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Do You Have The Skills To Be An Entrepreneur?

Recent Blog Posts - 11-17-2014 13:16

By Rick Rapier

Poet T.S. Eliot wrote, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” While Eliot lived before business innovators like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Lori Greiner, and Daymond John, he might as well have been describing the modern entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have learned firsthand that by taking risks, they can go quite far.

But surely there must be more to it than risk? Just ask people who take the risk of starting small businesses each year and who fail. Many are willing to take great risks – mortgaging their homes, cashing in retirement funds, and spending life savings to make a go of it. It is rarely for lack of risk-taking that such endeavors go by the boards. While intestinal fortitude is clearly a must, there must be a lot more to it than a willingness to risk.

So, what does it take for an entrepreneur to succeed? As author Tom Wolfe put it, do they also need “the right stuff?” Moreover, do you have the right stuff to be a successful entrepreneur?

No Silver Bullet

Truth be told, there isn’t just one characteristic that will determine whether you have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. There are several. And everyone seems to have an opinion of what they are. Google the phrase “traits of successful entrepreneurs” and you’ll get nearly 500 thousand results.

Entrepreneur Magazine claims to have isolated seven traits. StartUpBros.com, an online advice column for business startups, examines six keys characteristics. And finally, Inc. Magazine offers their readers five essential attributes that all successful entrepreneurs share.

Five Traits Distilled

Five characteristics were common among each of the aforementioned publications. These traits are considered essential characteristics shared by successful entrepreneurs:

1. Driven

Yale Law professor Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, asserts that an attitude of “I’m gonna show everybody” can produce incredible entrepreneurial drive in certain individuals.

For an entrepreneur to succeed, he or she must be intensely motivated. More than one source called this “passion.” Thomas Edison was so driven by his desire to invent that he slept only three or four hours a night. The same has been said of President John F. Kennedy who sacrificed sleep in his own effort to be more productive. Successful entrepreneurs will sacrifice all – sleep, relationships, and savings, whatever else it takes – to realize their vision.

2. Singular Vision

A single-minded focus is also evident in successful entrepreneurs. Will Mitchell of StartupBros called it “immunity to shiny objects.” Until a particular goal is achieved, the entrepreneur cannot be dissuaded by other, newer goals. In an effort to hold to their singular vision, entrepreneurs also write down their goals. According to Drew Hendricks of Inc., “Putting things in writing makes them more real and easier to remember and can help avoid confusion down the road.”

3. Tenacious

Entrepreneurs also must be willing to keep going - regardless of temporary failure and obstacles. They have an attitude of never taking no as the answer. This trait is also expressed as patience and persistence, with a willingness to fail. Lori Greiner, inventor-entrepreneur and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” proclaimed on her Facebook page in 2012 that, “Falling down is part of life – getting back up is living!”

4. Thinks Outside the Box

While it might come with a negative connotation, Entrepreneur Magazine asserts successful entrepreneurs are rule breakers. To reframe that as a positive, they must be innovative with a tolerance of ambiguity. If the rule is, “that can’t be done,” the entrepreneur will seek to find a way to prove that rule wrong. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, offers this outlook: “You don’t learn to walk by following rules.”

5. Networked

The four traits listed above are completely internal. But this last trait also involves something outside the individual: connections. Peer-to-peer connections give the entrepreneur a chance to bounce ideas off other experts at their own level and to build their organization with like-minded people.

While it takes a certain personality exhibited by many of the traits above, to succeed an entrepreneur also needs a network of relationships with money sources. Steve Martin famously taught his audiences “how to become a millionaire and pay no taxes.” His advice was, “First, get a million dollars.” While seemingly silly, according to the experts, it isn’t far off. If this sounds like something that would suit you and you want to get the right skills check out NCU's MBA program with a entrepreneurship specialization.

So, do you have the right stuff to be a successful entrepreneur? If you have a burning desire to find out, you just might! Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: entrepreneurshipmaster-of-business-administration
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Resources for Military – Active Duty, Veterans, and Military Spouses

Recent Blog Posts - 11-11-2014 08:50




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Today is Veteran’s Day and with thousands of Americans currently serving their country both at home and abroad we here at Northcentral would like to acknowledge the incredible contribution those in the military make.  Not only do they defend and protect their fellow citizens and our way of life domestically, they also bring amazing helps to people in need in other parts of the world.  And not only do the enlisted and the commissioned dedicate their lives to military service, so do their families who sacrifice so much.  And we are proud to say that not only do we have many graduates who have served in the various branches of the U.S. military, thanks to our approach to personalized, one-to-one online education with no residency requirement, we have students who are still actively serving!

To show our appreciation for those who have served or are currently serving we have compiled a list of discounts available exclusively for Active Duty Military and Veterans. Please feel free to share this list with friends and family. We appreciate all that you do!




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Discounts & Freebies for Military

Military Discounts Offered by Stores, Services and Online Stores

Verify service to immediately access special pricing on premium brands, sports & event tickets

Connecting America’s Military with the best of local business

Discounts for military spouses

Additional spouse and family benefits and resources

Benefits/Resources for Active Duty and Veterans

·          Armed Forces Tax Benefits

·          Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Disables Veterans and Service members

·          Basic Medical Benefits package for veterans

·          Caregiver programs and services

·          Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Health Care Program

·          Clothing Allowance

·          Compensated Work Therapy

·          Dental Care

·          Direct Home Loans for Native Americans

·          Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP)

·          Education- Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty)

·          Education- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

·          Educational and Vocational Counseling

·          Foreign Medical Program

·          Gratuitous Service-Disables Veterans Insurance (ARH)

·          Headstones, Makers and Medallions for Placement in Private Cemeteries

·          Health Insurance for Dependents (CHAMPVA)

·          Home Based Primary Care (HBPC)

·          Home Loan for Regular Purchase

·          Homeless Veterans Assistance Center

·          Homeless Veterans Programs

·          Interest Rate Reeducation Refinance Loan (IRRRL)

·          Jobs for Veterans State Grants Programs (JVSG)

·          Local Veterans Employment Representative Program (LVER)

·          Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs

·          Mental Health Services

·          Military Exposure Registry Examination Program

·          Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

·          Military Sexual Trauma

·          Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve)

·          Nursing Home Care

·          Payments for Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Born with Certain Birth Defects

·          Pharmacy Service

·          Post- 9/11 GI Bill

·          Presidential Memorial Certificates

·          Readjustment Counseling (Vet Centers)

·          Respite Care

·          Service- Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI)

·          service members’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

·          service members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

·          service members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Disability Extension

·          Service members' Group Life Insurance Family Coverage (FSGLI)

·          Service members' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI)

·          Services and Aid for Blind Veterans

·          Social Security Special Benefits for Qualified WWII Veterans

·          Specially Adapted Housing Grant

·          Spina Bifida Health Care Program

·          Supplemental Service Disabled Veterans Insurance

·          The Non-VA Medical Care Program

·          Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

·          Travel Reimbursement

·          Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

·          VA - Birth Defects Assistance - Payments for Children with Spina Bifida whose Parents Served in Vietnam or Korea

·          VA - Survivors' Payments - Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

·          VA-Guaranteed Home Loan Program

·          Veteran & Dependent Burial in VA National Cemeteries

·          Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program

·          Veterans Death Pension

·          Veterans Life Insurance Policy Loans and Cash Surrenders

·          Veterans Pension

·          Veterans Preference (VP)

·          Veterans Prosthetic Appliances

·          Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)

·          Veterans Workforce Investment Program (VWIP)

·          Veterans' Compensation for Service-Connected Disabilities

·          Veterans' Employment & Training Service (VETS)

·          Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

·          Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)

·          Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services for Veterans with Disabilities

·          Vocational Training for Children with Spina Bifida or Certain Birth Defects

·          Waiver of Insurance Premiums for Disabled Veterans

·          Women Health Care Benefits

Blog Categories: just-for-funBlog Tags: militaryveterans
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Q&A with Dr. Peter Bemski

Recent Blog Posts - 11-03-2014 09:16

By Rick Rapier

Peter Bemski, Ph.D. was named Dean of Northcentral University’s School of Business and Technology Management (SoBTM) as of July 22, 2014. Dr. Bemski has extensive experience in a range of university and business functions, and earned an M.A. in English Literature at Boston College and earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Dr. Bemski previously held the position of President of English Pathways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Teikyo University. He later served as Professor and Chair of MBA and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership Programs at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. In his esteemed career Dr. Bemski has also worked as the Center Director for ELS Denver and as the Assistant Director of Centro de Cultura Anglo-Americana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, a globally oriented, Dr. Bemski has proven himself to be a multilingual academic leader well-suited to advancing NCU's mission to deliver accessible quality degree programs to students around the globe.

We caught up with Dr. Bemski to learn more about what brought him to NCU and about his vision for the School of Business and Technology Management .

Question: In your new role as Dean, how do you believe you can help students achieve their academic goals?

Dr. Bemski: In my role as Dean, I can help students succeed and achieve their academic goals in a number of ways. I can make sure that faculty get the support they need so they can work well with students, and I can work hard to make sure students get the academic support that they need as well. It's not just one person or another. It's a team here at NCU, and we will work hard to support all of our students.

Question: What got you interested in and excited about the field of business and technology management?

Dr. Bemski: This is a very exciting time to be in the field of business and technology management. Change is coming fast and furious. The world is getting smaller. I can't predict what the future holds, but I know it's going to be full of change. I want to be a part of it, and I know our students do, too.

Question: How are NCU’s Business and Technology Management programs different than other schools?

Dr. Bemski: NCU's Business and Technology Management programs are not the same as they are at other universities. Our regionally-accredited programs use a personalized, one-to-one teaching and learning model. That means we recognize the fact that each and every one of our students is different. Each and every course can be tweaked to take advantage of that. Not all students are the same. All of our business programs are accredited by ACBSP*. This is important because it's an outside accreditor telling us that our business programs meet the benchmarks. Plus all of our NCU faculty hold doctoral degrees. I don't think you'll find that at many universities either. We do some things the same [as other universities]: We expect hard work from our students. Our PhD programs do not require physical residency, but they do require a lot of work, as do all our programs. We're going to challenge our students. But we're going to do it our way.

Question: How does our ACBSP accreditation help students in the SoBTM?

Dr. Bemski: All of the programs at Northcentral University's School of Business and Technology Management are accredited by ACBSP. This is important because the ACBSP requires that we meet certain standards. We can't just tell you we're meeting them. They come in and look. They review our syllabi. They review everything we do. [With accreditation], they have said we meet those standards.

Question: In a general sense, who are the faculty of the School of Business and Technology Management?

Dr. Bemski: I'm very excited to be working with a great group of faculty here at NCU, and I know our students will enjoy working with them as well. Our faculty all have doctorates and that gives the student the opportunity to be in touch with active researchers. But you know what? They're also practitioners in [that field of study]. I encourage our students to enjoy it. It's rare that students get this kind of opportunity.

Question: How can students be successful in an online program in Business and Technology Management?

Dr. Bemski: Students often ask what it is they need to do to be successful in an online program such as this one. The key is staying on top of things. Get behind in the online accelerated model, and it's very difficult to catch up. Try and stay on top of things. Try and be prepared. Get any texts well ahead of time. Review the syllabus, if possible, ahead of time. Plan out those weeks, and they'll go by very quickly. I think that's the main thing, but things do come up, and when things do come up, count on us to be there to help.

Question: What is your vision for the SoBTM for the next five years?

Dr. Bemski: My vision for the future of the School of Business and Technology Management is a constantly improving school. Students have to be a part of that, faculty have to be a part of that, accreditation bodies – we all have to work together to constantly to get better, to better integrate technology into our programs, to better be aware of everything that's happening in this ever smaller world.

To view the full video:

* Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: Peter BemskiSchool of business and technologybusinesstechnologysuccess
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

For Virtual Therapy Is Now The Time ?

Recent Blog Posts - 10-31-2014 10:30

By Christia Gibbons

Patients and therapists are texting, emailing and web chatting these days as virtual therapy sessions are becoming more acceptable and better regulated.

Called virtual therapy, e-therapy, digital therapy, or the like, mental-health therapy via the Internet is gaining popularity Unlike Lisa Kudrow’s Fiona Wallace therapist in Showtime’s “Web Therapy” – who follows no rules or ethical standards as she metes out advice in three-minute sessions – the American Psychological Association has set guidelines and legislators in different states are passing laws to regulate when and how therapists can operate in this medium. Still, it’s somewhat of a buyer-beware situation when connecting to online “therapy,” and users need to do a little research to figure out whether the cyberspace “therapist” who is offering counseling services is certified. If someone prefers to talk, such sites as blahtherapy.com and breakthrough.com offer conversational, person to person therapy sessions. Blahtherapy offers $25 sessions with a qualified therapist and free sessions if you don’t mind talking with a stranger. Breakthrough offers video chat sessions with a qualified therapist or psychiatrist, and can even help a potential client navigate insurance possibilities.

Greater Flexibility

If it’s not too soon to call it this, more traditional virtual therapy still involves the one-on-one of therapist and patient seeing each other while they talk. And virtual therapy actually offers more than convenience for many patients. Dr. Daniela J. Lamas, writing in the August 4th issue of Boston Globe, claims that just coming to an office can be harrowing for some patients, such as autistic children. So the ability to Skype or use other video chat methods becomes a welcome option.

Perhaps catering to the millennial, or just really busy people, therapy-by-text is now also possible. According to an Ocober 15th article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), these formats are similar to an instant message on Google or Facebook. The patient/client can text anytime day or night and expect a response within 24 hours.

The WSJ reports that these therapy text services are encrypted and conversations are archived. WSJ article author Joshua Fruhlinger describes two sites – Betterhelp.com and Talkspace.com.

Greater Accessibility

In addition to personal preference, digital therapy and its umbrella of telemedicine, may be the best or only option for those in rural areas or other situations in which traveling to an office is prohibitive. Lamas pointed out, though, that Skype and other similar applications aren’t HIPAA compliant, so some practitioners use software especially developed for therapy/medical online conversations.

While the use of insurance differs by which source or method of virtual therapy is used, there is increasing use and payment of the provision of such services by Medicare and privateinsurance. For instance, the California-based company Breakthrough is working to set up contracts with insurance companies to provide for online therapy.

TheTelepsychology Task Force of the American Psychological Association considered these two components to be critical when it helped to establish virtual therapy guidelines adopted in July of 2013:

1) The psychologist’s knowledge of, and competence in, the use of the telecommunication
technologies being utilized; and,
2) the need to ensure the client/patient has a full understanding of the increased risks to loss
of security and confidentiality when using telecommunication technologies.

The guidelines acknowledge the “dynamic area” of telecommunication technologies in providing psychological services and covers ethics, training, record keeping and more to help therapists make decisions for the virtual arena.

But Let the Client and the Therapist Beware

For Scottsdale, Arizona-based psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman the APA is catching up to a these virtual practice that have been in use for some time. Even so, she points out that therapists need to be mindful of what laws and regulations are place in different states to make sure they are allowed to practice across state and international borders.

Dr. Strohman also says she is concerned for patients who don’t know who they are talking to through some virtual therapy models, but she does see such therapy as a viable transition from in-office appointments.

““If I Skype with a client I can still read their face, and that’s fine for me, If we had never met before, that would be a real disadvantage.”
Dr. Lisa Strohman

She explains that some of her teenage clients may say little during an in-person session, but open up in an email afterward. She uses protected email accounts to preserve confidentiality.

However, she is most concerned with the unseen patient. “How can I be effective if the person says they are a 40-year-old man and it’s really a 15-year-old boy?”
Dr. Strohman says she’s concerned with the automation of therapy because good psychology is an art, and “Eighty percent of our behavior is picked up on via body language.”
As with most of the technological advances seen throughout society and various disciplines, virtual therapy in all its interations is a genie out of the bottle. And with convenience and ease of access, there can be abuses.

So, while the responsible bodies like the APA and others wrestles with qualifications and proper implementation, users of virtual therapies would be wise to weigh the benefits over traditional therapy approaches, and to do all in their power to check the credentials of those offering their counseling services on line.

*/ Blog Categories: couples-therapyBlog Tags: mftmarriage-and-family-therapy-2
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's 2014 Annual Conference

Recent Blog Posts - 10-21-2014 14:07

NCU's School of Marriage and Family Sciences was well-represented by 20 faculty and staff members at the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's 2014 Annual Conference. Held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 16-19, about 1400 attendees enjoyed the following keynote speakers:

Karyn Gordon, MDIV, DMINUnderstanding and Motivating Gen Y's

Michelle Weiner-Davis, MSW & Michael DurantSteve de Shazar and Insoo Kim Berg: Storied Reflections about Genuine Pioneers

Frank N. Thomas, Ph.D. LMFT-S, SFBTA Archivist & Cynthia K. Hansen, Ph.D.Shifts Happen: Reflections on the Legacy of Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer

The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy The Impact of Public Policy on our Behavioral Health Care System

In addition, Drs. Branden Henline, James Billings and Darren Adamson presented on distance-based learning in the MFT field. Throughout the conference, the NCU faculty and staff members in attendance were privileged to meet many current and former students from the School of Marriage and Family Sciences.

Pictured above: Bottom left to right – Dr. Elaine Willerton and Dr. Kristi Harrison; Standing left to right – Dr. Annabelle Goodwin, Dr. Nichola Ribadu, Dr. Valerie Glass, and Dr. Chuck West






Pictured Above: Dr. Branden Henline, Dr. Annabelle Goodwin, Dr. Nichola Ribadu, Dr. Elaine Willerton, Dr, Shay Thomas, and Dr. Kristi Harrison





To learn more about the field of marriage and family therapy and NCU's School of Marriage and Family Sciences, click here.


Blog Categories: marriage-and-family-therapyBlog Tags: conferencesmarrriage and family sciencesncu-facultyaamft
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

10 Ways to Empower Your Students in the Classroom

Recent Blog Posts - 10-21-2014 10:57

If you work in the field of education, you know that it is a tool that can be used to empower those who choose it. And when you teach or lead students at any level, they become empowered with the information they need to become happy, successful adults. Not only is education an empowering tool for your students, but a commitment to life-long learning through the pursuit of an advanced degree can empower YOU to control the direction you want your career to take and expand your own influence in changing and empowering lives through the power of education.

Here is a quick list of ways you can empower your students in the classroom.

1. Help students find their passion
2. Recognize students who participate and share their thoughts
3. Personalize lessons and make them relevant
4. Encourage debate and expression of ideas and opinions
5. Brainstorm with students
6. Have patience
7. Help students determine what they want and find their passion
8. Practice empathy and resilience
9. Promote leadership and explore different forms of it
10. Helps students problem solve, analyze and research issues and ideas

For more tips on how to empower students in the classroom, teachthought.com offers a comprehensive list of 50 Ways to Empower Students in a Connected World.

If you’re interested in looking for new ways to empower yourself, check out some of the programs NCU’s School of Education offers or call 844-628-7309 to speak to an enrollment advisor to discuss your educational goals and a program that is right for your career aspirations.

Blog Categories: career-adviceeducation-2Blog Tags: educationclassroomteaching
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Staying Organized in a Digital World

Recent Blog Posts - 10-20-2014 14:52

Did you know that the typical American spends about one hour every day looking for things? If you haven't already started doing the math in your head, that's seven hours per week, or a total of 15 days each year! Right about now you should be thinking about just how valuable your time is and wondering what you might do with an extra 15 days per year!

If you're smart, you'll start by taking a little time to organize your life, making sure every little thing – from physical possessions such as your keys and sunglasses, to reminders for appointments, bills and even birthdays and anniversaries – has a home where it lives all the time. If it doesn’t have a home, now is the time to find it a new one!

October 20 is National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day! So hopefully you have taken some time to do just that today. Here are some other ways to stay organized in a digital world.

Benefits of Getting Organized Finding What You Want When You Need It

When was the last time you spent 20 minutes looking for your keys before you could leave for the grocery store? Or, how about 30 minutes scouring the sent items in your Outlook for the document you need to reference in your next meeting?

This may seem like a routine you just can't break, but working to make sure you're organized can end up saving you huge amounts of time and stress. Just think – you'll make it to the grocery store before the last cart is taken! You may even arrive to your meeting to find you're the only one with the proper document printed and ready to go. And as a bonus, you're less stressed and better prepared for the task at hand.

“Executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents..”

Fast Company Magazine

Staying Connected With Your Family and Community

How many times have you forgotten your best friend's birthday? Okay, bad example – how about your great uncle Joe's birthday? We're betting Emily Post wouldn't be pleased with your answer! Making the effort to organize your life can not only make your day-to-day a little less hectic, it can help bring a little more joy to others' as well.

By organizing your calendar and making sure you're up to date on birthdays, anniversaries and social events, you'll be less likely to forget the important stuff. And the important stuff is what's worth our valuable time, right?

Money in Your Pocket

Now let's talk about something we can all relate to – dollars and cents. Have you ever replaced a pair of headphones because you couldn't find them? How about a pair of sunglasses or even a cell phone? You can avoid these unnecessary expenses just by making the adjustment to help yourself find what you need when you need it.

By organizing your virtual and physical life, you'll find you have a less cluttered home, workspace and even mind. What exactly does that mean? Your bills and appointment reminders won't be scattered on your counter, so those sunglasses you thought you lost last week won't be buried under a pile of things you forgot about!

Getting Started

Interested in a little self-improvement? The first step is to organize your life – every piece of it – and in a digital world, there are endless options for organization out there. Here are a few suggestions that you can carry with you – IF you don't lose your cell phone or tablet along the way!

Apps to help you stay organized Evernote

Ever wish you could store articles you find across social media, email and the web? This app will help you do just that and more! It has the ability to categorize and make notes so that you can find them later when you need them. There are also a number of other ways to stay organized with this app such as, audio notes and even capturing images. This app is great for research projects as well. Try Evernote out by saving this article.


This app allows you to store multiple types of files from spreadsheets to photos to videos. The best part of this app is that once they are in Dropbox they are accessible from any device and can be shared with multiple users.

Awesome Note

This app syncs with Google docs and Evernote (listed above) and tracks thoughts, ideas, calendars and also makes to-do lists.


This is a time tracking app that allows you to set and track time limits for each task you do during the day. Great to help you find out how long tasks take, where you are wasting the most time and to look back and see where your day has gone.

ToDo Together

This app allows you to form groups with your friends, family and coworkers to share task lists and work as an effective team.

This is a condensed list of our favorite apps. What do you use to stay organized?

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

New Education Partnership Announcement

Recent Blog Posts - 10-16-2014 14:28

Northcentral University and the National Education Association (NEA) are set to co-develop the largest ever Professional Learning Community for PK-12 and higher education teachers in the U.S.

The NEA, which is committed to advancing the cause of public education, last year launched their Great Public Schools (GPS) Network. The GPS Network is designed to provide NEA member teachers with an online resource where they can discuss and reflect on today’s education issues while sharing ideas and recommendations with other teachers and the wider American education community. The GPS includes threaded discussion forums on topics such as:

• Common Core State Standards
• Tech and Classroom – Elementary
• Safe and Healthy Schools
• Parent School Partnerships
• ESP Hot Issues
• Advancing Teaching Leadership
• Reading Literacy
• Priority Schools
• Assessment of Student Learning
• Peer Assistance and Review

GPS resources address math, science, social studies and English language arts. But the potential of the GPS is not about what the NEA posts. It’s the potential resources that 3.2 million NEA members can share with their fellow educators.

While the concept of Professional Learning Communities is not new to K-12 education, the NEA with the support of NCU will be able to deliver this program via their virtual learning platform. Working with NCU, the NEA is making their GPS Network available to their 3.2 million members plus any international educators who would like to join.

For educators currently teaching in the K-12 environment, joining the GPS provides access to the best practices, curriculum and ideas of other educators. For those who are no longer in the classroom, their experience, insight and knowledge provides a great resource for other educators. There are also a number of free educational resources for parents as well.

The GPS Network, supported by NCU, has the capacity to connect teachers, locally, nationally and globally like never before.

For more information on the GPS Network,visit http://www.gpsnetwork.org/.

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Coping When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Recent Blog Posts - 10-14-2014 15:40

By Shelley Simmons

It’s October, and that means you will see the color pink everywhere in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society®, about one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. If someone you care about is diagnosed with breast cancer, here are some suggestions on how to cope.

Learn about breast cancer and be an advocate

According to Lisa Kelledy, Ph.D., LMFT, a specialist in medical family therapy and chronic illness, and core faculty member at Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Services, the first step is to do some research. “Learn as much as you can so you’ll understand what the person is going through,” she says.

If you will be going along on appointments, make a list of all your questions for the doctor, and even offer to write down the answers the doctor provides. Your loved one may appreciate not having to process everything being told to her at that moment and having an advocate for her care.

Be there and offer support

You can offer emotional support as the person goes through a range of emotions. Cancer patients endure shock, fear, denial, sadness and anger.

Be there for her by listening, encouraging her to express her feelings, and reaching out physically with a gentle touch or hug. Unless you are asked for your opinions or advice, keep them in reserve.

Do not avoid or ignore her because of your own worries or fears. If you are unable to visit or call, send a note to let her know you’re thinking about her.

You can also keep her spirits up with small surprises. A bouquet of flowers, a card, or a box of candy can help to bring a smile to her face.

Help with everyday life

There are other, practical ways for you to support your loved one, as well. You can offer to help with housework, run errands, drive her to doctor appointments, or do laundry. Find out what her food preferences are and do her grocery shopping or cook for her. It could be helpful to have her freezer stocked with meals that can be easily and quickly prepared.

If she has children, you can help to keep their lives as normal as possible. Drive them to their sports practices, dance classes and take them food shopping or out to eat.

Other ways to support and cope with breast cancer

If your loved one uses blogs and social media through her cancer treatment, make time to read her thoughts and feelings.

“Some may find enough support through social media, but others may need a more personal experience with counseling, either alone or with their family,” says Kelledy, who adds that the patient’s doctor can help them find these resources.

Group activities may also interest-based, such as fitness, book clubs, art projects and potlucks.

Realize that you will need support, too

If you are helping to care for someone with cancer, you may at times find yourself overwhelmed. You can also seek support through social media and other networking groups. Ask others for help when you need it. “It is especially important for caregivers to relax, maintain a healthy lifestyle and sleep schedule, and reach out when they need to,” adds Kelledy.

Breast Cancer Resources

For additional information on breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society have great informational resources.

If you are interested in making a career out of helping families cope with medical illnesses, there are specializations in this area of family therapy. For example, Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences offers a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in Medical Family Therapy.

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

It Takes a Community to Finish a Ph.D.

Recent Blog Posts - 10-08-2014 11:27

Colonel Vince Lindenmeyer (Ph.D., Education / Training & Development Leadership, 2013)

Community is everything in the military.

"A soldier cannot operate, much less survive, alone," notes Colonel Vince Lindenmeyer (Ph.D., 2013), senior Army strategist and joint operational planner at the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in Omaha, Nebraska. "It takes a 'battle buddy,' a squad and leadership for just one soldier to survive in harsh conditions."

With over 23 years of commissioned service in the Infantry, Logistics and Strategist career fields at the platoon leader and combatant command levels, Lindenmeyer is no stranger to harsh conditions. His military training, badges and awards include the Expert Infantryman's Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Bronze Star. He has also been deployed multiple times throughout his military career, including twice while completing his Ph.D. in Education from Northcentral University.

"In hindsight, I am very thankful for the no residency requirement," says Lindenmeyer, who was adamant about finding a regionally accredited university with this unique feature.

"The greatest challenge for me in my doctoral journey was acknowledging that I had to put my doctoral work on the back burner (taking two MLOAs) for my career," he continues. "I couldn't help but think of my late father, Professor Carl R. Lindenmeyer, who was all-but-dissertation in his field because his teaching career took off and he was too busy to reach the finish line."

It was then that Lindenmeyer realized how important community is for doctoral students as well.

“All doctoral candidates need a “battle buddy” or colleague who is also negotiating a program of instruction, a support network similar to a squad, and a mentor to help guide us to the finish line.”

Col. Vincent Lindenmeyer

"Thankfully, I had peers in other doctoral programs for encouragement, including my wife, Reverend (Dr.) Cynthia Lindenmeyer, a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program."

In fact, building a supportive community is Lindenmeyer's first piece of advice to current doctoral students.

“You can't be afraid to build 'community' around you while you are negotiating your doctoral journey," he encourages. "Reach out to subject matter experts and ask questions of others. You will be surprised at how many international scholars answer your emails. Practice your doctoral ‘elevator speech’ on anyone that will listen. It works; I must have practiced my ‘elevator speech’ hundreds of times while refining it along the way," he laughs.

Lindenmeyer's dissertation research examined relationships among organizational commitment, career intent and retention behavior in a closed personnel systems (U.S. Army Captains) using the Theory of Planned Behavior.

"The retention of highly talented initial-entry and mid-career managers has become a focal point for both corporate and government agencies," he explains. "While [completing] my Northcentral course work and serving in the United States Army Human Resources Command from 2007 to 2009, I recognized a lack of understanding regarding the relationships between organizational commitment and retention behavior among U.S. Army Captains. [I] wanted to explore the possibility of extending the Theory of Planned Behavior to closed personnel systems to illuminate further insights on retention incentive offerings."

"Ultimately, I learned that the United States Army must continue to retain junior officers through engaged leadership, meaningful deployments and training opportunities to remain a ready and resilient force for our Nation’s next national security challenges," he adds.

Today, Lindenmeyer is able to combine his educational experiences with his significant government and military experience to build community as a leader in his field. In his current role as a lead operational planner with USSTRATCOM, he leads teams of subject matter experts to frame problems and develop solutions for complex crises and global situations that arise.

"In the military, community means more than just work. It means living, eating and rowing together as a team," he says. "As a leader, I am not afraid to demonstrate a strong personal work ethic in getting the job done while showing respect for others' intellectual contributions towards the final product."

It's like the saying goes, "We're all in this together." Whether in life, work, or even in educational pursuits like a challenging doctoral journey, we are always part of a larger community.

"The community that you build will keep you sane along the journey," adds Lindenmeyer. "Most importantly, community will get you to the finish line."

*/ Blog Categories: ncu-alumniBlog Tags: Higher Degrees; Colonel; Leadership; Community
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Why Communication is Vital to Managing Change

Recent Blog Posts - 10-07-2014 11:07

By: Christia Gibbons

How many times have you heard that communication is key in an ever-changing work environment? How many times have you uttered under your breath: “Not again?

Don’t stop reading this just because “communication is key” has become a tired phrase. Instead, hear what these three experts – one a human resources guru, one a serial entrepreneur and one an academician who helped change an aerospace company – have to say about bringing a cliché to life.

Also consider the words “leadership,” “listening,” and “texting,” and here you’ll have some insight into managing and adapting to change whether you own a company or you work for one.

Communicate Why the Change is Needed

“The most important thing about communication is to be absolutely certain it occurred,” said Jack Milligan, who has spent more than 40 years learning about “human capital” as a human resources expert. He is president of Leathers Milligan Associates, an organization and leadership development firm in Phoenix.

It could be in the form of a sticky note thanking someone for a job well done to a town hall meeting between company owners and staff to texting your Millennial employees to attend that town hall meeting, said Dr. Jennifer Scott, who is part of the core faculty in Northcentral University’s School of Business and Technology Management.

Scott spent 24 years in the aerospace industry during the time that Allied Signal was bought by Honeywell and staff went from 300,000 to 100,000 employees before moving into higher education.

“Employers need to communicate why change is needed and have the data to back it up,” Scott said. And then they need to reach out to staff in meaningful ways be they baby boomers, Gen X or Millennials.

The boss and other company leaders need to actually talk with employees when change is coming and not just send out emails. “Get employees involved. Get them away from their normal task and get face-to-face with them to talk about the change,” she said.

Richard Lippert, chairman and CEO of Leathers Milligan – and as Milligan refers to him “a serial entrepreneur” – said it’s not as hard as some may think to reach out to employees to get the word out about change.

If a company is announcing a change initiative, “out of 100 people there are probably five people you have to get on board,” Lippert said.

Milligan offered another look at overall staffing and who helps the most with change. Beyond the top 10 percent of people in the company who already are on board, and the bottom 10 percent who might as well look for another job, he said the middle 80 percent “is the gold mine for every organization to move themselves up and to the right on a sustainability graph. They do that by educating themselves and you must invest in them.”

“Change is constant, especially today with technology changing seemingly weekly. Employer and employee must be diligent in keeping up and sharpening their state-of-the-art skills and knowledge. Employees must keep their attitudes flexible and their skills honed through professional organizations and certifications, or their skills will start to atrophy.”

Jack Milligan, President of Leathers Milligan Associates

“Whether you are a butcher, a baker, work for Apple, for a foundry or are on the edge of technology, you must be aware of the changes going on in your business.”

Know What Motivates People

Employees’ three priorities are themselves, their families and their professions and employers must find ways to know at any given time what is going with an employee to get maximum return from them.

Employers need to be aware more than ever before of the “human capital” it takes to run a successful business, Milligan said. It is the employer’s responsibility to be responsible, “to keep themselves at a place where human capital constantly keeps them in a competitive situation. Everyone can compete for the latest software, scarce resources, what you have as the one differentiator in a business is the human capital.”

“It is always the employer’s responsibility to dig as deep as they can to find out about the employee.”

Companies minimize problems with implementing change when they hire right, Milligan said. “Once you get that asset on board, communicate with them. You (the business) must care about their top three priorities and realize people can get overwhelmed and sidetracked, then you remind them that you have their best interests at heart.”

“If they don’t see a synergistic relationship with their personal goals then it will be just a temporary situation,” he said.

Leadership Needs to Take Accountability

“Show me a leadership with all their hearts and minds in the right place, I’ll show you a strong company,” Milligan said. These people are sensitive to the human capital. “You need to connect the individual sustainability formula to the corporate sustainability formula and if you do, they won’t just follow you, they’ll catapult you to the right side of the graph.”Lippert put it this way, “Enlightened companies are doing better; these companies are outperforming others dramatically. There is no room for yelling and screaming anymore.”Milligan said a good leader has the ability to listen, merge data and head off in the right direction. “Mediocre and bad leaders aren’t anywhere near as flexible in their ability to communicate, ask the right questions in that environment, and at that time.”

He pointed out that most good leaders don’t have a rigid operating style. They also don’t have to be charismatic or compelling. But they do have that “elusive quality of asking the right questions and being a good listener.” And, they surround themselves with good people who also ask the right questions.

If you want your employees on board, break down the change into workable chunks and give them a timeline, NCU’s Scott said. “Even a sticky note on a computer can help. Just acknowledge them; people like to be acknowledged.”

Manage to Generational Communication Differences

Part of getting employees to embrace and prosper with change is to talk to all levels of employees – “let everyone be involved,” she said. “Push the decision-making to the lowest level, find out from them what needs to be improved, and what needs to be changed. They are the ones that make it happen.”

The world today is more participatory, Scott pointed out. Instead of veterans and Baby Boomers who were told what to do and did it, “this generation is more geared to their feelings and their happiness.The Millennials move on in two or three years to be happier.”

They also can shift gears readily and employers need to use the tools of the time from Skyping to webinars to texting, and any other preferred method to communicate with them.

Lippert said the way to reach Millennials and Gen Xers is to realize they want their work to be meaningful; they want to change the world. They might embrace your change if you know enough to give them paid work time off to work at Habitat for Humanity, or another community cause, for example.

Leaders Need to Walk Around and Connect

Leaders must be more focused on retention through recognition and rewards and know they must constantly “sell the opportunity to stay with me.” “People don’t quit companies, they quit bosses,” Lippert said. Gone are the days when bosses can afford to think their employees should feel lucky just to have a job. “People don’t necessarily have to work for a company today – often it’s more a collaboration on projects in this new economy.”

Sometimes staying connected is as easy as leaders simply walking the hallways.

“Communication is about maintaining a dialogue and leadership – leaders have to do the right thing every day. employers should use the tools that determine how an organization is working and then take the steps to change. Employers should use the tools that determine how an organization is working and then take the steps to change.”

Richard Lippert, Chairman and CEO of Leathers Milligan

The most significant aspect about companies adapting to change and helping their staff navigate it, is to be aware that “your people are an asset, not a labor expense,” Lippert said. “Investing in people, getting them engaged … that will improve return.”

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Making a case for tuition reimbursement

Recent Blog Posts - 10-02-2014 11:21


Perri needed help financing her senior year in college. Abbie and Mike dreamed of getting master’s degrees. Savannah wanted to be able to complete her education – all four were working full-time.


And, all four had employers with open ears and wallets.

In Mike’s case, his employer, Harrah’s Ak-Chin, which is about 35 miles south of Phoenix and a subsidiary of Caesar’s Entertainment, already had tuition-reimbursement program, but for the other three, it took their efforts to pave the way for others.

Tips For Building a Case

The key said Abbie Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations in Phoenix, "is to build the case for why the employer will benefit from helping finance someone’s education.

"Whether it’s a leadership program, Spanish class, or underwriting an academic degree, it has to make sense for both sides," Abbie said.

“Line up your arguments to have your employer cover the cost by building your case – show that by investing in me here’s how I’ll be better.”

Abbie Fink, HMA Public Relations in Phoenix


Abbie negotiated her employer tuition-reimbursement as part of her contract based on a sliding scale of 100 percent for an A and 90 percent for a B. Those grades were the only options in getting the reimbursement. She was already halfway through her master’s degree in communications when she joined HMA. She went on to help develop benefits packages that included tuition reimbursement, as well as financial support to belong to professional organizations and take pertinent classes or seminars to help employees develop.

“I’ve always been a big proponent of continuing education,” Abbie said. “It’s good for the person and it’s good for business. (Now) as an employer who believes in continuing education, I see it as an obligation to offer tuition reimbursement or professional growth opportunities. Don’t let (an employee’s) finances be the obstacle.”

Whether thousands of dollars or a few hundred, an employer’s investment in staff builds loyalty and more knowledgeable workers.

Set a Minimum GPA

Perri Collins was a young student who had run out of financial aid. She got a job as communications manager at the Arizona Newspaper Association as she was about to start her senior year at Arizona State University.

“I petitioned the board of directors (of ANA),” she said, adding she put together the program requirements herself. “I had originally asked for $1,000 per semester, but the board only approved $500 due to the nonprofit’s small budget. As long as I passed all my classes that semester and maintained a GPA of at least 3.0, they approved the reimbursement.”

Perri said the tuition assistance showed her she was a valued employee and she figures the board thought it was “a small cost to invest in having a better-trained employee.”

She advised that those seeking tuition reimbursement do their research and have the plan fleshed out before going to the powers that be. “It’s much easier for them to say yes if they don’t have to do any of the legwork or think too hard about it,” she said.

In the end, she pointed out, “It’s a great way to build loyalty with employees, encouraging them to stay longer with the company. Plus, they get a better-educated workforce, which benefits the company in the long run.”

Point Out The Tax Benefits

Savannah Ohl, who works for a business-to-business marketing agency in Mesa, Ariz., said when she came on board at Elevation Marketing, no reimbursement program existed. A year into her new job, she started talking to her boss about such a program and “its benefits for a company from a tax write off stand point. We had our HR manager look into all the details and set up a proposal that was presented to the owner.”

“This benefit is extremely beneficial to me and a handful of others at our company,” Savannah said. “We have a total of 25 employees and about five are taking advantage of the program… I’m able to apply what I’m learning in school to my career in real time.”

For Mike Kintner, Harrah’s Ak-Chin director of marketing and operations, having educational benefits helped him feel like a valued employee, and now he helps his staff and other Harrah's employees understand the value such a benefit can offer. Harrah’s helped finance his executive MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Caesars Entertainment has tuition discount partnerships with several other schools, including Northcentral University.

“The company felt it was important to invest in my education and it was part of my development plan; something I was asking for… and [in return] they got a more well-rounded employee”

Mike Kintner, Director of Marketing and Operations for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

“Now I have something no one can take away from me, my education,” Mike said.

Studies Show Tuition Reimbursement is Key For Retaining Employees

A Wall Street Journal article pointed out in 2007 that while some corporations feared tuition-assistance programs as just a way to make their employees more marketable and apt to leave, research concluded that paying for education made employees stick around.

A study by a Stanford graduate student cited in the WSJ article revealed “dramatically lower attrition among participants in a tuition-reimbursement program at an unnamed nonprofit institution.”

The WSJ story went on to point out that a 2004 study Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, found “tuition-assistance appears to select better quality employees who stay on the job longer,” perhaps to use the benefit.

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

NCU Alumnus Dr. Michael Salvatore Making Headlines

Recent Blog Posts - 09-30-2014 10:45
Long Branch School District Superintendent and NCU Alumnus, Dr. Michael Salvatore, Recognized for Contributions to the Education Community by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

NCU Alumnus Dr. Michael Salvatore, PhD in Education – Instructional and Curriculum Leadership, received accolades last week from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other local and state officials for his outstanding leadership abilities and for being an asset to New Jersey’s education community during a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new school that opened in the Long Branch School District.

Salvatore, who is Superintendent of the Long Branch Public School District, was among the governor and other state and local officials as well as students and staff for the opening ceremony of the George L. Catrambone School. The new 109,000 square-foot school was designed for grades K-5 and includes 41 classrooms, four special education classrooms, computer rooms, a gymnasium, media center, library, and more.

“The design of this school is futuristic with capabilities which will be relevant for decades,”

NCU Alumnus Dr. Michael Salvatore, PhD in Education

On behalf of the NCU community, we congratulate Dr. Salvatore and his colleagues on this remarkable achievement. To read more, check out the news article here.

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Is Tuition Reimbursement A Benefit All Companies Should Consider?

Recent Blog Posts - 09-22-2014 16:36
Not every company offers tuition reimbursement, but every eligible employee should take advantage of it.

From Starbucks with its thousands of workers to Phoenix-based HMA Public Relations with its seven employees, the value of an education is honored – and better yet – paid for. Thousands of businesses offer some kind of college-tuition assistance, and apparently, others can be talked into it. By offering a tuition reimbursement program companies are showing employees and applicants that you value them.

A tuition reimbursement program truly invests in each employee by providing them with advanced skills which will have a positive effect on their future whether that future is with your company or not.

  Employees are Demanding Tuition Reimbursement

Since talented job applicants will be fielding multiple job offers companies need to beef up their offerings beyond a high salary. Many employees and potential employees recognize the value in higher education and are motivated to continue their education throughout their career.

Abbie Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations, said she made the reimbursement for helping her get a master’s degree at Arizona State University part of her hiring contract more than 20 years ago. At the time there wasn’t a formal tuition-reimbursement policy, but now HMA employees get help with college classes, as well as with other professional-development training opportunities.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be about public relations or leadership, but something that makes sense for us, the employee and the client,” Fink said, pointing out HMA paid for her to learn Spanish.

  Employees Want To Be More Marketable

For Gen X and Millennial employees (generations of workers more likely to have multiple jobs and careers throughout their lifetime) having more education and professional training can make them more marketable. These generations also are keen on making a difference, and a college education and professional training can help do that.

Savannah Ohl, the project and traffic coordinator at Elevation Marketing in Mesa, Ariz., said she sold her company on the idea of reimbursement, and now “I'm able to apply what I’m learning in school to my career in real time.”

And, Perri Collins, then-communications manager at the Arizona Newspaper Association, said she knew she needed help paying for school as she was about to start her senior year at Arizona State University. “I was trying to brainstorm alternative ways to pay for school, she said.”

A continuing advocate for employer-tuition assistance, Collins said, “I think it's a great way to build loyalty with employees, encouraging them to stay longer with the company. Plus, they get a better-educated workforce, which benefits the company in the long run.”

Mike Kintner, director of marketing and operations for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino near Phoenix, said not only did the parent company Caesar’s Entertainment help pay for his MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, he encourages his own staff to take advantage of the tuition-reimbursement benefits and take courses that relate to Caesars Entertainment business.

“You see them really grow and blossom, they go from just doing stuff to really understanding what’s going on to having a say and adding more value.”

Mike Kintner, Director of Marketing and Operations for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

Caesars Entertainment offers 90 percent up to $3,000 for undergraduate studies in a 12-month period, and up to $4,000 for graduate studies. The company also partners with Northcentral University in offering tuition discounts to its employees.

Economic Downfalls Caused Companies to Cut Tuition Reimbursement, But They Appear to Be Bouncing Back

However, and perhaps as a reflection of the economy or trends in changing benefits, tuition-reimbursement programs have taken somewhat of a hit in recent years. This during a time when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the cost of tuition consistently has increased faster than the overall inflation rate since 1981.

Although fewer organizations are offering undergraduate tuition assistance in favor of additional health-care benefits today compared to 2010 – 54 percent versus 62 percent – according to a 2014 report by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), such a benefit is highly regarded.

This year’s top 10 employers -- picked by the Families and Work Institute and the SHRM for the 2014 When Work Works Awards – offered employees tuition and training support as a benefit. 

Well-known companies offering tuition assistance include: Apple; Chevron; Dell; FedEx; Google; Gap, Inc.; General Mills; Hilton Worldwide; Oregon State University; Monsanto; J.M. Smucker; Raytheon; UPS; Verizon; and U.S. Airways, according to College.lovetoknow.com

Northcentral University partners with many large companies in the U.S., including Caesars Entertainment, in offering tuition assistance

As Abbie Fink of HMA PR said of being an employee, “It’s nice to have employers value your education and see what it does for you.”


Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

10 Ways Technology is Impacting Learning in Higher Education

Recent Blog Posts - 09-18-2014 15:32

Higher education in the United States dates back almost 400 years to Harvard University, the well-known model of the traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. In the four centuries since, technological advances have changed the way education is delivered and received.

Alex Solis, an English instructor at East Los Angeles, has been teaching at the community college level for the past seven years. She shared the level of changes in teaching strategies she has experienced due to technology have been “massive.”

Here are a few ways technology is impacting learning in higher education, in both traditional and online settings. 1. Interaction with Instructors

The movie Raiders of the Lost Ark has a scene where the protagonist, an archeology professor, tells his students that he is available for office hours on certain days and at certain times. Another scene has him leaving his office via the window to escape the throng of students. According to Solis, technology has opened different avenues with students.

“Video chat and instant messaging are now being used for online office hours as well as online tutoring at some colleges,” she said. “This allows students to supplement the one-on-one instruction they get in office hours with ease.”

2. Companion pieces

Whether through a traditional or online setting, Solis said a trend of using technology to supplement courses is developing.

“Online sites like Moodle, eTudes, and Blackboard have opened up huge changes in education. Students can see pictures and videos uploaded by instructors, and upload their own when they think they have something that contributes to the academic discourse,” Solis said.

3. Extended classrooms

Solis said technology has aided instructors by using web-based platforms to interact with students and help students interact with each other outside of the classroom.

“Students can give each others' papers online peer reviews, saving on classroom time and eliminating the tentativeness that comes with the fear of hurting someone's feelings by giving suggestions,” she said. “Teachers upload lectures after they've been given for review, and they often ask for student reflections online as a way to allow students more time to digest material before they respond to it.”

4. Changing the format

While online learners are used to not sitting in a classroom or auditorium, Solis said online platforms allow students to attend class – and learn – remotely.

“Because the lectures are uploaded and available at any time, teachers can spend more time in the class adding to what was covered in the lectures,” she said. “Many of my students are more engaged and it is easier to start a discussion. And it lets me know who has done the work one their own and who hasn’t.”

5. Disappearing textbooks and easier organization

According to the latest annual survey conducted by CourseSmart and Wakefield Research (1), of the students surveyed at 500 enrolled college students across the country, the most useful technological tool was the interactive textbook. Nearly 30% of the students surveyed listed their laptop as the most important item in their bag, as opposed to just 10% who listed their physical textbook.

According to the survey, 31% of the students felt e-texts made lessons easier to understand; 23% reported e-texts helping complete assignments quicker and 21% felt digital textbooks helped them stay more organized.
In addition to disappearing textbooks, Solis said she has noticed that students aren’t carrying around large binders or taking hand-written notes in class as much.

“More and more students are taking notes with their laptops and tablets,” she said. “There are lots of apps that make it easier for students to stay organized, like Evernote or LiveBinders.”

Alex Solis, English instructor at East Los Angeles

6. Better ratios

Attending a brick-and-mortar institution can offer students an opportunity to physically interact with other students and instructors. However, the instructor-to-student ratios can be extremely high, excluding instances when a course is taught by a teaching assistant.

At many online universities like Northcentral University, the ratio is lower. For example, in every course at Northcentral, the class size is one. Northcentral offers a one-to-one teaching model based on the Oxford Learning Model.

7. Wider audience

Online classrooms have expanded the walls of the institutions of learning. Through the Internet and social media, students can take part in the same class from around the globe.

“Classes that are held completely online are still a little contentious among some brick-and-mortar educators in terms of effectiveness,” Solis said. “But the audience has greatly expanded.

8. Research

Instead of going to the campus library to do research, students are utilizing online libraries more today for research.
“Nearly everything is available online, provided students have access to the right database. No one goes through the archives, looks at microfiche, or checks out a book anymore,” Solis said. “Unfortunately, this also means students often come to college without strong reading backgrounds.”

9. Plagiarism

Solis shared that because so much information is readily available via the Internet, she has seen more plagiarism over the years.

“Plagiarism is a huge problem in education because of the tremendous number of cheating sites,” she said. “Plagiarism check sites like TurnItIn.com are becoming essential for instructors because students have easy access to papers online.”

10. Time saver

The latest annual survey conducted by CourseSmart and Wakefield Research , reported that nearly 70% of the students surveyed reported technology in and out of the classroom helped them save at least two hours a day when working in class, doing homework or studying.

“There have been so many adjustments teachers and students have had to make with the changes in technology,” Solis said. “Some of it is amazing because it has changed the way teachers teach and students learn in such a short amount of time.”

Alex Solis, English instructor at East Los Angeles

Has technology had a positive impact on your education?


Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

How Therapists Use Social Media

Recent Blog Posts - 09-09-2014 16:12

Social media has become an outlet for people to post, like, share, and comment about anything from what they had for breakfast to the most revealing personal and intimate parts of their lives. Every second, individuals express their sentiments and viewpoints on political, cultural, socioeconomic and other topics across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Yelp and more.

“The use of social media is certainly rising in all areas of life, and it can be a great tool. It can also be a great danger,” explains Wayne Perry, Ph.D., LMFT, core faculty and Director of Clinical Training at Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences.

If you're a therapist looking for social media platforms to benefit your practice, you've got options. It can be used as a marketing tool for your practice, a way to connect with patients, an opportunity for networking with peers, and can help you find new resources for educational content on the behavioral sciences discipline.

Personal vs. Professional

It is important to establish a difference in your personal and your professional social media presence. Therapists should be able to connect with friends and family, but be cautious reaching out to clients through social media. In fact, principle 1.3 of the AAMFT Code of Ethics prohibits therapists from engaging in relationships that could potentially become exploitative of the client or that could impair the therapist's professional judgment.

“Being too self-revealing in the social media outlet or forming a friendlier relationship via social media certainly runs the risk of violating this key principle of the Code of Ethics,” expresses Perry.

“Being too self-revealing in the social media outlet or forming a friendlier relationship via social media certainly runs the risk of violating this key principle of the Code of Ethics

Wayne Perry, Ph.D., LMFT

Restrictions aside, you can have a professional social media presence while obeying the restrictions of the Code of Ethics. Many professionals disclose their following and/or posting policy within their social media bios, so their followers and fans are aware they are under Hippocratic Oath."

Ultimately, social media can be utilized appropriately by therapists, and can also be a great resource for prospective patients who may be seeking help. Perry advises, “If clients see the therapist as one who is hopeful and helpful in a social media environment, they are more likely to seek that therapist out when life gives them hurts that they are not able to deal with on their own.”

Educate Yourself & Others

The amount of information that is available to us throughout the Internet is never-ending. As a therapist, sharing content with your fans or followers can help educate them on types of therapies and methods for managing a healthy well-being. If you decide to have a Facebook page for your practice, a blog where you share advice or a Twitter account where you connect with other like-minded therapists, it is important to carefully consider what type of information you are sharing. “Consistent, relevant and enjoyable information is the key in any of these areas,” explains Jared DuPree, Ph.D., LMFT and Director of Assessment at NCU’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences.

Psychology Today has a great index of articles written by experts in marriage and family therapy and psychology. This information is promoted on their social media sites, and MFTs can subscribe to the content via RSS feeds. It is through resources such as these that many therapists use social media for content curation and as an educational tool to keep up new developments in the field.

Promote Your Practice

Social media is an effective way to brand yourself and your practice, and , some therapists choose to market their practice via these means.

“I would recommend that therapists and businesses have a Facebook page and a Google+ page. Both help with search engine optimization (SEO) and tend to reach the demographic most professionals are trying to reach.”

Jared DuPree, Ph.D., LMFT

You may also use social media to support your philosophies or way of life. Annabelle Goodwin, Ph.D. and Foundation Faculty at NCU’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences notes, “I recently saw a therapist link to a Pinterest page. She used this to ‘pin’ inspirational quotes and images she found to be meaningful. I [think] it is a nice way to offer a piece of herself [to her patients] while still maintaining clear boundaries.”

Networking as a Professional

Social media has made staying connected and meeting new people faster and easier than ever before. In the field of therapy it is not only an educational and marketing tool, it can also be used for networking and communication to help therapists connect to a global community of patients, colleagues, and scholars.

Keely Kolmes, PsyD., a clinical psychologist at a private practice in San Francisco and writer of A Psychotherapist’s Guide to Facebook and Twitter: Why Clinicians Should Give a Tweet! explains, “I’ve been able to connect with other providers who also use social media through Twitter, draw them to my blog and writing, and find others whose writing and perspectives are meaningful to me. With several of these people, without ever having met face to face, we have shared joint projects. I’ve found myself being interviewed, co-authoring pieces, and speaking at professional trainings, all via Twitter.”

Social media has made staying connected and meeting new people faster and easier than ever before. Social media is an educational, marketing, networking, and communication tool that helps therapists connect to a global community of patients, colleagues and scholars.

As a marriage and family therapist, how are you using social media?


Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life

Recent Blog Posts - 09-05-2014 10:37

Servicemembers hear it all the time: prepare, prepare, prepare. For most though, planning their transition from military to civilian life, is easier said than done.

Whether it’s readjusting to family life or translating military service into civilian careers, reintegrating into the real world comes with its own set of challenges for servicemembers and spouses alike.

There are many different unique concerns when transitioning into civilian life

Dr. Thomas F. Matta, PhD and Core Faculty Member at NCU’s School of Marriage & Family Sciences, has been working with active duty and retired military servicemembers for almost fours years now. He hears first-hand the concerns servicemembers and their spouses have when it comes to translating their military careers into civilian ones.

“Enlisted men who do not have college training speak of going into careers in security or law enforcement,” he explains. “Some speak of going on to school to get a bachelor’s degree in ‘vocational viability.’”

With a focus on topics related to the changing landscape of higher education, Dr. Matta counsels these servicemembers and their spouses on retraining and finding stable opportunities in a declining job market.

“I’ve advised them to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers as it will provide a livable wage and be less affected by volatility in global markets that result in employment disruptions,” he says.

Dr. Kristi Harrison, PhD, LMFT, a Foundations Faculty Member at NCU’s School of Marriage & Family Sciences and a colleague of Dr. Matta, is a military spouse herself. With a husband 12 years in the military already, she sees many families struggle with the process of transitioning out of active duty military everyday. She understands their anxiety, despite some of them already having earned their undergraduate or graduate degrees.

“The military lifestyle is unique and provides a lot of structure that cultivates a specific set of skills,” says Dr. Harrison. “These skills do translate well into the civilian work sector. However many military folks don’t have experience with translating their skills into a civilian culture.”

Dr. Kristi Harrison, PhD, LMFT

Another colleague, Dr. Elaine Willerton, PhD, LMFT, is a Core Faculty Member at NCU’s School of Marriage & Family Sciences who’s had the benefit of teaching many servicemembers and their spouses in her courses.

“Honestly, they are some of the most hardworking students I have,” she says, explaining how servicemembers just know how to get things done despite their work and/or family commitments.

“I had one student who submitted her assignments from a ship on the other side of the world,” she says, illustrating how NCU removes constraints many brick-and-mortar institutions would be hard-pressed to eliminate.

Dr. Willerton too notices the common thread among servicemembers and veterans: the belief that military “transcripts” do not translate well into civilian resumés. That’s why she recommends veterans and servicemembers in the process of transitioning out of the military, seek out professional help with their resumés.

“Servicemembers can benefit from working with career coaches who can help them “translate” their military experience into civilian terms,”

Dr. Elaine Willerton, PhD, LMFT

Online Education provides the flexibility and convenience for servicemembers

As Dr. Matta continues to work with active duty servicemembers from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he believes NCU is uniquely positioned to assist them as they separate from their military careers, for a number of reasons.

No Relocation is necessary

First, he believes servicemembers have lived in many different locations throughout their military career and most report being “tired” of the frequent moves required for each mission.

“By attending NCU, the servicemember can choose to live in an area that best suits the family’s preferences rather than requiring the family to move yet again while they pursue their degree where the school is located, with no guarantee that this is where the family will eventually settle,” Dr. Matta explains.

His colleague, Dr. Harrison also believes for some families this is the first time a spouse’s career can be a driving force in relocating. In fact, the flexibility of pursuing a degree online could provide newly civilian military families the best of both worlds.

“Spouses can be advancing their careers, while the former servicemember is working on the transition to the civilian work sector,” she says.

Allows more family time since they can complete degrees while at home.

Second, Dr. Matta’s findings reveal servicemembers leaving the military are interested in being with their families more, in hopes of “redeeming the time” lost due to multiple deployments.

“NCU is a great choice as the medium permits the servicemember to be more in tune with the multi-faceted familial and personal obligations he/she has as an adult,” he says.

Shorter timespan to degree completion

Third, Dr. Matta believes servicemembers are eager to complete their degrees in the shortest time frame possible so they can begin their civilian careers. With NCU, he feels students don’t have to wait the typical time it takes for a course to begin or be offered next.

“As a result, the servicemember stays on task for degree completion more readily than if they attended a ‘brick-and-mortar’ university,” he says.

Cost effective in conjunction with GI Bill

Fourth, Dr. Matta sees cost as being an additional concern for servicemembers transitioning from the military, especially for those where health care, saving for a child’s college education, and caring for aging parents require additional resources and expenses.

“The new GI Bill may pay for some of those expenses, but at a traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ university, those dollars may not go as far,” he says. “Most studies show a considerable savings to students who pursue their degrees online.”

Finally, Dr. Matta strongly recommends consulting with academic advisors beforehand to see if an online education will suit the personal, familial and financial needs of a transitioning servicemember and his family members.



Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Why Healthcare Administration Degrees Are in High Pursuit

Recent Blog Posts - 08-29-2014 09:41

According to Nicole Williams and Marie Zimenoff, who wrote “Hot Degrees to Pursue in 2014 and Beyond,” a degree in healthcare administration is on the short list of the hottest degrees to earn for some of the fastest-growing careers, which include finance, computer science, marketing, and accounting.


There’s validity of why healthcare administration is in the top five careers listed. Williams says that healthcare administration degrees will likely offer opportunities in many different jobs and clear roads to advancement. Zimenoff agrees, adding that students who already have some work experience combined with this specialization will be the most competitive.

Williams goes on to say that these [management, administrative, and even political] careers will be in demand because of the U.S.’s increasing, aging population (baby boomers) that will increase the demand for healthcare services. Besides an aging population, there are other special interest groups and their concerns on the forefront, such as individuals with special healthcare needs, returning veterans, and our health-conscious population staying active longer and later in life.

