Friday, February 28, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Free tuition is only the first step

Community college students need all kinds of support systems to thrive. And to graduate.  From Ann Hulbert, writing in The Atlantic.

If you stop and think about it, the existing postsecondary educational hierarchy could hardly be more perverse. Students at the bottom, whose life histories and social disadvantages make them the most likely to need clear guidance and structure, receive astonishingly little of either. Meanwhile, students at the super-selective top, prodded toward high ambitions and disciplined habits by attentive parents and teachers ever since preschool, encounter solicitous oversight every step of the way. 
Take Harvard, where the rising elite chart their paths within well-designed parameters: the college offers a bachelor’s degree in 48 academic fields only to full-time, residential students, who must also fulfill carefully articulated general-education requirements. Their first-year experience unfolds under the supervision of an entire team—a freshman adviser, a resident dean of freshmen, a proctor, and a peer-advising fellow. Residential house tutors and faculty advisers lend support later. Compare that with nearby Bunker Hill Community College, as Judith Scott-Clayton, a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, has done. Students there choose from upwards of 70 full-time or part-time associate’s-degree or certificate programs, in more than 60 fields, then figure out their ideal course load, and how to best mix online and in-person classes. As to plotting a course of study and then staying on it, community-college students are largely on their own. Student-adviser ratios in the two-year sector are abysmal in many schools: they can run as high as 1,500-to-1. And while spending per student has risen over the past decade at every kind of four-year institution—private, public, research, undergraduate—it has remained all but flat in public community colleges.

A surer formula for widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots—at least while still paying lip service to ideals like opportunity and meritocracy—would seem difficult to devise. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bad predications

From Newsweek.  And others.  

The Beatles Suck. Yeah, We Said That
Newsweek has been in business for nearly 80 years, during which time it has published history-changing stories, won numerous awards—and made its share of boneheaded predictions that can’t be unread. 
No one is really good at prognosticating—in the media or elsewhere—at least not for very long. Most fail miserably. David Pogue self-deprecatingly included his own oopsie daisy call—he wrote in the New York Times, in 2006, that Apple “probably never” would come out with a cell phone—in a list of all-time worst technology predictions. Fortune assured its readers, in 1996, that“by the time you read this story” Apple would be dead. 
It’s not just journalists. Even really smart people make memorably stupid predictions. This was the case long before predictions without consequences became a staple of Sunday morning news talk shows. 
Thomas Watson, I.B.M.’s visionary chairman and C.E.O., forecast the global market for computers to be around five—as in five computers. Total sales. Yes, he said it back in 1943, but this was the fellow at the helm of the company whose computers helped land a man on the moon in 1969 and dominated the technology business for decades. 
And he seems on the money compared to Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, who in 1876 harrumphed: “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” More recently, Franklin Raines, the former CEO of Fannie Mae, helpfully reassured the world, in 2004, that sub-prime loans were “riskless.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where is the coldest college?

Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM).  I might have guessed Wassmatta U in Frostbite Fall, MN.  From Higher Ed Morning.

The rankings were based on:
• student reviews of weather, and
• average campus highs and lows during summer and winter.
Rounding out the top five coldest campuses:
• Concordia College (MN)
• University of Ottawa
• McGill University (Canada), and
• St. Olaf College (MN).

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The buckle of the Bible Belt

Can be found in Tennessee.  And because of our obesity problem, it's probably an XXL. I want to know what happened to Knoxville, last year's number one.  There's a nice map on the link from The American Bible Society.

To conduct effective ministry, American Bible Society wants to know what U.S. cities embrace the best-selling book of all time. 
Chattanooga, Tenn., ranks No. 1, according to American Bible Society's study, America's Most Bible-Minded Cities. Knoxville, Tenn., claimed last year's top spot. 
America's Most Bible-Minded Cities, our second consecutive study, shows that the Midwest and South continues to perform strongly. Chattanooga, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; Shreveport, La.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Jackson, Miss.; all ranked among America's top 10 most Bible-minded cities in 2013. 
Not surprisingly, many cities in the East Coast continued to rank as the least Bible-minded in 2013. Among them: Providence, R.I.; Albany and Buffalo, N.Y.; Boston; and Portland, Maine.
Along with ranking the most and least Bible-minded cities, the study also found that an inverse relationship exists between population size and Bible friendliness. Of the top 25 Bible-minded markets, only three have a population of greater than 1 million households: Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Dallas.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The least expensive public colleges

No Tennessee institutions on this list?  I'm shocked...shocked to find that out.  From US News and World Report.

Staying in-state for college can net students thousands of dollars in savings – as long as they opt for a public school. 
Resident tuition and required fees at public universities averaged $8,539 for the 2013-2014 school year, compared with $19,465 for nonresidents, according to data reported by 403 ranked public colleges in an annual U.S. News survey. 
Not only is in-state tuition cheaper than that charged out-of-state students, it is also a fraction of the more than $30,000 average tuition and fees at private universities. Students staying close to home also save on costly airfare and travel expenses. 
Oklahoma residents get a particularly good deal on in-state tuition. Five universities in the Sooner State charged less than $5,200 for 2013-2014 tuition and fees, including Northeastern State University and the University of Central Oklahoma, placing them among the 10 least expensive public schools for in-state students. 
Tuition and fees at these 10 public universities averaged just $4,876 for 2013-2014, almost half the national average. The University of Wyoming charged just $4,404 for resident tuition and fees, making it the least expensive public college in the country. Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina also charged less than $4,500. The five military academies, which forgo tuition and fees in return for a service commitment, were excluded from this list.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Best values in higher education

None from Tennessee.  Only seven years ago, ETSU was a best value college. Sigh.  From

Don’t let the “sticker price” of a college education fool you. The best values in public and private higher education, according to the Princeton Review, are the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Williams College, respectively. 
“They’re exceptional schools, academically, that are giving out generous financial aid and keeping their sticker prices low,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of Princeton Review and lead author of “The Best Value Colleges.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My major in English

Was like money in the bank.  No regrets.  From Forbes.

Majoring In The Humanities Does Pay Off, Just Later
Majoring in the humanities seems like a bad idea these days. Employers don’t want to hire you, we hear, and when they do, they pay poorly (I’ve written three stories saying as much in the last two weeks). But a new study out today gives hope to liberal arts graduates. While they may not earn as much as professional and pre-professional majors like nurses and business majors when they first get out of school, by the time they are 56-60 years old, considered their peak earning years, they make an average of $66,000, which is $2,000 a year more than those with professional degrees. They still don’t do as well as engineers and those who trained in math and the physical and natural sciences, who earn as much as $32,000 more on average. But at least humanities graduates hold their own. 
The numbers come from “How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment,” a joint project by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), a group that supports liberal arts education for undergraduates, and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The most popular television show set in Tennessee?

Nashville, natch.  Interesting note, there were no series set in Iowa.  Iowa had to settle for a reality show.  From The Business Insider.

Most Popular TV Show Set In Each State - Business Insider
To qualify, we looked at television series as opposed to reality shows.* Selections were based on each show’s longevity, audience and critical acclaim using info from IMDB/Metacritic, awards, and lasting impact on American culture and television.  
Obviously, some states (California, New York) were more difficult to choose than others.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Drive to 55

Is hoping to pick up new passengers at community colleges and colleges of applied technology. The Chronicle of Higher Education has be best summery of our governor's proposal to offer free tuition to all public higher education institutions in Tennessee except universities. Access is a good thing.  He's also proposing cutting the lottery scholarships for freshman and sophomores at universities to $3000 a term from $4000.  

Free Community College? Tennessee Proposals Draws Praise and Concerns
Gov. William E. Haslam of Tennessee this week proposed a relatively simple idea: Have the state pay the tuition and fees of all high-school graduates who want to go to a community or technical college for two years. The governor's plan, called the Tennessee Promise, would use state lottery reserves to create an endowment to pay for the program, estimated to cost about $34-million the first year, if it is approved by the General Assembly. 
A bill is advancing in Oregon’s legislature to study a similar proposal.
Governor Haslam's idea is not entirely new, and it's no silver bullet. But it is gathering positive reviews from many higher-education experts who describe it as a bold plan that could have broad effects in the Volunteer State.
"Dramatic and game-changing ideas are needed to meet our nation's need for higher education, and we're glad to see them being proposed," Dewayne Matthews, vice president for strategy and policy at the Lumina Foundation, wrote in an email. 
One major effect of the Tennessee Promise would be to encourage low-income students who might have been dissuaded from even applying to college because of the sticker price, said Mr. Matthews and others.
"We know that many potential students, especially underrepresented and first-generation ones, see college as unaffordable," Mr. Matthews wrote. "The Tennessee proposal addresses that concern very powerfully."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dude, where's my class?

High times at the University of Colorado.  Big admission application jump.  From The Denver Post.

