Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas all

I will be taking a break for Christmas, but I wanted to wish you all a great holiday and new year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why are these articles so short?

Each article is just one short paragraph and there is not much detail, when there should be a lot of detail for titles like that. Why do some important topics get a cursory mention and others of less importance get pages and pages?
Grade fixing stories should be a big deal; especially when we have seen a lot of mentions over the last couple of years on how adjuncts are feeling pressure from student evaluations to keep their jobs, and therefore, grades become inflated.
 A bill to protect veterans: what exactly does that mean? What does the bill do and how exactly does it help veterans?
The internet is a wonderful place, full of information, but it is all right to question it from time to time, and maybe even demand some clarification.
We do want to help students right?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sexual Assault and the Military

This is a touchy subject, but it is one that needs to be addressed quickly and definitively.

 A recent article in the Associate Press (AP) reports a 23% spike in “reported” sexual assaults at military academies (; keep in mind these are just the reported ones. I wonder what the numbers of unreported ones are? Military folks do not like to ask for help in these kinds of situations, unfortunately there is a false assumption of weakness if they do. Most of this violence is against female servicemembers; however, men are far less likely to report any kind of sexual assault at all, so we will never know the true number. Imagine, having to constantly worry about the people who are supposed to be watching your back? When someone makes the commitment to serve their country, to put on a uniform and lead, they deserve the best possible start, and this is would not be a good start.

So, what can we do? Obviously if this is at an academy, than the culture at the institutions need a major shift in attitude because folks of the same military should not be assaulting each other, not like this; after all, they all take the same oath.

Why is this conversation so quiet? Why isn’t this a bigger topic than gays in the military or WMDs in Iraq? It certainly needs to be on par with the topic of veterans’ benefits and PTSD because the baggage military people take in at the beginning of their careers, is going add up on their way out.

Sexual assault in the military is a problem and it is obviously not getting better. Please let us not forget this conversation because we are better than this, or at least we should be.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hidden Information?

After seeing the title of an article today: “Accreditation Actions Increased During Financial Downturn”, I was looking forward to reading a report with some good data, on what should be an important educational topic topic (


After actually reading the article (although well written), I noticed it was missing something very important, the actual report itself. Apparently, “the report is available only to Moody’s subscribers”. So my question is: why withhold great information like that from the general public?


There is a tendency in educational research to ‘archive’ data, rather than widely disseminate it. A lot of great information is just sitting somewhere, locked away, as if in a cave gathering dust, almost like the gold of Fort Knox, and that is a shame. There is a great blog article by Ben Baumberg, which further addresses some of these questions titled “the harms of hidden research”, but my point is simple: release the information because people want to know; people need to know.


As an educational professional, when I hear information like “the number of sanctions from national accrediting agencies increased by nearly 50 percent from 2008 to 2011” (Chronicle December 18, 2012, 1:48 pm), I want know why because this information could be useful in helping students.


We are trying to help students right?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Has Education Really Changed?

I can remember learning an interesting fact about education a few years ago, and that is: ‘a doctor from 100 years ago could not perform in today’s medical environment, but a teacher from 100 years ago could certainly do it’. Education has not really changed much, we think it has, we hope it has, and we do our best to make changes: but what are we really doing?
I just read an article in the Chronicle titled “For Whom Is College Being Reinvented” It was an interesting article in the sense that it reminds us of how far we have to go in truly making meaningful changes in higher education. Are we really helping students gain skills and a job? Who is gaining from these new methods and what are they gaining? How many people actually know what MOOC stands for (massive open online courses)? What does MOOC mean to you besides being the latest buzzword?
I wish I had a solution for this question, but honestly, it is still early in the game, but I hope people are paying attention and recording results. Education goes through phases, when the whole industry is talking about something they deem important and have no clue how to solve the problem, so they scramble for a solutions using grand gestures. I remember when in K12 education “standards” was the buzzword in the 1990s; we never really solved that one did we?
My point is, if the so-called solution cannot be understood clearly and duplicated easily, is it really a solution? Perhaps it is time to take this conversation outside of the daily news and into an arena that will facilitate real results for students, not sound bites to pad someone’s resume.
We are trying to find solutions right?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stay Focused On the Task at Hand

Currently, the news is dominated by the tragic events in Connecticut, and there is nothing much I can add to the conversation that will help. In fact, as a society, we tend to overdo it with information when it comes to tragedies like this. Personally, my own kids know nothing about it and we do not intend to talk about it with them anytime soon (unless of course they ask).
As educators and parents, we still have a job to do, and that is to help students. Students need to be able to concentrate on their learning and on their educational plans. It is also Christmas (whether you celebrate it or not), and it is more useful to concentrate on the season of positivity than a topic of negativity.
My point is, stay the course, do not lose focus on what we are supposed to be doing, no matter what we feel, because that is what students really need in the long run. A good well-rounded education can help solve future issues like the one that just occurred, and it is up to us to keep the ship steering on the right course. Let us act not react.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, December 14, 2012


An article I just read titled “Certifying Soft Skills?” got me thinking; about all the pitfalls, we have to deal with when it comes to social media in the educational arena ( Do you accept Facebook requests from students or not? LinkedIn request are ok right? How about Google plus, Pinterest, Twitter, and Flickr requests?


What is the proper way to turn down dating requests from students, who nowadays might be your own age, and prevent rumors from spreading about you through social media? When people post false stories about you, are you supposed to dignify them with response or take the high road and ignore them?


How do you help your students understand that complaining about a problem does not allow you to cuss incessantly to the dean of campus about the problem? In addition, how do you keep a neutral mind when that same student comes to you for a job recommendation down the line?


I would be curious as to what people think about this phenomenon and I would like to hear about various situations you have dealt with and the eventual resolutions (good or bad).


Sharing information is a good thing, because in the end it makes us better educators right?


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Keeping it close to the vest

A recent article in Inside Higher Education titled “Mum's Not the Word” got me thinking about confidentiality in education. While the article talks about confidentiality agreements for the most part, I believe there is another direction we need to think about, and that is discretion.

Educators are notorious gossips; there I said it out allowed, but it is true.

For those of you, who have taught K12, think about all the times you have talked about your students in the teachers’ lounge, at the mall, or at a bar while having a drink. I would guess that a lot of that “talk” violated FERPA (family educational rights privacy act).
In higher education, it is just as bad, although a lot of the gossip tends to focus on internal issues. Good people lose their jobs quite often in higher education because of office gossip, office slander, or forwarding inappropriate emails. You should listen to your students here, because they hear and see this more often than you think. Professors have actually incorporated their negative private beefs with institutions administration into their classroom lectures!

When you get the chance, count the number of stories in news sources about educators that involve scandal, someone resigning in disgrace, or a leader being ousted for some “secret” reason.

Educators are supposed to be setting a good example, and we are supposed to be molding the minds of the future. However, I think we have a long way to go when it comes to respecting privacy. We need to fix this, and fast, because if we cannot respect the rules, how can students respect us? In the end, it is all about the student right?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Start the tracking veteran academic success now!

A new article today in chronicle; but not really a new subject. It calls for "tracking of veterans academic success"; again.

Why should we care about how veterans are doing in school?

1.      We track all other students, especially those using financial aid

2.      We want our veterans to succeed

3.      It could, and probably will save money by putting funds where they are most needed for veterans academic success

4.      It can prevent fraud by unscrupulous players in higher education

5.      It will preserve the entitlement for future generations

6.      Because it is the smart thing to do

We are in analysis paralysis with this subject, let's take some action and start doing it in a meaningful way now, because time is wasting.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is technology the savior of education?

A recently read article got me thinking of how technology in all kinds of forms seems to be seen as the panacea for everything:

As a college professor, how often have you seen a student using Facebook in class and then complaining about their bad grade later? As a K-12 teacher, how often do you see a student staring into their lap with a smile, knowing they are really just texting? How often do we see the latest and greatest of technology machines gathering dust, or being used to play games (not its original use)?

Do not get me wrong, technology has altered our lives in so many positive ways, but we need to remember that it is just a tool; and tools can be misused.

Feel free to chime in on this conversation; maybe we will find the solutions if we work together.

We do want solutions right?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, December 10, 2012

Student retention is great, but how about employee retention?


I am sure this article was widely seen, and in today’s economy, we are all curious about salaries.


I am certainly not going to begrudge anyone a large paycheck, especially if it has is earned. One of the main jobs of college presidents nowadays is fund raising, and some of these presidents are masters of raising money, so in some ways, they are raising the money for their own salaries and then some.


However, there are some huge disparities where there should not be, and I do not care whether you are a non-profit or a for-profit, retention of your staff should be as important as retention of your students. In my experience, staff pay has been a large contributor of staff turnover, especially at the front line level (I should add that having a competent HR department, which is not universally, feared is also important).


When you are paying student advisors (entry-level position) between $25K to $30K a year, plus they are expected to have a bachelors degree, work Saturdays, do community outreach, and their raises are a maximum of 3% a year, then it is no wonder people leave quickly as soon as possible! This creates further student retention problems because students form relationships with the people who are helping them and the turnover is sign of instability; students like stability during their program. There are documented cases of whole departments in some institutions turning over 100%, 3 times within a year!


I am going to keep this simple and say, find a way to retain your staff, they are the first impression your students’ get, and when they vanish without warning multiple times, your students start to vanish.


In the end, it is all about the student right?


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, December 7, 2012

Value your Adjuncts

In a recent article titled “put your money where your Adjuncts are”,  the main theme is lack of funding opportunities for adjuncts. I do believe lack of funding opportunities is a huge understatement, considering how many institutions depend on adjuncts nowadays to teach their classes. In the nontraditional market, adjuncts are the majority faculty.

Some schools like to talk proudly about their “practitioner model” of instruction versus “research model”, and in theory having someone who is currently working in what their teaching should benefit students, especially the growing population of nontraditional students. However, how many times do we see classes not filled by a professor until the last minute (professor is consequently unprepared), or classes cancelled because they could not find a professor? This is a symptom of not paying your adjunct professors and treating them as second-class citizens.

It is important that adjuncts feel they are part of the greater school community, their input should be included with current curriculum, advancement opportunities should exist, and good adjuncts should be valued and cherished. Unfortunately, many institutions attitude today is “oh there are more where they came from”, so turnover for adjuncts can be large. Teaching requirements have also gone up, especially with new technology/software and delivery methods such as online/hybrid being introduced, but instructor training is often not given, or if it is, not in a meaningful and helpful way. What that means is more pre-class preparation, more class work, and more post-class work, for less pay. Do we not want out instructors to be successful? Why set them up for failure? Why set the stage for easily preventable student complaints?

Where are the professional development opportunities for adjuncts such as conferences or in-house training? Adjuncts who want earn a terminal degree often are not allowed to take classes or degree programs at the free or reduced rate that regular staff or faculty  is allowed to, unless of course they are teaching the equivalent of full time load. If you know any fulltime adjuncts, you know they often have to work at multiple institutions just to make a full time load.

So, what is the solution? I think some of the things I have mentioned would be a good start, but it would have to go hand in hand with a major culture change:

·         Training

·         Pay

·         Respect

Value your adjuncts, remember they are teaching your students, and students today are looking for a place that is going to help them get a job. Good instructors can help get them there.

Dr. Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, December 6, 2012

CCME News!

