Wednesday, April 30, 2014

At the TACHE East Regional Meeting


Taking all the fun out of commencement

At the University of Southern Florida.  From The Miami Herald.

USF to students: no selfies at graduation
In the coming weeks, graduates of the University of South Florida will be able to frame their diplomas – but not a selfie of their walk across the commencement stage. 
The university’s Division of Student Affairs is warning students against inappropriate behavior at the ceremonies at the SunDome and elsewhere, including taking “selfies” on stage with President Judy Genshaft or other dignitaries. 
A school official told The Tampa Tribune that taking selfies would slow the commencement down. 
The school sent a notice to all graduating seniors, and ads are being placed in the student newspaper requesting that students also refrain from “stepping,” “marching” or “strolling.” 
In South Florida, college students still have the option of snapping a quick photo with their smartphone, as neither Miami Dade College nor the University of Miami specifically ban “selfies.” Florida International University doesn’t have an “official policy” on such photos, so it’s possible that students there can get away with it, too.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

College financial outcomes

UVA ranks high on this list.  Especially for in-state students.  From Derek Thompson, writing in The Atlantic.

A Bachelor of Science from Harvey Mudd College, the small California science and engineering school, is the most valuable college degree in America. 
Stanford's computer science program pays off more than any single major in the country. 
For the best dollar-for-dollar investment, nothing beats the University of Virginia. 
As those three (all true) facts illustrate, there are many ways to answer the question What's the most valuable college education in the country? Every year PayScale, the largest private tracker of U.S. salaries, tries to answer the question. This year they released their findings in an elegant site that you can play with here. They also shared their hard data with The Atlantic, which we used to do some further calculations. 
Before the candy, some methodological veggies. The challenge of putting together any study like this is that it's devilishly difficult to measure the cost and benefit of college. Start with cost, which is the time and money it takes to finish school. Colleges advertise their sticker price, but about half the students at many elite colleges get grants. Without financial aid, four years at Stanford University costs $236,000, making it one of the 10 most expensive colleges in America. But the "weighted net cost," factoring in grant aid and time to graduation, of going to Stanford is more like $74,000. For my purposes, I'm interested in net cost, not sticker price.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The 10 college subjects with the lowest average IQs

Hmmmm.  Social Work comes in at number one with the lowest average IQ.  But the methodology seems a little suspect to me. From The Richest, although the study was done by StatisticsBrain.com.

10 College Subjects With The Lowest Average IQs
Since the attempt to measure intelligence by standardized tests there have been those who wholeheartedly embrace the measures and others who argue that the tests are designed with a narrow demographic in mind. Critics say that such tests do not take into consideration class difference, ethnic diversity and even gender, and favor one or two forms of intelligence over others. Would a brilliant, introverted physicist be capable of empathetically managing a large team of people? Would an astronaut have what it takes to feed a community or raise a child? These are some of the questions we should ask ourselves when we attempt to categorize people by limited criteria like IQ. 
People, communities and our world are all multifaceted. That said, since it became a measure of intelligence people have been fascinated with IQ. Most of us fall into the main group: 95 percent of those who take the test fall between the scores of 70 and 130. Below 70, a person is considered as having an intellectual disability. Above 130, one is considered in a gifted two percent, and Mensa will let you in. Above 145 you would be in the company of only 1,225 members of the Triple Nine Society, so-called because this is the top 0.1 percent, or the 99.9th percentile. You would need an IQ score of 160 to become the 121st member of the Prometheus Society, and this is where the buck stops. 
StatisticBrain.com looked at 57 fields of third level academic study to compile a list with the of “IQ Estimates by College Major” with numbers collected from Educational Testing Services. The SAT scores of students across 57 chosen majors in the U.S. were averaged by category. These averages were then compared against one another to compile a list of the average IQ of the typical student in a particular field of study.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Fiscal Times' public universities with the worst graduation rates

Leading from behind is Southern University at New Orleans at 4%.  Many of these seem to be branch campuses whose students probably transfer before graduation, much like at a community college. Could be a bit misleading.

Public Universities With The Worst Graduation Rates

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Race to the top

Tennessee still ranks high in obesity ratings.  Memphis is the most obese large community, and Clarksville ranks high as well.  From Gallup Well Being.

