Monday, June 30, 2014

Men have pride for a reason

Believe it or not, men are simple creatures when it comes to certain things. What a man simply wants is to feel pride in what he does and who he is with. You can withhold money, a promotion, and friendships, but the minute you start trying to mess with  a real man’s pride, that is when the primitive beast will come out.

Never try to make a man beg for something he has earned or truly wants, not if you truly value that man.

Dr Flavius Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, June 27, 2014

Social media and the Professor Review

Professors cannot avoid internet reviews or avoid students streaming unflattering information about them across the web, so I think the best thing to do is just have fun with it and continue to do your job.

“Mean Tweets, Academic Style”

“In the spirit of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” a Canadian university’s student newspaper posted a video this week that features professors reading aloud unflattering reviews from the website Rate My Professors.”

“Professors rarely become celebrities. But they’re often accused of taking themselves too seriously. The Peak, the student-run weekly newspaper at Simon Fraser University, a 35,000-student public research university in British Columbia, sought to have the university’s faculty engage in some self-mockery.”

“The newspaper’s staffers selected which Rate My Professors comments the professors would read, said Alison Roach, coordinating editor of The Peak. “We wanted them to be reading something that was self-deprecating without being super harsh,” Roach said.”

Well done professors keep having fun!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How #email has made us braver

It is often said that “it is very easy to misconstrue tone and meaning in email”, and that is true because you get so many more non-verbal cues from a face-to-face conversation (and even a traditional letter). That being said, for some people, this anonymous ambiguity and the built excuses you can use when you get caught, make email the perfect venue for their nefarious activities.

Cyber-bullying is at an all time high, and that is shocking considering how new the general use of email actually is. The bullies and malcontents have caught on quick to this scheme.

Email makes these dregs of society seem like Superman, when they are really the mild mannered Clark Kent. When confronted or caught, they fold and wilt like dried flowers instantly, and sometime beg for forgiveness like a little child.

Do not waste your time and energy on these people, but at the same time they do need to be shut down because they can hurt those who are vulnerable to this kind of behavior. Please encourage open dialogue and in person communication when airing views, do not let unsubstantiated rumors and cyber filth contaminate your space. Squash these people like the cockroaches they are!

How do you deal with cyber-bullies at work? Please share your thoughts and methods of clean up.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Sharing article June 24 2014

This is a big player in the higher education market.

“Corinthian's Phasing-Out”

“Corinthian Colleges announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education that is designed to keep the for-profit chain afloat long enough to sell off and shutter its campuses in an orderly fashion.”

“The struggling Corinthian faces a dire cash shortage, due in part to a decision by the feds last week to put a 21-day hold on payments for federal financial aid and grants. While the hold remains in place, the department agreed to release $16 million in immediate payments. That was the minimal amount necessary to keep Corinthian from going bankrupt this week, according to a corporate filing.”

“The department said it struck the deal to prevent the company’s “immediate closure” and the resulting disruption to students and employees, according to a written statement.”

What are your thoughts?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, June 23, 2014

How we sometimes #judge in #education

Working in education is a privilege, especially if you take a global view on how different cultures treat education and educators. We are being trusted to help shape the next generation of learners, whether K12 or Higher Education, and that is a big responsibility.

However, educators are human and succumb to the same human fallacies as everyone else; we are not superheroes (although we try to be for our students).

As an educator, I have earned the right to criticize my profession on occasion, but know my criticism more often than not comes with a solution or is in search of a solution.

 Sometimes in education we can be needless cruel to each other; there I said it. We can be judgmental, heavily critical, and downright mean to people we work with and serve. We develop “cliques” and “factions” within our workplaces where cruel rumors and stories can spread and thrive. We have all seen some version of this, and it is time we take a good look at ourselves if we want to better ourselves.

Case in point:  

“Too Fat to Be a Scientist?”

“I have long dreamed of becoming a scientist, but now—just weeks after receiving my B.A. in biology from a prestigious university—I’ve decided to leave science behind. I am rejecting a career in science, or rather, science is rejecting me, because much like oil and water, being fat and being a scientist don’t mix.”

“I’ve experienced discrimination based on my size. A few years ago, I interviewed for a student-researcher position in a prestigious lab. I was intimidated going in—the professor in charge was ruthless in her work and her personal interactions—but her project was exciting, and my résumé was strong, so I gave it a shot. The beginning of the interview seemed normal enough; we discussed my previous experience and what I’d like to do in the lab. But as we began to talk about the lab’s culture, our conversation took an ugly turn.”

“She told me that her team did a lot of collaborative work in this lab, and she didn’t need someone who was going to “eat more than their fair share of the pizza, if you know what I mean.””

“I didn’t know how to respond. I offered a weak smile and said I didn’t really know what she meant.”

“She looked up abruptly (she had been staring at my stomach) and said,  “I think we’re done here.” I sent her three follow-up e-mails, but she never wrote back.”

Read it all here:
Educators, we should be better than this! We should be setting a great example, not participating in the cruelty. I thank the author for her bravery in sharing her story; and we all have some kind of story to tell.

I look forward to hearing positive stories, because education should be positive.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is this money well spent?

Three stories in education news today made me ask a question:

“Florida's Attorney General Ends Investigation of Kaplan”

“The office of Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, announced on Tuesday that it had concluded a three-year investigation into the recruiting and enrollment practices of Kaplan Inc., a for-profit chain. The investigation, which focused on other for-profits as well, found no violations by Kaplan, according to a statement from the company. Kaplan also voluntarily reached an agreement with Bondi's office, under which it will disclose more details about academic programs. The company will also reimburse the attorney general's office for fees it racked up during the investigation.”

Read it here:

“City Attorney of San Francisco Settles with EDMC”

“San Francisco's city attorney, Dennis Herrera, on Tuesday announced a $4.4 million settlement with Education Management Corporation (EDMC). Herrera's office had been investigating the student-recruiting tactics of the California Art Institutes, which EDMC owns. The for-profit chain did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, according to a corporate filing. It will pay roughly $2.5 million in scholarships for past and present students at the local Art Institutes. The rest of the settlement amount will cover Herrera's costs for the investigation. The company also reached a voluntary agreement to provide more public information about its programs, such as job placement and graduation rates.”

Read here:

“Consumer Group Wants States to Clamp Down on For-Profits”

“The National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit group, on Wednesday released a report calling for tighter state regulation of for-profit institutions. Federal crackdowns, such as proposed "gainful employment" standards, will not be strong enough to prevent deceptive practices in the sector, according to the report. The group's recommendation's include a call for states to stop relying on regional accreditors to vet for-profits, and for state agencies to instead set their own minimum standards.”

Read it here:

Is this money well spent?  Have students benefitted from any of this government action and spending? Could students have benefitted more if that money had been spent on a collaborative effort between the private non-traditional sectors and traditional public sectors?
It is all about the students.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, June 16, 2014

Worth sharing June 16 2014

I thought this article I read today was worth sharing. It should make for an interesting discussion. Here some excerpts:

“Presidents, Do Right by Athletes and Adjuncts”

“Dear College President:

A disturbing pattern in higher education has come to my attention, and that of my colleagues on the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Our committee has been examining recent efforts by both adjunct professors and college athletes to organize and bargain for better working conditions.”

“Colleges and universities should stand as pillars of fairness and honor in their communities, with missions to expand knowledge and opportunity for all, but we have instead seen that many colleges are increasingly exploiting cheap labor in the classroom and on the athletic field. And when campus workers try to band together to improve their lives, administrators’ responses generally range from trying to scuttle the workers’ efforts to repeating old promises of change—with little or no action.”

“As I’m sure you know, your institutions increasingly rely on contingent faculty members to teach courses. Those adjunct professors receive little from their respective employers in the way of compensation and job security. Earlier this year, I issued a report, "The Just-in-Time Professor," that summarizes concerns about adjuncts’ working conditions, as relayed to me in an eForum.”

“Adjuncts compose nearly 75 percent of the teaching faculty on college campuses, but some live on the edge of poverty and rely on public assistance to make ends meet, despite teaching courses at several institutions at once. Their median salary is just $22,041, below the poverty line for a family of four.”

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Update on City College San Francisco

Latest and greatest:

“Reprieve for CCSF”

“City College of San Francisco may get two more years to work on keeping its accreditation, thanks to a shift by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.”

“The college is facing termination of accreditation by the commission in July, with a reprieve until October, when a legal challenge is scheduled for trial. The threat of that possible death blow has roiled City College, which enrolls 77,000 students.”

So a question I need to ask here is: are they truly “too big to fail”, or are they getting special treatment?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Is this the way to improve the teaching profession?

There are some things that need to be acknowledged:

  • Teacher bashing is alive and well, they get blamed for a myriad of problems not of their creation
  • Teaching is a hard profession
  • There are bad teachers who have been teaching for a long time
  • The teaching profession can and should be improved
  • Teachers should be at the forefront of change in their profession

“Teacher Protections Violate Student Rights, Calif. Judge Finds”

“California’s laws governing teacher tenure and dismissal unfairly saddle disadvantaged and minority students with weak teachers, infringing on those students’ right under the state constitution to an equitable education, a state superior court judge ruled June 10.”

“The tentative ruling in the high-profile case strikes down the laws in question. It will be finalized within 30 days, and spells what appears to be a complete victory for the plaintiffs, nine California students and their families.”

“The landmark decision in Vergara v. California says the state’s constitutional guarantee includes having equal access to quality teaching—a step beyond the right to sufficient instructional time and money that rulings in previous equity suits have established.”

This argument is far from over, and this is not the time to start throwing blame around. However, we do need to ask if all the facts truly being considered? In addition, who financed this court case suit and why?
Time to follow the money and let every aspect of this come out before rushing to decisions.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, June 9, 2014

When will we acknowledge that we have a long way to go with race in America?

I have been noticing many internet articles recently about “reverse racism” and such; funny term since there is no such thing. Racism is racism.

What the folks who are writing and spreading these articles are trying to say is that black people (and that is who is being targeted specifically in these articles) have racists as well. Of course they do! Every culture does, what kind of deep insight is that? That is called being human.

We in America like to think that we are post racial when we are not even close. We forget that slavery is still within living memory of many families. The last known living slave died in 1971 and that is within my lifetime, not to mention that the last known children of slaves died as recently as 2011, so that means there are many people around right now whose grandparents where slaves. This is what I am mean by living memory.

The struggle of African Americans has two main parts to it, with poverty being the number one factor and lingering racism number two.

Poverty is difficult to dig out no matter what your skin color, but it is even more difficult when you are starting with a deficit. Notice I did not say impossible, just difficult.

I personally cannot remember a time when I have seen so much political racial hate spewed across society (social media has been helping this as well), and mostly it seems directed towards a president who has not looked like any other in history. We know the reason why, but very few will say it out aloud but instead they will use code words, dissemble, and make life miserable for many because of this. This is coming from our so-called leaders of the country. Great example eh?

We have not had an honest conversation about race, and most are not interested. I once overheard a conversation that I was not supposed to hear it (one of the benefits of lip reading) that seemed to sum up the feelings of quite a few people: “there is a reason why we call them minorities, because they are minor in this country and should remain so. If we let things go the way they are they will just take care of themselves like a self-cleaning oven”. “In my opinion we should just neuter the whole race and be done with them”. This as a conversation between people who I thought I respected.

America, we have a long way to go and the first step is to admit it that we have a problem.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Do we need more legislation for something that is a given?

Before I share an article I read this morning, I want to remind everyone of an issue occurring daily on college campuses: and that is rape.

Do you realize there are some campuses nicknamed “rape factories”, and that the advice given is all to women about “how not to get raped”? Let us try a radical approach and teach our young men to not rape. There should be no confusion, if she says no, changes her mind, and there is more than one of you holding her down, that is rape.

“Only Yes Means Yes”

“A bill that's passed the California Senate with the backing of a powerful lawmaker would require many of California's 2.3 million college students to make sure they have a "yes" -- not just not a "no" -- before they have sex.”

“The proposal would shift the burden of proof in campus sexual assault cases in which the accused cites consent as the defense to those accused, rather than those making the allegations.”

While I appreciate the sentiment, what is the confusion here? Has not no always meant no? Why does the government have to get involved for people to do the right thing?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Telling the truth the first time saves confusion

“Saving Face (sociological concept) an idiom for one's honor or prestige”

Sometimes we so want to “save face” in education that we do or say dumb things.

Case in point:

“Letters Praising Corinthian Came From Corinthian”

“At least nine letters sent to the Education Department and Congress, allegedly from business owners who had hired Corinthian Colleges graduates and praising the for-profit chain, were actually written by Corinthian employees, The Orange County Register reported. The letters were part of a lobbying campaign against new rules proposed by the Obama administration. A Corinthian spokesman said that there had been no intent to deceive and that the employees made a mistake. He said that the record would be corrected.”

When you get caught, you lose even more face, so just do not do it!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam