Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's not the end of the world, as we know it

I put quite a few Christmas gifts on my credit card, just in case.  By Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy, and Slate.

Maya Apocalypse 2012: Doomsday end-of-the-world prophecies are nonsense.

If you’re still worried, ask yourself this: if the Maya could predict the end of the world 1,000 years in advance, why couldn’t they see the pending collapse of their own civilization? 
When Saturday comes, and I can finally put a big X through Dec. 21 on my calendar, I will breathe a hearty sigh of relief. But my next breath will be a deep one, to prepare for the next bit of apocalyptic nonsense to come down the road. Because just as surely as this doomsday is nonsense, another will be along to replace it soon enough. I don't know what it'll be exactly, but I can be pretty sure it will be just as wrong as this one. 
And I'll have to write about it. The funny thing about the end of world: For skeptics, it's actually job security.

God help me, I do love top ten lists

Top Ten Reasons the World Won't End on December 21

The president of Wellesley College explains why

The college is moving online.  From The Huffington Post.

H. Kim Bottomly: Online Education: WellesleyX, a Grand Experiment

But edX offers us something more, another way to bring about an even better educational experience. Students online will be tracked, and their progress studied, allowing us to learn which pedagogical approaches are most effective, and which don't work. Through data collection, we will be able to link individual learning to our syllabi, content delivery, and interactive tools, and clearly assess the effectiveness of each. 
In addition, edX provides other exciting opportunities. For Wellesley College, the opportunity to provide access to Wellesley professors for many around the world -- especially women -- who would not otherwise have that opportunity, is consistent with our values. We imagine women in Saudi Arabia taking WellesleyX courses without having to leave their homes, or women in our own country taking a Wellesley course while juggling jobs and raising children, or young people from all areas of the country -- rural and urban -- trying their hand at an interesting course, expanding their knowledge of history, their appreciation of art and science, and their insight into our society. 
Yet another benefit is the potential for WellesleyX to become the means by which we provide lifelong learning for our alumnae -- something they want and something we want to do. We hope to extend their four-year educational experience to a lifetime.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Save the date

2013 Council for Accelerated Programs Conference

Navigating Acceleration: 
Use Assessment and Best Practices as your Compass!

Pre-Conference Events:  July 30th
Main Conference: July 31 - August 1st
Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center
Metropolitan State University of Denver

For more information, visit Here.

Call for Proposals

It’s Not Business as Usual!

The Tennessee Adult Learner Conference:  2013
Hosted by Middle Tennessee State University, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the University of Tennessee System
February 14 & 15, 2013 * Middle Tennessee State University* Murfreesboro, TN
Call for Presentation Proposals
Submission Instructions
Deadline for submissions is January 18, 2013
Conference Overview:
The theme for the 2013 Tennessee Adult Learner Conference is “It’s Not Business as Usual”.  Change is inevitable in all sectors of life and higher education is not exempt from change.  In fact, higher education across the nation, and in particular, in Tennessee is changing rapidly.  Factors influencing change include, but by no means are limited to:  The complete college movement, changing demographics, the new public higher education funding formula, MOOCs, technology, a continued scarcity of resources, the economy, the Tennessee Transfer Pathways, Prior Learning Assessments, lifelong learning, and workforce demands.  While all of these factors impact higher education for all age groups, this conference targets the impact of change on the adult learner (25+ years of age).  
To meet these challenges and opportunities, all of us are faced with developing new ways of doing business—how, in the face of change, do we still provide the services, support, and programs our adult learners need to begin, persist and complete college?  What works on your campus, in your community, through your institution’s collaboration with other entities?  Truly, it’s not business as usual!
Proposal Guidelines:
Each proposal should showcase a program, service, support mechanism or research that addresses one or more change factors impacting higher education at your institution or in your community.  Proposals can highlight collaboration between community and campus (e.g., the process of securing an agreement with the local transit company to allow enrolled college students to ride the city bus for free) or can focus on campus-based services, programs or support mechanisms (e.g., a concierge type service for adult learners), or research on innovative practices in higher education around the adult learner population.  We are seeking innovative responses to the current changes in Tennessee higher education communities—we want participants to walk away from this year’s conference with a toolkit of proven programs, services, or supports to aid the adult learner.  Presentation slots will be 45 minutes, including a presentation  no longer than 30 minutes, with additional time for questions and discussion.  As always, the aim of the presentations is to help us explore ways to improve the services, programs, and support for adult learners in Tennessee, keeping in mind that it’s NOT business as usual.
Completing the Call for Presentation Proposals Submission Form:
Ø  Complete a separate application for each presentation you are proposing.
Ø  Send the completed proposal submission form electronically to:  Jessica Gibson at no later than January 20, 2013.
MTSU, THEC, and UT, in cooperation, reserve the right to combine similar proposals, and to edit titles and descriptions as necessary.  Prior to submitting your application, please check to be sure that all your proposed speakers and conveners are available to be present at the 2013 Tennessee Adult Learner Conference, February 14-15, 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

School and technology

Maureen Downey has a great column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Get Schooled. This appeared recently, and I was struck by words of Professor Huett.

Digital natives: Are schools foreign to them?
Technology guru and University of West Georgia professor Jason B. Huett said a frontier teacher from a century ago popped into today’s modern era would be agape at the changes she saw every place but one — the classroom. 
“When she walked into a school, she would immediately know what this is, and she could pretty much swap her prairie dress for a pants suit and go right to work,” said Huett, West Georgia’s associate dean of online development and USG eCore, a multi-institution collaborative where college students can take classes online. 
Huett is among the those urging schools to use technology to make schools more relevant, accessible and flexible and less like a prison sentence.

Monday, December 17, 2012

ETSU offers Renaissance Child Winter Enrichment Program

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development is offering a Renaissance Child Winter Enrichment Program, Jan. 3, 4 and 7, 2013.

This creative experience provides activities for children ages 6-12. The schedule includes storytelling, arts and crafts, and safe science experiments.

The program operates from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on the ETSU campus and costs $50 per day, with discounts for those attending two or three days. Each child should bring a bag lunch and wear “paint-friendly” clothing.

Space is limited, and while substitutions are allowed, there are no refunds.

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

Tales of the non-traditional

More news about graduation and adult and continuing education students.  From The New York Times.

80-Year-Old Graduate of W.G.U. Texas Kept His Promise

Robert Titus likes to make jokes. Discussing his recently earned bachelor’s degree in marketing management, the 80-year-old said, “I wanted to get it while I was young, so I can start off on a good career.”  
But Mr. Titus has no illusions about getting hired, and he is just fine with that. After more than a decade of retirement, he is happier than ever.
So why pursue the degree? 
“I promised my mother many, many years ago that I would get my degree,” said Mr. Titus, a former salesman who lives in Houston. “To me, it was a major, big, big, huge accomplishment.” 
By a wide margin, Mr. Titus was the oldest member of the inaugural graduating class from W.G.U. Texas, a nonprofit online university created in 2011 with an executive order by Gov. Rick Perry.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Infographic Friday

Appointments Redefine Event Success Infographic
More on Event Management Software
It's time to get face-to-face and demand more value from events. Discover how one-to-one appointments are changing the event landscape with Certain's new Infographic!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ETSU to assist those wishing to begin or complete graduate degrees

East Tennessee State University will offer assistance to those desiring to begin work on a graduate degree or those needing to write a thesis or dissertation to complete a degree.

A Graduate Record Examination Test Preparation Workshop will be held on Saturday, Jan. 12, in an all-day session for prospective graduate school applicants.

Sponsored by the ETSU School of Graduate Studies and the School of Continuing Studies and Outreach, the program has a registration fee of $55, which includes coffee and a continental breakfast, lunch as well as five hours of instruction on the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing measures of the GRE. In addition, participants will take three 30-minute practice tests and receive the scores for the tests, along with advice on improving those scores.

The online link for registration is Test Prep.

Those who have nearly completed a graduate degree are invited to attend the ETSU Thesis and Dissertation Boot Camp. The four-session “camp” will emphasize writing time in a library computer lab plus options for mini-workshops on topics such as Milestones and Speed Bumps, Thesis and Dissertation Style Guides, Review of Writing Mechanics, The Review and Editing Process and Organizing Literature for Review. Participants will receive review and feedback by expert thesis and dissertation readers.

The cost is $150 total and each enrollee should attend at all four sessions, which are held on Friday evenings from 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., with an option of remaining until 9 p.m. The workshops will be conducted January 25 and 26, February 8 and 9, 22 and 23, and March 23. The sessions will be held in room 309 of ETSU’s Charles C. Sherrod Library.

The registration fee includes snacks and Saturday lunches.

Additional work with a tutor is available for a charge of $15 per hour, beginning with the second session.

Online registration is available at Boot Camp.

The Boot Camp is a collaborative effort of the ETSU School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach, the School of Graduate Studies, the Writing Center, the Charles C. Sherrod Library and graduate faculty.

For further information, contact the ETSU Office of Professional Development at 1-800-222-3878.      

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just how cool is today's date?

Will Oremus and Slate answer.

