Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More on being poor

I wanted to share this person’s recent story because I think it is very relevant in how we treat each other when we are down on our luck. We must teach compassion not just in our schools, but also in our lives.
I will call this person Anna (not her real name), and give you a little background to start. Anna is a wife and mother of two kids, she is highly educated as is her spouse, but due to budget cuts at their jobs they have both been unemployed for more than one year now.
As with many people, they lived paycheck to paycheck, especially since they wanted their kids to have a good life. Unemployment ran out, savings ran out, and finally the bills started to pile up to the point where they gave in and applied for various forms of public assistance. This story is about their experience applying for help to pay their electric bill.
The location is not easy to find, and they are rushing to get there before their scheduled 10am appointment. They finally located street parking a block away from the office and they get place 10 minutes before their appointment. As they enter place, there are about six people waiting on uncomfortable chairs lined up against one wall, it is really obvious no one wants to be there. The walls are all painted yellow; there is a camera in one corner and a bulletproof window like the ones you find in gas stations. It is cheerless, sterile environment not designed to put you at ease but to humiliate. The only things on the wall are three signs: no cell phones usage, no public parking, and no public restroom; no, no, no. Feels like a prison waiting room, in fact it looks like one as well.
It turns out, that even though they have an “appointment”, it is really just first come first serve, so their 10am appointment was just for show. Inside the window where you have to sign and provide all the documents, there is a sign that says “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”, so that means you cannot complain.
Anna is forced to go pee in the bushes because there is no restroom, and they had been waiting for a while. When they are finally seen, there is no discretion, no warmth, the people there put your business out to everyone and they are very clinical in how they treat you, also, there is a lot more paperwork to be filled out in addition to what you are supposed to bring.
They eventually get escorted into the back office to hand in the piles of paperwork, and notice that inside where the employees are located, is a really nice, warm and vibrant office, but that is for the employees only, not for those who come looking for help and they only get a glimpse.
Eventually, they do get the help they need, but here is my point: what is wrong with putting people at ease in these stressful situations? What is wrong with comfortable chairs, a water cooler, and bathroom? What is wrong with apologizing that had to wait an hour past your scheduled appointment? What is wrong with treating people looking for help with dignity?
We as a society need to have compassion, we need to make undignified situations as dignified as possible, and we must not kick someone when they are down.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, July 29, 2013

The shame of being poor

I believe this is an education issue that is not often talked about, or usually just ignored.
There are some frightening statistics about poverty in this country, let alone in the world. Some recent studies show that 80% of the U.S population will at some point experience severe financial hardship. For those who work, we often live paycheck to paycheck; it can be a fine line between having a home and being homeless, especially if you have no family support.
There are a lot of pundits out there who feel that “the poor are the reason the country is not doing well”, we have heard politicians refer to “the welfare state” and attempting to insult each other by calling the other “a welfare supporter”.  
 Being poor continues to be a “political football” (hate that cliché), with those who need the help being kicked.
If you are poor, you have to pay a higher interest rate on everything, a you get ripped off on these payday loans, nutritious food is more expensive than fast food, etc. You become just a number not a name. Do you know that some banks will freeze your debit card if you are late on a car loan, even if you are within the grace period of the loan? That means even if you have some money in your account you cannot use your own money to get gas, by groceries, etc. You have to go into the branch to get the cash. Of course, while you are there, the bank employees will tell you quite publicly that you are late on your loan, even though rent might be the priority for you that day. Juggling bills becomes a skill.
Meanwhile, banks, bankers, and financiers get the best interest rates, loan forgiveness and they are the ones who cause our latest financial crisis! Yes, we know people bought houses that they could not afford, but who gave them those loans? Who made money off the foreclosures and continue to make money off the foreclosures? I assure you not the poor.
There are those who could qualify for all kinds of public assistance, but because of the shame involved in applying for it they never do it. Have you ever been to a public assistance office? There are a lot of good people there, ashamed to be seen and they are just praying no one recognizes them, even though they have done nothing wrong. I guarantee you the majority of those folks who are on some kind of public assistance are just counting the days until they can get off it. Most people do not want handouts, contrary to popular belief, and you would be surprised how many educated folks need them as well.
Nobody asks to go through financial hard times, and when they do, the last thing they want or need is to be told that THEY SUCK, just because they are poor.
Educate yourself about this topic, have some compassion, show support and do not shame people for being poor, because one day it could be you on the receiving end.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Adaptive Learning in Higher Education

“Adaptive learning is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices. Computers adapt the presentation of educational material according to students' learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions and tasks”.
This is being introduced into our higher education system now.
“New Player in Adaptive Learning”
“Career Education Corp. has begun one of higher education’s broadest experiments with adaptive learning. Institutions in the for-profit chain have powered more than 300 online course sections with the emerging technology, and enrollments in those courses have topped 11,000 students”.
“Broadly defined, adaptive learning is the use of data-driven tools to design coursework that responds to individual students’ abilities. Courses featuring adaptive technology typically use assessments to constantly adjust content, giving students extra help to master concepts or to skip ones they already understand”.
“Many in higher education think adaptive technology has the potential to help students learn more efficiently. Individualized course content can lead to both automated and professor-led interventions with students. That in turn can lead to improved completion rates”.
“For example, American InterContinental University, which Career Education owns, saw a 13.6 percent decline in student withdrawals in a pilot group taking adaptive-powered English composition and mathematics courses. Student persistence was up 4 percent, and students scored 6.8 percent better in the final course score”.
What are your thoughts on this technology? The way of the future, temporary experiment, or is too much too soon?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sharing and article today about MOOCs…

“Clay Shirky Says MOOCs Will Matter, but Worries About Corporate Players”
“Clay Shirky, a best-selling author and an associate arts professor at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, is known for predicting how the latest tech trends will change traditional social institutions. These days he’s turning his focus to colleges themselves, imagining ways that MOOCs and other technologies might reshape higher education”.
“For as long as students and their parents have nervously scanned tuition bills, they’ve asked themselves, ‘Isn’t there another way to do this? he wrote in a recent essay on The Chronicle’s Web site. “And for that long, the answer has been ‘no.’ Now, for the first time, the answer is ‘maybe”.
Again, just sharing some interesting stuff
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Overqualified simply means you have more tools in the chest

In the education industry, we push and sell learning. So why then does the education industry have difficulty hiring someone who has a lot of education? Admissions and operations positions have grown quite large out of the non-traditional market, but it seems like the hiring managers do not like people who bought what they sold. If you have a BA degree, you might squeak by, if you have a master’s degree or more, forget about it.
So my question is: can you truly be qualified in higher education? I am not talking about a receptionist position (who are often undervalued), I am talking about directors of admissions, operations, campus, and education positions.
Let me share some articles as more food for thought:
“The Myth of the Overqualified Worker”
“If your recruiting efforts attract job applicants with too much experience—a near certainty in this weak labor market—you should consider a response that runs counter to most hiring managers’ MO: Don’t reject those applicants out of hand. Instead, take a closer look”.
“New research shows that overqualified workers tend to perform better than other employees, and they don’t quit any sooner. Furthermore, a simple managerial tactic—empowerment—can mitigate any dissatisfaction they may feel”.
“The prejudice against too-good employees is pervasive. Companies tend to prefer an applicant who is a “perfect fit” over someone who brings more intelligence, education, or experience than needed”.
If you have a chance to hire one of these “overqualified” folks, thank your lucky stars for the bargain you are getting because their ramp up time is faster, they are more efficient, they have knowledge to contribute, and it probably means they just want to work (remember the economy sucks).
It will be good for students as well.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Teacher and parental engagement is a key to success

I am going to add principals and vice principals into the teacher category, since they too are part of the education process.

The following is a excerpt from article titled “Trusting Teachers Is a Means to Authentic Parent Engagement”:

“Would trusting teachers with authority to collectively make the decisions influencing school success be at odds with authentic parent engagement? I can see how, from some points of view, the language suggests yes. The idea can easily come off as "just trust the educators, and save the families from themselves!" Indeed, there are people who have, at first glance, interpreted the idea that way. But trusting teachers can be a promising means to parents becoming integral to the inner workings of our schools”.

