Friday, August 30, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

All three Tri Cities are ranked

In NerdWallet's list of the ten best cities in Tennessee for young families.  They looked at public schools, cost of living, and town growth and prosperity. Here's the list::

The Best Towns in Tennessee for Young Families

Rank City Nearest big city GreatSchools rating Median home value Monthly owner costs Median household income Growth,’99-’11 Overall score for young families
1 Collierville Memphis 10 $277,100 $2,172 $102,298 27.0% 68.1
2 Spring Hill Nashville 9 $197,700 $1,493 $75,728 24.4% 65.8
3 Mt. Juliet Nashville 9 $192,300 $1,439 $70,868 20.9% 65.1
4 Franklin Nashville 9 $309,400 $1,907 $77,118 36.7% 64.6
5 Oak Ridge Knoxville 8 $142,100 $1,312 $53,419 27.3% 62.3
6 Brentwood Nashville 10 $483,700 $2,615 $127,596 14.1% 62.0
7 Bristol 8 $100,900 $1,015 $35,320 17.6% 61.0
8 Hendersonville Nashville 8 $198,200 $1,598 $63,719 27.2% 60.8
9 Johnson City 8 $153,000 $1,207 $37,284 20.9% 60.0
10 Kingsport 7 $120,400 $1,021 $39,901 30.7% 59.5


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

She really was a stripper working her way through college....

Talk about a non-traditional student.  Pour some sugar on me.  From Salon.

G-strings and Ph.D.s
Anthropologist Katherine Frank spent six years stripping and interviewing 30 of her regular customers to research her book “G-Strings and Sympathy: Strip Club Regulars and Male Desire.” Adapted from her Ph.D. dissertation, it’s an academic yet accessible exploration of the exchange between the naked lady on the platform and the man who keeps returning to tuck money in her garter. 
Frank discusses with equal ease the bounce/rump-shaker move and the self-reflexive nature of the post-tourist, and her experience reflects less mind-body dissociation than one might expect. She created a set she calls her Ode to Baudrillard at one of the clubs, stripping off layers to songs (one from “The Matrix” and one by White Zombie) that reference the philosopher who argues that reality — sorry, “reality” — has become indistinguishable from its representations, or simulacra. (Had she not retired to academia, I would suggest that Frank add Hole’s “Doll Parts” with its Baudrillardian refrain, “I fake it so real I am beyond fake.”) 
Frank worked in several clubs in a Southeastern city she calls Laurelton, a mecca for strip club enthusiasts. In the huge, upscale, mostly white Diamond Dolls, 200 to 300 “girls” danced on stages and moved through the crowd selling $10 table dances to individual customers. Upstairs were private rooms that cost between $100 and $500 an hour and $200 an hour for dancers. Celebrities would often go straight upstairs, and rumors flew about orgies in there — rumors, Frank points out, that were neither true nor squelched. She also worked at Tina’s Revue, a smaller, cheaper, mixed-race club where the fantasized activities were drug dealing and prostitution. In both places, men could and often did pay dancers to sit and talk with them.

Monday, August 26, 2013

ETSU is 87th

In the Washington Monthly's 2013 National University Rankings. Ahead of us in Tennessee: Tennessee State University is 17th, Vanderbuilt is 20th, and the University of Memphis is 37th. Behind us:  Middle Tennessee State University comes in at 105 and The University of Tennessee at 124.  In case you're wondering, TSU is ranked extremely high in Social Mobility, just behind the University of Texas-El Paso and North Carolina A&T State University.  In the more information than you probably want or need catagory--my son teaches History at Tennessee Wesleyan College, the 32nd ranked Baccalaureate College in the country.

This cracked my friends up at the Faculty Convocation

A biologist, a chemist, and a statistician are out hunting. The biologist shoots at a deer and misses five feet to the left. The chemist takes a shot and misses five feet to the right. The statistician yells, ‘We got ‘im!’ ”

Women's Equality Day

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And never wear a red shirt

I wouldn't volunteer for an away mission either.  From OPEN Forum.

Hire people who are smarter than you. Kirk had Spock. Janeway had Tuvok. Picard had Data. Starfleet captains are highly intelligent, highly trained specialists, but every single one has a close and trusted officer on board they know is even smarter and more capable. When a captain runs into a situation that's beyond his mental abilities, somebody with the capacity to figure it out is right there on the bridge.  
Takeaway: It's tough on the ego to not be the smartest person in the room, but great for business. Hire people specifically because they're smarter and more capable than you are. It will give you a huge advantage over leaders whose egos can't take the hit. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What, me worry?


Living within your means seems to be the answer.  From Time.

Maybe we worry too much about retirees. As a group, they are more likely than working people to describe their finances as comfortable, according to a new poll. 
How can this be? Aren’t oppressively low bank rates crushing the lifestyle of folks concentrated in conservative investments? Hasn’t the housing bust wiped out much of their home-equity safety net? Weren’t many forced to sell assets at low prices to make ends meet? 
The answer to these questions is, in part, yes. Yet 75% of retirees report that they are financially comfortable right now, Gallup reports. That tops the 67% of working people who claim to be financially comfortable and suggests that whatever economic hardships have befallen elders, they are no more painful than those that have afflicted working folks. 
On its face, the comfort level that retirees express is confounding. Low rates have curbed income, rendered fixed annuities a costly solution, and jacked up the premiums on long-term-care insurance, among other things. Meanwhile, retirees are far more likely to report less income than working people.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coffee

Is there anything you can't do?  From The Huffington Post.

Coffee May Lower Suicide Risk By 50 Percent, Harvard Study Indicates
Keep drinking your morning cup of joe, coffee drinkers. Aside from a jolt of energy, caffeinated coffee may lower the suicide risk in men and women by 50 percent, Harvard researchers indicated in a recent study. 
Reviewing data from three large-scale U.S. studies, the team from the Harvard School of Public Health compared the risk of suicide for adults who consumed two to four caffeinated cups per day with that of non-coffee drinkers, those who drank much less coffee per day and people who chose decaf. 
The results, published earlier this month in the The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, were striking. Comparatively, the suicide risk for those who drank two to four cups per day was about 50 percent less than the risk for subjects in the other groups. (The total sample included more than 200,000 participants, who were studied for time spans of at least 16 years.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

There's not enough graduating high school seniors

This enrollment trend will put more emphasis on attracting adult and nontraditional students, creating more pressure for continuing education units.  At the same time, tuition has gotten so high that many adults cannot afford to attend.  Plus, there's constant and increasing competition for that adult student.  It's hard out there for a continuing educator.  From The New York Times.

The long enrollment boom that swelled American colleges — and helped drive up their prices — is over, with grim implications for many schools. 
College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years. The college-age population is dropping after more than a decade of sharp growth, and many adults who opted out of a forbidding job market and went back to school during the recession have been drawn back to work by the economic recovery. 
Hardest hit are likely to be colleges that do not rank among the wealthiest or most prestigious, and are heavily dependent on tuition revenue, raising questions about their financial health — even their survival.
“There are many institutions that are on the margin, economically, and are very concerned about keeping their doors open if they can’t hit their enrollment numbers,” said David A. Hawkins, the director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which has more than 1,000 member colleges. 
The most competitive colleges remain unaffected, but gaining admission to middle-tier institutions will most likely get easier.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And sometimes a banana is just a banana

Throughout my career, I've been blessed with great bosses.  Of course, some were better than others, and I learned just as much from their mistakes as their successed.  From TODAY.com.

The bully, the narcissist, the know-it-all, even the psychopath. 
We may not like them, or want our children to be like them. But chances are, almost everyone who has worked long enough has a horror story about a superior who generally behaved like Homer Simpson’s boss, Mr. Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns.
A growing number of researchers are looking into what makes a real-life Mr. Burns, and what they are finding isn’t always pretty. 
“There are whole climates and cultures of abuse in the workplace,” said Darren Treadway, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management. His recent research looks at why bullies are able to persist, and sometimes even thrive, at work. 
He said many people have either seen or experienced bullying at work because some bullies are skilled enough to figure out who they can abuse to get ahead, and who they can charm to get away with it. 
“The successful ones are very, very socially skilled,” he said. “They’re capable of disguising their behavior.” 
Both popular culture and real life are rife with examples of alleged bullying. Just this week, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was accused by his communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, of harassment including dragging her around in a headlock and whispering sexual advances. Filner has rejected the claims.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Perhaps if it comes with a thaw in state support

When I moved to Tennessee twenty years ago, we were a low-tuition state.  Our out-of-state tuition was cheaper than some neighboring states' in-state tuition. Students paid about 33% of the cost of their education at public universities; now it's 67%.  That reversal has led to increased tuition.  And it's the same story in a lot of states. From The Tennessean.

A state senator has announced plans to file legislation that would freeze tuition rates for state colleges and universities. 
Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson, said in a news release that his bill would keep tuition rates at their current level “for several years” but did not offer specifics. It also will include recommendations for reducing higher education costs, he said. 
In June, the Tennessee Board of Regents and The University of Tennessee both raised tuition between 3 and 6 percent for each of the campuses they oversee. Over the past five years, the average cost of in-state tuition for publicly funded four-year colleges and universities increased 30 percent in Tennessee, according to the CollegeBoard Advocacy and Policy Center. 
Hikes 'an outrage' 
“The current increases are an outrage, especially in light of this year’s increase in appropriations to these higher education systems,” Summerville said. “No other governmental department consistently raises their costs to the taxpayers at such a high rate on an annual basis.”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

ETSU’s Professional Development granted APA co-sponsorship status

The American Psychological Association (APA) has recently granted co-sponsorship status to East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development. The APA designed such status to facilitate access to quality APA-approved continuing education programs for psychologists and other mental health professionals.

Psychologists in Tennessee must acquire 40 continuing education credits every two years to maintain membership in APA; non-APA members must participate in continuing education every two years to maintain licensure.

Applications for partnering with groups for APA credit programs are being accepted by the Office of Professional Development. These applications may be accessed by going to www.etsu.edu/professionaldevelopment.

I'm feeling victimized myself when I look in the mirror...

It absolutely wouldn't surprise me that this discrimination exists.  But I have to wonder what in the world Dr. Miller was thinking when he tweeted.  Evolutionary psychology indeed. From CBS News.

Does academia discriminate against fat Ph.D. students?  
A new study that suggests it is in fact happening comes on the heels of a professor's controversial tweet last month that denigrated obese Ph.D. students. Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychology professor, unleashed a firestorm of criticism when he tweeted this:   
"Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn't have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won't have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth." 
After the tweet caused an uproar, Miller, who is a visiting professor this summer at New York University, claimed that the tweet was part of a research project, but the institutional review board at the University of New Mexico where he is tenured didn't buy it.  
In a new study on postgraduate student applicants, researchers at Bowling Green State University concluded that thinner job candidates enjoyed better luck finding postgraduate positions and were more likely to receive favorable recommendations than their obese peers. The weight bias was particularly pronounced among women seeking jobs, according to the study that was published in the journal Obesity.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let's go Peay!

The only public Tennessee institution on The Chronicle of Higher Education's best workplace list is Austin Peay State University. Privates Milligan College and Lee University made the list. From The Tennessean.

For the second consecutive year, Austin Peay State University is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education
APSU was the only public university in Tennessee to make the list. 
The results were released in The Chronicle’s sixth annual report on The Academic Workplace. In all, only 97 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with APSU included among the large universities with 10,000 or more students. APSU won honors in categories including professional/career development programs, job satisfaction and teaching environment.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

University of Iowa tops Princeton Review's party school list

Hail to thee, our alma mater... Interestingly enough, the top fve has a distinctive Midwestern flavor.  The entire list can be found at ABC News.
The Princeton Review released its annual college rankings on Monday, including a list of the Top 20 party schools in the nation for 2013.
1. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
2. University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.
4. West Virginia University, Morgantown W. Va.
5. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.

Grammar time!

[Infographic provided by Grammar.net]

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learn a new language through ETSU Rosetta Stone language instruction

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development is offering online language-learning courses available in 25 languages through a licensing agreement with Rosetta Stone®, a leading provider of technology-based language-learning solutions.

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, offered for a fee of $60 for two months.

In addition, a continuing education unit with certificate option is available for those who need this documentation. The option requires completion of all the areas of the chosen language, including grammar, vocabulary and conversation.

This non-credit professional development instruction is available to the community and does not require formal admission to ETSU.

For more information, contact Christy Buckles of the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (800) 222-3878, or access registration information at
http://www.etsu.edu/academicaffairs/scs/professionaldevelopment/languagecourses.aspx.

I need a skinnier avatar...

If only he would get off his lazy butt and exercise more!  From Time.

Most studies involving video games and avatars have been connected with weight gain, but seeing our virtual selves could also melt pounds away — if the avatar adopts the right healthy habits. 
The appeal of virtual-reality games lies in their power to simulate realities that we create ourselves — from the mundane familiarity of our own existence to the stimulating excitement of a fantasy world where anything goes. And the appeal of simulated worlds is driving researchers to investigate how these virtual experiences are changing or shaping our behaviors. Does connecting with a virtual version of yourself alter your perception of who you are and what you are capable of doing? And if that’s the case, could such virtual realities become a new tool for influencing social behaviors like relationships, or even lifestyle choices such as exercising, smoking or eating? 
According to scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), the popularity of interactive digital games serves as evidence that people respond to avatars and virtual-reality settings — and that these avatars may be an untapped resource for influencing behavior. “This digital ‘gold rush’ has increased public awareness, driven advances in underlying enabling technologies, and ignited social changes that have gone well beyond the early expectations of behavioral-health scientists,” the authors wrote in a 2011 review of how virtual reality could impact obesity and diabetes, among other health-related conditions.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer enrollments stagnant

I once had a summer school director in Illinois tell be that it was hard to balance the threefold mission of summer school: (1) to generate revenue for the university, (2) provide additional salary to faculty, and (3) provide learning opportunities for students.  He put them in that order, as well.  With our new funding formula, summer sessions offer an opportunity to increase student persistance to degree and speed up the path to the degree. It's often hard to take advantage of that opportunity, as the University of Tennessee found out.  It appears like they plan to improve by moving to a more entrepreneureal model, similar to ETSU's.  From The Knoxville News Sentinel.

UT seeks to draw more students, instructors for summer classes
Even free money couldn’t get more students to spend their summers in classrooms at the University of Tennessee. 
Two years ago, the university announced plans to ramp up enrollment in summer courses as a means of getting students to stay in school and graduate on time — two measures UT likely needs to boost if it’s to become a top-25 public school. 
University officials offered special one-time scholarships to students taking lower division courses. They successfully lobbied the governor and Legislature to make lottery scholarship money available in the summer. They devised a marketing campaign to recruit students. 
None of it worked. 
The enrollment ticked up to 108 students the first year, 152 the next — a total increase of less than 5 percent from an enrollment of 5,747 students in 2010. 
This summer, the final numbers are expected to be down slightly, said Sally McMillan, vice provost for academic affairs.