12/12/12: Where does it rank among the all-time coolest dates?
At this point you’re probably wondering, just how cool is 12/12/12? Is it even in the top 50? If we celebrate today, does that commit us to an increasingly dreary procession of semi-cool-date celebrations in the years to come? At what point does cool-date fatigue set in? 
On that last point, at least, you can rest assured: Today is the last repeating-number date of the 21st Century, even going by the cheaty two-digit-year format. Still, if we’re to avoid cool-date inflation, it’s essential that we some lay down definitive rankings. Herewith, the all-time top 10 coolest dates, according to universally agreed-upon standards of coolness such as roundness, symmetry, and coincidence with numbers of mathematical significance.
  1. 1/1/1
  2. 1/2/345
  3. 11/11/1111
  4. 1/1/1000
  5. 3/14/1592
  6. 6/6/666
  7. 9/9/999
  8. 5/4/321
  9. 2/7/1828
  10. 6/23/1023 

Florida community colleges challenged to offer $10,000 degrees

Bachelor's degrees, that is.  From The Miami Herald.

Gov. Scott challenges community colleges to offer $10,000 degrees
Scott’s proposal: offering discounted bachelor’s degree programs, priced at $10,000 or less for in-state residents.  
The governor’s $10,000 degree push is for now voluntary, but seven of Florida’s 28 community colleges have pledged to take part, including Broward College.  
The $10,000 figure would cover the cost of tuition for all four years of college, though it may not include other costs such as textbooks.  
“This $10,000 degree challenge will undoubtedly jump-start the dreams of many Floridians,” Scott said in a statement released by his office.  
Broward College Provost Linda Howdyshell said the school is looking into offering $10,000 degrees in three areas: information technology, supervision and management, and transportation and logistics. With so many details still to be worked out, Howdyshell said it would be difficult to launch the initiative by fall of 2013, though the college might be able to begin one of the degree tracks by then. 
Miami Dade College representatives declined to comment on Monday.  
Right now, pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a Florida community college costs an average of $13,264 for four years of instruction. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree at a state university — where tuition has increased dramatically in recent years — costs about $25,700.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Save the date

2013 GAEA Annual Conference

March 11-12, 2013

The Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens - For information on The Lodge & Spa, click here

Register by January 31, 2013 to receive the Early Bird conference rate of $199 (available to members only). Special Offer: send two of your staff and the third attends FREE. Regular conference rate - $269; Non-Member rate - $299.


A limited number of scholarships are available.
Topics will include:
  • Preparing Program Goals & Objectives
  • Revamping Your Programs to Succeed
  • Strategies for Designing Real Revenue Generating Programs
  • Managing Stress
  • During Program Development
  • Effective Programming: Determining What Your Community Wants
  • Examining New Trends in Continuing Education
Keynote speakers include Dr. Earl Suttle and Mr. Henry Carter. Watch as Dr. Suttle inspires others in this short video.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Is vital. . . and not just on evaluation day.  What is good feedback?  Paul Shread, in Time, explains below.
So what are the characteristics of effective feedback? For starters, it should be frequent, say once a week. And make it short, focused and immediate, so no one’s left wondering how you feel about something that happened. 
If you must deliver criticism, sandwich it between two compliments so your employees realize that you recognize their value. Keep feedback focused on actions, not emotions. Specific directions or suggestions to help employees improve or figure out what to do next are most helpful. 
And remember one maxim: Praise in public, but critique in private. Everyone wants to be praised in front of their peers, while constructive criticism should be delivered privately.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Memphis is number five

Yes, Memphis.  A lot of these are in Texas and Oklahoma. A slide show from CBS News.

Top 10 most affordable cities in the U.S.

5. Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis is home to Elvis Presley's famous Graceland estate and the historic Sun Studio, where music legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded some of their most popular hits. The city remains a haven for music lovers. Home values are reasonable, with a median home sale price of $73,700, according to

Monday, December 3, 2012

East Tennessee State University’s Honors College and Office of Professional Development is offering online language-learning courses available in 25 languages through Rosetta Stone, a leading provider of technology-based, language-learning solutions.
From Dec. 1-20, anyone who registers for ETSU’s Rosetta Stone instruction will pay the traditional fee of $60 for two months and receive a third month free. Users pursue independent study, available at all proficiency levels, in the language of their choice. Among the most popular of the 25 languages available are Italian, English, Japanese, Latin, French, Spanish and Greek.
This non-credit professional development instruction is available to the community and does not require formal admission to ETSU.
For more information, contact Angela McFall of the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (800) 222-3878, or register online at