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Anne Michaud: editor & senior writer
Anne Michaud

Colleges see greater duty to help grads get jobs

March 27th, 2014

First published in Newsday.Graduates wanted

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. What did the college graduate say to his friends? “I have a degree in liberal arts. Would you like fries with that?”

Even though the job market is improving, many recent graduates are struggling to find work – and, equally pertinent, work in their field of study. This has led to more scrutiny of “outcomes” at colleges and universities, which are anxious to demonstrate in measurable ways that their graduates can succeed. What have they learned? Did they get jobs? How much do they earn?

These aren’t questions just for individual families, but for a country that is backing gazillions each year in federal student loans. Is our investment paying off, or are more political science majors serving up soy lattes? More »

Playtime for adults eases modern life’s burdens

March 20th, 2014

First published in Newsday.Softball team with coach in huddle

Follow your bliss. Just do it. Do what you love, and the money will follow. Lean in.

These are life-guidance mottos that have taken a turn on the stage of the American consciousness. But there’s one I’d like to add that is particularly necessary right now: Don’t forget to play.

There’s evidence that this activity that many of us associate with childhood can energize lives that are mired in Leaning In, doing more with less, multitasking and Having It All, according to a meticulously researched new book by Washington Post columnist Brigid Schulte, “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time.”

And Wharton School business professor Stew Friedman, writing for the “Harvard Business Review” earlier this month, claims that people can be more productive by spending less time on and less attention to work. He coaches high-powered clients to add a non-work activity in an area of life they’ve been neglecting, and witness demonstrably better results in all parts of life – at work, at home, in your community and in your private life. He calls it a four-way win. More »

For college, parents increasingly eye the bottom line

March 6th, 2014

First published in Newsday.Education Costs - Mortar Board Graduation Cap Full of Coins

I thought I was thoroughly familiar with junk mail until we began the college-application process. Now each day I come home to four or five brochures addressed to my high school daughter, advertising a new major program or a remodeled student center or a nurturing campus life. And we’re just getting started.

Those are all wonderful attributes, but parents I know are considering schools for their children for “value” – that is, not too much expense and an excellent shot at employment after graduation. I wonder sometimes how small private colleges mailing us the brochures are going to survive.

The answer is that many won’t. Jonathan Henry, a vice president for enrollment at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, predicted in The Wall Street Journal recently that 30 percent of private colleges won’t exist in a decade. According to the newspaper’s analysis, between 2010 and 2012, freshman enrollment at more than a quarter of U.S. private four-year colleges declined by 10 percent or more. More »

On ethical balance, women do better

February 27th, 2014

First published in Newsday.Leader skills

Another week in New York brings fresh news of corruption and efforts to punish it. A former Nassau County police supervisor was fined and sentenced to community service for covering up a buddy’s son’s theft of high school electronics equipment. A Brooklyn assemblyman is on trial for allegedly taking bribes from undercover FBI agents. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is pushing an ethics bill that he hopes will lock legislators into better behavior.

In fact, 30 New York legislators have faced legal or ethical trouble since 2000. They were charged with embezzlement, perjury, extortion and tax evasion. If this is our political class, what’s a society to do?

What strikes me about the list is how few women are on it – just four. Could it be that women are more ethical than men? And if so, do we need more women in politics? More »

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