University Musings May 23, 2014: Colleges, universities still accepting freshman for fall 2014 through the summer




Colleges, universities still accepting freshman for fall 2014 through the summer

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For the many high school seniors who faced disappointment and did get admitted to a college or university this past April, a panic has set in thinking that they lost out for the next school year. That is not true…READ MORE

University Musings May 21, 2014: How selective will Ivy League universities admission rates go next year?




How selective will Ivy League universities admission rates go next year?

As the current group of high school seniors is securely admitted to university as the class of 2018, next year seniors look forward to be admitted as the class 2019, more worried than ever about their chances to be admitted…


University Musings May 20, 2014: Obama’s review plans to rate and improve teacher education preparation programs




Obama’s review plans to rate and improve teacher education preparation programs

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Obama administration is planning on changing and improving university education programs to make graduates more prepared to enter the realities of teaching. President Barack Obama in collaboration with the Department of Education is working to improve teacher education and…READ MORE

University Musings March 17, 2014: SAT returns to 1600 score in 2016, revised to represent high school curriculum




SAT returns to 1600 score in 2016, revised to represent high school curriculum

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The College Board in charge of the SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Test) announced on Wednesday March 5, 2014 that they are redesigning the exam for the spring of 2016 to give all students an “equal opportunity” to do well…READ MORE

Political Musings March 10, 2014: Obamas promote education, college opportunity and financial aid initiatives




The first couple President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama collaborated together on Friday, March 7, 2014 to promote a higher education and financial aid initiatives both have working on; the Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA, appearing…Continue

Political Musings February 19, 2014: Obama rehabs art history loving image, sends apology letter, hosts Monuments Men




Obama rehabs art history loving image, sends apology letter, hosts Monuments Men

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Since causing an uproar when he mocked the importance and relevance of graduating university with an art history degree, President Barack Obama has been publicly trying to make up for the “glib” remark, showing he truly “loves…


President Barack Obama looks at the Edward Hopper paintings now displayed in the Oval Office, Feb. 7, 2014.

Obama appreciates two new Edward Hopper paintings now adorning the Oval Office

President Barack Obama appreciates two new Edward Hopper painting now adorning the Oval Office, Jan. 7, 2014; Obama is trying to rehab his image relating to the arts after joking about art history degrees in a speech about technical job training, Jan. 30, 2014 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

University Musings February 6, 2014: Princeton Review releases list of best value public and private colleges




Princeton Review releases list of best value public and private colleges

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Princeton Review has released one of its college rankings listing on Jan. 28, 2014 this time is was their annual best value public and private colleges. The Princeton Review list compromises 150 colleges chosen from over 2000 colleges, that…READ MORE

University Musings December 15, 2013: McGill University awards Cundill History Prize to Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain




McGill University awards Cundill History Prize to Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This year McGill University in Montreal chose to award journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Applebaum the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature for her book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. The prestigious award also…READ MORE

University Musings December 15, 2013: 2500 Fordham U applicants get acceptance letters then find it was all a mistake




2500 Fordham U applicants get acceptance letters then find it was all a mistake


By Bonnie K. Goodman

For 2500 high school seniors Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 was an early Friday the 13th and April fool’s day all rolled into one when they found the acceptance e-mails they received from Fordham University in New York…READ MORE

University Musings December 5, 2013: McGill University opposes Values Charter, claims affects faculty & recruitment




At its tri-annual debriefing to Quebec’s National Assembly committee on Culture and Education on Tuesday evening, Dec. 3, 2013 in Quebec City, McGill University’s Principal Suzanne Fortier indicated that the upcoming Bill 60, the Charter…READ MORE

History Buzz February 28, 2012: David McCullough, Gordon Wood: Students need more uniform teaching of US Constitution, Historians say at panel “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st Century University”


History Buzz


Students need more uniform teaching of Constitution, historians say

Source: The Oklahoma U Daily 2-28-12

Instructors need to teach the U.S. Constitution to all students in a stimulating way to create well-educated citizens who are aware of their responsibilities, according to seven panelists in a discussion Tuesday.


Photo by Astrud Reed

Panelist Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law and Political Science Professor, responds to a question from Diane Rehm, NPR radio program host and event moderator, at Monday’s “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st Century University.”

Students, faculty and visitors crowded into Catlett Music Center to hear noted historians share perspectives on teaching America’s founding in a panel titled, “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st-century University.”

National Public Radio host Diane Rehm moderated the panel, which was part of OU’s inaugural “Teach-In: A Day with Some of the Greatest Teachers in America.”

The U.S. needs leaders and teachers who can make the Constitution relevant to students of all ages and backgrounds, Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough said.

“There is nothing wrong with the younger generation,” he said. “The younger generation is terrific, and any problems they have, any failings they have, and what they know and don’t know is not their fault — it’s our fault.”

Teachers are the most important people in the society, and they should not be blamed for these failings either, McCullough said.

“I think that history, the love of history and the understanding of history begins truly, literally at home,” McCullough said.

In today’s education system students are not trained enough to ask questions, and this is a serious issue, he said.

Some students get all the way to college and have very little knowledge about the Constitution, said Kyle Harper, director of the OU Institute for American Constitutional Heritage.

“One of the exciting things about teaching in college is that you are teaching adults, and you are teaching kids who are becoming adults,” Harper said.

Harper aims to create situations for debate in classrooms to make college students realize that the facts on a page influence their political lives, he said.

In most graduate schools Constitutional history is always there, but undergraduate schools simply neglect it, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Gordon Wood said. Even in graduate training, issues of race and women have preoccupied graduate training and the writing of history….READ MORE

Full Text January 27, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Rising Costs of College / University Tuition — Calls for Overhaul of Higher Education Financial Aid System




Remarks by the President on College Affordability, Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

10:00 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Michigan!  (Applause.)  Oh, it is good to be back in Ann Arbor.  (Applause.)

Thank you, Christina, for that introduction.  I also want to thank your president, Mary Sue Coleman.  (Applause.)  The mayor of Ann Arbor, John Hieftje, is here.  (Applause.)  My outstanding Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is in the house.  (Applause.) We have some outstanding members of Congress who are here as well, who are representing you each and every day.  Give them a round of applause — come on.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you, President Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)

So in terms of — boy, we’ve got all kinds of members of Congress here, so — (laughter.)

Where’s Denard?  (Applause.)  Denard Robinson is in the house.  (Applause.)  I hear you’re coming back, man.  (Applause.)  That is a good deal for Michigan.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Denard Robinson in 2012!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, oh, come on.  They’re trying to draft you for President.  (Laughter.)  He’s got to graduate before he runs for President.  (Laughter.)  There’s an age limit.  (Laughter.)

Well, it is wonderful to be here.  I want to thank all of you for coming out this morning.  I know for folks in college, this is still really early.  I remember those days.  It is good home — good to be in the home of the Sugar Bowl champion Wolverines.  (Applause.)  And with Denard Robinson coming back, this will be a team to be reckoned with.  I understand your basketball team is pretty good this year, too.  (Applause.)  All right — go, Blue!  (Applause.)  It’s always good to start with a easy applause line.  (Laughter.)

But the reason I’m here today — in addition to meeting Denard Robinson — (laughter) — is to talk with all of you about what most of you do here every day — and that is to think about how you can gain the skills and the training you need to succeed in this 21st century economy.  And this is going to be one of the most important issues that not just you face, but this entire country faces:  How can we make sure that everybody is getting the kind of education they need to personally succeed but also to build up this nation — because in this economy, there is no greater predictor of individual success than a good education.

Today, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  College is the single most important investment you can make in your future.  And I’m proud that all of you are making that investment.  (Applause.)

And the degree you earn from Michigan will be the best tool you have to achieve that basic American promise — the idea that if you work hard, if you are applying yourself, if you are doing the right thing, you can do well enough to raise a family and own a home and send your own kids to college, put away a little for retirement, create products or services — be part of something that is adding value to this country and maybe changing the world.  That’s what you’re striving for.  That’s what the American Dream is all about.

And how we keep that promise alive is the defining issue of our time.  I don’t want to be in a country where we only are looking at success for a small group of people.  We want a country where everybody has a chance.  (Applause.)  Where everybody has a chance.  We don’t want to become a country where a shrinking number of Americans do really well while a growing number barely get by.  That’s not the future we want.  Not the future I want for you, it’s not the future I want for my daughters.  I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  That’s the America I know.  That’s the American I want to keep.  That’s the future within our reach.  (Applause.)

Now, in the State of the Union on Tuesday, I laid out a blueprint that gets us there.  Blueprint — it’s blue.  (Laughter and applause.)  That’s no coincidence.  I planned it that way, Michigan.  (Laughter.)  A blueprint for an economy that’s built to last.

It’s an economy built on new American manufacturing — because Michigan is all about making stuff.  (Applause.)  If there’s anybody in America who can teach us how to bring back manufacturing, it is the great state of Michigan.  (Applause.)

On the day I took office, with the help of folks like Debbie Stabenow, your senator, and Carl Levin and — (applause) — John Conyers — the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse.  And some politicians were willing to let it just die.  We said no.  We believe in the workers of this state.  (Applause.)  I believe in American ingenuity.  We placed our bets on the American auto industry, and today, the American auto industry is back.  Jobs are coming back — (applause) — 160,000 jobs.

And to bring back even more jobs, I want this Congress to stop rewarding companies that are shipping jobs and profits overseas, start rewarding companies who are hiring here and investing here and creating good jobs here in Michigan and here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So our first step is rebuilding American manufacturing.  And by the way, not all the jobs that have gone overseas are going to come back.  We have to be realistic.  And technology means that a larger and larger portion of you will work in the service sector as engineers and computer scientists.  (Applause.)  There you go.  We got the engineering school — there you go.  (Applause.)  And entrepreneurs.  So there’s going to be a lot of activity in the service sector.  But part of my argument, part of the argument of Michigan’s congressional delegation is that when manufacturing does well, then the entire economy does well.

The service sector does well if manufacturing is doing well, so we’ve got to make sure that America isn’t just buying stuff, but we’re also selling stuff — all around the world, products stamped with those three proud words:  Made In America.  (Applause.)

An economy built to last is also one where we control our energy needs.  We don’t let foreign countries control our energy supplies.  Right now, America is producing more of our own oil than we were eight years ago.  That’s good news.  (Applause.)  As a percentage, we’re actually importing less than any time in the last 16 years.

But — I think young people especially understand this — no matter how much oil we produce, we’ve only got 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  And that means we’ve got to focus on clean, renewable energy.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to have a strategy that, yes, is producing our own oil and natural gas.  But we’ve also got to develop wind and solar and biofuels.  (Applause.)

And that is good for our economy.  It creates jobs.  But it’s also good for our environment.  (Applause.)  It also makes sure that this planet is sustainable.  That’s part of the future that you deserve.

We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  Congress needs to stop giving taxpayer dollars to an oil industry that’s never been more profitable, and double down on a clean energy future that’s never been more promising.  (Applause.)

I don’t want to cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because we were too timid, we didn’t have the imagination to make the same commitment here.  And I want those jobs created here in the United States of America.  And I also want us to think about energy efficiency, making sure — we’ve already doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars.  Part of Detroit coming back is creating more fuel-efficient cars here in Michigan — (applause) — and more fuel-efficient trucks.  And we’ve got to revamp our buildings to make them more fuel-efficient.

And we — if we are focused on this, we can control our energy future.  That’s part of creating an America that’s built to last.

And we’ve got to have an economy in which every American has access to a world-class higher education, the kind you are getting right here at the University of Michigan.  (Applause.)

My grandfather got the chance to go to college because this country decided that every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it.  My mother was able to raise two kids by herself because she was able to get grants and work her way through school.  I am only standing here today because scholarships and student loans gave me a shot at a decent education.  Michelle and I can still remember how long it took us to pay back our student loans.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Tell the First Lady we wish her happy birthday!

THE PRESIDENT:  I will tell Michelle you said happy birthday.  (Applause.)

But I just want all of you to understand, your President and your First Lady were in your shoes not that long ago.  (Laughter.)  We didn’t come from wealthy families.  The only reason that we were able to achieve what we were able to achieve was because we got a great education.  That’s the only reason.  (Applause.)  And we could not have done that unless we lived in a country that made a commitment to opening up opportunity to all people.  (Applause.)

The point is, this country has always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of all who are willing to work for it, and that’s part of what helped to create this economic miracle and build the largest middle class in history.
And this precedes even college.  I mean, we were — we helped to begin the movement in industrialized countries to create public schools, public high schools, understanding that as people are moving from an agricultural sector to an industrial sector, they were going to need training.

Now we’ve moved to an information age, a digitalized age, a global economy.  We’ve got to make that same commitment today.  (Applause.)

Now, we still have, by far, the best network of colleges and universities in the world.  Nobody else comes close.  Nobody else comes close.  (Applause.)  But the challenge is it’s getting tougher and tougher to afford it.  Since most of you were born, tuition and fees have more than doubled.  That forces students like you to take out more loans and rack up more debt.

In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of $24,000.  That’s an average.  Are you waving because you owe $24,000 or — (laughter.)

Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever.  Think about that.  That’s inexcusable.  In the coming decade, 60 percent of new jobs will require more than a high school diploma.  Higher education is not a luxury.  It’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.  And when I say higher education, I don’t just mean four-year colleges and universities; I also mean our community colleges and providing lifelong learning for workers who may need to retrain for jobs when the economy shifts.  All those things cost money, and it’s harder and harder to afford.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got to do something to help families be able to afford — and students to be able to afford — this higher education.  We’ve all got a responsibility here.

Thanks to the hard work of Secretary Duncan, my administration is increasing federal student aid so more students can afford college.  (Applause.)  And one of the things I’m proudest of, with the help of all these members of Congress, we won a tough fight to stop handing out tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to banks that issue student loans and shift that money to where it should go, directly to the students and to the families who need it.  (Applause.)

Tens of billions of dollars that were going to subsidies for banks are now going to students in the form of more grants and lower rates on loans.  We’ve capped student loan payments so that nearly 1.6 million students — including a bunch of you — are only going to have to pay 10 percent of your monthly income towards your loans once you graduate — 10 percent of your monthly income.  (Applause.)

So that’s what we’ve been doing.  Now Congress has to do more.  Congress needs to do more.  They need to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling this July.  That’s what’s scheduled to happen if Congress doesn’t act.  That would not be good for you.  (Laughter.)  So you should let your members of Congress know:  Don’t do that.  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it.

They need to extend the tuition tax credit that we’ve put in place that’s saving some of you and millions of folks all across the country thousands of dollars.  And Congress needs to give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.  (Applause.)

So the administration has a job to do.  Congress has a job to do.  But it’s not just enough to increase student aid, and you can imagine why.  Look, we can’t just keep on subsidizing skyrocketing tuition.  If tuition is going up faster than inflation, faster than even health care is going up, no matter how much we subsidize it, sooner or later, we’re going to run out of money.  And that means that others have to do their part.  Colleges and universities need to do their part to keep costs down as well.  (Applause.)

Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Here at Michigan, you’ve done a lot to find savings in your budget.  We know this is possible.  So from now on, I’m telling Congress we should steer federal campus-based aid to those colleges that keep tuition affordable, provide good value, serve their students well.  (Applause.)  We are putting colleges on notice — you can’t keep — you can’t assume that you’ll just jack up tuition every single year.  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down.  We should push colleges to do better.  We should hold them accountable if they don’t.  (Applause.)

Now, states also have to do their part.  I was talking to your president — and this is true all across the country — states have to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.  (Applause.)  Last year, over 40 states cut their higher education spending — 40 states cut their higher education budget.  And we know that these state budget cuts have been the largest factor in tuition increases at public colleges over the past decade.

So we’re challenging states:  Take responsibility as well on this issue.  (Applause.)  What we’re doing is, today we’re going to launch a Race to the Top for college affordability.  We’re telling the states, if you can find new ways to bring down the cost of college and make it easier for more students to graduate, we’ll help you do it.  We will give you additional federal support if you are doing a good job of making sure that all of you aren’t loaded up with debt when you graduate from college.  (Applause.)
And, finally, today I’m also calling for a new report card for colleges.  Parents like getting report cards.  I know you guys may not always look forward to it.  (Laughter.)  But we parents, we like to know what you’re doing.  From now on, parents and students deserve to know how a college is doing — how affordable is it, how well are its students doing?  We want you to know how well a car stacks up before you buy it.  You should know how well a college stacks up.

We call this — one of the things that we’re doing at the Consumer Finance Protection Board that I just set up with Richard Cordray — (applause) — is to make sure that young people understand the financing of colleges.  He calls it, “Know Before You Owe.”  (Laughter.)  Know before you owe.  So we want to push more information out so consumers can make good choices, so you as consumers of higher education understand what it is that you’re getting.

The bottom line is that an economy built to last demands we keep doing everything we can to bring down the cost of college.  That goes along with strengthening American manufacturing.  It means we keep on investing in American energy.  It means we double down on the clean energy that’s creating jobs across this state and guaranteeing your generation a better future.  (Applause.)

And you know what else it means?  It means that we renew the American values of fair play and shared responsibility.  (Applause.)  Shared responsibility.

I talked about this at the State of the Union.  We’ve got to make sure that as we’re paying for the investments of the future that everybody is doing their part, that we’re looking out for middle-class families and not just those at the top.  The first thing that means is making sure taxes don’t go up on 160 million working Americans at the end of next month.  (Applause.)  People can’t afford to lose $40 out of every paycheck.  Not right now.  Students who are working certainly can’t afford it.

Your voices encouraged and ultimately convinced Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for two months.  Now we’ve got to extend it for the whole year.  I need your help to get it done again.  Tell them to pass this tax cut, without drama, without delay.  (Applause.)  Get it done.  It’s good for the economy.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, in the longer run, we’re also going to have to reduce our deficit.  We’ve got to invest in our future and we’ve got to reduce our deficit.  And to do both, we’ve got to make some choices.  Let me give you some examples.

Right now, we’re scheduled to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was intended to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s not fair.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not fair.  A quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.


THE PRESIDENT:  Not fair.  Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  I know because she was at the State of the Union.  She told me.  (Laughter.)  Is that fair?


THE PRESIDENT:  Does it make sense to you?


THE PRESIDENT:  Do we want to keep these tax cuts for folks like me who don’t need them?  Or do we want to invest in the things that will help us in the long term — like student loans and grants — (applause) — and a strong military — (applause) — and care for our veterans — (applause) — and basic research?  (Applause.)

Those are the choices we’ve got to make.  We can’t do everything.  We can’t reduce our deficit and make the investments we need at the same time, and keep tax breaks for folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them — well, some of them were asking for them.  I wasn’t asking for them.  (Laughter.)  We’ve got to choose.

When it comes to paying our fair share, I believe we should follow the Buffett Rule:  If you make more than $1 million a year — and I hope a lot of you do after you graduate — (laughter) — then you should pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent.  (Applause.)  On the other hand, if you decide to go into a less lucrative profession, if you decide to become a teacher — and we need teachers — (applause) — if you decide to go into public service, if you decide to go into a helping profession — (applause) — if you make less than $250,000 a year — which 98 percent of Americans do — then your taxes shouldn’t go up.  (Applause.)

This is part of the idea of shared responsibility.  I know a lot of folks have been running around calling this class warfare.  I think asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes is just common sense.  (Applause.)  Yesterday, Bill Gates said he doesn’t think people like him are paying enough in taxes.  I promise you, Warren Buffett is doing fine, Bill Gates is doing fine, I’m doing fine.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Koch Brothers.

THE PRESIDENT:  They’re definitely doing fine.  (Laughter.)

We don’t need more tax breaks.  There are a lot of families out there who are struggling, who’ve seen their wages stall, and the cost of everything from a college education to groceries and food have gone up.  You’re the ones who need that.  You’re the ones who need help.  And we can’t do both.

There have been some who have been saying, well, the only reason you’re saying that is because you’re trying to stir people up, make them envious of the rich.  People don’t envy the rich.  When people talk about me paying my fair share of taxes, or Bill Gates or Warren Buffett paying their fair share, the reason that they’re talking about it is because they understand that when I get a tax break that I don’t need, that the country can’t afford, then one of two things are going to happen:  Either the deficit will go up and ultimately you guys are going to have to pay for it, or alternatively, somebody else is going to foot the bill — some senior who suddenly has to pay more for their Medicare, or some veteran who’s not getting the help that they need readjusting after they have defended this country, or some student who’s suddenly having to pay higher interest rates on their student loans.

We do not begrudge wealth in this country.  I want everybody here to do well.  We aspire to financial success.  But we also understand that we’re not successful just by ourselves.  We’re successful because somebody started the University of Michigan.  (Applause.)  We’re successful because somebody made an investment in all the federal research labs that created the Internet.  We’re successful because we have an outstanding military — that costs money.  We’re successful because somebody built roads and bridges and laid broadband lines.  And these things didn’t just happen on their own.

And if we all understand that we’ve got to pay for this stuff, it makes sense for those of us who’ve done best to do our fair share.  And to try to pass off that bill onto somebody else, that’s not right.  That’s not who we are.  (Applause.)  That’s not what my grandparents’ generation worked hard to pass down.  That’s not what your grandparents and your great-grandparents worked hard to pass down.  We’ve got a different idea of America, a more generous America.  (Applause.)

Everybody here is only here because somebody somewhere down the road decided we’re going to think not just about ourselves, but about the future.  We’ve got responsibilities, yes, to ourselves but also to each other.  And now it’s our turn to be responsible.  Now it’s our turn to leave an America that’s built to last.  And I know we can do it.  We’ve done it before and I know we can do it again because of you.

When I meet young people all across this country, with energy and drive and vision, despite the fact that you’ve come of age during a difficult, tumultuous time in this world, it gives me hope.  You inspire me.  You’re here at Michigan because you believe in your future.  You’re working hard.  You’re putting in long hours — hopefully some at the library.  (Laughter.)  Some of you are balancing a job at the same time.  You know that doing big things isn’t always easy, but you’re not giving up.

You’ve got the whole world before you.  And you embody that sense of possibility that is quintessentially American.  We do not shrink from challenges.  We stand up to them.  And we don’t leave people behind; we make sure everybody comes along with us on this journey that we’re on.  (Applause.)

That’s the spirit right now that we need, Michigan.  (Applause.)  Here in America, we don’t give up.  We look out for each other.  We make sure everybody has a chance to get ahead.  And if we work in common purpose, with common resolve, we can build an economy that gives everybody a fair shot.  And we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END           10:33 A.M. EST

History Buzz November 17, 2011: Steven Volk: Oberlin College history professor named one of country’s top professors


History Buzz


Steven Volk: Oberlin College history professor named one of country’s top professors

Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer, 11-17-11

View full size Tanya Rosen-Jones

Steven Volk, a history professor at Oberlin College, is one of the U.S. Professors of the Year.

Steven Volk, a history professor and chair of the Latin American Studies committee at Oberlin College, was honored Thursday as a U.S. Professor of the Year.

The award, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and administered by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, honors outstanding teaching and commitment to undergraduate students.

Obviously, I’m very thrilled and blessed . . . . I am incredibly thankful,” said Volk, who has been teaching at Oberlin for 26 years.

Judges called Volk an “extraordinarily dedicated undergraduate teacher, who is skilled in engaging students with history — even the ‘back-row boys.'”

Volk said that to maximize discussion time in class, he posts video lectures on the web so that students can watch them ahead of time.

“Every class is a discussion, because that is the way that students can construct their own comprehension and knowledge,” he said. “History is not all about learning dates and the names of places. In fact, students need to participate actively to become a historian.”

Volk said that becoming a good teacher is a process.

“In some ways I obviously taught for many years, but in other ways I didn’t really begin to teach until I had a greater understanding of what teaching and learning was all about,” he said. “I began to understand that teaching is not this transfer of content from my head to somebody else’s, but it’s the creation of an environment that students can learn in.”

Volk, who founded the Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence at Oberlin College to help faculty develop their teaching skills, said he and his colleagues must act as facilitators to help students learn.

Much of Volk’s academic focus has been in Chile, where he worked on his dissertation in the early 1970s and remained involved for years to help restore democracy there.

He was honored as the top professor at the nation’s baccalaureate colleges. Also recognized Thursday were three other outstanding professors – representing community colleges, doctoral and research universities, and master’s universities….READ MORE

History Buzz September 28, 2011: Cornell History Dept. Creates Minor to Engage Students


History Buzz



Source: Cornell Daily Sun, 9-28-11

Following a noticeable decline in the number of students enrolled in history courses, the University’s Department of History has taken measures to boost its enrollment and attract students from a variety of disciplines.

This fall, the department added a history minor — one of 38 offered in the College of Arts and Sciences — and has recently added several new 1000- and 2000-level courses intended to appeal specifically to freshman and sophomores.

Though administrators said enrollment data was unavailable, many said they noticed a decline in the number of students enrolled in history classes.

The department has seen “its enrollment decline somewhat in the past few years,” said Barry Strauss ’74, chair of the history department.

Jon Parmenter, Director of Undergraduate Students for the history department, said the department is “certainly concerned about enrollments.”

According to Strauss and Parmenter, the new history minor — which can be fulfilled by taking five courses, including one seminar class — is aimed at increasing enrollment by targeting students who may be reluctant to take history classes without getting credit toward a degree.

“We’ve noticed a lot of undergraduates are interested in having as diverse an experience as possible to document on their diploma,” Parmenter said. “It seems as if minors are increasingly important in showing that students have a broad array of interests.”

Strauss added that the College of Arts and Sciences also encouraged all department chairs to consider adding minors to their departments as a way to reduce the pressure on undergraduates both inside and outside of the college.

“We wanted to make it possible for all undergraduates to explore this subject without wearing themselves out by trying to pursue a double major,” Strauss said. “It’s a different way of reaching out to students who are still interested in history.”…READ MORE

Ron Nief and Tom McBride: Beloit College’s The Mindset List — Born in 1993, Class of 2015


History Buzz

Ron Nief and Tom McBride: The Mindset List

Source: Beloit College Mindset List

The Mindset Lists of American HistoryThe Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students. It started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980.

What started as a witty way of saying to faculty colleagues “watch your references,” has turned into a globally reported and utilized guide to the intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications, and used for a wide variety of purposes. It immediately caught the imagination of the public, and in the ensuing years, has drawn responses from around the world.

The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think is Normal, published by John Wiley and Sons (July, 2011).

The Beloit College Mind-Set List Welcomes the ‘Internet Class’

Source: Don Troop, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8-23-11

As classes resume this fall, take a good look at those first-year students armed with their laptops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones. They are the first college freshmen to grow up taking the word “online” for granted, say Ron Nief and Tom McBride, the minds behind the annual Beloit College Mind-Set List.

Mr. Nief, who was the college’s longtime director of public affairs and is now retired, wrote in an e-mail on Monday that the Class of 2015 is “the symbolic generational start of a revolutionary adjustment in the systems and processes on which so much of society is built today.”

Most members of this year’s freshman class were born in 1993, the year Mosaic was introduced as the first widely used Web browser, the year Time magazine declared, “Suddenly the Internet is the place to be,” and the year The New Yorker ran what is said to be its most reproduced cartoon ever, the one with the caption, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Mr. Nief and Mr. McBride, who is a professor of English and the humanities, have compiled the list since 1998, to help educators understand the cultural touchstones that have shaped the worldviews of each successive year of college freshmen.

Members of the Class of 2015, the pair says, “have come of age as women assumed command of U.S. Navy ships, altar girls served routinely at Catholic Mass, and when everything from parents analyzing childhood maladies to their breaking up with boyfriends and girlfriends, sometimes quite publicly, have been accomplished on the Internet.”

July marked the release of the two men’s first book together, The Mindset Lists of American History (John Wiley & Sons), which demonstrates how historical events have affected the mind-sets of each successive generation of Americans since 1880.

Following is this year’s full list, which can be found online at

Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe, and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.

Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern’s daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.

2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

3. States and Velcro parents have always required that they wear their bike helmets.

4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major-league sports.

5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded some U.S. Navy ships.

6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.

7. As the students have grown up on Web sites and cellphones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

8. Their schools’ “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.

9. “Don’t touch that dial!” … What dial?

10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.

13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.

14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring, “I Will Always Love You.”

15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

16. Women have never been too old to have children.

17. Japan has always been importing rice.

18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.

22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.

25. Video games have always had ratings.

26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.

27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

31. Women have always been kissing women on television.

32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “Been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”

35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little wacko.

36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.

37. Music has always been available via free downloads.

38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health-care policy.

39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

40. Sears has never sold anything out of a “Big Book” that could also serve as a doorstop.

41. The United States has always been shedding fur.

42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest-growing states in the Union.

44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

46. Russian courts have always had juries.

47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.

54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.

56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe; Michael Who?

57. They’ve broken up with significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.

58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.

59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

60. Frasier, Sam, Woody, and Rebecca have never cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during prime time.

61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild-card entry in the playoffs.

62. Nurses have always been in short supply.

63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a Web site.

64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.

65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.

66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.

67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi-Cola.

68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.

69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.

70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.

71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantánamo.

72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.

73. McDonald’s coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

74. “PC” has come to mean personal computer, not political correctness.

75. The New York Times and The Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

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