Wednesday, September 30, 2015

UT's diversity efforts under the legislative microscope

I have to wonder if this has anything to do with the whole transgender pronoun brouhaha that occurred early this Fall? From The Knoxville News Sentinel. 

Lawmaker questions UT salaries in diversity programs
A Knoxville legislator is questioning the University of Tennessee’s annual spending of more than $4.7 million on salary and benefits for employees involved in diversity programs, contending both the total and some individual salaries are excessive and should be reviewed with an eye toward cuts. 
“If we could cut that $4.7 million by $1.5 million a year, that would be $15 million over 10 years,” said Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville. “That would be saving a lot of tuition dollars and a lot of taxpayer dollars” for other university needs. 
Margie Nichols, UT vice chancellor for communications, said the diversity efforts are largely mandated by federal law and cover a wide array of programs benefiting women and minorities. UT officials believe the expenditures are warranted and are open to a review, she said. 
The $4.7 million total may overstate expenditures because it includes gross salaries of staff who have duties other than diversity matters. Only about $2.55 million in salary and benefits is directly attributed to diversity activities, though Daniel says all figures may understate actual spending because it does not include related employee travel and other expenses.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A new growth model for higher education?

Nick Anderson, writing in The Washington Post, looks at the phenomenal growth of the University of Central Florida. Crowded?  You bet, with a student-to faculty-ratio of 31 to 1.  Still, when regional universities are vulnerable to enrollment decreases, this might be a model to replicate.

Is bigger better? 54,000 students and growing, U. of Central Florida storms higher ed.
A small state school launched here in the 1960s to develop employees for the space program has morphed into one of the nation’s largest universities, using accessible admission policies and online instruction to fuel extraordinary growth in an era when many public colleges face fiscal uncertainty. 
The University of Central Florida will have about 54,000 undergraduate students this fall, up 90 percent since the turn of the century. The only public university with more is Arizona State, counting at least 67,000 on five campuses. 
UCF and ASU are in the vanguard of an insurgency that aims to demolish the popular belief that exclusivity is a virtue in higher education. They stand for access on a grand scale, arguing that breakneck growth serves a nation in desperate need of a better-educated workforce. They also are pursuing a new financial model that enables public universities to thrive even when state support dwindles.
Their solution, possibly a blueprint for others around the country, combines a bustling traditional campus with an ever-widening menu of online and semi-online courses. And they’re doing it at a relatively low price. 
“Our concern is that qualified students who want to get a college education be allowed to do so,” UCF President John C. Hitt said. “We’ll do our part in that, to the best of our ability. We do recognize that there is a limit. We just don’t know where it is.” 
Many UCF students are first in their families to go to college, and thousands arrive every year from community colleges.
“We don’t have enough of these examples,” said Andrew P. Kelly, a higher education analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s a rare sight to see institutions self-consciously trying to build capacity to serve more students. The incentives tend to point in the opposite direction, toward exclusivity. These guys are breaking the mold.”

Monday, September 28, 2015

I resemble that remark

Messy desk, clear goals.  Or so the research suggests....From The Pacific Standard.

But recent research suggests there is a method to my messiness. I may not have realized it, but it seems all that clutter serves as something of a catalyst. 
"When environmental cues trigger an experience of disorder ... people are more attracted to clear, well-defined goals, and motivated to attain them," write Bob Fennis and Jacob Wiebenga of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. This dynamic, they add, is "driven by the need to reaffirm perceptions of order." 
In other words, the researchers argue in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, we have a basic need for order and structure, and if we don't find it in our immediate environment, we are driven to create it somewhere. Setting (and achieving) goals fulfills that role quite nicely.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tennessee's is Jack Daniels

Naturally.  Kentucky's is the odd combination of Royal Crown/Jagermeister. Virginia's is Grey Goose. From

Every drinker has their poison of choice, but it turns out that every state does, too. 
BARTRENDr, a social app for drinkers to connect with one another, analyzed data from its 700,000 users to determine the most popular liquor brand in every state based on posts and photos of the liquors its users like to drink. 
Forty-two states named some brand of whiskey as their most popular, with Jack Daniel's and Fireball being the two most predominant brands among the group.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I've given out this advice more than once

I just wish I could I follow it better. From The Week.

Why 'no' is the most powerful word in your vocabulary
Being available — saying "yes" — is a great way to build alliances and get things done. However, when others perceive you as always on-tap, they actually value you — and your time, money, and energy — less. Strategically manage how you allocate these things, and you will find yourself more appreciated, less stressed, and potentially more successful than you imagined you could be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

ETSU inaugurates ‘ETSU Fast Track Master’s’ program

A graduate degree has become more affordable and attainable for undergraduates at East Tennessee State University.

Starting this fall, all qualifying undergraduate students enrolled at ETSU can apply through the “ETSU Fast Track Master’s” program to take graduate courses at undergraduate tuition rates and apply those graduate hours toward both their undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

“We are excited to offer this new program for students who currently attend and those who choose ETSU in the future,” stated Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Bert Bach.

ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland concurred, adding, “ETSU strives to offer world-class opportunities for our students, and this innovative program will help students—from Johnson City to Jacksonville, Jonesborough to Johannesburg—achieve their educational and professional goals.”

The “ETSU Fast Track Master’s” requires qualifying ETSU undergraduates who have completed 75 undergraduate credits to work with undergraduate advisers and graduate faculty to apply to the Fast Track program. Upon admission, the student works with faculty to enroll in up to 12 credit hours of graduate coursework that can then be applied toward both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“I am excited that this program keeps ETSU at the cutting edge of what experts agree are the best practices for graduate education in the United States,” stated School of Graduate Studies Dean Dr. Cecilia McIntosh. “I am perhaps even more excited as a biochemist, as I see this program working to provide a more extensive and productive research experience for science students in my laboratory.”

Individuals who are not currently enrolled at ETSU but who are interested in taking advantage of the program should contact admissions counselors in ETSU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Undergraduates already attending ETSU should contact their undergraduate advising specialist or a faculty mentor within their chosen area of study.

For more information, call 423-439-4213 or toll free 800-GO2-ETSU (800-462-3878) or contact

Monday, September 21, 2015

Promises, promises

According to the figures I've seen, community college enrollment this fall did not increase much.  But as this article in The Tennessean states, full-time enrollment has increased.  Locally, Northeast State Community College saw one of the larger increases.

Three weeks after thousands of Tennessee Promise students arrived on campus for the first time, administrators across the state are getting a clearer picture of how many students actually followed through with the program and how dramatic their impact will be. 
Enrollment is up at many of the state's 13 community colleges, and almost all of them have seen sharp gains in the number of students enrolled with a full course load, a requirement of the full-tuition scholarship program. 
The 13 community colleges have seen a 6 percent jump in full-time students this year on average, according to a census taken on the 14th day of classes. At a number of schools, that number reaches even higher: Motlow State Community College has had full-time growth of almost 20 percent, to 3,541, while there was a 14 percent jump, to 5,373, at Volunteer State Community College....
While Tennessee Promise is boosting enrollment and excitement at community college campuses, early enrollment numbers suggest that it has siphoned students away from some four-year schools. 
Enrollment is down at several state universities at small rates that mirror national trends, but one University of Tennessee campus saw a more significant drop. Early estimates suggest freshman enrollment at UT Martin in West Tennessee is down around 13 percent, according to UT system President Joe DiPietro.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Keynote Speakers & Panelists Finalized: Check out what's in store!

We're excited to announce that our extensive cadre of keynote speakers and panelists has been finalized. They are all distinguished thought leaders who bring focused tips and tools to practitioners who make daily strategic connections, change lives, and demonstrate successes. 
Learn more about each of these individuals and all of this year's presenters at our conference website, and then - if you haven't - get registered to attend!

Barbara Vacarr, Director, Encore Higher Education Initiative
Barbara VacarrAs a former college president, adult educator, and psychologist, Barbara is committed to learning that makes a difference in the world. Over the course of her 27-year career, she has developed programs for adult and non-traditional learners to develop and transform themselves as they strengthen the connections between their learning, their living and their livelihoods.
Barbara holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Human Development. She is the former president of Goddard College and founding Director of the PhD in Adult Learning Program at Lesley University. Her scholarship has focused on adult learning and diversity education. Barbara is the founder and senior leader of an Intergenerational Women’s Mentoring Collective, served as an interviewer for The Visual History of the Shoah Project and is a project leader for the Cambodian Youth and Missing History Project.

