Apr 08

Ill Omens? Earthquake Confuses Fleep, Scares Kitties

So sometime before the crack of dawn this morning, I was startled out of a deep sleep to feel the earth moving and the house making very strange sounds. I sat up blinking and bewildered and looked at the kitties who looked back at me with wide-eyed “What the heck was THAT?” looks on their faces.

Beanie, Flip, Cleo

We continued to look at each other for a few seconds, the house creaked and settled, and I thought to myself, good thing we don’t have earthquakes in Cincinnati, and then I went back to sleep.

Of course it turns out there was actually an earthquake and I was so sleepy and confused I didn’t even realize it until @samharrelson told me on Twitter when I got up hours later.

Illinois Earthquake reported at 5:37AM EST

Local coverage from WLWT reports no damage in Cincinnati, USGS has a nifty map showing all the earthquakes reported in the last 7 days, and local blogger Joe Wessels has an interview with a University of Cincinnati prof who specializes in earthquake building design about an hour after this morning’s quake.

Me, I’m thinking it’s only April and so far we’ve had a blizzard and an earthquake, two pretty rare natural occurrences in my neck of the woods. I’m a little trepidatious about what the rest of 2008 might bring.

Blizzard 2008

Thankfully the plague of cicadas was in 2004, so we don’t have to worry about that one for another *gulp* 13 years.

Mar 08

ODCE2008 – Chancellor Eric Fingerhut Addresses ODCE2008

Remarks below are liveblogged/paraphrased from the event, all mistakes in translation are mine!

– We know that education is not a key priority, it is THE priority. We know that the single greatest determininant for a young student’s economic success is their educational attainment.

– Our political leaders are making higher education a priority. The governor and General Assembly have increased educational funding. The governor froze tuition at every public univerisity and community college for two full years, we’ve increased financial aid for over 100k students to make college more affordable. General Assembly created Choose Ohio First, scholarship programs, and dynamic programs in the sciences to keep students in the state. We’ve partnered with the Dept of Dev 150 million research scholars program, that can then attract research support. We need to recognize the level of committment that’s been made and the support received.

– If we take this additional support and step back, of course that’s what we should be doing, this additional support that the elected leaders of this state have been able to provide, its more than a statement of priority, it’s also a vote of confidence – we have the capability to do what the state needs, but also creates a responsibility, we have to live up to that responsibility. It’s my responsibility to lead us with a system that ranks with any in the world, in us has been places a responsibility to lead the resurgance of Ohio as a leader in a world economy.

– My hope is that we won’t need a separate conference to talk to faculty about usinng technology in educationm, my hope is that ever faculty member, every administrator, will be aware of and part of the technology revolution that is sweeping the world. I hope you will take this back to your institution.. our entire system needs to be built around technological innovation. This truly is changing the way we do education.

– Couple things we think are important: We know that the single greatest indicator of how much a student will earn is their level of education, and single greatest indicator of the state’s growth and progress is the over all educational attaianment of is citizen, so our committement to the people of the stateof ohio, we are going to increase the educational attainment level of the state continually. But that’s not enough, if everyone isgoing faster thn we are then we’refalling behind, we also have to close the gap between the states and natons that ae ahead of us. We rank 38th out of 50 states. If you look out across the world, we’re not raising our educational attainment as quickly as states and nations around the world.

– Need to do three things 1) graduate more people 2) keep them here 3) attract more talent.

When we talk about increasing graduation rates, lots of people have ideas about how to do that, but when I talk to people about keeping them here or attracting more talent, people say I’m not sure if that’s my job. But we are involved with internships and coops, we create new businessnes with research advances, we can help create livable communities around our campuses that no one wants to leave when they graduate.. Schools of renown attract talen, to want to teach, do research, so what we’re saying is that we will be held accountable, not just for graduating more students, but by helping keeping them here and attracting more talent.

Two major areas – 1) extensive network of public universities and community colleges (some stats, wow more schools than I realized!) 2) also have impressive private institutions .. so strtategy number 1 -build out of these institutions a collaborative system that enables all of our citizens to identify and find a high quality education opportunity. University System of Ohio. The states that have succesfuly built collaborative systems out of their individual parts, so they aren’t competing against each other but collaborating to compete with the world, so we are working together to build a system inn which we have 4 year unis that are building programs of national and international renown. Education Within 30 Miles of Every Ohioan. Also working with High schools to better prepare students to enter college and begin to experience hgih school their senior year, Seniors to Sophomores program.

One of the things we have not done well, every one of our public institutions is OUR public institutions, not just your local, we have institutions across this state, great programs, we want everyone to know all of the schools in ohio belong to us.

Second strategy – work with the private institutions to identify what the state needs, and create incentives to help us meet those needs. Private institutions are private for a reason, they can do what they want to do, pursue their religious or community missions, but where our goals overlap, we should work together.

– In closing, none of this works if we dont have an integrated technology infrastructure to support. No reason why a new community college course at Owens isnt immediately available to students across the whole state. Integrated network of innovation and rapidly spread it across the system. How do we make sure we have all of our students have access to the same level of education, we CAN do that today, the technology exists. (Does he mean greater articulation agreements?) We believe information technology is a core of .. we need a single core technology infrastructure to support this mission.

Question: Everyone in this room knows that information technology literacy is a core competency in today’s global market, yet we don’t see information literacy classes as core components of our degree programs.

Q: I’ve heard 230k enrollments as the goal for new enrollments, what proportion online? Do we know?

A: No, don’t think we can separate out who is an online student and who is a traditional student, instead we’re seeing blended courses.. How do we expand our capacity without expanding our facilities? That’s the question we’re looking at.. Think it will take merging technologies.

Q: The folly of expecting A when we’re doing B.. What do you plan to do systematically to address competition between instititions? What’s the reward system..

A: Dont really like the word Master Plan, but that’s what it’s called, this plan is to be delivered to governor and gen assembly on nMarch 31st, no big secret. Once we clearly set our goals and we determine the metrics to measure our progress, then we must align our funding system to those goals and to those metrics. Where the rubber meets the road is where we talk about money, so we have folks looking at what changes in our system will support these goals.

Some examples – We know for example that the most of the money that goes is based on enrollment numbers so it makes sense for a school in Cincinnati to compete with a school in Columbus then you are in competition for the same students,. but competing over numbers doesn’t get us where we want to go, sop we want quality programs that will attract quality students to both programs.. the idea that both schools will create identical programs of high quality, so differentiating their programs and we will reward the quality advancements.. as opposed to just measuring enrollments. At the same time our community colleges in particular will neeed to be funded for increasing enrollments. We want to reward collaboration, we want to focus on how institutions can collaborate as well.

Q: STEM programs that HSs and unis can work together?

A: The general assembly created .. new STEM schools, partnerships between high schools and universities, we’re sorting through proposals, have two so far. At the same time that we awarded those HSs, we also awarded funding to programs of excellence, HSs apply for these funds to allow them to expand excellent programs, and then those become models to spread them across the state. We have funding from Battell (or partnered with? missed that).. In the Choose Ohio First scholarships, a number of them focused on STEM teachers, and also if we increase the number of students who study STEM, we want them to be more successful when they get to college.

Q: Read about a program in Kentucky that targets adults who already have SOME college but never finished their degree, would that be something that would work in Ohio?

A: Yes to some extent, we really want to comprehensively reach all adults. What KY is on to, applied to Ohio, we are national average for HS students going on to college, but we’re 38th over all because we have a low education level among adults in Ohio, that’s the history of the state, heavy industrial and agricultural state, so how do we turn that around? We can go after those who have some education, but we want to be open to all adult learners.

Schools need to be aware of best practices, so those ideas spread quickly. That’s something a unified system will provide. We’re going to report on our school’s progress in a very transparent way, too.

Q: If higher education is really the priority, when is the state going to reward students for attending college and attending state schools? In GA, the HOPE program pays students if they maintain a B average.

A: Hope we can make a compelling case that going to college IS the payment. We want to make it affordable, accessible, and possible, but not pay people to go to school (paraphrased). Think Georgia’s goal was to keep their top students in the state, we can do that by having affordable programs and quality, best possible quality at affordable price. We’re focused on raising the overall quality.. Any student addmitted to one of our schools will be able to go, based on demonstration of family need. We are also trying to expand educational opportunities because we know ppl aren’t choosing between UC and Harvard, trying to decide if they can go at all.

Q: Talking a lot about sharing resources and networking in higher education, what efforts are happening for use on the high school level?

A: We created little silos around technology (E-Tech, SchoolNet, Ohio Learning Network, OhioLINK) which made sense at the time, in todays moment we have to recognize that we’re all really doing the same thing, the governor’s Seniors to Sophomores, Ohio is one of hte lowest states in the nation to make it possible fo rhigh school students to get college credit, clearly these barriers are breaking down and need to break then down between high schools and college, we talk about the silos but don’t do anything about it. Whatever we create should be seamless between the two.

Q: How are we going to increase access and affordable when we’re not even prepping students for college?

A: I’ve been Chancellor for a year, and here’s what’s gnawing a my but, we at higher ed point our fingers at K-12 and complain about students coming in the pipeline, so I can promise you that a cornerstone of higher edi in this sate, we’re goibng to roll up our sleeves and make sure that every student knows what it means to do college level work and is ready to do it.

Q: What is the state doing to break down the barriers between Ohio and other organizations and agenencies?

A: When we spend time competing with each other we’re not telling the story of our excellence..

(Will come back and fix typos and mistakes later!)