Friday, February 27, 2009

Does a Professor's Attire Have an Impact on Student Learning?

The University of Cincinnati's Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning has a blog titled, "ProfPost". This website featured a VERY interesting video on the impact of professor's clothing on student learning. (As I stated before, I ALWAYS wear a suit to class.) I wonder a professor's attire has an impact on student respect or learning.

Here's the video from the ProfPost website.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time Tactics of Very Successful [Professors] - Book Recommendation

Yes! After reading Time Tactics of Very Successful People by B. Eugene Griessman (a college professor) for three weeks, I finally finished it! This was a very intriguing book on tried and true, time management tactics. It seems our jobs are requiring more in less time. This requires many professors and student affairs professions to work during the evenings and on weekends.

This book has many great ideas on how professionals can effectively manage their time. Since graduate school, I have read many books on time management, but other books fail in comparison to this book.

Armed with the time management tactics written in this book, I feel that I will be able to publish at least two articles and deliver at least four professional presentations per year.

By the way, I just requested The Achievement Factors by Griessman through our library's interlibrary loan system.

Millennial Professor

*Has anyone else read this book?

Monday, February 23, 2009

If Students Meet the Requirements, Should They Receive As for their Effort?

According to Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes, an article in the New York Times, most millennial undergraduate students feel they should receive As for meeting the minimum requirements for their classes.

Since the beginning of my teaching career, I have held steadfast to an "above and beyond" principle on assignments and tests. On the first day of classes, I tell the students about this principle.

The Above and Beyond Principle
If you do what is required, you will receive a "B". If you go "above and beyond" the requirements, you receive an "A". For example, if a test question asks "Please list and explain at least two of the four windows in the Johari window", I am really looking for three or all four windows in the Johari window. In addition, before the test, the students receive a grading rubric for the qualitative questions.

Post-Graduation Boot Camp for Millennial Students

I make sure the students understand that I am preparing them for the post-graduation world. A majority of the entry-level jobs that are available to students after graduation will require them to have an annual evaluation with their supervisor. One of the categories on this annual evaluation will be "exceeds expectations". I try to prepare the students for this category by implementing the "above and beyond" principle. Most of the students understand and adhere to this principle, but others choose to merely meet the requirements.

Millennial Student Meeting the Minimum Requirements
What will happen to these students who choose to meet the requirements when they enter the workplace? Many employers are laying off employees and it seems much easier to release employees who merely meet the requirements.

Processing Questions
Will these students (future graduates) continue to choose the easier way out? If so, what are the implications for the future employers of our millennial graduates?

Monday, February 16, 2009

El Diablo is in the Details: Fundrasing within Academic Departments

For the past couple of weeks, it seems most of my higher ed colleagues received letters from their college or university regarding the economic crisis. Academic departments are coping with economic crisis by implementing one or more of the following steps:
  • Increasing the faculty course load from 4:4 to 5:5.
  • Increasing the number of students in each class.
  • Releasing visiting faculty and adjunct faculty from their duties at the institution.
  • Eliminating out-of-state travel.
  • Decreasing the departmental travel budget.
The economic situation for some academic departments is becoming so bleak that they are supplementing their shrinking budgets with external funds from companies.

A few weeks ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article titled, "When Ads Enter the Classroom, It is a Deal with El Diablo". This article focused on a professor's plan to earn the department some seed money by advertising for a local business (El Diablo) in his classroom. His advertising plan included the following: placing the restaurant's logo on the class syllabus, dispersing El Diablo stickers to students, and projecting the logo on one of the classroom walls. This plan was downgraded when university administrators heard of his fund raising strategy.

Another classroom advertisement case stems from an article (This Lecture Brought to You By McDonalds) featured on the Colombia Spector Online. Apparently some professors invite Kaplan representatives to advertise their services at the beginning of the year. According to the article, some students are annoyed with this practice and are seeking actual course content in their classes.

A few questions stem from this practice:
1. Why are student services departments (athletic events, etc.) able to accept advertisement dollars while academic departments are not able to accept money from companies?
2. What incentives are professors receiving from their fundraising ventures?
3. What postive and/or negative implications does in-class fundraising have on student learning?

Millennial Professor

Friday, February 13, 2009

Neat Programs for Undergraduate Students

The Online College Blog has a list of almost 70 free or open source tools for undergraduate students. These tools range from "Remember the Milk" and "Jott" to "Inkscape" and "Scriblink".

I think professors can make use of most of these tools as well. "Remember the Milk" can help with personal organization and time management.Professors who attend conferences can post their session slides on "Slide Share".

Here's the link - 69 Free or Open Source Tools for Students.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Students Are Attending Community Colleges

The economic situation in our country has perpuated a slight change in the higher education environment. According to David Tirrell-Wysocki, a writer from the Associated Press:
"The two-year schools are reporting unprecedented enrollment increases this semester, driven by students from traditional colleges seeking more bang for their buck and by laid off older workers."
His article is available here - Recession Sending More Students to Community Colleges

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Virtual Campus Tour - Student Interviews on College Click TV

With the help of an informative, yet innovative website - high school juniors, seniors, and their parents have the chance to "meet" students who attend the college or university they are considering. College Click TV enables future students to view the "best [residence halls], the school spirit, night life, Greek life, campus activities, and professors" by watching the streaming video interviews.
My take - Personally, I will recommend this website to students who attend the "College Prep Boot Camp" workshops. Most of these students come from low to middle income families, which may not be able to attend college viewing events.

Here is the Texas A&M University section of the website.

Here is the Boston College section of the website.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Millennials are ENTITLED!

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of reading an older edition of Spectra, a newsletter from the National Communication Association. This issue focused on millennial undergraduate students, who comprise a majority of our college student population.

This article stated, "Today's college students (the Me generation) are more self-confident, assertive, open and direct than previous generations. They are much less concerned about privacy (perhaps they recognize the impossibility of it in such an intrusive age)." I completely agree with the prior statement. Many students do not understand the potential repercussions their online comments or images may have on their job search, career, or political ventures.

The author also contributed, "[Millennials] value and appreciate genuine self presentation and disdain blatant impression management. They don't appreciate that some topics might be taboo and they have little patience for explanations that hide information in service to cultural politeness norms. They are not very audience centered but instead value individual expression." This last statement could be debated, it seems that most of my students focus on their peers' opinions more than their own (clothing, conversation topics, etc.).

I strongly agree with this statement:
"On the need for social approval scale, the average college student in 2001 scored lower than 62% of college students in 1958. Sixth graders were even more pronounced in the declining need in that they came in at the 24% percentile. By the mid-90's college members from generation Me registered higher self esteem than 86% of 1968 peers." The millennials have higher self-esteem than the hippies? Interesting!

Lastly, the author refers to the assertiveness of this generation. She states:
This is a generation that appreciates directness. They don't do well in abstractions so we will be more successful if we find ways to make information concrete, relevant, and active. They were raised on the internet and don't sit still very long for passive learning encounters."

It seems millennial students value hands-on learning (or service learning) experiences in high school and college. "[Millennials] believe in experiential learning and they value their own uninformed opinion. They will question test items and their interpretations in ways that may feel disrespectful because Generation Me has zero tolerance for role governed authority."

Overall, I believe this author's article addresses the "millennial generation" issue effectively. I wonder how professors reacted to this article. How did YOU react to this article?

Andersen, J. (2008, September). Entitled generation. National Communication Association: Spectra. 12-13.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Social Networking for Graduate Students

Why wasn't this website around when I was in graduate school?

One of my favorite research databases (Proquest) released a great website for graduate students. This website, Gradshare, enables graduate students to interact with one another by asking questions and sharing research interests. I imagine this website will play an important role in the graduate student job navigation process. Judging from the conversations I read on various message boards, I believe most colleges and universities will slow their hiring process during the next few months. As a result, such websites will prove themselves vital for graduate school students.

Link to the Gradshare website.

Millennial Professor