Teaching in the U.S  is one of the only professions I can think of where non-professionals can or feel they can tell teachers what to do and what they are doing wrong. The respect it gets is not equal to what it should get (and that is as far as I will go on this subject less I digress too far).

Teachers however, are not perfect because they are human. Teachers also sometimes make the mistake of not authentically including parents into the education of children. Authentic to me does not mean simply telling the parents that: your children will learn this and this is what they are expected to learn, it means that teachers and parents are genuinely engaged in the curriculum, and in the outcomes throughout the school year. It means that parental concerns are addressed not dismissed, for the administrators it means that they are making every effort to meet with parents when requested. Administrators are often called to district meetings, but their primary role should be school leadership, working with the families and fostering positive relationships within the community. Districts let your administrators spend time on campus.

It really does take a village.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How do things get to this point?

I always curious how things get so bad and we do not notice. This cannot be good for any student:
“U. of Northern Virginia's Approval to Operate Revoked”

“The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has revoked the operating certificate of the University of Northern Virginia, an unaccredited institution that was raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in 2011 in relation to its enrollment of foreign students. In a letter sent to the institution, the State Council cites the university's failure to obtain candidacy status with an accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education in five years. The letter also states that the university waived its right to appeal the revocation upon entering into a 2012 consent agreement that extended the deadline to obtain said candidacy status until June 1 of this year”. 
“The university has been instructed to immediately cease offering postsecondary educational programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to provide the State Council with enrollment and financial records. The university, whose Manassas and Annandale locations are certified by the U.S. government to enroll international students, has also been instructed to confer with the U.S Department of Homeland Security "to determine viable options” for F-1 visa holders enrolled at the institution”.
“Officials at the University of Northern Virginia did not immediately respond to voicemail messages on Monday afternoon. An e-mail to the general mailbox bounced back as undeliverable”.
International students need protection as well, student services for all!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, July 22, 2013

Constructive Criticism: emphasis on constructive…

I had just read this article titled: “why you gotta be so mean?” in the chronicle of higher education (, and it got me thinking.
Right now, we are living in a culture of meanness and sarcasm, where it is ok to criticize but not explain why, where people think it is ok to “get in your face”. Yes, comedies like Seinfeld are funny, but have you noticed how rude everyone is to each other?
This should not be happening in education, but it does; it happens from K-12 through higher ed. This is a form of bullying and it hurts our students.
Criticism is supposed to help you get better, but unfortunately, a lot of people in authority use it to belittle, punish, and for their own amusement. Sometimes, they even blog about their meanness to the world.
If we are going to educate, we need to rise above this pettiness, because in the end, it is about the student.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, July 19, 2013

Children often get it right (read the story of this picture here)

Children do not start-off with biases and prejudice; they learn that from adults. Children have great le detectors, they can often see through our BS and lies with such precision that it frightens us adults, and then we do something stupid like ask them to be quiet.

Children do not see race, color, accent, culture; they see who is nice to them, who is fun to play with, and who is genuine. They can also learn new languages at an incredible pace if exposed to them.

It is always sad when we see children start to lose their innocence because the world around you is diminished somewhat. We could learn a lot from children.

Be like a child sometimes, life might be more enjoyable.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Higher Education Institutions and Stumbling Human Resources

I am going to start by sharing an excerpt from the course I am currently teaching:
“One of the most valuable assets of a small business is the employee. They have the power to affect the bottom line positively or negatively. Because employees affect profitability in many ways it is essential for the entrepreneur to recruit the best possible personnel”. (From my Management 325 class)
What this says to me is how you recruit, and how you treat your potential candidates during the recruiting process, will determine what kind of employees you end with. If you treat the candidate pool like cattle, and take it for granted that “someone wants the job”, you will not get dedicated loyal employees who are looking for longevity. If however, you value each, and every candidate, even those who you ultimately reject, as professional skilled human beings, word will get out that you have integrity and people will still want to work for you.
It is often the case in higher education institutions that the HR department is something to be feared and loathed, but the reality is the HR department has a vital role to play from recruitment and training to retention and counseling of employees. HR departments that generally get recruitment right will see longevity in their employees and receive solid referrals for job vacancies.
Let us go back to the hiring portion because first impressions mean a lot. You have that potentially great employee with all the right credentials, and they want to work for you. That is a great start, especially after transcripts and references check out. Then you drop the ball because you drag your feet on the formal background check, or you do follow up with the hiring manager on a start date, and before you know it, more than a month has passed. You should not be surprised that the excellent candidate has since moved on and found other employment because you did not communicate with them.
Communication is key! We teach it, but why can’t we practice it more often? Do not get the reputation for ‘not really hiring’ or for being ‘that place you do not want to try and work’. Communicate with your candidates, even a simple hello I know you are there will do. In this day and age of economic hardship, people are suffering enough in the job market; so why add to their pain?
Practice what you teach!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More to share on this subject

College campus news always seems to go quiet during the summer months. However, make no mistake assaults are still happening during this time so please do not lose sight of this subject.
“Protesters Call for Stricter Sanctions on Colleges That Mishandle Sexual Assault”
“Several dozen students and recent graduates—in T-shirts bearing their colleges' names—rallied in front of the U.S. Department of Education on Monday to demand tighter enforcement of federal antidiscrimination law, with stricter sanctions when institutions fail to support victims of sexual assault”.
"The Department of Education needs to be more punitive and hold schools accountable, said Andrea L. Pino, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose federal complaint in January helped to galvanize students around the country”.
This is all about student service.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do not stop looking

It could be very easy to lose sight of so many other important educational issues due to media coverage and political climate. There are still many other ongoing issues in education that will affect the safety of our students as well. For example:

“U.S. Will Investigate Title IX Complaint at Swarthmore”

“Swarthmore College will be the latest to face an investigation by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for possible violations of federal law, OCR announced Friday. Students complaints filed under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Clery Act allege that administrators mishandled cases of sexual assault, underreported statistics, and retaliated against students, the Huffington Post reported. On Monday, students who helped prompt recent complaints at Swarthmore and other campuses nationwide rallied outside the department’s offices in Washington, urging OCR and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to better enforce Title IX”.

Also in the news:

“Enforcement for the Enforcers”

“WASHINGTON – Annie Clark, a recent college graduate whose activism has helped spur an unprecedented movement to expose sexual assault on college campuses, got a pretty unforgettable present for her birthday this year”.

“There were only a few dozen students rallying alongside Clark outside the U.S. Education Department here on Monday, but their shouts – which, for the first time in a long time, felt celebratory – were loud enough to lure Under Secretary Martha Kanter from the department’s concrete fortress”.

Student safety is still paramount, and this is within our control to fix!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do not raise your sons to fear, thank you Dad

In light of some of the news in Florida, I thought I would write just a little about my perceptions of “the talk”, and how my parents raised me. This is my personal opinion and perhaps that of my family only.
First, a few facts:
“Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area”.
Population: 1.033 billion (2011)
According to the U.S census data:
“Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black, African Am., or Negro"; or report entries such as African American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian”.
The population estimate of the U.S.A in 2012, 313,914,040
Black or African American alone, percent, 2012 (a)
That is approx 36 million black people in the United States versus one continent’s (Africa) 1 billion plus Black people; and I have not even added in the black populations of the other continents around the world.
My first point is this: do not assume that skin color makes a culture, do not tell me because I look like this, I need to sound, act, and be a certain way! African-American culture has greatly influenced the world in so many ways that we often forget they are a small minority in the world and that all black people are not the same. I am a first generation American born of parents from the continent of Africa. I was  raised in the U.K and Nigeria, so of course my culture, my accent, and perspectives are going to be different.
I was not raised in fear or to fear, I was raised to keep my head up high in all situations (social, work, etc). I was given a strong foundation, so strong that I feel I was imbued with confidence even when I was not sure of something. I was never given “the talk” about how to live my life as a black man because my father taught me how to be a man. Why should I have to learn to be different because some segments of society are not ready for me? Although my parents never said it allowed, I am sure that the thought of raising me to have to act different under certain circumstances was appalling to them. I will make you ready for me! That is what I have always done, and it has worked.
I was of course taught common sense, and was also steered towards learning about my rights as man, and that was ultimately more than enough. Education of course, was heavily emphasized; we joked that a BA degree meant, “Begin again”. The process of educating yourself never ends, it is a constant journey.
I refuse to let my son live in fear! I refuse this system in which young black men are subjected to stress before they are old enough to truly experience the natural stress of life. I refuse to have “the talk” because I did not need it and my son will not need it. Like my father, and his father, and his father’s father, I will raise my son as a man! That is protection enough and to accept anything less is perpetuating a culture of fear.
Thank you Dad!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, July 12, 2013

Multiple Stories Important Stories That We Might Miss

There are many important stories in education today that are either underreported, or that we do not pay enough attention to. These stories are important because they could potentially have a far-reaching impact for our respective organizations or our industry in general. For example:
·         Blackboard is one of the most used online learning platforms in the world. It has grown a lot through acquisition, but now it looks like it is making some changes. Is your organization using Blackboard?
“Blackboard May Double or Triple Spending on Software Development”
·         There has been a lot of discussion within multiple universities about how to improve the completion rate of the doctoral programs, as well as shorten the time without sacrificing rigor. Will this latest effort work?
·         With the numbers of adults going back to school growing, especially those coming out of the military or with prior military service, this kind of degree could be a boon to the ever-growing non-traditional higher education market; if they are done correctly that is.
Accreditor Approves Competency-Based Degree at U. of Wisconsin
“The program will offer credit to students who can demonstrate mastery of the skills they acquired through jobs, military service, or prior learning”.
There are many more things like this, so let us all pay attention because this could affect our students. It is all about the student remember?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is the Non-Traditional Education Market Stabilizing?

“2 For-Profit Universities Get Good News From Accreditors”
“Two of the nation's biggest for-profit-college companies, the Apollo Group and Bridgepoint Education, reported good news from their accreditors on Wednesday”.
“Bridgepoint announced that its Ashford University had received initial accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of the nation's six regional accrediting bodies”.
“As you are aware, Ashford University has been pursuing accreditation with the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for more than a year now. Today, I am very pleased to announce that Ashford has been granted initial accreditation with WASC” (quote from Ashford President).
“And Apollo reported that its University of Phoenix had escaped being placed on probation by its regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which renewed the 287,500-student university's accreditation for 10 more years while placing it "on notice." Notice is a status less serious than probation”.
This good news for the tens of thousands of students who are currently enrolled in these schools, and let us face it; this is about the student not politics and profit.
Stay tuned…
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

If you do it right in the first place, these things should not pile up

Sexual assault and wasteful spending in higher education have been topics I have written about multiple times. We have seen recently a major community college in the country lose its accreditation due to mismanagement, and we have seen multiple schools get penalized for underreporting sexual assault on campuses, as well as ignoring assaults.

All this has led to situations like articles I am about to share. Keep in mind, I am not taking sides, I am just pointing out what can happen if you do not handle your business properly in the first place.

“Student Accused of Rape Files Title IX Suit”

“A number of colleges are currently facing complaints that they do not adequately investigate charges of sexual assault. A male student who was suspended by Saint Joseph's University is suing the Philadelphia institution under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Bloomberg reported. The student says that he was accused of rape (over what he says was consensual sex, and says he has text messages that back his version of events) and that the university's system of investigating such accusations is designed to assure findings of guilt against accused males. That, he says, is sex discrimination. The university declined to comment on the accusations”.

“$19M in Spending on Building That Won't Be Built”

“Amherst College spent $19 million on architectural and other expenses for a planned $245 million science building that the college has now decided not to build, The Boston Globe reported. Amherst officials say that they still need and plan to find a way to build a new science facility, but that the planned building was creating too many problems. The Globe article uses the Amherst situation to discuss competing pressures on colleges as the plan the best spaces for scientists. In the Amherst case, some science professors say that the project grew more expensive and more complicated in part because of a desire for architectural details (a light filled atrium, for example) as opposed to focusing on the basic lab spaces that the professors need”.

