A Needed Worldview

My wife and I are on vacation. We are traveling to Jackson Hole, Wyoming via Moscow, Idaho, Missoula, Montana, and maybe Bozeman. We have a day to get from Missoula to Jackson Hole, it may warrant a trip to Bozeman, we’ll see.

While we are staying in Moscow we are visiting my wife’s mother. It has been a nice couple of days, and tomorrow we leave for Montana. Today we attended Church, and Pastor Sue gave a very nice sermon on David and Goliath. When Pastor Sue mentioned David’s stones both my wife and I thought about our trip to Israel and when we stood in the very spot the David slew Goliath.

However, the part of the sermon that stood out to me was the ceremony at 10 am when the Church range its bell once in remembrance of the tragedy in Charleston, and then nine more times for the victims. It was solemn yet poignant to recognize how the Church universal was hurting along with its brothers and sisters. I was moved, especially when Pastor Sue discussed how the hatred of the young man who did the shooting was responded to with love and forgiveness.

I have read many different comments from many different people about this situation, some are hateful and some confused, but the fact is evil was confronted by good and good won. I say that good one, because the people of the AME Church, and the Church universal, have responded to this with prayer, humility, and forgiveness. I think we may have forgotten this as we deal with the social issues of our country.

When I started this blog entry, I was going to write about how social entrepreneurs could help find creative solutions to these issues of hate through their drive, eye for details, and connections, but as I thought about it, it seemed hollow. However, I think talking about a greater why behind life would be appropriate.

Richard Goosen and Paul Steven state in their wonderful book, Entrepreneurial Leadership (which I will be using in my leadership class in the Fall) states that “Christians are prone to reflect culture rather than lead it.” That seems quite sad to me. To me this means we are being influenced by society, instead of influencing it. If I want to produce Social Entrepreneurs who are impacting the world then I need to demonstrate how one is not influenced but is influencing.

I have heard many people state they don’t like the word “worldview.” They think it is colonial pushing people to believe a certain way. But I think it is a term that is critical for this day and age. If a worldview is “the sum total of our beliefs,” and I claim to be a believer, then my lifestyle and actions should be different. James Sire states, “A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart.” Thus, the people of the AME Church in Charleston can forgive extreme evil because of the commitment their God has to them, and the commitment they have to their God. That is what worldview is all about.

If I am a Christian who claims to be an entrepreneur, the “why” of what I do needs to be different. James Sire says a worldview tells us what is real, what it means to be a human being, and how ultimately how I should live.

As a result, this is the lesson I am taking away from the horrible event at the AME church. God is real, and in the face of evil expressed in a fallen world, I choose to love. I choose to be productive and to live. I choose to seek the real God in my life and to live for Him. I choose to use my gifts and talents for the betterment of humanity. I know humanity is fallen, but I also know this gives me an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God in a partnership with Him.

My role as an entrepreneur is to do the best I can to creatively meet whatever need I am attempting to meet. And I am to do this, not with my eyes on great wealth, but on the transcendent norms that I have been taught by God. Also, I will do this not by my own strength, by the power that God’s Spirit gives me.

I am sure there is much bitterness in the Charleston community over this act of terror, but those directly affected by the attack have chosen to do what God has called them to do, which is to be a light in a world of darkness. May we all learn this lesson!
And that is my thought for the day!

America’s Choice

One of my favorite editorialists is Peggy Noonan. She is on the conservative side, but she is compassionate and practical. She reminds me a little of me, a little on the conservative side, but practical while recognizing that many of the answers to our social ills can be found in the middle of the social continuum.

Today’s column discusses a book written by Ian Bremmer. He is a political scientist and writer for Time magazine. I use one of his articles for a Finance class I teach which is what drew me to this column. The title of the column is “Choosing a Path in the World Ahead.” It discussed three possible futures for America. I found this fascinating and I will buy Bremmer’s book.

Bremmer makes some very interesting points. “America will remain the world’s only super power for the foreseeable future.” Ok, I find that interesting, but what about China? I agree that Russia is not as strong as it once was, but China has definitely emerged from the shadows. “The world is in flux, its tectonic plates are shifting: old settlements and dispensations are falling away, new ones are having rough births.” I agree, and I think some would see America as an aging dispensation.

Bremmer believes that America is standing at a fork in the road where it needs to choose one path from three possible alternatives. “The worst choice now, is to refuse to choose.” I think I would agree with him on this one. It seems that we are currently meandering due to a broken political system, resulting in some sort of improvisation. And I don’t think is a positive action, such as what my colleague Dr. Dennis Plies discusses is his book; but a dangerous activity “confusing to our allies, our rivals and ourselves.”

What, according to Bremmer, are our choices? The first option is “Independent America.” This involves a process of divorcing ourselves from the world’s problems, and focus internally on our issues. We focus our efforts on the huge social issues of education, poverty, “finally realizing our huge potential.”

This particular option is nothing more than isolationism, which seems to be almost impossible with our integrated world economy. However, having grown up in the sixties where we protested against the huge military-industrial complex, we have to ask the question has our National Security Industry become so large that it is devouring scarce resources that could be used in solving our social issues? Also, is this huge industry destroying our fragile reputation throughout the world? “Our actions in the Middle East and South Asia make us more vulnerable at home, by persuading a new generation of Pakistanis, Yemenis, and others that it’s better to attack Americans who aren’t wearing state-of-the-art body amour.” What is that one thing that makes America stand out? I agree with Bremmer when he states, “It is not power that makes America exceptional, it is freedom.”

The second option, is “Moneyball America.” Noonan describes this option as, “The job of U.S. foreign policy is to make the U.S. safer and more prosperous, full stop. Some things must be done in the world, and it’s in America’s interest for Americans to do them.” I do think this option makes huge assumptions that I do not think are realistic, but there are interesting elements. “We are not Hercules, and our resources are finite.” The drain on the American economy has been glaring. However, I am intrigued by the comments “We should lead international efforts against terrorism, join coalitions of the willing, build partnerships – never walk alone – do more with less, keep our eye on the bottom-line.” This option seems practical, especially in an integrated world that is dangerous.

The third option, is what Bremmer calls an “Indispensible America.” This option may be what many of our politicians already see as our current role. “This involves a burly, all-in commitment to international leadership.” I think this option really is based on unrealistic views of our ability, but interesting. Does the world need an America that is promoting American values world-wide? Are we really, “the world’s only indispensible nation?” If this is true then we do need to “think bigger and in more ambitious terms.” I don’t think the world wants another Roman Empire.

As I look at these options, I am torn between two of them. The Nordic countries may have an idea of what an advancing democracy can accomplish. However, we have many more resources available to us to stand out as we deal with social issues. However, I am not naïve when it comes to the world around me. It is a dangerous place. Which option should we take?

I don’t think the third option is viable. We just can’t afford to be another Roman Empire. So to me that one is out. Isolationism just may not be practical. However, I lean toward option one, because there are so many problems around us that if we dealt with them could make us stand out even more as a bridge over troubled waters. In the end, though, I think option two is probably the most realistic. This may be what we are doing now, but we don’t seem to be committed.

Global terrorism is a reality, and a world economy is a reality. I don’t think we can isolate ourselves in this new world. My question to you is, what do you think?

And that is my thought for the day!

Thoughts On Michelle, Booker, and W.E. B. Dubois

The more I think about events across our country, the more I think the Cheshire Cat, from Alice in Wonderland, was right, “Oh, you can’t help that, we’re all mad here.” Many of us are a little nutty and many of us are just plain angry, and I keep asking myself why? Why are people rioting, why are the young in this country responding to the recruitment of hate organizations in other countries? Why are the youth of our inner cities rioting and burning down the very areas they live?

These actions are not new. These activities have happened throughout history, and it is absolutely normal for young people to rage against the machine, but the rage of today is leading to more violence than every before. Why? And what can be done about it?

Today’s blog may seem a little fragmented and rambling, but it will reflect my thoughts on actions that I think are needed to deal with the level of anger in this country. First of all, I want everyone to know that I am a Christian and I believe for true and meaningful change to occur there needs to be revival; revival of our love for God instead of the love for comfort. Even though I plan on dealing with what I think are required actions to deal with the anger, I really believe in the power of Jesus Christ to make the ultimate difference.

That said, I am also a realist and recognize that not all will respond to that message, but the anger still needs to be addressed. I do not think using hate tactics on either side of the political continuum is beneficial. I believe in constructive dialogue.

A good example of this is the criticisms leveled at First Lady Michelle Obama concerning her commencement address at Tuskegee University about continuing racism in this country. Conservatives, according to Harvey Mansfield, “wonder why she said nothing of the problem of black criminality.” These same conservatives “scorn her unwillingness to acknowledge the privilege she enjoyed from attending Princeton and Harvard.” These conservatives, in my opinion, are too busy looking at the forest that they missed the many wonderful trees within the forest.

Although I have not heard her commencement address, I have heard news reports and have read various articles that state she did a good job of reflecting the historical elements of racism in this country. In fact, Harvey Mansfield uses her references to Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois to identify the fact that “who can deny the road ahead for Blacks is not going to be easy.” Liberal and conservatives can argue over the how, but the fact is we need to talk.

Thursday I had coffee with a new friend. He is the director for the Portland Community Cycling Center. He is also a graduate of the Tuskegee University. This young man truly is incredible, and gave me a very positive opinion of Tuskegee. Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee in 1881, and , according to some, Washington was known as “the most conservative of black thinkers.” I have no idea if that is true or not, but I do know this about his university, “it was not built with government funding or private donations but by Blacks themselves under Washington’s direction.”

According to Harvey Mansfield, “Booker T. Washington’s central thesis was that Blacks should not depend on the white majority to improve their lives.” In his autobiography, “Up From Slavery,” Washington argues that Blacks should rise up from slavery on their own, and make themselves fit for freedom “through stages of self-education and hard work.”

On the other side of the coin is W.E.B. DuBois another great Black philosopher. “DuBois despised the passivity of Washington’s approach, blaming his isolation from politics and lack of courage.” DuBois did not promote earn your rights, he promoted demand your rights. I find this juxtaposition a little similar to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

As a White-Old-Man (WOM) reflecting on this I have to say I agree with Harvey Mansfield that conservatives are being too hard on Michele. I agree that we should not “throw up our hands and give up.” And you have to notice I said we. The issues associated with racism in this country do not just affect those who are Black, Latino/a, or Asian. The affects of racism dehumanize all of us. Now is not the time to say it’s their problem, or point our fingers at the other while proclaiming an “I-It” philosophy. Now is the time to take an “I-Thou” perspective where we see the value of the other. Instead of criticizing and blaming, it is time to listen and change.

And that is my thought for the day!

How Do We Deal With Poverty?

There were several articles in the news this morning dealing with the recent conference at Georgetown University. President Obama, Arthur Brooks, and Robert Putnam debated the issues surrounding poverty in the United States and how to deal with it. As I read the normal rhetoric from both sides of the spectrum, it got me thinking about who is right? Is poverty only a social issue best dealt with by raising more taxes, or is it a market issue, solved by economic growth and more jobs? I thought I might take a moment to discuss this.

USA Today published an article in September, 2014 identifying five reasons why we’re losing the war on poverty. The article begins with “Poverty does not appear to be waiving the white flag anytime soon. While the official poverty rate in the United States recently declined for the first time in seven years, the war on destitution is far from over and feels like a losing battle for millions of Americans.” There are still, as of 2014, 45.3 million Americans who are living below the poverty level.

The five reasons we are losing the battle were identified as:
• Real median household income
• Wealth accumulation or the lack thereof
• Employment-to-population ratio
• Food stamps
• Wages
I understand that household income has not increased. I also get that this is connected to the lack of wage growth. “Wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP have been declining for over four decades.” I also get the problems associated with the growing gap between those whose wealth is growing and those that are losing ground. But, I don’t understand why the employment-to-population ratio is declining. Economists call this workforce participation rate. The percentage of working-age Americans “with a job is only 59%.” If jobs are being created why are people not taking these jobs? Is it because they may lose the government benefits they receive? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), or food stamps, support about 46.5 million individuals in the US (2014) numbers. Is the workforce participation rate low because people can’t take a low wage job because they lose benefits?

The so called conversation about poverty that occurred at Georgetown was nothing more than a partisan exercise arguing for programs that simply are not as effective as needed, while identifying the enemy list of those that supposedly don’t have a heart. The implication of these comments is that the only one who cares is the government. Therefore, we need to give more money to the government to deal with poverty in this country.

I think Thomas Sowell said it best, “politicians are ill-qualified to redistribute private wealth.” Our government wastes an incredible amount of money trying to “fix” things in highly inefficient ways. We give trillions of dollars to our government while our roads are disintegrating before our very lives. Every time I cross a bridge I wonder whether I will need to lower my window and swim to shore, and watch as time after time we have specials sessions, like in the state of Washington, because our politicians can’t agree on how to deal with education and other critical issues facing us as a country.

This ranting is not a criticism of the Obama administration or the Inslee administration in the state of Washington, nor is it a conservative manifesto. But it is a request for a new way to think about the issues of poverty. We are watching our inner cities explode because of the issues of poverty, drugs, and high levels of crime. There was a report on NPR yesterday where a former policeman, who is now a lawyer, discussed how hard it is to do community policing. He mentioned that in one public housing building you could have several different opinions on how the police should deal with crime. One floor of the building had a no tolerance for crime, while another floor may be selling drugs. To simplify the issues of poverty into linear process is inaccurate and has led to the stalemates of our current situation.

We need a new way of looking at the issues of poverty in our country. We have smart people who are systems thinkers. We should be able to come up with initiatives that are innovative, social, and economic, because the answers will not be found in just providing more government aid, and it will take those who have to share, because it is the right thing to do.

The more I think about it, all of us need a helping hand once in a while. Why can’t we create new solutions to deal with the issues of poverty? I for one am tired of Georgetown panelists saying that conservatives are heartless, or that liberals just want to give it all to the government. Lets figure out how to deal with this as a community. Then maybe something will get done.

And that is my thought for the day!

Boeing, Harvard, and The Quakers

This week I travelled to St. Louis with a group of students to compete at the National ENACTUS conference. We did well, but to compete with the tier one schools, we will need to go one step higher. If the students are willing to take that step, I am willing to help them. While I was gone, I received an email from my Uncle telling me to get busy writing again. I agree with him, especially with some new research trails I have been exposed to. The semester is almost done which will allow me to pursue those trails with renewed vigor. So thanks UJ for helping me get moving again.

You may wonder, how in the heck would anyone discuss Boeing, Harvard and the Quakers in the same article? Well I will explain. Harvard and Boeing are having collective bargaining issues occurring at their places of business. The International Association of Machinists have been trying to organize the South Carolina plant for some time now, and have just canceled the vote. Harvard, on the other hand, is having trouble with its graduate students. It appears the average professor’s wage at Harvard is $205,000. I would love to get paid that much, but alas where I teach we are a bit more frugal than that. To counter this huge cost Harvard uses grad students, and part time adjuncts, to teach classes because they are paid a fraction of the salary that full time professors are paid. Columbia University, another prestigious school, also uses grad students. The grad students have filed a complaint with the NLRB because they want to join the United Auto Workers. They feel if college football players can unionize, so can they.

In both of these cases, there are labor issues. The WSJ reported this morning that South Carolina’s political leaders were vocally apposed against the IAM. The goal of Beverly Wyse, “a veteran executive who has a solid relationship with Boeing’s organized workforce,” is to run the South Carolina operation in a way that will produce the highest quality airplanes. The union, however, has stated there is an environment of harassment. According to the article this morning Boeing was accused of using intimidation tactics, etc. to ensure the union does not get a foothold in South Carolina.

I don’t know all the particulars, but I would imagine there are issues on both sides of the fence. I’ve been through several strikes and adversarial is the key word when dealing with management and labor. However, in March there was an announcement from the union stating they may cancel the vote due to a softening of support. The reasons could be intimidation, or it could have been a result of the people in South Carolina afraid of a big union.

The Harvard/Columbia scenario is one that affects all of higher education. All schools, big and small, use adjuncts. And as Richard Vedder, an Economist from Ohio University, stated, universities “are hiring their own serfs.” These serfs are being created by the continual supply of PhD’s to a saturated market where they will never get “fulltime professorial employment!” Interesting, especially in light of the Marxist critique of capitalism. The way the Capitalist keeps wages down is by the creation of an army of unemployed; in other words, a glut of workers.

Mr. Vedder then states that he does not think unionism is the best answer for grad students. The better idea is the universities, “accept some responsibility for defaults on student loans or pick up some of the tab for students who can’t find jobs after graduation.” However, his last comment is what really got me, “All of which is worth keeping in mind the next time you hear university officials lecture America about corporate greed or the wages of garment workers in Guatemala.” You have to admire how easily some people will criticize others while being blind to their own issues.

OK, so what is my point? EF Schumacher in his classic book, “Good Work,” describes how central work is to our humanity. In answering the question why do we work, he states there are three reasons:

  1. To provide necessary and useful goods and services.
  2. To enable every one of us to use and thereby perfect our gifts like good stewards.
  3. To do so in service to, and in cooperation with, others, so as to liberate ourselves from our inborn egocentricity.

Schumacher was a Catholic economist who wrote several books discussing the true definition of value. There is a level of value all of us assign to work, therefore the process is important. What may have been lost is what the Quakers identified as the covenantal relationship.

I am still a novice on the concept proposed by the Quakers, but it seems to me to be quite interesting. I have just started reading “The Covenant Crucified: The Quakers and the Rise of Capitalism,” and have just been exposed to their understanding, based upon scripture, of covenant. The purpose of this book is to “narrate the rise and defeat of the Lamb’s War.” During the Lamb’s War the Quakers were confronting England with a “covenantal, utopian alternative to the path ultimately chosen,” one of multi-nationalism.

This covenant involves the recognition of the “light, the presence of Christ, the covenant of God, abiding with every man woman and child, wherever they are, within or without the community of faith.” This reminds me of the story I read about Hannah Whitehall Smith who envisioned a sign around every person’s neck she encountered that stated “I am created in the image of God.” She then would treat those people like they were.

Hmm, maybe union and management need to practice this covenantal practice. Maybe they should see value in each other as human beings and just maybe some of the conflicts might go away. Maybe I am naïve, but I think this could work, and I plan on practicing this.

And that is my thought for the day!

Total Quality In Academia

This week I attended a presentation on Total Quality Management. The presenter took the journey down the path of collecting data, analyzing it, and then presenting the data for the viewing pleasure of all. As I watched the first thing I wanted to do was discount the data. That is always the first inclination, to distrust the data. The second reaction is to say, well this doesn’t take into consideration this, or the person didn’t know about that. I want to rationalize what the data is saying to me. You see, we never want to say the Emperor has no clothes. We want to stay on the bandwagon and not think we could possibly be in trouble.

So, I grabbed the handouts and began to work my way through the information that was provided by the presenter, which looked at Total Quality Management as applied to the Academic Environment. The article that caught my attention was from the American Society For Quality. The title of the article, “Business School Improves Learning, Research, and Placement Measures With TQM.” This was a case study looking at a graduate school in India. This school, RIMS, was “faced with troubling research concluding that most MBA’s in India were unemployable and not industry ready due to quality gaps in education.” The school analyzed its position relative to its competitors and found deficiencies in three areas: assurance of learning, faculty research productivity, and quality of employment placement for graduates.”

I have been thinking about quality for many years. I began my career in aerospace as an inspector in 1973. I worked for a couple of different companies in California, until 1977 when I went to work for Boeing. I began my career there as a Quality Inspector, then went into Statistical Process Control, evolving into a Quality Auditor, then a production manager, then a Quality Improvement Manager, then a Quality Manager, and finally a Project Manager responsible for Quality Training. Over 40 years of being involved with quality has given me a love for the subject.

In relation to the Business program at the school where I teach, I have been thinking about quality over the last four years. Accrediting bodies for Business schools are in place to help programs improve the level of quality in the programs. ACSB, ACBSP, and IACBE are in place to help programs improve while providing the education needed for business students to be successful.

The question I am asking myself this morning involves the quality of the business program at my school, and do the three dimensions identified by RIMS apply to us? I think they do. Assurance of Learning, Research Productivity, and Quality of Placements being the three areas of concern, the question is how do we deal with this? How do we measure this? How do we improve this?

RIMS identified 10 quality dimensions needing to be addressed:

  1. Admission criteria
  2. Academically-Qualified (AQ) faculty
  3. Research productivity
  4. Industry Interaction
  5. Student feedback on faculty
  6. Recruiter acceptance of students on first opportunity
  7. Mean salary
  8. Return On Investment (our graduating students average compensation as compared to others)
  9. Overall student satisfaction
  10. Overall recruiter satisfaction

The article then describes how statistical tools were used to improve the processes. By using an Ishikawa diagram the team was able to identify root causes associated with the poor performance of the program. The team then created and analyzed possible solutions, and then selected the final solutions they would use to improve the academic processes. The team identified improving teaching quality, improved compensation, subsidized training, implement the 4-P system for evaluating students, and administering a Capstone test to ensure students are learning.

Hmm, very very interesting. I think our school has already accomplished several of the elements identified by RIMS. But I think we as a program, need to look at this and not dismiss the other parts of the identified actions.

I now have a new focus for our business program. Now it is time to get to work. How satisfied are our students with our programs? Are they learning what they need to learn and what we expect them to learn? Are our faculty teaching well? I wish I were 40 years old and had more time. It is time to roll up our sleeves and do what is needed to improve. TQM is a great tool, and it is time to use it.

And that is my thought for the day!

Educational And Economic Parity

I read two very interesting articles this morning that have caused me to think a bit about the enrollment challenges currently faced by academic institutions across the United States. In fact, there have been several articles written recently about the morphing of recruitment processes within elite and non-elite schools.

The University of Phoenix, which is a part of the Apollo Educational Group, still has an enrollment of 227,400 students, this is about one-half of what it once was. It is also down by 13.5% from last year at this time. In the financial section of to WSJ there were many reasons for this reduction, “glitches in online software,” problems with “recruiting and retention,” and greater (and deserved) regulation of processes. The University of Phoenix has had problems with recruitment processes that promise certain things, and with the support of struggling students. I would agree with today’s article that “Perhaps investors should take the hint: The once wildly profitable for profit-education sector is for the birds.”

As I think about this, and adult education in general, economic theory can help us understand what is occurring. Over the last 25 years adult education has thrived, and it was a market that had not reached a competitor equilibrium point. This meant that more competitors, and online opportunities, entered the market. The market for adult students now has a significant amount of competitors that are all competing for a fixed number of clients. Thus the law of survival of the fittest now applies. Only the strongest and best will survive.

The second article that has me thinking is the article “Why the SAT Isn’t a Student Affluence Test.” This article was written by Charles Murray who is a W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. The article begins with acceptance letters being sent out by the elite schools, “with most going to the offspring of upper middle class.” This according to some “perpetuates privilege from generation to generation,” but, as the author argues, is not a result of income inequality but IQ. I do not agree with this.

Mr. Murray gives two examples Sebastian and Jane. Sebastian is the child of parents who make $400,000 per year, which makes them a part of the 1%. Jane’s family has an income of $40,000 per year. Sebastian goes to a private school, and Jane goes to a public school. Obviously, in each school setting there are many variables, but with $400,000 per year the ability of Sebastian’s family to place him in a very good private school will give him more opportunity than Jane who will probably be in a public setting with more variables, such as environment, teaching ability, etc. Murray argues that Jane’s mom has an IQ of 135, “putting her in the top 1% of the IQ distribution,” but he forgets about the nurture part of the equation. Sebastian’s mother may only have an average IQ, but Sebastian has a better nurturing environment. Murray ignores a huge part of the equation.

However, I think he redeems himself towards the end. “What we need is an educational system that brings children with all combinations of assets and deficits to adulthood having identified things they enjoy doing and having learned how to do them well. What we need is a society that has valued places for people with all combinations of assets and deficits. Both goals call for completely different agendas than the ones that dominate today’s rhetoric about educational and economic inequality.” I do think we need to look at the system differently.

Another reason I am thinking about this involves a comment I saw on Facebook yesterday. Someone posted the comment “What advice would you give your high school self?” One of my previous students stated, “go to a public college.” That stings a bit, and makes me wonder what was it in his experience in my classes that made him want to say this. Of course, it could be just a student loan issue though, I wouldn’t know unless I ask him.

However, I can adjust what I am doing in my classes and my program. There seems to be a nationwide complaint that students coming into college are woefully under-prepared. Ok, point well taken, but instead of whining about it, what do we need to do. If there is one thing that can level the playing field between the haves and the have nots it is education. Therefore, how do we ensure educational success?

First, we need to have excellent teachers that are engaging students in the classroom. To accomplish this we need to deal with the substandard teaching in many college classrooms today. This also means paying competitive wages and hiring fulltime faculty instead of relying on adjuncts. This is not to say that all adjuncts are bad teachers, but they don’t have as much skin in the game. The table needs to be turned from relying on adjuncts to hiring fulltime faculty.

Second, we need more realistic assignments. Students need to have assignments that are real life. They need to develop real life skills with real life consequences. This gives the students the ability to use (enact) their skills.

Third, students need to be able develop relationships with the organizations associated with their majors. If they are not, then the practitioner side of the education is lacking.

Fourth, we need stronger academic support systems; this means better writing, quantitative, and qualitative tutors. The students need to raise their abilities to meet the demands of their future career.

And lastly, programs should not dumb down their academic requirements to ensure retention. They need to keep standards high and raise performance, not make it easier so students graduate.

Education is not about the level of profit for an academic institution, it is about the development of students who are liberally trained and professionally ready to change the world. That will truly lead to educational and economic parity.

And that is my thought for the day!