Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lifelong learner

She's here to chew bubblegum and kick ass.  And she's all out of bubblegum.  From The Johnson City Press.

Taekwondo just part of 80-year-old’s physical routine
Last week the feisty 80-year-old Ruth Sluder stepped away from one of her Taekwondo sessions at Olson’s Martial Arts Academy where she is a third-degree black belt to talk a bit about her brand of enthusiasm. 
It was her birthday. She’d just finished breaking a wooden board with her foot. The rosy glow on her cheeks was not rouge, and she fidgeted inside her martial arts garb, anxiously watching her “family” go through their maneuvers. 
That’s how she defines her martial arts mates. In turn, those at the school say she’s “the mom of the group.” 
“Before my husband died, he told me to go on and enjoy life,” she said with a smile. “My mother lived until she was 94. She exercised all her life — every day up until she passed. Age is only a number, and mine’s unlisted.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No where to go but up

For Tennessee on the state rankings for well-being.  Top states include Hawaii, Colorado, and Minnesota. Behind Tennessee are Mississippi (48), Kentucky (49) and West Virginia.  From The Tennessean.

Tennesseans rank 47th in well-being

Folks in these states tend to have lower rates of obesity and fewer medical problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain. They also report enjoying their jobs more, have lower rates of smoking, and exercise more often than residents in states that rank lower on the list. 
Five states that have always been in the bottom 10 with the lowest well-being score every year from 2008 to 2012: West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas and Mississippi

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gifting your staff

Seems to improve productivity more than a cash bonus.  Although it seems reminiscent of the Hawthorne Effect, these experiments suggest there is a productivity increase when you show employees that you put some thought into rewarding them by picking out a gift.  At least in Europe.  Would the results translate to the U.S.?  In the meantime, start putting more effort into those holiday presents you give out.  From Slate.  

Gifts from your boss: Do they make you work harder? - Slate Magazine
Before the students started to catalog the books, the experimenters told some of them that they would receive an unexpected 7-euro bonus—a 20 percent pay hike relative to the promised wage of 36 euros for the three-hour job. Another group was given a gift-wrapped water bottle that was worth around 7 euros. (In some versions of the experiment, a price tag was left on and catalogers were informed of the present’s value, to ensure that the employees didn’t overestimate it.) Crucially, a separate set of students didn’t receive any bonus at all, to serve as a baseline to measure the effects of gifts and extra cash. 

The cash bonus didn’t have any effect on the speed or accuracy with which the students did their jobs. However, those receiving the free bottle reciprocated by upping their data-entry rate by 25 percent, a productivity increase that more than offset the cost of the bottle itself. 
It’s not that the workers particularly loved their bottles—in fact, in a separate experiment in which catalogers were offered the choice between a bottle versus 7 euros, 80 percent took the cash (and still worked a lot harder). Rather, it was the thought that counted, and simply handing out a few more euros hardly takes much thought. Even offering the option of a gift showed that the employer cared. 
An intriguing final version of the experiment underscored the importance, in the eyes of the employees, of the thought and effort bosses put into their gifts. This time, the cash was delivered as a 5-euro note folded into an origami shirt and a 2-euro coin with a smiley face painted on it. The origami money-gift generated the highest increase in productivity of all. (While the researchers never handed out gift cards or other easy-to-obtain cash equivalents that are common and efficient employee rewards, one can imagine that a Starbucks gift card doesn’t exactly scream “I care.”)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Save the date

2013 NACADA Region 3 Conference

Greenville, SC
May 14-16, 2013

Growing with the Flow: Bridging Advising Strategies and Best Practices for Student Success

An economist breaks up with his girlfriend

After all, it's good to be data driven.  From Josh Freedman in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

It’s Not You, It’s Quantitative Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Susan, we need to talk. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About us. I really like you, but ever since we met in that econ class in college I knew there was something missing from how I felt: quantitative reasoning. We can say we love each other all we want, but I just can’t trust it without the data. And after performing an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of our relationship, I just don’t think this is working out. 
Please know that this decision was not rash. In fact, it was anything but—it was completely devoid of emotion. I just made a series of quantitative calculations, culled from available OECD data on comparable families and conservative estimates of future likelihoods. I then assigned weights to various “feelings” based on importance, as judged by the relevant scholarly literature. From this, it was easy to determine that given all of the options available, the winning decision on both cost-effectiveness and comparative-effectiveness grounds was to see other people. 
It’s not you, it’s me. Well, it’s not me either: it’s just common sense, given the nature of my utility function.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The higher education inspector will see you now

Tennessee considering another layer of oversight for colleges and universities.  From The Tennessean.

Bill offered to create TN higher ed inspector
Republican state lawmakers are proposing legislation to create an inspector who would examine operations within Tennessee’s higher education systems. 
The legislation, which was delayed in the House State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday, would create the Office of Higher Education Ombudsman within the office of the state Comptroller of the Treasury. It also would establish the position of Higher Education Inspector General within the ombudsman’s office, which is estimated to cost $504,300, according to a legislative summary of the bill. 
The salary and benefits alone for the inspector general’s position are expected to cost $123,000. 
The person’s job would be to “examine financial and policy compliance” within the University of Tennessee and state Board of Regents systems and annually report to the chairmen of the education committees in the House and Senate. 
The ombudsman could function as the inspector general, “unless the comptroller finds that responsibilities would be handled more efficiently by two separate individuals,” according to the summary. 
State Republicans, who hold supermajorities in both chambers, have stressed streamlining government to save money. They passed legislation to eliminate nearly a dozen oversight committees and shift their responsibilities to standing committees in the House and Senate.

The King of Engagement

And not the betrothal kind, either.  How many of these can you come up with?  The Knight of Noncredit? The Conference Queen? From Time.

Ambassador of Buzz? Are Offbeat Job Titles Awesome or Unprofessional?
Why be just another generic associate when you could hold the job title of ninja, happy maker or ambassador of buzz? Quirky job titles can give the impression that worker and company alike are fun, hip and creative. Then again, they might just come off as silly. 
Offbeat job titles have been around for years, especially in cutting-edge tech firms and funky, laid-back places like Oregon. A 2009 story highlighted, for instance, how companies in the state were handing employees job titles such as consultant of pleasure and (you gotta love this one) grand pooh-bah. 
The Boston Globe now reports that the fun, irreverent-job-title trend is spreading to “more traditional fields” including publishing and advertising. So a young woman who answers phone calls and greets guests in an office isn’t being called a receptionist but a director of first impressions. An employee at an advertising firm traded in the stodgy title of senior vice president of business development for the New Agey (but sorta vague) title creator of opportunities. And yes, a worker who might have been a mere corporate-communications assistant in a different era is now known as the firm’s ambassador of buzz.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An evening with President Noland in Asheville, NC

In Asheville, NC. 

Conference trends

Successful Meetings lists five notable corporate event trends.  I've pulled out number four.

5 Corporate Event Trends to Watch in 2013

Event organizers will engage audiences with smartphones: Smartphones are increasingly used to conduct business and stay in touch. Gartner predicts that mobile devices will surpass PCs as the tool of choice to access the web in 2013. Forward-thinking event planners will provide attendees with all-in-one apps they can use to track activities, connect with business contacts and share their experiences via social networks. These apps will also empower organizers to engage with users before, during and after an event.

Dr. Elaine Boone named coordinator of ETSU’s presence in downtown Kingsport

East Tennessee State University has selected Dr. Elaine Boone as coordinator of the university’s activities in the Downtown Kingsport Academic Village, working in collaboration with the Kingsport Higher Education Commission. 

ETSU is offering classes this semester at the Regional Center for Applied Technology, and Boone will oversee the ongoing progress of the university’s presence by determining program needs and matching faculty and classes to fill those needs as ETSU transitions to a larger space in the Food City Shopping Center.

Boone brings a diverse background to the position. A Kingsport native, she taught 25 years at many places, including Kingsport City Schools, Washington Co. Schools, Abilene (Texas) Independent School District, McMurry University, Tusculum College, Northeast State Community College (NSCC) and ETSU. She has developed curricula, advised students, supervised interns and served as an administrator. In addition, she was co-owner and manager of a small business.

Boone has been teaching management and marketing classes as an adjunct faculty member in the ETSU College of Business and Technology since 2006.

“It is an honor to be a new member of the ETSU team,” Boone says. “As coordinator of ETSU Downtown Kingsport, I am thankful for the opportunity to assist students in attaining their educational and career goals.”                          

