Career planning is important. Here's the PowerPoint to a presentation for a group of high school students about why higher education and career planning matter.
It's hard to believe it's almost July 4th. I'm really looking forward to celebrating this year. I have a new townhouse with two balcony views overlooking the cityscape and from what I've been told, the fireworks will be displayed practically right in front of my townhouse, giving me an "in-your-face" view. I can hardly wait!
Here are some "in-your-face" employment and job statistics I thought you might find very useful and a few reasons why education matters. So, whether you're sitting in a coffee house, on a beach, or at home, make this your summer reading:
Perhaps the bottom line is that employment and job market statistics are ever changing. But one aspect never changes -- EDUCATION IS A GOOD INVESTMENT:
If that doesn't convince or inspire you, perhaps this will:
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela.
Read more great quotes from great leasers at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_education.html#ffSUXER7TADBLABt.99
I’m a strong believer in the power of stories. Stories help us to express and clarify ideas, teach values, and captivate an audience when we have something important to convey and we need its full attention. Assessment or program evaluation can not only help us to make informed, data-driven decisions, help with strategic planning and resource management, but it can also help us to tell our story, the one in which we let the world know all that we do well. Assessment also helps us to discover and uncover areas in which we can improve and supports our commitment to continuous improvement and excellence. Here’s a short story a friend sent to me the other day. I don’t know where she found it, but I think it helps my point.
THE WINDOW FROM WHICH WE LOOK
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
"That laundry is not very clean", she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."
Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:
"Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this."
The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."
And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look!
This can be found on myriad web sites, but always attributable to “unknown.”
What does this have to do with assessment? Think about that for a moment. The wife saw a problem which she attributed to her neighbor. Her husband assessed the situation and based on that assessment correctly identified the problem, easily solving it by merely cleaning the windows.
Assessment or program evaluation is one of the great, often unappreciated heroes of top performance. In many cases it may be a blessing in disguise. As we embrace assessment, we learn things about ourselves or our programs that we previously looked at through dirty windows. We gain new insight into our processes, our people, and our reality. We find ways to support requests for additional resources, or ways to use the resources we already have more wisely and efficiently. The key is to embrace assessment and commit to quality. Assessment also helps us to tell our story in an interesting way. We want people to know our story. We want them to see our commitment to quality and excellence. We want them to talk about us. We want the world to know who we are and what we do. We want them to know that we lead our peer institutions is best assessment practices. We want our windows to be clear so that the world will truly be impressed by our glow. Assessment will help us glow!
― Dr. Angela Koponen
One of my favorite quotes goes like this: "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."**
Assessment and program evaluation require that we look at the results of our assessments. However, stopping there would be futile. We must also follow through and act on the results. We must plan strategies to improve based on those results. That's the purpose of data-driven decision processes. It's okay, however, to say that nothing needs to be changed. In either case we need to assess again at regular intervals. Assessment is an on-going process. So, whether our strategy is to take some action or to leave things as they are, we must not forget to "occasionally look at the results."
** Sir Winston Churchill: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu135256.html#lJJqBJcpK16IK91o.99
For many, continuous improvement, assessment, program review, Six Sigma, or whatever you call it, can be a bit overwhelming. So, I wanted to bring something a little more digestible. I wanted to deliver some good information in small sips! We still get to the same place - a full cup of continuous improvement activities - but one little sip at a time.
Why Sip or CIP? Well CIP stands for Continuous Improvement Plan. It's that simple. When we talk about CIP we say sip! So, a new metaphor is called for. In the future , this is where my efforts will be, bringing continuous improvement to you one sip at a time. Enjoy!
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke early to begin cleaning my house so that the next day I would not have distractions as I sat down to write my MA thesis. My house was not cleaned that day. Before I could begin, my sister called and told me to turn on the TV. The rest of the week I taped CNN's coverage, took notes, downloaded transcripts, and did in one week what normally takes months; i gathered all I needed for a complete literature review.
I had planned on writing a rhetorical analysis of the currently hot stem cell debates, but as I watched the news that morning, stem cells took a back seat to the painful events unfolding before the nation. For that week, I lived the events, I breathed every report that CNN brought into my home. When the week was over, I sat down to write. When the final thesis was completed and delivered to my university, I never looked back. I've not written about it since.
Now, when I think of that week and that work, I still see in my mind some of the images that most never saw, like a "perfectly severed hand." I see the couple who fell or jumped to their deaths. I see the white policeman with his arm tenderly around his older African-American companion, a woman who leaned into him. Their posture, their glances spoke of a neighborly love that they seemed to share. She, covered in gray dust, he casually holding a cup of something in his other hand. He embraced her tenderly and she acknowledged his protection and acceptance of his care. They walked slowly away from the horror, together, as if they had all the time in the world. It was the defining visual for me. For that moment it seemed that racism no longer existed and Americans united like never before. A moment of beauty in a sea of tragedy.
Tonight, I may revisit my gallery of images, I may reread parts of my thesis, I may even revisit that first day's news sequence that ended so peacefully. But, I will never forget even the smallest detail of that day. I still tear and I still feel deeply for every lost friend, co-worker, mother, father, child, . . . I remember!
Just on a whim I decided to change the design of my web site. I just wanted to make it cleaner, more streamlined and if for no other reason than, "Because I can!"
JUST HAVE TO SHARE!
This article highlights a great point about how much "communication" is too much. Check it out HERE. While written for a particular higher ed audience in mind, the principle remains the same. At some point we may be overdoing it.
Lately, (again) I've been reminded of words a great philosopher said to me one afternoon. This philosopher is not one to dwell on matters until the life's been sucked out of them. She is honest and straight-forward. She tells it like it is and I love her for it. The fact that at the time she was only three and a half years old didn't detract from her wisdom.
She was doing something annoying one day. Not bad, just annoying from my adult perspective. I asked her why she was doing that and her response came instantly and with complete confidence in her delivery. She said, "Because I can!" I nearly broke out laughing because I realized that I was taking life a little too seriously at the time. I envied her ability to succinctly sum up the situation and respond so nonchalantly. Until recently I hadn't given that incident much thought.
Just recently, my husband and I entered into a venture and I asked lots of questions, trying to analyze every possibility of what could go wrong. He turned to me and said I should remember that sometimes we can do things just because we can. It hit me that my little philosopher had it right all along. Sometimes we should or need or want to do things just because we can. So, I created a poster for myself that I am framing for my office. It will be a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes, I need to take life a little less seriously and do some things just because I can.
I discovered this only last night and it's too good not to pass on, even at this late time. For sure it will be in my calendar for next year. It fits right in with a Farm-to-Table project that I am working on. Please share!
Wishing you Good Eats and Health!
Dr. Angie's Notebook