Thursday, May 31, 2012

I just had my evaluation

It went a lot better than this.

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

Our job is getting harder

According to this article from Time, college enrollment nationwide is trending down.  While our funding formula in Tennessee is no longer directly dependent upon enrollment, it's still better financially to have a student than to not have one.  Continuing education units will be pressured even more to deliver new students: adults, non-traditional, online, and out-of-state. 

Is the Recession Hurting College Enrollment?
Harvard, Yale and a few other selective universities may be announcing record numbers of applicants for the semester beginning in the fall, but higher-education officials are fretting about ominous signs that overall college enrollment is starting to drop.

More schools have space still available than at any time in at least a decade. Already, in the academic year just ending, many universities had to offer greater discounts just to fill seats. Yet fewer admitted students enrolled, and more than 40 percent of private colleges reported enrollment declines. Even community colleges — drowning in double-digit growth the past few years — experienced enrollment dips this year.

"We are seeing the beginnings of a cool-down," said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

"Most of the apparatchik within higher education hope this is just a hiccup," Nassirian said. "But I tend to think we have pushed the envelope as far as we can and we are in for a major realignment of some kind." 

The warning signs come at a time when policymakers from the president to governors are pushing to increase the proportion of the nation's population aged 25 to 34 with post-secondary credentials, which the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says has already fallen from first to 16th in the world.

While the number of students graduating from high schools has declined slightly since building to a peak of more than 3.3 million in 2009, the cause of the college enrollment drop-off is largely skyrocketing tuition and concern about debt, Nassirian and other higher-education officials said.

"I do think we've reached a tipping point in terms of what cost might do," said David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC. "The cost of college is really beginning to alarm families. And that creates a real threat to enrollment."

This is the last day to vote in the ACHE election

Vote today!  For information on the candidates visit here.

Standing for Director-at-Large:
Maureen Behr

Pam Collins

Lee Glines

Walter Pearson

Terry Ratcliff

Marthann Schulte

Marc Wilson
Standing for Vice President:
Regis Gilman

Paula Hogard

Clare Roby

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tales of the non-traditional

More news on adult and continuing education students.  From U.S. News & World Report.

Adult Students Overcome Hardships to Become College Graduates
It is not uncommon for college students to share classes with older adults who, regardless of age, are determined to earn their bachelor’s degree. In many cases, these nontraditional students have overcome major hurdles just to say they are the proud recipients of a college degree.

Older adults overcome hurdles to finish college. the case of 60-year-old Linda Felkel, a brain condition was standing between her and her goal of completing college, WIS reports. For the first 34 years of her life, Felkel suffered from seizures that prevented her from enrolling in college. After many years spent working as a full-time employee, Felkel decided to undergo brain surgery to correct the problem that stood in the way of her dreams.

"I started a new life after my surgery and when I did I said I was going to make something out of myself," Felkel told WIS.

The hard work that this mother and grandmother began at the age of 57 has finally paid off, as she recently graduated from South Carolina’s Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Felkel is far from done with her studies, as she will now start working toward her second academic goal – earning a master’s degree.

For recent college graduate Charlie Ball, the road to earning his Bachelor of Professional Studies in public relations from Arkansas Tech University took even longer. In fact, 71 years passed between when the 89-year-old first began college and finally graduated this month, according to KATV/CNN.

Although Ball entered college in 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor quickly shifted his, and the nation’s, priorities. Before long, Ball was receiving pilot’s training in Texas. While he attempted to resume his studies by taking a few classes after the war, life eventually got in the way. However, to set an example for his grandchildren, Ball set out to complete his bachelor’s degree. Today, Ball has the privilege of being Arkansas Tech’s oldest graduate, and proves that age is indeed just a number.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Social notworking

You can be fired for liking the wrong things on Facebook.  From

When Facebook's 'Like' Pushes the Wrong Button with Employers
In a report published by DCist, a Washington, D.C., website, the employee said he became Facebook "friends" with the supervisor’s daughter, and it was through that friendship that his boss discovered that he had "Liked" the Two Dads Facebook Page. After his subsequent firing, the employee filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A ruling is expected later this month.

In the second incident (Bland v. Roberts), the Hampton, Va. sheriff fired six of his employees when he discovered they "Liked" the Facebook page of his political rival, a candidate for the sheriff’s elected post. In that lawsuit, the U.S. District Court found in favor of the sheriff, saying the firings were legitimate because "Liking" someone on Facebook does not constitute free speech and is not protected under the First Amendment.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Children, teens invited to 10th anniversary of ETSU Renaissance Child summer camps

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development will celebrate 10 years of offering educational summer camps for children and teens with a variety of old favorites and new additions.

The Renaissance Child Camp for children ages 6-10 will provide programs in science, math, technology and the arts. The dates for Renaissance Child Camps are June 18-22 and July 9-13.

A new Renaissance Child Science Exploration Laboratory for children 6-12 will be offered June 4-8. Campers will experience the world of science inside the classroom, the lab, and in the outdoors as they participate in chemistry experiments, build bug catchers and dissect owl pellets.

The inaugural Renaissance Child Construction Zone for ages 6-12 will be held July 30-Aug. 3. Participants will design, build and perhaps destroy objects as they explore the basic laws of physics and engineering and create their own machine from recycled materials.

Renaissance Challenge Camp for ages 11-14 will celebrate Superhero Week June 25-29. Campers will design a 3-D model of a superhero they create and then compose a comic book about the hero. A visit to Wonder Works in Pigeon Forge is also planned.

Art, Music, and Drama Camp, held July 9-20, provides a two-week course in screenplay writing, set production, choreography and costume design for ages 10-16. Christine Waxstein, costume director for ETSU’s theatre program, will lead the class. Campers will travel to Barter Theatre to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and take a tour of the theatre.

Science and Forensics Camp, offered June 11-15, is designed for youth ages 11-15 who have an interest in forensic science and criminology. Participants will learn to gather evidence as they solve a mock crime scene and proceed through a mock trial.

A Science and Engineering Camp will be offered for the first time from July 23-27 for the 11-15 age group. While exploring engineering disciplines and related sciences, campers will build bridges and a model of a geodesic dome.

Computer Camp for Teens, held July 30-Aug. 3, welcomes participants ages 11-15. ETSU’s James Livingston returns to work with campers on film editing. This year’s primary focus will be on adding visual effects to their films.

Digital Media Camp, offered the week of July 23-27 at ETSU’s Niswonger Digital Media Center, will allow rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors an opportunity study visual effects. Under the direction of James Livingston, campers will learn about using video clips, still imagery, green screen and motion graphics.

All camps meet from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For registration or further information, visit the Web site at or contact Angela McFall of the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (800) 222-3878 or

Inmates earn general education diplomas

Two adult student success stories from The Johnson City Press.  Let's hope GED funding escapes furter reductions.

Father, son among graduates during ceremony at county jail
Timothy Honeycutt Jr., an inmate in the Washington County Detention Center, never imagined he would graduate from anywhere, but the 22-year-old received his general education diploma alongside his father, Timothy Honeycutt Sr., Tuesday as the first father and son pair to graduate from the Washington County Detention Center Adult Education Program.

The Honeycutts were two of 23 inmates to be awarded their GEDs during the ceremony.

“I never thought I’d graduate honestly. I grew up wild. ... Doing it together makes me happy. Makes it worth it,” Honeycutt Jr. said.

And what did Honeycutt Sr., 48, think about being able to graduate alongside his son?

In short, he was thrilled.
Correctional officer has helped several inmates receive GEDs
At a graduation ceremony today, Amy Clark is going to be one proud teacher.

She will watch the hard work her students put into their education pay off when they receive their GEDs and shake her hand as well as Johnson City Police Chief John Lowry’s hand.

Clark said her students, all women, will have many more opportunities in their future after they finish serving state prison sentences at the Johnson City jail.

Two of her students have already gone on to college, she said.

Clark, one of only two correctional officers in the state who also teach GED classes to inmates, said her work is much more satisfying now that she had the dual role.

“I’m a correctional officer ... with this I get to be a part of correcting their past issues,” Clark said.

Friday, May 25, 2012

This is a little complicated

But this is a list of songs that contain life advice for new graduates.  Like what you might hear at commencement ceremonies.  From Tom Hawking writing in The Atlantic.

'Don't Eat the Yellow Snow' and More Life Advice for Grads From Songs
Butthole Surfers — "Sweet Loaf"

Key lyric: “It’s better to regret something you have done/ Than to regret something you haven’t done”

Life lessons from Gibby Haynes? Curiously enough, yes. This succinct couplet sums up an entire philosophy about life, and so long as whatever you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone else, this isn’t a bad axiom to live by. Of course, being the Butthole Surfers, it’s followed with the lines "And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend/ Be sure to tell her, ‘Satan, Satan, Satan!’" But the sentiment stands.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Social notworking

A minimalist approach to social media policy. Be professional. From Farris Timimi and The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.

A 12-Word Social Media Policy
The biggest risk in health care social media is not participating in the conversation. Simply putting “find me on Facebook” or “follow me on Twitter” badges on your website does not equate with health care social media. Having noted this, among the most common concerns that seem to limit participation are those regarding professionalism. So let’s make this as easy as possible, with 12 words to light your way:

Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry

Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete

Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal . . .
Errors will occur no matter how careful you are. That’s why you must develop a social media policy and provide orientation and training, and when you or others in your organization make mistakes, view them as learning opportunities.

There is great power in the conversation. Know the risks and behave accordingly, but do not be so risk averse that you do not participate.

You may want to elaborate in your social media guidelines or policy, but these 12 words provide a solid foundation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Really just an excuse

To show off the autographed Maker's Mark I won as a door prize at the ACHE South Conference. From Freakonomics.

Who Owns Red? Maker’s Mark and Jose Cuervo Fight It Out

Last week, in Kentucky, a similar issue arose concerning red wax. The red in question was on the neck of bottles of booze—specifically, Maker’s Mark bourbon and Jose Cuervo’s Riserva de la Familia tequila, which both feature a bottle cap seal made of red, dripping wax (Cuervo has since shifted to a straight-edged red wax seal). Maker’s, which used the dripping wax seal first, sued Cuervo, claiming trademark infringement.

The dispute is interesting because we like to drink bourbon and tequila it highlights two things about brands in the modern economy.

First, trademarks are not limited to words, like Nike or Apple, or symbols, like the swoosh or the apple-with-a-bite-missing. Increasingly, they are baked right into the product (think Louboutin’s red soles) or fall halfway between product and packaging (the dripping red wax that adorns all the tops of bottles of Maker’s Mark). In a global economy with diverse languages, symbolic branding like this can be especially valuable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Psychology of Color [Infographic]
Courtesy of NowSourcing, Inc

Paying companies to hire your graduates

That's the Chicago way. Hmmmmmmm.  From The Chicago Sun-Times.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a $2 million stipend for companies willing to hire City Colleges of Chicago graduates.
“You hire one of our community college kids, we’ll pay their stipend for the first four weeks of work,” Emanuel said Saturday during his commencement address to 3,300 graduates at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion. “. . . I want the rest of the country and all the people to know we got great community colleges with great kids who are ready to go to work.”

He also told the graduates — a record number for City Colleges, which granted only half that number of associates degrees a decade ago — about the importance of battling adversity.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why is Massachusetts better than we?

Everyone in Tennessee knows Massachusetts is an expensive, high- tax, pro-union state with a socialist health care system.  Just the opposite of the Volunteer State.  So why does Massachusetts rank so much ahead of us in every meaningful category?  From , writing in Slate.

Massachusetts is the best state in the union.
Let’s compare Massachusetts to its peers on three basic measures of success: education, social well-being, and economic strength. Some Americans believe good results on these metrics are the goals of responsible government, and others believe they’re the happy consequences of free markets. But however we get there, these are desirable outcomes for all Americans.

First up is education, the foundation of America’s meritocratic values and the key to whatever success the country will find in a globalized, knowledge-based economy. Massachusetts is renowned for its higher-education institutions. Less well known, though, is that the home of the original Tea Party also has the best schools in the country. On the most basic measures of educational achievement—fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading skills—Massachusetts tops the nation.

Education Week’s Quality Counts 2012 report expands on this success. On their overall index, Massachusetts ranks second, to Maryland. But on two of the index’s most important measures of results—a lifetime educational Chance for Success index, and a K-12 Achievement index that bundles metrics such as test results, year-on-year improvement, and the gap between poor and wealthier kids (perhaps the truest test of our fabled meritocracy)—the Bay State again leads the nation.

And most of the world. According to a 2011 Harvard study, while reading proficiency in Mississippi is comparable to Russia or Bulgaria, Massachusetts performs more like Singapore, Japan, or South Korea. Often better: Massachusetts students rank fifth in the world in reading, lapping Singapore and Japan, and needless to say, every state in the union. In math, Massachusetts slots in a global ninth, ahead of Japan and Germany. (Some international educational studies rank Shanghai and Hong Kong as separate countries; if this wasn’t done, Massachusetts would likely rank two places higher.)

What about social well-being? Above all, we want kids to have a healthy start in life. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Massachusetts has the nation’s highest level of first-trimester prenatal care, and the third-lowest infant mortality rate (Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri are about 50 percent higher). It also has the second-highest rate of child access to both medical and dental care, the nation’s lowest child mortality rate, and the lowest teen death rate.

It goes without saying that Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents—5 percent (Thanks Mitt! Mitt? You there, Mitt?), compared to 16 percent nationally, and a whopping 25 percent in Texas. On life expectancy, Massachusetts ties for sixth-highest, about five years longer than the worst-performing states. In another political universe far, far away, you might describe a place like this as pro-life.

A few other metrics of social well-being: The Bay State has the second-lowest teen birth rate, the fourth-lowest suicide rate, and the lowest traffic fatality rate. The birthplace of Dunkin’ Donuts has the sixth-lowest obesity rate. And depending on the source, the first state to legalize gay marriage has either the lowest or one of the very lowest divorce rates in the country.

Finally, let’s take a purely dollars-and-cents look at Massachusetts. No matter where you start on the political spectrum, this is the most important question, because many Americans believe we must choose between social investments and a competitive economy. So what economic sacrifices is Massachusetts making to achieve such extraordinary educational and social outcomes?

None, apparently. Massachusetts has the second-highest per capita personal income among the states. Unemployment in March was 6.5 percent, well below the national 8.2 percent. Its state per-capita GDP ranks sixth-highest. Its median household income (a measure of widely-distributed income) is fifth.

TACHE East regional meeting

East Tennessee Regional Meeting
Northeast State Community College
Kingsport Center for Higher Education
June 22, 2012

9:00-9:10 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions
Kathy Thacker, TACHE Senior Regional Director (Interim)
 9:10-10:10 a.m.
Meeting Workforce Needs
Mr. Jeff McCord, Vice President for Northeast State at Kingsport                         Northeast State Community College
10:10-10:25 a.m. Networking Break

10:25-11:25 a.m.
The Winter Session Jigsaw: The Why’s, Who’s, and How’s of Winter Session
Dr. Sarah Bradford, Director, Office of Summer and Winter Sessions
East Tennessee State University
11:25-12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30-1:30 p.m.
Marketing Corporate Training
Dr. Joe Combs
Walters State Community College
1:30-1:45 p.m. Networking Break

1:45-2:30 p.m. Business Meeting and Evaluations

Nomination and election of new regional director

TACHE Meeting November 08 & 09, Airport Marriott, Nashville, TN. Donations are needed for East Tennessee Regional Basket Give Away.

Evaluations and door prizes

Friday, May 18, 2012

Urban Dictionary word of the day

Phone Stack: When at a meal, and everyone is on their phones, grab them and stack them face down in the center of the table. First to pick up their phone, pays the bill for all. If no one grabs it, everyone pays their part.

*Everyone is texting at a group meal*
Person 1: "PHONE STACK!"
*Person 1 snatches all phones and stacks them face down*
Person 1: "first to touch pays the full bill"

ETSU’s economic impact on the region reaches $683 million

Dr. F. Steb Hipple of East Tennessee State University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research has completed a new benchmark evaluation of ETSU’s economic impact on the region.

The study shows the total economic impact of ETSU and the Medical Education Assistance Corporation (MEAC), which is the physician practice group for the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, as topping $683 million. The figure for ETSU alone, without MEAC, is nearly $620 million. The impact on household income is $253 million, and 5,261 full-time jobs are created. The average pay of those jobs is $48,218.

“What I found,” Hipple says, “is that ETSU continues to have a significant impact on regional income and employment.”

The study examined the direct impact of ETSU through the institution’s activities in the community, and the indirect impact derived from the university’s spending practices, especially through wages and salaries.