Dean of the ETSU School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach Dr. Rick Osborn adds, “We are very pleased to have Kingsport native Elaine Boone on board and ready to manage our new site. We started this spring semester with over 200 students in our temporary space in Northeast State’s Regional Center for Applied Technology, and we are excited about our future in downtown Kingsport. In particular, we look forward to partnering with NSCC to improve access to higher education and increase the number of college graduates in the region.”                                

Boone received an associate degree from Hiwassee College; a bachelor’s degree from Milligan College; a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene; and a doctorate of education from ETSU.

For further information, contact Boone at (423) 392-8060 or

Monday, March 18, 2013

In my day, I worked my way through college

Here's why you can't do that today.  The New York Times describes the plight of working students. Even if, according to your chronological age, you aren't an adult, most of our students have adult responsibilities these days.

College Costs, Battled a Paycheck at a Time
But students nowadays who try to work their way through college without parental support or loans face a financial challenge of a different order than the one that Ms. Foxx, 69, confronted as a University of North Carolina undergraduate more than 40 years ago. Today, a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State, the largest university in her district, can easily cost $80,000 for a state resident, including tuition, room, board and other costs. Back in her day, the total was about $550 a year. Even with inflation, that would translate to just over $4,000 for each year it takes to earn a degree. 
And the paychecks that Mr. Tolmie managed in the big city are only a dream in towns like Boone, where employers have their pick of thousands of Appalachian State undergraduates. Even the most industrious, like Kelsey Manuel, a junior who drives 10 miles each way to a job in a resort where she earns $10 to $11 an hour, often cannot work enough to finish college debt-free. 
No one tracks how many students are trying to work their way through without parental assistance or debt, but plenty work long hours while also attending classes full time. As of 2010, some 17 percent of full-time undergraduates of traditional age worked 20 to 34 hours a week, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. About 6 percent worked 35 hours or more.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Civil mediation training

ETSU's Office of Professional Development will offer civil mediation training approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission (ADRC). The sessions will meet on April 4, 5, 18, 19 and 20, from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in the East Tennessee Room of the D.P. Culp University Center.

Jean Munroe will conduct the 40-hour course that covers employment, contract, business, personal injury, sexual harassment and community issues. Other content includes requirements of Rule 31, the mediation process, negotiation styles and methods, the reasons people make specific decisions, the basics of neurolinguistics, increasing one’s emotional intelligence and ways mediators can market themselves.

Munroe has been a mediator since 1991. She was approved in 1998 by the Tennessee Supreme Court ADRC to train Rule 31 mediators, and she has conducted over 100 mediation training sessions.

This training is of benefit to attorneys, teachers, social workers, psychologists, executives, ministers, law enforcement officers, or anyone else dealing with conflict resolution.

The fee for the session is $1,245 for the Rule 31 training. A discount of $100 is offered to those registering before March 15. Those who are already listed as Rule 31 family mediators may take 16 hours of crossover training for $450 or $400 for those who have trained previously with Munroe.

To register, or for further information, contact the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084 or toll free at (800) 222-3878, or visit

ACL starts soon

East Tennessee State University’s Alliance for Continued Learning (ACL) will offer a wide range of seminars and activities during its spring program series beginning Tuesday, March 19, and ending Tuesday, April 23. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. All classes will be held at the Memorial Park Community Center, 510 Bert St. 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 March 19 at 9:30 a.m. ETSU President Emeritus Dr. Paul Stanton will offer welcoming remarks.

The spring lineup includes a look at the civil rights movement by Dr. Jill LeRoy-Frasier of the ETSU School of Continuing Studies; Southern Appalachian folk medicine explained by Dr. Anthony Cavender of the ETSU Department of Sociology and Anthropology; and an investigation of the “prodigal son” in art.

Among other sessions are musician and composer Dr. Lewis Songer speaking on the acoustics of music; retired pastor Dr. John Martin interpreting the Apostle Paul in light of the Hindu Upanishads; and Dr. Julia Wade, who retired as a biology professor at Milligan College, outlining “Evolution Then and Now: A Misunderstood Phenomenon.”

Additional options are Dr. Brian Martin of the ETSU College of Public Health discussing health care reform and Dr. Theodore Thomas of Milligan College bringing to light the “under-reported hero” Pralat Hermann Maas, a pastor in Heidelberg, Germany, during World War II.

Field trips are planned to ETSU’s radio, television and film studio and the George L. Carter Railroad Museum.            

