Sunday, December 21, 2014

RC Cola donation to follow

A tender Tennessee Christmas. With MoonPies.  From the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Bakery donating 35,000 MoonPies to U.S. troops
Vietnam War veteran Larry Webb recalls receiving cookies from home while serving in Southeast Asia and the difference the sweets made to him.
Webb said Monday he thinks the more than 35,000 MoonPies that Chattanooga Bakery is donating to returning U.S. soldiers will make a similar impact. 
“It’s a morale booster,” said Webb, who’s now Chattanooga Bakery’s purchasing manager. 
The company and country music performer Craig Morgan are teaming with the USO, the United Service Organizations, to give troops what they call “a taste of home” for the holidays. 
Webb, who has worked at Chattanooga Bakery for 14 years, said the MoonPies are “a small way of showing our gratitude. We couldn’t do anything too much for the sacrifice they’ve made.” 
He said it’s not the first time Chattanooga Bakery has shipped MoonPies to the troops. Webb said the company has previously sent the snacks overseas to Iraq and Kuwait.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Social notworking

Always being connected is often a bad thing.  From MainStreet.

The Mobile Etiquette Violations Guide: How Gross Are We?
The question has to be raised: what is the number one, the worst cellphone etiquette violation? There are many nominees. Chefs - more and more - are putting up notices banning food photography during meals, both because it disrupts the rhythm of the service but also because - with animated photographers - it can also interfere with the dining pleasure of surrounding tables. At the swank, oldtime Los Angeles Jonathan Club, cellphone use in public places is frowned upon. So much so that the Club has some oldtime phone booths, where calls are supposed to be made. Said Amy Alkon, author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck, “The Jonathan Club is to be emulated. They do not allow people to blather on on their cellphones around others.” At movie theaters, a staple public service announcement is the reminder to not text during a film - if only because the lighted screen disturbs the whole house.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Behind the completion agenda

Only one of my three kids graduated in four years--the other two took longer. But I was more concerned with them taking 12 hours a semester and being successful than in graduating in four years. I kind of miss the notion that college should be a time of exploration that lets students experiment and find their intellectual passion.  Now that puts them behind and affects our outcomes-based funding formula.  We're now putting students who come in without a major into a college success class. It's probably a good idea, but students defeat the system by declaring any major just to get out of the class.  Unintended consequences.  From CBS MoneyWatch.

Expect your child to graduate from college in four years? Not likely. 
The odds of getting a diploma on time are exceedingly low, according to a new report released this week by Complete College America, a nonprofit organization that works with states to improve graduation rates at public colleges and universities. 
Across the U.S., only 50 out of more than 580 public four-year institutions graduate the majority of their full-time students in four years. At the University of Arizona, for instance, just over a third of students graduate on time, while at Auburn the figure is 36 percent. Other schools where most undergrads fail to complete their degree in fours years include Auburn (36 percent), University of Iowa (44 percent) and Michigan State (48 percent).

At most public universities across the U.S., only 19 percent of full-time students manage to earn their bachelor's degree on time. At flagship schools, which typically serve as the premiere public university in their respective states, 36 percent graduate in four years. 
Community colleges have an even worse record: only five percent of full-time community college students graduate in two years. 
So what's the problem if junior takes an extra semester or three to finish school? Money. Delays in obtaining a bachelor's degree are costing families billions in extra college expenses. Factoring in all the expenses, an additional year of community college boosts the cost by roughly $16,000, according to Complete College America, while a one-year delay in earning a bachelor's degree hikes the price by nearly $23,000.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


What sound does the cash cow make?  From Higher Ed Morning.

But there is a silver lining in all of this. 
Even though there may be fewer high school grads ready to make the jump, colleges are finding other ways to fill their ranks. 
Namely, with older or “non-traditional” students. In fact, Hartle noted that older learners have become the majority in the higher ed system. 
So where do you see the future of higher ed going in the next 15 years? Does the future look bleak or will schools simply need to alter their way of thinking a little bit?

Monday, December 15, 2014

These are the students in Tennessee

Who I believe will be most attracted to free tuition at community colleges through Tennessee Promise. Wherever they go, we need to do more to help them succeed.  From Higher Education Morning.