The economic impact is measured in terms of output (production), the number of full-time jobs created, and the household earnings of those jobs. The current study focuses on ETSU’s impact on eight counties in Northeast Tennessee and nine counties in southwest Virginia and is based on the ETSU budget for fiscal year 2010-2011.

The impact study uses the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS) procedure developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which conducts federal government analysis of regional, national and international issues.

A similar study Hipple conducted in 2001 (which did not include MEAC) shows that ETSU’s total economic impact at that time was $328 million, compared with $620 million for ETSU alone today, an increase of approximately 90 percent. Since 2001, due to the growth of the university, the number of jobs created has increased by 40 percent and the resulting household income has increased by more than 50 percent.

For further information, contact Hipple at (423) 439-5304 or


Is there anything you can't do? From Time's Healthland.

Coffee: Drink More, Live Longer?
Kicking your morning off with a cup of joe may provide more than a caffeine boost. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that older coffee drinkers — even those who swill decaf — have a lower risk of death than those who don’t drink coffee.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages, both in the United States and worldwide,” the study authors write. “Since coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant, coffee drinking is not generally considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds.”

Graduating tomorrow but this is your first trip to campus?

Crank out the red solo cups! We hold a reception for our graduating seniors on the day before Commencement.  It's common for that to be the first trip to campus for many of the students.  As the number of online degrees grows, I might suggest establishing a university-wide reception for online students.  Could help with fundraising.  I had to miss our most recent reception, but I'm told it was our most successful to date.  From

Colleges create campus ties for online students
A day before graduation, Joan Schaffer finally got around to visiting Webster University's campus.

She flew into town Friday morning from her home in Brooklyn, N.Y., to take part in Saturday's commencement activities and to learn a little more about the school that's awarding her a master's in human resources management.

After a visit to the brewery with several family members, Schaffer, 27, dropped by campus for a quick tour and a reception tailored to students who have done most, if not all, of their learning over the computer.

"It definitely feels more real," said Schaffer, while strolling among the red brick buildings. "Now I can at least say I've seen the campus."

In a world where online courses are moving steadily from curiosity to the mainstream, Schaffer's expedition represents one element of the changing higher education landscape and one of the ways schools are trying to forge relationships with far-flung students.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From Bizarro Blog!

Tales of the non-tradtional

More news on adult and continuing education students.  Janitors seem to be completing degrees in record numbers.  I hereby dub it the Goodwill Hunting Effect. From

School janitor comes full circle with college graduation
For a decade, Toby Meyer has scrubbed the toilets and mopped the floors of the Maryland Heights elementary school he attended as a boy.

Becoming a janitor was something he had never imagined doing. Not very cool for a 20-year-old.

"When I was younger, I looked at it as a beneath-me kind of job," said Meyer.

"I really hated the job at first. I didn't want to be seen as a custodian. When I started, I said: 'I'm just going to take the job to get me back on my feet.'"

Today, at 30, he talks fondly about the job at Rose Acres Elementary School in the Pattonville School District that got him out from in front of the TV and ultimately landed him in university lecture halls.

"At the time, I was pretty much a couch potato — a little past the age of doing that," Meyer said. "I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life."

He graduated Sunday from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, with a degree in elementary education, becoming the first person in his family with a college diploma.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ACHE elections

The slate of candidates for the ACHE Board of Directors and Vice President has been finalized and voting opens today.  There's never been a finer field so every vote is important. The ballot will be open through May 31, vote today!

Standing for Director-at-Large: 
  • Maureen Behr
  • Pam Collins  
  • Lee Glines  
  • Walter Pearson 
  • Terry Ratcliff  
  • Marthann Schulte  
  • Marc Wilson
Standing for Vice President:  
  • Regis Gilman  
  • Paula Hogard  
  • Clare Roby

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tales of the non-traditional

More news about adult and continuing education students.  From

After 33 years and myriad health issues, student graduates from UK
Karen Stucker Rogers had no idea when she entered the University of Kentucky as a freshman in 1978 that more than 33 years would pass before she would receive her bachelor's degree.

Life just got in the way, said Rogers, 52.

The death of her father and the extensive health problems of her mother, brother and husband, not to mention her own, forced her to put her educational goals on the back burner.

But Sunday night, after years of caring for others and undergoing about 20 surgeries herself since a head-on traffic collision in 1997, Rogers finally went across the stage at Rupp Arena and accepted her bachelor of health science degree.