Sponsored by the ETSU Office of Professional Development, the ACL is “member-powered, member-driven and member-governed.” Participants decide the study groups, forums, classes and other activities to be held, find leaders for the sessions, and elect officers. No educational pre-requisites, examinations, or grades are involved in the courses. A $40 fee allows participants to attend any or all sessions. New participants may have one free first-time session when they register in advance.

For more information or a schedule of classes, visit 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.

Face to face still best

For generating ideas.  So it makes sense to sit down together in the same place to plan a conference.  From Successful Meetings.

Face-to-Face Meetings Generate Most Ideas, Scientific Study Finds
The best brainstorming sessions take place in person during face-to-face meetings, according to a new scientific study. 
Conducted by the IMEX Group in partnership with the Meetology Group, the study involved an experiment that was designed to test the question, “Does meeting face-to-face improve creativity compared to virtual meetings?” As part of the experiment, pairs of participants engaged in brainstorming sessions face-to-face, over the phone and via video chat. The results showed that face-to-face sessions generate more ideas, a “marginally” higher quality of ideas and a greater variety of ideas than either phone or video chat. 
“A face-to-face meeting between two people who do not know each other resulted in more creative ideas than the other two methods,” says Dr. Paul Redford, a consultant psychologist who led the experiment. “The statistics show there is a significant difference in the number of creative ideas generated, a marginal but notable difference in the quality of those ideas and also a greater variety of ideas produced. These results were all the more notable given that the participants didn’t always share the same language and did not necessarily know each other before the experiment.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Starts next week

2013 Georgia Adult Education Association Annual Conference
March 11-12, 2013
Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens
Pine Mountain, Georgia

Mr. Henry Carter - Author and Community LeaderDr. Earl Suttle - Leadership Success International 



Call for proposals

Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund

The Summer Session Research Consortium is pleased to announce a  Call for Proposals for the Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund.

Amount of Award 
The total for the year 2013 is $10,000. One or two proposals will be supported from this amount.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to Dr. Donna Shea, the Research Consortium Chair, by Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Funding decisions will be announced by May 2013. Prospective applicants should feel free to contact Donna by email or telephone at 617-353-5124 with questions or to discuss their ideas.

More Information
Details about the award process are available in the 2013 Call for Proposals.

The Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund honors Theresa Ann Neil, a nearly 20-year member of the staff at at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Born in 1948, Theresa passed away on June 25, 1994, after an accident that took her life and that of her husband, D.C. Neil.  She served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration and Director of Continuing Education and Extension at Duluth.

North American Association of Summer Sessions
Jamie Bilella, President
Janet Lange, Executive Secretary
Candy Hall, Administrative Support

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I wonder if McDonald's University

Is still in operation?  Does anyone know?  Anyway, Frank Abderholden, writing in The Chicago Sun-Times, describes another corporate college.  I remember when these were viewed as a growing threat to continuing education.  Nowadays, there other threats...

Walgreens U area’s latest collegiate addition
Walgreens University is not solely a building, but a national program with national access and offerings for team members at every level of the company,” said Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, chief human resources officer. “We hope every one of our 240,000 team members will find ways to grow their careers and improve themselves through the educational opportunities that Walgreens University will expand or introduce.” 
Plans are to double the number of learning opportunities for employees through expanded online classes, regional training sessions and in the Deerfield campus classrooms. More than 100 courses will be available through one of the few corporate training programs to offer college credit for certain classes, including pharmacy technician training, and management and retail fundamentals. 
Companies in the United States increased spending on training and development 12 percent last year, the highest growth rate in eight years, according to California-based Bersin by Deloitte, a human resources consulting firm. 
“We aim to be the best in our industry for employee education and training, and among the best of all major American corporations,” said Wilson-Thompson. “...Our team members need to continuously grow new skills and capabilities throughout their careers with us.” 
Education providers to Walgreens University include Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, offering a customized MBA program; University of Maryland University College; Webster University; the University of Phoenix; and DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management. 
Tuition discounts of 10 to 25 percent will be available to many Walgreens employees, with some discounts offered to spouses and dependents. Employees also will have access to non-credit management courses offered online from Harvard Business Publishing, a subsidiary of Harvard University. 
“There are small collaboration spaces for students with technology,” said Sal Venegas, director of learning and development as he led a tour of the new facility. “Then they can take a picture with their phones [to reference it later].”

