Monday, June 30, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This doesn't get mentioned enough

When the dicussion turns to the cost of higher education. Accreditation costs alone are staggering. From Arthur F. Kirk Jr, iriting in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I could go on with more examples, but I hope I have made my point. Much, but certainly not all, of the much-maligned "administrative bloat" is driven by external forces, societal demands, and regulations from the federal government, the states, the NCAA, accreditors, and insurers. In addition to state and local laws, higher-education institutions are required to comply with federal laws too numerous to count. The website of the Higher Education Compliance Alliance lists many of them, but there are others. 
A simple count does not reflect the complexities institutions face, as the Higher Education Act alone is 900 pages long. Higher education is regulated by every cabinet-level department and numerous subagencies. One small private college documented that 106 employees logged 7,200 hours completing federal compliance forms. Some regulations were promulgated to call us to account for why our tuition costs so much. 
Ironic, isn’t it?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Of course this appeals

To the old English teacher in me.  Let me clarify: while I had a class in Old English, I have never taught it.  Make that former English teacher. From BuzzFeed.

The 23 Worst Parts About Being Good At Grammar: When your good at grammar, its both a blessing and a curse.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

As healthcare systems in this country go

Mississippi is still worst.  Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are next. Tennessee is better, but still in the bottom quartile. Minnesota is best. There's also a nice tooth map indicating states where adults have lost six or more teeth. Nothing about the tooth to tattoo ratio, however.  From Olga Khazan, writing in The Atlantic.

The States With the Worst Healthcare Systems
Demographically, Mississippi is already at a disadvantage. A black man in Mississippi has a shorter life expectancy than the average American did in 1960. The state has an obesity rate of 35 percent, one of the highest poverty rates in the country, and just one abortion clinic. 
Healthcare in Mississippi and in other Southern states is unlikely to become more equitable anytime soon, however. As the study authors note, 16 of the states in the bottom half of the ranking have opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. 
In Mississippi, for example, "Medicaid eligibility for non-disabled adults is limited to parents with incomes below 29 percent of poverty, or about $6,800 a year for a family of four, and adults without dependent children remain ineligible regardless of their income," as the Kaiser Family Foundation points out. 
Those Mississippians making between 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,850 for a family of four, and 400 percent, can qualify for subsidies to buy health insurance on the exchanges. But 30 percent of uninsured Mississippians fall into the "coverage gap" between the state's current income cutoff for Medicaid and the federal cutoff for health insurance subsidies. They don't qualify for any kind of financial help to buy health insurance and are likely to remain uninsured. 
Mississippi also had the largest percentage of adults who went without medical care because of cost issues, according to the Commonwealth Fund report.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brentwood is on this list Number 7.  From The Week.

The 11 richest small cities in America
7. Brentwood, Tennessee
Brentwood has more luxury car dealers per capita than anywhere else in our 25 wealthiest small cities — to the tune of one for every 6,176 people.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This would certainly help speed up the ceremony

And save a bit of money.  From Newsweek.

First we ban all commencement speakers
The solution is simple and impossibly elegant: Let’s ban commencement speakers. Who do they benefit, besides themselves? 
At best, they’re a glossy, overpriced distraction from the graduates whose accomplishment the event is meant to celebrate. At worst, they’re a colossal waste of money—a big-name speaker might easily be paid more than an assistant professor makes in a year—and a thin excuse for moneyed celebrities to shove self-serving platitudes at The Leaders of Tomorrow. You might disagree with the protests that convinced Condoleezza Rice to back out of Rutgers’ commencement ceremony, but you can hardly dispute that her $35,000 fee might be better spent elsewhere on campus. 
Which is why the only way to end the arms race for an A-List commencement speaker—and the publicity that comes along with it—is to end the practice altogether.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Use your end of the year funds to register now!


Annual Conference & Meeting

October 27-29, 2014

You won't want to miss the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Join us for this year's conference and enjoy the outstanding lineup of speakers, network with colleagues and experts in your field, and meet with vendors about exciting new higher education products. Strengthen your continuing higher education unit by gaining information on how to create, manage and grow your programs. This conference will help make a difference for your institution!

The ACHE conference will be held at the fabulous Tropicana Las Vegas
a newly renovated Doubletree by Hilton property that is conveniently located directly on the infamous "Las Vegas Strip."

To register for the conference, please visit  

• To STRENGTHEN your higher education unit

• To NETWORK with colleagues in your field

• LOW CONFERENCE COSTS - stay in Vegas for only $99 per night

• To have a fabulous time with ACHE IN LAS VEGAS!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Infographic Friday

Big Data and Higher Education
by obizmedia.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Find out more about the graphic and the program at datascience@berkeley.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I don't believe you can "mother" nontraditional students

Too much.  It's always been an important trait of the advisors we use. Advising adult students is an art.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

Sometimes 'Hand-Holding' Can Be a Good Thing
Nontraditional students have significantly changed campus demographics. I still remember when our student body consisted primarily of students straight out of high school. Two decades later, we still have wide-eyed 18-year-olds, but we also have adults in their 30s, 40s, and beyond who are balancing full-time work, families, and school. Our classes contain veterans, the unemployed, and sometimes even the homeless. 
It angers me when I hear of colleges and professors requiring students to seek formal documentation in order to make up a missed examination. I now have a student whose wife is gravely ill, and who has had to miss some classes to be with her and their children. For me to ask him for a "doctor’s note" would be reprehensible. 
Child care is another major issue. Our university schedule often does not synchronize with the public-school system’s calendar. Students who are also parents are torn between missing class and taking care of their children. My policy has always been to allow parents to bring a child, and sometimes even two, to class; in 26 years, I have yet to hear that this practice has created a major interruption or distraction. 
Many of our students also struggle with severe financial hardships. Granting an extension to a student whose 10-year-old computer crashed while he was finishing his "Works Cited" page for a term paper is not "coddling"; it is an act of understanding and compassion that the student may long remember. I once had a thirty-something student burst into tears because she told me another professor would not allow her to make up an exam on a day when she had no money for gas to commute to school.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This is why I eat ice

See yesterday's post for clarification.  From U.S. News and World Report.

The meta-analysis specifically looked at studies of folks with overweight or obesity who undertook pedometer-based walking programs that didn’t include specific dietary change components. The authors identified nine studies that met their inclusion criteria, and they then pooled the studies’ results together. On average, participants increased their average daily number of steps by close to 4,000 and did so for a 16-week period. So did they lose weight? Well, yes, after spending four months walking an extra one to two miles per day, the average walker was seen to have lost 3.13 pounds – an amount that was just barely deemed statistically significant. 
To help appreciate those numbers, the meta-analysis’ authors put them into perspective and state that for every 10.5 additional miles you walk, you might expect to lose a hair over 1/10 of one pound. Putting this another way, if you walk an extra 1.5 miles each and every day, you might expect that after 10 weeks of not missing a single walk, you’ll have lost a single pound – or that at the end of the year, your 547.5 miles of hiking will have lost you 5 pounds. Of course, I’m guessing that most people who undertake a walking program in the hopes of losing weight will quit in disappointment long before they reach that 10-week mark, let alone a year.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ice, ice, baby...

Snow cones the key to losing weight?  I'm in.  From James Hamblin, writing in 
The Atlantic.

When you eat a significant amount of ice, your body burns energy to melt it. Eating ice should, by the logic of this diet, also provide some level of satiety, if only so far as it physically fills space in the stomach and mouth. 
By Weiner's calculations, ingesting one liter of ice would burn about 160 calories, which is the energy equivalent of running one mile. So you get to eat and burn calories. Ever since the death of upward mobility, that has been The American Dream. 
What's more, it's probably safe. "Ingesting ice at this level should not have any obvious adverse consequence in otherwise healthy persons," Weiner, who trained at Johns Hopkins, writes. "For the vast majority of adults and children, there does not appear to be any contraindication to the use of the Ice Diet right now." 
One piece of evidence for the safety of ingesting substantial amounts of ice, Weiner notes, comes from the case study of the 32-ounce 7/11 Slurpee, from which he concludes, "The ingestion of one liter of ice per day appears to be generally safe."  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What's the difference between a lawyer and a leech?

After you die, a leech stops sucking your blood.  Ba-doom Pshh. Reflections on the utility of law school from Jim Saksa, writing in Slate.

Everyone who has ever considered law school has heard some variant of “you can do anything with a law degree.” Of course, this statement isn’t technically true. You can’t practice medicine with it, for example, unless you also have a medical degree (which, to the delight of Sallie Mae, some J.D.s also have). But the more general sentiment, that a law degree will afford you a wide range of opportunities, is also total BS. 
Getting a J.D. means you can call yourself a lawyer. That’s it. Besides the approval of Jewish mothers (who prefer doctors anyway) and a drinking problem, it won’t give you anything else. And it sure as hell won’t help you get a nonlegal job. 
Last year, 11.2 percent of law school graduates were still unemployed nine months after graduation. If you really could do anything with a law degree, then those unemployed graduates would probably be doing something. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate for recent college graduates was 10.9 percent. So, compared with other recent students, law school grads appear to have a leg down on the competition.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Working moms

Have it the worst in Lousiana.  Followed by Mississippi, Wyoming, Idaho, and South Carolina.  From Matt Vasilogambros, writing in The Atlantic.

The 5 Best and Worst States for Working Moms
On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana has one of the worst child-care systems and largest gender pay gaps. Women in Louisiana only make 72 percent of what men make.   
As this survey shows, equal pay is not the only problem that working mothers face in the country. It also involves the important services for early childhood development and flexibility to do the primary job many women are concerned with: being a mom.

Monday, June 2, 2014

You mean all those reflections I had to write in my doctoral program

Actually did some good?  Hmmmm.  Now if those personality profiles turn out to be useful after all, I'll really have something to reflect on.  From Nanette Fondasmay, writing in The Atlantic.

Study: You Really Can 'Work Smarter, Not Harder'
Two weeks ago, my oldest son taught my youngest son how to perform a corner kick during half time of my middle son’s soccer game. He demonstrated the correct way to swing the leg, angle the foot, and launch the ball toward the goal. When the referee blew his whistle, resuming the game, we moved to a spot of grass nearby. There, my little boy began to explain how to do the corner kick, recounting every detail absorbed during his older brother’s half-time tutorial.  I nudged him to practice what he had learned, rather than talking about it—after all, he was at a soccer field, with a mother willing to fetch errant balls. But he preferred to articulate each key point he had just learned and teach me how to do it. I thought we were wasting time, but new research says his approach beats mine.   
Learning is more effective if a lesson or experience is deliberately coupled with time spent thinking about what was just presented, a new study shows. In “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance,” a team of researchers from HEC Paris, Harvard Business School, and the University of North Carolina describe what they call the first empirical test of the effect of reflection on learning. By “reflection,” they mean taking time after a lesson to synthesize, abstract, or articulate the important points. 
In the lab portion of the study, participants completed a math brain teaser under time pressure and wrote about what strategy they used or might use in the future to solve the problem. This group did 18 percent better in a second-round test than their control-group counterparts, who were not given time to reflect. In the field study, groups of newly-hired customer-service agents undergoing job training were compared. Some were given 15 minutes at the end of each training day to reflect on the main things they had learned and write about at least two lessons. Those given time to think and reflect scored 23 percent better on their end-of-training assessment than those who were not. And these improvements weren’t temporary—they lasted over time, researchers found.