UK President Eli Capilouto didn't mention her by name in his commencement address, but he talked about Rogers' life story, saying she was "a student who has shown outstanding persistence."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tales of the non-tradtional

More news about adult and continuing education students. From the New York Daily News.

Custodian cleans up for classics degree at Columbia 
IT TOOK ALMOST 20 years, but this weekend a Columbia University custodian will put down his broom and dustpan just long enough to collect his sheepskin.

Gac Filipaj, 52, an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, toiled day and night to earn a bachelor’s degree in classics — with honors, no less.

And even though he spent nearly two decades in school — taking one or two classes a semester — he’s not finished with higher education.

“Only half my dream came true,” Filipaj said. “Today, one ought to have a master’s or a Ph.D.”

Filipaj said he hopes to go to grad school now.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Older than the Hulk, am I

Happy birthday. Puny Banner. From Time.

Save the date

28th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning
August 8-10, 2012
Madison, Wisconsin

TEACH…LEARN…CONNECT with colleagues at this year’s conference. More than 150 learning opportunities will be presented by distance education and training professionals from around the globe. This year’s schedule also includes a wide variety of optional workshops on Wednesday, August 8 for a more in-depth experience; there’s limited workshop space, so register early to save your spot.

Register by July 16 to receive the "early-bird" fees, and take advantage of the Group Discount by registering 3 or more people from your organization.

2012 Keynote Speakers:

• James Zull, Professor of Biology and of Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University, speaking on “Applying neuroscience to educate for meaningful learning”

• Judy Brown, Mobile Learning Strategic Analyst, speaking on “Learning in hand with mobile technology”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our 2012 Spring Transfer Coalition Conference

TBR's Dr. Kay Clark discusses the Tennessee Transfer Pathways.

More nontraditional courses

The always popular baseball course.  From The New York Times.

At N.Y.U., Worshiping Baseball, for Credit
On the night before opening day, the end of a baseball fan’s version of Advent, John Sexton entered his classroom at New York University to speak of Joe DiMaggio. He came to speak, too, of Ernest Hemingway and Gay Talese, of Lord Krishna and a sacred tree in the Amazon, and what he called “this notion of touching the ineffable.”

Around Dr. Sexton sat 18 undergraduates, some religious and some not, some bleacher diehards and some not, all of them enrolled in a course titled “Baseball as a Road to God.” It is the sort of course in which the teaching assistants go by the angelic designation “Celestials” and discussion sections are named for Derek Jeter and Willie Mays among other diamond luminaries.

As the president of N.Y.U., Dr. Sexton could certainly teach any course he wanted. And as the former dean of its law school and clerk to a chief justice of the United States, he might have been expected to hold forth on jurisprudence. However, as a child of Brooklyn, as a scholar whose academic robe bears the number 42 in homage to Jackie Robinson, and as a practicing Catholic with a doctoral degree in religion, Dr. Sexton has for more than a dozen years chosen baseball and God as his professorial focus.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Social Notworking

Facebook for nerds, as reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Social Networks for Academics Proliferate, Despite Some Scholars' Doubts
As a medieval historian with some decidedly old-school habits, Guy Geltner wanted to expand his online presence, but he shuddered at the thought of "friending" or "Tweeting" to get other scholars' attention.

Then a colleague introduced him to, one of a growing number of networking sites designed specifically for scholars.

"Friends told me that it's basically Facebook for nerds, which I'm very happy with," says Mr. Geltner, a professor of medieval history at the University of Amsterdam.

The profile he set up includes far more information than his university's Web page could accommodate, including links to research papers, books, blogs, and forthcoming talks. It lets people know what he's working on and helps him connect with others in his field. "I like the fact that I can read someone's paper without having to be their friend or follower," he says.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

Seminar for folks who work at off-campus centers

Campus Administrators Seminar
for Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, Coordinators of Off-Campus, Extended and Satellite Campuses

Friday, May 18, 2012
Columbia State’s Williamson County Center
104 Claude Yates Drive
Franklin, TN 37064

Featuring Bill Willan, Dean, Ohio University-Southern and President, National Association of Branch Campus Administrators.

Contact Elizabeth T. McDow (931-270-0119)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Goober is gone

Dies in Nashville.  From The Tennessean.

