Summer 2014

In the past few weeks, Graduate School staff have been busy clearing Spring, 2014 degrees, working on low GPA notifications, preparing theses for delivery to Forsyth Library for binding, and continuing to accept and process applications for admission for our programs for Summer and Fall, 2014 admission.  This spring, a record 352 students graduated bringing our total count for the fiscal year to 594, which is also a Graduate School record.

Summer session has now begun at Fort Hays State University.  Enrollment continues to climb in graduate course offerings.  Early reports indicate an additional 120 students, but summer enrollment continues to grow daily due to short course offerings in multiple departments.  Deadlines for the summer session have been posted and emailed to all enrolled students.  The summer session ends on July 25th.

On May 14, 2014, the Graduate School honored the following students and graduate faculty for their outstanding accomplishments in the 2013-2014 academic year:

Outstanding MBA Achievement Awards
Corey Moomaw
Caley Love
Gary Hulett
Michael Liebold
Garrett Love
Outstanding GTA Award
Brittany Sheehan HHP
Jordan Allen HHP
Lisa Jones English
Frances Owen Biological Sciences
Yujing (Sunrise) Wang MBA
Trisha Goetz MBA
Michele Duryea Speech-Language Pathology
Mackenzie McCartney Speech-Language Pathology
George Toman School Psychology
Brooke Mann Psychology (Clinical)
Outstanding Thesis/Field Study/MFA Catalog
Michaela Valli Groeblacher MFA
Clinton Helms Biological Sciences
Sharon McCoy MFA
Carla Sloan-Brown Psychology (Clinical)
Whitney Giesing Psychology (Clinical)
Outstanding Graduate Faculty Advisors
Dr. Greg Farley Biological Sciences
Dr. Sharla Hutchison English

In addition, the Graduate School presented two special awards:

a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. John Heinrichs accepted by Maureen Duffy:

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and a Special Service award to former FHSU Provost Dr. Larry Gould:
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Dr. Gould closed the evening by giving his remarks on the progress and evolution of the Graduate School during his tenure as Provost:
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New FHSU president Dr. Mirta Martin has been to Hays twice in the past two months to learn more about the university and hold discussions with administrators.  Her term of service officially begins on July 1 and her inauguration is being planned for the Fall semester.  The Graduate School looks forward to working with Dr. Martin on advancing graduate education, research, and internationalization of the campus and curriculum in the coming year.

Dr. Martin
Dr. Martin pictured with Dr. Hammond and Senator Moran at the 2014 President’s Dinner.

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February, 2014 – Spring Semester 2014

Welcome back to the Spring semester!  Here are a few topics that have been on our minds recently…

Rankings News

There is some good news regarding graduate education to report as the university begins its Spring, 2014 semester.  The US News and World Report rankings of online programs released its latest rankings on January 7 and three of our programs have improved their annual ranking:

Nursing (MSN) – we are 71st overall.  In Kansas, we are second only to KU.
Business (MBA) – we are 64th overall and the top ranked school in Kansas.
Education (MS) – we are 20th overall and the top ranked school in Kansas.

Here is the link to the full report.

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Resource Management program has been ranked the #1 Human Resource Management program by GetEducated.com.

The Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) in Public Administration program has been ranked the #1 MPA program by GetEducated.com, as well.

Congratulations to all the graduate faculty who teach in these programs and all the support staff who help make them a success!

Enrollment Record

The Graduate School will set another enrollment record when the 20th day is reached next week on February 14th.  Preliminary data indicate greater than 7% increase over Spring, 2013 enrollment, which was in itself an outlier 14% growth semester over Spring, 2012 20th day data.  Growth of over 21% in 2 years has put us well over the 2000 student mark to approximately 2070 students.  We are the fastest growing Graduate School in the Regents system and will soon overtake Emporia State’s graduate enrollments.  Congratulations for all the hard work undertaken to reach this goal.  I am hopeful additional resources to meet high demand growth areas will be forthcoming in the next budget cycle.