CU-Boulder: Legal weed not likely behind 33% jump in applications
Freshman applications to the University of Colorado shot up 33 percent this year, a spike Boulder campus officials say likely is due to a new submission option, not the state's well-publicized legalization of marijuana. 
Kevin MacLennan, CU's admissions director, said that while the school has no way to track whether the arrival of recreational pot contributed to the increase in student interest, his office hasn't heard much about it.
That overall rise in applications included even larger jumps in the number of prospective students from out-of-state — a 43 percent increase — and from other countries, with international applications up 65 percent. 
"I don't know," MacLennan said of the marijuana issue. "One of the things is we're not getting a lot of questions from families about that. We don't have any mechanism of tracking that. I just don't know."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Save the date

2014 National Association of Branch Campus Administrators Conference
9-12 April 2014
Hyatt Regency
Newport Beach CA

The Annual NABCA Conference is a time when key decision makers from branch, regional, and satellite campuses come together. Meeting the degree-program needs of adult students at Regions, Branches, Centers, and Sites located away from the Main Campus, NABCA Members bring higher education to communities. At the conference, these administrators, faculty, and staff get to exchange ideas, get research-based information, and learn from high-quality Keynote, Institute, and Concurrent Session speakers. All of which, ultimately benefits their campuses, communities, and students.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

You gotta love an article that begins with a "walk into a bar" joke...

Hmmm.  Generation-based stereotypes suspect? Go figure.  And a multi-million dollar speaking, consulting, and publishing scheme goes away.  From The Pacific Standard.

A Baby Boomer, a Millennial, and a member of Generation X walk into a bar. Which one of them is most likely to be there despite the fact that their boss asked them to stay and work overtime?
Newly published research provides an answer to that question, but it also suggests we shouldn’t take such generation-based generalizations all that seriously.
A research team led by John Bret Becton of the University of Southern Mississippi finds some differences in work-related attitudes between the three generations that currently dominate the American workforce, but they are surprisingly small.
“It appears the effects of generational membership on workplace behavior are not as strong as suggested by commonly held stereotypes,” the researchers write in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Call for proposals

Deadline Extended to
February 7th!
Call for Roundtable Proposals

The 13th National Conference
Accelerated Programs in Higher Education:

The New Face of Accelerated Learning

  Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - Pre-Conference Events
Wednesday-Thursday, July 23-24, 2014 - Main Conference


The Council for Accelerated Programs (CAP) is seeking roundtable proposals for its 2014 Annual Conference.
  Proposals should be relevant to one of the following themes:
  • Online Accelerated Learning
  • Blended Accelerated Learning
  • Research in Accelerated Learning
  • Student Survey Results
  • Characteristics of the Self-Directed Learner
  • Quality & Assessment/Federal Regulations
  • Competency-Based Education
  • Data Analytics to Improve Learning
  • Advising the Adult Learner
  • Best Practices in Accelerated Learning
Roundtable facilitators should be prepared to lead an interactive discussion of their topic with interested participants.  Hand-outs may also be provided to participants. Roundtable sessions will be one hour in length or less, and can be facilitated by one or two people.  CAP may also offer Workshop Sessions which will be longer in duration.  CAP representatives may contact you to inquire if you are interested in facilitating a workshop instead if your topic is a good fit for the workshop schedule.

Proposals should be no more than 300 words in length including a concise title.  All proposals must be based on work or initiatives occurring in accelerated programs at a post-secondary institution.  Proposals will be evaluated based on their specific theme and current criticality to accelerated programs.

Proposals should include facilitator names, titles, mailing addresses, institutional affiliations, daytime phone numbers and email addresses.  The preferred method of submission is via email as an attached Word document.  Please submit proposals to Jeannie McCarron at by Friday, February 7th.  A conference committee will meet to review all proposals. You will be notified as to the status of your proposal no later than Friday, February 21st.

This information is also posted on the front page of the CAP website at 

"If you could bottle the South,"

"it would look like this." Great quote from this Chattanooga Times Free Press article. Moonshine is so hot right now....

MoonPie Moonshine expected to hit shelves next month

MoonPie and Limestone Branch Distillery officials on Tuesday examined the line of MoonPie Moonshine jars that will debut in Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana in about a month.
And in the excitement, someone held a just-printed MoonPie Moonshine jar against the fluorescent warehouse lighting of Chattanooga Labeling Systems, and it was a moment of realization: If you could bottle the South, it would look like this.
The Campbells and the Beams, Tennessee and Kentucky, are teaming up to combine the flavor and brand power of Chattanooga's MoonPie with another Southern tradition: Moonshine distilled at a small craft brewery in central Kentucky.