Thursday, July 31, 2014


Presidential compensation in the spotlight.  From Slate. 

In 2013, Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee earned $6,057,615. This, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, made him the top paid public college leader in the country—one of nine to break the $1 million mark. Much of that haul, it should be said, came from built-up deferred compensation and severance; Gee retired from his post last summer after he was caught on tape disparaging Notre Dame and Catholics. (He’s now running West Virginia University). But his $851,000 base salary was also the highest among state school leaders. 
In the meantime, about 59 percent of Ohio State students now graduate with student loans. Of those who do, the average burden is about $26,000. And to top it off, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies, between 2010 and 2012, debt among OSU students grew 23 percent faster than the national average. 
So Gee got paid, while his students paid up. Should you be mad? 
The Institute for Policy Studies thinks you should. Its report argues that a group of public colleges is showering its top administrators with money, while shortchanging spending on faculty and financial aid. At the 25 state universities with the best paid executives, it notes, student debt grew faster than at the average state school. Compensation packages at those institutions also grew far quicker than at public colleges on the whole.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Your permanent record

Not an idle threat.  From The Washington Post.

Here’s how much your high school grades predict your future salary
High school teachers often try -- sometimes to no avail-- to convince students that how well they do in school will matter later in life. 
Now they have data to prove it. A report published Monday in the Eastern Economic Journal by researchers from the University of Miami found that a person's grade-point average in high school not only indicates the person's chances of getting into college and whether he or she will finish college or graduate school. It could also be an indicator of how much that person will earn later in life. 
"A one-unit increase in your GPA has a very sizable impact on your education and earnings," says Michael T. French, director of the health economics research group at the University of Miami. 
Indeed, for a one-point increase in a person's high school GPA, average annual earnings in adulthood increased by about 12 percent for men and about 14 percent for women, the report found. (Men and women were looked at separately since women have lower average earnings than men, making about $30,000 on average in adulthood compared with the average of $43,000 for men.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

After one of my milestone birthdays last week

Like Peter Gabriel said, I guess I don't mind so much being old, as I mind being fat and old.  From CBS MoneyWatch.

Time to rethink what "old" is
Through much of my life, "old" has been someone who's about 20 years older than me. If I continue applying this definition, in the not-to-distant future, old will be someone who's most certainly dead. So, I need to rethink my definition of old. 
First, let's look at some statistics that give us new insights on recent improvements in longevity. Then let's look beyond the numbers to see how we really feel about age and "oldness." 
Many people think of age in chronological terms -- as in the number of years lived. To them, someone is old when they've reached an advanced age, such as 65, 75 or 85. However, instead of looking at age as the number of years you've lived, why not think about it with respect to the numbers of years you have remaining? 
With this in mind, actuaries and demographers might define "old" as someone who's reached their life expectancy from birth using the mortality rates currently prevailing in the population, rather than relying on arbitrary age milestones. According to a report from the Stanford Center on Longevity, in 1950, life expectancy at birth was age 66 for a man and 71 for a woman. So, back then those ages might have been considered old. 
By 2010, however, life expectancy at birth had increased to 75 for a man and 80 for a woman, so "old" increased by nine years.

Monday, July 28, 2014

On the road again

It pays to change jobs frequently.  Of course, the older you get, the harder it is to move around.  The downside is retirement age.  From my high school class, the people who stuck around in the same job are all retired now.  Me, not so much.  From Forbes.

Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less
Bethany Devine, a Senior Hiring Manager in Silicon Valley, CA who has worked with Intuit and other Fortune 500 companies explains, “I would often see resumes that only had a few years at each company. I found that the people who had switched companies usually commanded a higher salary. The problem with staying at a company forever is you start with a base salary and usually annual raises are based on a percentage of your current salary. There is often a limit to how high your manager can bump you up since it’s based on a percentage of your current salary. However, if you move to another company, you start fresh and can usually command a higher base salary to hire you. Companies competing for talent are often not afraid to pay more when hiring if it means they can hire the best talent. Same thing applies for titles. Some companies have a limit to how many promotions they allow each year. Once you are entrenched in a company, it may become more difficult to be promoted as you may be waiting in line behind others who should have been promoted a year ago but were not due to the limit. However, if you apply to another company, your skills may match the higher title, and that company will hire you with the new title. I have seen many coworkers who were waiting on a certain title and finally received it the day they left and were hired at a new company.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hoy es

National Tequila Day!

Here, from Thrillist, a celebration of all things tequila.

This Nationnal Tequila Day (July 24th), let us reflect on everyone and everything that's made it possible for America to raise a glass of Mexico's finest. From real revolutionaries to cultural revolutionaries, from bureaucrats to Bing Crosby, here's a surprising list of the people and events responsible for the glass you're hopefully filling right now. At work. Because not every company gives this holiday off yet even though they should.