Master’s Research Day at the Capitol 

On February 12, the following master’s students from FHSU will join their colleagues from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, and Pittsburg State University in displaying posters of their research on the 2nd floor rotunda of the Capitol.  This event is organized by the Kansas Council of Graduate Deans under the Kansas Board of Regents.

Aubray Magnusson – Communication Disorders – Dr. Jayne Brandel
Brooke Mann – Psychology – Dr. Jennifer Bonds-Raacke
Steven Reed – Geosciences – Dr. Hendratta Ali

Please join me in congratulating these students for their hard work and willingness to represent FHSU!

Paperless Admissions System

The Graduate School has recently received funded to begin converting it’s current application and admission system to a 100% paperless system.  We will be outsourcing this process and integration within the current university Student Information System and financials will take several months to build out.  Later this spring we will begin working with department admissions contacts to provide training for working within this new system.  The Graduate School hopes to launch this system by July 1.

Graduate School Honors Ceremony

The annual Graduate School Honors Ceremony will take place at 7pm at the Eagle Hall of the Robbins Center on May 14, 2014.  Outstanding graduate students and faculty will be honored at this event with a reception to follow.  Please nominate individuals for awards consideration by April 30.

Center for Language and Culture (CLC)

The spring and summer study abroad season is beginning to energize and in addition to sponsoring two opportunities, it will be supporting several others with student scholarships and planning advice.  Max Maximov and Christophe Cheroret will give a lunch presentation on faculty-led study abroad activities on Feb. 20th at noon in the Memorial Union.  Lunch tickets will be provided to the first 40 faculty and staff members.

The CLC will continue to offer faculty members support in designing faculty-led study abroad programs for the 2014-2015 academic year.  Conversation tables in foreign languages will also be scheduled and co-curricular excursions for international students will also be planned.

Internationalization of the Campus and Curriculum Award Nominations

Please consider nominating a deserving faculty or staff member for this annual award by April 1, 2014.  The winner will be recognized at the 2014 Fall Convocation.

Internationalization of the Campus and Curriculum Faculty Survey

The 2014 faculty internationalization survey is now available.  Thank you for responding to the survey in order to help the Internationalization Team consider the issues surrounding faculty internationalization of the campus and curriculum.

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Week of November 18-22, 2013

Graduate faculty mentoring master’s students in areas represented by various State of Kansas legislative committees (e.g. education, health, agriculture, aviation, biotechnology, energy, transportation, manufacturing, environment, and social services) are encouraged to have their students submit posters for the 1st annual Graduate Research Day at the Capitol on February 12, 2014.  Forty students from Kansas Regents institutions will be chosen to represent their institutions on the 2nd floor rotunda of the Capitol.  At FHSU, we will be using a new electronic competition software package called CompetitionSpace to select five students for this event.  The link for this opportunity is http://fhsu.infoready4.com/CompetitionSpace/#competitionDetail/1697569.  Faculty in these areas should share this link with their students and students should submit the required materials for review of their posters.  The deadline for this will be January 10, 2014.  Thank you for encouraging your students to submit their research work for this opportunity.  Transportation and lunch for the day will be provided.  Note that this is not an adjudicated competition with prizes.  All five FHSU representatives will be recognized equally.  This initiative is being sponsored by the Kansas Council of Graduate Deans (KCGD).

In additional research-related news, the university has been engaged in discussions about export controls.  Drafts of a proposed policy is being shared with Graduate Council and Provost’s Council in preparation for consideration by President’s Cabinet.  Export controls is a complex topic of arcane Federal regulations, but relates to FHSU in a couple of ways – most visibility in the case of specialized proprietary software which is considered a “deemed export”.  As more of our students are foreign nationals, this topic becomes increasingly relevant in our Graduate School.  In all cases, the university will strive to pursue public domain or fundamental research exclusions to these restrictions when possible.

