Friday, January 31, 2014

In the news today 01/31/2014

This was just announced and the hope is to help veterans voice their negative concerns about schools:


“Complaint System for Student Veterans”

“The federal government this week announced the launch of a new online complaint system for college students who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military. The Education Department and Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are participating in the interagency effort to protect students and Post-9/11 GI Bill investments. The complaint system will be a way for students report negative experiences with colleges and universities. Veterans groups called the announcement a "game changer," according to Stars and Stripes.”

I would suggest that they accept positive reviews as well because good work should be rewarded as well (just my thought).

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Non-profit pay?

I am sure some people will object to this blog, but so what. I would like to discuss executive pay at some non-profit institutions.

Higher education has evolved a lot in the last decade, partly because the makeup of the students is changing. You have folks going back to school after a 15 year break, some going to school for the first time, and of course military students using their benefits. That is a lot of money waiting to flow into an institution.

One of the big ‘selling points’ of working at a non-profit institution versus a for-profit institution  is that “there is not as much pressure to enroll students” or “the money the school makes is put back into the school”. Please name me one school that does not want full seats at all times, and is ok with losing money?  The myth of less pressure is just that, a myth. Remember, not all for-profit schools are bad or unethical. For-profit schools do tend to be up front about metric goals, and what rewards you will gain by hitting those goals because they tend to operate more like a business.

A good number of the larger non-profit institutions (especially the non-traditional ones) are operating like for profits, using the same training, expecting the same metrics, but not compensating their frontline employees. Recognition is great, but a real pay raise tied to recognition goes further. It is not uncommon for non-profit employees to move to for-profit schools after a only short period of time because of pay (they have the same training), and then the manager has to scramble to find, train, and try and retain a new crop of employees. That is stressful for a manager.

I am getting to my point in a moment, and I need to clarify that I am simply producing facts based upon my experience and I am not taking sides, ultimately it is about the individual institution not the type of institution.

Executive pay (not middle manager) however, seems to be very good at some of these non-profit institutions: and guess what? Your frontline employees can read, they know what the execs are being paid (people talk) and it makes them mad because the frontline are the revenue generators and they are often not well compensated.

“The Last $5M Payday?”

“Brandeis University paid its former president, Jehuda Reinharz, $4.9 million on Jan. 2, three weeks before it announced an overhaul of its executive compensation policies.”

“Reinharz, who quit his post as one of the nation’s highest-paid college presidents in 2010 on a sour note, gradually won the payout through deferred compensation over his 17 years as president. This month’s massive payment — perhaps one of the largest ever by a nonprofit to an individual – included $4.1 million in deferred compensation and $811,000 for untaken sabbatical.”

This kind of reading can actually be painful for your employees to read, especially those who have been struggling for 20 years with no significant pay raise.

Institutions please say what you are and be what you say you are. You can be ethical about it.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Teaching our students about politics 2014

For the last decade or so, I have become more and more disappointed with the “state of the union speeches”, and not because of whoever is in office, but by the post-speech garbage that passes as political commentary and opinion and the mass amounts of electronic hate that flow past my screen whether or not I want to see it. What I am talking about is simple manners.

Politics is part of life, it has shaped the history United States (actually a lot of countries) in ways that we cannot avoid and should not avoid. Our children initially tend to learn their politics from us parents because we have this tendency to talk a lot and not realize our kids are listening. Later in life, we hope our kids develop their own ideas, but secretly we do not mind if they agree with our points of view.

Whatever your point of view, political affiliation, or whatever ‘label’ you want to put on yourself (I have written many times on how I dislike labels), I hope you are teaching your kids one all important part of politics and indeed life: it is ok to be courteous when discussing politics.

 In this day and age of smart phones and other devices, people can look up facts (or what they think are facts) on the internet right away for the simple purpose of proving someone wrong and rubbing it in. Let us teach our kids that first, not everything on the internet is true, and second courtesy can go a long way towards making a peaceful society.

We do not have to be angry when discussing politics, we do not always have to fight and spew vitriol and hate. What we can do is listen to each politely, and give our difference of opinion politely (backed up with facts would be good), all the while remembering that it is ok to have your own opinion and for someone else to disagree with you.

When did we forget this? When did we decide that impolite behavior was so widely acceptable? When are the media going to stop broadcasting this sort of thing just for ratings?

I am all for free speech. I am proud biker who also happens to be a proud educator, and in the motorcycle (MC) community, people are not afraid to speak their mind. However, there is one tenet in the MC community which reigns supreme and this tenet would work just fine in the community at large if everyone practiced it: “you give respect you get respect”.

Please be polite, it will not hurt you I promise.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do you remember City College of San Francisco?

City College is currently slated to close due to loss of accreditation, and 85,000 students are going to have to find another home.

(The brouhaha comes as the college struggles to retain its accreditation and remain open. An accrediting commission announced in July that the college had failed to satisfy accreditation standards and that it would lose its right to do business and receive state funding next summer. The city of San Francisco sued the commission, claiming that its evaluation process had been flawed. A judge has since blocked the commission from revoking City College’s accreditation until a trial can determine if the process was proper.)

An article from today:

“City College of San Francisco Backs Off Proposed Raises for Top Officials”

“The state-appointed special trustee who was chosen to run the troubled college on Friday abruptly withdrew a proposal that would have given top administrators raises of more than 19 percent. Faculty leaders were outraged by the proposal and staged a protest to speak against it, pointing out that a recent labor contract had reduced faculty salaries by 4 percent.”

“Robert Agrella, the special trustee, said the proposed raises were “not appropriate” and had been erroneously placed on an agenda by another employee. The college’s faculty union and others have been mired in a bitter fight with the institution’s accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which has moved to strip the college of its accreditation this year.”

Trying to sneak in a raise? Really? Please stop passing the blame, I do not understand how something could be “erroneously placed” like that. Who is in charge there?

Something to watch because the effects of this will be far reaching.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, January 27, 2014

News about a major player in higher education 1/27/14

Laureate Education, in just the United States runs:

What this means is that we should pay attention to the decisions they make and to what is going on with them.

“Laureate Education’s National Hispanic U. Stops New Enrollments”

“National Hispanic University has stopped enrolling new students amid serious financial problems, four years after it was purchased by the for-profit higher-education company Laureate Education Inc., the San Jose Mercury News reported.”

“Laureate is a private company that operates a network of about 70 colleges in 30 countries. It bought the university, which enrolls about 600 students, in 2010 for an undisclosed amount. At the time the company planned to add 8,000 students online and start degree programs in Mexican-American studies and in Spanish.”

“But the university’s president, Gladys Ato, told the newspaper that the institution had never met that goal and had been far from reaching it. She said the university was in a “very difficult financial situation” and said the institution would focus its efforts on supporting currently enrolled students.”

“The admissions moratorium surprised students and faculty members, and raised fears that the university might close or move entirely online. Ms. Ato said she expected the company and the university’s board to announce their plans in the coming months.”

Read the rest here:

Stay tuned…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, January 24, 2014

Watching our kids read

My kids have been reading for a while now, but every so often, it still makes me smile to see them excited over a book. My son, got the first three books of a series for Christmas, and my daughter got another series; they promptly tore through all of them and have been dragging us back to the library regularly for the rest of the series (the library is my friend).

I feel great that we passed on this pleasure to our kids, and I know that we developed this from our parents. It is contagious and a great habit to ‘catch’! I do not need a study to tell me that it is good for my kids, however, let me share something:

“Don't Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading”

“A recent study by David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of The New School for Social Research in New York City argues that reading literary fiction (as compared with reading popular fiction, or nothing at all) temporarily enhances one's ability to understand others' mental states and deepens empathy. The study—published in the journal Science in October—grabbed a lot of attention, including a front-page article in The New York Times.”


“What makes the claim noteworthy is its scientific support. After all, the notion that reading literature has a civilizing impact has been with us at least since Matthew Arnold wrote on literary criticism in the late 1800s. And the idea that literary fiction is superior to popular fiction has been around for an equally long time.”


“That argument may be a long-standing one, but our recent study of the secret reading lives of young people convinces us that it is wrong. The young people who explained to us why they read what they read recognized that their parents and their teachers often looked askance at their [the students'] reading choices. Yet the students were remarkably articulate about the benefits they derived from their reading.”



Reading is good, and instilling the habit of reading in kids is great (not to mention when the batteries run out you can still read).


Everyone can be an educator about this.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In the higher education news today 01/23/2014…

“Obama Promises Government wide Scrutiny of Campus Rape”

“President Obama pledged on Wednesday to develop a "coordinated federal response" to address campus rape and sexual assault, calling for more-transparent enforcement of applicable laws and greater emphasis on developing effective campus policies to prevent and respond to sexual assault.”

“Although "an inspiring wave of student-led activism" has spurred more students to report such assaults, Mr. Obama said during remarks at the White House, colleges need to do more to keep students safe. Government agencies can help them come up with better policies and put those ideas into practice, he said.”

“The White House Task Force on Protecting Students From Sexual Assault, which the president created on Wednesday in a memorandum to executive departments and agencies, will lead the new effort. Its objectives are to:

  • Provide colleges with evidence-based best practices for preventing and responding to rape and sexual assault.
  • Make sure institutions "comply fully" with their legal obligations in the area.
  • Increase the transparency of federal enforcement.
  • Broaden public awareness of individual colleges' compliance with relevant laws.
  • Facilitate coordination among federal agencies involved with the issue.”
We shall see…
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam