Sunday, May 29, 2016

College Isn’t Always the Answer

Plenty of alternatives can prepare young people to enter the workforce.

By Jeffewy J. Selingo

May 26, 2016


During this particularly rancorous election season, at least one bipartisan consensus persists: More Americans, we are told, need to earn undergraduate degrees. The political debate tends to focus on the best way to graduate more people with less debt. But it makes little sense to send more students to college
when nearly half of new graduates are working jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to a 2014 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

It would be better to reconsider the entire issue. There’s a disconnect between supply (what the education system produces) and demand (what employers seek). Rather than trying to shuffle young people off to college three months after they graduate from high school, policy makers should support alternative routes to the education and training required for high-quality jobs. Plenty of successful examples have sprung up around the country.

Siemans and other manufacturers, for example, developed a high-school apprenticeship program in North Carolina when they couldn’t find enough workers with advanced skills. After completing a three-year apprenticeship, the students leave with an associate degree and a $55,000 starting salary.

John Deere runs a similar program at Walla Walla Community College in Washington state. Students are trained to fix million-dollar farm equipment, which allows them to use their hands and advanced math and mechanical skills. High-school guidance counselors, who are evaluated on the proportion of students they send to four-year universities, may discourage such choices.

It might also be helpful if more high-school graduates took a “gap year” before heading off to college. Too often they pick a field of study based on what’s familiar, with little exposure to many of the jobs that exist today. Having high-school graduates take time to explore careers before college—through internships or national service—gives them a sense of focus and purpose. It likely saves money in the long run too.

While not a traditional gap year, a program in Baltimore called BridgeEdU bills itself as a reinvention of the freshman experience. It offers college credits, internships and coaching for under $8,000.

The number of teenagers who have some sort of job while in school has dropped to 20% in 2013 from about 45% in 1998, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Once in college, students need to combine education with relevant work experience. Otherwise, they know little about the workplace before they land their first full-time job after graduation.

More colleges should embrace the idea of cooperative education. At universities such as Northeastern and Drexel, students alternate between the classroom and the job. Co-ops are part of the undergraduate experience at these institutions, and paid work makes up anywhere from one-third to almost half of the time a student spends in school. Co-op education helps students develop a tolerance for ambiguity in their work, which so many employers say today’s college graduates lack.

Many who earn a bachelor’s degree are not prepared to enter the workforce. A new learning ecosystem is emerging outside of traditional higher education to assist them. General Assembly offers courses on topics like Web design, and Koru teaches practical business skills. Students can also use free or inexpensive online courses from edX and Lynda.com to build skills that can help them get that first job.

There is no silver bullet for reducing unemployment and reversing wage stagnation. Sending more high-school graduates to get traditional bachelor’s degrees, free or not, isn’t the answer. Embracing some of these locally tested ideas on a national scale would be a good start.

Mr. Selingo, a professor of practice at Arizona State University, is the author of “There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow” (William Morrow, 2016).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jim Swink, TCU’s two-time All-American ‘Rusk Rambler,’ dies at age 78

By: Carlos Mendez
Fort Worth Star Telegram
December 4, 2014

In one of its best football seasons, TCU has lost one of its football legends.

Jim Swink, who as a swift, lanky East Texas teen-ager helped the Horned Frogs win the Southwest Conference championship in 1955, died Wednesday at his home in Rusk. He was 78.

Because of his swerving, evasive running style, Dr. Swink was known as “The Rusk Rambler.”

Despite being an All-American running back as a junior and senior and finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1955, he opted out of an NFL career. His 8.2 yards-per-carry average in 1955 led the nation and is still the school record. His 2,618 career yards rank ninth on the school list.

“He was a guy basically, with Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh, that put TCU on the map,” said current Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson, whose team could win a share of the Big 12 championship Saturday. “The thing about Jim Swink and others that have been in our past is they are our past, they are our history, and you have to be proud of it.”

Dr. Swink was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000. He won the Doak Walker Legends Award in 2005.

“He was one of the five best players in TCU history and should have won the Heisman,” said Dan Jenkins, a TCU alum, football historian and writer when Swink won the Walker award.

But he opted out of the NFL and went to medical school. He was drafted into the Army in 1966 and served in Vietnam as a medic, returning in 1968 as a captain with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

He was an orthopedic surgeon for 35 years in Fort Worth, practicing mainly at Huguley Memorial Medical Center. In 2006 after a stroke, he returned to Rusk, where he grew up, and continued to practice.

Dr. Swink told the Star-Telegram he did not expect to win the Walker Award.

“Some people have said I’ve always been a legend in my own mind,” he said. “This is a surprise. I thought my days of getting awards had come and gone.”

Dr. Swink led the nation in rushing in 1955 with 1,283 yards on just 157 carries, and he scored 18 touchdowns as the Horned Frogs went 9-2 and finished with a No. 5 national ranking.

Over five seasons starting in 1955, TCU won or shared three Southwest Conference titles, played in three Cotton Bowls and one Bluebonnet Bowl, and posted three top-10 finishes. Its record included a victory against Syracuse and Jim Brown in 1957 as Dr. Swink, recruited by Abe Martin, helped usher in one of the most successful eras in Horned Frogs history.

“Much of what we accomplished didn’t seem such a big deal at the time,” Swink told the Star-Telegram in 2000 before his induction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. “It was just a part of the overall experience of getting a college education. It was also a more innocent time, and we were mostly kids from small towns who hadn’t seen much of the world. It was also the one-platoon era, where you could build a competitive program with a lot fewer people than it takes today.”

His wife, Jeannie Swink, said her husband was proud of one accomplishment more than others.

“He was most proud of being an Academic All-American,” she told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “He was proud of all of his accomplishments, but he was especially proud of that.”

It makes sense that academic determination kept Swink from pursuing an NFL career. Rather than put his time into becoming a pro player, the pre-med student stuck with his med-school studies and residency.

“The Bears drafted me, and it was tempting,” he told the Star-Telegram. “George Halas used to call me up and talk for an hour. He’d say, ‘I need someone up here who doesn’t fumble the ball.’ But I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.’

He did try pro football for a year, signing with the Dallas Texans in 1960. But it only confirmed what he feared.

“I just couldn’t do it full time,” he said. “I probably would have played longer if it were possible, but it just wouldn’t work.”

Born March 14, 1936, in Sacul, he moved to Rusk at age 13 to live with Obie and Grace Walker after his mother became ill with tuberculosis. He was a standout athlete in high school and chose TCU in part because the school would let him play both football and basketball.

He never lost his allegiance to TCU football, although his health prevented him from traveling to recent games.

“He religiously followed them,” Jeannie Swink said. “He watched the Rose Bowl on television. His chair was right in front of the television, and Jim was always someone who didn’t set in one place for very long. But when TCU was playing, especially if they were playing good, he didn’t move.”

Dr. Swink certainly would have been watching on Saturday, when the Horned Frogs take on Iowa State with a chance to share a Big 12 title and reach the first College Football Playoff. TCU is ranked third, and the top four teams qualify.

“All those people, they all become friends,” Patterson said. “Everybody’s invested, whether they’re close to you here or far. They’re invested. His family, like anybody else, they’ve been very excited about everything that’s been going on here.”

This report includes material from the Tyler Morning Telegraph.



Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/12/03/6338515/jim-swink-tcus-two-time-all-american.html?storylink=addthis#.VIDRyGA3pCc.facebook&rh=1#storylink=cpy




He was an orthopedic surgeon for 35 years in Fort Worth, practicing mainly at Huguley Memorial Medical Center. In 2006 after a stroke, he returned to Rusk, where he grew up, and continued to practice.
Dr. Swink told the Star-Telegram he did not expect to win the Walker Award.
“Some people have said I’ve always been a legend in my own mind,” he said. “This is a surprise. I thought my days of getting awards had come and gone.”
Dr. Swink led the nation in rushing in 1955 with 1,283 yards on just 157 carries, and he scored 18 touchdowns as the Horned Frogs went 9-2 and finished with a No. 5 national ranking.
Over five seasons starting in 1955, TCU won or shared three Southwest Conference titles, played in three Cotton Bowls and one Bluebonnet Bowl, and posted three top-10 finishes. Its record included a victory against Syracuse and Jim Brown in 1957 as Dr. Swink, recruited by Abe Martin, helped usher in one of the most successful eras in Horned Frogs history.
“Much of what we accomplished didn’t seem such a big deal at the time,” Swink told the Star-Telegram in 2000 before his induction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. “It was just a part of the overall experience of getting a college education. It was also a more innocent time, and we were mostly kids from small towns who hadn’t seen much of the world. It was also the one-platoon era, where you could build a competitive program with a lot fewer people than it takes today.”
His wife, Jeannie Swink, said her husband was proud of one accomplishment more than others.
“He was most proud of being an Academic All-American,” she told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “He was proud of all of his accomplishments, but he was especially proud of that.”
It makes sense that academic determination kept Swink from pursuing an NFL career. Rather than put his time into becoming a pro player, the pre-med student stuck with his med-school studies and residency.
“The Bears drafted me, and it was tempting,” he told the Star-Telegram. “George Halas used to call me up and talk for an hour. He’d say, ‘I need someone up here who doesn’t fumble the ball.’ But I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.’
He did try pro football for a year, signing with the Dallas Texans in 1960. But it only confirmed what he feared.
“I just couldn’t do it full time,” he said. “I probably would have played longer if it were possible, but it just wouldn’t work.”
Born March 14, 1936, in Sacul, he moved to Rusk at age 13 to live with Obie and Grace Walker after his mother became ill with tuberculosis. He was a standout athlete in high school and chose TCU in part because the school would let him play both football and basketball.
He never lost his allegiance to TCU football, although his health prevented him from traveling to recent games.
“He religiously followed them,” Jeannie Swink said. “He watched the Rose Bowl on television. His chair was right in front of the television, and Jim was always someone who didn’t set in one place for very long. But when TCU was playing, especially if they were playing good, he didn’t move.”
Dr. Swink certainly would have been watching on Saturday, when the Horned Frogs take on Iowa State with a chance to share a Big 12 title and reach the first College Football Playoff. TCU is ranked third, and the top four teams qualify.
“All those people, they all become friends,” Patterson said. “Everybody’s invested, whether they’re close to you here or far. They’re invested. His family, like anybody else, they’ve been very excited about everything that’s been going on here.”
This report includes material from the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/12/03/6338515/jim-swink-tcus-two-time-all-american.html?storylink=addthis#.VIDRyGA3pCc.facebook&rh=1#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/12/03/6338515/jim-swink-tcus-two-time-all-american.html?storylink=addthis#.VIDRyGA3pCc.facebook&rh=1#storylink=cpy

TCU: The Texas-Size Might of the Horned Frogs

How the Big 12’s Smallest School Became Texas’s Biggest Power

By: Jonathan Clegg
The Wall Street Journal
November 6, 2014


Fort Worth, Texas

When Gary Patterson took over as coach of Texas Christian University’s football team in 2000, he didn’t set out to make the school a fixture in the rankings. He sure wasn’t thinking about national championships.
His first priority back then: Try to establish TCU as the second-favorite college team in town.

“We’ve got all these Texas and Texas A&M and Oklahoma grads here, but these are people that love football,” Patterson said shortly after he was promoted from defensive coordinator to the Horned Frogs’ head coach. “If we can touch this community, they will put purple jerseys on and buy season tickets and come to our games.”

That vision has been validated. When the sixth-ranked Horned Frogs host No. 7 Kansas State on Saturday, a matchup with implications for the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff, they will play in front of another sellout crowd, their third of the season.

But along the way, something far greater has taken place here. This tiny private school of about 10,000 students that merely wanted to be its town’s No. 2 team has become the top college-football program in the state of Texas.

“I’m blown away by it,” said Bill Prater, a 1950 TCU graduate and member of the booster club. “Sometimes I can’t quite believe how far we’ve come.”
Barely 20 years ago, TCU had been so dismal for so long that even within Texas, the school had become derisively known as “TC Who?” It seemed that the Frogs were doomed to become perpetual also-rans among the now-dozen Division I college football programs that dot the state.

In 1996, the scandal-prone Southwest Conference broke up, leaving TCU with a murky future. Although TCU had been a member of the SWC since 1923, it pointedly wasn’t invited to join the newly formed Big 12, which instead welcomed Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and even Baylor, a private school with a modest football history.

Left out to dry, TCU was forced to join the far-flung Western Athletic Conference.

“There was incredible anger about that,” said Dan Jenkins, a Fort Worth-based sportswriter and novelist who graduated from TCU in 1953. “The general feeling was that Baylor’s football history wouldn’t make a pimple on TCU’s a—.”
Founded in nearby Thorp Springs in 1873 as AddRan Male and Female College (after founders Addison and Randolph Clark), the school moved to Waco in 1895 before a group of Fort Worth businessmen, with help from the town’s Christian churches, finally lured the renamed Texas Christian University to its present site in 1910 with a gift of $200,000, plus the plot of land on which the campus now sits.

Over the course of its football history, TCU has produced two national championships, 17 conference titles and 30 All-Americans, including legends like Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien, the 1938 Heisman Trophy winner.
But by the time the SWC dissolved, those achievements had long been overshadowed by a recruiting scandal in the 1980s that saw the program placed on probation. TCU mustered only five winning seasons between 1966 and 1997. A losing culture developed, producing cheers like “Two, four, six, eight! Score before we graduate!”

“And this on the campus of a school that had been the first Texas team to play in the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl,” Jenkins said. “Those dark days of the ’70s and ’80s, I’m glad I missed most of them by living in New York.”

How TCU has returned to prominence is partly owed to the growth of television coverage of college football. The pursuit of TV money by schools and conferences has sparked a wave of conference membership changes in recent years. That has propelled the Frogs on a 16-year, five-conference odyssey, which culminated in an invitation to join the Big 12 in 2012—reuniting with Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor, three of their old SWC rivals.
But it also has something to do with the singular talents of Patterson. In 13 seasons as coach, he has led TCU to 11 bowl games, including a historic Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin in 2011 that capped an undefeated season.

“To whom or what do I attribute the rise of our football program?” said university chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. “Easy answer: coach Patterson.”

This season could turn out to be the finest of Patterson’s career. Having seen his team struggle to a 11-12 mark in its first two seasons in the Big 12—including a 6-12 record in conference play—Patterson ditched his favored ball-control offense in favor of a fast-break scheme designed to keep up with the conference’s turbocharged attacks. The results have been remarkable. The Frogs average 550 yards per game this season and rank third nationally in total offense, up from 345 yards and 106th overall in 2013.

Geography also has played its part. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a rich area for high-school recruits, allowing TCU to compile top-50 recruiting classes in each of the past six years. It is also a rich area for rich donors. The school’s $164 million refurbishment of its 84-year-old Amon G. Carter Stadium, which is near completion, was entirely funded by private donations.

“The whole thing, debt-free—isn’t that phenomenal?” said TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte. “We call it the Camden Yards of college football.”
For all that, the most important foundations laid down in recent years may be those that Patterson built with the community that has come to embrace his team.

From the start of his tenure, Patterson has focused on recruiting local players to strengthen the connection between the town and the team. Of his 273 recruits since 2000, 74 hailed from the Metroplex area. Only 48 have come from out of state
.
In his first season, he established “Bleacher Creatures,” a program in which hundreds of kids are given a TCU jersey and a chance to run onto the field with the team before the start of each home game. In 2011, defensive tackle David Johnson became the first former Bleacher Creature to play for the Horned Frogs.

Now, with TCU at 7-1 and poised to make a run at a playoff berth and a shot at a national championship, those efforts are paying off. Hours before last month’s sellout 82-27 win over Texas Tech, TCU’s Frog Alley was crammed with fans in purple jerseys—even if some of them admitted they didn’t really belong there.

“I didn’t even go to school here,” said Mandy Brown, a 2006 Texas Tech graduate who was wearing a purple TCU home jersey and matching cowboy boots. “But my family are all in Fort Worth and this is our team, you know?”