These kind of residual issues often slide under the radar so please continue to pay attention. Little things soon become big things, especially when they are constantly pushed to the side.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Variety of News Shared

“Chancellor U. to Shut Down”
“The embattled Chancellor University will close in August, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Chancellor, a for-profit institution located in Cleveland, enrolled fewer than 250 students earlier this year and planned to drop its regional accreditation in the fall. The university was formed in 2008 when a group of investors, led by Michael Clifford, purchased Myers University, a struggling private nonprofit institution. Chancellor later landed Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., to help run the university's management school. But Strayer University subsequently purchased the Jack Welch Management Institute”.
More on San Francisco…
“Robert Agrella is the new "special trustee" for City College of San Francisco, which may lose its accreditation next year. The California community college system chancellor, Brice W. Harris, appointed Agrella to the role on Monday. Agrella had previous served as the system's representative on the City College governing board -- a position that was created last year, after the college's received a stiff sanction from its regional accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The new trustee position will come with added and extraordinary" powers, according to Harris”.
“Meanwhile, the American Association of University Professors weighed in with an initial take on the crisis. In a news release the faculty group cited criticisms about the commission that professors at City College and faculty union leaders in California have voiced, including that the accreditor has been "excessive and unfair" in its treatment of CCSF and other community colleges. The association promised to investigate those concerns and urged the commission to reconsider its decision to yank City College's accreditation”.
UMUC wins new contract
“The University of Maryland University College won a Department of Defense contract, expected to be worth $245 million over the next decade, to provide classes to troops, their families and Defense Department staffers on bases across Europe”.
“UMUC has held the contract since the end of the World War II, so the decision was not a shock, but the work had been eyed by others. UMUC also won the rights to offer M.B.A. degrees to overseas military personnel, a part of the contract previously held by the University of Phoenix”.
“The European postsecondary programs contract has a sibling contract in Asia, which UMUC also holds. Several other universities -- Central Texas College, the University of Oklahoma and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – also again secured multimillion-dollar contracts to teach European military personnel in specific fields.
Serving the needs of the U.S. military is in our DNA. We are extremely pleased and proud to continue our long history of educating troops overseas,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares in a statement. The university began sending faculty overseas in 1949”.
All worth paying attention to
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Saga of San Francisco’s City College..

‘There are no clear answers to the question of where City College of San Francisco’s 85,000 students will go if the college shuts down next year. That unprecedented and nightmarish scenario became a real possibility last week when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges voted to strip the college of its accreditation in June 2014”.
“City College is San Francisco’s only two-year institution. No nearby community college is in a good position to run the college, which is California’s largest. And the idea of turning over control to another two-year college is not considered viable by college and state officials, sources said, in part because the commission does not favor it”.
“The college has a month to request a review by the accreditor. It plans to pursue one, according to a college spokeswoman. A review, however, would result in an overturned decision only if City College was able to prove that the commission made procedural errors with its decision to yank the college’s accreditation”.
“That seems unlikely given that the commission found 12 unresolved problem areas among the 14 it identified last year. Those lingering deficiencies include dangerously low cash reserves, weak leadership, acrimony among faculty members and trustees, inadequate student support services and a failure to track and measure student learning, according to the commission”.
There seems to be a lot of scrambling about what to do or whether anything should be done at this time. Whatever happens, I hope that the 85,000 students will be taken care of, and will not suffer.
In the end, it is all about the students
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Needs To Be Shared

For those who work in higher education, this is a big deal!
“Mammoth 2-Year College to Lose Accreditation”
“City College of San Francisco will lose its accreditation in one year and be shut down, its regional accreditor announced on Wednesday, unless the college can prevail in a review or appeal process with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges”.
“The two-year college, which enrolls 85,000 students, would be the largest institution ever to lose its accreditation. Without regional accreditation it would no longer receive state funding and would certainly close its doors”.
“One year ago the commission, part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, slapped a "show cause" sanction on City College for a wide range of identified problems, including dangerous budget deficits, a balky governance system and a failure to track student outcomes”.
“A subsequent report from a state agency reinforced concerns about the two-year college’s fiscal health, including that it only had enough cash reserves on hand to cover three days of operation”.
“The college "fully addressed" only two of 14 identified problem areas, the commission said in a written statement. The key remaining obstacles are a "lack of financial accountability" and deficiencies in leadership and governance”.
“Officials with the commission and the state’s community college system stressed that the decision is not final. In addition to having a year to prove that it has righted itself to the accreditor, City College could also be saved by state government”.
"State intervention is going to be absolutely necessary, said Edwin M. Lee, San Francisco’s mayor, in a conference call with reporters”.
“City College's 11 campuses and sites will remain open and accredited for the next year. It is currently registering students for the fall semester, said Thelma Skott-Skillman, the college’s interim chancellor”.
“The college, which employs about 2,700 faculty members and staff, will be managed by a special trustee who the system will appoint. The trustee will have "extraordinary powers," Brice Harris, the system's chancellor, said in a written statement”.
"We think this institution’s worth saving, Harris told reporters, and it can be saved."
“Harris and Scott-Skillman said they were disappointed by the decision. Lee went a step farther, saying the college’s closure would have a devastating impact on our great city".

This action could have far-reaching consequences so we should be paying attention!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What was the purpose of Affirmative Action?

Let me share this first:
“WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s decision to send a thorny affirmative action case back to the lower courts for additional review left both sides claiming victory on Monday”.
“Edward Blum, the man who has been the driving force behind the challenge to the University of Texas at Austin ruled on by the court, scoffed at the claims of a victory from groups that support affirmative action. “If they are excited about this ruling,” he said, I think it’s gravely misplaced”.
“The decision, Mr. Blum said, “begins the restoration of the original colorblind principles to our nation’s civil rights laws,” and will both hasten the end of racial preferences in schools across the nation and unleash a flood of lawsuits. Under the justices’ requirement that racial distinctions in admissions be subjected to a tough constitutional test, he said, “it is very unlikely that most institutions will be able to overcome these hurdles”.
“Experts without a strong stake in the case said that neither side should feel fully triumphant, and that the issue was far from resolved”.
“Affirmative action (known as positive discrimination in the United Kingdom, and as employment equity in Canada and elsewhere) refers to policies that take factors including race, color, religion, sex, or national origin into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group" in areas of employment, education, and business".
Affirmative action, was intended to promote the opportunities of defined groups within a society (for example minorities, underrepresented, and underprivileged). It was often used in government and educational settings with the idea to ensure that these groups within a society are included in all programs (trying to give a fair shot). The often stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents was to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the “ruling class of a culture”, and to address existing discrimination
(I paraphrased this from various sources)
In other words, it was designed to help people, especially those who needed help.
Unfortunately, politics and personal opinion often come into play with things like this, and very rarely do people come to the table with a truly open mind and altruistic heart. I had mentioned the other day a 400-year history of discrimination cannot be erased within 50 years. So do we need affirmative action? Probably not in the same way it started, however, the data shows the groups originally targeted for affirmative action still need the scales balanced when it comes to education.
Do not assume that the color of someone’s skin means they need or were an affirmative action case. According to the labels used, I am considered a “minority” in this country simply because of the color of my skin, but I assure you there is nothing minor about my background. I needed no extra help in school because I grew up from generations of privilege and the culture of my parents was strong.
Those who are privileged generally know nothing else and often do not (and cannot) see the reasons for things like Affirmative action. Yes in the United States, the opportunity to make it is there for almost everyone, but it does not mean everyone will. In addition, everyone could use a hand at some point, and that comes in many ways: family, friends, community, church, and education.
Affirmative action is supposed to lend a hand, and for people who profess to be “Christians” what is wrong with lending a hand. Instead of spending all that time and money on fighting something you do not understand, why don’t you try to understand it and then come up a way to revamp the system for the 21st century?
This not about you, it is not about me, it is about helping the next generations be productive members of society. It is about helping people.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam