Higher Education and KSU by Rick_Franza
Volunteer First, College Second
May 17, 2012 01:39 PM | 7588 views | 0 0 comments | 979 979 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Volunteer First, College Second
by Rick_Franza
May 17, 2012 01:35 PM | 1538 views | 2 2 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

In my last installment of this blog, I wrote that I had a potential solution to the problem of students not finishing college or taking exceeding long to finish college due to limited amounts of the following: motivation, career planning, intellectual curiosity, and desire to learn. However, before I get to that, let me discuss the rationale for my solution.

I have spent a good deal of my adult life around college age students. In the mid to late 1980s, I was an Air Force ROTC instructor at Georgia Tech where I was primarily responsible for teaching and training future Air Force Officers during their sophomore and junior years of college. Since 1998, I have been a college professor and administrator at two universities (Bentley, located in suburban Boston, and KSU) where I have taught a significant number of undergraduate students. One thing I have learned during these years of observing and interacting with primarily 18-22 year-olds is that while the age can vary slightly from student to student, most students exhibit a significant leap in maturity around the ages of 20-21. While this is based purely on anecdotal evidence, it is supported by a number of recent scientific studies that indicate significant brain development takes place in one’s late teens and early twenties. These studies show that the part of the brain that is developing at this time is the part that supports organizational skills and decision-making, which are key attributes required to succeed in a rigorous academic environment.

So, my solution for a greater return on the investment in our children’s education is to delay their start of college until their brain is better developed such that they can garner significant benefit from their educations. The difficult and controversial part of this would be how to implement and pay for such a plan. My idea is to institute a “Volunteer America” plan in which when each American teenager finishes high school, they are required to “enlist” for two years of paid service to their country. While some will be inclined to join the military, it is likely to be a relatively small percentage. Other opportunities could be in helping improve our infrastructure through construction of roads and bridges. Others could help in schools, hospitals, law enforcement, and non-profits which support the community. While some might argue that this is a costly solution, the return on investment would be significant, both is the short-term in the bolstering of needed infrastructure, security, and services, but more importantly, in the long-term, as many of these young adults enter college with more maturity, better developed brains, and likely more motivation to do well in school and become more productive members of the workforce and society when they finish. For those who do not go on to college, they will have developed a skill set that will likely provide more job opportunities upon completion of their service.

If a presidential candidate came forward with an idea like this along with a pledge to sign Simpson-Bowles, he or she would have my vote in a second. What do you think?

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Over seas service
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May 22, 2012
Every person should be "given the opportunity" to serve in a 3rd world country. We have managed to raise our children in a 'me' society. The entitlement mentality is way beyond anything else we deal with. I say IBM, Microsoft, GM, Facebook, etc. pony up the funds to send every HS graduate to work for 3-4 weeks in a 3rd world country. The respect these kids would earn for our country, what we have and what so many have died to ensure would pay off in larger than life ways.

What's the benefit to the companies that sponsor the project? An enlightened workforce willing to put in the time to earn the right to 'live large' and a pretty fantastic tax writeoff.

Is College for Everyone?
by Rick_Franza
April 25, 2012 04:36 PM | 1743 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The media has been saturated lately with questions concerning the value of a college education and asking the question, “Is College for Everyone?” Well, I learned a long time ago that when a question has a word that does not allow for exceptions (e.g., always, never, everyone), the answer is typically no. I believe that is certainly the case for the question, “Is College for Everyone?” There are clearly those who are better served by learning a trade or a skill that will serve themselves and society well. I know there are many tradespeople like plumbers, electricians, and builders who probably did not go to college, but who would certainly be considered successful by measures of wealth and happiness.

So, the more relevant questions are not whether everyone should go to college, but rather who should go to college and what should a college do to best prepare its students to be productive members of society. The first question is probably the trickier of the two. While it is easy to say that those who are highly intelligent and striving to be professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, should go to college immediately, the answer is not so evident for many others. It has become standard over the past few decades for students to enter college immediately after high school graduation. Unfortunately, some of these students are not prepared to start college. While a smaller segment may not have the intellectual capability or adequate preparation (particularly in Math and English) to succeed in college, a much larger segment is not prepared in terms of motivation and intellectual curiosity. Too many students come to campus for the “college experience” as opposed to a desire to learn and start planning a career path. Therefore, many end up not finishing or taking more than six years to graduate. I think there is a solution to this (something much better than the current government initiatives such as “Complete College Georgia”), but you will have to wait for my next blog installment for that.

In the meantime, let’s address the second question of what a college should do to best prepare its students. In these difficult economic times when college costs continue to rise, more and more parents and legislators are demanding an immediate return on investment on their children’s tuition. Hence, reactions like Florida Governor Rick Scott’s call for primarily funding academic majors that lead to jobs (good news for someone like me who is an administrator in a College of Business). However, that kind of thinking, while pragmatic, is hurtful in the long run. Many of the academic majors that foster the important assets such as analytic depth and critical thinking are more difficult to tie to specific career paths. However, students with a well-rounded college education typically become our leaders in business, government, and community. I think the solution is not limiting students to “career-focused” majors, but rather stimulating their intellectual curiosity and desire to learn. How do we do that? Stay tuned…..step one in the process will be presented when I visit with you again.

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Is College for Everyone?
by Rick_Franza
April 13, 2012 08:12 PM | 1718 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The media has been saturated lately with questions concerning the value of a college education and asking the question, “Is College for Everyone?”  Well, I learned a long time ago that when a question has a word that does not allow for exceptions (e.g., always, never, everyone), the answer is typically no.  I believe that is certainly the case for the question, “Is College for Everyone?”  There are clearly those who are better served by learning a trade or a skill that will serve themselves and society well.  I know there are many tradespeople like plumbers, electricians, and builders who probably did not go to college, but who would certainly be considered successful by measures of wealth and happiness.

So, the more relevant questions are not whether everyone should go to college, but rather who should go to college and what should a college do to best prepare its students to be productive members of society.  The first question is probably the trickier of the two.  While it is easy to say that those who are highly intelligent and striving to be professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, should go to college immediately, the answer is not so evident for many others.  It has become standard over the past few decades for students to enter college immediately after high school graduation.  Unfortunately, some of these students are not prepared to start college.  While a smaller segment may not have the intellectual capability or adequate preparation (particularly in Math and English) to succeed in college, a much larger segment is not prepared in terms of motivation and intellectual curiosity.  Too many students come to campus for the “college experience” as opposed to a desire to learn and start planning a career path.  Therefore, many end up not finishing or taking more than six years to graduate.  I think there is a solution to this (something much better than the current government initiatives such as “Complete College Georgia”), but you will have to wait for my next blog installment for that.

In the meantime, let’s address the second question of what a college should do to best prepare its students.  In these difficult economic times when college costs continue to rise, more and more parents and legislators are demanding an immediate return on investment on their children’s tuition.  Hence, reactions like Florida Governor Rick Scott’s call for primarily funding academic majors that lead to jobs (good news for someone like me who is an administrator in a College of Business).  However, that kind of thinking, while pragmatic, is hurtful in the long run.  Many of the academic majors that foster the important assets such as analytic depth and critical thinking are more difficult to tie to specific career paths.  However, students with a well-rounded college education typically become our leaders in business, government, and community.  I think the solution is not limiting students to “career-focused” majors, but rather stimulating their intellectual curiosity and desire to learn.  How do we do that?  Stay tuned … step one in the process will be presented when I visit with you again.

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Around the KSU Campus
by Rick_Franza
November 29, 2011 12:32 PM | 2019 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in our rearview windows, there are many exciting thing going on at and related to KSU this week that I thought might interest you:

First, the three finalists for KSU’s new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs will each be on campus this week interacting with the faculty and staff for their final interviews. Today (Tuesday, November 29), Dr. David Cordle, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina Wilmington will visit KSU. On Wednesday, November 30, Dr. Michael Gealt, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas Little Rock will visit and on Thursday, December 1, Dr. Ken Harmon, dean of the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University will visit. We anticipate naming a new Provost in the coming weeks.

Second, it is a great honor for KSU to host the 2011 Women’s College Cup, the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer “Final Four” this Friday and Sunday at the KSU Soccer Stadium. The semi-finals will pit Stanford vs. Florida State in the Friday opener at 5pm followed by Duke vs. Wake Forest at 7:30pm. The winners of the semi-final matches will meet for the NCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship at 1pm on Sunday. Limited tickets (less than 500) are available at www.NCAA.com/tickets, so you can expect a sellout of over 8,000 fans. The games will be broadcast live on the ESPN family of networks, so KSU will receive significant national exposure this weekend.

Finally, our men’s and women’s basketball teams begin their Atlantic Sun conference slates this week (Thursday and Saturday), traveling to Nashville to take on Belmont and Lipscomb. Belmont’s men’s team is especially formidable as indicated by their one-point loss to Duke earlier this season. Best of luck to Coach Lewis Preston (KSU men) and Coach Colby Tilley (KSU women) as they lead their respective teams who have both played well leading into their conference openers.

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The Education of Business
by Rick_Franza
November 29, 2011 12:08 PM | 1976 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
In my last blog installment, I indicated that I would keep you up-to-date on what is happening at Kennesaw State. At the Coles College of Business, we recently received some great news concerning our MBA programs from the 2011 Bloomberg Business Week Executive MBA and Part-Time MBA rankings. Our Executive MBA (EMBA) program was ranked in its "Second Tier" category, just outside the Top Forty EMBA programs in the country. Among the 26 other schools in the “Second Tier” are Georgia Tech, Boston University, University of Florida, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Miami, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rice, Purdue, Texas A&M, Tulane, and Villanova. The University of Georgia and Emory University EMBA programs are ranked in the Top 40, while Georgia State’s program was not ranked.

The news for our part-time MBA program is even better. In these recent rankings, we moved up to 29th in the nation and to 4th in South. In the "Top 10 in the South" list below, we are joined by Georgia State and Emory. No other Georgia or Alabama schools are listed in the top 10.

Top 10 in the South:

1. Elon

2. Ga State

3.Emory

4. KSU (#29 in the Nation)

5. NC State

6. Arkansas

7. Louisville

8. Rollins College

9. Belmont

10. Wake Forest

Kudos to Coles Interim Dean, Kathy Schwaig, and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Sheb True for their leadership, and my faculty colleagues in the Coles College for their outstanding efforts, that lead to these rankings.

I am heading out of town for a conference this weekend, so I am not sure if I will have another installment of the blog until after Thanksgiving weekend. If that is the case, here’s wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!



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The Business of Education
by Rick_Franza
November 29, 2011 12:05 PM | 2041 views | 2 2 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Florida Governor Rick Scott caused quite a stir last month in academic circles by indicating that he would fund higher education programs in Florida based upon the employability of the graduates of such programs. Paraphrasing Gov. Scott, he basically said that he wanted state money to go to degree programs where people can get jobs in his state. His statements caught particular attention in that he highlighted the lack of need of anthropologists, while his daughter, ironically, has an undergraduate anthropology degree. Gov. Scott and his representatives maintain that he was not condemning the social sciences, but rather wanted to highlight the demand for college graduates with science, technology, engineering and math degrees.

As an educator in KSU’s Coles College of Business, I don’t necessarily disagree with Gov. Scott’s big picture of higher education. However, I do think he could be heading down a slippery slope. Limiting funding for liberal arts and social science programs can lead to limiting funding to those areas period, which would be problematic. Education, particularly higher education, is very different than training. Training prepares one for his or her current job or next job, while education is meant to last a lifetime. Higher education is not meant to just prepare students for their first job after graduation. Institutions of higher education require courses in composition and social sciences in all of their undergraduate academic programs to help develop the students’ ability to think critically and communicate, which the students will use throughout their work life. For instance, even Georgia Tech (known by some as the “North Avenue Trade School” and of which I am a proud alumnus) requires such courses for all of their undergraduate engineering majors. In addition, higher education in these areas prepares students broadly for careers they did not anticipate when in college. While higher education should produce employable graduates, it is also responsible for a well-educated citizenry that can contribute to society and the nation in many ways.

So I caution Gov. Scott and others who have similar ideas about higher education not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”, particularly if he is going to endorse Mitt Romney (BA in English) or Newt Gingrich (BA in History) for President.

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Kevin Foley
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November 17, 2011
Why not just shut down all the state universities and replace them with trade schools? Who needs a fine arts masters when you can get trained in small engine repair or hairdressing?

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