Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tomorrow's the deadline! Put the finishing touches on your proposal for ACHE's 2016 Annual Conference in New Orleans, October 17-19, and submit today.

ACHE's 2016 Annual Conference & Meeting
Call for Proposals deadline April 1

ACHE invites members and friends of the association to submit proposals on the theme Innovation, Transformation, and Service in Continuing Higher Education: Creating Pathways to the Future for our 78th Annual Conference & Meeting to be held in New Orleans October 17-19, 2016.
Topics to consider:
·       Transformative roles and responsibilities
·       Practical application of theory
·       Effective learning, teaching tools, and environments
·       Tips, tools, techniques, model-building and case studies
·       Impactful marketing
·       Credit for prior learning
·       Access to quality continuing higher education
ACHE 2016 logo

Make plans to 'let the good times roll' with ACHE this October by submitting your proposal by April 1st.
Questions? Contact Call for Proposals Co-Chairs Rick Osborn at or Robin Plumb at

Looking for a low-tuition state?

Don't look at Pennsylvania. According to the College Affordability and Transparency Center, of the 20 most expensive public four-year universities in the country, 8 are in Pennsylvania, including the two most expensive. The average is $7617. Here are the five most expensive.

Public, 4-year or above with Highest Tuition

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus    PA $17,100
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus   PA $16,992
University of New Hampshire-Main Campus   NH $16,496
Colorado School of Mines                            CO $16,485
University of Vermont                                    VT $15,718

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What's your major?

Drones. Or, Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Textbook case for a college to be nimble. From AACC 21st-Century Center.

Staying Agile With Workforce Training
Besides its flexible curriculum model, Norris credits two other key elements for the success of Sinclair’s UAS training center: taking a long view of the project as an investment rather than an expense; and taking a partnership approach to the project’s development. 
Before the college could begin offering courses in UAS technology, it had to spend money on preliminary steps, such as figuring out now to access air space for the drones, building the simulation labs and hiring subject-matter experts to design the curriculum. 
“The reason that we were able to do this,” Norris says, “is that we have a very visionary board and president/CEO that allowed us to do this as an investment. They saw this as future payoff.” 
It also was important that the college join forces with others in carrying out its mission to become a leader in UAS workforce development
“Out of the gate, we knew we didn’t want to be an island,” says Norris, who encourages other community college administrators to contact Sinclair to learn more about its experience. “We wanted to have partners in industry, academia and government that could help us, and we could help them.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Adult education 101

Earning a GED not only results in higher family incomes, it also boosts education attainment of children. Yeah, those of us in continuing higher education already knew that.  From The Atlantic.

When Low-Income Parents Go Back to School
While parents have a hard time actually getting to class, the benefits can be huge for their kids, as poor children whose parents have at least a GED or high-school diploma are more likely to complete high school. Johnson said she notices that a lot of parents start enrolling at Academy of Hope when their kids reach fourth grade, after recognizing that they need to pursue their education to help their children with homework. Parents start attending school functions, too, as their positive adult education experience starts replacing frequently negative childhood ones. 
At Academy of Hope, about a quarter of students set a goal to become more involved in their children’s schooling; about 70 percent achieve it. “[They] look at the child’s homework and they can help them out, rather than just looking at the homework and having no idea what’s going on,” Onokpite says. 
Gillis said that her eldest son has provided a lot of encouragement. She says if she doesn’t earn her high-school credentials, her children won’t feel they have to, either. “My son said, ‘Mom, if you want a high-school diploma from me, you have to get your GED. If you don’t get your GED, I can’t promise you a high-school diploma.’ So that made me want to go to school more to get my GED because I owe it to my kids.”

Monday, March 28, 2016

In the past

I've asked the person to walk with me outside to the sidewalk. Now, no one ever wants to walk with me. The advice in this article could come directly from our Human Resources procedure manual. From Slate.

What’s the Nicest Way to Fire Someone?
Management experts agree: Firing should never come as a surprise. Instead, it should always follow a series of discussions about the employee’s shortcomings, during which the employee has been given a chance to improve. (That doesn’t apply if an employee has done something truly egregious like stolen money or sexually harassed a colleague, of course.) Ideally, writes Ask a Manager columnist Alison Green, “The employee has been clearly told about the problems and what needs to change, warned that the progress isn’t what it needs to be, and explicitly told that his or her job is in jeopardy if specific changes don’t occur.” 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Save the date

MAY 13, 2016EAST REGIONAL TACHE DRIVE-IN CONFERENCEUniversity of Tennessee – Knoxville Campus Visitors Center

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Call for Proposals


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tennessee is the 19th best

State to retire in, according to a survey by Interestingly enough, the best is Wyoming. I dunno, it would take a lot for me to want to retire to Wyoming. I'd rather go where the boat leaves from. What's the worst?  New York. Meh. This slide show comes from CBS Moneywatch.

Best and worst U.S. states for retirement
In its latest survey, used six criteria to determine which states are the best and worst for retirees: cost of living, taxes, health care, weather, crime and residents' overall well-being. And the results produced some surprises. 
Traditional retirement spots didn't fare as well as those generally not considered retirement meccas. For example, while many people think of beaches when they think about retirement, only one of Bankrate's 10 best states for retirement touches the Atlantic or Pacific oceans or the Gulf of Mexico -- and nine of the 12 worst are coastal states. 
Some popular states also ranked poorly primarily because densely populated areas tend to be expensive places to live, and that can put a lot of financial pressure on those with a fixed income. 
But Many Western states did do well in the rankings, mirroring the demographic trend that has prompted many Americans to move West in droves in recent decades, drawn by majestic vistas, sunny skies and easy access to outdoor activities the region has to offer.

Monday, March 21, 2016

It's a terrible time to be a teacher

And salaries are not the primary factor driving dissatisfaction. They've always been low. It's disrespect. Like my wife's tee shirt says: "Those who can, teach. Those who can't, pass legislation about teaching." From The Atlantic.

What If America’s Teachers Made More Money?
Perceived low pay certainly seems to account for a tiny slice of teachers’ concerns; salaries, Corcoran said, “are definitely not the end of the story.” In a “Quality of Worklife” survey of more than 30,000 educators last year, just 46 percent said their salaries were a major source of stress in the workplace. Testing fatigue, bloated bureaucracy, little time to reflect and decompress and develop professionally have all taken a significant toll on teachers’ job satisfaction. In that same survey, which was conducted jointly by the American Federation of Teachers and an activist group known as the Badass Teachers Association, nearly three in four respondents identified the “adoption of new initiatives without proper training or professional development” as a major source of stress, for example. “We used to be treated as professionals who were allowed to have autonomy in our classrooms and play to our strengths or our background in education,” Rebecca Simcoe, a former high-school English teacher in Tulsa with a doctorate who resigned in 2014, told CBS News last year. “Now we’re expected to be automatons following their robotic instructions, just getting these kids to pass tests.” Most states, from Oregon to New York, now tie teacher evaluations to student test scores; in 2009, only a handful of states did so. 
And teachers’ workplace woes run the gamut from the political to the mundane: As I’ve written before, the Quality of Worklife survey found that one in four teachers cite their lack of time to use the restroom is an everyday stressor. It’s no wonder so many teachers opt to work in private schools, which typically offer much lower pay but working conditions that are far more palatable. Or that they often forego sizable raises in exchange for working in tougher conditions. One Mathematica study on 10 school districts in multiple states found that a majority of the candidates who’d been selected for a program offering $20,000 to highly effective teachers who agreed to transfer to and remain at low-performing schools declined to participate; most didn’t even attend an information session. As the teacher Paul Barnwell argued in a piece for The Atlantic last year, “No matter the compensation scheme, these strategies fail to acknowledge the impact of school culture and climate on work satisfaction—which often takes precedence over pay for experienced teachers.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The case for female leadership at your institution

A more successful college or university. From The New York Times.

Women in Company Leadership Tied to Stronger Profits, Study Says
Companies pondering the incentives for increased gender diversity in their executive ranks may need to look no further than the bottom line.
Having women in the highest corporate offices is correlated with increased profitability, according to a new study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries. 
The study, released Monday by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a nonprofit group based in Washington, and EY, the audit firm formerly known as Ernst & Young, found that despite the apparent economic benefits, many corporations are lacking in gender diversity. 
Almost 60 percent of the companies reviewed had no female board members, and more than 50 percent had no female executives. Just under 5 percent had a female chief executive. 
The study found that female C.E.O.s did not significantly underperform or overperform when compared with male chief executives. While it found some indications that having more women on boards was correlated with higher profitability, Marcus Noland, the institute’s director of studies, said that “in statistical terms that evidence is not robust.” 
But the data was clear about women in top management positions. An increase in the share of women from zero to 30 percent would be associated with a 15 percent rise in profitability, Mr. Noland said.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day

Visualizing Pi

From Visually.

Remember to spring ahead?

Aren't there supposed to be a rash of deaths caused by the time change? I hate losing that hour, even though I like the extra daylight. I didn't know it could be traced back to Ben Franklin, though. From National Geographic.

The Strange and Surprising History of Daylight Saving Time
U.S. clocks spring forward again this Sunday, March 13, for daylight saving time, the annual event that stretches the hours of evening sunlight and irritates those who'd rather leave well enough alone.  
So who's responsible for this controversial clock changing? Ben Franklin first introduced the basic idea way back in 1784, but he did so with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
French ambassador Franklin flashed his legendary wit with a letter to the Journal of Paris in which he claimed to be astonished, upon being awakened at 6 a.m., to find that the sun was already up. He, and no doubt his readers, had never seen the sun before noon. (Related: "Daylight Saving Time: 7 Surprising Things You May Not Know.") 
“I saw it with my own eyes. And, having repeated this observation the three following mornings, I found always precisely the same result.”  
Money would be saved, Franklin argued, if people rose with the sun and turned in earlier at night, replacing hours of expensive candle use with free morning daylight.
Just as modern daylight saving time—also known as daylight savings time—has its detractors, Franklin knew there would be opposition to his idea, and proposed measures including taxes on window shutters, rationing of candle sales enforced by police guards, a halt to non-emergency coach traffic after dark, and the firing of cannons in every street to get “sluggards” with the program. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

How important really is grit to academic success in higher education?

Not so much, a new study suggests. And here I spent a whole day recently at a summit discussing grit (albeit among other thing as well).I never thought success and completion could be reduced to something so simple. From The Pacific Standard.

What Does Having Grit Really Get You?
The results suggest grit isn't that important for academic achievement, at least when other personality traits are included in the analysis—though that doesn't necessarily mean teaching grit is without value. "Throughout adult life, children will face challenges," the researchers write, "thus perseverance in long-term goals might help them to develop habits of hard work and the continuous pursuit of their goals, despite the many obstacles they face."

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Little fees

Can be obstacles to student success in college. Especially for low income students. From Pacific Standard.

One Simple Trick That Boosts Kids' College Graduation Rates
The change in policy occurred in the fall of 2007. Before that, every test-taker could send her scores free of charge to four schools, but only before she knew her test score. After 2007, test-takers who qualified for the College Board's SAT fee waiver were able to send their scores free of charge to an additional four colleges or scholarship organizations at any time before they graduated from high school—including after they had learned how they fared on the exam. 
After the change, low-income SAT-takers were 10 percent more likely to send their scores to eight or more organizations, Page and her team found. For every additional school they sent their scores to, they were five percent more likely to go to college on time, and three percent more likely to get a bachelor's degree within five years. One recent survey found that, on average, Americans with bachelor's degrees earn $720,000 more over their lifetimes than those who don't complete a four-year degree—and $970,000 more than those with only a high school diploma. 
The research team calculated the new change cost the College Board $2.4 million in lost revenue every year between 2007 and 2009. The number is likely higher now because more students qualify for fee waivers, says Michael Hurwitz, a College Board researcher who worked on the study. 
How can the ability to send out additional scores help more low-income kids graduate from college? It's hard to prove the reasons quantitatively, but Page and Hurwitz had some ideas based on their data. The ability to send out additional scores can help kids apply to more four-year colleges, which might make it more likely they'll get into a school that's a good fit for them—perhaps a place with more suitable academic programs, or a school that's closer to home, or somewhere with better financial aid offerings—and could, in turn, keep kids from dropping out. 
The study fits into an emerging body of research that shows small tweaks and simple programs can boost the rates at which disadvantaged kids make it through university. "I feel so frustrated that it's these little things that are stopping kids from going to college," Velez says. "To not be able to do it because they're confused or because they're misinformed about the process or because they don't have the $50 to send their SAT scores somewhere? It's so sad." But it's a boon, too, because these things are relatively easy to fix.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Call for proposals

ACHE's 2016 Annual Conference & Meeting
Our Call for Proposals continues!

ACHE invites members and friends of the association to submit proposals on the theme Innovation, Transformation, and Service in Continuing Higher Education: Creating Pathways to the Future for our 78th Annual Conference & Meeting to be held in New Orleans October 17-19, 2016.
Topics to consider:
·       Transformative roles and responsibilities
·       Practical application of theory
·       Effective learning, teaching tools, and environments
·       Tips, tools, techniques, model-building and case studies
·       Impactful marketing
·       Credit for prior learning
·       Access to quality continuing higher education
ACHE 2016 logo

Make plans to 'let the good times roll' with ACHE this October by submitting your proposal by March 28th.
Questions? Contact Call for Proposals Co-Chairs Rick Osborn at or Robin Plumb at

Monday, March 7, 2016

These are the most popular baby names

When I was born. What were yours? From MSN.

These Were the Most Popular Baby Names the Year You Were Born
Michael, James and Robert remained popular — as did actor James Stewart, who starred with Grace Kelly in Rear Window. Mary, Linda, and Deborah were popular girls' names.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Location, location, location

This kind of goes counter to the popularity of online education. Of course it's true that adult students often have limited options for higher education since they're place bound. And many of them prefer traditional formats over online. And in some area, the lack of high speed internet isolates potential students even more. From The Atlantic.

The paper points out that more than 57 percent of incoming first-year students who enroll in public four-year schools attend college within 50 miles of home. Students of color and those from lower-income families are even more likely to stay nearby. 
Where there are good, affordable, and accessible (not highly selective) options within close range, that’s not a bad thing. 
But the paper finds that between 6 and 12 percent of the nation’s adult population lives in an education desert, and between 1.29 and 2.86 million students attend college in education deserts. Most are in the Midwest and Great Plains states, but education deserts are everywhere, and their residents tend to have lower-than-average educational attainment levels. Many are home to colleges, but not broadly accessible public institutions. 
“As we talk about equity going forward and we talk about post-traditional students, I do think it’s really an important dynamic and we are going to have to consider it,” said Sarita Brown, the president of Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit that has looked extensively at ways to expand college access. “Does every student have access to a quality education, if, in fact, the distribution of educational institutions by happenstance or by taxpayer investments sidesteps areas where population growth is occurring?” 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Creating incentives for enrolling in 15 hours a term

Tennessee Promise requires that students enroll in fifteen hours a term in return for free tuition. I've heard rumors that after Promise's initial fall semester, a surprisingly high number of students found themselves in academic difficulty--and the assumption was that poorly prepared students struggled with the higher class load. Don't know if it's true or not, but it intuitively feels right. 

Tennessee Promise was designed to increase participation in higher education, to encourage students who thought higher education was beyond their means to attend community colleges. Accordingly, these students may not have taken the best courses to prepare them for higher education. Once Promise in operation for a while, this may correct itself as students have a longer time to prepare. In theory, of course, taking fifteen hours a term should increase completion. Just add some grit.  This areticle from The Atlantic highlights some initiatives to encourage students to take fifteen hours. And to think, back in the day, I took some courses just for fun...

Universities and colleges in 22 states are now trying some variation of the 15-to-Finish idea, including Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. Kentucky and Nevada have launched marketing campaigns explaining the idea to students; Hawaii promotes 15-to-Finish—a name now in the process of being trademarked— in TV commercials and other ads. 
“The first part is telling students what they need to know,” said Johnson of Complete College America. “We recognize that not every student can take 15 credits, but we do think there’s utility in telling students what happens if you choose not to.” 
South Dakota, the Montana University System, and several institutions in Georgia and Indiana have changed their tuition policies so 15 credits per semester—and, in some cases, up to 18—costs the same as 12; Indiana University will do that starting in the fall, joining Purdue, Ball State, and Indiana State. To encourage students to catch up in the summers, IUPUI gives Indiana residents a 25 percent discount on summer courses. The University of Hawaii offers free textbooks to students in random drawings open only to students in the 15-to-Finish program. 
South Dakota also has added a scholarship for students who complete 30 credits per academic year. Under its Fly in 4 campaign, Temple University pays students up to $2,000 if they agree to work no more than 15 hours a week and pledge to follow a series of directions meant to help them finish in four years; if they still can’t, the university promises to cover the cost of the additional time they need. And a program in Texas called B-on-Time offers complete forgiveness of loans issued by the state to undergraduates who complete their bachelor’s degrees in four years with at least a B average—though that program is being phased out because fewer students used it than projected. 
Not everyone benefits equally from this push. IUPUI has found the students who take at least 15 credits per semester tend to be wealthier, have fewer outside commitments, and are more academically prepared than those who take 12, and are more likely to be female and live on campus. 
Some critics of the emphasis on speed also contend that college is a time when students should be able to find themselves, which may mean slowing down.
Dickson agreed—to a point. “That’s what college is about,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that students should be doing it for six or seven years.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Those zany Millennials

Of course, in their position, I would drink too. From CBS MoneyWatch.

Millennials top U.S. in wine consumption
There's no shortage of scorn heaped upon millennials for their perceived sense of entitlement, laissez faire attitude toward work and obsession with technology. Now add this: They like to booze it up. 
Millennials -- in general, people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s -- last year consumed 159.6 million cases, or 42 percent, of all the wine sold in the U.S., surpassing baby boomers and Generation X, according to a recent survey by the Wine Market Council. 
Research also showed that younger drinkers are thirstier than older oenophiles, drinking an average 3.1 glasses, compared to 2.4 for Gen Xers and 1.9 for boomers. Women especially seem to have a taste for the fruit of the vine. Among frequent consumers of wine, two-thirds of those under 30 were women, though consumption among millennials in their 30s was evenly split among the sexes. 
Millennials are also more eager to try wines from all over the world, from places as varied as Greece, Oregon, South Africa and New Zealand, though France, Italy and Australia were the most popular destination among those who drink wine frequently.