Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creating a Syllabus for Millennial College Students

I am finishing my syllabi for the fall semester and I had to keep a few items in mind when planning for my millennial students. Here is the checklist for my syllabi:
(    ) Include a picture of the textbook. I like to include a picture of the textbook that we are using in class because the students know exactly which textbook to choose when perusing the bookstore. In addition, when I was an undergraduate, I bought all of my books on barnesandnoble.com. If my professors would have included a picture of the textbook (or the ISBN) on their class syllabus, the textbook search would have been easier. 
(    ) Include an explanation of my virtual office hours. Many professors have not adopted virtual office hours and my students do not have any frame of reference for such office hours. As a result, I include my yahoo im username and briefly describe how virtual office hours may help them.

(    ) Remind the students that laptops are not allowed in my classroom (except on designated days). Laptops are a distraction in the classroom. As an undergraduate, I used a laptop to take notes in my class (and also to play games and search the internet). Since my lectures are in powerpoint format and I provide these notes for my students, there is no reason for laptops to be present in my classroom (except on designated days).
(    ) Include the "Best Practices" Section. Millennial college students want to know how they can make an "A", "B", "C", etc. I provide these best practices for the students in my classroom, because I want them to know exactly what they need to do to make a satisfactory grade. 
(    ) Include My Attendance Policy. This is my third year teaching and I have always taken attendance. In addition, students have two to three allowed absences (without a doctor's note, etc.) from my class. I hold my students to a very high regard and I remind them that they will enter the post-graduation world in a few years. They cannot miss an extra ordinate amount of days on their jobs without a penalty (reduced pay, etc.). 
What do you include on your syllabus?
- Millennial Professor

Monday, August 4, 2008

Can College Students Still Afford Alcohol When They Cannot Afford to Pay for Food?

In college, I knew that a few of my friends were participants in the food stamp program. When I moved to the Houston area, I discovered that a few community college students received groceries from the local church food bank. However, I did not know that a fair amount of college students have started to take advantage of both types of programs for their weekly meals. A few days ago, I wrote about college students and gas prices, but I did not realize that these students are starting to feel the impact of the surging food prices as well.
In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report author Alison Go, a facebook group has been formed as a virtual support group for students in need, "I Ain't Afraid to Be on Food Stamps". Here is the link to her eye opening article, "College Students Get Food from Pantries".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cafeterias and Millennial College Students (Financial Cutbacks) - Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my university's cafeteria - "Cafeterias and Millennial College Students (Financial Cutbacks)". I have not received any additional information about the cafeteria at my university, but I did read a few articles about other university cafeterias and how they are choosing to cope with the rising food costs.

Fall 2008 = No Trays

Bruce Horovitz, a USA Today contributor, wrote an article about this food service transition process titled, "More College Cafeterias Dump Food Trays". According to the article, food service companies like Aramark and Sodexho are creating a college dining experience that is more "sample and toss" than "take all you want". This move perpetuated a 50 percent decrease in the amount of daily waste that cafeterias produce. New York University reports a food waste reduction of 44.03 ounces per tray to less than 2.37 ounces. 

Scratching the Recipes?

JJ Hermes, of the Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote "Soaring Food Prices Squeeze Dining Halls". He reported that universities like Louisana State University may choose to reduce the amount of ingredients it takes to complete a recipe. In the article, the director of dining services stated, "Maybe we're going to put half an ounce less cheese on a slice of pizza".  Ohio University cut their food service costs by making many items from scratch (i.e. - cookies, rolls, and pizza dough).

Increasing the Costs of Meal Plans

Alternatively, some cafeterias are taking the easy route by increasing the dining costs. The highest meal plan fee increase was reported by Louisiana State University (LSU), which will increase the cost of their meal plans by 7 percent this fall. The LSU meal plan fee increase is followed by a 4.5 increase at the University of Miami and a 3.5 increase by Ohio University.

These articles leave me with a few questions:
  • Will the college buffet continue to exist?
  • Will the trayless and recipe ingredient reduction approach cause college students lose the freshmen 15 stigma?
  • Will college students choose the healthiest food if they have to choose one or two items at a time. 
-Millennial Professor