Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

With Anxious Students, Try a Little Tenderness… It’s Okay to Fail (If You Learn from It)… Has the Workplace Become Ruder?

With Anxious Students, Try a Little Tenderness

Adieu, Professor Tough Guy. The collective anxiety facing today’s college students requires the kid glove approach.

To show students that their instructors want to help them learn, many professors find themselves acknowledging that caring about students is essential to engaging them. Such “caring pedagogy” has a long history, actually dating back to the 1930s and 1940s, and employs compassion and empathy. Whether the instructor is teaching online or in person, caring pedagogy combines student-centered learning with a responsive faculty member. In such an atmosphere, both student and professor listen to one another carefully and empathize with, trust, and respect one another.

Because this caring approach to shepherding students through the curriculum takes time, professors have to make a conscious decision to adopt the strategy.

Source: Ubell, R. (2022, July 8.) With stressed-out students in challenging times, faculty must embrace caring practices. Edsurge.

It’s Okay to Fail (If You Learn from It)

You’ve planned. You’ve prepped. You’ve created thoughtful materials. But something isn’t clicking.

Every instructor experiences sessions—or entire classes—that just don’t gel. When this happens, the best strategy is to go to the source and ask students what has gone wrong. At least that’s what the authors of The New College Classroom (Harvard University Press) suggest in their recent book, citing a wealth of evidence-based strategies for learning from a negative situation.

The authors advise asking students to respond to a prompt such as “Everyone acted like a zombie in class today because…” or “If I had designed today’s class, I would have…” at the end of a class session that fell flat. Alternately, instructors can begin the next class by asking students to write about what would help improve the class moving forward. Of course, the responses must be anonymous.

Most important, however, is to remember that instructors should aim for success most of the time instead all of the time.

Source: Supiano, B. (2022, Sept. 1.) Learning from ‘teaching fails’. The Chronicle.

Has the Workplace Become Ruder?

Less handshaking. More cursing. Epic waits for responses to e-mails and texts. What’s going on in the workplace?

Employees leave their positions without giving much notice or show up to important meetings underdressed. Recruiters fail to send rejection letters, leaving job candidates not knowing where they stand. Employers complain about a lack of cover letters, but applicants say that AI weeding software doesn’t read them. Clients may show initial interest in a product or service only to “ghost” the vendor with no explanation.

Written communication is another convention that has witnessed degradation. Good grammar and careful editing are too infrequent, with misspellings, typos, a lack of punctuation, and sloppy syntax bad enough to derail careers.

Source: Borchers, C. (2022, Sept.8.) What the #@$%! happened to our manners at work? The Wall Street Journal.





Job Titles Change—Dramatically… Average Time to Graduate: Five Years… Gen Z Prefers Less Flexible Workplace

Job Titles Change—Dramatically

Forget Human Relations Director. Today the individual filling that slot is as likely to be labeled Chief People Officer.

While job titles have always been in flux to reflect the times, the disruptions caused by the pandemic have resulted in new designations that more reflect the experience of a position than the description of a type of productivity. Many of these changes are an effort to boost morale in a lackadaisical (and grumpy) workforce.

Employers’ response to widespread worker frustration has been to try to provide support—hence the title Chief Heart Officer, a position held by Claude Silver at VaynerMedia. In this position, Silver’s tasks run from the sublime to the mundane, from helping to organize online programs that focus on staff growth to sharing a friendly conversation about kids. She publishes a newsletter named Heartbeat and leads conversations about news events that distress the firm’s employees.

Some firms are coming up with new job titles because they have created new jobs. A Product Evangelist for a management software company says her job is to be “professionally obsessive” about the company’s product. This means that she oversees a podcast about the software, writes social media posts, boosts internal morale, and talks with customers. The Head of Dynamic Work at a cybersecurity agency helps employees obtain office-grade furniture to make working from home more comfortable. The Head of Remote at GitLab helps make virtual work more responsive to individual employees’ needs.

Source: Goldberg, E. (2022, August 4.) Head of team anywhere and other job titles for an uncertain time. The New York Times.

Average Time to Graduate: Five Years

The traditional four-year college experience may be heaving its last breath. The typical college student today requires five years to graduate, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The delay begins building during the first year of college, when students earn 22 units instead of the 27 required to stay on track for graduation in four years. The research discovered that the average student does not sign up for the correct number of credits needed to earn a degree in four years.

The report also found that the average student earns just nine credits for every 12 attempted. However, unit completion rates vary significantly and are influenced by race, course intensity, college readiness, type of program, and type of institution.

Source: Barnes, A. (2022, August 3.) Average college student needs more than five years to graduate: report. The Hill.

Gen Z Prefers Less Flexible Workplace

It’s true that many workers sent home during the pandemic want to continue working remotely. But don’t count Gen Z in that group.

According to research conducted by three university economists, only one quarter of workers in their twenties would choose to work remotely, compared 29 percent of 30-somethings, 33 percent of 40- to50-year-olds, and 41 percent of those over 50. The reason? Gen Z looks to work to provide for social activities.

New workers, (i.e., people in their twenties) crave community, opportunities to network, and communal spaces. The workplace offers them not only a nicer space than their often cramped first apartments, but it’s also a place to learn and be mentored.

This generational divide puts employers in an awkward position as they are trying to balance the needs of the various age groups in the workplace, the research concluded.

Ito, A. (2022, July 13.) Gen Z actually hates working from home. Insider.

Good News: Business Degrees Pay for Themselves… Instant-Messaging Platform Slack Becomes Aid in Job Hunt… Do Employers Really Value Alternative Credentials?

Good News: Business Degrees Pay for Themselves

There’s a good reason business degrees are the most popular undergrad and graduate majors in the US—these degrees deliver one of the highest returns on investment, according to a report conducted by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

Business degrees may not net the highest economic value of a degree—that honor goes to health, engineering, and computer and information sciences programs—but business degree programs lead to median earnings that exceed student debt payments roughly tenfold just two years after graduation, according to the report’s findings.

The report ranked business programs based on students’ financial returns. Associate degree recipients at Excelsior College in New York and Union County College in New Jersey, bachelor’s degree holders at Bismarck State College in North Dakota, and master’s degree graduates at the University of Pennsylvania had the highest returns compared to peers at their level of higher education.

Still, earnings and debt at the degree, institution, or program level tell only one side of the story. In a specific business program at a given institution, students can earn significantly more or less than the typical earnings for that institution or program, said one of the report’s co-authors.

The researchers concluded that the information collected can help prospective students assess the value of various business programs.

Weissman, S. (2022, June 28.) Report: Business majors earn high returns. Inside Higher Ed.

Instant-Messaging Platform Slack Aids in Job Hunt

The popular business messaging app Slack has become an informal way to link job hunters and hirers.

Slack allows teams and entire workforces to instantly share information, which has made it particularly popular as the number of remote workers has soared. Although originally designed for use in individual firms, Slack has launched a networking function that facilitates instant information sharing between disparate organizations.

These invitation-only groups are now being used to land positions faster than traditional methods would allow. Groups such as women in marketing, human resources, Blacks in technology, and many more have appeared on the platform since the pandemic.

Job matches result when employees at one company share news about job opportunities with their Slack networks. Candidates who connect via Slack have an edge because they can claim a personal connection.

Ellis, L. (2022, May 31.) Forget LinkedIn—Your next job offer could come via Slack. The Wall Street Journal.

Do Employers Really Value Alternative Credentials?

While many executives claim to be open to alternative credentials such as certificates, badges, and apprenticeships in lieu of a college degree, their hiring managers are stuck on traditional diplomas from colleges and universities.

New research from the Society for Human Resource Management documented the disparity between company leaders’ words and the actions of their hiring personnel. This disconnect has significant implications for colleges offering non-degree programs designed to help employees without degrees get ahead as well as the students who obtain these credentials.

Specifically, the survey found that although the majority of executives, supervisors, and even HR staff said alternative credentials give workers credibility, a much smaller group agreed that those without degrees were better performers compared to college grads. In fact, when asked to rank the importance of factors affecting hiring, executives placed alternative credentials behind experience, education, specific skills, work history, and interview performance.

Alternative credentials are touted as a means to improve workplace diversity. But only 46 percent of HR professionals surveyed—the ones in the position to actually hire people—agreed that was the case.

Koenig, R. (2022, April 20.) Employers claim to value alternative credentials. Do their practices match their promises? EdSurge.