education – Opus Magnum
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Ethics, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

What is the true value of a college education?: Freakonomics has the answer.


Freakonomics Radio took a look at the value of education and the dark-side of educational credentials (fake diplomas!) in their latest podcast week. Stephen Dubner, the host, pointed out where we stand today:

You can be whatever you want to be. We say that a lot—parents to kids especially. But what we really mean is: You can be whatever you want to be, but first you need a college degree. Now, degree mills exploit our collective college anxiety, and they tell people: don’t worry about the education, it’s the piece of paper that gets you the job. Plus, a real degree is expensive, not only the money itself, but four years of your life. And, especially when the economy is crummy, it’s unclear if that investment is paying off.

Allen Ezell, a former FBI agent who co-authored the book Degree Mills: The Billion-dollar Industry That Has Sold over a Million Fake Diplomas, estimates that about 1% of all degrees awarded each year in the U.S. are from diploma mills. Percentage-wise it sounds small, but there are more than a million degrees granted annually. Each fake degree, devalues the real degrees so many students spend years and hard earned money to earn.

Steven Levitt, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and co-author of the Freakonomics books noted the economist’s perspective – and the good news for anyone who has invested years and money in education: Continue Reading

Environment, Local business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Higher Education Posperity: Why Higher-ed and Business Must Interact More

According to a report released by The Itasca Project, Minnesota’s higher education institutions act separately from one another and sometimes view each other as competitors rather than collaborators. Meanwhile, businesses see post-secondary institutions as sources that fuel their work force but only infrequently interact with them.

Christa Meland at Twin Cities Business detailed how the state’s colleges and universities need to find new ways to collaborate with each other and local businesses in order to fuel economic growth and prosperity in Minnesota.

The report pointed out that Minnesota has more than 200 post-secondary institutions that collectively serve nearly 500,000 students annually and maintain annual budgets that together total about $7 billion—and it touted the fact that Minnesota ranks eighth among states in terms of the share of high school graduates who enroll in higher-education programs. Continue Reading

Career Services, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, OCB Commentary

Trendspotting: A Business Major Is Not the Easy Way Out

St. Thomas business students work hard, care for others and enter the workforce with a strong, valued liberal arts education
From the Fall 2011 edition of B. Magazine, by Georgia Fisher

In the past six months, news reports have cited that the undergraduate business major is considered a “default” degree – an “easy” degree where students spend less time studying than students in other degrees. Critique also has been given that a business degree is viewed by many as a path to a job, but not to a well-rounded education and enlightenment.

In light of these recent comments in the media, my advising staff and I have used this opportunity to reflect upon our undergraduate business program at the University St. Thomas.

For more than 20 years, an average of 30 percent of the incoming freshman class at St. Thomas has indicated business as its primary intended major, along with 48 percent of the transfer students. There is an increase in the percentage of students indicating interest in business from the freshman to sophomore years. We believe this increase is due to the exploration that our liberal arts curriculum and the business core allow. Students are encouraged to explore broadly before making a commitment, and after that exploration, many more students make an informed choice to select business. They do not enter business by default.

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FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media

Is Social Media Undermining Our “Social Circuitry”?

A crowd of students and alumni filled Schulze auditorium to hear Douglas' Master's Pub presentation

I posted last week about “educators trying to exploit Twitter-like technology to enhance classroom discussion.” In the mean time I’ve been following the response to the New York Times article that spurred my post.

Harvard Business Review’s blog, The Conversation chimed in this week as well with the opinion that, “The project is well-intentioned: they wanted to get kids more comfortable with speaking up by giving them digital tools to do so. The trouble is, now the kids are staring at screens all day instead of interacting with each other or the teacher.” Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media

Speak Up Using Social Media

twitter-classroomI have a Twitter account, but at times—like many others—I don’t use it or really gain that much value from the steady flow of tweeted headlines, “5 tips for blah blah blah” and banal updates on what’s for lunch.

I was recently at a conference of marketers where the use of Twitter and other social media to interact and build upon the face-to-face interactions was essentially the base expectation for attendees. At times updates to the conference hashtag were coming in by the dozens every time I refreshed the Twitter app on my phone. It was great to read and contribute to the community’s conversation.

Now it seems that others are finding new ways to capitalize on platforms like this to enhance education and facilitate discussion. The New York Times reports:

Erin Olson, an English teacher in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, is among a small but growing cadre of educators trying to exploit Twitter-like technology to enhance classroom discussion. Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, Ethics, EveningMBA, FTMBA, leadership, Media, Newsroom

The iCollege

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited the Daily Show

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited the Daily Show

When I was a freshman at a highly-respected university in a northern clime, I would have paid any amount to convince my psych professor to come to my dorm and share with me, while I lounged in my pajamas, his insights into the intricacies of human behavior. The liquor store just off campus delivered, why not Professor James? But alas, three times a week I had to haul myself out of bed, throw on some clothes and far-from-sensible shoes, and schlep myself across campus and through snowdrifts to sit in a lecture hall and focus on Jung’s collective unconscious. I’m still bitter.

If Governor Pawlenty’s dream comes true (see his recent appearance on the Daily Show), freshmen 20 years from now won’t have to endure such tortures. Instead, they’ll just log on to iCollege, enter their credit card information and absorb all the insights, expertise and knowledge of several thousand years of human history. They’ll engage in frank and open dialogue with concerned professors, discuss antediluvian civilizations and compare notes on heterodox economics…all from the comfort of their homes. Students will log in at the appropriate time, complete their lesson plans as required, stay up late to finish homework and take at least an hour or so each day to consider the long-term impact of globalization on emerging economies.

Right. Continue Reading