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dr. Glover is my hero

Programs and policies designed to improve student learning by holding schools accountable for performance on standardized tests are brought into serious question in a new book published by an East Tennessee State University professor.

Dr. Eric Glover is the author of The Myth of Accountability: What Don’t We Know?, published by Rowman & Littlefield Education. Glover is a professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in the ETSU Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education, where he also coordinates the principal training program.

In his book, Glover challenges the idea that schools are failing and goes on to argue the opposite.

“Yes, there are failing schools serving children of poverty, but overall our schools have improved and continue to improve in spite of accountability measures that limit their ability to do so,” Glover said.  “Today, our best classrooms and schools are organizations that should be emulated by business and other entities, and they are models of the learning organizations that enterprises strive to become. Sadly, accountability-based reform policies actually limit student and teacher learning. 

“The educational reform movement has failed for nearly 30 years. It hasn't worked because it can't,” he said.

According to Glover, an examination of educational statistics reveals that the United States has some of the best and worst schools in the world. He believes the true “villain” behind school failure is poverty, and while schools can help overcome this problem, he says they cannot do it by themselves and they cannot do it with accountability-based reform. 

He also states that accountability is contrary to the psychology of the complexity of human learning, describing it as entirely dependent on “carrots and sticks,” an assumption that all human behavior is based on external motivation.

“It is through individual internal motivation that true change, innovation and human progress will occur,” he said.  “Reform mandates ignore the laws of systems science. Accountability is a management control device that limits system variety. It is a useful tool for producing standardized products, like automobiles and electronic devices, but is inappropriate for developing human beings.

“Accountability creates sameness at the expense of excellence,” he said.

Rather than emulating factory production techniques in schools, Glover believes that children are better served by recognizing that schooling is an extension of the first and most successful of all human organizations: the family.  In The Myth of Accountability, he presents the “lead-teach-learn triad” or “LTL,” as a framework for understanding the ability of humans to learn from one another.

“Quite simply, humans are better leaders, teachers and learners than other creatures,” he said.  “In truth, the foundation of all human organization and the common attribute found among all successful human ventures is two or more individuals engaged in an LTL relationship.

“The relationship between mother and child is the first such relationship encountered by each individual and the essential element behind the development of human civilization,” he said.  “LTL represents a more realistic model for improving school than accountability mandates that characterize teachers as factory line operators and students as the objects they produce.” 

“Open Inquiry” and “Developmental Empowerment” are two concepts Glover introduces as ways to improve LTL practices in schools and other organizations. Open Inquiry is a set of conversational tools for listening, valuing and respecting others that leads to learning. Developmental Empowerment is a research-based proposition for understanding human development as a function of the construction of learning. 

“Eric Glover is an educational leader and scholar who truly ‘gets it’ in this time of radical change occurring in schools across our nation,” said Linda Stroud, director of schools for Greeneville City Schools.  “He not only clearly defines the issues, but offers a workable solution for practitioners and school leaders. Educators should have two copies of this to read and use, and one to give to a local or state policy maker.”

To learn more about The Myth of Accountability: What Don’t We Know? or to order a copy, visit or call (800) 462-6420.

Class, your required reading is on Facebook

That will make it easier for you to remember the content.  Or so it seems. I have to say, though, that I disagree with the author that there are too many posts about babies on Facebook.  Other people's babies, perhaps, but my way.  From Salon.

Study: People can remember more about Facebook than real books -

Researchers at the University of Warwick and the University of California, San Diego, tested how well people could remember text taken from Facebook updates and compared it to sentences picked at random from books. What they found is that participants’ memory for Facebook posts was about one and a half times greater than their memory for sentences from books. 
Now before you slap your forehead and lament the death of the written word, consider the implications. 
The study’s findings shed considerable light on the kind of information we are hard-wired to retain, revealing that our brains favor natural, spontaneous writing over more polished content. To put it into context, think about your Facebook timeline. Sure, there are too many posts about babies, but there is other stuff on there, too. Responses to news stories, thoughts about the world. Usually casual, often gossipy, these posts, researchers say, are easier to remember than more formal, edited content. Basically, the closer to natural speech something is, the better we remember it. (Sorry, Judith Butler! I still love you!) 
Researchers say these findings could change the way we approach education, communications and advertising. They also reveal something striking about the evolution of the human mind.