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Sometimes it seems true, Only The Good Die Young

So sad to learn that Karen Bricklemyer has died. Seems so unfair. You did good Karen!

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 10.01.14 AM

Rest in peace knowing the world is a better place because of you.

tinyurl.com/kvrzkou

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Florida Tuition Increase – the right thing to do

In 2007, in-state tuition and fees at public universities around the country ranged from a high of $12,164 a year at Penn State to a low of $3,206 at the University of Florida. You read that correctly; Florida had the lowest in-state tuition in the country.  The national average for tuition and fees was $5,838.

That’s why the Florida Legislature gave schools like UF, FSU, USF and UCF the ability to increase tuition up to 15% a year until they reached the national average.

The Governor signed the legislation after research at each of the four universities showed even students overwhelmingly supported the increases.  The students went so far as to caravan to Tallahassee to lobby for the higher tuition.

Why would students encourage higher tuition? Good question, but Florida students aren’t stupid. They recognized that a Wal-Mart-quality Education (aka … Cheap) would not help them get jobs following graduation. And at $3,206 a year, that is where higher ed in Florida was heading.

Today that average tuition and fees in Florida is $6,336. The national average is $8,893. So tuition in Florida is still $2,557 — or 28% — below the national average.  And Florida still only has one public university in the Top 50.

Apparently the current Florida Governor believes a Wal-Mart-quality education is what students in Florida deserve. He fails to look at the past and he certainly fails to look to the future.

And misleading the public — which his campaign is doing with the current tuition ads on television — is certainly not the kind of leadership we need in Florida.  We need an open and honest discussion of the issues.

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10.02 GPA — Can you say Grade Inflation!!!

Throughout higher ed circles, the topic of grade inflation is a popular one.  How can a student at one school graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA while a student at another graduate with an imperfect 10.02.  That’s right, 10.02 and she got a “B” somewhere along the line.

While I’m sure the students worked very hard to achieve the unachievable, but really folks.

http://tbo.com/plant-city/gpa-of-1002-plant-city-student-sets-academic-standard-20140526/

I know, I know, it’s because of all the extra credit awarded to honors courses, but come on.  Is the 4.0 student from my day (we had only a handful in a graduating class of almost 1,000) less than half as smart as the 10.02 graduate today?

When I saw the score, curiosity overcame me and I found the highest GPA’ s for most of our local high schools. Would you believe there’s not a 4.0 in the lot.  Here’s a sampling:

  • Alonso High School — 7.02
  • Bloomingdale High — 7.56
  • Brandon High — 6.82
  • Chamberlain High — 7.19
  • Gaither High School — 6.97
  • Jefferson High School — 6.5384
  • King High School — 6.12
  • Leto High School — 7.24
  • Plant High School — 7.0
  • Plant City High — 10.02
  • Robinson High — 6.3261
  • Steinbrenner High — 7.04

It’s important that kids work hard in high school.  It prepares them for college.  Prepares them for the world.  Teaches them to think for themselves.  But does a 10.02 . . . or even a lowly 6.82 really do these kids any favors?

I think not.  We are demonstrating that its possible to be better than perfect. Better than 4.0.  We’re setting false expectations for the real world.

I know many will disagree, but I’ve got to ask if in today’s world, would my 3.4 high school average equate to 8.517 making me the second smartest kid in Hillsborough County.  Yeah, that must be true.

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Jack Bauer and Media Relations . . . or maybe it’s just Publicity

“Maybe you didn’t understand me. This man is our only connection to a stolen nuclear warhead. If you don’t save him, millions of people could die! Do you understand that? Millions of people.”
–Jack Bauer from the TV series, “24″

With the return of Jack Bauer and “24″ tonight,  I thought it was appropriate to revive a publicity campaign we introduced at NC State in 2010 that capitalized on the then-popularity of the series to promote nuclear safety.  I blogged about it then, so why not now.

The question was simple, “So, is this what we’ve come to with media relations today?”  I ask, almost tongue in cheek, because the headline is an approach I suggested to promote NC State’s involvement in the Raleigh Grand Challenge Summit back in March 2010.

JackisBack1http://www.hiceschool.com/100-days-at-nc-state/jack-bauer-and-north-carolina-college-students-saving-the-world-from-nuclear-annihilation/

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Branding is an investment in the future

With the recent introduction of the University of Florida’s “UF Rising” campaign — a sub-campaign, if you will, running along side The Gator Nation banner — and some other things going on around me, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of branding in Higher Education and the work we did while I was at UF, NC State, Harley-Davidson and elsewhere.

UF Rising logoI don’t think there is any doubt that Branding is an investment in the future of any organization.

In the competitive world of higher education, the reality is, the most recognizable university “brands” consistently attract the best students, faculty and staff; secure the most funding; gain the greatest accolades, and receive the most recognition in the press.  All of which are critical factors in the health, growth and long-term success of an institution.

As I’ve said many times, universities do not operate in a vacuum.  Today, most universities market themselves aggressively and many have already begun their own branding campaigns.

The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation.  NC State is Locally Responsive, Globally Engaged.  Makers All at Purdue University.  Know Wonk at American University in Washington, and The University of British Columbia is A Place of Mind.  I could go on.

The objective of the branding effort should be to build the kind of reputation and public image that instills confidence across a wide base of constituents.

Confidence on the part of the best students to choose the university over other universities.  Confidence on the part of faculty and staff to want to be a part of a prestigious institution, one they can be proud of.  Confidence on the part of alumni that their investment in time, money and passion is well placed.  And confidence on the part of the legislative bodies and other funding organizations to invest more aggressively in an institution that is producing great returns for the state and the nation.

Corporations know that leading brands enjoy a tremendous advantage over their competitors, and so it is with universities.  The investment made in branding comes back many fold…for years and years to come.

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The Gator Nation is Everywhere

 

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OVER = More Than

Recently the Associated Press Stylebook announced it would  recognize “over” as a synonym for “more than.”  As a former editor, my heart stopped when I read that.  It started right back up — my heart, that is —  but I was shocked.

It’s probably hard to understand if you haven’t worked in journalism, but the AP Stylebook has been the tome of editors forever.  Along with Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, the AP Stylebook established the rules for proper usage.

I keep 40-year-old versions of each in my office and while I use the computer when I have most style and spelling questions, it’s reassuring to know the original tablets are right there beside me.

For years I’ve taught kids and colleagues that you went over or under a bridge and you had more than or less than in dollars, cents . . . numbers.

But that has all changed and I’ve got to accept it.  I’d say get over it, but that might confuse us even more.

I am tempted to say that the change will be accepted “More than my dead body,” but I’ve always maintained that change is inevitable and you’ve got to go with it.  So here we go.


Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/03/20/Associated-Press-removes-distinction-between-over-and-more-than/8731395353344/#ixzz2xjPaOfso

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The University of Florida is The Foundation FOR The Gator Nation, not of …

Since we introduced The Gator Nation concept to the University of Florida’s branding efforts back in the summer of 2005 (yes, it is that recent), the UF Alumni Association and others have often confused the themeline (tag Line);  The University of Florida, The Foundation for The Gator Nation.

The most recent issue of the UF alumni magazine uses “of” instead of “for” as a sub-head in one of its stories. Shame on you.

Whether to use “of” or “for” was discussed at length when we were creating the campaign, but in the end  it was an easy call.  The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation.  Here’s why:

Of and for are prepositions that are commonly interchanged.  The words of and for are also two of the most commonly used prepositions in the English language. Of and for are used to signify a relationship between objects or subjects.

Of

Of is a preposition that may mean relating to or pertaining to.  It simply signifies a relationship between two objects. An example would be:

• Florida basketball is an important part of  The Gator Nation.

* Tim Tebow is a member of The Gator Nation.

For

For, on the other hand, signifies a relationship that has developed over a period of time such as days, months, years, decades, centuries. Get it, The Gator Nation is always growing, always changing, always improving.

Thus,  The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation because The Gator Nation is not a static thing.  It will always be growing, changing, evolving.

Because consistency is critical in order to create a successful brand, it’s important that everyone at UF be consistent in their use of the phrase, “The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation.”

Yeah, I know people ignore the rules of grammar all the time and only brand geeks like myself will care about this one, but the brand statement is For.  If you don’t want to be accused of diminishing the brand and looking stupid . . .  well, you know what I was going to say . . .

Here’s a link to the UF brand guidelines.

http://www.identity.ufl.edu/resources/signature-system/

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Fighting Cancer; got it all wrong?

More than two years in the making (media tours, calls, cancelled appointments, stories in Florida Trend, etc.) but Newsweek Magazine features the work of Moffitt Cancer Center’s mathematical oncology department as the COVER STORY in this week’s issue.

It’s a fabulous story on the challenges and chaos that go along with the Research and Discovery that must happen every day if we’re to truly win the war against cancer.

Give it a read. You’ll be amazed, and blown away by the work being done right here in Tampa. And if you can still buy a copy on the newsstand, get me one, will ya!

http://j.mp/PUJFw0


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New Logo does not a brand make

Olive Garden has introduced a new logo amidst a fair amount of fanfare.  The chain is hoping to revive declining sales.

OG’s owner, Darden Restaurants Inc., has struggled of late as customer traffic declines were steep, falling as much as 13 percent at Olive Garden in December and 19 percent at Red Lobster in January.

The Orlando, Fla.-based company partly blamed rough winter weather for the results. But Darden has been battling shifting industry trends for years now, with people moving away from casual dining chains where tips for waiters and waitresses push up a meal’s cost.  Darden has tried making numerous changes at Olive Garden and Red Lobster to better reflect today’s eating habits, but the efforts have failed to take hold so far.

Lets hope the logo will be followed by significant changes in menu and marketing because a logo alone just ain’t going to cut it.

Read the story here.  http://tinyurl.com/lvddjj8

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Hices, Hices everywhere

Just got back from Cherry Log where we attended the funeral of our amazing Aunt, Rettie Thompson Hice, age 99.

Rock Creek Baptist was packed and two of the three ministers preaching were family members.  There were literally, hundreds of relatives.  Rettie was raised in the day when you had kids, lots of them. Four daughters and two sons are still with us. And from them, dozens of nieces and nephews for us, grand children and great grandchildren for her.  Might have even been a great great or two (more like six) running around.

Most, but not all, still live in Georgia.

When things like this happen you tend to notice how things have changed.  The old house that sat on the side of Ga. 5, is still there, but moved back from the highway (two lane then, four lane divided now.)  The new Hice residence is set into the side of the mountain, almost invisible from the road.

The old barn stands but there is a road (Hice Lane) through the pasture.  Grand Pa and Grand Ma’s house down the way is falling down and overgrown.  Photogenic to be sure, but you wouldn’t want to walk there.  The old barn is gone beneath the trees and shrubs.  The chicken coop, outhouse, root cellar, long gone.

Yep, things have changed during Rettie’s lifetime, especially in Cherry Log, GA. Can you imagine what life must have been like in 1914 up in those mountains?

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