Healthy U: Colleges With Exemplary Mind and Body Wellness Programs

Posted on December 13, 2012

Anyone who has ever tried to work out while upset about a loved one's illness, or tried to run while fighting anxiety over an exam, has no doubt discovered first-hand the connection between mind and body. Wellness encompasses all the things that make up health, from physical fitness to being drug- and alcohol-free (or close to it) to mental strength and spiritual zen. Many colleges have undertaken full-fledged projects to make their students whole, but these dozen or so schools set the standard for outstanding wellness programs.

  1. University of Minnesota:

    Students at UM are blessed with a fantastic array of programs for maintaining mind and body health. From the diet and exercise instruction included in the six-week Healthy Living online class to the relaxation techniques espoused in the Center for Spirituality and Healing's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, the school goes all-out on students' wellness. They even reward students for participating in health programs by offering a medical plan discount of up to $400 by earning credits for their Wellness Points Bank.

  2. University of Wisconsin:

    Whether it's physical, emotional, or spiritual refreshment you're after, UWell has you covered. For one thing, it offers a feature that ought to be a staple for every college wellness website: a "Need Help Now?" page. For quick help dealing with alcohol abuse, self-injury, drugs, gambling, domestic abuse, and more, UW has hotlines, centers, and programs to come to students' aid. UWell even addresses environmental and financial wellness though resources like the UW Arboretum and the Center for Financial Security, respectively.

  3. University of California, Los Angeles:

    UCLA is so confident in its wellness initiative, its website starts off by telling students they're on their way to feeling better just by clicking over to it. With a strong online health resources database known as Living Well; a "Freedom From Smoking" course; Yoga, meditation, and Weight Watchers classes; and reasonably priced massage therapy, they have good reason to be bold.

  4. Boston University:

    With its wellness program, BU heads straight for the issues that beep the loudest on college students' radars: stress, sleep, and sex. Students can hook up with other student health ambassadors known as "stress buddies" as a way to cope with anxiety. In-house "sexperts" are available to give presentations or info, and other wellness team staff to inform Terriers about drinking, smoking, and eating right. There is even a dedicated Wellness House for students interested in bringing every aspect of their lives into the healthy range.

  5. Cornell University:

    This Ivy Leaguer offers some of the most unique mind and body wellness resources we've come across, like a "Stock to Soup" cooking demonstration; lectures on joint pain, home energy efficiency, and strong bones; and e-lists for Lyme disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, Al-Anon, and more. But the more typical stuff is there too, from tobacco cessation programs to stress reduction workshops.

  6. University of California, Davis:

    Pick a sliver of the wellness wheel on the UC Davis Wellness Portal and you're on your way to discovering some world-class offerings, courtesy of the Mind Body Wellness Group. Under "emotional" you'll find a link to The House, a counseling center complete with meditation and audio relaxation rooms. Pick "body," and you'll connect with ways to eat right (like at the legendary East Quad Farmers Market), get fit, be sexually safe, and more. Even then you'll only have tapped a fraction of what UC Davis brings to the table.

  7. University of Washington:

    Restore your sanity with a laughter therapy session or a tai chi class at the rec center, and keep your weight down by joining the Weight Watchers group or the UWalk Program. UWellness is U-Dub's comprehensive plan for "balancing the emotional, intellectual, occupational, social, and physical components of health," and with its Tools for Change, healthy eating info, stress management resources, and more, it's a good one.

  8. Georgia State University:

    GSU sees to students' whole-health needs by staging workshops throughout the semester. Recent entries have included "Mindful Eating," for developing "a positive and peaceful relationship with your appetite"; "Relax Your Mind and Body: Skills for Managing Stress"; and "Mind over Mood," which involves using mindfulness and meditation to quiet busy and worried minds.

  9. Utah Valley University:

    Even though they apparently think there are six health dimensions, not seven, UVU does such a good job on the six they more than make up for skipping environmental (or is occupational the seventh one?). There are free Zumba and yoga classes for clearing the mind by stretching and movement. The five-week Stress Less Program connects participants with a health and wellness coach once a week for tips on dealing with that health pitfall. And as happy people are healthier, the school's Keys to Happiness Program seems like one any health-concerned student could use.

  11. Harvard University:

    Easily the coolest part of the venerable school's wellness program is the Stressbusters — student volunteers who go "wherever the stressed gather" to give free five-minute backrubs and wellness info. Also cool: each residence hall has a wellness proctor so students can literally get health info where they live. Mindfulness is a biggie here, with meditation sessions available somewhere almost daily.  Harvard on the Move keeps the pounds off, and the two mid-year farmers markets help students get the right fuel to run on.

  13. Rice University:

    Smack-dab in America's fattest city, Rice is working hard to keep its Owls from becoming whales. By offering quarterly "Wellness Lunch & Learns," personal wellness coaches, a Weight Watchers group, and a wellness listserv, students have ample opportunities to stay fit. The Gibbs Rec Center also chips in with its Lifetime Physical Activity Program that tries to start students down a path of good health that they can walk for decades.

  14. Bradley University:

    The Center for Student Development & Health Services targets no less than seven aspects of student health: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual, environmental, and safety. They put things into practice in EHS 120, a class for new students to learn about effective study skills, time management, and campus support systems.

  15. University of Kentucky:

    Be you a student or an employee, if you regularly set foot on UK's campus you've got no reason not to have total mind and body health. The Weight Loss Matters group gives you the passion to drop a few pant sizes, the farmers market gives you your new meals, and the therapeutic chair massages are your reward. Employees have access to free fitness specialists and phone-based health consultations. In fact, with the website's health app recommendations, recipes, and other useful links, you really don't even have to go to campus to improve your health.

  16. University of Nebraska:

    Nebraska has some of the finest athletic facilities in the country, so it's only fitting that they have a high-quality wellness program, too. Niche topics like belonging, self-care, eating disorders, and social responsibility, which are too often overlooked on other campuses, all get their due here. Wellness Wednesdays help students keep tables on their physical health, while e-publication Student Health 101 connects Huskers with a healthy dose of knowledge each month.

  17. Austin Peay State University:

    Austin Peay makes a fun contest out this wellness program, calling it the Healthy Mind Healthy Body Challenge. The semester-long event grants points for activities that benefit the brains and the brawn. There are dance, cardio, judo, and yoga classes under the fitness division, while the wellness category involves courses like "Cooking Concepts," "Healthy Eating Essentials," and "Simple Stress Management."

41 Ways to Hack Your Classroom With Google+

Posted on December 03, 2012

Google is such a great resource for classrooms, and with Google+, it seems that the possibilities are endless. There are just so many different ways to go bigger, better, and faster in your classroom with Google+! Check out our list to discover 41 ways you can hack your classroom with Google+, and share your ideas for Google+ classroom hacks in the comments.

  1. Targeted sharing in Circles:

    Add students, colleagues, even parents to Circles in Google+, and you can make sure that the right messages get to the right group of people.

  2. Circles of group projects:

    Google+ Circles make a great solution for temporary communication between group project members. Students can create circles for the projects, then easily communicate and share resources. When the project is done, the circle can be closed.

  3. News gathering through Sparks:

    One of the coolest Google+ features for educators is Sparks, which allows anyone to get a constant feed of targeted news and resources that can be shared with the class, colleagues, and more.

  4. Specialized student hangouts:

    Teachers can create Google+ Hangouts for students who are at different levels of education, offering one for those that need assistance, and another for more advanced students.

  5. Finding out what's nearby:

    Google+ for mobile offers plenty of learning opportunities, with a Near By View that highlights Learning Commons opportunities.

  6. Lesson plan sharing:

    Teachers can share lesson plans, photos, links, and videos with students, parents, and colleagues that are in the right Circles.

  7. Creating location-related homework:

    Want your students to head to the science museum? Require that they visit and post their location check in on Google+.

  8. Keeping classroom parents involved and informed:

    With a special Circle just for classroom parents, you can keep them in the loop without having to get up close and personal as a friend on Facebook.

  9. Special guest invitations:

    Bring experts from around the world into your classroom by inviting them into a Google+ Hangout.

  10. Set up collaborative calendars:

    Just about every classroom could benefit from a shared calendar, offering updates on assignments, events, and other important dates at school and beyond.

  11. Create collaborative documents, too:

    Google+ users can benefit from the ability to upload, edit, create, and share documents, and the service is a great place to host projects that require collaborative work.

  12. Bringing Google apps to one place:

    Google+ brings integration for all of the other Google apps, including Gmail, Picasa, and Google Docs, so the service is a great way to get everything all in one place.

  13. Tracking participation with +1:

    The Google+ +1 is such a simple thing to do that teachers can use it to track which students are reading posts. Some teachers require students to +1 each post so that they can keep track of who is engaging on Google+ and who isn't.

  14. Downloading data when class is over:

    Google+'s Data Liberation feature isn't talked about often, but it's perfect for students who want to retain what they've learned while still enjoying privacy. With this feature, users can download and remove all of the information from all or part of their account, so when class is over, they can gather all of their information and then leave the Circle.

  15. Exploring a culture:

    Google+ can be used to study a city or country based on what's available through the service. Students can find YouTube videos, updates on local events, and highlight important people in the area.

  16. Host remote classes:

    For students who just can't make it to the classroom, Google+ Hangouts can bridge the gap, allowing them to participate without actually being there.

  17. Hangout review sessions:

    Before a big test, teachers can host a review session through Google+ Hangouts to help students who want a little extra review before the big day.

  18. Creating Circles for a specific topic:

    In addition to following Sparks, students can create Circles that allow them to follow a specific topic, getting updates from key pages and users within their scope.

  19. Boosting personal and professional networks:

    Teachers can connect with other educators to find and share resources within their network.

  20. After-class discussions:

    Students can take classroom discussions online after class, either connecting through Circles or by starting a Hangout for classmates to join.

  21. Sharing favorites from Google Reader:

    Teachers can share awesome entries from Google Reader through Google+.

  22. Peer education groups:

    Establishing Google+ Hangouts as a great place to connect with students for homework and tutorials can help your classroom come together and enjoy collaborative learning.

  23. Virtual show and tell:

    It might not be a great idea for a student to bring their six-foot snake to the classroom (especially on the same day another student brings in a beloved bunny), but the class can certainly enjoy the opportunity to do show and tell remotely with Google+ Hangouts.

  24. Teaching abroad:

    Using Google+ Hangouts, your classroom can literally be anywhere. One teacher is using Hangouts to teach English to students in India.

  25. Establishing virtual office hours:

    Teachers can let students check in with them during virtual office hours, offering a useful resource without actually having to go to school.

  26. Sharing student performances:

    You can share classroom performances and presentations within the community, and especially with parents, by adding them to Google+ Circles.

  27. Instant homework uploading:

    Students can turn in their homework from anywhere using Google+'s instant upload feature.

  28. Instant updates for parents:

    Google+'s instant upload is also great for parents, making it easy for teachers to send updates to them right away.

  29. Retain connections with former students:

    Circles for former students make it easy to stay in touch.

  30. An alternative to staff meetings:

    For teachers on the go, lots of time can be saved by using Hangouts as virtual staff meetings.

  31. Homework help Hangouts:

    Students who need a little extra help can log in to Hangouts hosted regularly throughout the week.

  32. Historical role playing:

    Your classroom can create fictional accounts for people from history, sharing the updates and ideas that they think the historical figure might like to share.

  33. Sharing book club discussions:

    Classrooms can bring together book lovers in Google+ Hangout discussions that can be archived and shared with the rest of the class.

  34. Discussion archiving:

    Enjoyed a particularly useful Hangout chat that you'd like to share with the class? You can record your Google+ Hangouts to bring to the classroom.

  35. Parent-teacher conferences gone virtual:

    For parents who can't make it to school in person for face to face conferences, Google+ Hangouts offer an easy solution.

  36. Google+ writing prompts:

    As teachers share interesting links, photos, quotes, or prompts, students can write their responses as comments and reflect on what their peers have said.

  37. Live performance viewing:

    Students may not be able to go on a field trip to a performance, but with Google+ Hangouts, they can watch and participate.

  38. Hangout reader's theater:

    Join up with other classrooms in Hangouts, and together you can put on a dramatic reading of plays, complete with discussions.

  39. Constant contact with Huddle:

    Google+'s Huddle feature allows teachers to send out a text to everyone in a circle group, remind students about a class cancellation, gathering everyone after a field trip, or just wishing them a happy weekend.

  40. Following educational talks:

    Students can enjoy talks from around the world, like the Zoo Atlanta Google+ Hangout.

  41. Creating a paperless classroom:

    For teachers going green or just cutting down on clutter, Google+'s document sharing makes it possible for your classroom to go paperless.

The 8 Greatest Affirmative Action Scandals in Higher Ed History

Posted on November 28, 2012

Seeing as how Affirmative Action exists as a highly controversial issue, it’s understandable that occasional scandals and controversies bob about in its wake like so many manatees. Whether supporter or opponent, many maneuver the ideology’s core components for their own personal ends, rocketing it to the forefront of media and societal consciousness. And, subsequently, debates both intellectual and sub-YouTubian erupt.

Do keep in mind that this article isn’t meant to offer up reasons to dismantle the Affirmative Action policy! All it hopes to accomplish is revealing some of the ways in which individuals and schools subvert the system for their own ends, or try to stir up controversy around their personal disagreements with everything it entails. Just because people screw up and exploit the policies or exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully, legally voice their dissent doesn’t mean the regulations granting traditionally marginalized demographics a fair chance at higher education need to go away entirely. It’s nothing more than proof that ideologies implemented by humans get subverted by humans, and sometimes other humans aren’t big fans. Nothing more, nothing less.

  1. Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee ancestry:

    Harvard Law professor and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren identifies as Cherokee (likely around 1/32, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education). Scandal, however, settled in when it was revealed that she only identified herself as Native American between 1986 and 1995, eventually dropping that bit of her biography after establishing herself at the Ivy League university. Critics on both sides of the political spectrum see the motion as exploiting either Affirmative Action or the Cherokee Nation, depending on their leanings, with some pointing out how the program might not benefit students who need it the most as a result of Warren and others like her.

  2. The United States Naval Academy’s two-tiered system:

    Allegations of establishing a loose two-tiered structure with white students held to a higher standard for admissions and school work struck The United States Naval Academy in 2009. Because it hoped to increase its diversity, officials were accused of accepting minority students with academic records below the usual requirements and assigning them easier tasks. Such a policy also apparently dictates enrollment at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, though both institutions deny a formal adherence to anything of the sort. In a country where nonwhites have historically been touted as intellectually inferior, this trend carries with it some incredibly unfortunate implications.

  3. Bobby Petrino’s mistress scores a waiver:

    Affirmative Action policies at University of Arkansas require all job listings to be available for a minimum of 30 days before interviewing applicants, but the school will distribute waivers in some circumstances. Football coach Bobby Petrino attempted to create one of these aforementioned circumstances when trying to score a development coordinator position for mistress Jessica Dorrell. He flagrantly fought Affirmative Action regulations by asking to “interview” her five days following the job’s official opening and hiring her 11 days after that – despite no prior experience in the industry. This flagrant disregard for the spirit of UA’s rules denied a truly qualified applicant (of any race) the chance to earn a position furthering his or her career.

  4. Abigail Fisher. Just … Abigail Fisher:

    October 2012 saw the Supreme Court poring over Fisher v. University of Texas regarding a hopeful Longhorn who sued the eponymous college because she decided that Affirmative Action is the reason she did not receive admittance. Abigail Fisher, a white applicant, considers herself discriminated against because minority students she deemed unworthy now attend school at her top choice. She filed a lawsuit against UT, citing unfairness in the admissions process as the responsible party. Journalists, political commentators, and educators think this might lead to some changes in Affirmative Action policies, but to what extent nobody will know until the judges issue their ruling.

  5. Grutter v. Bollinger’s precedent:

    Before Fisher’s costly, attention-grabbing fight against the University of Texas admissions office, Barbara Grutter similarly took her suit against University of Michigan’s Law School all the way to the Supreme Court in 2003. She considered her denial into the department a deeply personal affront, going so far as to investigate the grades and standardized test scores of minority students and using the findings as evidence that the college deliberately discriminated against her. Justices disagreed, saying that institutes of higher learning may legally factor race into the admissions process. However, they also ruled that it could not play a significant role in accepting or denying an applicant, either.

  6. Gratz v. Bollinger’s disagreement with previous rulings:

    Meanwhile, also at University of Michigan — and also in 2003 (big year for Affirmative Action lawsuits, it seems) — students Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher pressed charges against the school for the exact same reason as Barbara Grutter. And, like Grutter, their case wormed its way up to the Supreme Court. The results, however, ignited controversy for the complete opposite ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger. While Grutter’s lawsuit acknowledged that race could, in fact, be a determining factor when deciding whether or not to accept an applicant, Gratz v. Bollinger stated just how much could be considered too much. UM used a point system when deciding whom to take and whom to reject, with minority students worth an additional 20. The Supreme Court didn’t like that very much.

  7. Berkeley’s bake sale:

    This might come as a shock to many people, but University of California at Berkeley really does host a Campus Republicans club. While the Sunshine State itself outlaws Affirmative Action, it did consider overturning this policy back in 2011 — a move that prompted the organization to hold a bake sale to protest what they believed to be discriminatory admissions practices should the legislation pass. Obviously quite controversial, the event charged white males $2 and offered discounts based on patrons’ gender/gender expression and/or ethnicity. This ostensibly drove home a point about preferential treatment for the demographics traditionally assisted by Affirmative Action regulations.

  8. Rajiv Goswami’s self-immolation:

    In 1989, Delhi University student Rajiv Goswami protested the tenets behind the Mandel Commission (which then-Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh attempted to pass after a decade of controversy) by setting himself on fire, a move which complicated his health his entire life. The proposed policies sought to make amends for India’s history of rigid caste conformity by setting aside both government jobs and admissions at public colleges for members of customarily marginalized classes and races, which inevitably infuriated peoples born into the upper social echelons. Following his successful campaign for the Delhi University Students’ Union presidential position, others took to self-immolation in order to convince the Prime Minister to stop supporting the Mandel Commission. And the debate continues dividing Indian college students even today.

The Evolution of Apple Computers

Posted on June 15, 2012

Click to see the graphic!

The era of taking notes with a pencil and a spiral notebook is over. Classrooms around the world are filled with students typing everything their professor says on a laptop. Even just 15 years ago, this seemed improbable. And though most Apple laptops aren’t priced for the average college student, more and more of them are using Apple computers for academic purposes. If you take a peek inside a college library, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see quite a bit of Macbooks. The appeal to college students comes from the simplicity of Apple’s products and an awful lot of good marketing and publicity.

Apple does two things right. They make a product that works and easy to use. And they make a product that is cool to use. These two factors are the driving decision for college students to use a Macbook. But did you know that Apple’s first laptop was more than $12,000 dollars - way above most college students budgets. Not only that, but the thing weighed close 15 lbs, making it almost impossible to lug around from class to class. This infographic will show you the evolution of Apple’s computers and how they became the laptop of choice for many college students. From the first one built out of a garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to the new retina display toting Macbook pro, we’ll take you on a journey of the history of Apple computers.

Educated America

Posted on June 12, 2012

Click to see the graphic!

We’ve all been told of the importance of education and how education leads to a better life. But it’s not only our own lives that are impacted, but the lives of those around us change as well. As you continue to work hard to obtain your degree, it’ll be important during those late night cram sessions to know that your efforts are essentially going to make the world a better place for you, your family, and even your neighbors.

With the ability to reach virtually everyone on the entire planet, online education could be the key to everyone’s future and shape the world we live in. Education will change your life for the better. This infographic will show you the difference between those who have a college degree versus those who do not. It’s easy to see that gaining knowledge can make a world of difference.