The Department of Defense (DoD) released the DoD Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Thursday, December 12, 2012. The quality of education received by our Service members is very important to the DoD. To ensure all Service members participating in off-duty, postsecondary education programs are provided quality education programs uniformly; the DoD established the MOU as part of the revised DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1322.25, Voluntary Education Programs dated March 15, 2011 (incorporating date of change 1, December 6, 2012). The current memorandum includes several protections enumerated in Executive Order 13607, "Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members," signed by President Obama on April 27, 2012.

Effective March 1, 2013, the DoD is implementing the following policy: "For an institution to be eligible to participate in the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program, they must have a signed DoD MOU and be on the 'Participating Institutions' list, which is posted on the DoD MOU webpage:"

After March 1, 2013 schools without a signed DoD MOU will not be able to enroll service members under the TA program until they have signed the MOU. Institutions with a currently signed DoD MOU can compare both versions and select to retain the original DoD MOU or sign the revised DoD MOU.

For a copy of the MOU, additional information, and the application to sign the DoD MOU please go to the DoD MOU web page:

Lane Huber
CCME Secretary

How we view teachers in the USA

We have probably all heard the saying “those who can do, those who cannot teach”; this is a truly despicable saying because it sums up the country’s view on teachers. How can people be successful if they have not had someone to teach them something?

Recently there has been a lot of chatter on why teachers in Finland are doing so well, but we should also look at teachers all over the globe such as in the continents of Africa and Asia. Obviously, teacher pay is not going to be equal in all regions of the world and good pay is important, but there is something else more important that ties all this good teaching together, and it is very simple: respect.

Where respect for the teacher and the teaching profession is paramount, you see good teaching and learning happening. My first teaching experience was in a Japanese high school; in Japan, when people discover you are a teacher, they bow to you and thank you. Imagine, how teachers would feel about their profession and themselves if that happened here? I suffered some severe culture shock when I transferred to the USA K-12 system!

In some of the poorest most dysfunctional countries in the world, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, teachers are not paid much or sometimes nothing at all, but people clamor to them for the knowledge they can provide and will sometimes pay them in food so that they do not go hungry and can still teach. In addition, kids do not skip school because they understand the value of the education and understand that they are lucky to even be in school.

Authentic respect for the profession and the very difficult job that teachers do is lacking in this country, and as a result, you have many bitter cynical teachers who probably did not start that way, but are just riding out their time to retirement because they are in despair. Make no mistake, teaching is a profession: so, why is it that a non-teaching professional can tell teachers how and what to teach? Imagine if people did that with doctors and lawyers? You can have as many teacher award ceremonies as you want, and salute to teacher days. You can talk about how teachers need to be thanked as much as you want, however, unless there is true respect behind all the words and actions, it means nothing. Teachers may not have gone into the profession for the money, but they most definitely did not go into it the profession to be disrespected.

Respect for the profession is what it should be all about.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Promoting your students

An article I recently read in Inside Higher Education talks about a study that “finds that, in political science, earning a PhD from one of a relatively small number of universities is the key to landing a job at a research-intensive university”. Apparently, the study suggests, “the number of academic superpowers is so small that good candidates from less-favored institutions are likely being overlooked”.

Higher education itself is an elite category if you think about it because; if college were easy, everyone would have a degree. Getting a terminal degree is a different category all together. Access to these elite colleges has always and continues to be ‘guarded by a castle moat’. If your family has influence, you can row across, if you are smart and the right person notices you, you can swim across and hopefully not get eaten by the crocodiles in the water.

Back to the terminal degrees, what you are really getting from the elite universities is access, not necessarily a superior education, because at the doctoral level they are all superior (assuming the same accreditation).

Perhaps it is time that the schools that are not in the elite category start promoting their students themselves, and tooting the horn of their own students. Often times, these graduated students are left to fend for themselves and navigate without a guide through the world of the post doc job search, and that road can be brutal.

If you get through the process with all its trials and tribulations, that should be a huge celebration! Incidentally, it will only make the institution look better if you are letting the world know about all your great graduate, accomplished students. Remember, the students who finish are a reflection of your institutions, and the more that are working, the more that are talking about you.

In the end, it is all about the student right?


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unsung heroes of K-12 education

First off let me say, that the purpose of this article is not to be self-serving, I will admit now to having been a middle schools teacher for about 10 years; the purpose is to shed some positivity on the strange institution called middle school.

When I first started teaching in the early 1990s, I met a lot of teachers who talked about “doing time” at middle school, or “escaping the hell” of middle school. Let us face it; middle school students are completely insane: there are hormones raging, their bodies are growing, they temporarily lose their brains, and I have a strong suspicion that all middle school cafeterias add some kind of psychedelic stimulant to the food for flavor. Unbelievably, I purposely sought out middle school and I relished almost every (not every moment, I am human) moment of it because it because there was never a dull moment.

Have you ever seen a bumblebee break dance in the middle of a hallway? I have seen it in middle school. Have you ever seen a soap opera played out in real life by lots little people? That is middle school. It has its good days and bad days, but there is a pay off which I will get to in a moment.

I left the classroom in 2006, and over the last 5 or 6 years, I have started to get wedding invitations, birth announcements, and my all time favorite: college graduation announcements. They were from my former students and they remembered me fondly! Yes, I was tough on them, yes, I expected the best from them and accepted no excuses, and guess what? Years later, they thanked me for it, because they said they knew I truly cared about them. That is the pay off.

So, you dedicated middle school teachers out there, stick with it because the students need you. Do not try and escape to the “cushy” high school setting, and do not listen to the negative comments on the pains of teaching middle school. Your students really need you and some day they will let you know.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Can we all work together to help community college students?

In a recent Chronicle article titled “Who Do I Think I Am?”(, the main topic seems to be one professor’s struggle with an extremely persistent student. In my opinion though, there seems to be another underlying factor that California community colleges need to work on, and that is lack of classes for students.

Community college has been a boon used by many people including high school students getting a leg up on their upcoming freshman year of college, students getting their A.A degree in hopes of transferring to a four year institution, and folks wanting a better future testing the waters with a class here and there.

This past summer, a large majority of San Diego community college cancelled summer classes altogether, and while some private schools in the county scrambled to try and pick up the slack by offering “special summer classes”, it was too little too late for a lot of students and that is a pity. Therefore, one of my recurring themes in many of my writings reemerges here, and that is collaboration.

Community colleges, instead of waiting for the private schools to come to you, why don’t you go to them and say you need help and we want to work with you? Private schools would of course have to lower the cost of these special classes and some of them have been (but no one can beat California community college prices). There would also have to be some good articulation agreements put in place that make it easy for students to know what will transfer and what will not., but all this can been done with the proper will. Get it done because it can be done!  Just take the politics out of the equation.

Remember, in the end it is all about helping the student succeed.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam Educational Consulting Group

Monday, December 3, 2012

Student Services

I recently read an article in Inside Higher Education titled: “The Customer Is Always Right”, and it got me thinking some things.

As an adminstrator, it is always a good idea to find out how your students (or customers) are doing, and whether they are satisfied with you. Notice I said satisfied not happy because it is very difficult to make everyone happy (seriously). Anyway, I started asking myself some questions such as: is it truly necessary to use subterfuge to find out all this information? Can we not just straight out ask our students or be more visible to the point where they always know how to find you on campus?

We often ask students to fill out survey after survey, and even though these surveys are anonymous, it is often not difficult for a staff member or professor to figure out who wrote what comment; and because of this lack of anonymity, students are no longer filling out the surveys or they are not honest on the surveys. Even worse, the surveys have become a venting forum full of completely non-constructive criticism.

How easy it to see or talk to your campus director, campus dean, academic deans, or even the chancellor? Do you even know who they are? Do these administrators know who you are?

We can do better, and I think the answer is sometimes very simple: be visible and be accessible.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The E Team Educational Consulting Group