The approach of the end of the semester means high stakes examinations and consequent anxiety and apprehension among our graduate students.  The deadline for reporting comprehensive examinations to the Graduate School has just passed, so if you have not submitted your ballots to the Graduate School for your students, please do so as soon as possible.  The Graduate School policy and procedures for academic appeals can be found at http://www.fhsu.edu/academic/gradschl/gradeappeals/.

To close, here are recent data related to the growth of new graduate students (red) vs. new undergraduate students (blue) in our Virtual College programming over the last four years.  It will be interesting to see if the trend lines continue in the same directions next fall.

Comparison of VC enrollment growth 2010-2013 by student

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!

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Week of November 4-8, 2013

It has been a few weeks since we have had a post on this site.  Recent events and changes at the university have kept us all busy, but it is time now to communicate more about some projects we have begun this year.

Internationalization of the Campus and Curriculum 

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The Center for Language and Culture was a project begun this year in the Graduate School as our primary effort to impact internationalization of the campus and curriculum.  This idea was conceived through some conversations between members of Provost’s Council and the Internationalization Team over the past several years and a perceived need to add or improve existing services for several campus stakeholders: domestic students interested in education abroad and foreign language study, international students interested in English assistance and co-curricular opportunities to learn about our region, and faculty members interested in developing new education abroad experiences for students.

This fall the Center for Language and Culture has begun taking some giant steps towards accomplishing these goals through the hard work of graduate assistant Christophe Cheroret.  Christophe is an energetic young man with a passion for international education.  He has worked hard over the last two months to build important connections with academic departments and student support units.  The Center currently offers the following services:

  • weekly conversation tables in foreign languages and in English for ESL students
  • individual tutoring in foreign languages
  • development and promotion of several short-term education abroad opportunities for the campus (Morocco, Spain, France, Ukraine, and Chile).
  • promotion of university academic programs with international themes (certificates, minors, and majors)
  • co-curricular opportunities for international students to experience the culture of our region

The Center has an active Facebook page and Twitter account…reaching out to many students in new ways.  A great deal of progress has been made on this initiative this fall.  Christophe has been active in giving many presentations to IDS 101 course sections this fall.

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Research 

Another project we are working on in the Graduate School is the inaugural Graduate Research Day at the Capitol on February 12, 2014.  All the graduate deans of the Regents institutions are collaborating on this initiative.  It is an opportunity for each institution to send 5 of the best master’s level posters to be displayed on the 2nd floor rotunda of the Capitol.  We will soon be communicating with graduate faculty about this opportunity and begin a competition to judge the best 5 posters we will send from FHSU.  Assistant Dean Dr. Jerry Spotswood will lead this initiative and we will be using our new competition software package – CompetitionSpace.  Look for more about this in your email soon.

The guidelines for preparation of theses and field studies have been updated and uploaded to the Graduate School web site.  Please be sure your advisees who are completing theses or field studies understand the need for IRB or IACUC documentation if they are working with research subjects that fall under the administration of one of these two committees.

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Graduate School 

We’ve begun to post the minutes to the Graduate Council meetings held this fall to this site.  They are visible in the Categories section or by scrolling through Recent Posts.

Please remember these upcoming deadlines:

November 18
Deadline to turn in comprehensive exam results to the Graduate School.  All ballots should have an evaluation of the candidate’s performance on Graduate School Learner Outcome #1 indicated.

November 25
Deadline to turn in thesis/field study/catalog to Graduate School

Thank you for your continued support of graduate education at FHSU!

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Week of October 7-11, 2013

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This week the Graduate School is proud to welcome its nine newest graduate faculty members who were elected this week by the Graduate Council.  When you see them on campus please say congratulations and welcome to our community of scholars:

Faculty Member Department
Dr. Philip Sechtem Communication Disorders
Dr. Carol Poster English
Dr. Carol Ellis Communication Disorders
Dr. Travis Montgomery English
Dr. Yuri Yerastov English
Dr. Trey Hill Psychology
Dr. LeAnn Brown Management & Marketing
Erica Bittel Art and Design
Dr. Rhonda Smith-Nelson Management & Marketing

In another piece of Graduate Council news, the Organizational Leadership concentration within the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program was approved internally.  The Leadership Studies department will be transitioning this concentration from the MLS to the MPS over the coming year with a launch of Fall, 2014 within the MPS.  Several Leadership courses have been re-developed to make this change.  It is believed that the curriculum with the MPS will better address workforce needs.

The Graduate School staff want to remind all advisors that pre-registration for Intersession and Spring, 2014 session begin on October 14.  Intersession begins on December 30 and runs until January 17.  All Intersession schedules need to be finalized by December 18.  All new graduate students who want to begin by taking an Intersession course need to be admitted by December 6.  Both of these deadlines are firm deadlines.

For Intersession and Spring, 2014, the university will be rolling out its latest enhancement to the TigerEnroll portal – a waiting list.  The waiting list is complicated to describe here, but hopefully training information from the CTC will be coming out soon with screenshots of what to expect and what options the students will have.  One benefit for chairs, directors, and deans will be the ability to view wait lists in order to make data driven decisions about whether or not to add new sections of courses.

Three interesting items found this week are:

1] FHSU belongs to the Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETS).  HETS offers free online practice tests to its members for the following common Graduate School entrance exams – GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL.  The website for this is www.virtualplaza.org.  Please message Dr. Tim Crowley or Martha Hinojosa for the FHSU password.  You may have an undergraduate student who could benefit from this free service.

2] Eduventure’s Ken Hartman’s podcast about current issues in higher education –  http://www.insidehighered.com/audio/2013/10/09/ken-hartman-eduventures

3] Data released this week from the Council of Graduate Schools about graduate student financial aid borrowing:
(excerpted from 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12), bolds are mine)

Percentage of Graduate Students by Degree Level Receiving Financial Aid, Loans, and Grants (2011-2012)

Total Aid Total Loans Total Grants
Master’s Doctoral Master’s Doctoral Master’s Doctoral
All Students
Total 69% 83% 46% 25% 32% 60%
Male 67% 85% 39% 20% 35% 63%
Female 70% 82% 50% 30% 30% 57%

Median amounts borrowed (2011-2012)

Total Aid Total Loans Total Grants
Master’s Doctoral Master’s Doctoral Master’s Doctoral
All Students
Total $13,973 $26,724 $15,665 $17,629 $4,170 $14,352
Male $13,527 $28,300 $16,201 $16,975 $4,963 $15,000
Female $14,092 $25,666 $15,370 $17,850 $3,950 $13,430

More than four out of ten (46%) students at the master’s level financed their education with loans in 2011-12, and three in ten (32%) financed their education with grants.

Here is this week’s opinion poll on that data: 

Here are the results from last week’s polls:

What do you believe should be the ideal size of our Graduate School in 2020?

Answer Votes Percent
less than 2000 students 5 26%
more than 3500 students 5 26%
3000 students 4 21%
2000 students 2 11%
2500 students 2 11%
3500 students 1 5%

Should FHSU offer doctoral degrees in certain disciplines by 2020?

Answer Votes Percent
Yes 19 68%
No 9 32%
Until next week.

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Week of September 30-October 4, 2013

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Happy Octoberfest and Homecoming!

This week’s post is one I hope will generate some discussion.  The broad topic is the future of our Graduate School and its place within the university.  The catalyst for this discussion comes on the heels of publicity this fall at the national and state level about the push for “degree completion” agendas (President Obama, the Lumina Foundation, Kansas Board of Regents, etc.).   Policymakers are focusing upon associate and bachelor’s degree completion.  In Kansas, for example, our Board of Regents has established that 60% of our population will have earned a credential or degree by 2020.  An external consultant to the Board this past month gave an influential presentation in which he considered this goal to be especially “ambitious” given our state’s predicted college-going population and several other factors.  While the Board, legislators, and campus leaders debate the achievement of this finite statistic by 2020 as the end in itself, I find myself thinking about the implications for graduate education.  A recent conversation with an analyst from Eduventures who has spent most of her career in the field of graduate admissions confirmed what we professors have been seeing over the past few years…the master’s degree is becoming the new bachelor’s degree.  Our Graduate School annual growth rate appears to be pointing to this conclusion. The projected flattening of national undergraduate online growth and the fact that we have already started to experience less robust growth rates in our undergraduate online programs, makes one wonder if the balance is starting to shift to the graduate side?  Our Graduate School is currently only 15% of our total enrollment (20% without our cross border partnerships).  Emporia State University’s Graduate School this year accounts for 36% of the university’s total enrollment.  Where are all the arrows pointing?  What does this mean for the institution?  What does this mean for your departmental programming and staffing?  What does this mean for the minimum credentials needed to enter a highly skilled workforce?  What does it mean for our students to remain competitive in their jobs for advancement?  Intentionally or not, Emporia State appears to be defining itself as a graduate education provider for working adults.  When you peel away the layer of our cross border partnerships, you can see that we are no different.  More and more of our students are graduate students.  Yet, no one is talking about this.  Here is some of our data from the last three years of Graduate School exit surveys to consider:

#1] Age. Almost 40% of our students are aged 26-35.  As our present 18-25 year old undergraduates enter the workforce, will the 26-35 year old demographic grow?  [Note: out of curiosity, I tried to access the the National Center for Education Data Statistics to determine the projected growth rate in this age demographic, but this week's Federal furloughs have made these services unavailable.]

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#2] Gender.  Women populate our Graduate School at the rate of 2:1 compared to males.  This is almost exactly the same percentage of master’s degree attainment by gender found by the Council of Graduate Schools between the years 2002-2012.

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#3] Instructional Method.  Not surprisingly, students complete their degrees through the Virtual College at the rate of 2:1 compared to on-campus instructional methods.  [Note: the use of Virtual College is likely not the best response for this question andthis question will be changed to asynchronous online instruction and synchronous online instruction to obtain better data.]

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#4] Motivation.  Promotion or advancement in existing career and entry into a professional career remain the top two motivations for pursuing a graduate degree. These two responses combine for 62% of the responses on this question.

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#5] Program Awareness.  Almost 85% of our graduates indicate they learned about our graduate programs as undergraduate students, through word of mouth/recommendation, or web searches.  Interestingly, only 6% indicate they learned about our programs through a partnership.

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Other news:

The final day for students to sign up for comprehensive examinations was September 30.  Linda and JoAnne have been working this week on getting ballots to out to advisors this week.  I know that many programs are preparing for or have recently administered these exams to their students.  November 18 is your deadline to turn in the results of these exams so that we can record these results and clear students for graduation.

Graduate Council will meet on October 9th to consider nine faculty members for inclusion in the university’s graduate faculty.

The Department of Leadership Studies’ request to create a new concentration in the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program has been approved.  They will be moving their Organizational Leadership program from the Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program.  After October 18th, applications for the MLS in Organizational Leadership will need to considered by the MPS in Organizational Leadership.  The  admission requirements and curriculum for this concentration are different and will be posted soon.

Dr. Hammond signed a unique partnership agreement with a company that markets US online programs in the Middle East.  We have partnered with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University (TAGIUNI) to market several of our graduate degree programs and certificates to working adult learners in Jordan and Bahrain.  There will be a press release coming out about this in the coming weeks.  This partnership represents new territory for Fort Hays State University by deploying our online graduate programs as an asset in the manner of an international partnership.  Unlike our cross-border operations, these students will be treated no differently than domestic Virtual College students and we will teach these students in our existing course sections.  In addition to being a source of new students for the university, it is an interesting internationalization experiment, as well.

On the topic of internationalization, Dr. Crowley gave his annual presentation about internationalization of the campus and curriculum at FHSU to this year’s class of new faculty members: Internationalization-newfaclunch2013.  Leslie Paige also presented information about the services the Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects provides for the university.

The Center for Languages and Culture is gaining momentum under graduate assistant Christophe Cheroret.  A number of faculty-led study aboard experiences are being planned for the coming intersession, spring break, and summer time frames, foreign language conversation tables and tutoring services are being organized and offered, and local excursions for our international students are being planned.  Several faculty members across campus are contributing their time and talents in support of these initiatives.

The FY14 Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) grant notifications to faculty mentors have been sent out.  This annual grant competition is funded by an action plan which we hope will be renewed in the coming strategic planning cycle.

Until next week….I’ll leave you with two quick polls. 

 

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Week of September 23-27, 2013

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This post was intended for last week, but an embargo on the public release of Regents fall enrollment data prohibited us from publishing this until September 27, 2013.

Leaves are falling this week and this has put me in a reflective mood.  This week we will report the university’s official Fall, 2013 20th day enrollment data to the Kansas Board of Regents.  It’s an important data point in Kansas as a great deal of significance is attributed to Fall 20th day enrollment data in comparing institutions.  These data are used for everything from public relations to internal resource allocations to legislative research and many things in between.  The importance of this agricultural calendar model is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of Kansas…more so than spring and summer session enrollment data.  A quick read of George Mehaffy’s 2010 article entitled “Medieval Models, Agrarian Calendars, and 21st Century Imperatives” helps put this into a larger context.   Why put all this importance on a single data point?  As graduate students and working professionals, we learn that a single data point taken out of its larger context without analysis can be a dangerous thing.  Yet, annually, these Fall 20th day data points are what administrators lose sleep over.  Despite the fact that higher education has become much more fluid with students entering and leaving our university at different times of the year, we still place great comparative value on this date.  This is an academically flawed approach, but academics do not make decisions about university funding levels and other such important matters.

The good news for the FHSU Graduate School is that we are up this year. This is the year we enrolled over 2000 graduate students.  As far as anyone can recollect and without diving deeply into the historical archives, that is the first time this has ever happened at FHSU.   Graduate students represent about 15% of the university now.  Take our cross-border partnerships out of the enrollment equation, and that percentage rises to around 20%.  Knowing full well that current and past performance is no guarantee of future returns, it’s definitely a high point for the university, especially when the other data that drive our FHSU operations, with the exception of undergraduate distance education learners, are essentially flat or posted a decline.  One way of looking at it is that the Graduate School’s increase of 158 students over last fall’s data exceeds the overall increase in 2013 for the university (131 students).  Think about where the university would be without the Graduate School this year!  The obvious answer is that without these new graduate students, the university would be posting an overall decline this year which would be the first time that has happened in over a decade.  In percentage terms, we grew this fall by 8.5% which exceeds our 5-year rolling mean of 5.34%.

The reason for our success is a simple marketing trick learned years ago – at the graduate level, programs attract students.  Add convenience to that and two of three parts of the equation are there.  The third part is quality.  Believe it or not, price is actually quite low on the list of marketing concerns!  We’re getting some good press lately about our online graduate programs and that is helping, but this third area of marketing is the one I feel the least confident about as we move forward.  Not that our professors aren’t excellent instructors and working hard to improve their programs each year, but rankings and perception of quality matter a lot these days with distance education programs.  Our courses and support systems for these students have to be high quality.  The perception in the general public is that distance education programs are still not of comparable quality to programs offered on campus.  We have to find a way to mix the best of distance education with the best of face-to-face instruction.  That’s our challenge and I’ll try to write more about this in future posts.  As Provost Gould teaches his deans often and well, distance education has entered the age of brands and it has become a competition not for who can “get there the firstest with the mostest” (quoting Nathanial Bedford Forrest) [we have already won that battle in our service region], but what brand with the best publicly perceived quality is in the marketplace.  Stanley Drucker’s timeless 1994 Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Theory of the Business” should be on every academic leader’s desk for reference.

On the more practical front, the Graduate School has this week published an update to its thesis and field study guide.  The major addition to this is the requirement for IRB or IACUC protocal approval documentation to be included with the thesis or field study, if appropriate.  Thank you for sharing this with your students who are working on their thesis or field study this fall.

Enjoy your week ahead.

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