Boulder, Colo., Residents Still Least Likely to Be Obese
Among large communities with populations above 1 million, Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark., had the highest obesity rate, at 31.9%, while Denver-Aurora and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif., tied for the lowest at 19.3%. 
The average obesity rate for all large communities was 25.7%, almost two points below the national average. None of the large communities designated as having the highest obesity rates ranked among the communities of all sizes with the 10 highest obesity rates. These findings suggest that residents in smaller communities are more likely to be obese than those living in larger communities.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A counterstrike against the war on teachers

Sometimes you hear that teachers aren't smart enough. But that's not the problem.  As Jack Schneider, writing in The Washington Post points out, "American teachers aren’t dumb; only the way we support them is."

‘If only American teachers were smarter…’
If assertions about the poor academic preparation of American teachers were accurate, the policy fix would be easy.  But such hysteria is generally unfounded.  Teachers go to legitimate schools, they get decent grades, and the overwhelming majority of them possess degrees in the subject they teach.  More than half possess graduate degrees. Consequently, there’s very little low-hanging fruit to pick. 
Adequately educated though they may be, we could still work to select teachers from a more elite slice of college graduates.  Comparisons, for instance, are often made with doctors—the implication being that educational policymakers should turn to the medical profession as a model. 
The first problem is scale.  There are roughly four times as many teachers as there are doctors.  What would happen to the selectivity of the medical profession, we might ask, if its ranks quadrupled in size? 
The second obvious problem is that of pay.  Pediatricians—the lowest earning doctors—make roughly $150,000 a year on average.  That’s three times what the average teacher makes.  Equaling pediatrician salaries, then, would entail a $325 billion increase in annual educational expenditures—roughly $2,750 per U.S. household. 
But even if the costs were lower, there would still be cause for skepticism.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Those of us who worked our way through college in the 70s

Shouldn't judge.  You can't do that now.  Of course, this doesn't disprove that Millennials are "lazy and entitled." (Just kidding). From Svati Kirsten Narula, writing in The Atlantic.

The Myth of Working Your Way Through College
A lot of Internet ink has been spilled over how lazy and entitled Millennials are, but when it comes to paying for a college education, work ethic isn't the limiting factor. The economic cards are stacked such that today’s average college student, without support from financial aid and family resources, would need to complete 48 hours of minimum-wage work a week to pay for his courses—a feat that would require superhuman endurance, or maybe a time machine. 
To take a close look at the tuition history of almost any institution of higher education in America is to confront an unfair reality: Each year’s crop of college seniors paid a little bit more than the class that graduated before. The tuition crunch never fails to provide new fodder for ongoing analysis of the myths and realities of The American Dream. Last week, a graduate student named Randy Olson listened to his grandfather extol the virtues of putting oneself through college without family support. But paying for college without family support is a totally different proposition these days, Olson thought. It may have been feasible 30 years ago, or even 15 years ago, but it's much harder now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Council for Accelerated Programs conference

Registration will Open Soon!
  
2014 CAP Conference 

The New Face of Accelerated Learning

Tuesday, July 22 - Pre-Conference Events
July 23 & 24 - Main 2-Day Conference

Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center
Metropolitan State University of Denver

     
Visit the CAP Website for more information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On the other hand

Maybe that liberal arts degree isn't too bad after all.  From Minding the Campus.

The Underestimated Value of Liberal Arts Degrees
The subject matters of arts and humanities, like philosophy and English, are often viewed as being too far removed from daily life to be useful outside of the academic world. Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, claims that a student not in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will likely "end up working a shoe store." Hunter Baker, Dean of Instruction at Union University, however, argues that abilities to think critically and contextualize new information are necessary to long-term business success; according to Baker, arts and humanities cultivate such skills.

Melissa Korn at The Wall Street Journal lends some credence to Baker's claims: liberal arts majors with post-graduate degrees make $2,000 more than their professional and pre-professional equivalents at the peak of their careers. The Huffington Post provides a list of successful arts and humanities students, all of whom work outside of academia. In addition, data from the Educational Testing Service show that liberal arts students score significantly higher than any other field in both the verbal and analytical writing sections of the GRE, and philosophy students outperform accounting students in the quantitative section.

Despite the academic and business success of liberal arts students, they earn on average far less than engineering students at any equivalent level of education and experience. They also earn less than physical science students at the peak of their respective careers. However, the value of STEM degrees might be overestimated. Robert Charette of IEEE Spectrum claims that the market does not need STEM-specific skills, as there are 11.4 million STEM degree holders working in non-STEM fields and only 277,000 vacancies in STEM-specific jobs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Man, you don't want to be an art major

At Murray State.  At least according to Derek Thompson, writing in The Atlantic.

These U.S. Colleges and Majors Are the Biggest Waste of Money
It gets worse. The self-reported earnings of art majors from Murray State are so low that after two decades, a typical high school grad will have out-earned them by nearly $200,000. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Deadline is tomorrow

Call for Proposals 

Deadline extended to April 11th!
ACHE - Las Vegas • October 27-29, 2014
 

The deadline to submit your proposal to present at ACHE - Las Vegas has been extended to
April 11, 2014. But don't wait!
 

The conference theme is
“Winning Together: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.” In these changing landscapes, continuing education professionals must rely not only on other units within their college or university but on their counterparts from schools across the country. Uniting together as a team allows units from across the world to think creatively, share ideas, and provide mutual support at times when some universities no longer see the value of continuing education.

Reasons to present at ACHE Las Vegas:
• To share your expertise with colleagues in your field
• To build your resume
• To secure travel funds with your institution
• To have a fabulous time with ACHE in Las Vegas!
The 2014 Annual Conference and Meeting will be held at Tropicana Las Vegas, a newly renovated Doubletree by Hilton property that is conveniently located directly on the infamous "Las Vegas Strip."  For more information about the conference, please visit www.achelasvegas.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nashville, y'all

Ssssssss. So hot, right now.  From Time.com.

Nashville has had the strongest employment growth of any large metropolis since the Great Recession. It was the second-fastest-growing U.S. city for most of 2013 and the only one in the top four outside of oil-booming Texas. The city’s cost of living, meanwhile, is cheaper than the U.S. average by over 13%. Office vacancies fell to 10.4% from 12.3%, among the 10 biggest declines in U.S. markets last year, according to CBRE, a commercial real estate firm. Foodies flock to nationally lauded new restaurants housed in shuttered factories, while well-to-do college graduates rent their first apartments in the Gulch, a former brownfield transformed into the first LEED-certified neighborhood in the South.
Middle Tennessee is one of at least a dozen red-hot but sometimes overlooked regions that have successfully pulled themselves out of the Great Recession and into a broad, rising prosperity. Though the ingredients for the booms are often similar, each region has a different recipe. So what’s Nashville’s secret?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saw this bumper sticker on a car parked at Biltmore

North Carolina: First in Teacher Flight.  So I googled it.  This is from the blog Teaching Speaks Volumes.

IS THE NC GOAL “FIRST IN TEACHER FLIGHT”?
It may be only be six weeks after New Year’s, but already both the state of North Carolina and Wake County have grave concerns about filling the needed teaching positions for next school year. 
And so they should. 
North Carolina often fills positions from teachers in states like Ohio and New York where turnover is low and teachers can’t find positions. However, with no more pay for advanced degrees in NC, most of those candidates will likely no longer be coming here anymore. 
Besides needing to attract teachers, there’s the issue of teacher turnover. NCDPI was concerned enough about this very issue to send a report to the General Assembly.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

FIrst time I've heard of

The Tinkerbell Effect. But it all make sense. From io9.

Clap if You Believe in the Tinkerbell Effect
The Tinkerbell Effect spans multiple scientific disciplines, including economics, but perhaps its most dramatic demonstration is in psychology - where it literally makes people see things.
There are multiple Tinkerbell Effects, but they all get their name from the scene in the stage play of Peter Pan during which Tinkerbell is dying and the audience is told to clap if they believe in fairies. Perhaps there has been an audience that failed to clap (and I would love to know if the actors prepare for such a thing), but generally they clap, and Tinkerbell springs back to life. If people believe something, it will occur.
In psychology, it just makes people believe that something they believe in will occur. This happens a lot. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Losing credits reduces graduation rates for transfer students

I would like them to drill down deeper.  Are the students starting in programs that don't typically transfer, like AAS programs?  Is it the time involved?  Cost?  Discouragement?  The article notes that graduation rates for transfer student is about 60%, matching the rate for students who start at universities. Hmmm.  From CBS Moneywatch.

Why many community college students don't graduate
The researchers, from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said the biggest obstacle to community college students in going on to obtain a bachelor's degree is lost college credits. The greater the credit loss, the less likely the student will earn a bachelor's degree. 
When examining transcripts that represented a national cross-section of college students, David Monaghan, a doctoral student, and Paul Attewell, a professor of education, discovered that roughly 14 percent of transfer students had to start nearly from scratch. Their new institutions accepted fewer than 10 percent of their community college credits. Only 58 percent of transfer students were able to move more than 90 percent of their credits to four-year institutions. The remaining 28 percent of transfer students lost between 10 percent and 89 percent of their credits. 
Students who managed to get almost all of their credits to transfer were 2.5 times more likely to earn a four-year degree than their peers who lost more than half of their credits, according to the report, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.