Thursday, July 28, 2016

Moving more adults

Into higher education. A description of community college programs that show some success in providing adults greater access to higher education. Including one in Tennessee for the TCATs. From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As Plans for Free Community College Spread, Educators Seek to Include Adult Learners
Colleges in Tennessee unveiled a similar idea this fall, called Tennessee Reconnect. The state program covers tuition for any eligible adult at the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology. The state already provides grants to help people gain technical skills, but this is the first widespread effort to cover all tuition costs for adults, says James D. King, vice chancellor for the colleges of applied technology. People without degrees typically have lower-income jobs, and "if it costs an extra nickel to go to school, you’re thinking about paying the light and food bills," says Mr. King. "If you eliminate that cost, now students just have to invest the time." 
The colleges saw a 26.7-percent enrollment increase this past fall between Tennessee Promise and Reconnect, which included an increase of 4,900 adult students. 
Offering support to adult students inside and outside the classroom is key, as the programs may cover tuition and fees but leave out other expenses like books and child care. At the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville, Melanie R. Brooks, a senior instructor in early-childhood education, helps students find child care near their homes. 
'We have to be more compassionate because people are also going through real life.' In addition to requests for traditional services like academic advising and tutoring, Cindy L. Beverley, student-services coordinator at the Murfreesboro campus, hears concerns about long work hours and readjusting to the classroom. She credits close relationships between students and faculty members with helping to keep students enrolled. "We have to be more compassionate because people are also going through real life," she says. 
The colleges are also retooling their offerings to better match students’ training with work-force demands, since some communities have struggled to maintain industry. Timothy G. Smith, coordinator of student services in Oneida, says the college there plays a key role on the path to employment, serving many students who are referred from an unemployment office or "repeat customers" who come back to learn new skills for the changing market.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Goldilocks Rule

Not too easy; not too hard. Just right. First time I've heard of this concept. Although when I apply it to playing basketball, I like to find the sweet spot where I'm just slightly better than the competition. From Lifehacker.

How to Stay Motivated in Life and Work Using the Goldilocks Rule
Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. 
For example, imagine you are playing tennis. If you try to play a serious match against a four-year-old, you will quickly become bored. The match is too easy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you try to play a serious match against a professional tennis player like Roger Federer or Serena Williams, you will find yourself demotivated for a different reason. The match is too difficult. 
Compare these experiences to playing tennis against someone who is your equal. As the game progresses, you win a few points and you lose a few points. You have a chance of winning the match, but only if you really try. Your focus narrows, distractions fade away, and you find yourself fully invested in the task at hand. The challenge you are facing is “just manageable.” Victory is not guaranteed, but it is possible. Tasks like these, science has found, are the most likely to keep us motivated in the long term. 
Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon. 
We can call this phenomenon The Goldilocks Rule. The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Small Talk 101

Good advice for the texting generation. And for introverts. From

11 Smart Phrases to Use at Networking Events
Unless you're naturally gregarious, meeting new people is a challenge--and a networking event, which is all about meeting new people--can be downright grueling. You want to sound intelligent but you don't know what to say, and you dread the thought of a long awkward silence or a statement that falls flat. 
But if you can get people started talking about themselves, you're off to the races--and they come away thinking you're an excellent conversationalist. 
Here are 11 smart things to say at your next networking event: 
  1. "What's your name?
A polite introduction is important, and you do best by keeping it simple. Walk up, hold out your hand, and introduce yourself.
  1. "What do you do?"
Remember, people enjoy talking to people who are interested in them, and they enjoy talking about themselves. When you ask a question, don't let your attention wander. Stay focused and curious, because you're most interesting when you're interested.
  1. "I can't believe we both . . . "
If possible, try to find some common ground, an interest or professional affiliation you share. (This may be easier at a conference based on your profession or geographic setting than at a more general event.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Poorest town in Tennessee?

New Tazewell. I admit I had to Google it since I knew where Tazewell was. It's right next to Tazewell, right there in Clairborne County. I guess folks just needed a fresh start. (I don't know why I love lists like this.) From MSN Money.

The poorest town in every state
> Town median household income: $21,265
> State median household income: $44,361
> Town poverty rate: 43.8%
> Town population: 2,994

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Save the date

National Association of Branch Campus Administrators
2017 Annual Conference
April 19-22, 2017
Tulsa OK
Southern Nazarene University-Tulsa Campus
University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Campus
Hyatt Regency-Tulsa

Happy National Senior Citizens Day!

[Infographic] How Senior Citizens Interact on Social Media

Monday, July 18, 2016

More turmoil for higher education in Kentucky

Resistance is futile, it appears. At least for those at the top of the food chain. From

Half of Kentucky university presidents have announced exits in 2016
University of Louisville President James Ramsey’s announced departure on Friday means that half of Kentucky public university presidents have either announced their resignations or have already stepped down since January. 
That’s the tumultuous state of higher education in Kentucky right now, an area of public policy that Gov. Matt Bevin has made clear he’s interested in changing. 
Gary Ransdell of Western Kentucky University and Wayne Andrews of Morehead State University announced they will both retire next year; Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse stepped down earlier this month. 
New leadership searches will be added to the to-do lists of schools that are reeling from a decade of budget cuts, with another 4.5 percent cut over the next two years. Those cuts are half as much as Bevin proposed in his initial budget. 
Bevin has said taxpayer dollars should not support liberal arts majors and has put future funding in a possibly competitive rubric based on school performance, although that rubric has not yet been determined. 
And Bevin has already taken aim at another president. 
Earlier this month, after the Kentucky Community and Technical College System announced it would cut 500 positions because of budget cuts, the Bevin administration announced it would investigate the operations of President Jay Box and his central administration. Some have questioned if that move is retribution for Box supporting a community college scholarship program proposed by House Democrats.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tennessee is the fifth most dangerous state

Behind New Mexico, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. But just ahead of South Carolina. From MSN.Com.

The 10 Most Dangerous States in America in 2016
From violent crime to natural disasters, how safe are residents of each of the 50 states? A recent report by personal finance site WalletHub considered 25 key metrics across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. To rank states based on their safety, the data considered both home and community safety, such as the number of murders, assaults or forcible rapes per capita to workplace safety to a state's estimated losses from natural disasters. Of course, depending on where you live, the numbers and rankings vary widely. Consider that New Hampshire has the lowest number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters per 100,000 residents, at 0.9, compared with the District of Columbia, which has the highest, at 15.94. Or consider that Massachusetts has the lowest fatal occupational injury rate per 100,000 full-time workers, at 1.7, compared with Wyoming, which has the highest, at 13.1. WalletHub sources include data from: the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Parents for Megan's Law, U.S. Fire Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Centers for Environmental Information, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Verisk Analytics,, Kaiser Family Foundation, FINRA Investor Education Foundation, TransUnion and CoreLogic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

School systems are getting out of the adult education business

In Tennessee. In our area, GED preparation is moving from the high school to the community college. From The Memphis Commercial Appeal. 

HopeWorks expanding adult education footprint
Citing low enrollment and graduation rates at Messick Adult Center, the state revoked about $800,000 of funding from SCS [Shelby County Schools], which was operating the high school equivalency program on 75 percent of a Department of Labor and Workforce Development grant. HopeWorks had the other 25 percent, and the remainder of SCS's portion was redirected to the faith-based nonprofit in February for the rest of the fiscal year. 
HopeWorks has now been awarded the full one-year, $1.7 million contract for adult education in four West Tennessee counties — Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale and Fayette — starting in July. 
Since March, the students displaced from Messick have roughly doubled HopeWorks' previous enrollment. The organization has also increased its number of teachers from 12 to 23 and locations from six to 12, mostly in church classrooms. 
HopeWorks was formed 28 years ago with the goal of removing a lack of education and criminal records as barriers to employment. The organization's primary focus has been a free but intense 13-week program where adults earn high school equivalency degrees, as well as participate in job training, internships and mentoring. Students in that program are drug tested and expected to maintain a high level of attendance. Up to 40 percent of students don't make it through the 13 weeks, Wade said, but the ones who do — including some who are incarcerated — have interviews lined up by graduation. 
With the state funding, HopeWorks is ramping up its high school equivalency-only program. Students can attend class as much or as little as they want, at any location and any time, and are not drug tested.
Despite an expectation that SCS would reach about 7,000 students with its high school equivalency program, only 882 students were taking classes at Messick in January, the state said in March. In a six-month time frame last year, only 24 students graduated with their high school equivalency degree. 
In the last two months at HopeWorks, 64 students have earned their high school equivalency diplomas. But it's still a drop in the bucket compared to the need. According to the state, more than 85,000 people could be served across the four West Tennessee counties.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Columbia State Community College opens a new campus

With a new program aimed at adult students. I bet they will find that it attracts more traditional students than adults. From The Tennessean.

Columbia State Community College will offer a new associate's degree program catered to busy adults this fall. 
The "One Night A Week program," a combination of on-site and online courses, will debut at the community college's new Williamson campus. 
“The hybrid setup allows students to enjoy face-to-face meetings with instructors and classmates while accelerating their degree program with online courses,” Shanna Jackson, associate vice president of the Williamson Campus, said in a statement. 
Students can earn one of three Associate of Applied Science degrees: medical office technology, office information technology and business.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A detailed look at the earnings

Of students who attended For-Profits. Surprisingly, there's a sprinkling of good news. But for those who don't graduate and and are carrying huge debt loads, the news is all bad.

Most For-Profit Students Wind Up Worse Off Than If They Had Never Enrolled in the First Place
Good numbers about the eventual earnings of for-profit college attendees have been hard to come by, as self-reported surveys of employment and earnings are often not comprehensive. A new National Bureau of Economic Research paper has finally put some solid numbers on these outcomes, and the authors believe that it is “the most comprehensive picture of for-profit student outcomes in the literature.” 
The researchers, Stephanie Riegg Cellini, an associate professor of public policy and economics at George Washington University, and Nicholas Turner, a financial economist at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis, looked at administrative data from the U.S. Department of Education and the IRS for 1.4 million students who left for-profit colleges between 2006 and 2008 to assess their labor-market outcomes. 
The study found that, on average, students pursuing bachelor’s and associate’s degrees at for-profit colleges saw their earnings drop, compared to before they started the program. The overwhelming number of students who don’t complete their degrees account for most of this pattern. Six years after attending these programs, for-profit college attendees were not only earning less, but were often saddled with debt and often without new credentials. Cellini and Turner theorize that dropping out might have been a negative signal to employers about a person's productivity, essentially leading employers to assume that this wasn't a person who “got things done,” which in turn led to lower pay. The outcomes were far more positive for students who completed their degrees, for whom the researchers found a slight increase in earnings—about $3,500 to $4,000 more per year. 
Since there are so many dropouts at for-profit colleges, the negative earnings effect was enough to wipe out the slightly positive gains for those who did complete their degrees for the group, bringing the average net earnings of enrollees to a negative number—roughly $600 less per year. According to government data, only 32 percent of students attending for-profit colleges graduate in six years, and Cellini and Turner’s data set yielded a similar number. That’s half the rate of public or private institutions. 
There are two small pieces of good news: First, for-profit students out-earn students who attended public community colleges in one field: cosmetology. Secondly, those who obtained their master’s degrees from for-profit colleges fared much better than those earning a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, seeing an earnings gain of about $6,000. Even master’s program dropouts saw a slight increase in earnings, but the researchers suggested that this result might be due to the fact that master’s program enrollees might be more like traditional college students, so their earnings potential before the program was less evident.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Helping adult students

Budget and pay for college. Some good advice from the Financial Aid Director at Des Moines Area Community College, found in The Des Moines Register. Unfortunately, I wish the news was better and the options greater.

How to pay for schooling as an adult
What is the biggest mistake adult learners (and many others) make when budgeting? 
So many students only focus on the direct cost of education, like tuition. There are also indirect costs, like transportation, room and board, and books. We want students to address those not only on an annual basis, but monthly. With a good, solid plan, they should be able to make it through. 
For an adult learner, what type of financial aid is available? Where should they look first? 
The first place the student should look primarily is the college they're attending. Contact their financial aid office and look at their financial aid webpage. Follow the steps offered there, which will lead students to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA automatically opens access to federal grants, loans and work offerings on campus like campus-based aid.  The second step when filling out the FAFSA is at the end. It will give students the option of an in-state option for student aid and it is important to complete that. Complete these early; there are deadlines. 
What happens after the FAFSA is completed? 
Wait until they come back with a number of loans available, both subsidized and unsubsidized. Then students should follow up with their school and determine scholarship opportunities. Most schools have a foundation and the foundation will usually go out and find individuals that can be partners that provide funding for scholarships. Apply for those early, but you're not competing nationwide, which gives students a better chance. There are some great online free resources for scholarship databases, but most of the time you’re competing against students from all over the country. 
What if the adult learner has exhausted scholarship options and doesn’t want to take out a large amount of federal loans? 
When you've exhausted all of the grants and working opportunities and other things, adult learners should talk with their current employer. Depending on where they are employed, they may be able to be reimbursed after earning their degree.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Nashville State Community College looks to expand

Into new areas of Davidson County. Promise is probably driving the growth. I did learn that Nashville State is the largest community college in Tennessee, a position Southwest used to hold, I believe. From The Tennessean.

Nashville State looking to open new satellite locations
Nashville State is looking to open the northern satellite location in the Madison, Whites Creek or Goodlettsville areas, according to the documents. Officials are considering an eastern satellite location in the Donelson, Hermitage or Old Hickory areas. 
According to the documents, Nashville State is looking for land that could support a 24,000-square-foot building and 300 parking spaces at each satellite location. Property owners have until June 29 to submit their land, and a proposed price, for consideration.
It is unclear when the college might select locations or open either campus. 
State lawmakers representing northern and eastern Davidson County released a statement Tuesday cheering the progress of the two satellite projects. Sen. Steve Dickerson, a Republican who represents northern and eastern parts of Davidson County, pointed to the success of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program and climbing enrollment numbers at community colleges as evidence that the demand is there for more locations to pursue higher education. 
“This is something that we have been working towards and could not be more pleased to see the site selection process moving forward,” Dickerson said in the statement. “This will help a lot of students by providing convenient access to community college.” 
Rep. Bill Beck, a Democrat who represents the Madison area, and Rep. Darren Jernigan, a Democrat who represents the Old Hickory area, also praised the move. 
Nashville State is the biggest community college in the state, with 10,701 enrolled in fall 2015, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The college's main campus is on White Bridge Road in West Nashville, and there are existing satellite campuses in Antioch and Clarksville.