Friday, November 30, 2012

The real problem in encouraging reading: lack of access to books

This opinion was published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on November 12, 2012. Libraries are a strong source of social and cultural capital. If want more children to engage in leisurely reading, elected officials and educators must support libraries in under-resourced areas. Too many leaders select to shut down school and branch libraries in budget crises. This short-term solution only hurts disadvantaged rural and urban communities. As an avid reader myself, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement:
I am a cross-over reader, an adult who loved Harry Potter and Hunger Games. But it isn’t true that “Books like 'Hunger Games' make reading cool again,” (Nov. 12). Contrary to popular opinion, reading has always been cool. Teen-agers today spend about the same amount of time reading as they did in 1946. Current data on reading includes reading from the internet, but book reading has not declined: In 1946, according the Book Manufacturers' Institute, 34% of teen-agers said they read a book yesterday; in 2005, according to a Pew report, 33% did.

The real problem in encouraging reading is that those who live in poverty have little access to books: they have few books at home, live in neighborhoods with lower quality libraries and few bookstores, and attend schools with lower quality classroom and school libraries. In most cases, their only chance to get access to books is the library. Research consistently confirms that library quality is related to reading achievement, but support for libraries has declined.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Job Seekers: Beware of These Social Media Traps

Do you want to enhance your professional presence on the Internet? Not sure how to improve your social profile? This infographic by Column Five Media provides good advice and tips on how to monitor your social media profile and increase your chances of securing interviews (and eventually employment!).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bill Gates: Our College Crisis

Bill Gates presented at the Washington Ideas Forum that "shrinking state budgets have indeed made college less affordable and lead to ballooning student debt." However, he claimed the biggest problem in higher education was the low retention and graduation rates. He stated, "If we want to produce an educated, 21st century workforce, we need to focus on making sure more students who are currently dropping out of school instead make it to commencement."

This link will provide you access to the Gates Foundation's PowerPoint presentation .

Monday, November 19, 2012

Five Nontraditional Careers with an MSW

Are you a social worker who wonders what careers can you pursue in a non-traditional setting? The University of Southern California  School of Social Work is already helping MSW students secure positions in non-traditional settings. Check out these fields below from Careerealism:

  1. Community Outreach
  2. Program Development/Management
  3. Human Resources
  4. Managed Care
  5. Entrepreneur
Many social workers also pursue administration and public policy careers in government institutions. There is this perception that public-sector social workers only work in child welfare and veteran affairs.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More General Graduate Admissions Advice

Before you apply to graduate school, ask yourself these seven questions:

1. Why do I want to go to grad school?

2. Why do I want to do this now?

3. What type of academic or professional degree am I seeking?

4. In what geographic region do I want to study?

5. What type of learning and student experience am I seeking?

6. Will significant others, a spouse, or children impact my plans?

7. Should I consider a full-time or part-time program?

Other related articles include four myths debunked and critical steps in finding the right graduate program. InsideHigherEd's GradHacker posted a two-part series: financing and selecting a graduate school program.

Although the links below focus on doctoral programs, I believe the admissions advice is also relevant for master's programs:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Richest Colleges: Michigan (7th) and Northwestern (9th) released the 10 richest colleges (by endowments) in the United States. Both Michigan (7th) and Northwestern (9th) made the top ten list. Harvard (as usual) is the richest college in the country.

  1. Harvard 
  2. Yale 
  3. University of Texas
  4. Princeton
  5. Stanford
  6. MIT
  7. University of Michigan
  8. Columbia
  9. Northwestern University
  10. Texas A&M University

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Smithsonian: The History of Voting in America

The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History has a virtual exhibition, Vote: The Machinery of Democracy, on the history of voting in America. This is a great website to visit just to expand your knowledge on why voting is important among Americans.

Check out this amazing Prezi presentation on the national election results.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: The Thinking Student's Guide to College (2010)

The Thinking Student's Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education (2010), by Andrew Roberts, is a practical college guide book that helps students understand ther rigors of academic life and take charge of their own undergraduate experience. It is the kind of valuable resource that I wished was in existence when I entered college nearly a decade ago. Fortunately, I followed most of his advice and chose to follow my passion. After all, college (whether public or private, large research institution or liberal arts college) is the only time in our lives where we can get a personalized education without restrictions and obligations.

Although Roberts is a political science professor at Northwestern University (my alma mater, woo-hoo!), he offers concrete tips on choosing a college, selecting classes, deciding on a major, interacting with faculty, and applying to graduate school. More importantly, he emphasizes why students should engage with faculty and how these relationships can help students achieve their educational aspirations. He also includes text boxes on hot topics

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYTimes: The New American Worker (Part-Time, No Benefits)

The New York Times published an article, "A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift," that discusses how technology and growing competition has many part-time workers struggling in impoverished conditions. There is also little possibility that these part-time workers can find full-time employment with their employer.

Technology is speeding this transformation. In the past, part-timers might work the same schedule of four- or five-hour shifts every week. But workers’ schedules have become far less predictable and stable. Many retailers now use sophisticated software that tracks the flow of customers, allowing managers to assign just enough employees to handle the anticipated demand.
“Many employers now schedule shifts as short as two or three hours, while historically they may have scheduled eight-hour shifts,” said David Ossip, founder of Dayforce, a producer of scheduling software used by chains like AĆ©ropostale and Pier One Imports.
Some employers even ask workers to come in at the last minute, and the workers risk losing their jobs or being assigned fewer hours in the future if they are unavailable.
The widening use of part-timers has been a bane to many workers, pushing many into poverty and forcing some onto food stamps and Medicaid. And with work schedules that change week to week, workers can find it hard to arrange child care, attend college or hold a second job, according to interviews with more than 40 part-time workers.