George Lindsey--Andy Griffith Show's 'Goober'--dies at age 83
George Lindsey, most widely known for playing Goober Pyle on the iconic television series The Andy Griffith Show, died at 12:05 a.m. Sunday in Nashville after an extended hospitalization. He was 83.

As long as his health allowed, George Lindsey was still making people smile. The Hee Haw star showed up at Ray Stevens’ CD release party Feb. 28 at The Rutledge in Nashville to lend support to his good friend and fellow comedian. Stevens beamed from the stage as he thanked Mr. Lindsey for being there.

“He was in a wheelchair that night and he was really going out of his way to show up for that,” says Stevens, who was friends with Lindsey for 35 years. “That’s the kind of friend he was. He was on his last legs that night.”

Lots of email when you come back from your professional conference?

Don't forget your e-manners.  Here's a good list from CBS News, although I have seen suggestions that run counter to these keys.  For example, some people say that you should  never respond with just a thanks message.  What do you think?

9 keys to email etiquette
1. Reply -- No matter what. Acknowledge promptly that you received a message. If no particular response is required, just say "thanks." If you own an "action item" but can't get to it for a while, let the sender know you saw the message and estimate when you expect to reply. But don't let mail pile up in your inbox without acknowledging its receipt.

2. If you're on the CC line, don't reply. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but you're on the CC line for a reason -- and that reason is "for information only." Let the folks on the "to" line do their job, unless someone specifically invites you into the conversation.

Friday, May 4, 2012

10 fastest growing U.S. cities - Charlotte, N.C. (1) - CNNMoney

Knoxville is number eight, followed by Greenville, South Carolina.  Man, I hate driving through Greenville. Charlotte is number one. From CNNMoney.

10 fastest growing U.S. cities
Knoxville, Tenn.  8 of 10
Population: 558,696
Growth (2000-2010): 33.1%

Knoxville currently has the best employment outlook in the nation, with 25% of employers in the area saying they expect to add jobs this spring, according to staffing firm ManpowerGroup.

The area's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which has a budget of $1.65 billion and employs 4,400 people, has had a huge impact on the city's jobs picture. Not only does it hire a lot of workers with advanced degrees, but its research has also spawned several start-ups, said Mike Edwards, CEO of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.

One project the lab is pursuing is ethanol production from switchgrass, a perennial prairie grass that can be fermented to produce alcohol. That could open up a whole new industry in the area, said Edwards.

In addition, Knoxville and the surrounding area have excellent transportation facilities, including rail, interstate roads and river barges, making it a prime spot for local auto suppliers and food processors to ship goods.

The cost of living is also low -- about 80% of the national average -- as is crime. There are also good public schools and plenty to do outdoors with nearby mountains, fishing streams and lakes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brush up your Shakespeare

This link leads to a chart enabling you to insult your colleagues in cllassic Shakespearean dialect: "Though artless, clay-brained, bugbear." A must for former English majors like me.

Shakespearean Insults

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Overthinking and Your Child-Like Mind

I spent way too long trying to figure this problem out.  From Aen Tan, writing in Lifehacker.  If you're no smarter than I, you'll have to link to the article and scroll to the bottom to find the answer.

Overthinking and Your Child-Like Mind
Con­sider the ques­tion in the image above. I found this spread­ing on Face­book the other day and it took me a few min­utes to solve. Go on. Try. (If you want to know the answer. It's at the end of the arti­cle.)

As the chil­dren we once were, grow­ing up was a process of becom­ing adults. Not only bio­log­i­cally but also men­tally. We learned to be respon­si­ble, to pay the bills, to get things done and we learned the com­plex world of adult­hood. To become adults we had to lose our tantrums, silli­ness, our child­hood. And we lost our minds. Our child-like minds.

The mind of a child is the great­est gift we will ever receive. As embryos in our moth­ers' womb, our heart, the first organ to develop only to power the next organ—the devel­op­ing brain which is soon mak­ing a quar­ter of a mil­lion new neu­rons every minute. In the first 10 years of life, our infant brain will have made bil­lions and bil­lions of con­nec­tions. It is a super­charged engine for learn­ing and cre­ativ­ity. Yet by adult­hood we have lost most of this creativity. We now think like adults. That is we think too much and our thoughts are too influ­enced by our knowl­edge. We need to get back our abil­ity to think like kids again. How?