August 24th, 2010

Education News Roundup
Articles posted by five reliably interesting sources of news about higher education.

Published by: philosophyandrew

The patron who just wants to talk to someone: “That was when the police officer asked me why I had left my house keys with Uncle Joe in the first place…” Librarian trapped by Difficult Patron: “Oh look, my co-worker needs to talk to me” – or some variation on that where the person making the rescue comes out to the desk and says something along the lines of “The boss needs to talk to you” or “You have a student asking for you on the phone in the back room” or anything that creates an interruption that forces the difficult patron to stop their assault. What surprised me is the number of librarians who claimed to use the Rescue Plan or a variation on it at their library. What further surprised me is how many of them thought this practice was a great idea for dealing with the difficult patron. I’ve been in these situations myself. I know it can be stressful, frustrating and difficult all at the same time. I can understand the circumstances that would motivate a library worker to want to flee the difficult patron, but as I listened I couldn’t help but feel something wrong about this disingenuous tactic. I have to believe we can deal with these situations in a more positive and productive way. A more honest and forthright way to tackle this particular patron would be to have a designated person, perhaps the director or department head, take the patron aside for a private conversation. This presents an opportunity to calmly explain that public service workers have jobs to attend to, and even if no one is asking them for help at the moment they may have a project to work on – and that it’s inappropriate behavior to socialize with them for an extended length of time (be specific – e.g., no more than a minute or two is acceptable). Explain that others who need help may avoid the service area if they see someone else there talking to the library staff member. You may disagree with my suggested strategy for any number of reasons, one of them being that trying to have a rational conversation with some difficult patrons just isn’t an option. No matter how patient and understanding you try to be it just fails to get them to change their behavior. That’s when more stringent measures are needed, such as referring the patron to the library user’s code of conduct and indicating that failure to comply could result in being banned from the library. Another challenge might be that the library organization lacks strong leaders who are willing to tackle these challenges in a transparent and open way, and who are content to let the Rescue Plan do their job for them. Despite some of the challenges it presents I think my approach, in the long run, is more likely to solve the problem by meeting it head on.

Is There A “Rescue Plan” At Your Library
Source: By StevenB on August 24th, 2010

There are two kinds of academic librarians. The ones who immediately knew what this post is about, and those who have no clue. Until a short while ago, I’d have put myself in the latter group. That was before I attended this conference session on the topic of staff development. The speakers demonstrated a method for getting staff engaged in discussions about non-technical matters in the library – what you might call the soft skills needed to succeed with community members and colleagues while being able to skillfully defuse difficult situations. So the conversation turned to an experience nearly everyone who has worked in public services – or at a public service desk – has had: the difficult patron [Personal Note: I'm not a big fan of the phrase "difficult patron" but that's the terminology used by the session presenters; many of us prefer not to use it but on the other hand it offers a convenient and perhaps less derogatory way to refer to this particular individual]. It could be the person who always has a problem, the person that wants to get into an argument with you, the person who never stops talking to you and doesn’t pay attention to your need to get work done, or perhaps it’s all of the above. There are any number of strategies for dealing with these situations. But up until then I had not heard of the “Rescue Plan”. I don’t think you’ll see the Rescue Plan mentioned much in the library literature. The goal of the Rescue Plan is to extricate yourself from a situation involving a difficult patron by prearranging a diversionary or escape tactic with your colleagues. It might work something like this: The patron who just wants to talk to someone: “Say, did you happen to hear about [insert news or sports topic]. Isn’t that something else. I remember about twenty years ago…” Librarian trapped by Difficult Patron: Sees colleague walking by and gives the secret signal for a “rescue” [eye wink, hand gesture, raises a designated book, etc.]. A variation might be having a speed dial on the phone that calls the back room.


August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve primarily worked on the front line, and I know how challenging it can be to work with the public, especially when in difficult budget situations we may have fewer staff, more hours on the service desk and a greater amount of stress. Used sparingly, I can understand the attractiveness of the Rescue Plan. Used excessively I can see potentially troubling cascading consequences. But as I listened to the conversation about the Rescue Plan I couldn’t help but feel that deceptive measures are best avoided. They may work a few times, but will likely fail to resolve the original problem in the long run. What do you think? Is the Rescue Plan a legitimate strategy for dealing with difficult situations, or are we better off to confront the difficult individual (or group) directly? Can you share an entirely different strategy that has worked for you and your colleagues in these situations?

The APSA's annual meeting will start next week and one of the sessions is called "Hard Times and Ph.D.s: The Political Science Job Market and Non-Academic Careers." While Brintnall said it was important for the association to provide such forums, he said that those who are interested in political science careers outside of academe tend to enroll in master's degree programs that prepare people to work in government, nonprofit organizations or the corporate world using political science skills. Those who opt for a Ph.D. program generally do so because they want an academic career, he said. At the same time, however, he said that the availability of career paths outside of academe means that new Ph.D.s in political science "are not ill-equipped to make that transition if need be." Brintnall said he didn't sense that many departments were considering major changes either in their doctoral curriculums or their policies about how many students to admit. "A lot are waiting to see if there is a rebound or not," he said. At least some political science grad students don't seem to expect a rebound any time soon. On the Web site Political Science Job Rumors (a site that is popular with many on the job market and much criticized by many others), one of the discussion topics recently was whether someone was foolish to have pursued a Ph.D. -- and the initial post came from someone who lamented searching for six months without even an interview. Others on the list suggested that a miserable six months of job searching was hardly unexpected these days, or even worthy of much sympathy, given that some spend years looking without much success. Wrote one commenter: "Listen bud, if you are disillusioned after 6 months I suggest you quit now. This is only the beginning of the rejection you will face in academia. Listen to the guy/gal who suggested that you look for non-academic positions." The Faculty of Arts at the University of Wollongong is experiencing a phase of growth and transformation. Its School of History and Politics is ... Senior Research Fellow University of Bristol £46,510 £52,347 Fixed term or Permanent The Personal Finance Research Centre is a leading ... Position Summary: The Department of Politics at Princeton University has an occasional need for lecturers to teach or coteach in areas such as ... See the College's Jobs website to (1) complete and save an online application and (2) apply for open positions.Qualifications ... The Department of Government at Wesleyan University seeks applicants for a tenure-track appointment in American politics, with a primary interest in ...

Shrinkage in Political Science
Source: August 24th, 2010

You can add political science to the list of disciplines reporting dramatic declines in the number of openings for those starting their academic careers. The American Political Science Association has not historically released annual reports on jobs data in advance of its annual meeting, as many humanities and other disciplines do. But this year, Michael Brintnall, executive director of the association, did an analysis of the number of assistant professor openings that have been listed with the association in recent years. Such listings are required of departmental members. While some departments don't submit, and listings are likely less complete for community colleges, the listings are seen as broadly reflective of the state of hiring in the discipline. The numbers for recent years show a dramatic slide in the past two years, preceded by several years of steady growth. Assistant Professor Openings in Political Science 2009-10 2008-9 2007-8 2006-7 2005-6 2004-5 445 617 716 730 685 661

The data are consistent with declines being reported by many other fields (either for the last year or projected for the year ahead) in the humanities and social sciences, including sociology, literature and languages, history, economics, art history and other fields. Within political science subfields, Brintnall said that positions focused on comparative politics, international relations and public policy appear to be experiencing smaller declines while political theory is being hit harder.

Court Puts Stem Cell Rules on Hold
Source: court_puts_stem_cell_rules_on_hold


August 24th, 2010
August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday barring new federal support for stem cell research under the rules issued by the Obama administration, Reuters reported. A lawsuit challenging the rules says that they permit the destruction of human embryos, in violation of federal law.

experimentation” in college design that focuses “on teaching 21st century skills, not 20th century subjects.” These ideas are typical of the well-intentioned but misinformed suggestions that abound these days about higher education. The commentators are correct that there is a mismatch between what faculty members are doing and could be doing to teach students. But the problem isn't a lack of faculty interest in students, but a broader set of staggering challenges facing professors – challenges that deserve more attention. First, college and university faculty members often lack the ability to teach basic reading, writing, and math skills. Why? Because most professors are not trained to do so. With few exceptions, doctoral programs focus on teaching disciplinary content and methods of inquiry, not pedagogy. Even in universities that provide their doctoral students with a "preparing future faculty" program to help Ph.D. candidates develop some teaching skills, such programs focus on teaching and learning at the college level, not on basic reading comprehension, the fundamentals of composition, or elementary quantitative skills. The K-12 educational system is supposed to teach these abilities. By the time students get to college, faculty members rightfully expect that they will already know how to calculate an average or summarize the main points of a newspaper article, a book chapter, or a journal article. Accordingly, faculty members see their role as then honing students’ critical thinking abilities within the context of analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information, often within a disciplinary framework. These assumptions were fair ones once upon a time. Sadly, though, far too many students who have earned a high school diploma are unable to meet such expectations. Absent a handful of specialists in English departments, most college faculty members are simply ill-equipped to know how to teach students how to begin writing coherently. Professors expect to provide students with feedback on writing more efficiently and persuasively, not teach about tenses, subject-verb agreement, or basic punctuation. Yet, these are types of problems with which faculty routinely try to cope, at least for a while. And that leads to my second point. Given the woefully inadequate preparedness of high school graduates to engage in college-level work, many professors quickly become burned out attempting to teach skills that they never expected they would need to teach at the postsecondary level. I have heard dozens of colleagues from across the country at different types of institutions of higher education say, "I didn’t earn a Ph.D. to teach what should have been taught in elementary and high school." Many such instructors give up; rather than teaching the skills that should have been learned before students arrive in college, they focus on content because it’s easier to do so. There is only so much that can be done over the course of a college quarter or semester. Worse yet, they fear holding students to high standards for a myriad of reasons, which is the third problem I wish to discuss. College faculty members, especially those who are untenured, often fear setting course expectations too high, challenging students’ comfort levels too much, or being rigorous in their assessments of student performance. If students perceive a professor as being too hard, they will avoid that person's classes, which can lead to under-subscribed classes being

Fixing Higher Ed
Source: August 24th, 2010

The press and the blogosphere have devoted significant coverage recently to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce that predicted that the United States is on "collision course with the future." The report estimated that within a mere eight years, the nation will suffer a shortfall of at least 3 million workers with college degrees and 4.7 million workers with postsecondary certificates. The authors of the report concluded that to meet the challenges of a global economy in which 59 to 63 percent of domestic jobs require education beyond the high-school level, America’s colleges and universities "need to increase the number of degrees they confer by 10 percent annually, a tall order." Although numerous commentators have responded to the report by echoing its call for increased access to higher education, it seems to me that few have focused on a key term in the report’s call to "develop reforms that result in both cost-efficient and high quality postsecondary education." Producing millions of more baccalaureate-educated workers will do nothing to address the competitiveness of the U.S. workforce if those degrees are not high quality ones. Sadly, it is pretty clear that far too many college degrees aren’t worth the paper on which they are printed. In 2006, the Spellings Commission reported disturbing data that more than 60 percent of college graduates were not proficient in prose, document, and quantitative literacy. In other words, significantly more than half of college degree holders in the United States lack the “critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills needed in today’s workplaces.” Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, cited these findings in his recent Huffington Post essay, "The Failure of American Higher Education." He shared stories about recent college graduates, many from prestigious universities, who had applied for jobs at his think tank who were unable to complete basic tasks such as summarizing a person’s credentials into a short biographical sketch or calculating an average using a spreadsheet. Atkinson argues that one of the primary reasons for the inability of so many college graduates to think, write, speak, argue, research, or compute proficiently is that colleges “are focused on teaching kids content, not on teaching them skills.” His explanation for this is that members of the professoriate are not interested in teaching these important skills, but rather are interested in exploring the content of the subject matter in which they specialize. Atkinson then advocates several "solutions" to his perception of the problem, which include a requirement that all college graduates take a national test to measure skills competencies and “radical

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

canceled. Full-time faculty whose courses are canceled may be reassigned to less desirable duties; part-time faculty members whose classes are canceled often find themselves without any courses to teach. In addition, students often "punish" faculty members they perceive as being too demanding by evaluating them poorly at the end of a course. Because low student evaluations can lead to both tenure-track and adjunct faculty being fired, untenured professors may keep workloads at levels that students perceive to be reasonable and assess their performance more generously than may be actually deserved. Much has been written on this phenomenon as one of the leading factors contributing to the nationwide problem of grade inflation, the fourth issue I will address. In one of the most comprehensive studies of college grading practices, Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy documented that the average grade point average at U.S. colleges and universities rose from 2.35 in the 1930s, to 2.52 in the 1950s when a bifurcating trend in public and private institutions emerged. After sharp increases in the 1970s and 1980s, GPAs currently average an astonishing 3.00 and 3.30 at public and private schools, respectively. This trend could be explained by better students achieving at ever-higher levels. But, as discussed above, that is simply not the case when more than 60 percent of college graduates are not proficient in basic reading, writing, and math. Rojstaczer and Healy contend that grade inflation surged in the 1980s with “the emergence of a consumer-based culture in higher education.” And the growth of the for-profit sector of higher education has only compounded this problem in higher education since corporate-based education is built upon the faulty premise of delivering a product (an "education" or a "degree") to paying consumers (what we used to call "students"). Professors who resist the pressures of grade inflation find themselves in the position of having to defend their rigorous teaching in a variety of forums, ranging from resolving complaints lodged against them with their department chairs to participating in pseudo-adversarial grade appeals proceedings and formal grievance hearings. Contemporary college students hold intense senses of consumer-based entitlement in which they see the default grade as an “A.” Recently, I defended a professor who had awarded a “D” to a student who, by my assessment, should have failed the course. During the heated discussion, the complaining student obnoxiously referred to the professor as “incompetent” and “unrealistic.” At one point, she said, “I pay your salaries!” I replied to her, “Then we want a raise for having to deal with snotty, entitled brats like you.” Notably, the professor involved in this grade dispute was a tenured member of the faculty. For the reasons summarized above, untenured faculty (who comprise more than 70 percent of college instructors nationwide) may have caved into the student’s demands and changed the student’s grade to avoid a confrontation in which the department chair became involved. But even when faculty members stand their ground, administrators often cave in to student demands because they are concerned with retention rates, time-to-degree completion statistics, complaints from helicopter parents (some of which escalate into lawsuits), and angry students who may turn into

alumni who want nothing to do with their alma maters instead of happy alumni who become donors. The recent case of Professor Dominique Homberger illustrates how college and university administrators contribute to grade inflation. The dean of her college recently removed Homberger from teaching an introductory biology course at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge in the middle of semester after students complained about her harsh grading on the first exam in the course, even though grades on subsequent quizzes and exams were higher (students appear to have gotten the message that they really needed to up their levels of performance). What do we do about the sad state of affairs in higher education? There are changes we could make at the college level that could go a long way in improving the quality of higher education. First, no one should be able to earn a Ph.D. and secure a faculty position in an institution of higher education who has not taken graduate-levels courses that prepare them to teach effectively at the college level. Graduate education must provide the next generation of college instructors the pedagogical toolkit to be more effective teachers, as well as more effective assessors of student learning. This is especially important with regard to teaching prose, information, and quantitative literacy. Second, professors who rely exclusively on textbooks must change their ways. Of course, there are many fine textbooks out there, but no college course should rely on a textbook exclusively. Primary source materials from scholarly books and peer-reviewed journals, as well as material from popular culture media (newspapers, magazines, blogs, films, television shows, etc.), when applicable, should be assigned to complement textbook readings. But even more importantly, professors must jettison the “supplements” provided by textbook publishers. Today, many textbooks come with canned lecture notes, study guides, exams, PowerPoint presentations, and other supplementary materials designed to make professors’ lives easier. With few exceptions, most of these materials are targeted at the lowest common denominator. For example, canned PowerPoint presentations and study guides boil down the information in a textbook chapter to a series of bullet points. But “test bank” questions are the worst offenders. These question focus exclusively on content and are targeted at low levels of cognitive achievement in Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains: mere recall of data or information. These assessments do not provide any basis for professors to test students’ ability to analyze, synthesize, or evaluate information in a manner that demonstrates critical thinking, writing, or problem-solving abilities. Third, we must get serious about confronting grade inflation. College professors are not just teachers; they also should be serving as gatekeepers as generations of professors did in the past by awarding grades commensurate with student performance. For this to occur, the consumer-based culture that pervades higher education must be changed. Professors, parents, and administrators must stop coddling students. If a student is not performing satisfactorily, then college instructors must be able to award “D”s or “F”s without worrying about whether doing so will cost them their

