus on the U.S. Constitution and the development of the American concept of “liberty.”      

Other history topics will be discussed on Tuesday afternoons, including prehistoric Britain, the Eastern Front during World War II and a close evaluation of President Thomas Jefferson.

On Tuesday mornings, the focus will be on travel, with a look at Alaska and its bears, England, Italy and touring America by railway. 

Other classes feature such diverse topics as “Writing Your Memoirs”; “Understanding the New Social Media,” encompassing Facebook, MySpace and Twitter; and “How to Avoid Financial Scams.” In addition, there will be classes devoted to recent discoveries at the Gray Fossil Site, the Way of St. James Pilgrimage in Spain and the Nuclear Age.

KACL will partner with the Friends of the Kingsport Public Library to present the Great Decisions discussions on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30-3 p.m. in the library’s Mead Auditorium. Sessions will focus on U.S. foreign policy in regard to promoting democracy, the exit from Iraq and Afghanistan, Mexico, Indonesia, cyber-security and the state of Earth’s oceans.

Registration for the free Great Decisions program can be done at the desk of the library and is independent of KACL registration. Participants have the option of purchasing a $20 text.

For additional information about KACL, to obtain a printed class schedule, or for registration or special assistance for those with disabilities, contact Gwen Bays, ETSU at Kingsport, at (423) 392-8000 or

Do you know your caffeine level?

There's an app for that.  From Businessweek.

Caffeine Zone, an App for Coffee Drinkers - Businessweek
Well, now, as they say, there’s an app for that: Caffeine Zone, based on research on the “pharmacokinetics of caffeine.” You enter how much coffee or tea you’ve had, when you had it, and how quickly you drank it, and the app sends you an alert when you might need another cup to keep you sharp. It also warns you when the coffee you’re about to have might keep you up at night. On a graph, it maps the amount of caffeine in your body against color-coded zones corresponding to the compound’s metabolic effects.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy, happy, joy, joy

We're employed in the second happiest industry to work for: education.  The first?  Government. I guess those of us in public institutions are doubly-blessed.

The unhappiest are agriculture and mining.  I suspect the data came prior to the ratcheting-down on teacher evaluation and teacher union attacks. From Jacquelyn Smith, writing in Forbes.

The Happiest And Unhappiest Industries To Work In
Do you work in retail or media and think your friends who work in education and real estate are all happier than you? That isn’t just your imagination.

According to online career site, those are some of the happiest and unhappiest fields to work in right now.

Call for proposals

National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship

Seeks Experts in Entrepreneurship Education to Present at 10th Anniversary Conference

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is asking experts in entrepreneurship to submit proposals for presentations to be presented at the organization’s 10th Anniversary Conference, to be held October 7-10, 2012 in Chicago, IL. NACCE is looking for engaging presenters and content that successfully ties into the conference theme: Committed to Entrepreneurship.

Proposals for dynamic, compelling, and interactive sessions are sought with content for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. “When it comes to the best ideas and getting results, community colleges are more often than not, the answer,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. “We need presenters with strategies and solutions in entrepreneurship to make this, our 10th anniversary conference, worthy of such a milestone event.”

Those wishing to submit proposals, get more details on the conference theme and content and understand how their proposals might fit into the conference tracks can learn more at: All submissions must be made online and completed by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, April 6, 2012.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Early bird registration closes Monday, March 5, 2012

If you haven’t registered for the ACHE South Conference being held in Lexington, KY, April 23-26, 2012, be aware that Early Bird Registration goes away on Monday, March 5, 2012.

The guaranteed room rate at the Hilton Lexington/Downtown ends on March 24, 2012.  Our conference rate of $149 may still be honored after that date if rooms are available. Since the races at Keeneland are being held during the month of April, rooms may sell out.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Connie Robertson at

Stop the presses

The New York Times has a special section on continuing education and workforce development.

Continuing Education: A Special Section
With the unemployment rate still high, colleges are tailoring their continuing-education programs to suit current and future job openings.