Earning a graduate degree in business administration with a specialization in healthcare administration puts you on the pathway of one of the fastest-growing careers of this decade.

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that employment of medical and health services managers and administrators is expected to grow 23% between 2012 and 2022, which is significantly faster than the 11% average growth rate of most occupations. And, according to BLS, in 2012 there were 315,500 medical and health services jobs with the annual median salary earned at $88,580. 

Also, according to the BLS Occupational Handbook, Top executives in all occupations held 2,303,200 jobs in that same year, which included healthcare administrators. The median salary was $101,650.  Since the competition for top executives in any field is very strong, and the growth rate is projected at the national average growth rate of 11%, choosing a specialization in healthcare administration puts you in the “hot zone.”

Healthcare administrators have wide-range influences within the medical profession. The leadership they provide as administrators, generalists, or specialists of a specific clinical area in a hospital or private practice closely equals managing a city. They work in dynamic environments filled with diverse relationships—coworkers, patients, and other professionals within the community—all of which could have distinct yet separate agendas. Strategizing, standardizing, and implementing effective policies and procedures that equally serve the whole group are essential. Overseeing a facility by ensuring that all departments are running smoothly, the right people are doing the right jobs, everyone knows what’s expected of them, all available resources are being accessed and used, fiscal responsibility is top-of-mind, and all are working toward a common goal—a high-quality healthcare experience—is of paramount importance.

Healthcare administrators have the opportunity to deliver this high-quality healthcare experience within their own work environment, as well as the greater community, through building strong relationships with other healthcare organizations and certain government groups that support the future of the healthcare system. And while healthcare administrators must impact their facility and community at large, sometimes the job will take on a personal touch—sitting down with a patient and assuring him that he’s in the right place and on the right path to better health.

A specialization in healthcare administration can augment your business training by developing essential perspectives and skills for applying theoretical and research-based healthcare to management issues. The specialization prepares students for administrative challenges, such as identifying, analyzing, and resolving problems; recognizing the restraints for and limitations to intervention; and changing delivery systems, while learning to strategically plan for total quality management of a healthcare facility and its members.

Some of the core values offered by this specialization are learning about business research methodology, interpreting and applying mixed-methods research, applying practical skills, studying human behavior, analyzing statistics commonly used for business, leading healthcare facilities through tough financial times, and enhancing your researching and writing skills.

Healthcare administration is without a doubt one of the hottest careers right now. Considering the varied management skill set needed not only to run a healthcare facility but also build strong community and business relationships, you can use your degree in liberal arts, public administration, law, or business administration with a specialization in healthcare administration as essential building blocks necessary to become a top executive in healthcare.

Place a highly rewarding career path within reach by choosing to be a healthcare administrator--one of the hottest, fastest-growing careers of this decade.

Additional Sources of information:





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Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Why the first day of school is critical to the rest of the year

Recent Blog Posts - 08-27-2014 09:40

Whether kindergarten, high school, college or graduate school, feelings of angst always arise when it comes to the topic of the first day of school. There are many questions that arise in the minds of student and instructors alike: What will my teachers/students be like? Will I learn? Will I be able to teach this new group of students? Do I belong here?

No matter the level, it is important not only to survive, but to conquer the first day of school.

Pamelia Trimble, an Earth Science and Oceanography instructor at John Glenn High School in Norwalk, California, is preparing for her 30th first day of school. She says the first day sets the tone for the entire school year.

“The first day of school is critical because first impressions are made,” Trimble says. “As a teacher, I let the students know what to expect, some rules that are critical, and how to be successful in my classroom.”

First Day Sets the Tone For the Rest of the Year

“I don't go over everything, just a few highlights. I have to establish that I am in control, not them! The first day basically sets the tone for the rest of the year.”

Pamelia Trimble

The pressure of making the most of that first day is especially burdensome for Trimble, because like most school districts, the first day is a modified shortened day in the Norwalk/La Mirada Unified School District, where Glenn High School is located.
“Our time together on that first day is only about 30 minutes. I take roll and make sure that I pronounce each student’s name correctly,” says Trimble.

Students have to get used to their new surroundings as well, Trimble adds.

“I believe they make first impressions as well. Some come prepared some don't,” she notes. “At the high school level, students are still finding themselves and seeing all the different types of ‘personalities’ that exist at the facility. Some feel they have to come off tough, others are shy.”

In order to set the tone for the rest of the year, Trimble shares that she attempts to strike a balance between asserting authority and being approachable.

“Control must be established immediately and continually. Let students know that you're in charge, but not unapproachable,” she explains. “I also make myself available to help them find their classes so they don't get lost. I try to make them feel welcome, not petrified!”

“Control must be established immediately and continually. Let students know that you're in charge, but not unapproachable,” she explains. “I also make myself available to help them find their classes so they don't get lost. I try to make them feel welcome, not petrified!”

Pamelia Trimble

In addition to establishing control on the first day of school, Trimble suggests instructors must also:
  • Be Organized – “The more organized you are, the less likely mistakes are to happen. Start putting together a seating chart in alphabetical order so you can learn their names, on the second day.”
  • Be Flexible – “Everything doesn't always go as planned. Be ready to move students if there are problems with whomever they are sitting next to.”
  • Be Honest – “If you make a mistake, admit it and correct it as soon as possible. If you want respect, you have to give respect!”
  • Wear Different Hats – “Be ready to teach, but remember you're more than their teacher. Sometimes you're also their parent and counselor.”

While the first day is very important in terms of setting the tone, Trimble notes it is important for both students and instructors to remember that the entire school year does not hinge on that one day.

“If the first day goes bad for the instructor, they had better correct it the next day or they'll be in for a long year!” she laughs. “If a mistake is made, correct it and be honest! Remind students that teachers are human too. And if a student has a bad first day, encourage them to try again the next day.”

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

How Does Self-Image Impact Employee Performance?

Recent Blog Posts - 08-21-2014 16:19

For many professionals, achievement in the workplace serves as the ultimate self-esteem booster. Called out for a job well-done by your leader? Big boost. Got a promotion? Even bigger boost. And with each small accomplishment comes a small amount of satisfaction in knowing that we're making progress toward the pinnacle of our professional lives. After all, history tells us – our positive, healthy self-image coupled with a hard work ethic can lead to more job satisfaction, which in turn leads to success both inside and outside of the office.

It's an easy connection to make – the better your performance at work, the higher your level of self-esteem may rise. In fact, according to Ellen McGrath of Psychology Today, "Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work has long been one of the important ways to feel good about oneself." But what if your working environment doesn't provide the boost you need to succeed?

Unfortunately, in a shaky economic climate the workplace has become less reliable for the self-image boost we're all seeking. "Where work has traditionally been a source of self-esteem, that link is now endangered," McGrath explains. "The one thing that is most likely to suffer damage in today's workplace is precisely what most of us hope to get there – self-esteem."

The Impact on Employee Performance

Anne Ward, a doctoral candidate in NCU's PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, asserts that the ties between self-image and performance are more important to your organization than you might think. "Employee performance is important to improving bottom line revenue," she explains. "Someone with high self-esteem will be satisfied with work performance and be more productive."

Leaders within your organization may understand the importance behind this link, but in an environment that proves difficult to manage your own self-esteem on a daily basis, how can leaders help their team members struggling to overcome hurdles?

Ward emphasizes that leaders should remember to be sensitive to the fact that there are a variety of factors both inside and outside of work that may be affecting self-image in the workplace. "[Remember], low self-esteem can harm the unit or organization, as these team members do not respond well to stressors, which makes them feel even worse," she explains.

"When you have a team member that has low self-esteem, find an area where they have high self-esteem and try to emphasize that area to help them be successful at work," suggests Ward. "Increase their self-esteem through [providing opportunity for] real accomplishments and positive feedback." This exercise may include opportunities both inside and outside of work.

Tips on Improving Self-Image

Looking for ways to improve your own self-image or ideas on how to help impact employee performance? Henrik Edberg provides these tips (and more) in his blog, How to Improve Your Self-Esteem: 12 Powerful Tips:

  • Say stop to your inner critic.
  • Use healthier motivation habits.
  • Write down three things that you can appreciate about yourself.
  • Stop falling into the comparison trap.
  • Spend more time with supportive people (and less time with destructive people).

Visit the Positivity Blog for more tips and details on how each of these can help you and your team members make positive change in your personal and professional life.

Ultimately, a positive self-image contributes to your level of contentment both inside and outside the workplace. Remembering to take each workplace or life challenge in stride can help you achieve a work-life balance that promotes happiness as well as productivity.

Blog Categories: career-advicelifestylepsychologytips-to-improve-your-lifeBlog Tags: Employee PerformanceSelf-ImageSelf-EsteemWorkplace PerformanceWorkplace Achievement
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts