Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What is faculty governance and do you have it?

Not an easy question to answer and many institutions are trying to answer this.

Emory University:

“Casually ask faculty members at Emory how they define faculty governance, and two themes emerge. First, most seem to focus on faculty governance at the departmental or the school/college level, in which their appointment is housed. Second, they view faculty governance as a mechanism to oversee the curriculum and guide decisions about the promotion, and if applicable, tenure of a colleague. From our perspective, the need for engaged faculty governance at the university level deserves at least as much consideration, though. Such attention is especially essential during this era of the rapidly shifting landscape in higher education” 


Faculty Governance in Higher Education: “Faculty members in higher education should have primary responsibility to:
1.      Determine the curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, and other academic standards and processes.
2.      Establish the requirements for earning degrees and certificates, and authorize the administration and governing board to grant same.
3.      Exercise, where the faculty deems it appropriate, primary responsibility for determining the status of colleagues, especially appointment, reappointment, and tenure.
4.      Establish procedures for awarding promotions, sabbaticals, research support, and other rewards or perquisites.”  http://www.nea.org/home/34743.htm

While not everyone is going to agree on what it is or on how it is supposed to get done, everyone should be agreeing that it needs to be done.
If faculty and administration cannot come together and create a program worthy of teaching, then it is the students that suffer. If faculty, who are the experts, are feeling like their expertise is being minimized in favor of agendas, then it is students who suffer. If the administration does not have an avenue to discuss concerns with faculty, then students suffer. There are numerous examples of schools failing because of this reason (private non-profit, for profit, and public schools alike).
Need some ideas? The ETeam is happy to help!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, November 21, 2016

Criminal Justice System: An Education Problem

Whatever political party you belong to, whichever label you put on yourself, all sensible people know that our criminal justice system is far from perfect. We have left the “correctional and rehabilitation” parts out and focused on the “punishment” thereby creating issues that should not exist.

The system changes with the political winds (should not happen), and industries whose CEOs names we do not know, are making huge profits from it. Inflated phone calls for prisoners, expensive commissaries, prison labor, the bail bond system, debtors prison (still exists just not called that), fining communities into poverty for minor offenses, etc.

Private prisons can only make a profit if there are prisoners, and we have seen judges go to jail recently for jailing kids and adults for a healthy kick-back.

We have police officers, through no fault of their own, that are inadequately trained to handle a lot of situations and there is no training in sight. We have communities that distrust the police because the police do not know them and vice-versa; and whether we want to admit or not, too many people are being killed by the police (estimated 945 this year as I write, and that does not include prison population).

How do elementary school students get handcuffed or pepper sprayed in their school? How does a child acquire an arrest record for defiance before they have even entered high school? Do we not see there is a problem here?

It is likely that someone will troll this article with crime statistics attributed along color lines, that happens often. I hope they keep in mind that this is universal, and goes beyond skin color.

These are the kind of things everyday people are concerned about (along with being able to pay the bills), these are the sort of issues I hope the next administration takes a serious look at because our children, the future of our country are being affected.

Serious problems deserve serious solutions that include serious conversations with the people affected (the poor).

We can do better, we need to do better, let us do better!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Learn to articulate otherwise it just comes off as hate: An educator's thoughts on true political discourse

For the last 16 years, I have watched a steady decline in political discourse, and have seen an increase in political fighting and trolling; especially with the rise of social media. The vitriol is currently at an all-time high, and it is so bad that nobody’s message is getting through; and I mean the real message.

Let me also so say that this is not a political message, I am not connected to any political party. I do not believe in labels and I do not fit into any category specifically.

In 2000, when George W Bush was elected President, there were several people who I knew running around shouting, “he is going to be the anti-Christ”, there was crying, anger, etc. During one particular tirade I remember, when I routinely declined to let people know who I voted for (I got accused of all kinds of stuff because I was not agreeing with these folks), I asked a simple question: “what specifically are your issues with him”? Note the word specific…

Fast forward to the election of President Obama in 2008. Before the man was even elected, there were a number of people telling me how bad he is going to be, how he is going to do this bad thing or that bad thing, etc., etc. Now towards the end of his successful presidency (he got elected twice so say what you will), there are people saying he is the worst president ever, “I hate him” (always people who opposed him). I have asked the same question I asked in 2000 several times to these people, “what specifically are your issues with him” “what exactly makes him so bad”. I have yet to get a complete answer, even from some intelligent people I respect.

Now we have Donald Trump as our president elect. While he has said many things that would have made all past presidents unelectable, he was elected, and quite decisively, so now is not the time for vitriol but specifics. Your message will never get your concerns across if you are just shouting, because people will not listen to shouting. Your message means nothing unless you can clearly articulate it, and the recent attempts to do so have been weak to non-existent.

When first ladies, people who have traditionally been exempt from the political bashing, are being mocked as an “ape in heels” (yes it was racist so please do not excuse it) and people cheer, when our presidents are being compared to chimps (Bush) and “lying Africans” (Obama): don’t you think things are going too far?

If you cannot clearly explain your message, then there is no message. Perhaps you just need to sit down, take a breath, and remember that we are all human.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The world is not going to end and the world has not changed in the way you think it has

The election is over, the people have spoken, time to get back normality. However, what is normality?

Technology has allowed voices and messages to be heard faster and broader than before; often in an anonymous way, but these voices have always been there, that is not new.  This anonymity is creating an atmosphere of uncivil behavior, and since that door has been opened, it is not going to close.

What has changed is the strong and polarizing divisions in this country, and around the world. Look at Philippines, Britain and Europe in general; the cracks are there and growing. Look at the solid political and cultural divisions between states.

Are we all aware that the conditions that exist right now (and that are developing) are similar to the way world wars have started? No, I am not saying we are going to war, I am just saying the conditions in which large wars start are here with us right now.

There are already many battles going on around the world and this country has basically been involved in wars non-stop since 2001; do not forget that.

I am not sure what the solution is, but what I do know is that there needs to be a better understanding of each other rather than the current “forget the other team” attitude. We need to listen to each other to learn, not just to respond, we need some unity (sounds corny but it is true).

Pay attention everyone, because history does have a tendency to repeat itself, so let us make sure we are all on the correct side of history.

More to come…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, November 7, 2016

My hope for the election: an educator’s thought

My hope is simple. It is not partisan; it does not involve any labels or slogans such as conservative and liberal.

My hope is for understanding as we move forward. Unless you understand something or someone. It is human nature to look at things and people suspiciously. Suspicion, leads to fear, that leads to hate (sounds like Star Wars but it is true), and that eventually leads to destruction.

You might not see what I am seeing, you might not agree, however, America does have an important choice to make tomorrow, and that is whether we truly believe in an America for all or divided America.

It is ok to listen to each other, to try and understand each other.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, November 4, 2016

There are serious divisions that should not be dismissed: an educator’s perspective on the political situation

I love science fiction books, they take you away from reality for a while, and they can also fan the flames of your imagination. Sometimes though, science fiction books can be omens of the future.

I was recently reading a book by a well-known author written a decade ago that started getting me thinking about what is going on around me. FYI, no this is not a political article, it is simply an educated observation of the state of what is going on around us.

The country is divided, it is divided by ideals, legal system, it is divided by politics, and it is important to understand that these divisions are not divisions of extremes. These divisions are and have been the norm for a little while, we have just reached a tipping point, we have reached a point where we are noticing.

It is important that we understand that these feelings did not all of a sudden manifest themselves, these feelings have been building up for decades, these feelings are a part of the fabric of this country. And guess what? As citizens of this country, we are all entitled to our opinions: political, personal, etc. What is missing is respect for each other’s opinion (that went missing a while ago it seems).

Whoever wins this election, this divide will still exist, these feelings will not dissipate like the wind simply because it is the Wednesday after the elections; once again, like it or not, these feelings are real!

Back to the book; in it, was state of existence very similar to what we are experiencing right now, that causes a civil war in the country. It was not necessarily like the war of 1860s, but it was indeed a war, and massive change happened, with massive consequences.

I am going end here by saying, our greatest threats more often are not from the outside, but from within. We can be our own worst enemies, and in this age of social media, we are creating more enemies by how we behave towards one another (look at the comments in political posts).

It is ok to listen to each other; it is ok to disagree with each other; we can do both these things without destroying each other. 

I hope I am wrong.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam