Thursday, January 28, 2016
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
I really relate to the third item on Bradberry's list. Everyone says no problem any more, and I don't like it. And also--get off my lawn! From Entrepreneur.
3. 'No problem.'
When someone asks you to do something or thanks you for doing something, and you tell them no problem, you’re implying that their request should have been a problem. This makes people feel as though they’ve imposed upon you.
What you want to do instead is to show people that you’re happy to do your job. Say something like “It was my pleasure” or “I’ll be happy to take care of that.” It’s a subtle difference in language, but one that has a huge impact on people.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Don't touch your phone when you're with other people. Focus on who you are with. From Aja Frost, writing in The Muse.
I’ve never seen my co-worker Allen use a phone. I know he has one; I’ve called and texted him, and he asked my opinion on the iPhone 6 versus the Plus. But those are my only clues to its existence, because Allen has a strict no-phones-around-others policy.
That means he will not touch his phone, under any conditions, unless he’s alone.
When Allen first revealed his boycott, I thought he was crazy. I check my phone all the time, whether I’m with other people or not—out of necessity. How else am I supposed to stay on top of a constant flood of emails, social media updates, texts, and calls?
However, when I started watching Allen interact with the other people in our office, I thought maybe he was onto something. No matter who Allen was talking to—a client, our boss, another professional—that person seemed really engaged in the conversation.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Fentress County, close to the Kentucky border. From The Atlantic.
As the Southern Education Foundation announced last January, a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools now come from low-income families. The implications, for rural, urban, and suburban children alike, are serious. Students who come to school hungry often find it difficult to focus on learning. Students without computers or Internet access may have trouble with their homework. Students who are homeless or need clothing or lack medical care can develop behavioral problems.
Compared to students in urban or suburban schools, students in rural areas and small towns are less likely to attend college. Part of this is because of financial concerns. In Fentress County, close to 40 percent of children live in poverty. According to the Obama administration, it’s one of 301 rural counties (compared to 52 non-rural ones) in the country that suffer from “persistent poverty,” meaning poverty rates have exceeded 20 percent in every census since 1980. In the 2011, 65 percent of children in the county qualified for free or reduced lunches, a key marker of childhood poverty. That is 18 percent higher than Tennessee’s average. The community has some of the highest rates of premature death, sick leave, and injury-related deaths in the state. Thirty-eight percent of the county’s adults are obese.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Raising the Bar on Higher Ed Debates
In other words, the new wave of higher education reform plans are fundamentally about making it cheaper to go to the same, often mediocre colleges we’ve had for a long time. What we really need is a large number of newer, cheaper, better higher education organizations—not necessarily “colleges” as we know them today—to serve the growing and increasingly diverse population of adults who need learning opportunities of all kinds.
This is actually an area where Republicans and Democrats agree, even if they don’t entirely realize it yet. For example, on many issues—taxes, immigration, abortion, gun control, health care, foreign policy—Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton are diametrically opposed. But Rubio was recently the sponsor of bipartisan legislation aimed at stimulating public-minded innovation in higher education. His calls to improve education data and reform the stifling accreditation system are echoed in the Clinton higher education plan.
Every politician in America has constituents of all political stripes who are anxious about paying for their children’s college education. And every part of the country—red, blue, and in between—has individuals who need to improve their skills and broaden their minds in order to be enlightened, productive citizens. The real higher education reform effort of the future won’t be about left vs. right. It will be about public-minded lawmakers working to overhaul the entrenched special interests of existing schools.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Bristol. Asheville. Burnsville. You'll have to follow the link to see the pictures. From The Atlantic.
When President Lyndon Johnson designated Appalachia as the battleground for the War on Poverty, black and white images of destitute families and broken-down barns came to define the region. Some 50 years later, those stereotypes remain—and Roger May is working to change that. His project, Looking at Appalachia, crowdsources images from photographers (professional or amateur) inspired by the mountainous stretch of land between New York and Mississippi. Eventually, they hope to start incorporating writing, audio and video to the project. "We’re hoping to offer a more balanced and nuanced look at an incredibly complex and diverse region," May said.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Monday, January 18, 2016
The TBR Chancellor retires to protest the Governor's plan to create individual governing boards for each TBR university. The only downside I see is that I'm on a committee that is looking at each TBR policy and guideline in case we want to keep them. Or I should say, in case the Board wants to keep them. From Inside Higher Education.
Planned Breakup in Tennessee
Planned Breakup in Tennessee
Alisa White, president of Austin Peay State University, is quite happy with the existing structure that governs Tennessee's regional public universities and community colleges.
John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents system, is an advocate for her university; the 18-member Board of Regents is knowledgeable on issues of higher education; and the system itself, she says, is full of creative thinkers who have helped Tennessee push the envelope when it comes to education policy.
Yet White and many of the presidents at the five other four-year universities within the system think, despite all of the board's accomplishments, its governance structure would be improved if Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s plan to create individual governing boards for the system's universities -- allowing the board to focus solely on the 27 technical colleges and 13 community colleges in the system -- goes forward.
The plan, announced in early December, is still being developed and drafted into legislation (which will be called the Focus on College and University Success Act), but the pending legislation appears to have the support of many of the state’s lawmakers and education advocates. It would not affect the University of Tennessee System, which already has a governing structure separate from the TBR system.
But Morgan, one of the state’s most respected higher education officials, is skeptical of Haslam’s plan, so much so that he is retiring a year early because he says he cannot support the proposed governance change. Separating the universities from the system “is unworkable and will seriously impair the critical alignment of the state’s needs, the TBR’s oversight responsibility and each institution’s accountability,” he wrote in a sharply worded resignation letter to the governor last week.
An overhaul might encourage institutions to put their own interests ahead of the state, “drive competition” among institutions and “shift priorities away from the state’s goals.” He will resign at the end of January.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Not even standing desks? From Slate.
When the sports journalist Dan Wetzel checked into his Charlotte hotel room last Saturday, he was troubled to find it was missing one crucial feature: a desk. And as he soon learned, it wasn’t an isolated oversight. Lamenting its absence in an essay on his personal blog, he claims that its omission is part of a chain-wide redesign, one that supposedly caters to the alleged values of millennials who apparently want nothing to do with desks.
As the Wall Street Journal reported last year, the Great Marriott Deskodus has actually been underway for some time, though its effects are evidently becoming harder and harder to avoid. “Millennials live out of their suitcases… so the company has made closets smaller and TVs and bathrooms bigger,” the Journal wrote at the time, adding that the company had “gotten rid of in-room desks in many hotels” as part of the same initiative.
Marriott (which did not respond to a request for comment) trumpets these changes on its website, going so far as to describe them as transformative “innovations” designed to create the “hotel room of the future.” There, however, they don’t advertise the absence of desks so much as the availability of more flexible options. Rooms now include “tables that move with you,” the site claims, accompanying this otherwise unexplained assertion with a photo of a smiling woman, spread out on a bed, remote in hand and popcorn at the ready.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Don't jump--or in this case, stand--to conclusions. Oh, and have I mentioned I have a standing desk? (And what the heck is adiposity?) From The Daily Beast.
Does Standing Lead to Weight Loss?
The Washington Post told readers that “standing for at least a quarter of the day reduces odds of obesity.”
Inside the article, it was reported that the benefit of such standing is immense, with the smallest effect size at 32 percent. The analysis apparently found that men who said they stand a quarter of the time were 32 percent less likely to be obese than those who said they don’t stand at all.
If we were to take such a claim seriously, it would have been impossible to explain how obesity had become so widespread, as its curtailment should have been as easy as giving away some standing desks.
Of course, in the cited study, recently appearing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the authors appropriately drew a more modest conclusion that “standing more than a quarter of the time is related to reduced odds of elevated adiposity.” (Our italics.) The switch from “is related to reduced odds” in the research paper to “reduces odds” in the news headline changed the meaning entirely, inserting a cause-effect relationship that has not been proven in neither the present study nor other studies.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Really? There are hypnosis apps out there? Over 1400 of them? Hmmmm. Consider me skeptical. From The Kernel.
The hypnosis health apps the FDA won’t do anything about
Hypnosis has always been somewhat controversial. According to Dr. David Patterson, a University of Washington professor and hypnosis practitioner, though, “Hypnosis is a true perceptual phenomenon that allows people to do remarkable things when used in the right circumstances, and it has accrued a surprising amount of scientific support over the last few years.” He suggests it can be a powerful therapeutic tool, and the American Psychological Association (APA) endorses it as a technique for treating conditions like anxiety. He also says, however, that it’s “a type of intervention that has always catered to people that are a bit on the edge.”
That type of intervention is no longer limited to professional use or those audiotapes you used to see advertised on late-night TV. It’s now available in the palm of your hand, thanks to any number of smartphone apps you can download, probably for free. And those apps—a search for “hypnosis” in Apple’s App Store yields 1,140 results—are among the many that promise health benefits, often with little to no evidence supporting their assertions. It’s a large-scale problem, and one that standard regulations may not be able to alleviate.
Let’s stick to hypnosis for now. In 2014, a team of researchers reviewed 1,455 hypnosis apps in the App Store and found not a single one “reported having been tested for efficacy, and none reported being evidence-based.” Their study indicates only 7 percent of hypnosis apps listed in the App Store even mentioned the developer’s medical credentials. “At best, apps not supported by empirical evidence are misleading, at worst, unethical,” they wrote in their report. The team recognized hypnosis apps have potential but ultimately need scrutiny.
The apps make alluring (if familiar) promises: You can lose weight, quit smoking, cure your insomnia, ADHD, agoraphobia, and alcoholism. Some even claim to perform past life regression—would you like to remember your past incarnations? Many users don’t seem to mind the lack of evidence. “Words cannot describe how I feel since using this app,” writes one iPhone user in the reviews for the Law of Attraction Hypnosis app. “It was amazing, and like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” writes another user of the app Past Life Regression Hypnosis (rated for ages 4 and up). “It felt like magic.”
Monday, January 11, 2016
A re-training opportunity in Appalachia. From The Pacific Standard.
Where Should All the Coal Miners Go?
It would be wrong, however, to write off coal country completely, or to underestimate the abilities of former coal miners. In a fascinating article in Matter, Lauren Smiley highlights an intriguing initiative in Kentucky to offer specialized job re-training to former coal miners in a well-paid, in-demand field that doesn't necessarily require relocating: coding. Smiley's piece focuses on BitSource, Kentucky's first Web development firm that was founded by the former owners of a land-moving company. BitSource is still new, and small—the first trainee class included only 10 former miners (out of 900 applicants)—but if the model can be scaled, miners might just have a shot at landing high-paying jobs without having to move or wait for a new industry to set up shop in Appalachia. Efforts are also underway to expand other tele-working opportunities in the region, although coding generally offers higher wages.
Coal mining, as Smiley notes, involves more than pure physical labor. Miners "calculate daily shock reports, operate complex machinery, and draft plans to get coal out of a mountain"—all tasks that make them better-suited to coding than one might expect. BitSource's coders underwent an intensive, 22-week training program (during which time they were paid $15 per hour, from federal funds). The start-up pieced together the open-sourced curriculum from websites like Lynda.com. BitSource is hoping to again train a new group of former miners early next year.
"Silicon Valley has shown that the digital economy doesn't have to be created in the same place that it's consumed," Smiley writes. "It can happen two hours from the nearest airport, in a place where building a new road requires sawing a mountain in half, by people who have different politics, accents and hobbies than the end-users."
Friday, January 8, 2016
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Take the time to smell the roses. No, not the virtual roses, the real roses. From The Open Forum.
When Was the Last Time You Truly Unplugged?
When Was the Last Time You Truly Unplugged?
By not taking a break, you may be missing an opportunity to reflect and grow your business. Having a chance to truly dream, or brainstorm is invaluable to your business. It has the potential to re-energize you.
Totally unplugging is not an easy task. It takes deliberate planning and resolve to make it happen. So start small. Close the laptop and put the phone on airplane mode for an hour. Read an actual paper book or let your mind wander. I’ve found that during these times I'll often figure out hard problems, solely from the fact that I’ve given my mind leeway to unplug.
From a higher level, it’s more about being in control of the technology and not letting the technology control you. You may immediately start to see the benefits from unplugging. The first for me was the amount of clarity that comes without the constant subconscious tug of being connected. When my mind accepted the fact that I couldn’t whip out my smartphone at the first hint of boredom, I began to mentally twitch less. Pretty soon the impulse was entirely gone.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Doctorate. And here I though just defending my dissertation was the hard part...From Good.
Get Academically Funky With the Winners of the 2015 ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ Contest
Interpretive dance. Is there anything it can’t do?
Sure, most people use it to express the subtleties of the human experience and the innermost fluctuations of the soul, but if you’re Florence Metz, you use it for a wholly different purpose: to explain your doctoral thesis on water protection policy.
Metz, a graduate student at Switzerland’s University of Bern, is the winner of this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest, beating out 31 other doctoral theses for the annual competition’s top honor. Metz’s routine, based on her work studying the policies around water protection and conservation, tops off at just under 10 minutes, in which “several dancing styles (hip-hop, house, salsa, acrobatics) stand for diverse political groups, which fight over the use and the protection of water resources.”
Now in its eighth year, the Dance Your Ph.D. contest is split into four categories: Social Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology. Winners in each category take home $500, with Metz’s grand-prize-winning routine earning her an additional $500, as well as a trip to Stanford University for a special screening of her dance video.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Financing a Degree When You Return to College As an Adult
Financing a Degree When You Return to College As an Adult
As more adults return to college to obtain a degree, finding ways to finance their education without being saddled heavily with debt is essential.
The National Center for Education Statistics, the Washington, D.C.-based federal entity for collecting and analyzing education data, predicts that the enrollment rate for students aged 25 and older will increase 20% by 2023. The number of students who were 25 years old and up increased by 35% between 2000 and 2012.
The average annual cost of a four-year college in 2020 will be $46,368, a 38% increase compared to the current fees, according to The College Board, the New York-based non-profit organization.
For those returning to school to get an education, doing so in a strategic manner can greatly reduce costs.