Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Carver Elects to Spend his Summers at UT Tyler

Finals of the TSDC
end of camp tournament
Summer is an exciting time for students.  School lets out, and all obligations are abandoned.  Most college
students take some time to get caught up on sleep or start getting caught up on TV shows and books that they have been putting off because of school work.  Me? I go and work at Debate Camps across East Texas. While the hours are often long and grueling, the reward is invaluable.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 will be my final day working for the UT Tyler Admissions Call Center. While my time here seems to have been short, I have enjoyed every moment of working in this office. I have been extremely proud of giving back to my university by spreading the word about how much this institution has to offer to new students. This school has given me so much--an affordable education, a great debate team, great classes and professors, and a great office to work in--and I am extremely gracious to have been able to give back.

Starting mid-August, I will begin working at the Literacy Council of Tyler as a Student Intern, where I will have the opportunity to tutor students enrolled in GED and ESL programs. While I have enjoyed my time expressing to potential students the benefits of enrolling at UT Tyler, this job will give me an opportunity to work with students who need more help than others. I have large respect for those who commit to getting their GED so they can accomplish more with their life, and I love that I get to help these students achieve their short- and long-term goals.

The past year and two months in this office has been extremely memorable. I have met new friends, had great bosses, and the experiences I have shared with them here will go unparalleled in the future. Alas, the opportunities that I have been offered in my new job are too enticing to pass up, and I wish to take my talents to this office to tackle new challenges and make new memories while I still have a year left at UT Tyler.

I will miss speaking with potential students about attending UT Tyler and the opportunities available to them at this wonderful institution. I will miss blogging about debate, events at UT Tyler, the wondrous world of academia, and the opportunities available at UT Tyler. I will miss the shenanigans in the Call Center, such as yelling at Carver and Kevin from across the room. I will miss the friendly environment, the accommodating staff that oversees our office, and the opportunities that they presented us to better ourselves both in and out of the workplace. I will miss the Call Center quite a bit once I leave.

Alas, it is time to go. So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish.

stephen colbert animated GIF

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Relax UT Tyler Grads, Finding a Job Might Not Be Too Difficult

In the wake of the 2008 economic recession in the United States, Americans found post-secondary education to be more appealing, a better option than trying to jump directly into a faulting job market. The Lumina Foundation found in April that there is a steady increase in college enrollment and the attainment of college degrees, approximately 0.7% per year, higher than at any point before the recession. Individuals found college to be a safer investment than simply jumping into the job market--in mid-2014, is this still the situation?

FiveThirtyEight blog posted new analysis on Tuesday, July 8th that indicates that job openings in the United States are increasing, and those seeking new employment face their best odds now than at any other point during the economic recovery. According to Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEight blog's chief economics writer, finds that more U.S. companies are hiring new workers. Specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 4.6 million job openings were posted in the month of May, up 19 percent from this point last year. This is good news for recent college graduates, as the likeliness of finding employment straight out of their undergraduate or graduate work is higher now than at any other point during the U.S. economic recovery.

The report also shows that layoffs are at a near all-time low, at least since 2001, when the government started keeping track of layoff rates in the United States. An even better indicator of workers' confidence is the rate of voluntary quits in the job market, which is at an all time high. This means that employment attrition is less of a concern than it was just a few years ago--a new college graduate out of UT Tyler can leave the school with more confidence that they will find gainful employment in their field, and keep that employment for the long term.

Rising openings and falling layoffs indicates a lack of competition for employment positions in a new graduate's particular field, a good sign for those concerned that they would not find a job in the area of their collegiate study. While this means that the college investment was a smart choice for recent graduates, it does not mean that college is less of a strong option for those still in high school. While employment opportunities might be increasing right now, the report does not indicate the level of recent education required to acquire these positions. This means that those in their senior year of high school should continue to highly consider pursuing a college degree, as it is still the safest investment following your high school graduation.

Monday, July 7, 2014

UT Tyler to Host Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

US Supreme Court Associate
Justice Clarence Thomas
This September, the Cowan Center will host US Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas as part of the UT Tyler Distinguished Lecture Series. This will be the first time a Supreme Court Justice visits UT Tyler, and Justice Thomas will be the opening lecture for the 33rd year of the UT Tyler Distinguished Lecture Series.

Justice Thomas was born in 1948 in Pin Point, Georgia, a community near Savannah, Georgia. He attended Conception Seminary and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He went on to receive his J.D. (Juris Doctor---law degree) from Yale Law School in 1974.

Following his academic career, he was admitted to the Missouri bar in 1974, and for the next three years, he served as the Assistant Attorney General of Missouri under State Attorney General John Danforth. In 1976, Justice Thomas took an attorney position with the Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1979 he returned to work with now U.S. Senator Danforth through 1981 as a Legislative Assistant. He then joined the Reagan administration in 1981 as the Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, and then in 1982 through 1990 he was the Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush nominated Thomas to a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Following his tenure on this bench, President Bush nominated him for the Supreme Court in 1991, following the retirement of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve as a Supreme Court Justice in the United States. Thomas would go on to be the second African-American on the bench, and he still holds his seat on the bench today.

His public perception is one that is somewhat shrouded in mystery. He is seen as having joined the conservative wing of the Court, being seen by some as the most conservative member of the Supreme Court; others argue that Justice Scalia holds that honor. Both men view themselves as originalists, making some of their decisions on the bench highly controversial. One of his most distinguishing features on the bench is his silence--Supreme Court Justices are often very talkative  during opening statements for cases, but Justice Thomas does not speak. Recently he did speak up briefly during opening statements and arguments for the first time in seven years, just so he could make a joke about the two lawyers that were alumnus from Harvard and Yale Law School.

His resonating silence on the bench makes an entire lecture from him at UT Tyler much more exciting. Tickets will go on sale for the public in August from the Cowan Center website, so be sure to claim your seats while they are open!

Friday, July 4, 2014

How UT Tyler Can Help Students Better Understand Their Finances

In my last blog entry, I noted that one of the largest hurdles for undergraduates in their first year of college life is the ability to retain financial support to continue their academic career. In fact, it is the leading cause of low retention rates for colleges and universities in the United States. While a large portion of this issue is based on socioeconomic status, a large amount of relief for this problem can come from having a better understanding of one's finances. Whether it is being able to pay for one's tuition, or just being able to make rent payments on a monthly basis, it is no surprise that undergraduate students could always use more assistance with financial solvency.

New strides are being made with colleges and universities nationwide to alleviate the stresses that come with dealing with a student's personal finances. Many colleges have started financial literacy programs in recent years, some even making these courses and programs a requirement to enroll for classes for subsequent semesters. These programs are necessary based on the average knowledge that undergraduate students have about personal finance--concepts such as budgeting, saving, compound interest, and even check-writing are becoming more unknown for these students. Rather than wasting money on a regular basis on luxuries such as video games, furnishings, alcohol, etc., students can learn how to better save their money to have an easier time making their required payments.

UT Tyler can adopt a framework similar to that of Ohio State University, who are currently in the process of making all students complete a financial-education program during their second year at the school. The mandate requires students to review online material, as well as meet one-on-one with a student financial adviser. These volunteer advisers are trained to spend time with students to help them understand their current financial situation, establish goals for the short and long term, and develop sustainable financial habits and responsibilities. The overall goal is to better inform students as to how they can better their financial responsibility, and make college life easier and more sustainable.

While UT Tyler has the ability to boast an extremely affordable tuition rate that is well below the state median for public university tuition, financial woes for some students still exist. The responsibility for financial stability and success does not have to fall solely on the student--our university can make large strides as well. Until then, there is a litany of resources that can be utilized, both in person as well as on the internet. FAFSA has a large information basis for students applying for financial aid, and UT Tyler provides financial aid advising for its students who require more information. Check it out before your next rent check is due!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrating the Fourth of July at UT Tyler

Today is July the second, which means that in two days fireworks will light the night sky during a national celebration of Independence Day.  Most people will host grand parties with plenty of food and obviously a lot of fireworks.  Do you have any plans? If not, then perhaps I can help. If you have already started planning your celebration, then maybe I can help you along the way!  If you are interested in throwing an amazing fourth of July celebration without paying an absurd price, then read on!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Kevin's farewell blog!

     Like every good story, there is always an inevitable end. My journey here as a Student Telecounselor has ended. This past year and two months has been incredibly enriching and it is sad to go, but in life we all have to move on. I was able to get an internship this summer so that's where my next journey begins!