PhD Comics on Procrastination

I like Jorge Cham’s sense of comic humor.  I also like humor about procrastination.  Today my blog post is a twofor (also spelled tufer).  That’s right, Jorge penned a cartoon about procrastination.

As usual, it is spot on.

In my life, though, I have never actually been able to work up to a spotless apartment, no matter how hard I’m procrastinating.  Every year or two I have to move just to leave the mess behind.  It always finds me after a few weeks.

Copyright PhDcomics

(C) Jorge Cham –

by David Albrecht

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Are You Overwhelmed Yet?

I also could have asked if you are whelmed (look it up, I did).

Students at B-schools really suffer at this time of year.  After Thanksgiving break, one or two weeks of class are followed by a week of final exams.  Profs are stepping on the gas by cramming four weeks of lectures into too few remaining classes.  Students are busy with projects, papers, tests, readings and studying for finals.

At this time of year students are too busy and exhausted for insightful reflective thinking, which is what they need most as college courses climax.

(C) Jorge Cham -

(C) Jorge Cham –

I’ve been working with very full To Do lists for the past two weeks, often surpassing >150 tasks to complete.  Today the list is at a comfortable 42 items.  Not that I’m going to work on anything.  I’m on Thanksgiving break.

by David Albrecht

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14 Things to Know Before Starting College

college-student-lifeIn this sharing world of digital era technologies (which I love) it is easier than ever to read truly insightful articles and essays.  I was alerted to one such article in today’s barrage of social media alerts.

Vivian Giang of Business Insider has written today’s gem in “14 Things High Schoolers Should Know Before They Go To College.”  I didn’t know these things when I attended a local university 45 years ago.  I wish I had.  These 14 nuggets ring true based on my experience as a professor.  Each one of these is important.  Please read the article, but here is my summary.

  1. You don’t have to start college right away.  It is OK to wait a year or two.
  2. Your professors aren’t your parents. They are there to teach you, not to lecture you on life lessons.
  3. Being cool in high school doesn’t mean you will be cool in college, and vice versa.
  4. Go to networking events. Learning how to meet, interact with and establish relationships with new people is one of life’s most important skills.
  5. Invest in your professors. They can be much more than talking heads. Some are worth establishing a relationship with.
  6. Get an internship. It gives business people a chance to meet and discover who are you.
  7. Get a job.
  8. Learn how to write.
  9. Research and learn how college loans will affect your life after college.
  10. Take your scholarship seriously. Losing it will negatively affect your life.
  11. Get up when your alarm goes off.  In other words, get up in the morning.
  12. Always go to class.
  13. Try new things.
  14. Make new friends and be social.

by David Albrecht


Filed under College Life, Student issues

Call For Proposals: 2014 HETL Conference

hetl_logoI am a member of Higher Education Teaching & Learning (HETL). I review for one of its journals, and I’m active on the HETL LinkedIn discussion group. The discussion group has quickly grown to 35,000+ members from its start about four years ago. I recommend this group for all professors (the only people allowed to join).


The International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) invites you to submit a proposal for a presentation at its 2014 International Conference, to be held in Anchorage, in partnership with the University of Alaska Anchorage, May 31 – June 2, 2014. Please submit your proposal for a presentation before the July 26, 2013 deadline – go to

The conference aims to review the impacts that digital, social and mobile media and networks are having on learning environments in higher education. Both scholarly and practice reports are invited. Participants will be from the gamut of academic disciplines across the arts, sciences, and professions, as well as from other administrative and staff functions delivering and supporting new technologies and approaches to learning.

by David Albrecht

Want more of Pondering the Classroom? Follow me on Twitter (@profalbrecht). Connect to me on LinkedIn.

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Landfill Harmonic – Musical Instruments Constructed From Trash

Throughout my academic career I’ve had professorial colleagues who have complained about stupid and lazy students who don’t belong in college.  They have taken it upon themselves to turn their courses into flunk out machines.  At my most recent previous school, I was instructed to fail 30% of my students in a certain accounting majors class.

I’ve always rejected such a notion.  In my experience, students show they are eager to learn if they receive but a bit of encouragement from a caring professor.

Someone is making a movie about people in Cateura, Paraguay creating musical instruments from discarded trash retrieved from a landfill.  That’s correct, a garbage dump.

The documentary–Landfill Harmonic— is a project in progress.  They are accepting donations that will allow completing the film.  The project is supported by people such as Alexandra Nash (ex-wife of NBA player Steve Nash).

Check it out.

P.S.–Here’s a nice update.

by David Albrecht

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Filed under New fangled tech, Student issues

Critical Thinking Infographic

Critical thinking is the most overused term in higher education.

There are several types of thinking, of which critical thinking is but one.  It might not be the most important one (anyone here want to speak up for creativity, imagination, reflection or practicality?).  But academics (who should know better) have latched on to it as the be all solution to everything in higher education teaching and learning.

Someone passed along a link to this infographic on critical thinking.  It’s ok.

developing-21st-century-critical-thinkers-infographic-mentoring-mindsCourtesy of: Mentoring Minds

by David Albrecht

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Up All Night On LinkedIn

4 am clock imageIt is 4:00 a.m.  I am still up, working.  That I am still up is not unlike some of my students.  That I’m working is very much unlike them.  After all, who stays up until 4:00 a.m. to study accounting if there is no test later in the day?

So what is an accounting professor working on during the summer?  I’m glad you asked.  I’m becoming better acquainted with some features of LinkedIn.

At the current time, I have about 900 first level connections.  300 are former students, 300 are professors.  Then there are practicing accountants, regulators, social media experts, friends, a nephew and my older son.

Right now I’m growing and maintaining my network.

ProfAlbrecht's LinkedIn Network

ProfAlbrecht’s LinkedIn Network

In the network map above, you can see the student connections from the schools at which I’ve taught: BGSU, Concordia College, and USC Upstate.  A small cluster is forming already for La Sierra.  Also, there are large clusters for professors and bloggers (and heavy social media users).

LinkedIn is a great network managing system, and in this digital technologies era I need a good network.  For months I’ve been lamenting that I’m only connected to 140 former students from BGSU.  There were thousands, and I’m sure at least a thousand of them are on LinkedIn.

A couple of days ago I got the bright idea to do an advanced search on LinkedIn inputting BGSU for the school and accounting for the industry.  Suddenly I had hundreds of accounting grads to search through to see if they took a class from me.  If they graduated between 1992 and 2010, probably they took at least one course from me.  So I stayed up late and sent out about 20 invitations to connect.  All of them accepted!

That was the easy part.  I now have to start working on establishing a relationship.  When they were sitting in my class, forming a teacher-student relationship was expected.  I learned most student names, most students learned my name, and I helped them learn accounting.  But years later we no longer have a relationship.  But I want one.

I send a thank you note to everyone who joins my network.  For these twenty students, I can also ask if they remember anything about the course (or courses) they took from me.  I ask if they liked the accounting program.  Later on, I’ll send out an occasional e-mail.

Sometimes a former student will e-mail me.  In the past few months, a couple students volunteered to write a LinkedIn recommendation for me.  Yes, yes, yes!

I’m also trying something new.  I’m headed off in the fall to a school in California.  I did a similar search (industry and school), and sent off a half dozen invitations to connect.  Five accepted.  From these students I hope to learn what it is like to study accounting at that school.  I’ll also learn if they’ve stayed in touch with the school.  Later on in the fall, I’ll invite them to attend the grand opening of the new business building and I’ll get a chance to chat face-to-face.

Once I get good at LinkedIn networking, I’ll start researching it and writing about

David Albrecht

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Sharing Coke

One of the things that is supposed to be learned by the time a youngster graduates from kindergarden:  sharing.

It’s refreshing (no pun intended, but I’ll still take a bow) to see college students sharing, even if it’s a drink of Coca-Cola.

Apparently, this was accomplished during finals week.

If my managerial accounting students weren’t going to study for the final exam (most didn’t), they should have found a constructive use of their time.

by David Albrecht

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An Evening With My Students

[Spartanburg, SC, Wednesday evening]  My wife asked again, “Are you sure you have people coming to help load up?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”  I had sent an e-mail asking my Intermediate Accounting students for help.

Five students answered my call for help.


The picture above tells it all.  The pickup truck is loaded full.  The trailer is open, ready to be filled.  From left to right:  Shealyn, Nicole, Ashlie’s son Sol, Ashlie, Lee, Profalbrecht, David.

Inside the apartment were pizza, soda (I call it pop), and a cake.  With so many great helpers, the trailer was quickly filled.  Then the students talked shop.  Shop talk for students revolves around experiences in class and what professors are like.

To the fabulous five, thanks for taking over and getting me loaded up.  I could never had done it without you.

To all of the students at USC Upstate who took my classes, thanks for making my time so enjoyably worthwhile.

by David Albrecht

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Packing Up

The school year is over and the fat lady is warming up in anticipation of singing.

I have six hours of grading to complete, then I’ll have completed my obligations at USC Upstate.

This evening several really nice people are coming over to help pack up my pick up truck and U-Haul trailer.  Then it’s a long drive back to Ohio.

I’ve met many wonderful people in Spartanburg.  At the top of the list are those who took my classes.  Several took both Cost Accounting and Intermediate Accounting 2.  Most are in their mid twenties or older.  I could be personal friends with so many of them, if only I was sticking around.  Then there are the bridge players who took me in and gave me a nice way to relax away from the job.

From a career perspective, coming to University of South Carolina Upstate was a horrific mistake.  Up north at least, people knifing you in the back have the decency to do it to your face.

From a personal perspective, coming to Spartanburg, SC, was the best thing I’ve ever done.  So many wonderful people, I’m tearing up to think I won’t see them again.

by David Albrecht


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