A Fresh Take on Islamic Finance
As financial institutions based on Islamic law proliferate, some B-schools
are taking notice.
This is one case in education where demand for graduates exceeds supply
Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week
, March 30, 2007 ---
Any MBA student is going to have a strong grounding
in the vocabulary of finance, including interest rates and lending. But some
schools are now adding programs and courses that are teaching a new
vocabulary for an increasingly visible sector of the financial world—Islamic
banks that conduct business according to the tenets of Islamic law.
One of the latest schools to take an interest in
Islamic banking is the Cass Business School, part of the City University,
London, which in the fall is launching an Executive MBA based in Dubai
featuring specializations in Islamic finance, energy and general management,
and finance. The school says there's a need for more MBAs with experience in
The number of schools offering Islamic finance
programs is still relatively small—and at some universities, relevant
courses can be found outside the confines of the business programs. But
experts say that, at the very least, business students should know something
about this expanding industry. "Anyone who seeks to work in the Islamic
world should be interested in this area, because it's booming," says Ibrahim
Warde, author of the soon-to-be-updated Islamic Finance and the Global
Economy (Edinburgh University Press, 2000). "Understanding Islamic finance
is highly valued in the marketplace."
The basic principle behind Islamic banking—which is
based on Shariah, or Koranic law—is that people shouldn't be charged
interest on loans or be paid interest on investments. A venerable system of
banking, Islamic finance resurfaced in the 1970s and was updated in the wake
of the oil boom in the Middle East.
Today, there's an increasing number of financial
products and services available that are compliant with Islamic finance.
Rising petroleum prices, increased attention on the Middle East as a result
of politics, and competition between Bahrain and Dubai for the title of
Middle Eastern financial center are other factors contributing to the
economic surge (see BusinessWeek.com, 8/8/05, "Islamic Banks: A Novelty No
Islamic institutions and banks offer everything
from sukuks—bonds that are structured to comply with Shariah and have become
hugely popular—to asset selling, where a bank purchases a car, for example,
and resells it to clients rather than offering an interest-based loan for
the vehicle. Islamic credit cards that have users essentially borrowing
money from themselves and incentives, such as trips to the holy city of
Mecca, are other examples of how institutions are drawing Muslim customers.
Future Hub? With all this growth, there's a
shortage of skilled workers in Islamic finance, says Hassan Hakimian, Cass's
associate dean for Off-Campus Programs, which says Islamic finance is
growing at about 15% per year and will continue to do so for at least the
next decade. Hakimian is one of the creators of the school's 24-month
executive MBA program, which will debut in September. The school
purposefully decided to offer Islamic finance and energy concentrations,
says Hakimian, because of the relevance of those two topics to the program's
home in Dubai.
Cass seems to be in Dubai's corner when it comes to
the argument about which Middle Eastern capital will reign supreme. The Cass
EMBA program will include online learning complemented by one weekend a
month in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. "I wouldn't be surprised
if, in coming years, parts of the Middle East will grow, and Dubai will
become the hub of business education," says Hakimian. He expects to admit 30
to 40 students in the inaugural class.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on Islamic accounting are at
With a recent study showing that today's college students are the most
narcissistic and self-centered in decades, a small chorus of professionals is
offering a bold response: We have no one to blame but ourselves.
"For today's kids, everything is all about them: One study blames
parents for a failure to say, 'No'," by Barbara F. Meltz, The Boston
Globe, April 01, 2007 ---
With a recent study showing that today's college
students are the most narcissistic and self-centered in decades, a small
chorus of professionals is offering a bold response: We have no one to blame
"Things went too far," says psychologist Jean
Twenge, lead author of the study and a professor at San Diego State
What she means is that parents
overcorrected for the harshness of a previous generation
that preferred children to be "seen and not heard." She
points to the soccer trophies that coaches hand out to all
team members just for showing up rather than to a few for
outstanding athleticism, and to a song taught in a
colleague's daughter's preschool to the tune of "Frère
Jacques": "I am special/I am special/Look at me."
"If you're that child, it's not
surprising that pretty soon you start to believe it," says
Twenge, whose new book, "Generation Me," examines feelings
of entitlement among young Americans.
In her analysis, which uses a
questionnaire that has been administered to college students
periodically since 1982, a nationwide sample of 16,000
students choose among 80 statements to best describe
themselves — for instance, "I think I am a special person,"
or, "I am no better or no worse than most people." Thirty
percent more students had elevated narcissism in the 2006
survey than in 1982, although the numbers have been steadily
creeping up over the years.
Called the Narcissistic Personality
Inventory, the study does not directly link children's
increased entitlement to parenting style, but the connection
is inescapable, says social psychologist and researcher
Robert Horton of Wabash College in Indiana. Parent educators
have long identified four styles of parenting:
authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and passive. The
styles are based on a combination of how loving and
restrictive parents are.
In the authoritarian style, parents
are not very affectionate but very controlling, says Horton.
Permissive parents tend to lavish love but are barely able
to impose limits or consequences, and passive parents tend
to be literally unavailable as well as unreliable and
"The ideal is to express affection
and set limits in a way that respects a child's feelings,"
says parent educator Nancy Samalin, director of the Parent
Guidance Workshops in New York City. She's describing the
authoritative style, probably the most labor intensive. It
demands a careful balance between loving and restricting a
child, between being involved but not suffocating. "It's a
parent who sees the need for limits and is willing to be
unpopular," says Samalin, author of the best-seller "Loving
Increasingly, being unpopular makes
parents uncomfortable, says psychologist David Walsh of
"Humans are born hard-wired with
certain drives," he says — for instance, to fight or flee,
to seek pleasure rather than pain, and to seek connection.
"Think of the drives as a team of horses. If you learn how
to hold the reins and manage the horses, they take you to
wonderful places. If the horses get out of control — if one
drive dominates — you end up in a ditch."
Today's college kids are in the
ditch called narcissism in part because the popular culture
glamorizes the drive for pleasure above all others. " 'More!
Fast! Easy! Fun!' " Walsh says. "That translates to parents
as an allergic reaction to our children's unhappiness and an
inability to say no for fear it will destroy their
Discipline deficit disorder — a
term he coined — is the result. "The symptoms include
impatience, disrespect, inability to delay gratification,
self-centeredness and rampant consumerism. Guess what? Those
are also the characteristics of narcissism," says Walsh,
author of "No: Why Kids of All Ages Need to Hear It and Ways
Parents Can Say It."
He tells a story of one way this
played out in his own parenting. When his children were
young, he and his wife assigned them chores knowing that
would help build a sense of responsibility. His 6-year-old
daughter's chore was the bathroom. "She was doing a
6-year-old's version of cleaning," he says. "I came by and
said, 'Let me show you.' Before long, she disappeared. My
wife came along and asked, 'Do you want a clean bathroom or
a competent daughter?' "
Whether it was his wish to make
things easier for his daughter or easier for himself doesn't
matter. Either way, he says, she got the message that she
was entitled. Continually bailing children out or doing for
them what they should do for themselves — the book report,
the science project — describes the permissive style of
"By not giving them practice in
handling frustration and disappointment we destroy
self-esteem, not build it," he says.
Could this report end up spurring a
backlash from parenting experts who call for a return to
authoritarian parenting, which endorses spanking as well as
a "because-I-said-so" attitude?
"I hope not. There's a lot of
research that says spanking is a bad idea," says Twenge, who
is the mother of a 4-month-old. Instead, she hopes the
report will prompt parents to step back and examine their
"We live in a very individualistic
culture. Telling each child he or she is special is based on
the premise that building self-esteem leads to good
outcomes. It works the other way around: Good outcomes lead
to self-esteem. What people thought builds self-esteem turns
out to build narcissism."
The four types of parents
The authoritative parent
Affectionate and engaged
Sets limits and enforces
Uses reason, logic and appropriate
Empowers a child's decision-making
His or her child is likely to
Happy, responsible and kind
Good at problem-solving
Self-motivated and confident
An excellent student
The authoritarian parent
Bossy; likely to say, 'Because I
Uses physical punishment or verbal
Dismisses a child's feelings
His or her child is likely to
Moody and anxious
An average to good student
The permissive parent
Anxious to please, ends every
sentence by asking, 'OK?'
Can't say no and stick to it
His or her child is likely to
Demanding and whiny
Lacking kindness and empathy
A poor to average student
The passive parent
Emotionally removed or indifferent
Inconsistent and unpredictable
His or her child is likely to
Clingy and needy
Inappropriate and rude
Likely to get into trouble
A poor student
Iraq and the Liberal Baby Boomers ---
I'm active on two accounting ListServs called the AECM and CPA-L, both of
which were formed many years ago by Barry Rice. I was asked recently by someone
close to Barry to comment on these ListServs. Below is my response including why
the medium is much more than the message in the case of a ListServ:
I did not know
Barry Rice when he started up the AECM and CPA-L Listservs. I got to know
him better by email and met him quite a few years later. Barry is a world
class accounting teacher with administrative skills as well. I now consider
him a great friend.
much like forums except that a forum usually has an assigned leader or group
of leaders with their own agendas. ListServs are totally voluntary and
spontaneous communities. Forums often have invited memberships, whereas most
ListServs can be freely joined by any person on the world’s Internet. When a
message is sent to a forum, the sender generally knows where it is going.
When a message is sent to a ListServ, the sender has some idea of a few
people who will receive it but no idea about all the people in the world who
are lurking for messages.
Off the top of
my head, I would say that a ListServ aids in the following:
Communication of news
intended to be of common interest to members (e.g., accounting education
news). Internet links are probably the most common and useful items
shared in those communications.
Questions and answers
where one member raises a question and others try to answer either in
private or for all members.
Debates that follow
unpredictable paths and are generally interesting until they get too
tedious. Theories are often built and and/or destroyed on ListServs.
ListServs make us
humble. Just when we think we know a lot about something, all we have to
do is comment about it on the AECM. Suddenly we discover that there’s a
whole lot we did not know. We learn from a ListServ because of the
scholars who are willing to share what they know and feel.
ListServs capture moods
and opinions of members more spontaneously and deeply than formal
Sharing of research and
scholarship. For example, members may have work-in-progress that they
put at a Website and then use the ListServ to inform members of where to
find this work-in-progress. Members then contribute comments in private
or in public about these works.
communications and Web links. This library function makes ListServs more
valuable than telephone and most other forms of communication that do
not have easily-accessible archives.
(sometimes communications are off-topic and entertaining with humor and
links to outside topics).
Building of friendships
with people in all parts of the world that are not likely to ever meet
Building of reputations
where some participants reveal knowledge, talent, skills, and effort
beyond what would otherwise be known about these rare diamonds in the
Motivating some members
about career choices/changes. On the AECM students get an inside peek at
professors who comment about the beautiful and the ugly aspects of being
A ListServ does
not generally do all of the things listed above, although the AECM initiated
by Barry comes about as close as possible to doing all those things
mentioned above. The CPA-L list that Barry also formed is primarily a Q&A
List that does none of the other things listed above. Practitioners on the
CPA-L generally raise a question (often a tax question) and others provide
answers. There’s almost nothing in the way of daily news, debates, sharing
of research/scholarship, entertainment, building of friendships, or building
The AECM somehow
evolved into a multi-purpose ListServ that accomplishes all of the things
mentioned above. Its international success was primarily timing and
leadership and luck. Barry offered up this service when there was very
little else for accounting educators on the Internet. There were at least
three other early competitors, and I honestly cannot say why the AECM
emerged as the main ListServ for accounting educators around the world. I do
think that time is too valuable for people to join in on very many active
ListServs. Hence it’s not likely that all competitors early on would’ve
flourished. Why the AECM emerged as the main general-purpose higher
education ListServ for accounting educators is indeed a mystery. The
American Accounting Association for a time offered another alternative, but
I think bad timing and bad luck destroyed its efforts. The AAA was too late
on the scene. There was also the stigma, not a fact, that the AAA’s effort
was only for members of the AAA.
I have to say
that Barry’s leadership in communicating on the AECM was probably not the
crucial factor at the germination stage. After a very short time Barry
became more of a lurker. It was about a dozen accounting educators who
emerged out of nowhere to make the AECM germinate. Then more leaders and
lurkers evolved like wild flowers in a worldwide field.
Keep in mind
that Barry did not begin the AECM as a general-purpose accounting educator
ListServ. In the beginning it was primarily intended for messaging about
computers and multimedia technologies that could be used in new ways by
teachers of accountancy. In fact the acronym “AECM” stands for “Accounting
Education using Computers and Multimedia.” Today the AECM ListServ is much
more than its title. Why this happened is complicated to answer, but the
title is unfortunate today whenever someone is looking for the main
accounting education ListServ and naively thinks that the AECM is restricted
to messaging about computers and multimedia.
A better name
for the AECM as it evolved is the Internet’s “Accounting Education
Communications Medium.” And the “medium is the message.” I am forever
grateful to Barry for letting the original AECM evolve into what it is
today. He could’ve jumped on every message that was not deemed “on topic” in
the context of “computers and multimedia.” Instead he let the AECM messaging
follow their own serendipitous meanderings. And he forgave us for some of
the dumb things we messaged.
In this regard
we were lucky. AECM participants had the good sense to avoid some turn-off
topics like politics, advertising, religion, and too much humor. But the
messaging did follow many serendipitous paths that were not tied to
computers and multimedia, including topics of accounting theory, fraud,
student cheating, professorial cheating, plagiarism, pedagogy in general,
research methodologies, and learning theories. These evolved into topics
that AECM subscribers wanted to learn more and more about.
fragile things that in general do not work well. Leaders either emerge out
of nowhere and keep a ListServ going or it dies from lack of participation.
Participants must find rewards or ListServs simply fade away. Most
participants in a ListServ are “lurkers” who often “listen in” but rarely if
ever contribute to the membership. This puts the burden on “actives” to
evolve as leaders. These actives can either be terrific and draw new
ListServ members wanting to listen to what the actives have to say or
ListServs can become very tedious and/or boring and causing members to
resign from the ListServ.
interesting behavioral dynamics that emerged with newer technology. This is
an interesting topic to study and needs to be studied in much greater depth.
The medium is much more than the content of the messages.
provide wonderful and unique opportunities to make a difference. For
example, an accounting educator and world leader who I supremely respect is
Dennis Beresford. Denny is a popular
Accounting Hall of Fame speaker at academic, business, and
accounting profession conferences. But a speech is a speech and is limited
to a given audience and a given point in time. Denny’s published a lot of
papers, but a paper is a paper that is a bleep at a fixed point in time.
“the medium is the message” as discovered by Marshall Mcluhan many years
ago. AECM messages are bleeps that resurface in new and different ways
repeatedly over time on the AECM. Denny has probably had more impact on
changing accounting education via the AECM than in all his speeches and all
his publications combined. His messaging to the AECM is continuous over time
and reacts to concerns of accounting educators around the world. His AECM
audience is unlimited in terms of size and scheduled times.
And we learn a
lot about Denny just by learning when he messages. Keep in mind that I’m
talking about one of the busiest accountants in the world. He teaches at the
University of Georgia full time and is an extremely popular consultant and
on the boards of directors of several worldwide corporations. He’s even head
of the Audit Committee and a Board member for Fannie Mae after this
trillion-dollar company hit the rocks. And yet he seemingly keeps his eye on
AECM communications 24/7. What impresses me most is when I send messages out
to the AECM at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings I have them answered within
minutes by Denny Beresford. Hence I learned a whole lot more about the man
beyond the content of his excellent messages. I also learned that he’s
respectfully a very humble man.
Denny does not
want more money or more trophies. What Denny wants is to make a lasting
difference for the betterment of the accounting profession and accounting
education. And he’s proved this countless times to all of us on the AECM.
Those many other accounting leaders and educators who failed to grab this
AECM brass ring missed out and continue to miss out of the opportunity to
make a continuous and lasting difference.
I’m also a 24/7
AECM active like Denny. And I’m certain that Denny, like me, will say that
he tries to make a difference. But the AECM is so rewarding that in the end
he, like me, got more than he received. That is why we’re on the AECM.
We get more than we give no matter how much we give. That’s because so many
scholars big and small contribute to our learning and loving. The Internet
forever changed research and scholarship and learning. ListServs are a
lasting part of this process.
2007 reply from Dennis Beresford
Thanks for your kind comments below. And thanks to Barry for getting this
whole thing started. AECM is a wonderful learning opportunity for me and
I'm just glad that you and many others are willing to share so much
Online Doctoral Programs (All Disciplines) ---
There are several types of doctoral degrees online:
- Diploma mills where you can simply buy a PhD and have a diploma within a
matter of days. Warnings about Type 1 programs can be found at
- Diploma frauds that give a lot of credit for life experience and perhaps
have some minimal course or paper writing assignments that in reality are a
sham. Warnings about Type 2 programs can be found at
- Diligent-effort programs that may require several years to complete but
admit virtually anybody and have dubious academic standards even though a
few teachers may try ever so hard to make it work. Warnings about Type
3 programs can be found at
- Diligent-effort programs have some admission standards and varied
faculty participants that try to make the program respectable. Many of these
faculty participants are moonlighting in online doctoral programs but are
also full-time faculty in respected colleges and universities. A listing of
Type 4 doctoral programs is provided at
- Major universities that have extended their onsite doctoral programs to
online or partly online programs.
Type 5 programs are highly limited in number, especially programs that do not
require at least one or two years of onsite residency. But there are a few
programs such as the University of Colorado's online doctoral program in
pharmacy. I do not know of any major universities that offer a similar doctorate
in accounting and business.
Type 1, 2, and 3 programs are virtually frauds and are wasting the student's
money and perhaps her/his time.
Type 4 programs are problematic. They offer genuine learning opportunities
to students who, due to life's circumstances, are not able to enroll in onsite
programs. But Type 4 programs do not yet have the status of degrees comparable
with doctoral degrees of onsite programs of major universities.
A phony argument against Type 4 programs is that students enrolled in the
same program cannot learn from each other like students in onsite programs learn
from each other. About the only thing that students in Type 4 programs cannot do
is have beer together and otherwise socialize face-to-face. Communications
technology today makes it possible to get inside the head of a professor or a
student better than face-to-face in many instances.
In fact a student may graduate from a Type 4 program and become a better
teacher and/or researcher as a result of germination in a Type 4 program. But it
is misleading to say that starting opportunities are equivalent to a Type 5
Program doctoral degree. They are not equivalent, and it will be quite some time
before they have a chance of becoming equivalents.
The term "accreditation" is highly misleading. An online university that has
a regionally accredited undergraduate program does not make its doctoral program
accredited. In fact the same is true of onsite universities. For example, the
AACSB is the premiere accrediting body for colleges of business within major
colleges and universities. But the AACSB limits accreditation to undergraduate
and masters of business or accounting programs. The AACSB has never had an
accreditation program for doctoral programs within AACSB accredited colleges.
When it comes to doctoral programs, everything rides on the general
reputation and prestige of the entire university is the most important factor.
The reputation of the college or department offering the doctoral degree is the
second most important factor. What goes into that college's reputation is the
research reputation of the faculty involved in the doctoral program. Admissions
standards are also very, very important. Any doctoral program that is easy to
get into becomes suspect. This was especially the case of some major
universities that during some years admitted most military retirees who applied
as long as the applicant had 20 or more years of service with the military.
These programs generated some fine teachers for regional colleges, but the
market generally recognized that these graduates had little prospects of
establishing research reputations. I think most universities no longer give such
ease of admission to veterans.
Doctoral programs should probably be judged more on the quality of the
dissertations. Fortunately or unfortunately, many dissertations are pretty
well ignored unless papers published from them are accepted by major research
journals. A dissertation may be important for landing that first faculty job in
a prestigious college or university. This depends heavily on level of
competition. In fields like accounting and finance there is such a shortage of
doctoral graduates from major universities that applicants can usually get great
job offers before the quality of the dissertation can really be judged. Job
offers are frequently made in the very early stages of a mere dissertation
proposal subject to huge changes later on before the degree is granted. Sadly,
many great dissertation proposals are never carried to fruition.
In any case, you might be interested in the new online Type 4 doctoral
degree alternatives listed at
Many excellent online undergraduate and masters education programs are
A few good doctoral programs are also linked.
April 5, 2007 reply from Mitchell A Franklin
One of my colleagues on your ACEM listserv
forwarded me the below E-mail, and I wanted to add to some of your
responses. This past month, I completed my PhD in accounting from Walden
University, one of the schools that you classify into category 4 of online
programs. A few things I’d like to add based on personal experience:
Though called an ‘online’ program, the program is
more than just online independent study via the internet. As part of the
degree requirements, students are required at various points in the program
to attend mandatory face to face residencies in which they attend intensive
format classes/seminars and take part in research based colloquia with other
students in the same program. Students are in close interaction with each
other on an academic and social level, including your reference of ‘having a
beer together’ which some type 4 programs may lack. A vast majority of the
faculty I worked with all have PhD’s from schools that are considered ‘top
tier’ business schools. Not only did they hold their degrees from ‘top tier’
schools, but they also hold full-time senior faculty appointments at other
top tier major business schools. These faculty members have their own
reputations to uphold, and wouldn’t be involved in this type of program
signing off on dissertations if they didn’t believe in the quality of the
work and quality/merit of this type of program. I would also agree that at
present, many people may not recognize this type of education as comparable
and put someone starting out at a disadvantage if looking at major schools
for tenure-track placement, but the number of people who DO recognize it as
comparable is growing at a good clip. Over the long-run I do feel that at
some point it will be equally recognized. As anything different, it will
just take time and a concentration of alumni to show that their
teaching/research skills are comparable, if not better, as you state in your
As someone who has been through this program, I
would wholeheartedly recommend it for someone who needs/desires a PhD but
can’t enroll into an onsite program because of whatever the personal reason
6, 2007 reply from Steve Doster
I graduated from Argosy’s DBA program (management
major—the accounting major was added a few years later) in about 2002 and
was very pleased with the program. My experience was that the 1 to 2 week
on-site course format that involved a considerable amount of pre and post
study was much more useful, less work, and more satisfying than the
exclusively on-line courses. Two of my colleagues have since enrolled
Argosy’s DBA—Accounting program and are satisfied with program.
Steve Doster, DBA, CPA, CMA
Professor, Accounting & Management
Shawnee State University
Portsmouth, OH 45662
Nontraditional Doctoral Degree Programs: Some With No Courses
"New Ideas for Ph.D. Education," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed,
August 18, 2006 ---
For educators and state officials who want to
reform doctoral education, “it’s easy if you just want to make it easier,”
said E. Garrison Walters, interim chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.
The challenge, he said, is to undertake reforms
that don’t sacrifice quality. “It’s difficult to keep the core values of a
Ph.D. and keep it flexible,” he said. Walters spoke this week at a
conference in Chicago of the State Higher Education Executive Officers — the
officials who approve new Ph.D. programs in their states and periodically
review such programs, sometimes with an eye toward saving money by
At a session on new approaches to doctoral
education, state officials were briefed on two new approaches — both of
which were warmly received. One involves non-residential Ph.D. programs for
students who are older than most who earn doctorates. The other involves
doctoral programs that are run by more than one university — and that
sometimes cross state lines and public/private distinctions. Officials at
the meeting said they believed there was strong demand for both kinds of
programs, and wanted to find ways for their agencies to encourage such
Laurien Alexandre, director of Antioch University’s
Ph.D. program in
leadership and change, said it was easy to see
that there is interest in the kind of non-traditional doctorate her
institution has created. The students are already far along in their careers
and lives — 85 percent are over 40, with many in their 50s and 60s — and
they don’t need the doctorate as a credential. “No one is coming at 55
because they need it for their job,” she said. “So why are people paying
$80,000 for a doctorate?”
Her answer is that Antioch’s doctoral students are
on an “evolved path” in which they are seeking to take their understandings
of organizations to a higher level, and want to conduct the kind of in-depth
research associated with doctoral programs. The program attracts students
from all over the country, who periodically meet in person at Antioch’s
campuses around the country, but conduct much of their work in close
collaboration with faculty members, who are also spread out around the
country and communicate with students via phone and videoconferencing.
The program is “courseless,” Alexandre said, and
students must demonstrate their competencies in knowledge and research
skills after completing “multiyear learning paths” that are supervised by
faculty members. Only then, Alexandre said, can they write their
dissertations. And while Alexandre clearly relishes the way Antioch is
“pushing the envelope” on most aspects of the program, she said that the
dissertation process is traditional: committees, chapters, defense, and so
forth. “The dissertation is the gold standard,” she said.
The concept underlying this approach, she said, is
“rigor without rigidity,” and that approach may be what it takes to
encourage doctoral education from older students. She noted that Antioch
just graduated its first students in the program and that retention rates
are well above the typically low rates for many Ph.D. programs.
If the Antioch model demonstrates flexibility
within a graduate program, two new biomedical engineering programs may
represent the ability of universities to be flexible in how they put
together a graduate program in a hot science field — and one that can be
expensive to support. One program joins forces of the
University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University,
and the other combines offerings at
Virginia Tech with Wake
Forest University. Both programs have one
institution with a medical school (Chapel Hill and Wake Forest) and one
institution with an engineering school (N.C. State and Virginia Tech).
Stephen Knisley, director of the North Carolina
program, said that it grew out of a stand-alone program at Chapel Hill that
officials there felt would be strengthened with more ties to engineering. To
make the program effective, Knisley said, real partnerships are needed. That
means admissions decisions, curricular requirements and the like are all
decided jointly. And to really have students be able to move back and forth
to the two campuses, officials have also had to make sure they can get dual
ID cards, parking spaces, and access to all facilities. There are currently
103 graduate students in the program, and North Carolina hopes to double
that number in the next few years.
In a similar approach, Wake Forest and Virginia
Tech decide matters together — and have managed to do so even though the
former is private and the latter is a public university in another state.
Brian J. Love, a professor at Virginia Tech, noted that the two universities
don’t observe the same holidays or have the same class schedules, so
everything must be negotiated. “This program now has its own calendar,” he
But he said that’s a small price to pay to have
combined resources that neither institution could otherwise create. “This
can really be a win-win situation.”
One difficulty such collaborations sometimes face
is with accreditation. Gail Morrison, interim executive director of the
South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, said that the Medical
University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina recently
merged their pharmacy schools. While both entities had been accredited, they
needed an entirely new review, even though it seemed to Morrison that the
new school was clearly stronger than the two separate ones of the past.
Her story brought knowing nods from the audience of
state officials, several of whom said later that specialized accreditation
was a barrier to the kinds of collaboration being encouraged at the session.
Of course some collaborations don’t require any
accreditors’ approval. Morrison said that generally breaking down
institutional boundaries was a great way to encourage more efficiency and
that formal units aren’t always needed. For example, the state’s three
doctoral institutions are opening a building in Charleston that will bring
professors together. No outside approval needed.
The problem with the some of these is that, when students are allowed to
customize a curriculum, they often take the easiest way out. Success of these
nontraditional doctoral programs rests heavily upon admission standards for
getting into the programs and a successful track record of graduates from the
programs. If low GRE (or GMAT) students are accepted, the schools will have a
difficult time overcoming image flaws. Older adults seeking nontraditional
doctoral programs often do not have strong admission test scores.
Museum of Hoaxes ---
To seriously investigate claims on the Web, begin with
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer fraud are at
Question for Professors
How much would you charge to help restore the tarnished image of
a CEO you never knew?
"Academics' 'PR' work raises
eyebrows: Ethicists questioning efforts for Greenberg," by
Robert Weisman, Boston Globe, April 5, 2007 ---
"Academics are supposed to be
independent thinkers," said Jim Hoopes , professor of
business ethics at Babson College in Wellesley. "Once
academics start getting paid for their opinions in this way,
there is less confidence in the integrity of their ideas."
The academics, working with
eSapience, a little-known Cambridge company calling itself a
new media and research firm, included Richard Schmalensee ,
dean of MIT's Sloan School of Management; David S. Evans ,
adjunct professor at University College London; and Richard
Epstein , a University of Chicago law professor.
Their mission was "to change the
public conversation about Maurice Greenberg ," according to
a confidential plan summary. This was to be accomplished, in
part, by organizing invitation-only events where
"influencers" would hear Greenberg weigh in on insurance
issues and by penning papers, editorials, books, and other
content aimed at putting the executive in a favorable light,
the summary said.
The document was filed in US
District Court in Boston last month as part of eSapience's
lawsuit against Greenberg's current company, New York
investment firm C.V. Starr & Co., for allegedly refusing to
pay $2 million in bills from the image campaign.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on the AIG scandal are at
MOVIE CLICHE OF THE DAY ---
They're Talking About Me
"Utilizing America’s Most Wasted Resource," by Robert
M. Diamond and Merle F. Allshouse, Inside Higher Ed,
April 6, 2007 ---
How often have we
heard, “People with talent and ideas are
America’s greatest resource”? And yet, while
colleges and universities have as their
primary goal the delivery of top quality
academic programs, few take full advantage
of the talents that are available to help
meet this goal from the retired
professionals in their communities.
In most university and
college communities there is a growing pool
of talented retired or transitioning
individuals who would like nothing more than
to make a difference by using their
knowledge and experience to improve their
communities and institutions while
continuing the process of their own personal
Added to this resource is the emerging wave
of boomers who will be not retiring in the
traditional way. They will be reinventing
themselves as they enter new careers and
develop new active roles of service. These
will be professionals from a wide variety of
fields (education, health, government, the
arts, business and nonprofit executives,
scientists, engineers, and retired military
etc.) who have the energy, interest and
ability to continue as active contributing
members of society for a longer period of
time than any preceding generation. With
each year thousands of highly trained
individuals are added to this growing but
under-utilized pool of talent.
colleges and universities have made any
formal attempt to develop a successful
working relationship between the institution
and this exciting and capable source of
talent. Relationships have been more a
matter of chance than conscious planning.
Most of these focus
on the use of retired faculty living in the
area or local professionals to serve as
part-time faculty to meet a very specific
and unmet instructional need. For many
retired individuals, this form of
relationship is inappropriate, of little
interest, or impractical since they may be
available for periods of time that do not
mesh with the academic calendar. The
question then becomes how to best take
advantage of more diverse individuals to
improve the quality of our institution?
There are a wide
range of possible options for involving
transitioning or full-time retired persons
in the day to day operation of every
institution. The alternatives have the
potential not only of being extremely
beneficial to a college or university and to
the community, but at the same time can
significantly improve the personal
well-being of those who are offering their
services. The institution, the community,
and the volunteer can all gain from this
Using the Talent
In addition to
teaching a course for credit, other services
that these individuals can provide are:
Expertise: Building on their
backgrounds, they can serve as guest
lecturers, members of panels or as special
advisers to students working on team
projects In addition, they can be tutors for
students who enter courses with special
needs or mentors to those students who would
like assistance as they address advanced
topics in greater depth. The challenge here
for faculty is finding the right person or
persons with the right set of competencies
who will be able to mesh into the
instructional sequence that is planned.
Experiences: One area of possible
service that is often overlooked is the
ability for these individuals to bring to
the classroom a perspective that may have
little or nothing to do with their
professional fields of expertise. For
example, in every community there are
individuals who have lived through the
depression of the early 1930’s, served in
the military in WWII or the wars that
followed, individuals who have lived through
the Holocaust or other major genocides,
people who have had to face religious or
racial intolerance, were active in the Civil
Rights Movement, have lived through the
challenges of moving to the United States
from another country, or have spent parts of
their careers working overseas. In each
instance, their participation can add a
unique dimension to any class studying these
periods or subjects. Bringing experts in
music, art, or theater into a discussion of
a particular period of time or social
movement or inviting natives of other
countries to discuss the culture and
attitudes of different societies can add a
texture to a discussion that is otherwise
impossible. The key, once again, is the
creative use of these various talents within
the context of courses and programs.
nontraditional settings: As more
institutions view the out-of-classroom
environment as a vital element of the
academic and learning experience, these
individuals can be used as guest resident
counselors, club advisers, program
consultants, discussion leaders, etc. Not
only can they add a vital element of reality
that is so often missing in such activities
but, in many cases, they may be available to
students at times and in places when most
faculty are not.
dimension: There is one additional use
of these citizens that, while rarely taken
advantage of, can be of significant benefit
to the entire institution. Recent research
on how people think has shown that as people
mature they become what has been called
“transformative” or “critical” thinkers,
willing and able to question assumptions,
beliefs and traditions. With their extensive
backgrounds, these individuals have the
potential of adding a unique element to a
classroom and the campus. These mature and
experienced people can help both students
and institutional leaders make plans for the
future and address new and often unique
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads about higher education controversies are
At last some colleges (at least in New York) are paying the
price of accepting student loan kickbacks from lenders
Cuomo announced at a news conference
(at high noon, to boot) that facing the threat of legal action,
several universities had signed settlement agreements
obligating them to repay funds they had
received from lenders and to abide by a “code of conduct” that
will require them to give up or change certain aspects of their
relationships with student loan companies. And one of the
student loan industry’s biggest players, Citibank, agreed that
it too would abide by the code of conduct, and no longer offer
to pay colleges a portion of their private loan volume to use
for financial aid — a practice Cuomo had derided as “kickbacks.”
Doug Lederman, "The First Dominoes Fall," Inside Higher Ed,
April 3, 2007 ---
"The Student Loan Trap," by Mark Shapiro, The
Irascible Professor, April 4, 2007 ---
Colleges and universities often
claim that they are helping students to meet the rising
costs of a college education by expanding financial aid for
students. What they fail to mention is that these days a
"financial aid" package -- even for the neediest of students
-- includes a large loan component in addition to whatever
scholarships and grants the college or university may be
able to provide. For many years the maximum Pell grant was
just over $4,000 per year. On July 1, 2007 this will
increase to slightly over $4,300 per year. However, for most
students even in public colleges and universities this
amount is far less than the annual cost of college. The
difference is made up from student loans. The poorest
students can obtain Perkins Loans. These are government
subsidized loans that carry a 5% interest rate, and are made
directly by the college to the student from a very limited
pool of funds.
By far the majority of money for
student loans comes from two other programs, the Stafford
Loan program and the Parent Loan Program for Undergraduate
Students (PLUS). Some of the Stafford Loan money comes from
directly from the government, but a large fraction is
provided by private lenders. The interest rate on Stafford
Loans is fixed at 6.8% and the rate for PLUS loans is fixed
at 8.5%. Students who qualify based on need, may obtain
"subsidized" Stafford Loans. The student with a subsidized
Stafford Loan makes no payment until six months after
graduation or six months after ceasing to be at least a
half-time student. The federal government pays the interest
in the interim. Students with unsubsidized Stafford loans
must begin payments immediately.
While the interest rate for
Stafford Loans is relatively attractive, that does not tell
the whole story. The federal government collects both a 3%
"origination" fee and a 1% "insurance" fee on these loans.
These fees are used to cover loans that go into default.
Thus, to a large extent, private lenders who originate
student loans or who purchase them in the secondary market
are protected against defaults by the government. But the
the private lenders have another great advantage when they
provide Stafford or PLUS loans; namely, these debts last
forever. If a person who has outstanding student loans falls
on hard times, he or she cannot use the bankruptcy laws to
discharge the debt. The individual (and often his parents
who may have cosigned for the loan) has very limited options
available to them if they are unable to make their loan
payments on time and if full. In some circumstances, if a
person becomes completely disabled the loan may be forgiven.
In some limited situations, a person in default on a student
loan may obtain deferment or forbearance on their loan. But
short of that, the loan simply goes into default and the
interest, late fees, and interest on late fees just
continues to build.
Private lenders who hold student
loan paper have been very aggressive in their collection
efforts; and, because the government aids them by garnishing
the debtor's income tax refunds and Social Security benefits
the lenders seldom get stiffed. Instead, the hapless debtor
continues to pay for decades while the amount he or she owes
may actually increase owing to the late fees and interest on
the late fees.
Private lenders have found the
stream of income generated by aggressively applying late
fees coupled with vigorous collection efforts to be quite
lucrative. In fact, it's not unusual for a person who has
gone into default on student loans to end up paying more
than twice the original debt before everything is settled.
Horror stories abound of individuals whose lives essentially
have been destroyed by the efforts of the student loan debt
At the same time that these private
lenders are extracting the last dime from their less
fortunate customers, they have developed cozy relationships
with college financial aid offices.
In a March 29, 2007 New York Times article Jonathan D.
Glater reported that a number of well-known colleges and
universities have agreements with private lenders to answer
telephone queries to their financial aid offices. In many
cases students are not told that they are talking to a
representative of the private lender rather than a school
financial aid staff person. College and university financial
aid officials also often receive favors from private lenders
who are on their "preferred lender" lists, and some colleges
actually have received kickbacks from their preferred
lenders from loans taken out by their students.
The situation had gotten so bad
that New York's attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, had
started investigations into student loan practices at
numerous colleges. The Chronicle of Higher Education
reported on April 3, 2007 that Cuomo had reached settlements
with 36 of these institutions that would prevent
administrators from "accepting gifts from lenders, serving
on paid lender-advisory boards, and entering into revenue
sharing contracts with private lenders." Six of the
institutions that had entered into such revenue sharing
agreements also agreed to refund the money that they
received to the students who actually took out the loans.
Continued in article
Also see the scandolous updates at
Bob Jensen's threads on financial and academic lack of
accountability in higher education ---
American Civil War History Site
April 4, 2007 message from tagate
Hello my name is Ann And i found your nice site and
i have a history site about the american civil war and i wonder if you can
link me on your site. I think that my site can be a good school resource
American Civil War
It´s about the American Civil War 1861-1865 and the
slavery history and it´s greatly with information. It´s includes the history
of the slaves in america, i have also civil war letters in the catagori
(Family War Stories)
Please tell me if you can link me
I added the above link to the following two pages:
Networks Show Power Laws
Why the Rich Get Richer: New Theory Shows How Wealth Sticks to Some and
A new theory shows how wealth, in different forms, can stick to some but not to
others. The findings have implications ranging from the design of the Internet
PhysOrg, April 3, 2007 ---
Real-world data -- whether distributions of wealth,
size of earthquakes or number of connections on a computer network -- often
follow power-law distributions rather than the familiar bell-shaped curve.
In a power-law distribution, large events are reasonably common compared to
Networks often show power laws. They can be caused
by the "rich get richer" effect, also known as "preferential attachment,"
where nodes gain new connections in proportion to how many they already
have. That means some nodes end up with many more connections than others.
The phenomenon is well known, but had been assumed to be just a fundamental
property of networks.
Raissa D'Souza, an assistant professor at the
Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and the Center for
Computational Science and Engineering at UC Davis, together with colleagues
at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash., UCLA and Cornell University, looked
at how "preferential attachment" can arise in networks.
"'The rich get richer' makes sense for wealth, but
why would it happen for Internet routers?" she said.
D'Souza and colleagues found that they could make
tradeoffs between the network distance between nodes and the number of
connections between them. By tweaking the conditions, they could make
preferential attachment -- a power-law distribution of the number of
connections -- stronger or weaker.
These tradeoffs in networks are an underlying
principle behind preferential attachment, D'Souza said. The general
framework could be extended to all kinds of different networks, in biology,
engineering, computer science or social sciences.
"It's exciting because it shows the origins of
something that we had assumed as axiomatic," D'Souza said.
The other authors on the study, which is published
online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are
Christian Borgs and Jennifer T. Chayes at Microsoft Research, Noam Berger at
UCLA and Robert D. Keinberg at Cornell University. A figure from the study
will also be used for the cover art of the April 10 print issue of the
Source: UC Davis
I think they forgot the all-important cheating factor. But then again, maybe
that’s part of networking as well.
When Honesty is Not the Best Policy at Work
A new book argues that honesty may not be the best
policy in the workplace. From Hire to Liar: The Role of Deception in the
Workplace says lies may not be so bad — they're an essential part of how
business gets done.
"Making Lies Work for You at the Office," NPR, April 4, 2007 ---
ALPFA: The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and
Accounting offers career and community resources ---
Bob Jensen's career helpers are at
March 30, 2007 message from
TEACHING WITH WIKIS
"Wikis are Web pages that can be viewed and
modified by anyone with a Web browser and Internet access. Described as a
composition system, a discussion medium, and a repository, wikis support
asynchronous communication and group collaboration online." ("7 Things You
Should Know about Wikis," from EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative;
In "Wiki as a Teaching Tool" (INTERDISCIPLINARY
JOURNAL OF KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING OBJECTS, vol. 3, 2007, pp. 57-72), Kevin
R. Parker and Joseph T. Chao review the current state of wiki use in
education. Some of the uses include "webpage creation, project development
with peer review, group authoring, tracking group projects, data collection,
and class/instructor reviews." They also discuss how wikis can be used in
online learning. The paper is available at
Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning
Print 1552-2210, CD 1552-2229, Online 1552-2237] is
published by the Informing Science Institute, 131 Brookhill Court, Santa
Rosa, CA 95409 USA. For current and back issues, go to
For a report on how a well-known wiki, Wikipedia,
handles links to research and scholarship see:
"What Open Access Research Can Do for Wikipedia"
by John Willinsky
FIRST MONDAY, vol. 12, no. 3, March 2007
E-MATERIALS POSSIBLY CONTRIBUTING TO RISING
The University of North Carolina system's Board of
Governors recently proposed controlling the rising cost of textbooks by
instituting rental or buyback programs. Triggering such a recommendation is
the increasing costs of college textbooks, with prices rising faster than
the rate of inflation. Students, administrators, bookstores, and publishers
argue who or what is causing these increasing costs. One argument places the
blame on faculty who demand not only frequent new editions, but also want
students to have access to materials that technology enables -- CD-ROMs,
e-books, course-related software, private-access websites.
Instructors may find themselves caught in the
middle of this blaming game. Publishers say that if textbook authors and
adopters did not insist on having additional bundled materials, the costs
could be kept down to a reasonable level. Students argue that in many
courses the extra materials are seldom or never used. In addtion, these
extras drive up prices, but often make it hard for students to resell their
For more about the textbook cost discussion and the
UNC Board of Governors' proposal see:
"Who Controls Textbook Choices?"
INSIDE HIGHER ED, March 16, 2007
For textbook publishers' perspectives, see:
The Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs)
campaign to lower textbook prices:
MySpace and Facebook pose serious threats to
increasing numbers of students
College students are
flocking to social networking sites on the
Internet in stunning numbers, often unaware of
the potential dangers that can arise there.
These dangers primarily arise from posting
personal information online that can be viewed
by criminals, potential employers, and school
administrators, which can result in identity
theft, loss of job opportunities, and violations
of school rules. Campus administrators should
inform their students about the potential
dangers of using social networking Web sites —
but they should be cautious not to do so in ways
that could make them liable if the students
engage in illegal behavior.
Sheldon Steinbach and Lynn Deavers, "The Brave
New World of MySpace and Facebook," Inside
, April 3, 2007 ---
Liberal Professors Advertise Support for Ward Churchill's
Eleven scholars have published a
full-page ad in The New York Review of Books to try to rally
support for Ward Churchill, who is
facing possible dismissal from his tenured job at the
University of Colorado at Boulder. The text of the ad is
available at a Web site called
“Defend Critical Thinking,” and
focuses on the way charges of misconduct were brought against
Churchill, not the charges themselves. The ad warns scholars to
“be wary of opportunistic attacks on scholarship that are
disguised means of sanctioning critics and stifling the free
expression of ideas,” adding: “It may be that aspects of
Churchill’s large body of published writings were vulnerable to
responsible academic criticism, but the proceedings against him
were not undertaken because of efforts to uphold high scholarly
standards, but to provide a more acceptable basis for giving in
to the right-wing pressures resulting from his 9/11 remarks.”
Among those signing: Derrick Bell of New York University, Noam
Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Juan Cole
of the University of Michigan, and Howard Zinn of Boston
Inside Higher Ed, April 3, 2007 ---
Discussions must move beyond tenure
processes. We must now examine the tenure system itself, future
career pathways for our increasingly diverse and mobile faculty,
and standards of performance in a global academic marketplace.
There may be alternative models to explore. Those discussions
must involve a variety of stakeholders who focus on one key
question: How do we create and maintain a rigorous and
competitive tenure system that best meets the needs of our
students and our publics, and best positions America for
long-term success? Tomorrow’s students and the next generation
of Americans deserve nothing less.
Hank Brown (President of the University of Colorado),
"Tenure Reform: The Time Has Come," Inside Higher Ed,
March 27, 2007 ---
The Ward Churchill saga is a major factor behind a high-level
study of the entire tenure system at the University of Colorado.
The CU president's remarks on this study can be found at
Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill saga are at
Given the dire shortage of accounting doctoral students, there's an
explosion in part-time accounting faculty.
This is also the trend in most other disciplines.
"Inexorable March to a Part-Time Faculty," by Doug Lederman, Inside
Higher Ed, March 28, 2007 ---
New data from the U.S. Education
Department confirm what faculty leaders increasingly bemoan:
The full-time, tenure-track faculty member is becoming an
endangered species in American higher education.
A new report from the National Center for
Education Statistics shows that of the 1,314,506 faculty members at colleges
that award federal financial aid in fall 2005, 624,753, or 47.5 percent,
were in part-time positions. That represents an increase in number and
proportion from 2003,
full survey of institutions, when 543,137 of the
1,173,556 professors (or 46.3 percent) at degree-granting institutions were
part timers. (The statistics may not be directly comparable because the
department reported part-time/full-time figures only for degree-granting
institutions in 2003, and for all Title IV institutions in 2005.)
The new report, “Employees in
Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2005, and Salaries of
Full-Time Instructional Faculty, 2005-06,” also finds the
proportion of all professors who are tenured or on the
tenure track to be shrinking. Of the 675,624 full-time
faculty members at degree-granting colleges and universities
in 2005, 414,574, or 61.4 percent, were either tenured or on
the tenure track. That is down from the 411,031 of 630,419
(or 65.2 percent) of professors at degree-granting
institutions who were tenured or tenure track in 2003.
Full-time Faculty at
Degree-Granting Institutions, 2005 and 2003
|Not on tenure track/
no tenure system
*Figure includes 25,879 staff
members with faculty status.
The NCES report contains a wealth
of other information about faculty and staff members at
colleges and universities. Among the other highlights:
- The proportion of full-time
faculty members at degree-granting institutions who are
women rose slightly, to 40.6 percent in 2005 from 39.4
percent in 2003.
- The proportion of full-time
faculty members who are white dropped slightly, to 78.1
percent in 2005 from 80.2 percent in 2003. The biggest
gain was among Asian/Pacific Islanders, whose share of
the full-time professoriate rose to 7.2 percent from 6.5
percent. The proportion who are black dipped by a tenth
of percentage point (from 5.3 percent to 5.2 percent),
while the share who are Hispanic rose to 3.4 percent
from 3.2 percent.
- Men were significantly more
likely to be tenured or tenure track than were women. Of
full-time male professors, 47.5 percent were tenured and
18.1 percent were tenure track, while 33.9 percent of
women were tenured and 21.3 percent were tenure track.
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Bob Jensen's threads on the Obsolete and Dysfunctional System of Tenure:
Over 62% of Full-Time Faculty Are Off the Tenure Track ---
March 28, 2007 reply from Elliot Kamlet
I am a low esteem lecturer, albeit full time not
part time. Eliminating us is very expensive, especially at a State
University like mine. For example, say we hire a brand new PhD at (to use a
low but round number) $100,000 per year. (S)he teaches, say, 2 sections per
semester at 40 students each. That is a total of 160 students per year or,
on average $625 per student. The student takes 8 courses per year for about
$4350 in tuition. Therefore there might be a problem growing if we want to
pay our professor benefits, turn on the lights, run the buildings, run the
administration, etc. Of course our professor will research and publish.
While that brings additional recognition to us, it takes a while before it
might bring some money. Like it or not, that’s the way it is.
March 29, 2007 reply from James M. Peters
The problem is far worse in larger state schools.
When I was the Department Chair at the U. of Maryland, we would have had to
pay $180,000 for a new PhD, including summer support, which pretty much had
to be guaranteed as long as they were research active, to teach 3 sections
per year. We still couldn’t hire a new PhD because we couldn’t compete for
any that had a chance of making tenure at Maryland. The last assistant that
was tenured at Maryland was in 1976, 31 years ago, and they currently have
no assistant professors and are not hiring any. We required 5 JAR, JAE, or
TAR hits in their first five years for tenure. Nothing else really counted.
So we tried to hire tenured Associates at higher rates. However, again
because of the tenure standards and the short supply, most of the new hires
wanted 2 section teaching loads (per year).
As our Dean was famous for saying, every business
school in the US is working with a “going out of business” model. We just
can’t continue to pay research faculty more and more to teach less and less.
That is a “going out of business” economic model. Given the importance of
research to a major school’s reputation, however, the top school must
continue to compete for research faculty.
I believe the only solution is to do what Maryland
did (and CMU did when I was there), and develop a cadre of full-time
teaching faculty that are consider full faculty members, except for Tenure
and PhD issues. This is the European model. It means downsizing the research
faculty and it also means a form of enforced specialization. It isn’t that
most research faculty aren’t dedicated teachers, it is just that the
competition in the research market, particularly in the “big three”
journals, is so intense that they cannot afford to put time into the
classroom and survive on the research side.
So, we need to move to a model with fewer research
faculty that form the intellectual core of our departments and who regularly
interact with the teaching faculty to share their research results. However,
the core of teaching cannot be done by research faculty anymore. We just
can’t afford them.
March 29, 2007 reply from Peters, James M
The problem with trying to affect tenure
requirements is that they are driven by free labor and free "reputation"
markets, and not under anyone's control. Also, there is an excellent theory
developed by an MIT economist who speaks to this issue and explains why, due
to basic human overconfidence, a ratcheting up of both review standards and
tenure requirements is inevitable. Any University that unilaterally dropped
tenure requirements would have their reputation trashed.
As for the classic argument that research benefits
teaching, I see very little in the articles published in the "big three"
that I can bring into a graduate classroom, much less and undergraduate one.
And, again, it isn't because doing so might not be a bad idea, it is because
research faculty can no longer afford to focus on teaching.
The bottom line is the system is badly broken and
out of control, but no one can fix it. The system is a free labor market and
a free "reputation" market for schools that no one controls and will have to
correct itself, probably after a "train wreck."
March 29, 2007 reply from Paul Williams
On 29 Mar 2007 at 12:34, Richard C. Sansing wrote:
> Perhaps the best solution involves evaluating
research by reading and
> thinking instead of just categorizing and counting.
Bravo Richard. this is now an ongoing debate in our
college at the moment: a journal list of "elite" "high quality" and "other."
There is simply no substitute for reading your colleagues' work regardless
of where or how it is published. Counting is likely a feature of
administrators creating butt covering criteria to make hard decisions
easier. I remember when Maryland got to where it is and Robin is quite
correct. Maryland hired a new chancellor who proclaimed the institution
would be a top tier school and issued a ukase that only publishing in the
so-called elite journals would count (this was 30 years ago). The accounting
program at Maryland has yet to recover from an administration that opted to
make the autocratic way the way to greatness: do it, or else. For many
programs at Maryland it appears that "or else" was their choice. In D.
McCloskey's The Rhetoric of Economics she discusses the dangers of modernist
pretensions of science (what commentators on this net mean by rigorous). She
provides this little ditty on page 52:
Little wonder that youths in science are durnk with
methodology. "Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink For fellows whom it hurts
to think. And faith, 'tis pleasant till 'tis past The mischief is that
'twill not last Output, man, output's the stuff to get SO DEANS AND CHAIRMEN
WILL NOT FRET.
April 3, 2007 reply from
As a soon-to-be academic and recent practitioner of
10 years (Big 4), I wholeheartedly agree with your comment about lack of
intellectualism in the practicing community, in general. Yes, there are
pockets of folks in the larger firms that work on research. Grant Thornton
operates a research think tank comprised of ex-academics from a variety of
different universities. However, they are clearly in the background. The
Grant Thornton office managing partner and the other partners here in
Central Florida had never even heard of the research group until I mentioned
Practice becomes so consumed with the grind to
complete audits and secure new, more profitable business that they can
hardly see past the current engagement, concentrating on chargeable hours,
realization rates, and the like. I must admit, as a senior manager, I was
one of those headed down that narrow path. My annual sales goal as a KPMG
manager was $750k with an increase to $1m at senior manager. There was no
time between audits to concern myself with anything other than finding new
business just to be rated as "meeting expectations" and keep my job. I also
recognize that I would never have paid much attention to the academics
sitting in their "ivory towers" (general feeling out there) had I stayed on
to pursue partnership.
All is not lost, though. If the Grant partners here
are any indication, many folks would have an interest in research if
academics made a concerted effort to raise the general awareness and speak
in layman's terms (i.e. no scientific bluff and bluster).
April 6, 2007 reply from Paul Williams
Thank you for the reply. There were at one time
mechanisms for practice and academe informing each other, but those were
severed during the early 1970s with the triumph of the U. of Chicago group.
They had contempt for practice (normative) and a dogmatic persistence that
accounting should be "positive" (which is merely rhetoric to tell the big
lie about one of the most blatantly normative movements in U.S. political
history). Nick Dopuch and his minions have a lot to answer for.
I do see some hopeful signs. Bill McCarthy's
associate editorship, Judy Rayburn's diversity initiative seems to have some
traction in that Shyam Sunder is acting as if he wants to keep its momentum
going. Rumor has it that there will be speakers at the Chicago meeting that
are other than the typical fare, representing diverse disciplinary
perspectives. I don't usually look forward to AAA annual meetings, butI am
for this one. The theme of "imaginary worlds" at least gives
legitimacy to accountants being permitted to use their imaginations!
I also (respect) Gary
Previts as president elect, and a historian, understands from personal
experience what the damage has been to both academe and the profession of
the absence of diverse perspectives. To Gary's great credit, he accepted the
invitation to attend the diversity section's mid-year meeting. For the first
time in AAA history we may have a succession of presidents who understand
the depth of the problem and understand that many things have to change. We
shall see. Stay in touch.
If you are in Chicago this August, look me up.
March 29, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
I completely agree.
AACSB requirements on PHD AQ faculty is a ploy to
support PhD programs (irrespective of their quality or relevance), to
artificially inflate salaries to monstrous proportions, and create
artificial shortages (to justify the salaries) totally out of line with what
the market would pay PhDs in the profession with little practice
I find it unconscionable to have to pay an ABD,
with NO real world experience in the chosen profession IN WHICH EXPERTISE IS
CLAIMED, salaries higher than what we pay world-renowned scholars who have
won Lancaster Prizes, Guggenheim Fellowships, McArthur Fellowships, Pulitzer
Prizes,... Justification based on the "market" shortage is a phony argument,
since the "market" has been rigged.
We are buying an option, in many cases with
taxpayers' money, that has often a high probability of becoming worthless in
a few years.
I think there has to be a balance. However, to
denigrate practice to a second-class status in a professional field is
Can you imagine a medical school where you are a
second class citizen if you do not have a PhD? Or a law school where a
person without a PhD is a second class citizen?
In begging for respectability in the academia, by
denigrating the profession, we have forfeited our rightful claim to the
status of a learned profession. By ignoring the profession in our research,
we also have forfeited our right to be serious academics in a profession. We
have become Finance wannabes, Economics wannabes,... just plain whatever
wannabes, without gaining respectability of serious disciplines.
We also have become irrelevant to both the academia
and the profession.
March 30, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen
Hi Paul and Jagdish,
I'm hesitant to call this a "ploy." The word "ploy"
implies some type of planned conspiracy to create shortages of doctoral
students in accountancy and increase salaries. The root causes are much more
complicated and indeed even naïve.
I think the only "conspiracy" or "ploy" (both words
are too pejorative in this well-intended context) commenced in the 1960s on
the part of deans and business faculty in reaction to the Pierson Carnegie
Report  and the Gordon and Howell Ford Foundation Report . The
intent was to instill scientific research skills (especially mathematics,
statistics, econometric, and psychometric skills) into virtually every
accounting doctoral student.
Added funding such as grants to doctoral programs
from the Ford Foundation initially increased enrollments in accounting
doctoral programs. In fact I would never have become one of Stanford's three
accounting doctoral students in the 1960s had it not been for Ford
Foundation money given to Stanford. Stanford laundered that money and gave
me five years of room, board, tuition, and incidental funding. In those five
years I took only one course (from Bob Jaedicke) in accounting. The rest of
the courses in all those years were taught outside Stanford's business
school. Stanford wanted to make me a scientist.
And I was not unique. Under Tom Burns at Ohio State
did any accounting doctoral students take accounting courses? When I was on
the faculty at Michigan State a doctoral student named Jim McKeown used to
brag that he was not required to take a single accounting course in the
New doctoral programs in accounting emerged across
the U.S. and around the world. At the same time the AACSB made it more
difficult in the business school accreditation processes for accounting
programs to use doctoral graduates from other disciplines such as from
economics and education departments. I think this was somewhat an effort to
strengthen accounting doctoral programs. But I do not think it was a ploy to
create shortages and higher salaries.
In the 1960s academic accounting research journals
started to give preference to empirical and quantitative analytical
submissions. The eventual outcome by the end of the 20th Century is that
virtually all accounting doctoral graduates are applied mathematicians,
econometricians, and/or psychometricians. This is necessary for any hope of
publishing in top academic accounting research journals.
The problem with this is that most accounting
doctoral students are now drawn from the pool of younger professionals in
public accounting firms who have 1-10 years experience. Many of these
professionals would like to enter doctoral programs that focus to on
accountancy rather than science. They have little interest in spending the
next four years of their lives studying quantitative research methods that
are increasingly more rigorous in virtually all accounting doctoral
The bottom line is that we have a mismatch between
the interests and aptitudes of the potential doctoral studies pool of
accounting professionals and the scientific requirements of virtually all
doctoral programs. Many solid accountants, especially auditors, AIS, and tax
specialists, simply do not want to become mathematicians, statisticians,
econometricians, and psychometricians. They would rather study accountancy.
You can read more about the evolution these
phenomena in the 20th Century at
The bottom line is that our five-year programs churn
out accountants who then enter the practicing profession. Our doctoral
programs subsequently try to lure them back to become scientists. In the
process we perhaps accidentally created a huge mismatch between the doctoral
candidate pool and the doctoral program content.
In the 1960s doctoral programs had four choices:
Keep the status quo and rely on economics department doctoral graduates
to become the lead research scholars in our accounting departments.
Make schools of accountancy more like law schools where accounting
students study accountancy for three years after their baccalaureate
degree. Faculty in schools of accounting would then be generated much
like faculties are generated for schools of law.
Teach accountancy in undergraduate and masters professional programs and
make doctoral programs advanced professional programs for financial,
managerial, AIS, and tax advanced concentrations. The intent here would
be for doctoral programs to create super professionals much like law
schools create super professionals in legal specialties and legal
Teach accountancy in undergraduate and masters professional programs and
make doctoral programs applied science programs for accounting research.
In the process almost all accountancy is removed from doctoral programs
in favor of mathematics, statistics, economics, and other social science
For whatever reasons, Alternative 4 above transpired
over the past 60 years. Alternative 4 created a relatively small number of
outstanding researchers who know virtually nothing about accounting beyond
what they learned as undergraduates and masters students plus a few years of
on-the-job experience. This means that practicing accountants with more than
10 years experience really know more financial accounting, managerial
accounting, AIS, and tax than our tenured accounting professors who, often
reluctantly, have to teach professional accountancy courses in undergraduate
and masters accountancy programs.
Alternative 4 also created the shortages and high
salaries that greatly limits number of applicants for accounting faculty
positions. This in turn has created the explosion of the so-called second
class non-tenured teachers of accounting that are increasingly necessary to
enrollments in accountancy course.
I close with one of my most depressing quotations
from an Accounting Horizons referee who rejected publishing the remarks of
Dennis Beresford’s address to the AAA membership at the 2005 Annual AAA
Meetings in San Francisco. The arrogant referee wrote the following to the
Editor of Accounting Horizons:
1. (Professor Beresford's)
paper provides specific recommendations for things that accounting
academics should be doing to make the accounting profession better.
However (unless the author believes that academics' time is a free good)
this would presumably take academics' time away from what they are
currently doing. While following the author's advice might make the
accounting profession better, what is being made worse? In other words,
suppose I stop reading current academic research and start reading news
about current developments in accounting standards. Who is made better
off and who is made worse off by this reallocation of my time?
Presumably my students are marginally better off, because I can tell
them some new stuff in class about current accounting standards, and
this might possibly have some limited benefit on their careers. But
haven't I made my colleagues in my department worse off if they depend
on me for research advice, and haven't I made my university worse off if
its academic reputation suffers because I'm no longer considered a
leading scholar? Why does making the accounting profession better take
precedence over everything else an academic does with their time?
As quoted at
March 31, 2007 reply from Denny Beresford
Your comments are very interesting to me as a
"nontraditional" academic. (After ten years I'm not sure I can still say I'm
a complete neophyte.) Someone from Financial Executives International
recently asked me how many accounting classes the accounting PhD students at
the University of Georgia were required to take. When I looked it up on our
website I found the total to be zero, just as suggested in your message. On
the other hand, some of the students' research methodology classes are
taught by accounting faculty and I know they discuss articles from the
Accounting Review and the like. Once (in ten years) I was even asked to make
a guest presentation to one of the PhD classes.
I teach "Accounting Policy" to our 5th year MAcc
students, which I would describe as a sort of applied advanced accounting
theory class. Fairly early in my time here I suggested to a couple of the
senior faculty that it might be a good idea for the PhD students to take my
class. I don't recall the exact response but I think it was something along
the lines of "they already have enough accounting." One of the PhD students
did take my class for credit and another took it as a directed study but
both of these were on their own initiative rather than encouragement from
other faculty to the best of my knowledge.
Somewhat naively I thought that an opportunity to
take a class from a former FASB board member and current audit committee
chair for three very large corporations would be something an accounting PhD
student would jump at. Of course, I also naively thought that Accounting
Horizons might be interested in publishing my remarks at the AAA annual
meeting, which, as you point out, was a very bad assumption.
Notwithstanding the relative lack of response to my
various offers to help, I keep trying!
April 2, 2007 reply from Ed Scribner
I keep reminding Bob of the quote attributed to economist C. E. >Ferguson,
"The real world is only a special case, and not a very >interesting one at
April 2, 2007 reply from Denny Beresford
Spending three and a half years inside of WorldCom/MCI and now nearly a year
inside of Fannie Mae has actually been pretty interesting. Guess how many
questions about these experiences I've had from PhD students? Or, for that
matter, from faculty members?
March 31, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
Perhaps ploy is a loaded word I should have
avoided. A better characterisation would have been to term the faculty
shortage an unintended consequence of AACSB acreditation policies.
My experience recruiting for my school has been the
paucity of PhDs with working-world professional accounting experience. The
market does not discriminate between PhDs with no such experience and those
who have such experience.
Those with practice experience have attractive
alternative opportunities, while those with PhDs but no practice exposure do
not (unless they have specific skills which have markets). That being the
case, it does not make much sense to treat the two groups identically.
We need to learn from the medical schools where
there are both PHDs and MD, PHDs. The former do not have the same
alternative job opportunities that the latter have, and the difference is
reflected in differential compensation. Also, PhDs in medical schools are
required to bring in external research funding in addition to publications,
quite unlike in accounting where not many bring in external funding during
early years of careers.
One way to accomplish this in accounting would be
for AACSB to say a specified percentage of faculty (say, 80% for example)
should be certified and/or hold licenses and have adequate recent relevant
experience. Those who have PhDs but no relevant certification and relevant
experience could have a much smaller presence, say 25% (the percentages are
Also, we need to bring in the practice to evaluate
research on the dimension of relevance, for example, by requiring practice
referees for all discipline-based research. This may be too radical a step,
but AAA could provide support by implementing it for AAA journals.
March 31, 2007 reply from Amy Dunbar
I cannot imagine our faculty without both of these
former partners. They add tremendous value. I am sure the rest of the
faculty would agree wholeheartedly.
On another point, I think the starting salaries are
high because we have a shortage of faculty, in part because people with
accounting skills aren't too thrilled to give up at least five years of
their life for PhD student hell. To go from a decent salary to a TA stipend
and the status of whale doo doo seems to be a bit irrational to me. I was
divorced mother of a five-year old daughter, and I made the choice to move
from Denver to Austin to enter a PhD program. I made more money before I
went into the PhD program than I made in my first position after getting out
of the PhD program.
I have no problem with the new PhDs getting high
salaries. They gave up a lot of money-making years and then they take on a
lot of risk trying to get tenure and knowing they will probably not succeed
at their first school. Our tenure-track faculty are under tremendous stress,
and they work incredibly hard.
March 31, 2007 reply from Ramsey, Donald
1. My comprehension of AACSB's history is that it
was intended to achieve respectability in a university context, especially
in terms of tenure. This in context of the old "Business Colleges".
2. Most academic disciplines do not operate in
fields with professional certifications as potentially part of the
qualifications of faculty and graduates.
3. How does Accounting compare, in terms of
salaries and tenure policies, to such professions as law and engineering
(we've already discussed medicine, which is economically in a class by
itself, I think). At our institution, for example, the law school is not
part of the union, due to its consolidation history. Go figure.
4. Qualification in pedagogy seems to have fallen
by the wayside. How many university professors have any kind of teaching
credentials? How much teaching at accredited universities is actually done
by their glorious and expensive researchers, in Accounting or any other
5. Some institutions reportedly have three tracks:
teaching, research, and a combination of those two.
6. What exactly is the purpose of tenure? Academic
freedom (which presumably everyone has anyway)? Completion of an
apprenticeship? Filling slots for a maximum of 6 years, despite only a
marginal hope of continuation?
7. Somewhere I saw an article about learning
institutions (in contrast to research institutions and teaching
institutions). Will have to look that one up.
Cheers on a Saturday morning, [someone in
accounting practice once said, "If you like casual Fridays, you'll love
casual Saturdays and Sundays!]
Donald D. Ramsey, CPA,
Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics,
School of Business and Public Administration,
University of the District of Columbia,
Room 404A, Building 52 (Connecticut and Yuma St.),
4200 Connecticut Ave., N. W., Washington, D. C. 20008.
March 31, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen
Comparing salaries is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Often law
professors are the highest paid in terms of straight salaries. But this is
misleading, because the student-faculty ratio is extremely high in even the
most prestigious law schools. This means that the total faculty budget per
student for the law school may actually be less than for other schools in
the university. Also law schools never seem to be bothered by having to
frequently use part-time faculty for specialty law courses.
The highest paid faculty are generally in the medical school, but it is
almost impossible to compare medical school faculty budgets with other
schools in the university. Some universities have a "profit sharing plan"
where the profits from medical school hospitals are shared with the medical
school faculty. Income may thus vary depending upon those profits. Other
medical schools allow faculty both to draw a salary and to bill patients
served in the university hospital.
If you look at the AAUP faculty salary data for most universities,
medical school faculty are generally the highest paid.
Then there is always the problem of comparing research grant income that
often comes on top of the contracted salaries. There are various ways that
top scientists make more than top accountants.
As far as the purpose of tenure, I have some threads on tenure and its
Tenure used to be a protection against having administrators being able to
easily fire some faculty because they happen to have different philosophies
or politics or religions. It's more complicated these days.
Keep in mind that a seniority system is tantamount to tenure if a college
does not have a tenure system but abides by a seniority policy. Hence the
villain sometimes is not the tenure policy if the seniority policy is in
But there are some added advantages and
disadvantages to tenure versus seniority systems. Most tenure policies force
universities to make hard decisions about keeping or dropping new faculty
after seven years. Tenure forces the weeding out of the weak performers, but
it may give too much weight to publication performance.
I personally don't like the AAUP tenure rules because I think that the
seven-year up-or-out policy is too arbitrary and dysfunctional. For one
thing it leads to short-term research focus to pile up publications. It
encourages "paper splitting" for publication. It also encourages joint
authoring games. Three professors can each write a paper and list the other
two professors as joint authors arising from minimal input. That way the
three professors get credit for three papers rather than the one they
primarily wrote. I attribute the explosion of joint authorship in accounting
and business research journals to this unethical survival tactic of faculty.
April 1, 2007 reply from Roger Collins,
Hello Bob. I thought you might appreciate this
article, not as a reflection on the state of cancer research but as a
reflection of research in accounting. Best wishes to Erika and yourself.
Roger Roger Collins
TRU School of Business
"To Break the Disease, Break the Mold," by Susan
Love, The New York Times, April 1, 2007
WITH the cancer recurrences of Elizabeth
Edwards and Tony Snow the question arises: Why does this still happen?
As is often the case, the answer isn’t very satisfying: not all cancers
are alike, early detection doesn’t always work and treatments are still
far from perfect.
But there’s another problem: we keep focusing
on doing the same thing better rather than trying something new. It is
as if we are wearing blinders that let us see only one path and not the
If you look at most cancer research journals
you will see that our focus remains on finding smaller cancers, doing
less surgery and radiation and developing new drugs to add to the old
ones in an attempt to treat the cancers we detect. This approach —
finding the enemy, and then slashing, burning and poisoning it — hasn’t
changed since I was a resident in training 30 years ago. We have
certainly refined it over the years — two publications just came out
that recommended expanding the use of M.R.I. scans in women who have
breast cancer or are at risk for it — but, as in this situation where
the additional exam only identified 3 percent more cancers, each
progressive development leads to a smaller increment in benefit.
Why do we lack new approaches? One of the key
problems is the way research on cancer is carried out. In the past it
was common for clinicians to observe their patients, come up with a
hypothesis regarding diagnosis or treatment and then head to the lab to
test it out. For instance, in 1983, two Australian clinicians — one was
a pathologist, the other a gastroenterologist — observed bacteria in
stomach biopsies and went on to prove that ulcers were caused not by
acid, as had been assumed, but by a bacterial infection. Ulcer
researchers, who had spent their careers studying gastric acid, thought
the idea was absurd but much to their amazement it turned out to be
The curious clinician is becoming increasingly
rare. Medicine and science have become so complicated that it is almost
impossible for one person to be an expert at both. Researchers tend to
take a discovery from the lab and apply it to patients; the reverse trip
is more and more uncommon. More often than not, someone makes an
interesting discovery in the lab and then tries to find a clinical
application. There is little chance, much less financing, for the wild
idea that might prove revolutionary.
This situation is not helped by the incentives
we give to young cancer researchers but not to experienced clinicians
who want to test a hypothesis developed over years of treating patients.
It is difficult indeed to obtain a grant to do research if you haven’t
spent your career in the laboratory. As the baby boomer generation of
doctors approaches retirement, we should harness their experience and
wild ideas by offering training in science or partnering them with
younger research colleagues. Otherwise we risk inventing and discovering
without reference to actually helping cancer patients.
Another aspect of the problem is our peer
review system for financing research. It works well at eliminating poor
investments, but it squelches innovation and fosters the old boy
network. Organizations that give out “innovator” and “pioneer” awards
claim to want to support new ideas but end up giving money to better
ways of doing the same thing. And our academic and research institutions
reward projects with clearly defined objectives that have a good chance
of quickly leading to publications and tenure. If you have a wild idea
or a completely new paradigm, forget about it.
Cancer of the cervix is one of the few cancers
where we have been able to break the mold. We have moved from the Pap
smear, which merely discovers abnormal cells, to a vaccine that can
prevent the resulting cancer by protecting women against the virus
strains that cause it.
At a breast cancer conference in San Antonio
last December, a leading cancer researcher, James Holland, presented
evidence suggesting that breast cancer may also have viral associations.
A wild idea indeed; however, rather than being greeted with enthusiasm
by the attending scientists and members of the press it was dismissed.
Might there be something to it? We’ll probably never know.
Continued in article
April 2, 2007 reply from Eileen Taylor
With reference to the disconnect between research
and one practice:
One can look at the opportunities (or lack thereof)
for an accounting PhD in practice, compared with opportunities for JDs and
MDs to see that we are quite removed from the accounting profession. The
worth of a PhD in practice appears close to nil.
It seems the question is: "What indeed do we offer
practice, and what should we offer practice?" Keep in mind that we are the
educators of future practitioners!
Eileen Z. Taylor, PhD Assistant Professor,
Department of Accounting
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 8113,
Nelson Hall Raleigh, NC 27695-8113
April 2, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
I think we need to study the evolution of professional education in the US
in relation to the same in Britain and Europe to get an understanding of why
we are where we are today.
Till the first world war, professional education in
the US closely paralleled that in Britain in that the first professional
degree is Bachelors and not doctoral, or required no preparation beyond high
school for entry (for example, in medicine MB,BS or MB,ChB and not MD, in
law LL.B and not JD, in business B.Com and not PhD or dottore Commercialisti
as in Italy).
After the first war, interestingly, professions in
the United States (medicine and Law; engineering, architecture and business
including Accounting continued with the British model) switched to the
European model with liberal arts education followed by a professional
doctoral degree. Actually, it is my understanding that Harvard and Yale
switched from LLB to JD not too long ago.
Both medicine and law have considerably enhanced
their stature with this move.
There is a considerable difference between medicine and law. Much of the
"research" done by MDs in medicine is little more than of "drug testing"
variety often bankrolled by pharmaceutical companies. Most "real" research
in medicine is done by PhDs and MD, PhDs and bankrolled by federal taxpayers
through NSF, NIH, NIMH,... Except at some selected schools, MD has virtually
no research component except for those in the MD, PHd programs. Also, there
seems to be a dichotomy between "research" oriented medical schools
(Harvard, Yale are examples) as opposed to "practice" oriented medical
schools (Northwestern or UCLA for example).)
A typical MD is not trained in research unless (s)he
does a year or more of post-residency research fellowship in the chosen
specialty, and even then it is usually of the drug-testing variety.
In case of law schools on the other hand, there has
always been a tradition of scholarship quite unlike in medicine, specially
in surgery (in Britain surgeons are not even referred ti as Dr.).
Both in medicine and surgery, there are ways in
which the education and practice are brought together in synergistic ways.
In medicine you have rotations, internships, and rounds/grand rounds; in law
you have moot courts and law reviews.
I think we in accounting should try to find out how
we can leverage the experience of medicine and law to come up with an
education model that meets our professional and research needs.
I agree fully with Paul that we need to address the
issue of the wall of separation that exists between the academe and the
profession on accounting.
Where Highest Ranked Colleges Don't Excel
Thomas Toch and Kevin Carey, "Where Colleges Don't Excel," The Washington
Post, April 6, 2007; Page A21 ---
Millions of anxious high school
seniors have been hearing from college admissions
offices in recent days, and if one believes the rhetoric
cascading from campus administration buildings,
corporate headquarters and the U.S. Capitol, students
lucky enough to get acceptance letters will be entering
the best higher education system in the world.
Hardly a week goes by without a
prominent politician or business leader declaring
America's advantage in the global battle for brainpower,
citing as evidence a study from Shanghai's Jiao Tong
rates17 American universities
among the world's 20 best.
rankings are based entirely on
measures of advanced research, such
as journal articles published and
Nobel Prizes won -- measures, that
is, of the work that's done mostly
in graduate programs. And while
advanced research is vital to the
nation's economic competitiveness,
so is producing enough well-educated
workers to compete for the
high-value jobs of the future.
students are going to make up the
bulk of those workers because only
13 percent of the nation's 17
million students in higher education
are at the graduate level. Yet a
hard look at our undergraduate
programs suggests that when it comes
to the business of teaching students
and helping them graduate, our
universities are a lot less
impressive than the rhetoric
Seventy-five percent of high school
graduates go on to higher education,
but only half of those students earn
degrees. And many of those who do
graduate aren't learning much.
According to the
American Institutes for Research,
percent of graduating college
seniors can successfully perform
tasks such as comparing viewpoints
in two newspaper editorials.
And it's an
open secret that many of our
colleges and universities aren't
challenging their students
academically or doing a good job of
teaching them. In the latest
findings from the
National Survey of Student
percent of college students reported
being assigned to read four or fewer
books in their entire senior year,
while nearly half (48 percent) of
seniors were assigned to write no
papers of 20 pages or more.
our global dominance in research and
persistent mediocrity in
undergraduate education are closely
related. Both are the result of the
same choices. The 17 institutions
atop the Shanghai rankings are
driven by professional and financial
incentives that favor research and
scholarship over teaching. Funding
from the federal government,
publish-or-perish tenure policies,
and college rankings from the likes
of U.S. News & World Report all push
universities and professors to excel
at their research mission. There are
no corresponding incentives to teach
U.S. News rankings. Ninety-five
percent of each college's score is
based on measures of wealth, fame
and admissions selectivity. As a
result, college presidents looking
to get ahead focus on marketing,
fundraising and recruiting faculty
with great research credentials
instead of investing their resources
in helping undergraduates learn and
problem can't and shouldn't be fixed
by government regulation.
Independence and diversity make our
higher-education sector strong, and
that shouldn't change.
The way to
drive higher education institutions
to stop ignoring undergraduates in
favor of pursuing research is to
provide more information about their
performance with undergraduates to
the consumers who pay tuition bills:
students and their parents.
investing in new ways to gauge the
quality of teaching and learning and
by requiring taxpayer-subsidized
colleges to disclose their
performance to the public, the
federal government can change the
market dynamics in higher education,
creating strong incentives for
colleges to produce the caliber of
undergraduates we need to compete in
the global marketplace, incentives
to make the rhetoric of being first
in the world in higher education a
Thomas Toch and Kevin Carey
are, respectively, co-director and
policy manager of Education Sector,
a Washington think tank.
The Current President of Harvard Takes a Dark View of the State of
Learning and the Future State of Learning
Both Harry Lewis and Derek Bok have entered a devastating judgment on
contemporary university leadership ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
I guess this could be called the Budd Light of automotive history
Research suggests Ford was not the true father of mass automated car
Henry Ford has long been heralded as the father of
modern mass automotive production. However, a controversial new paper by two
Cardiff University researchers suggests that history may have got the wrong man.
Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis and Dr Peter Wells of the Centre for Automotive Industry
Research, Cardiff Business School, suggest it was Edward G Budd of Philadelphia
whose development of the pressed steel car body truly developed mass production
as it is known today. While Ford did develop mass production of key mechanical
components and sub assemblies, as well as the moving assembly line, the making
and painting of early car bodies proved a bottleneck. Cars were built around a
separate chassis, with the body fitted on top to enhance drive and passenger
comfort. Bodies were built around a wooden framework clad with steel, aluminium
or plywood, then painted. The paint could take many days to dry. Attempts to
speed up the drying process by heating car bodies resulted in the wood catching
fire, with disastrous consequences. The only answer was to remove all wood from
the bodies. By 1914, Budd had a number of patents for a pressed steel car body -
and a new start-up firm, Dodge Brothers (run by two ex-Ford directors), was
interested in trialling the technology.
PhysOrg, April 5, 2007 ---
"Rising Up Against Rankings," by Indira Samarasekera, Inside Higher
Ed, April 2, 2007 ---
Canadian universities are listening with great
interest as the call to boycott U.S. News & World Report rankings continues
to increase in volume among our colleagues to the south. Many of our
American colleagues say that they would like to resist the rankings, but
fear it can’t be done, especially if only a few institutions act. I write to
let you know that institutions can take on the rankings. About a year ago, a
growing number of Canadian institutions began to raise the same alarm,
ultimately resulting in 25 of our 90+ institutions — including many of our
leading universities — banding together to take just such a stand against
the fall rankings issue of Maclean’s, our Canadian equivalent.
Why we did it:
It’s time to question these
third-party rankings that are actually marketing driven,
designed to sell particular issues of a publication with
repurposing of their content into even higher sales volume
special editions with year-long shelf life.
While postsecondary education
always like grades and ranks — they’re the trophies in our
competitive arena – presidents and other top administrators
at our institutions also have an obligation to do what’s
right for our institutions in terms of championing our
values and investing our resources.
Currently, many American colleges
and universities have new presidents — as there were here in
Canada a year ago. It is the role and obligation of a new
president to question the status quo, especially
long-standing practices that may have started a decade or
two ago and have since evolved into a much larger
administrative burden with less advantage or validity than
they appeared to have at their inception.
Setting the stage:
For years Maclean’s
collected various sets of data for its fall undergraduate
institution rankings issue – some objective, some
subjective, some pertinent, some irrelevant – and turned
them into aggregated averages to arrive at one overall score
for each institution. These aggregated scores are listed in
“league tables,” supplemented with some editorial coverage
on our universities (and advertising by many of our
institutions) to create the rankings issue. Sound familiar?
This annually annoying methodology
is initiated with a request to each institution to assist
them by collecting and reporting data to them in the format
Maclean’s desires, typically not the format that we
use in institutional research, thus requiring a special
effort and investment of time and resources.
Assistance is also requested in
administering a student survey for the fall undergraduate
rankings issue and a graduate survey to our alumni for the
spring graduate school rankings, a product line extension
added in 2004 to double the burden. As an alternative they
ask us to provide e-mail addresses to the magazine if we
don’t conduct the survey for them.
The new presidents’ examination of
this process was triggered by the request for data and
survey assistance for the spring 2006 graduate school
rankings. Our uprising started when my colleagues at the
University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge and I —
presidents of the three largest universities in Alberta —
wrote a letter to Maclean’s and met with the rankings
editor and the publisher in January 2006 to express our
concerns about the methodology of their undergraduate and
graduate surveys and rankings.
Along with raising technical issues
regarding methodology, we pointed out that a vastly
different educational and grading system in Alberta – one of
the highest performing K-12 systems in the world – make
comparisons of the grades of our incoming undergraduate
students with the grades of incoming students in other
provinces inappropriate. Our high schools employ a different
grading system – believed to be more rigorous – and a
student’s final achievement level is defined by a graduation
exam not used in other provinces. In the case of the
graduate survey, we argued that surveying alumni reflects an
institution’s past, not its present, particularly in a
province such as Alberta, where the government has poured
billions of dollars into postsecondary education in the last
In our letter and meeting we
offered to deploy the expertise at our institutions, from
statistics to education evaluation, to improve the
methodology. We also advised the editor that we would not
participate further if the methodology remained unchanged.
We got no reply.
In the meantime, we enlisted the
support of David Naylor, who had recently assumed the role
of president at University of Toronto, a major research
university that has historically landed at the top of the
overall rankings. He weighed in, supporting our Alberta
perspective from a national vantage point, affirming:
Institutions have different strengths and aggregated
rankings diminish those differences. Having this support was
crucial. Rankings czars love to pretend the only reason to
criticize their work is if you didn’t come out on top, so
our movement gained credibility with Toronto’s backing.
As President Naylor wrote in a
newspaper op-ed last spring: “As academics, we devote our
careers to ensuring people make important decisions on the
basis of good data, analyzed with discipline. But Canadian
universities have been complicit, en masse, in supporting a
ranking system that has little scientific merit because it
reduces everything to a meaningless, average score.”
Equally important to our concerns
about methodology were our growing concerns, as public
universities, about using our resources to respond to the
increasing number of data requests for rankings as more and
more magazines, newspapers and associations are jumping into
the entrepreneurial game of rankings. Using taxpayer money
to feed sales-generating exercises by for-profit
organizations does not align with our values or our
responsibility to be accountable to the public — now matter
much it is alleged the public loves the rankings.
As the deadline for the spring
graduate student issue approached with no response on
addressing the methodology, the presidents of the
Universities of Alberta, Toronto and Calgary were joined by
McMaster University, and together we officially declined to
participate in the graduate survey. When faced with a demand
to supply data for rankings with dubious methodology, we
could no longer assist in misleading the public and our
Into the fray:
We did not go public with our
decision; Maclean’s itself started a buzz about our
boycott – a preemptive strike – knowing that controversy
sells issues. At this point, we all still anticipated
participating in the fall undergraduate rankings and
continued trying to obtain a response from Maclean’s
staff on fixing the methodology for the fall issue. Months
wore on as we attempted to work with the magazine, resulting
in many unanswered phone calls that culminated with the
staff basically dismissing our concerns, asserting that the
magazine staff certainly knew more about statistical
analysis than some academics.
Faced with this unwillingness to
consider the requests of the universities, punctuated by the
annual request for a sizeable amount of data for the fall
issue, we four once again opted out of that rankings issue.
But another buzz was growing among the universities. We were
quickly joined by seven other presidents who asserted to
Maclean’s that they, too, would withdraw if the
methodology didn’t change. Solidarity mounted and, in the
end, 25 colleges and universities refused to participate in
the fall issue.
Truth is, most of us already had
much of the data sought on our Web sites, but not always in
an easy-to-locate places or formats since they are posted as
institutional research. The “boycott schools” countered by
organizing themselves to post their data – albeit not
reworked into identical form or the way Maclean’s
requested it – and heighten ease of access on our sites.
(The University of Alberta’s information
can be found here and
also here; for comparison, the University of Toronto
Just before their fall deadline,
Maclean’s filed a freedom of information request, but it
was too late to for us to respond. Most of us had already
posted the data online, and we directed Maclean’s
staff to our Web sites. In instances where the magazine
staff couldn’t find data on our Web site, they chose to use
the previous year’s data.
Did it work?
We think that it did and continue
to hope that collaboration with Maclean’s to improve
the methodology and arrive at rankings we all find valid and
useful lies in our future. Yet, while many allege that the
rankings influence student and parent decisions
significantly, particularly international students, at the
University of Alberta we have seen no indication of that in
our applications. In fact, our international applications
are up 36 percent over last year.
We feel that if we have succeeded
in advancing our objective (it’s still early and time will
tell) it is because:
- Institutions of all types were
involved, from the leading research institutions to
small liberal arts colleges. None of us could have done
- All the presidents involved
had a joint communications strategy with a unified
message, and all stayed on message. We stood united.
None caved at the last moment to his or her own
- Students at all 25
institutions were on our side.
- Governing boards, faculty and
staff came on board.
- School counselors were
contacted early on, explaining our position and
supplying them with information on where to find
institutional data on our Web sites.
- We stood united to the end: we
did not react after the issue came out, and all agreed
not to use Maclean’s rankings to promote our
Our coalition of the fed up
continues to work together. Our goal: to adopt a common
format for institutional data reporting on the Web so all
those in the ranking business can take what they want and
leave us to our business of research, teaching and service.
Stay tuned to Canada for Part 2 as
we’ve just learned that Maclean’s is introducing an
issue ranking professional schools and graduate programs.
Continued in article
Although I see many problems with rankings by the media, it seems to be unfair
to single out US News. Other media outlets provide rankings that would be
difficult or impossible to "boycott." For example, The Wall Street Journal
rankings of MBA programs are based upon recruiters employed by business firms
and other organizations. College officials do not supply the data for those
Should Higher Ed Should Generate Its Own Rankings to Discredit Abusive
Existing tools and measurements could allow colleges
to develop meaningful rankings to replace widely discredited rankings developed
by magazines, according to
a report being released today by Education Sector,
a think tank. The report repeats criticisms that have been made of the U.S. News
& World Report rankings, saying that they are largely based on fame, wealth and
new system might use data from the National Survey
of Student Engagement and the Collegiate Learning Assessment as well as
considering new approaches to graduation rates and retention, the report says.
Current rankings reward colleges that enroll highly prepared, wealthy students
who are most likely to graduate on time. But a system that compared predicted
and actual retention and graduation rates — based on socioeconomic and other
data — would give high marks to colleges with great track records on educating
disadvantaged students, even if those rates were lower than those of some
colleges that focus only on top students.
Inside Higher Ed, September 22, 2006
I don't think this alternative ranking system will ever get off the ground.
Colleges will debate endlessly about ranking criteria. Having higher education
do its own rankings will badly upset colleges who come out in the lower end of
the spectrum, because having higher education do its own
rankings lends more legitimacy to the rankings. Lower ranking colleges in
a particular set of media/publisher rankings can always claim "lack of
legitimacy" under today's ranking systems put in place by the media.
There is an added problem of colleges racing toward the bottom in terms of
academic standards. Since "learning" is difficult to measure for ranking
purposes and "graduation rates" are easy to measure for ranking purposes,
graduation rates will probably be high in terms of higher education's ranking
system. One way to improve graduation rates is to virtually eliminate academic
April 2, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
I too have developed an aversion towards rankings
of any sort. They inflate the awe with which some schools are held, and such
awe is usually based on past (and in some cases really past) faded glory.
Besides, there can not be meaningful rankings that
are not dictatorial in some sense (thanks to Arrow et al).
Rankings are, after all multi-criteria based, and
ther criteria are in the eyes of the beholder.
There is one sight that caught my attention, and I
really like it, for you can come up with your own rankings on-the-fly. You
can find it at:
An article based on this is at:
What I like about it is that we can use our own
mission in order to come up with our peer schools, or the set of schools
that we would aspire to be.
The data is quite reliable since it is based on NRC
data. I think US News & World Report and other operations that squeeze money
out of rankings have already started dumping on the idea.
Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies are at
Good Advice From One of My Favorite Commentators
"Worry about the right things," By John Stossel, Jewish World Review,
April 5, 2007 ---
From The Washington Post on April 5, 2007
What salary did the three executives who run
Google Inc. receive last year?
From The Washington Post on April 3, 2007
Which news Web sites saw a 40 percent
increase in audience from last year?
Updates from WebMD ---
All-Drug Rehab (Commercial Site With Useful Information) ---
German scientists claim discovery in fight against Alzheimer's
German researchers on Thursday claimed they have found
a way of blocking the formation of a toxin blamed for the onset of Alzheimer's
PhysOrg, April 5, 2007 ---
Eat Less and Prolong Life: It's never too late to get it back!
Aging interrupted Much research has shown that reduced
calorie intake can increase health and longevity. Professor Stephen Spindler
(University of California) and his collaborators* have discovered that reducing
calorie intake later in life can still induce many of the health and longevity
benefits of life-long calorie reduction. Importantly, this also includes
anti-cancer effects. They are using this knowledge to establish a novel
screening technique to find drugs which mimic this longevity effect.
PhysOrg, April 2, 2007 ---
In spite of all the hype, not there's not enough infant breast feeding in
"With so much concern for what they put into their own
bodies, it may be surprising to learn that almost one-third of all new mothers
still don't breastfeed," said John Messmer, a physician with Penn State's Family
and Community Medicine center in Hershey. "After five months, two-thirds of
nursing mothers have stopped breastfeeding altogether." While there's nothing
wrong with formula, said Messmer, even the companies that make it concede that
breastfeeding is best. Why? "Breast milk is designed specifically to feed human
babies," he explained. "Breastfed babies digest their mother's milk more easily
than formula and absorb more nutrients from it." In contrast to formula, babies
are never allergic to their mother's milk.
"Probing Question: Is breastfeeding really best for babies?" PhysOrg,
April 6, 2007 ---
British researchers grow heart tissue from stem cells
British researchers said Monday they have grown human
heart tissue from stem cells, raising hopes for the transplant of replacement
valve tissue within a few years.
PhysOrg, April 2, 2006 ---
Cannabis could hold the key to ending multiple sclerosis misery
Researchers investigating the role of cannabinoids -
chemical substances contained within cannabis – in the treatment of multiple
sclerosis (MS), have found they could significantly enhance therapy, not only by
reducing nerve damage and erratic nerve impulses, but perhaps even by hindering
development of the condition.
PhysOrg, April 2, 2006 ---
Memory is Part and Parcel to Teaching and Learning: Five Best Books
on Human Memory
"Unforgettable: A Nobel-winning neurologist's favorite books on
memory," by Eric Kandel, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2007 ---
1. "Ficciones" by Jorge Luis Borges (Grove,
Memory is the scaffold that holds our
mental life together. One of its most remarkable characteristics is
that it has no restraints on time and place. Memory allows you to
sit in your living room while your mind wanders back to childhood,
recalling a special event that pleased or pained you. This
time-travel ability, often sparked by a sensory experience that
opens the floodgates of memory, is central to much great fiction. It
is described in the most detail in Marcel Proust's million-word
classic, "Remembrance of Things Past," in which a madeleine dipped
in tea famously prompts an onrush of images from the protagonist's
childhood. But one of the most fascinating descriptions of memory in
fiction can be found in Jorge Luis Borges's seminal short-story
collection, "Ficciones," first published in 1945 in Spanish. Borges,
who knew for much of his life that he was slowly going blind from a
hereditary disease, had a deep sense of the central and sometimes
paradoxical role of memory in human existence. This sense informs
much of "Ficciones" but particularly the story "Funes, the Memorious,"
which concerns a man who suffers a modest head injury after falling
off a horse and, as a result, cannot forget anything he has ever
experienced, waking or dreaming. But his brain is filled only with
detail, crowding out universal principles. He can't create because
his head is filled with garbage! We know that an excessively weak
memory is a handicap, but, as Borges shows, having too good a memory
can be a handicap as well--the capacity to forget is a blessing.
2. "Memories Are Made of This by Rusiko
Bourtchouladze (Columbia, 2002).
There are several good introductions to the
biology of memory storage for the general reader, but I particularly
like Rusiko Bourtchouladze's. A gifted writer who is also a
behaviorist, she discusses both of the great themes of memory
research: the "systems problem" of memory storage (the areas of the
brain recruited for different forms of memory) and the "molecular
problem" (the molecular mechanisms whereby memory is stored at each
site). In considering the system problems of memory, Bourtchouladze
describes the now famous patient called H.M., who underwent brain
surgery that left him with a devastating memory loss. H.M. could not
store any new information about people, places and objects. The
great Canadian psychologist Brenda Milner studied H.M. and, in a
classic analysis carried out over two decades, succeeded in
localizing this component of memory storage to the medial temporal
lobe. Bourtchouladze brings these riveting discoveries to life.
3. "Memory and Brain" by Larry R. Squire
"Memory and Brain" is a classic in the
biology of memory. In it, Larry R. Squire, a professor of psychiatry
and neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego,
provides a superb historical overview of the key experiments and
insights that have given rise to our current understanding of the
problem of memory storage. Squire himself has played a vital role in
this history: He pioneered our understanding that memory exists in
two major forms: declarative memory (this is the kind of memory that
H.M. lost) and procedural memory (for motor and perceptual skills
such as riding a bike or hitting a backhand--this is the memory that
H.M. retained). His later work includes such breakthroughs as
identifying the hippocampus in the medial temporal lobe as critical
for the storage of declarative information.
4. "The Seven Sins of Memory" by Daniel
L. Schacter (Houghton Mifflin, 2001).
In "The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind
Forgets and Remembers," Harvard professor Daniel L. Schacter shows
that declarative memory (the kind involving people, places and
objects) is highly fallible and susceptible to distortion and
suggestion. The seven "sins" refers to memory's various weaknesses:
its transience, absentmindedness, blocking, misattribution,
suggestibility, bias and persistence. Schacter, another pioneer in
the study of human memory, employs his insights not only to reveal
the fragility of memory and its extraordinary vulnerability to
influence by authority figures but also to indicate effective ways
of understanding how memory is normally encoded.
5. "Memory From A to Z" by Yadin Dudai
Any question that remains unanswered after
reading the above works by Bourtchouladze, Squire and Schacter can
be answered by Yadin Dudai, a professor at the Weizmann Institute in
Israel. This is an entertaining, wide-ranging and well-written
primer (subtitle: "Keywords, Concepts and Beyond") with more than
130 entries that range from discussions of memory on the molecular
level to examinations of the philosophical issues that confront
researchers. "Memory A to Z" begins with "A priori" and runs through
subjects such as "False Memory," "Metamemory" and "Synapse," before
ending at "Zeitgeist." The book is a handy reference, accessible to
the general reader.
Dr. Kandel is University Professor in the Center for
Neurobiology and Behavior at the Columbia University College of
Physicians and Surgeons. He is the author of "In Search of Memory:
The Emergence of a New Science of Mind" (Norton, 2006). He won the
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his studies of
Bob Jensen's paper on metamemory and memory is at
Bumper Stickers ---
These are some of the best!
Forwarded by Moe
Why We Love Children
1. A nursery school pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead.
"How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil. "Because I pissed
in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently. "You did WHAT?"
the teacher exclaimed in surprise. "You know," explained the boy, "I leaned over
and went 'Pssst' and it didn't move"
2. One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her
son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in
his voice, "Mummy, will you sleep with me tonight?" The mother smiled and gave
him a reassuring hug. "I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's
room." A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big
3. When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came
into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said,
"Mummy, you are getting fat!" I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mummy has a baby
growing in her tummy." "I know," she replied, but what's growing in your bum?"
4. A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself, "Two plus
five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is
nine...." His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?"
The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mum." "And this is how
your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked "Yes," he answered.
Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my
son in math?" The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition." The
mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a
bitch is four?" After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught
them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four."
5. One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to
her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn
the farmer. She read, ".... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and
said, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" The teacher paused then asked
the class, "And what do you think that farmer said?" One little girl raised her
hand and said, "I think he said: 'Holy Shit! A talking chicken!'"
6. A little girl asked her mother, "Can I go outside and play with the boys?"
Her mother replied, "No, you can't play with the boys, they're too rough." The
little girl thought about it for a few moments and asked, If I can find a smooth
one, can I play with him?"
7. A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father. She stands next to
the barber chair, while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snack cake The
barber says to her, "Sweetheart, you're gonna get hair on your muffin." She
says, "Yes, I know, and I'm gonna get boobs too."
Unverified "Facts" Forwarded by Moe (Maureen)
Some are very questionable, especially the paper folding claim and the duck echo
A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.
A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
A snail can sleep for three years.
Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back
of the $5 bill.
Almonds are a member of the peach family.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2
to 6 years of age.
Butterflies taste with their feet.
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.
"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".
February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would
never end because of the rate of reproduction.
If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average
of 6 months waiting at red lights.
It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
Maine is ! the only state whose name is just one syllable.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building
is an American flag.
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and
"lollipop" with your right.
The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a
chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter
of the alphabet.
The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read
left to right or right to left (palindromes).
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous":
tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous
There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in
order: "abstemious" and "facetious."
There's no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one
row of the keyboard.
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise
it will digest itself
The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood
No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.
Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or
The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.
The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.
American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from
each salad served in first-class.
Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first
Walt Disney was afraid of mice. Pearls melt in vinegar.
The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and
Budweiser, in that order.
It is possible to lead a cow upstairs...but not downstairs.
A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.
Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet
away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first U.S. president whose name contains all
the letters from the word "criminal." The second ? William Jefferson Clinton
(Please don't tell me you're SURPRISED!)
And the best for last..... Turtles can breathe through their butts. (I know
some people like that; don't YOU?) Now you know everything there is to know.
How did we survive till now without knowing all these things?