Carol Aslanian, EducationDynamics
Carol AslanianCarol Aslanian’s national reputation as an authority on adult higher education is an invaluable asset in creating market studies and institutional audits for colleges, and developing partnerships between them and employers.

The author of a number of landmark reports and professional papers on adult learning, Carol has received several national awards for her contributions to the fields of community service and continuing education. She has served on the boards or committees of such groups as the American Marketing Association, the Nontraditional Students Report Board of Advisors, and Elderhostel.

Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education, U.S. Agency for International Development
Christie VilsackChristie Vilsack joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Advisor for International Education in March 2013. Christie supports USAID’s  Education Strategy goals to improve children’s reading skills, strengthen workforce development, and provide equitable access to education in crisis and conflict settings.
In her current role at USAID, Christie works with education sector partners and education leaders worldwide to build understanding of and support for international education solutions. She travels the world visiting and learning about USAID programs so she can tell the story of USAID Education to anyone she meets from Main Street to the halls of Congress.
Brenda K. Harms, Harms Consulting
Brenda HarmsDr. Brenda Harms is an experienced higher education administrator with a diverse marketing and admissions background. Her perspective on higher education marketing and recruitment is strengthened by her hands-on experience serving in both academic and administrative roles in Higher Education. During that time, she was also involved in the development and delivery of accelerated on-campus and online courses. 
While Brenda’s primary interest is the recruitment and retention of adult and graduate students, her knowledge and experience relating to higher education has greatly benefited consulting projects focused on institutional marketing, enrollment management, academic program development, development of alternate deliveries, research projects, and overall institutional health. 
Colin Irose, Seelio
Colin IroseColin Irose has been working in the educational environment for over a decade across areas like: eportfolio initiatives, marketing/best practices/benchmarking research, and international student recruitment. 
As Director of University Partnerships at Seelio, Colin works with institutions in both New England and on the West coast to harness Seelio's services based student life cycle portfolio. By focusing on career development and preparation for the students, Colin is able to assist schools in utilizing Seelio to impact initiatives like marketing/enrollment, engagement/retention, Learning outcomes/assessment, and ultimately helping students find meaningful work in their chosen field.
Loren Pace, CampusCE
Loren PaceLoren Pace has over thirty years of international business, executive level experience, providing strategic leadership direction for companies in various stages of development in the petroleum, wireless, health care services and education industries.
Loren serves as CEO of CampusCE. Their EMS is provided through a Software as a Service platform (SaaS) that enables institutions to electronically connect students, faculty and administrators throughout the complex registration, academic scheduling, student relationship and education management processes.

Chris Miller, Education Advisory Board
Chris MillerChris Miller is Executive Director of the Education Advisory Board (EAB), where he is responsible for research memberships serving provosts, chief business officers, student affairs executives, continuing and professional education deans, and community college presidents. Together, these memberships serve more than 500 higher education institutions in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In this role, Mr. Miller has led in-depth research efforts around critical college and university strategic priorities, including globalization strategy, elevating student retention and graduation performance, fostering large-scale multidisciplinary research, and engaging faculty in online education and administrative efficiency initiatives.

Today is

Constitution Day!  From

Constitution Day
On February 29, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill establishing Citizenship Day on September 17 of each year. The roots of this holiday go back to I Am an American Day, which was established in 1940 by Congress as the third Sunday in May. This day was moved and renamed to Citizenship Day to coincide with the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Call for presentations

ACHE Great Lakes 
Regional Conference
Call for Presentations

The 2016 conference will be a joint effort between ACHE Great Lakes and the Illinois Council for Continuing Higher Education. The conference will be held from February 10 through 12 in Chicago.The theme for the 2016 conference is Continuing Education Collaborations and the Call for Presentations includes a list of suggested topics. Individuals who are not members of either organization are eligible to submit a presentation. So please feel free to share the Call for Presentations with interested colleagues.

Click Here to View the “Call for Presentations.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are you a lark?

Or an owl?  I think I work better in the morning....From The Atlantic.

Scientists would later classify people like Schrödinger as “owls”—people who prefer to wake up late and are more alert in the evenings. It’s one of two basic chronotypes, or preferred sleep schedules. The other is “larks,” or crazy people those who prefer early mornings. 
But now, scientists in Russia are proposing that there are actually four chronotypes: In addition to early and late risers, they say, there are also people who feel energetic in both the mornings and evenings, as well as people who feel lethargic all day.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Register now

Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education 47th Annual Conference
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
November 11-13, 2015
For more information or to register for the conference, go here. 
Make your room reservations here. The conference room rate of $104 is available until October 11 and may be extended through the weekend on a space available basis.
Wednesday night opening reception at the Aquarium of the Smokies!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Testing optional colleges and universities

There are options, but still, it's always better to have done well on the ACT or SAT. And of course, there's always the community college route. By Nick Anderson, writing in The Washington Post.

Bombed the SAT or the ACT? Here are colleges that are ‘test-optional.’
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, is an advocacy group that tracks the test-optional movement. It has a list of more than 800 schools that admit substantial numbers of students to bachelor’s degree programs without using SAT or ACT scores. 
The description of the list is carefully worded because of nuances in policies. Some schools require tests but allow students to submit results from assessments other than the two big admissions tests. Some public schools require tests but will then admit a portion of students based on grades or class rank, without considering their test scores. Some are test-optional but only for students who meet certain grade-point average thresholds. And so on. 
The Washington Post analyzed FairTest’s list to see what types of schools offer some type of flexibility. Here are a few takeaways.
  • There are about 180 public and private schools on the list with published rankings from U.S. News & World Report, some of them national and many regional. They range from Agnes Scott College, a women’s school in Georgia, to Wake Forest University, a liberal arts/research university in North Carolina. There are no test-optional schools, however, among the top 25 on the U.S. News national university list. In general, there are far more test-optional schools among liberal arts colleges than major national universities.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I liked this movie better when it was called

Blackboard Jungle.  No, wait, To Sir with Love.  Or was it Stand and Deliver? Aisha Harris has a nice essay in Slate discussing the impact of this film twenty years after its release.  I've always thought there's a dissertation brewing with films like this. And then there's a film like Kindergarten Cop, which tells the audience all you have to do to be a good teacher is blow a whistle and have students march like little soldiers.

Dangerous Tropes
When Dangerous Minds opened 20 years ago this week, the critics couldn’t tell their readers loudly enough just how totally over it they felt. The film “tells another one of those uplifting parables in which the dedicated teacher takes on a schoolroom full of rebellious malcontents, and wins them over with an unorthodox approach,” began Roger Ebert in his unrelenting slam of the film. The New York Times’ Janet Maslin hit the same theme: “[It's] formatted to match every other account of a dedicated teacher taming rebellious teens.” 
Such critiques were not without merit. By 1995 the inspirational teacher movie, otherwise known as the “save our students” trope, was already several decades old, and Dangerous Minds stuck closely to its formula. That formula is simple: A new teacher takes on failing or at-risk kids who have long been abandoned by the system (usually in a poor, urban neighborhood) and helps turn their grades, and thus their lives, around. At some point, the teacher will reach a point at which she will want to quit, but an out-of-the-blue grand gesture by the kids will change her mind by the third act. It’s a subgenre that is naturally prone to sentimentality, so even the good or at least watchable examples of the form—like To Sir, With Love and Stand and Deliver—are at least somewhat cheesy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

ETSU’s Alliance for Continued Learning to offer fall classes

East Tennessee State University’s Alliance for Continued Learning (ACL) will offer a wide range of classes and activities during the fall session, which runs from Sept. 22-Oct. 28. Sessions are from 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and Wednesday.

To give new members an opportunity to become acquainted with the group, the ACL will welcome all participants at a continental breakfast on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 9:30 a.m., at Memorial Park Community Center, 510 Bert St., Johnson City, followed by a welcome and update by Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services Dr. Roberta Herrin. The ETSU Bluegrass and Old Time Band will be performing at the welcome event. Fall classes will also be held at the Memorial Park Community Center.

Among the sessions available, Dr. John Martin, retired minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, will present “Three Approaches to Understanding Religion.” Deborah Montanti, executive director of the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, will offer “The Relocation of the Chuckey Train Depot, Cemetery Preservation in Jonesborough and the Chester Inn Museum” and Dr. Scott Champney will talk about his hobby of building model boats and ships. Dr. John Rankin, professor in the History Department at ETSU, will discuss “Admiral Horatio Nelson: Death and Desire.”

Dr. Brian Maxson, professor of history and assistant dean of the ETSU School of Graduate Studies, will give a virtual tour of Florence, Italy. In a presentation by Dr. Donald Hudson of King University, attendees will explore the differences between moderate and militant Islam. Dr. Andrew Slap, a professor of history at ETSU, will offer “Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and the Constitution During the Civil War Era.”

Jeffery Stoner will discuss his passion for Low Country photographic explorations in the coastal areas from Charleston, South Carolina, to Jekyll Island, Georgia. Pete Lodal, Safety Engineer at Eastman Chemical Co., will present “Tennessee Eastman’s Aniline Plant Explosion on October 4, 1960.”

Field trips are planned to the Storytelling Center in Jonesborough on Sept. 30 for a fee of $10, and to the Butler Museum and Watauga Lake Winery on Oct. 14, at a cost of $15.

Sponsored by the ETSU Office of Professional Development, the ACL is “member-powered, member-driven and member-governed.” Participants decide the study groups, forums, classes and other activities to be held, identify leaders for the sessions, and elect officers.

No educational prerequisites, examinations, or grades are involved in the courses. A $40 early registration fee is in effect until Sept.17, rising to $45 after that date. Participants may attend any or all sessions, with additional fees for field trips.

For more information or a schedule of classes, call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at 423-439-8084 or visit and click on “Community Groups.” For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346..

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Everything I needed to know...

In other words, learn to get along and play nice. From

The results showed that socially competent children were far more likely to earn a college degree and have a full-time job by 25 than those with limited social skills. Those with limited social skills also had a higher chance of getting arrested, binge drinking, and applying for public housing. 
"This study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future," said Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research, in a release. 
"From an early age, these skills can determine whether a child goes to college or prison, and whether they end up employed or addicted."
The good news, according to Damon Jones, lead author of the study, is that intervention at a young age can help improve social and emotional skills. 
"This research by itself doesn't prove that higher social competence can lead to better outcomes later on," he said in a release. "But when combined with other research, it is clear that helping children develop these skills increases their chances of success in school, work, and life."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Call for Proposals

The Adult Higher Education Alliance 2016 Conference 
Call for Proposals

Current Explorations of the Adult Learner: Implications for Mentoring and More!

Orlando, Florida
March 10-11, 2016

* * * * * Proposal submission deadline: September 15, 2015 * * * * *

The call for presentations for the AHEA 2016 Conference welcomes the following topics:

  • Current adult learner characteristics
  • Barriers to participation
  • Success factors
  • Advising adult learners
  • Support networks for adult learners
  • Formal advising and mentoring structures in higher education degree programs
  • Mentoring adult learners
  • Formal and informal mentoring relationships

Click to learn more.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ETSU offers pharmacy technician course

East Tennessee State University’s Office of Professional Development has scheduled a pharmacy technician course to begin Tuesday, Sept. 22, and end Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The class, limited to 40 students, will train participants to assist pharmacists in handling medications and serving patients. Those who pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board examination become nationally certified.

The course instructor is Helen Nemeth, an outpatient pharmacist with the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Nemeth, an ETSU alumna of the ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, has over 10 years of experience in the pharmacy field.

Registration for the class is $400 until Sept. 15, when the fee rises to $500. There are 20 class meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. in ETSU’s Gilbreath Hall.

  To enroll, call (800) 222-3878 or visit and click on “Health Care.”
  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.