Showing posts with label academics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label academics. Show all posts

P&C calls out S.C. State cover-up

When the evaluation comes due Sept. 1, the only people who will see it are Cooper and the board -- and in a stroke of bureaucratic excess, a committee formed to evaluate Cooper.

Sorry, that's not how this works.

Taxpayer money pays Cooper's salary. Therefore, his salary is public information, and his job performance is in direct interest of the taxpayers.

Apparently the board decided it doesn't need to share this information, without regard to the law.

It would be nice if S.C. State would spend more time serving as an education resources for the state and less time as a wasteland where tax dollars and accountability are lost and never seen again.

We'd love to know when legislators and the Governor are going to take cleaning up this institution seriously.

Clyburn: "Blame it on Sanford", Blogland: "Whatever"

It seems like J.C. Hammer has reached some conclusions about what he believes to be the root of the problems at the grossly-mismanaged and incomplete James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center at S.C. State University. While audits have pointed to numerous instances of mismanagement, Clyburn says it's all ... Mark Sanford's fault?!?

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn blamed former Gov. Mark Sanford on Tuesday for delays in building a South Carolina State University transportation center that bears his name, and he said that has contributed to fundraising issues.

More factually-supported investigations have identified problems which included "duplicate billings, insufficient state matching funds and questionable payments" of amounts sometimes in the six-figure range and resulted in some expenses being referred to SLED for investigation of abuses by individual employees of the center.

It's also worth noting that Legislative Audit Council Director Thomas Bardin said auditors found no evidence that Sanford or anyone in his administration had done anything to stall the project.

South Carolina State: We don't need no education

While the Legislative Council audit found the tens of millions of dollars which went missing, their findings included "duplicate billings, insufficient state matching funds and questionable payments" of amounts sometimes in the six-figure range and resulted in some expenses being referred to SLED for investigation of abuses by individual employees of the center. It also showed the construction of the center, which lost its federal University Transportation Center status, was plagued with mismanagement.

You can read the full LAC report HERE and a summary of the report HERE.

Somehow S.C. State President George Cooper found these findings, the first of three audits of the Center, to be good news. But given his record, it's not too surprising that he still doesn't get it.

CofC's 2010 gubernatoral campaign strategy forum

Being an adjunct professor in the College of Charleston's Department of Communication, I decided to do lunch sitting in on their latest event in their ongoing Bully Pulpit series. Today's event discussed the good, bad and otherwise of the 2010 South Carolina gubernatorial campaign.

Moderated by Robert Behre of the Charleston Post and Courier, the panelists were Trav Robertson, campaign manager for Democrat Vince Sheheen, Tim Pearson, campaign manager for Republican Nikki Haley, Democratic political advisor Phil Noble and former Sanford staffer Chris Allen.

Credit for the event is also due to Dr. Bethany Goodier, the Chair of the Department.

The freewheeling event covered a lot of ground, as is often the case at Bully Pulpit events. Those who subscribe to the Blogland's Twitter feed got a 44 installment play-by-play of highlights from the event.

Those of you who didn't, but want to see what was said just need to click on the "Read More" link to see who said what:

A vote of no confidence at SC State

--Provide and implement a compelling vision for the university.
--Adhere to shared governance by refusing to communicate with the elected representatives of the faculty.
--Uphold policy and to properly oversee the financial status, including the cash flow, of the university, as found by the outside financial consulting firm Elliott Davis.

The document also states that Cooper has "ignored public scrutiny regarding the University's financial status and has provided no answers or embarrassing answers to the public particularly, regarding the James E. Clyburn Transportation Center."

The document includes a closing appeal from the Faculty Senate that the no-confidence vote "warrants immediate attention and action."

The institution has been a source of considerable controversy, and Cooper is right in the middle of it. 

USC students deserve their $15 grand back

If you're a USC student and think your tuition is too high, here's one of the reasons why:

Students in USC's Carolina Productions agreed to the $15,000 fee for a lecture, meet-and-greet and book signing on campus last Wednesday. The funds came from a student activity fee paid by all students.

Lee McKagen, an event coordinator with Carolina Productions, said his organization doesn't regret paying $15,000 for Sanford's appearance.

We're having a hard time figuring out where anything Jenny Sanford has to say is worth fifteen grand, especially in the current economy. But if you, or someone you know, is a USC student, it might be a good time to ask that question, and maybe ask for your money back.

Death by Powerpoint

Every semester, when my public speaking classes cover the chapter on visual aids, I like to share this video about smart PowerPoint design. While some of these points, like animations, apply just to electronic presentations, some of this advice has broader applications for many kinds of visual design.

Higher ed construction may not be such a bad idea right now

Over the last four years, construction costs at our state's colleges have totalled about $1 billion, according to a recent report in The Greenville News. Since the recession began, building projects valued at $60 million have been approved.

College officials cite the necessity of keeping up with the demands for program improvements and growth. And they make the point that building expenses don't come from the same pot of money that colleges depend on for operating expenses.

Nevertheless, it is still reasonable to question whether a building boom is warranted during these tough economic times.

While the op-ed raises legitimate concerns, such as the cost of maintaining an overlapping set of two-year USC campuses, citing how USC-Sumter shares a parking lot with the regional technical college, as well as continual increases in tuition rates, the issue isn't as simple as their op-ed would make it seem. In fact, at least some of this construction activity may turn out to have been shrewd investment.

Overcoming speech anxiety

It's time for fall semester to begin in the Blogland. That's when yours truly goes back in front of college students. While my writing volume will drop off a little for a few days, I do want my readers to have some good food for thought. 

In teaching public speaking, one of the toughest challenges is addressing speech anxiety. Fear of facing audiences is one of the biggest fears known to man.

To help you figure out where you stand, try the online version of the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension. It's quick, confidential and can give you some pretty good feedback.

Time for a change at S.C. State University

When millions of dollars vanishes from a public institution of any kind, answers should be forthcoming - and promptly.

But for an academic institution, which is supposed to be the public institution which most values free and open inquiry, as well as holding rigorous standards for accuracy and truth, to refuse to provide prompt and complete answers is unthinkable - and inexcusable.

The ongoing problems at South Carolina State University are pretty serious, and they're nothing new. Which is why it's time for legislators and the Governor to take inspiration from the institution's slogan and apply a "new state of mind" to matters.

Public speaking advice: Deb Sofield says

It's been a slow week for political news, with the summer heat and primary winners busily scrambling for campaign cash for fall races, so it's a good time to take Blogland readers down some slightly different avenues.

Deb Sofield is a great advocate for women in politics, but she's also a good speaking coach. She's starting a monthly series of speaking tips on her website - - entitled "Deb’s 15 Rules for the Road":

Rule number one is perhaps the simplest yet most hard ... and that is:

1. Lighten up – keep a relaxed face.

The most important minute of your life on the stage or in the boardroom or across the table is the first minute of your acknowledgement by the audience, or your dinner guest or your kid’s soccer coach by what is said in that initial look. Because early in a speech, presentation, talk, folks listen to what they “see” more that what they “hear”. So what they “see” must be professional, poised and polished.

Comedy and Power Point design tips

Part of teaching public speaking involves teaching these students how to do effective presentations with Power Point.

One of my students shared this video from the website "Technically Funny", where Don McMillian makes comedy out of office technology. He's also got a YouTube channel, which has a lot of good videos, including this one where he makes fun of poor Power Point design:

"Satire TV": A look at how comedy creates new perspectives about politics

It's no secret that one of the most effective tools bloggers use to make their points is humor. In a political culture where bloggers often seek to undermine power and deconstruct carefully-crafted political spin, we bloggers often "get" the Colberts and Stewarts of the world far better than those who work in traditional news media.

For those who want to get a better idea of how satire can help provide alternative perspectives on politics, as well as its history on the political landscape, the book "Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era" is worth reading. The book is co-edited by Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey Jones, and Ethan Thompson, examinng a wide range of topics related to political satire in mass media by chapter authors wide range of backgrounds mostly in political communication and mass media.

Gray, Jones and Thompson believe satire plays an important role in providing informed commentary on contemporary politics:

"Typing Politics": Bloggers and their impact upon political discourse

For yet another good book on political communication and new media, the Blogland recommends "Typing Politics: The Role of Blogs in American Politics", by Richard Davis.

Davis, who teaches political communication at Brigham Young University, takes a look at who bloggers are, how blogs have impacted the political landscape in their relatively short lifespan, as well as considers how they interact and conflict with traditional print and broadcast media.

Numerous examples are presented from both right and left of the political center, such as the role of bloggers in drawing tranditional news media attention to the Swift Vets ad campaign against John Kerry, as well as in highlighting critical mistakes made by incumbent GOP Senators in Montana and Virginia. He presents his findings and argues that bloggers are also helping traditional news media by serving as gatherers of information and story leads which then cross over to broadcast and print news media, where it can help sway audiences.

Good books on Public Speaking, Part Two

For yesterday’s posting, as well as this one, I owe thanks to my Department Chair, Dr. Brian McGee, who had the misfortune of having me in his graduate Executive Speechwriting class (a level of pain only surpassed by his wife, Deb McGee, and my senior advisor, Dr. Vince Benigni, who both had me for two classes). He’s the one who introduced me to all three of the titles that I’m touting in these postings.

I’ve got two titles that I’d like to share with my readers: “Choosing Powerful Words: Eloquence That Works”, Ronald H. Carpenter (Allyn & Bacon) and “Speak like Churchill, Stand like Lincoln”, by James C. Humes (Three Rivers Press). Both books are a little dated, with Carpenter’s book dating back to 1999 and Humes’ to 2002. But as I said yesterday, the art of public speaking is an ancient one, and one which has been studied across the span of recorded human history, so when compared to 2,500 years, a book that goes back a decade or so can still provide useful insights. Both these books do exactly that.

Good books on Public Speaking, Part One

In teaching public speaking, I’ve come to learn that one often doesn’t need to buy the latest (and often most expensive) books in the field. Since the 2,500 years or so since the study of rhetoric began in the high days of Greek society, one will find that a lot of the basics have been well-covered long before modern book publishing. The most expensive text often doesn’t cover much ground that hasn’t been covered by far less expensive texts, which is one of the reasons I stand by my preferred text: “A Speaker’s Guidebook” by Dan O’Hair, Rob Stewart and Hannah Rubenstein.

A well-organized text, it covers the basic elements of planning and presenting a speech.

The "Man-cession"

This recession has caused some of the biggest transformations seen in the American workforce in decades. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, these changes have included women taking the lead in today's workforce:
Steady increases among women with college degrees over the past two decades apparently paid off during the recession, with government statistics showing they fared better than men over the past year, and for the first time surpassed the number of men holding payroll jobs.

The article attributes this change as being driven by the economic downturn putting the squeeze on lesser-skilled positions, giving women, who have more college degrees than men, an advantage in today's job market.

This might be a good reason for guys to go back to school.

The CofC guest speaker series continues this spring

One of the best benefits of being a major-league political blogger is the extensive range of contacts that it's allowed me to make. I've used these friendships to help add value to the clases I teach at the College of Charleston by getting three or four speakers for each class. Thus far, the line-up has been impressive, including business executives, lawyers, judges, teachers, legislators and other elected VIPs - up to the Speaker of the House and statewide elected officials.

I'm lining up guest speakers for the spring, and thus far, I'm getting a strong response. If you have a fairly advanced career, and would like to discuss public or managerial communication and your career, I may have room for YOU to come speak to one of my classes.

The rules are simple: 1) plan to talk for 15-20 minutes, mostly about what you do and relate it to the class - usually public speaking or organizational communication, 2) take some questions, and best of all, 3) discussions are generally not reported on the Blogland.

If you're interested,
drop me an email and let's see if we can get you down to the College of Charleston.

Just as long as you don't end up like this guy:

Richard Eckstrom to speak to my CofC students on Wednesday

Special thanks to Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, who will be coming to the College of Charleston tomorrow evening as the next participant in this semester's roster of guest speakers to my evening Public Speaking classes:

South Carolina's Comptroller General, Richard Eckstrom, CPA, will speak at the College of Charleston in F. Mitchell Johnson Physical Education Center Beatty Center on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 6:00 p.m.

Eckstrom will address an audience of students on the importance of public speaking in his career.

Eckstrom was invited to campus by Earl Capps, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Communication and the teacher for multiple sections of the basic public speaking course.

“We thank Richard Eckstrom for taking the time to discuss the importance of public speaking with our students,” said Brian McGee, chair of the Department of Communication. “We are grateful for his willingness to speak with students who are taking this course, which is so critical to the future success of college students,” said McGee.

With one of the largest undergraduate majors at the College of Charleston, the Department of Communication enrolls more than 800 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. Students in the department study such topics as political communication, interpersonal communication, journalism, and public relations. The department is housed in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

This week's "Public speaking and my career" guest speakers

As part of my ongoing series of guest speakers in my public speaking classes who are talking about public speaking and their careers, this week's guest speakers are:

  • Wednesday night - Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers
  • Thursday night - S.C. State Rep. Anton Gunn
For those of you who may be interested in watching these speakers, we'll be in Room 320 at the Beatty Center, which is at the College of Charleston's downtown campus on Liberty Street, starting at 6:00 p.m. both nights.