Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We say this in meetings all the time now

Don't give students too many choices. Back in the day, we valued choices and liked to be responsible for determining our path. Today? Not so much. Choice cripples, especially Generation F. From The Pacific Standard.

It isn’t unusual to feel bewildered in the face of too many choices. Many students — especially low-income, first-generation students — are overwhelmed by the proliferation of classes and majors available at a typical community college. What to study? Where to begin? Who to turn to for help? 
“Students who face a cafeteria menu of choices — you know, ‘Pick one class from Column A, two from Column B, three from Column C’ — it’s very confusing. It would be confusing to most adults, much less the average recent high school graduate,” says Stuart Cochran, dean of strategic planning at Guttman Community College in New York City. 
So Guttman has only five majors. Students are guided through a structured process to help them select the right major and succeed in their courses. Every student starts by taking an extensive, mandatory course exploring different careers, and only after this course’s completion do they choose their major. Once a week, students attend a required group advising session for support and guidance. They also have access to peer mentors, and are grouped together in classes to encourage mutual support and coordinated instruction. “Nobody falls through the cracks here,” Cochran says. 
It seems to be working. Nearly 50 percent of Guttman College’s students — most of whom are low-income, first-generation college students — graduate within three years, “which is off-the-charts unheard-of in higher ed,” Cochran says. The average three-year graduation rate for community colleges in the United States is around 20 percent.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Generation F

For First Generation. ETSU is full of them, and helping them succeed is a challenge. From The Atlantic.

When Ivan Delgado first considered going to college, he had little to go on. “I don't know anybody in my neighborhood who’s gone to college, nobody in my family,” he says. A high school advisor changed Ivan’s prospects by connecting him with scholarships at Texas A&M University. A quarter of A&M’s undergraduates—and nearly a third nationwide—are the first in their families to attend college. Ivan is now one of them. 
Collectively they’re known as first-generation students, Gen-F for short. Most are from low-income families and disadvantaged communities in the U.S. and abroad. Their decision to continue their education is courageous in itself, since many are from families that can hardly scrape together the costs of applying, let alone the prohibitive cost of attending. Add to that the wages the family loses during their students’ college years, and the prospect can be overwhelming.

“When you have a part-time job and you’re under family pressure to make money, why would you want to go to college?” says Anita Willis, media coordinator for America Needs You, a New York-area nonprofit that works to move Gen-F students toward academic and professional success. Only 57 percent of low-income high school graduates enrolled in a two- or four-year college in 2014. 
As hard as it is for many of these students to find their way to college campuses, they soon learn that leaving with a diploma is even harder. Low-income students are often behind academically, which means doing remedial courses before those that count toward a degree. Adding to that frustration are the social challenges involved in the transition from a low-income community to a college campus. These and other issues lead nearly 90 percent of Gen-F students to drop out. 
Doing that leaves them with dim prospects. The unemployment rate among high school graduates is nearly triple that of college graduates. When those who drop out or never attend college find jobs, they will earn salaries far below their colleagues with degrees,  who will make 80 percent more in lifetime income. On the other hand, the 10 percent of Gen-F students who finish college tend to flourish, becoming socially conscious contributors to their campuses and their future communities.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Just another chore

No benefits to volunteering when you're young. From The Telegraph.

Volunteering is not beneficial until you hit 40, study finds
Volunteering has long been known to boost mental health and raise happiness levels, but a new study suggests the benefits do not kick in until the age of 40. 
Researchers at the University of Southampton looked at data from the British Household Panel Survey which sampled adults living in 5,000 households every year from 1991 to 2008. 
The questionnaires measured mental health and emotional wellbeing and the team compared it to how often people volunteered.

They found that those who volunteered regularly scored an average of six per cent higher on wellbeing tests across every age group. But when the results were teased out it soon became clear the overall figures was masking a big jump for the over 40s, and no impact at all for younger people. 
Figures showed that young people aged 21-25 had good emotional health whether they volunteered or not. As they got older it started to decline. But from the age of 40 mental health and wellbeing improved significantly for those volunteering, peaking at the age of 76 to 80 when there was 12 per cent boost to mental health for those who gave up their time to help others. 
The researchers speculate that volunteering at younger ages may just be viewed as another obligation or chore,  but becomes more meaningful in early middle age as people become involved in personal or community activities, such as helping out at a child’s school.

Monday, February 20, 2017


Ain't just a term in football. The rates in Tennessee, and actually all over, should be better. From The Tennessean.

While state efforts have helped boost college readiness and access to higher education, college completion rates remain “unacceptably low,” according to a report released Wednesday. 
On average, less than 45 percent of students at Tennessee two- and four-year public colleges complete their degrees, according to Complete Tennessee’s “Room to Grow” report. 
The low completion rates — Tennessee ranks 38th in the nation in public university graduation rates and 40th in community college graduation rates — could have repercussions for students and employers. 
Students who don’t complete their college degrees are more likely to incur debt and have lower salaries and a lower quality of life, said Kenyetta Lovett, executive director of Complete Tennessee, a non-profit focused on increasing postsecondary access and completion. 
And as more jobs require college degrees, low completion rates in the state may cause problems for employers, according to the report. 
Twenty-eight higher education institutions in Tennessee, most of them community colleges, do not graduate more than half of students in a timely matter, the report says. 
College completion rates are even lower for racial minorities and low-income students.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

And the top

Kelchen on Education's 2016 "not top 10" list is...

(1) Mount St. Mary’s University (MD) president resigned after his infamous “drown the bunnies” comment and other dubious decisions. It should go without saying that it is inappropriate for a college president to tell faculty that sometimes “you just have to drown the bunnies…put a Glock to their heads.” This quote, by president Simon Newman, was in response to faculty concerns about a plan to cull students early in the semester (before they counted in retention and graduation rates) using the results of an incoming student survey. Needless to say, when the campus newspaper ran the story, the campus erupted in chaos. The president responded by trying to fire the paper’s advisor, which garnered even more negative attention. After the university’s accreditor raised concerns, Newman resigned within days.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Save the date!

AHEA – Adult Higher Education Alliance 2017 Annual Conference
 Writing Our Way: Giving Voice to Adult Learning
Orlando, Florida
March 9-10, 2017
Pre-conference workshops on March 8, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The usual suspects found among the most and least education states

Massachusetts, Maryland, and Colorado are the three most educated. West Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana are the least. Tennessee is 43rd, behind Texas, Oklahoma, and South Carolina of all places. From WalletHub.

For a growing number of Americans, a good education is the ticket to a better future. College opens doors to better career opportunities, higher earnings and new social connections, among other benefits. But how much schooling one receives also matters to some extent. Generally, the higher the level of education one attains, the more income potential grows and the lower chances of unemployment become. 
In this study, WalletHub’s analysts examined the key determinants of a well-educated population: educational attainment, school quality, and achievement gaps between genders and races. We compared all 50 states across 11 total metrics grouped by category. The data set ranges from “percentage of adults aged 25 and older with at least a high school diploma” to “average university quality” to “gender gap in educational attainment.”

Source: WalletHub

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The best state to retire is?

Florida's number one, followed by Wyoming and South Dakota. Really? Hmmmm. Tennessee is 29th. The bottom three are the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Rhode Island. I'm happy for the warning to get out of the way of all those retirees flocking to Wyoming and South Dakota. From WalletHub.

2017’s Best & Worst States to Retire
If retirement is still a big question mark for you because of finances, consider relocating to a state that lets you keep more money in your pocket without requiring a drastic lifestyle change. To help you find that permanent, affordable place to call home, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 31 key indicators of retirement-friendliness. Our analysis examines affordability, health-related factors and overall quality of life. Read on for our findings, expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.

Source: WalletHub

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Would I still major in English in today's economy?

I'd like to think I would, but with maybe a business minor? Or vice versa? This from Mikhail Zinshteyn's interview in The Atlantic with Gregory Wolniak, co-author of How College Affects Students.

The Most Predictive Factors of Post-Graduation Wages
Mikhail Zinshteyn: Does earning a college degree matter for future earnings? 
Gregory Wolniak: There is simply no other substitute for college education in today’s world. 
​On average, a worker sees earnings grow 5 percent for every year of college completed within the first few years following college, rising to about 7 to 9 percent decades after college. That’s not even talking about degrees or credentials attained, just per year spent in college. For vocational or associate’s degrees, the earnings benefit compared to just a high-school diploma is roughly 3 to 7 percent. Bachelor’s degree holders make 15 to 27 percent more (than high-school graduates). 
Zinshteyn: But what about taking into account the cost of attaining a degree? How does that factor into the equation? 
Wolniak: The very best evidence that we have comes from the economists who go to great lengths to take into account all the direct costs, such as tuitions students pay and the fees; and also the indirect costs of attending, like foregone earnings while you’re a student, plus assumptions about how long individuals are likely to work, age of retirement, and taxes paid along the way.
And what they find is that a bachelor’s has a return on investment of 15 to 20 percent. For public-college graduates, the figure is closer to 20 percent. For private colleges graduates, the figure is in the lower end of this range. The difference is because private colleges are more expensive. 
Zinshteyn: Do majors matter for earnings over a lifetime? 
Wolniak: Majors are the single biggest driver of earnings. Deciding your major plays a bigger role in determining your career earnings than does where you go to school or even deciding whether or not to attend at all. In other words, the average between attending and not attending is less than the differences we see among bachelor’s completers once we compare earnings across fields. 
The highest earning majors are in fields such as math, engineering, computer science, information science, and health sciences. The lowest are education and humanities. In the middle you have biology, social sciences, public affairs. Of course, there are other pathways into careers students take across majors. Students majoring in biology are most likely to attend graduate school. So there are differences in earnings down the line. Fields that are rooted in a core competency that are quantitatively based and align with occupations tend to garner the highest earnings. 
The difference can be upwards of 40 to 50 percent across majors. It’s not uncommon for engineering majors to make close to 50 percent more than education majors.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Save the date

ACHE South Annual Conference
Peabody Hotel
Memphis, Tennessee
April 11-13, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Happy Day the Music Died Day....

The Day the Music Died Day is always observed on February 3rd. This day we remember the unfortunate and untimely death of singers 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 17-year-old Richie Valens, and 28-year-old J. P. Richardson, aka: “The Big Bopper”.  These three artists died in an airplane accident on February 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa. Their pilot, Roger Peterson, also perished in the crash.

Infographic Friday

Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Graphs.net.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Tennessee Promise for adults

This is a good thing. These aren't students the universities are losing--these are new students in the pipeline. And the pipeline is another branch of the Drive to 55. From News Channel 11.

Haslam unveils budget, reveals free community college plan for adults
Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled a program that would allow adults to gain a college degree for free. 
Adults in Tennessee without degrees can already attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology tuition free but Governor Haslam said Monday’s Tennessee Reconnect program would be the first of its kind in the country to include community colleges. 
“I believe the state of our state has never been better,” Governor Haslam said as he addressed the crowd.
Haslam said more Tennesseeans have jobs than ever before but obstacles still remain between adults and a college diploma. 
“I am proposing that Tennessee become the first state in the nation to offer all adults access to community college free of tuition and fees,” Governor Haslam said.
This proposal is part of the Drive to 55 Initiative announced three years ago that hopes to have at least 55% of Tennessean’s to have a degree from a technical, community, or four year college by 2025. 
“With the Reconnect Act, Tennessee would be the first in the nation to offer all citizens, high school students, and adults, access to a degree to certificate, free of tuition and fees,” Governor Haslam said. 
Haslam said he wants to make a clear statement to families across the state.
“Wherever you might fall on life’s path, education beyond high school is critical to the Tennessee we can be,” Governor Haslam said.