Tag: higher education

Building STEPS: Towson University’s Hidden Gem

There’s a gem hiding in the Enrollment Services building on TU’s campus – Building STEPS. Building STEPS, headquartered here on campus, is a non-profit that provides Baltimore City public high school students interested in science and technology with the exposure, support, and safety net to help them get into and graduate from college. Almost all Building STEPS students are low-income and will be the first in their family to earn a college degree. The program provides professional seminars, summer internships, college workshops, and alumni support to its students. Building STEPS has been a partner of TU since 2006 and...

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A Timely Return to the Classroom

In late August, I return to the classroom as a lead (or, in this case, co-lead) teacher after a fourteen year hiatus. — Pause — “14 year gap?” — Pause some more. — “What gives?” The truth is, I need to breathe deeply and exhale before adequately attempting to explain. First, to me, teachers (and entrepreneurs) are heroes, exemplars of what is right about humanity, guides for the future of the same. I consider the preparation and guidance of tomorrow’s doers, thinkers, and leaders the most important endeavor that a human can undertake. I posit the role of teaching as one of the most noble, impactful professions...

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College Affordability: An Encouraging Tale

Most of the time when articles are written about college affordability, they tend to focus on the negative aspects. Given the surplus of bad information, this is not entirely surprising. As a glass half-full type of person, I thought it was due time for some uplifting information. Two weeks ago, Stanford made an exciting announcement. The University said that tuition would be entirely free for students whose parents make less than $125,000 per year (this was $25,000 higher than the previous threshold). The school also announced that room and board would be free for students whose parents make less...

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The Four Key Traits of an Education Entrepreneur

Dedication: Akin to my own journey, the following 9 stalwart founding education entrepreneurs evinced a self-disruption by leaving the formal education platform to tackle education’s toughest problems with scalable solutions. Effuse thanks — and keep doin’ it. Henry Blue of Alchemy Learning, Jess Gartner of Allovue, Alex Grodd of BetterLesson, Jen Medbery of Kickboard, Scott Messinger of Common Curriculum, Tom Murdock of Moodlerooms, Katie Palencsar of Unbound Concepts, Steve Silvius of Three Ring and Nicole Tucker-Smithof LessonCast Learning. While all great entrepreneurs share similar traits, the education entrepreneur is a special breed. This post imparts an overview of what it takes...

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University Entrepreneurship as an Economic Linchpin

Why University Students are the Economy’s Future “Where have you been? Where are you going? How are you going to get there?” The above simple questions are embedded with a causal ‘why’ and are unquestionably the basis of entrepreneurial discourse and intent. Entrepreneurs are a diverse set of people with a few undeniable commonalities. They are mono-maniacally fixated on solving a problem, serving a customer, feeding team members, and managing cash, payables and aging schedules as well as possible. In the undergraduate setting, a few fortunate students will know their professional future well before setting foot on campus or...

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The Future of Community Engagement at Towson University

Last week, I got the chance to attend the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities’ Facilitated Dialogue at Wagner College on Staten Island in New York City. The theme was “The Future of Civic Engagement: Learning, Impact, Scope, and Evidence” and there were attendees from a number of different universities. We had some great discussions about civic engagement at our own campuses and also heard about a lot of interesting engagement projects at Wagner College such as a partnership with Port Richmond High School in Staten Island, a community theater program, and a community service program for student-athletes. One discussion that I found particularly helpful was moderated by John Saltmarsh, the Co-Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. He talked about where the civic engagement movement is now and where we, as engaged institutions, are headed. He discussed four components to focus on when thinking about civic engagement initiatives on our own campuses and their impacts: Civic learning outcomes Community outcomes Faculty rewards Relationship of knowledge, power, and self-interest Another point that Dr. Saltmarsh covered was moving toward what he calls a “public engagement knowledge regime” at our institutions, which places more emphasis on civic engagement than ever before. This model involves community partnerships that enhance the universities’ missions, while also contributing to the public good. Dr. Saltmarsh noted that, overall, colleges and universities are becoming...

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A Great Resource for Grant Writers

If you work at a non-profit, a university, a government agency, or a private business, you have likely been involved in some aspect of the grant proposal process and know about the challenges and frustrations that come along with it. Our non-profit partners are probably especially well-versed in the trials and tribulations of grant writing. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some sort of class that addressed these issues Luckily, there is! My colleague in RESI, Rebecca Ebersole, and I attended the Grant Writing USA Grant Writing Workshop in Washington, D.C. this past Tuesday and Wednesday. We set out thinking that we might brush up on our grant writing skills and learn a few new tips, but we came away with so much more. I am just starting down the path of grant writing and have limited experience writing grant proposals, so I was very interested in learning more about the process, what to include, and how to wow funders with our proposals. Our instructor, who had several years of experience writing grants for all different types of organizations, covered each part of the grant proposal and offered some tips and tricks for how to make your proposal stand out. Each participant received a workbook detailing the different parts, as well as a disc containing even more information such as resources and proposal samples. In addition to learning...

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Guest Post: University Entrepreneurs Turn Research into Products

Now is a very exciting time to be involved in university research, as Maryland works to develop start-up companies based on the ideas that come out of its universities. At the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), we work with many university researchers to turn their technologies into profitable businesses. One case in point is Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson from the University of Maryland. I met Carol when she applied for one of TEDCO’s university programs. She is a professor working on subtracting background noise on cell phones and hearing aids. Now she is also the CEO of a company called OmniSpeech, which has seven employees and is beginning to license their product. Then there is Matt Dowling. I met Matt as a student at the University of Maryland. He was working in his professor’s lab with chitosan, a substance that comes from seafood shells. Today he is the CEO of Remedium Technologies, a medical device start-up that is developing a chitosan-based bandage and liquid spray to stop severe bleeding in patients on the battlefield and in emergency rooms. Are you a professor or a student with an idea or a technology that could be a product? TEDCO can help you with the funding and mentoring to start a business. I encourage you to check out our new Technology Validation Program, which can assist you with funding to validate a potential technology or asses...

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How are blogs, twitter, and social networking impacting teaching and the classroom?

As the international headquarters for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, Towson University is responsible for overseeing the organization’s programs, membership development efforts, policy agenda, and overall day-to-day activities. Since the organization’s founding in 1990, we have been producing a best practices journal Metropolitan Universities: An International Forum. The journal has been on the cutting edge of many of higher education’s biggest issues over the past 23 years including community engagement, financial aid, economic development, faculty rewards, and education reform. The most recent issue Web 2.0 Technologies at Metropolitan Universities aims to address “how universities are currently using Web 2.0 technologies to educate students, collaborate with community members, and work more efficiently.” I wanted to share three specific articles from the journal that I found particularly interesting: Moving Beyond Blackboard: Using a Social Network as a Learning Management System by Christopher Thacker, Towson University College of Business & Economics Web 2.0 for the Online Graduate Student: Technology Immersion for Both Curriculum and Residency by Anne M. Hewitt and Susan S. Spencer, Seton Hall University Blog Attack: New Teaching Strategies to Engage Today’s College Students by Dennis Castro, California State University, Monterey Bay Bobbie currently serves as the Executive Director for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, headquartered at Towson University. The international membership organization is the longest-running and largest organization focused on supporting and growing a community...

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Keys to a Successful University-Community Partnership

Collaborative partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies are more vital than ever in addressing the needs of the region they all serve. Successful partnerships help address issues that one organization cannot tackle alone, such as poverty reduction, access to educational opportunities, or environmental issues. These campus-community partnerships fall under the umbrella of community engagement. Towson University has adopted the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching definition for community engagement: Community Engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. As a community engaged institution, Towson University values collaborative partnerships and recognizes the vital role they plan in our teaching, research, and service. Towson University’s close proximity to downtown Baltimore creates unique opportunities for campus-community partnerships. Once the issue has been identified, bringing organizational partners in government, the private sector, and the non profit community together that  all have something at stake is often the first step in creating a sustainable partnership. There are, certain characteristics that the University looks for when partnering in order to ensure a successful and sustainable collaboration. These include: The partnership is in line with the mission of, and is beneficial to, both Towson University and the partnering organization(s). There is clear communication from...

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