Having parents who never attended college can begin hurting a student’s chances before he or she even fills out an application. 
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students whose parents didn't attend college are less likely to: 
  • discuss college with their parents
  • take college prep courses in high school, and
  • apply to college.
First-generation students, according to the NCES, consistently:
  • enroll in fewer classes
  • complete fewer classes, and
  • earn lower grades than their continuing-generation peers.
With the odds seemingly stacked against them, it’s no wonder first-generation students have lower retention rates than students whose parents attended college. 
According to the NCES, first-year retention rates for first-generation students are four percentage points lower than continuing-generations students. The disparity between the second-year retention rates is even worse: First-generation student rates are nine percentage points lower.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dr. Alison Barton, Gov. Bill Haslam to speak at ETSU fall Commencement

East Tennessee State University’s Dr. Alison Barton will be the speaker at ETSU’s 10 a.m. fall Commencement exercise, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will deliver the 2 p.m. address on Saturday, Dec. 13, in the ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center (the Minidome).

Barton is the recipient of East Tennessee State University’s 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching, as well as this year’s Clemmer College of Education Faculty Award in Teaching. In addition, she was presented with the 2012 Clemmer College of Education Faculty Award for Technology and the 2013 ETSU IntopForm fellowship.

Barton joined the ETSU faculty in 2005 and teaches courses in developmental psychology, research methods and educational psychology. She is the coordinator of the Education Foundations program for the Department of Teaching and Learning and is helping to develop an Honors-in-Discipline program for the department.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Barton earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology and a Ph.D. in school psychology from Northern Illinois University.

Haslam was re-elected as governor of Tennessee in November by the largest majority in modern Tennessee history.

Under Haslam’s results-driven, common sense leadership, Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in education, job creation and fiscal responsibility. His commitment to education is making a difference. Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the country in academic achievement. He has launched the “Tennessee Promise” - the only program in the country to give every graduating high school senior a chance to earn a certificate or two-year degree beyond high school free of charge and with a personal mentor.
Haslam has focused on making Tennessee the No. 1 location of the Southeast for high quality jobs, and Tennessee currently holds the title of “State of the Year” for economic development.
Working with the General Assembly, he has balanced the budget every year, kept taxes low, ensured Tennessee has the lowest debt in the country, and nearly doubled the state’s savings account.
Thanks to his work to make government more customer-focused, efficient and effective, Tennessee is ranked the third best managed state in the nation.

Haslam and his wife have been married for 33 years and have three children and four grandchildren.

For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Life gets in the way

It's hard out there for a nontraditional student.  But you already know that. In six years, only 17.4% of part-time students graduate compared to 66.4% of full-time students.  But this is hardly surprising: if you're a part-time student taking 15 hours a year, it's going to take you eight years to reach 120 and graduate. You'd have to take 20 hours to finish in six.  From Slate.

America’s Awful College Dropout Rates, in Four Charts
Again, we have a higher education system that works fairly well for the traditional college student—the teenager who shows up on campus ready to dedicate the next four to six years of their lives to school. But a very, very large chunk of American undergraduates don't fit that profile. They're older, juggling classes and a job or family, and not necessarily up to speed academically. Our education system isn't built to cater to their needs, and its results are extremely wasteful.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tennessee is in the middle

Of the best places to live for a low cost tuition.  We rank 23rd.  Wyoming is first; New Hampshire last, barely ahead of Vermont.  From Money.

The Best and Worst Places to Live for a Low-Cost College Education

New Mexico$11.51$14,387$6,190$49,523$55,714
West Virginia$7.80$9,753$6,661$53,292$59,953
North Carolina$9.62$12,027$6,677$53,418$60,096
New York$4.91$6,134$7,292$58,338$65,631
North Dakota$10.02$12,522$7,513$60,106$67,620
South Dakota$5.04$6,303$7,653$61,224$68,877

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Great customer service

Is missing from our institutions.  If it's one thing continuing educators do well, it's customer service.  That set us apart 25 years ago and still does, evidently.  From The Hechinger Report.

Colleges take cues from private business to improve their customer service
The man in the impeccably tailored black suit has the people in his audience engrossed as he describes the secrets that have made his multibillion-dollar company internationally known for customer service. 
They’re here to find out how to do a better job of it themselves, in this case from a general manager in the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, at whose suburban St. Louis location this three-day conference is taking place. 
It may not seem unusual for business leaders to seek out other business leaders for ideas that can improve their own customer service and employee morale. But the business these people work in may be a surprise: 
They’re presidents and administrators from community and technical colleges and a few four-year colleges and universities, part of a small and little-known organization that uses private-sector lessons from companies — including Disney, Kimberly-Clark, Southwest Airlines, and Ritz-Carlton — to improve the notoriously impersonal and bureaucratic front-office student support functions blamed for worsening the already high college dropout rate. 
“There’s almost a confrontational relationship with students in some places,” said John Politi, executive director of the group, called the Continuous Quality Improvement Network, or CQIN. 
Registrars, financial-aid offices, and academic advisors are often spread out in separate offices open only during business hours in an era when increasing numbers of students go to school at night or on the weekends, for example. Even when they are on duty, there can be long waits, since there’s an average of only one academic advisor for every 400 students, according to the advocacy organization Complete College America.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

They may not believe in the Retirement Fairy

But Millennials love science. From The Atlantic.

Why Millennials &%#@! Love Science
This is how most Millennials feel about science—curious and awestruck. And they can’t get enough of it. They’re reading about science at their jobs and in their free time, in peer-reviewed journals or on Wikipedia. But what makes Millennials’ interests different from the scientific interests of every previous generation? 
By most definitions, a millennial is a person born between 1982 and 2004. And even though we may be reluctant to generalize a generation of about 80 million, Millennials share some common traits that may seem contradictory to their elders. They want their work to be their passion, even though the recession has drastically reduced their job prospects for years to come. They are intricately and consistently connected via social media. They’re less likely to be affiliated with a religious institution than previous generations, but they pray just as often.

Millennials are also attending college, and planning to attend graduate school, in unprecedented numbers; a 2010 Pew Research Center survey states that "Millennials may be on track to emerge as the most educated generation ever." They came of age watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, and their highly involved parents (and a sluggish economy with no jobs) inspired them to pursue higher education. For people curious about the world, and with access to a lot of information, that often leads them to scientific fields. "If you see the nation’s report card and the change in scores, Millennials have much greater improvement in science in math than in reading and writing," said Neil Howe, a historian and economist who has published extensively on generational shifts and society.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Retirement doesn't care

If you believe in it or not. Those zany Millennials. From Mainstreet.

Millennials Don't Believe in the Retirement Fairy: A Lesson for Their Parents
"Millennials are the ones who were in high school and college when their parents lost decades of retirement savings during the financial crisis," writes Heather Pelant, the head of BlackRock personal investing, in a blog post. "Today they are paying off student loans and watching their friends have difficulty finding work. They perceive pensions as a quaint anachronism and that cashing Social Security checks during their golden years isn’t likely. In short, they don’t believe in the myth of the retirement fairy."
Perhaps that skeptical nature is urging younger investors into action. Millennials said that they commit an average of 22% of their take-home pay to savings and 18% to investing. That's an impressive 40% savings rate. Boomers, who should be turbo-charging their race to retirement, only set aside 12% to savings and 11% to investing.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Many continuing educators find themselves in this position

Where apparent advancement opportunities are lacking.  Even then, networking is vital.  How can use this to attract folks to our professional organizations?  From Fortune.

How to advance when there is no career ladder
We’ve all heard it’s important to network and find a mentor and sponsor. But the most successful do-it-yourselfers build a diversity of relationships and rely on those individuals for honest feedback, advice, insight, and information throughout the course of their careers. 
If each of us must be the CEO of our careers, think of these people as an advisory board. The group should include peers inside and outside the company, higher-ups in your chain of command and in other divisions, someone in your company’s human resources department, peers and leaders in your industry, family and trusted friends from college and elsewhere. You’ll rely on them to help you evaluate yourself and where you should develop and grow, as well as to learn where there are opportunities and to understand your role and how the company and industry work. 
“You have to have those conversations early and often,” says Dan Black, immediate past president of the National Association of College and Employers and Americas director of recruiting for EY. “It’s a lifelong pursuit and an exercise to go through at regular intervals. Make sure you’re weighing your goals against the environment you’re in.” 
Join industry associations, clubs and affinity groups, such as corporate women’s or minority networks. Reach out to colleagues and industry peers, with a goal to helping them as much as they help you. 
“Networking for the sake of networking is wasting the time of very busy people,” Tulgan says. “The number one rule to getting to know people is show up. The number two rule is: be valuable.” 
Instead of simply calling up a senior leader in your company for advice over coffee, you could volunteer to support a company-wide initiative, such as a global internal meeting that will include many senior leaders. In that kind of role, “you’re big and visible and touch lots of functional areas,” says Brigette McInnis-Day, chief human resources officer at software firm SAP Global Customer Operations. 
“Those help you get a name and show you’re broader than just to be a worker at your specific role.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'm shocked...

Perhaps the seminar advised students not to pay $36K for a three day event. Or maybe that was in the remedial course. From CBS Moneywatch.

Lawsuit accuses Donald Trump of deceiving students
A class-action lawsuit in California accuses Donald Trump of bilking students at his for-profit Trump University. 
Plaintiff Art Cohen, a California businessman, alleges in a 2013 complaint that Trump lead him and about 5,000 other Trump University students to believe they would receive an education on par with elite business schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Cohen, who says he spent $36,490 for a three-day seminar, also said that Trump seemed to have no involvement in the course and that the caliber of instruction was subpar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bad news for community college short-term certificate programs?

Turns out they may not be all that meaningful.  Or profitable. From Money.

One Type of College Education That Almost Never Pays Off
Short-term college certificate programs sound like a no-brainer. These community college programs, which are intended to take less than a year to complete, promise a meaningful credential with a fraction of the workload and price tag of a more conventional college degree. 
But according to new research, published in the journal of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, these short-term certificates don’t actually make graduates more employable, or lead to a significant increase in earnings. 
“While we find that earning associate degrees or long-term certificates is associated with increased wages, an increased likelihood of being employed, and increased hours worked, we find minimal or no positive effects for short-term certifications,” wrote Mina Dadgar and Madeline Trimble, who jointly authored the study. Long-term certificates are designed to be completed in at least one year.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bartleby, the Scrivener

Anyone?  The art of work avoidance from The Atlantic.

The Art of Not Working at Work
Consider the last novel by David Foster Wallace, The Pale King, in which an IRS worker dies by his desk and remains there for days without anyone noticing that he is dead. This might be read as a brilliant satire of how work drains liveliness such that no one notices whether you are dead or alive. However, in the strict sense of the word, this was not fiction. In 2004, a tax-office official in Finland died in exactly the same way while checking tax returns. Although there were about 100 other workers on the same floor and some 30 employees in the auditing department where he worked, it took them two days to notice that he was dead. None of them seemed to feel the loss of his labors; he was only found when a friend stopped by to have lunch with him. 
How could no one notice? I talked with over 40 people who spent half of their working hours on private activities—a phenomenon I call “empty labor.” I wanted to know how they did it, and I wanted to know why. "Why" turned out to be the easy part: For most people, work simply sucks. We hate Mondays and we long for Fridays—it's not a coincidence that evidence points towards a peak in cardiac mortality on Monday mornings. 
There are, of course, exceptional cases. According to a Gallup report from last year, 13 percent of employees from 142 countries are “engaged” in their jobs. However, twice as many are “actively disengaged”—they’re negative and potentially hostile to their organizations. The majority of workers, though, are simply “checked out,” the report says.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I deserve a raise, I work so hard

Not so fast.  Does your boss like you?  From The Week.
4 things your boss will never tell you about getting a raise or promotion
Hard work isn't all it's cracked up to be. Performance is only loosely tied to who succeeds: 
Via Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer's book Power: 
The data shows that performance doesn't matter that much for what happens to most people in most organizations. That includes the effect of your accomplishments on those ubiquitous performance evaluations and even on your job tenure and promotion prospects. [Power] 
Research shows being liked affects performance reviews more than actual performance: 
In an experimental study of the performance appraisals people received, those who were able to create a favorable impression received higher ratings than did people who actually performed better but did not do as good a job in managing the impressions they made on others. [Power]