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

jobs. Moreover, faculty rewards policies (e.g., reappointment, tenure, promotion, merit raises, etc.) must be changed to reward professors who teach and grade with rigor. Such assessments must not just focus on the content of professors’ courses, but also on how they develop critical thinking, writing, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Conversely, professors who give away high grades that are not actually earned by students should not be retained. This is not to say, however, that only those professors who award As to 10 percent or fewer of their students are necessarily effective teachers. Rather, we need to develop better ways of assessing a college instructor’s performance than student evaluations and grade distributions. Reappointment, tenure, and promotion decisions should be based on holistic assessments which include qualitative evaluations by several peers who have observed the instructor teach and of teaching portfolios containing exams, writing assignments, grading rubrics, cooperative learning exercises, and the like. Rigor and transparency should be rewarded. Finally, to effectively combat both grade inflation and a consumer-based culture in the college student–professor dynamic, politicians, accrediting bodies, and senior administrators must stop worrying about graduation rates and time-to-degree-completion. These artificial metrics miss the mark. The obsessive focus on what percentage of students graduate in four or six years only reinforces grade inflation and a consumer-based culture in higher education. If it takes a student eight years to graduate because professors actually hold that student to high levels of achievement before certifying that student as worthy of a degree, so be it! That, at least, would help to restore the value of a college degree rather than perpetuating the disturbing trend of the past few decades in which the value of the baccalaureate degree has deservedly diminished. See the College's Jobs website to (1) complete and save an online application and (2) apply for open positions.Qualifications ... See the College's Jobs website to (1) complete and save an online application and (2) apply for open positions.Qualifications ...

Job ID: 2894Regular/Temporary: RegularGENERAL DUTIES: Performs teaching, research, and guidance duties in area(s) of expertise as noted below. ... Hillsborough Community College See the College's Jobs website to (1) complete and save an online application and (2) apply for open positions.Qualifications ... Hillsborough Community College See the College's Jobs website to (1) complete and save an online application and (2) apply for open positions.Qualifications ... University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department: Research Computing CenterApplication Deadline: 09/20/2010Recruitment ...

Doctoral Rankings Will Be Released Sept. 28
Source: doctoral_rankings_will_be_released_sept_28 August 24th, 2010

The day some thought would never come has finally been set. After years of delays, methodology changes and griping about the delays and methodology changes, the National Research Council announced Monday that its rankings of doctoral programs would be released to the public on Sept. 28. Institutions will receive information about their programs in advance of the public release.

Watching a Watchdog
Source: August 24th, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Media organizations like to tout the firewalls that exist between the news and editorial pages, and the newsroom and the business staff, but when it comes to the editorial independence of The Washington Post on issues related to Kaplan, Inc., some critics are arguing that the walls aren’t strong enough. The concerns arise from editorial stands and direct lobbying by a leader of the legendary Graham family -- someone who would get an open door in any Congressional office -- on behalf of for-profit higher ed. On Sunday, policy makers, higher education watchers and ordinary readers opened their newspapers and Web browsers to an editorial endorsed by the Post’s staff board that took a stance that could’ve come right out of Kaplan’s playbook. After disclosing the corporate link -- noting that the paper is owned by the same company that “owns Kaplan University and other for-profit schools of higher education that, according to company officials, could be harmed by the proposed regulations” -- the editorial bashed the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rules, voicing concerns about access for low-income and working students, and worrying more broadly about how the country could meet President Obama’s higher education goals without for-profit colleges.

Newly Tenured ... at Frostburg, Missouri-Kansas City, Wesleyan
Source: August 24th, 2010

City University of New York Central Office Job ID: 2976Regular/Temporary: RegularGENERAL DUTIES: Performs teaching, research, and guidance duties in area(s) of expertise as noted below. ... City University of New York Central Office Job ID: 2982Regular/Temporary: RegularGENERAL DUTIES: Performs teaching, research, and guidance duties in area(s) of expertise as noted below. ... City University of New York Central Office

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is really surprising,’ ” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, which has been a strong advocate for the government's toughened regulatory approach to for-profit higher education. “Not just to see the Post editorializing on this issue, but to look at what the board is saying.” Asher had several objections to the editorial, including its assertion that the proposed rules on "gainful employment" would affect only for-profit colleges -- an assertion later corrected on the Post's website and in Monday's print edition. Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of government and public relations at the American Council on Education, said that while he is “sure the Post believes it has constructed sufficient firewalls, you can easily understand why people would raise questions based on what the board is saying and the fact that they had this editorial in their Sunday paper, which is the one with the largest distribution.” While the federal government “is right to fashion reasonable regulation to discourage fraud or misleading practices,” the board wrote, “it would be wrong to impose rules that remove an option that is especially useful for poor and working students.” The editorial boards of The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times took pro-regulation stances in their editorials, published weeks ago, the latter wondering whether the rules were tough enough. David Hawkins, director of public policy and research for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, took issue with that, and with many of the board’s other assertions. “The rules,” he said in an e-mail message, “would not automatically remove ‘an option’ that is useful for poor and working students. Rather, the rules would eliminate only those options that do not meet basic standards for accountability; options that may, in fact, be harmful to the very students about which the Post claims to be concerned.” Ann L. McDaniel, senior vice president of human resources for the Washington Post Company, said the editorial speaks for itself in expressing the board’s views and revealing the paper’s link to for-profit higher education. The second-paragraph disclosure, featured as prominently as it was, “gives[s] the reader the information to evaluate our position,” she said. Most journalistic entities, including this one, are supported by advertising. Inside Higher Ed, for example, receives ads from all kinds of colleges and organizations (including institutions on both sides of the debate over for-profit higher education). Critics of the Post aren't attacking it for running advertising from for-profit colleges, but for owning a for-profit higher education enterprise that is increasingly subsidizing the company's operations. Because of the disclosure, Hartle said, “there isn’t any hidden agenda here – it’s clear as day.” The Post, he said, “has made no effort to hide or camouflage its interests here and convincingly maintain that they can write an unbiased editorial,” even if readers are likely to be suspicious of its content -- just like Lockheed Martin advocating for greater defense spending or a testing company calling for more testing. The editorial’s disclosure and others like it in the Post’s news coverage of for-profit colleges -- touted by the Post’s ombudsman in a column this weekend -- don’t go far enough,

Asher argued. It’s one thing to acknowledge that Kaplan is owned by the same company, “it’s another to acknowledge the financial dependencies that the Post has on Kaplan, which they don’t do.” Close to 60 percent of the company’s revenues in the most recent fiscal year came from Kaplan. The editorial, Hawkins said, speaks to the paper’s wider “lack of attention … to the circumstances that brought about these proposed rules,” on its opinion pages and in its news reporting. “Based on the editorial, which adheres closely to the same message points repeated ad nauseum by industry lobbyists, we are left to assume that decisions about what (not) to report about this issue are being made with an eye toward the bottom line,” he said. “The adoption of such message points in a full editorial do not convey the weight of the problems at hand, and the Post’s inattention to them compromises the journalistic process.” How fair can the journalistic process be, Asher asked, when its ultimate survival depends upon the financial success of a business it’s expected to cover skeptically? The company’s chairman and CEO, Donald E. Graham, son of Katharine Graham, the late Washington grand dame of journalism, has visited several members of Congress to lobby on Kaplan’s behalf. A staffer for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, confirmed that Graham met with the senator. “At one level, there’s absolutely nothing unusual or surprising in learning that Don Graham is visiting people on Capitol Hill,” Hartle said. “Corporate CEOs often meet with government officials and it would be surprising if he didn’t.” But, he added, “for the first time in my memory a leading news organization is wading into a public policy debate unrelated to their primary business.” The only problem: The paper may be the primary source of the company’s prestige, but education has become the Washington Post Company’s primary business. “The Post is accustomed to scrutinizing public policy debates like this one, but now it’s the one that’s being scrutinized,” he said. McDaniel declined to talk on the record about Graham's lobbying of members of Congress. Keiser University is a regionally accredited, private, career university that provides educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels ... The purpose of Keiser Career College is to offer quality career education in an atmosphere of personalized attention. Keiser Career College will focus ... Position Summary: The position provides support to the Office of Financial Aid. Duties will include a high level of public contact with a variety of ... Incumbent will direct all staff activities as it relates to direct lending including supporting, guiding, and monitoring staff’s performance and ...


August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

Connecticut Sues ExInvestment Chief at Wesleyan
Source: connecticut_sues_ex_investment_chief_at_wesleyan August 24th, 2010

challenge,” “student-faculty interaction” and “support for learners.” Though every participating college’s survey data is made public, institutional officials are encouraged to compare their benchmark scores only to national averages and those of large peer groups, such as institutions of similar size or in a similar geographic area. Despite warnings from CCSSE officials that its data sets were never meant to be used to generate college rankings, Carey defended the decisions to do so and to have CCSSE data count for 85 percent of a college's ranking. “We always equate admissions selectivity with quality,” Carey said. “Well, all community colleges have the same admissions policy, but they aren’t always as good as one another. Part of this was to find a way to talk about excellence in the sector. We’re publicizing information about best practices. We’re talking about it here, and this is an interesting and longoverdue conversation that we need to have at the federal level.” Carey noted that these rankings could encourage some community colleges to seek out the best practices of others, starting something of a domino effect of reform initiatives. He also added that the list could serve as something of a consumer tool for students looking for a community college. “I think there are some people who can’t choose their community college, but some can,” Carey said. “For instance, take our top college, Saint Paul College. Well, there are other community colleges in metropolitan Minneapolis-Saint Paul that aren’t listed. If you’re a student and have no information about which community college is better, you’ll probably go wherever is most convenient. But, if you do have some information, you might drive an additional 20 to 30 minutes to get to another community college. It might be worth it.” Those without much choice in the matter of where to attend a community college, given their location, may also consider taking online courses from those institutions ranked higher in the list, Carey added. Repeating his stance that only the best community colleges ought to be lauded for their good work while encouraging others to essentially replicate their success by taking similar reform measures, Carey noted that he never considered listing the “50 worst” community colleges in the magazine or continuing his list beyond number 50. He mused that some of the worst-performing community college may not have even participated in CCSSE, and that listing the bottom-performing institution that did would be an unfair punishment. Still, he did acknowledge that, conversely, some of the best-performing institutions might not have participated in CCSSE, though he considers this less likely. Kay McClenney, CCSSE director, criticized Washington Monthly’s use of CCSSE data in creating a ranking of community colleges, calling it both “inappropriate” and “unauthorized.” She noted that she turned down the publication’s request for a more user-friendly version of the open-source CCSSE data sets, adding that it likely pulled the data in a very tedious manner from CCSSE's website. CCSSE, McClenney argued, is a tool best used when its results are reviewed internally. She added that it does not make sense to compare one community college directly to another, given

Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, announced that he is joining a suit by Wesleyan University against Thomas Kannam, the university's former investment officer. A statement from Blumenthal said that Kannam used Wesleyan funds to do work for private firms to which he had financial ties -- in violation of university rules. Further, the suit charges that Kannam billed the university for trips -- one to the Super Bowl, one to Britain for his entire family -- that had no connection to university business. The attorney general's suit charges that these actions, on which Inside Higher Ed reported in January, violate state law. A lawyer for Kannam told Bloomberg: "Alumni, faculty and students should also be distressed that the university’s leadership has chosen to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees on a case that will ultimately produce million-dollar counterclaims against the school by those whose reputations have been severely injured by Wesleyan’s reckless allegations.”

Evaluating Community College Rankings
Source: August 24th, 2010

The Washington Monthly has yet again irked some educators, as it did three years ago, by ranking what it calls “America’s Best Community Colleges” using openly available student engagement survey data. Using benchmarking data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and four-year federal graduation rates in an equation of its own making, the magazine attempts to rank the top 50 community colleges in the country in its latest issue. Though the periodical’s editors say they only hope to highlight “what works and what doesn’t” at these institutions by ranking them, CCSSE officials have denounced the use of their data in this way and argue it may do more harm than good. “Community colleges are often underrecognized,” said Kevin Carey, author of the magazine’s community college rankings and policy director at Washington-based think tank Education Sector. “But there’s been a lot of attention to them paid to them, thanks to the president’s recent effort [with the American Graduation Initiative]. Since he supports investing and improving community colleges, we felt like it was a good time to ask, ‘What do good community colleges look like?’ If we’re going to spend a lot of money, let’s see what reflects best practices out there.” Carey admitted that such a ranking of community colleges would not be possible without data from CCSSE, a survey run by the University of Texas at Austin that goes out to students at more around 650 two-year institutions and uses the results to judge the colleges on broad categories such as “active and collaborative learning,” “student effort,” “academic

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

the significant differences in missions, socioeconomic status of students, budget and other factors. She said that using broader benchmarks and peer groups is a better way to judge. “Benchmarking is a process that is entirely different from rankings,” McClenney said. “Our major issue here is that ranking just oversimplifies what’s going on in these colleges. It doesn’t take into comparison major variables. And, from a statistical standpoint, there isn’t that much of a difference between, say, number one and number 15 on the list. It creates a false impression.” Though she disagrees with Carey’s usage of CCSSE data, McClenney did at least find value in his reason for doing so. “I grant that [Carey] has positive purposes here,” McClenney said. “He’s attempting to do something he believes is for the cause of goodness. I sympathize with the idea of institutions learning from one another. That’s something we promote in our work. We just disagree that ranking is the way to go about it.” Campus Description: Stony Brook University, home to many highly ranked graduate research programs, is located 60 miles from New York City on Long ... OSU – Oklahoma City, located in the heart of Oklahoma City, is enjoying one of the largest enrollment increases in the state of Oklahoma! We are ... Position Objective: This position is a 163 day contract, with a four day work week. Broward College invites applicants for a full time tenure ... The purpose of Southeastern Institute is to offer quality career education. Our programs focus on specialized skills and knowledge needed for today's ... The purpose of Southeastern Institute is to offer quality career education. Our programs focus on specialized skills and knowledge needed for today's ...

In the debate over the role of for-profit higher education, where the good apples/bad apples dichotomy has come to dominate discussion (though some Congressional Democrats have said they see something resembling a rotten orchard), Apollo is actively working to brand itself as an organization chastened and determined to do better, especially after being identified in the Government Accountability Office's "secret shopper" investigation of recruiting practices. Announcing steps aimed to frame Phoenix as the “gold standard” in for-profit higher education, as Cappelli put it, the company is pledging to clean up its act ahead of what will almost certainly be tighter regulations on recruitment and student outcomes coming from the U.S. Department of Education this fall and the continued drumbeat coming from Capitol Hill. In September, Phoenix will stop compensating recruiters based on the number of students they enroll and whether those numbers are on an upward trajectory, criteria that accounted for 32 percent of their evaluations. Instead, performance will be judged entirely on factors such as teamwork and attitude when interacting with students. “The purpose of marketing is to inform,” Cappelli said. Edelstein chimed in: “We feel there is an imperative … [in] reaching as many as we can who can benefit” from higher education. Phoenix monitors about 30,000 calls between recruiters and students each day to keep tabs on whether employees are misrepresenting or misleading students. ABC News performed its own secret shopper investigation at a Phoenix campus and was given incorrect information about whether the student would be able to get a teaching certification in certain states with a Phoenix degree. The officials said the student would not have been able to enroll because the company has enacted computer safeguards forbidding anyone but specially trained education recruiters to enroll students in teaching programs, though they acknowledged that the system failed to protect a wronged student interviewed by ABC. And Cappelli said that recruiters aren't overly aggressive. “We don’t call people 50 or 100 times,” he said. (The undercover students commissioned by the GAO would probably disagree.) More broadly, Apollo’s new recruitment strategy is more holistic, reputational and in-house, the officials said. “We’re fundamentally changing our approach to prospective students,” said Ryan Rauzon, an Apollo spokesman. In recent years, the company has halved the percentage of its budget that going to third-party companies -- which in large part means lead generators and other entities that collect information from interested students. Rauzon said he couldn’t specify what that meant in terms of dollars because of fear that it might hurt the company’s competitiveness, but overall costs relating to selling and promotion totaled $960.4 million in fiscal year 2009 and $805.4 million in 2008, according to Apollo’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Rauzon also acknowledged that part of that reduction came as a result of Apollo’s October 2007 acquisition of Aptimus, Inc., an Internet marketing company that included lead

A New Leaf at Phoenix?
Source: August 24th, 2010

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to marketing and recruiting, the University of Phoenix is turning over a new leaf, or so its executives said at a briefing here Monday. “We’re doing what we think is right,” said Gregory W. Cappelli, the co-chief executive officer of Apollo Group, which owns Phoenix and other for-profit colleges and schools. The company, he said, is shifting “from a recruiting mentality and culture into one of a long-term relationship” between potential students and recruiters, who’ve been renamed "counselors.” The briefing was framed as a discussion about Apollo’s position paper, “Higher Education at a Crossroads,” which touts the for-profit sector as playing an essential role in President Obama’s access and completion goals. But the scrutiny facing the sector, and Apollo’s attempts to push back, dominated the hour or so that Capelli, his co-CEO Chas Edelstein and Joseph L. D’Amico, president and chief operating officer -- along with a cache of public relations people -- spent with a few reporters.

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

generation among its products. “Tactics that some of the third parties have used have been distressing to us, where they mislead students,” he said. “Having people within our company manage our marketing controls our brand and helps safeguard what our students are hearing.” Phoenix also is set to roll out a free, three-week new student orientation this fall, aimed at helping students with little to no prior postsecondary education figure out whether they’ll be able to handle the work before taking on student loans. So far, Edelstein said, 30,000 students have piloted the program and about 20 percent have decided against enrolling for a variety of reasons. He didn’t say how that compares with the typical attrition rate during the first three weeks of a Phoenix semester. Though the executives wouldn’t say quite say that they were trying to frame the company as the good in a sea of bad, that was very much the subtext of what Edelstein and other Apollo executives told a small group of reporters. Going forward, Apollo seemed to be pledging, we’re going to do our best to be honest with you, our students, Congress, everyone. “Transparency is very important,” Edelstein said. “We’re trying to lead the industry.” None of Apollo’s moves are unique in themselves. Westwood College pledged to end incentive compensation of recruiters this month. Kaplan Higher Education ended its use of abilityto-benefit tests -- often considered a low standard and used only by a few of the publicly traded for-profit companies for admissions decisions -- as a means to admit students who arrived without a high school diploma or GED. Corinthian Colleges announced the same move on Friday, effectively eliminating the source of about 15 percent of its enrollments. To critics of the sector, moves like these come across as smart public relations more than anything else. Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, said that it’s “not possible to tell how shifts in rhetoric or internal policies might translate in terms of outcomes for students.” Campus Description: Stony Brook University, home to many highly ranked graduate research programs, is located 60 miles from New York City on Long ... OSU – Oklahoma City, located in the heart of Oklahoma City, is enjoying one of the largest enrollment increases in the state of Oklahoma! We are ... Position Objective: This position is a 163 day contract, with a four day work week. Broward College invites applicants for a full time tenure ... The purpose of Southeastern Institute is to offer quality career education. Our programs focus on specialized skills and knowledge needed for today's ... The purpose of Southeastern Institute is to offer quality career education. Our programs focus on specialized skills and knowledge needed for today's ...

Open to Change: How Open Access Can Work
Source: open_to_change_how_open_access_can_work August 24th, 2010

By Barbara Fister August 23, 2010 9:30 pm Last week, when I challenged readers to think about how to make open access happen, Jason Baird Jackson had a ready answer: the Open Folklore project. This project is drawing a terrific map for societies unsure of how to proceed. Partnering with Indiana University libraries, the American Folklore Society is identifying where their literature is and how much of it is accessible, bringing attention to existing and potential open access journals, asking rights holders if material can be set free, digitizing gray literature so it will be preserved . . . these folks are sharp. And they're doing what scholarly societies should do: promoting the field and sharing its collective knowledge for the greater good. I just visited their site again after reading a thoughtful article by Mark Striphas on the bizarre blind spot that cultural studies scholars have about the system that they depend on for conveying ideas and (perhaps even in their wildest dreams) making a difference in the world. He points out that cultural studies often unpacks the politics of media - except for those media that they participate in most frequently. He takes issue with the claim that I and others make repeatedly, that they system is broken. He says on the contrary, "the system is functioning only too well" - it rakes in terrific profits based largely on unpaid labor and a captive workforce. It just doesn't work very well for scholars, He does a great job of analyzing the issues and laying out steps that cultural studies scholars should take. It's a rousing call to action, and it's perfectly tailored to the concerns of his field. I also spent some time today browsing the Savage Minds blog, a really good academic blog on anthropology, which has several posts on the unfortunate decision the American Anthropological Association made to pull away from a progressive relationship with a university press and instead outsource their journal publishing functions to a for-profit conglomerate. This is what Striphas calls a "devil's bargain" that many scholarly societies are making. "They have begun outsourcing the business and production aspects of their journals to large, for-profit corporate publishers—often the very same companies whose business practices have pressured them to contemplate outsourcing in the first place." Savage Mind blogger Christopher Kelty predicts that this bargain can't be reversed. He reported earlier this month on a request for comments from editors and others and reproduces one astute and incisive commentary by Kim Fortun that asks all the right questions.Seriously, this state of affairs is one that any society looking for a quick fix should think hard about. Once you outsource your journals to the corporate sphere, hoping the invisible hand will help bring more money to the society's coffers or to solve cash flow problems, it may be too expensive to go back. Somehow I ended up full circle, reading a commentary by Jason Baird Jackson on the "circulatory system" that is scholarly publishing and the threat that we face with corporate

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

enclosure of knowledge. It includes wonderful head-smacking factoids, like this: "At the time that Museum Anthropology Review got started, a single page of Museum Anthropology cost about $202 to publish. This cost did not include the very considerable subsidies that Indiana University was investing in supporting the editorial office. At this rate, an article cost about $5000 (pre-subsidies) to publish. The resulting article was then made available in print to about 500 subscribers . . . in spring 2007, the Council for Museum Anthropology was loosing about $79 per page. "In contrast to loosing $79 per page publishing Museum Anthropology as a gated, toll-access journal, Museum Anthropology Review began publishing–using the same editor, the same peer-review community, the same university subsidies, the same computer, the same office, and the same file cabinet–at an out of pocket cost of less that 42 cents per article. In contrast to Museum Anthropology, Museum Anthropology Review was (and is) available freely to anyone able to muster an internet connection. Most contributions to Museum Anthropology Review have now been accessed thousands of times by readers from most corners of the globe." Contrast this with a situation that Mark Striphas describes: a scholar, having signed away his copyright to Sage, was provided a digital copy of his article that was cleverly boobytrapped: he could share it 25 times, but no more. Printing was okay, but it required downloading special software. The publisher was diligently protecting its intellectual property from its author. Sharing knowledge becomes the enemy of publishing it. Sometimes I think about the tangle of cross-purposes and interests that seem so hard to disentangle and wonder if change can ever happen. But then I read something as sensible and smart and principled as Jason Baird Jackson's commentary or see what Open Folklore is up to and think ... you know, maybe we really can pull this off.

• UMBC's Alternate Delivery Program: Supporting Hybrid Course Redesign • Closing the Loop: How to Redesign a Course for Blended Learning • Teaching Presence: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry in Blended Learning Environments • Implementing a Blended Learning Approach: Factors Influencing Students' Academic Outcomes This is only a partial list of sessions, I encourage you to look at the program to view the full slate. Beyond the quality of the sessions, I've been extremely impressed with how ELI puts together and runs their online conferences. Dean Dad had complained about the quality of webinars - I think he should participate in this ELI Online Focus Session so he can experience the upside of the medium. Best of all, ELI Online Sessions are incredibly affordable. For an ELI member the cost is $125 for an individual registration, $275 for your whole team to gather and participate. Nonmember registrations are only marginally more expensive. This is an incredible deal, really the best value going in higher ed professional development. Are you planning on participating? Why or why not?

Mothering at Mid-Career: First Day of School
Source: mothering_at_mid_career_first_day_of_school August 24th, 2010

ELI Online Focus Session on Blended Learning
Source: eli_online_focus_session_on_blended_learning August 24th, 2010

By Libby Gruner August 23, 2010 8:36 pm A week ago on Monday afternoon — the time when I usually write this blog post — I was in a car headed back to Richmond after a long weekend visiting family in Connecticut and upstate New York. Today, I’m in my office, having met my advisees last week and my first group of new students today. I’ll meet my second class tomorrow and then the school year will be well and truly underway. Or sort of. It begins again later this week when we take our daughter to the airport for her flight back to college. While we drove her up last year for orientation, this year she’s on her own. We got most of her stuff up to New England last weekend on our trip; her grandfather will get it the rest of the way to her when she moves back into her dorm. So really the school year begins on Thursday. Or again, it begins the day after Labor Day, when my son returns for his last year of middle school. I’ll have finished two weeks of classes before my son gets back to school. This time of year is tough for academic families, and it makes me wonder why we continue to follow the quasi-agrarian calendar when it’s so clearly irrelevant to most kids in school. And even if it were relevant, the timing is off: there’s all kinds of farmwork still to be done, as the farmers who run my CSA can attest. Most of my friends who are also parents are either

By Joshua Kim August 23, 2010 9:15 pm We signed up today for the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2010 Online Fall Focus Session - "Blended Learning: The 21st-Century Learning Environment". The sessions are on September 15th and 16th (noon to 5:30), and include keynote and plenary sessions, follow-up Q&A's, project rounds, and scenario discussions. Check out the full conference agenda at this site. If you are running hybrid courses, thinking about running hybrid courses, or trying to convince others at your institution that you should be running hybrid courses, than the program will have a session for you. Some of the sessions that I'm particularly excited about include:

August 24th, 2010

Published by: philosophyandrew

scrambling, or have already scrambled, to find quality care for their kids whose camps have ended but whose schools haven’t begun yet, even though our schedules are now fully booked. I’m grateful that we don’t have school all summer long, don’t get me wrong. I need the summer break — or some break — to regroup, recharge, get some research done, plan for the fall. But I’m willing to entertain the notion that I could work differently, and I’m quite sure that children in K-12 could. I’m not alone, of course — there are year-round schools all over the country, and proponents of the change have a good deal of research on their side about learning loss over the long breaks, among other things, to suggest that a schedule of, say, 10 weeks on, 3 weeks off, might actually work better for most people. (Many other calendar models have been proposed, some retaining at least a month of summer vacation, and most not lengthening the school year significantly or even at all.) It’s hard for me to imagine giving up “summer vacation” entirely. The whole concept of summer jobs relies on a long break when students are available to work in a variety of fields where three weeks might really not be all that productive (I’m thinking of pools and lakes that hire lifeguards, for example, or amusement parks hiring temporary workers). And, as I mentioned above, the college summer break can be restorative — though it didn’t really feel that way for me this year, when I only left town twice. Still, as we get started this fall — again, and again, and again — I can’t help but wonder whether there are workable alternatives to the wild schedule dance we do every year. No doubt my middle school son will be out of school before anything changes here, but it’s still worth thinking about.

fanfare, and made up the plot as they went along. (“I know! You be the princess, and I’ll be a doggy!” “Okay!” “Woof, woof! (pant, pant)”) They finished to applause each time. Even TB got in on the act, being a gracious host and doting on the baby. He valiantly volunteered to air-mattress duty without complaint, and held the baby gently when he got the chance. TB and TG put aside their occasional low-level conflict altogether, acting as hosts and role models. TB got to feel like an adult, and TG got to be older than somebody, which doesn’t happen very often. They made us proud. It wasn’t all smooth, of course. My sister-in-law had loaded her itouch with games for her kids; now TB and TG want me to do the same. (“Fruit Ninja” is the current favorite.) I may never get it back. And after a few days of sleep deprivation, even the best of us can get a little snappy. But seeing the kids step up like that was wonderful. They were mature, sweet, welcoming, and utterly themselves. And getting a baby-fix without having to change a single diaper is a pretty good deal. Now it’s back to reality...

Source: confessions_of_a_community_college_dean/nieces August 24th, 2010

By Dean Dad August 23, 2010 8:31 pm The nieces came to visit this weekend. The older niece is three, and the younger one is five months. The glory of an infant niece -- I’d imagine grandkids work the same way -- is that you get all of the cuteness, without the hard labor. When Younger Niece made the untoward digestive noises they make at that age, I could look at my brother without guilt. And when you’re a few years out of having an infant around, a little one makes a great nostalgia trip. There’s something wonderful about the way a baby nuzzles her head into you when you’re holding her and she’s falling asleep. The distinctive baby noises -- the snorts and grunts and coos -bring it all back. At one point, all of the adults were just starting at the baby in her Gymini on the floor. TW was the first to notice that we were doing it; it was so natural that we didn’t even realize we were doing it. The Older Niece immediately bonded with The Girl, and they quickly resumed being partners in crime. They treated us to some live, improvisatory theatre, in which The Older Niece played a princess, and TG played, variously, a kittycat, a dog, and a monster. In the way that kids always have, they gathered all the adults into a room to watch, announced the ‘play’ with

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