Worse than Oklahoma?

It's hard to believe Tennessee is number three.  My friends in Oklahoma will give me a hard time.  From Kiplinger.

Top 10 States Most at Risk of Disaster

3. Tennessee

slideshow image
Keith Gallagher via Creative Commons
Estimated Property Damage (2006-2013): $5.1 billion
Most Frequent Disasters: thunderstorms, hail, winter storms, tornadoes
Weather-Related Fatalities (2006-2013): 224
Severe storms and tornadoes are common in Tennessee, which was among several southern states hit by the historic “super outbreak” of tornadoes in April 2011. The state’s capital, Nashville, suffered an estimated $2 billion in damage due to flooding in May 2010, and Memphis had millions of dollars’ worth of damage when the Mississippi River flooded in the spring of 2011.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Or maybe these jobs

Just have the best health coverage.  I imagine people may be more depressed in other jobs but don't show up in studies that look at prescription rates. From i09.

Our jobs have a profound influence on our mental health. A new study shows the extent to which certain industries give rise to clinical depression. 
For the study, Cincinnati researchers Lawson Wulsin and colleagues analyzed care records from Highmark Ltd., a Blue Cross insurance provider for folks living primarily in western Pennsylvania. The data included the occupations and medical claims for well over 200,000 adults from 2001-2005 (so not the newest data we've seen); depression was defined as two or more claims using disease-specific cost codes, though the unemployed, disabled, and retired were not included. In all there were 55 industries considered, all with at least 200 employees. 
...So, people working in passenger transit, real estate, and social services are among the most affected by clinical depression, while those working in amusement/recreational services, oil and gas extraction (who knew?), and miscellaneous repair services are among the least affected.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Me too.

I also throw out job applications where my last name is mispelled. Always, and for the same reasons below. From Kyle Wiens, writing in the HBR Blog Network.

If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building. 
Some might call my approach to grammar extreme, but I prefer Lynne Truss’s more cuddly phraseology: I am a grammar “stickler.” And, like Truss — author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves — I have a “zero tolerance approach” to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid. 
Now, Truss and I disagree on what it means to have “zero tolerance.” She thinks that people who mix up their itses “deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave,” while I just think they deserve to be passed over for a job — even if they are otherwise qualified for the position. 
Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.), if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between “to” and “too,” their applications go into the bin.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Infographic Friday

The Psychology Behind Colours In Logo Design
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A touch of Appalachia

Some wonderful pictures accompany this story at The Week.

Coming home to Appalachia
Documentary photographer Roger May left his Appalachian home as a teenager. When he returned as an adult, he struggled to connect his memory of the region with its reality. 
A self-described wanderer, May, 39, discovered that his camera helped him close that divide and relearn this part of the country that had so shaped him. 
"Sometimes truly being able to see requires us to leave for awhile and come back with a hunger for home," May said in an interview. "As an Appalachian, I'm familiar with stories of image takers rather than image makers. I don't want to be another taker in a long line of takers from Appalachia." 
May's personal, visual journey to his roots, Testify: A Visual Love Letter to Appalachia, was published in April with the help of a Kickstarter campaign held last year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Door opener

Continuing education to the governor's rescue. Maybe he'll earn prior learning credit for political science.  From Minding the Campus.

Does Scott Walker Need A College Degree?
Do you need a college degree to get elected president? Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who doesn't have one, wants to know. 
As Walker begins contemplating his 2016 presidential bid, John Fund reports, his incomplete education is raising concerns among Republicans. Walker started college at Marquette University but dropped out to join the Red Cross. He never returned.  Amidst these grumblings, however, Walker is now considering finishing his degree. 
We already know the answer to Walker's question, as nine of our Commanders-in-Chief-- among them the greatest (Washington, Lincoln) and most obscure (Taylor, Fillmore)-- never received a college education. But Walker's concerns are understandable. Americans today place a much higher premium on a college degree than they did in the past, and it's quite possible that swaths of the electorate will write him off as a result. 
Walker has indicated that if he does finish his degree, he'll do it through the University of Wisconsin's FlexOption, which allows students to obtain a degree at their own pace online. FlexOption relies on a "competency-based model," which offers credits for subject mastery rather than in-class seat time. To that end, highly self-motivated students can complete their degrees as quickly as they can pass their assessments. Such programs present a worthy challenge to the traditional model of higher-ed, which places little stock in how much students have actually learned.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tales of the nontradtional

More news on adult and continuing education students.  From The Chattanoogo Times Free Press.

Hamilton County entrepreneur Greg Vital took 36 years to finish his college degree, but on Sunday he graduated from Southern Adventist University and was the commencement speaker. 
“Leave college with persistence, passion and a plan. Define yourself by the things you’ve accomplished,” he told some 440 graduates and thousands of people at the Chattanooga Convention Center. 
The graduating class also included Southern’s first doctor of nursing practice graduates, the first doctoral program at the university. 
Vital gave the commencement address two years after a controversy ignited over whether he intentionally misled people into thinking he already had a college degree. The context was his unsuccessful campaign for the 10th District state Senate seat in 2012. 
Vital, 58, says he has always been upfront about his educational status. It wasn’t that flap that motivated him to get his degree, he said in an interview Sunday: He did it for personal satisfaction. 
“This is about inspiring young people whose life and education gets interrupted, showing them that we must go back and finish what we start,” he said.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Putting your money where

Your mouth is. Two studies show there is a difference in sying that you give to charity and actually doing it.  Or at least claiming the deduction on your income taxes.  Tennessee residents give 6.6% of their discretionalry income to charity.  From The Atlantic.

The 5 Most and Least Charitable States
It makes sense that Utah would top both lists, considering its large Mormon population. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asks its followers to donate 10 percent of their income. Fittingly, according to Chronicle data, people in Utah gave 10.6 percent of their discretionary income, which is more than 3 percentage points higher than the next state. 
But the rest of the data shows a different story from the Gallup Poll. The next four states in the Chronicle analysis are Mississippi (7.2 percent), Alabama (7.1 percent), Tennessee (6.6 percent), and South Carolina (6.4 percent), which aren't in the top 20 of Gallup's charitable list. 
The top four states from Gallup—Minnesota, Hawaii, South Dakota, and New Hampshire—similarly are not in the top 20 of the Chronicle list. This just shows the difference between the amounts of money people are giving, as compared to whether or not people from those states say they are likely to give.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I've lived and worked in a couple of the most corrept states

As well as in one of the least. I wonder how the trend lines run, though.  It's surprising to me that Tennessee is listed above Illinois. From Fortune.

A new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the Indiana University estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year. 
The researchers studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union. Based on this method, the the most corrupt states are: 
1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MOOCing in the Volunteer State

ETSU has been offering our on MOOCs with Open Bucs for a while now. Without extra state funding, sad to say.  From The Tennessean.

UT to expand online learning pilot program
The University of Tennessee is getting additional state funding to expand an online learning pilot program.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports UT, in conjunction with the Tennessee Board of Regents, will get $1 million to expand the initiative, which uses technology developed for massive open online courses. 
UT is using the software only for courses it offers to students, but has seen success with it. 
We’ve seen in this year some pretty amazing things by jumping into this partnership and jumping into this big unknown of the MOOC world,” said India Lane, UT assistant vice president for academic affairs and student success. “ 
Four courses were offered this year: two English classes at UT-Chattanooga, a music appreciation class at UT-Martin and a college algebra class at the Knoxville campus.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You can lead a horticulture...

I like these tips a lot.  It's reminder to look around and really listen to folks when you're on a job interview.  From Forbes.

1. They make a big deal out of the Ping-Pong table. Having a Ping-Pong table is fine; bragging about one is not. Why? The corporate world has somehow equated owning one with having a fun loving-culture. If your potential employers emphasize theirs, it may be a sign they’re checking off boxes rather than giving their employees what they really want.

2. The place is a dump. Whenever I walk into an office, I look along sightlines. If I see boxes sitting in the aisles and chairs piled up in meeting rooms, I know no one cares about the place. And there is probably a good reason why. 
3. Only the leaders have offices. We’re always leery of a place where everyone has a cube except for the bosses. That usually indicates a hierarchical structure in which management and employees are at odds.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Willie Sutton:

Continuing education philosopher. Continuing education has been doing moving higher education where the students are for a long time, but it still makes news when traditional institutions get into the act.  From The Hechinger Report.

There aren’t any Greek columns or sprawling green lawns at Northeastern University’s satellite campus in Charlotte, N.C., which consists of the 11th story of an office building in the middle of the uptown district. 
The location is no accident. Charlotte is among the nation’s top 10 fastest growing cities with populations greater than one million, according to the Census Bureau. And the school is in a neighborhood where economic activity is so hot that office vacancy rates are in the single digits. 
That’s how Landon White stumbled across it. The 31-year-old, who works in Charlotte for Liberty Mutual, was driving by the uptown campus and saw the Northeastern logo. He’d been feeling the itch to go back to school to “get a competitive edge in my career,” but hadn’t found any suitable programs. 
White enrolled and is set to get his master’s degree in leadership this summer.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Infographic Friday

4th of July Fun Facts
by JustinPoore.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.