BY ERIN WALSH
Recite the states in the United States alphabetically, list all the presidents of the U.S.
from George Washington to the occupant of the White House (when you were in grade school), and share the date of the battles of Lexington and Concord.
For most of us, of our early education consisted of memory assignments. Personally, I never forgot the mnemonic
“my very educated mother just served us nine pickles” (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto – alas poor Pluto has since been demoted from planet status).
Why? Because according to common belief, memorizing and repeating information, leads to greater learning outcomes. But, it turns out that many studies, dating as far back as 1890 (that would be President Benjamin Harrison), refute this. What else has been proven not to work? Re-reading, highlighting, and our favorite, funny
Henry L. Roediger published an article in the Association for Psychological Science in the Public Interest entitled “Applying Cognitive Psychology to Education: Translational Educational Science,” which points out that, contrary to these studies, the practices listed above continue to be quite common.
So what has science proven really works? According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and Dr. Rebecca Adams, associate director of faculty training at NCU, there are five proven study techniques:
1. Distributed Practice is the opposite of cramming for a test. Shorter and diverse study
sessions – covering several topics that are distributed over a period of time, are more
2. Retrieval Practice or Testing focuses on taking practice tests. By testing yourself, you
practice retrieving information that is kept in an accessible state in your brain.
3. Interleaved Practice is a form of studying that mixes up different kinds of problems or
materials in one study session. Multiple associations may be formed within a single
study session that can then be recalled by a variety of cues. And, because the study tasks
change frequently, studying this way is more engaging and less boring.
4. Elaborative Interrogation isn’t a technique from a Law & Order episode. The technique
works by explaining why a fact or concept is true. This helps students make a connection
between the new information they are learning and information they have previously
learned. It is a strategy that works particularly well when comprehension is the focus, and
students have pre-existing knowledge of the topic.
encourages students to explain how new information is related to known
information, or to verbally explain the steps followed when solving a problem.
Picking a dissertation topic is a BIG Decision. “You will spend a great deal of time reading, researching, thinking, writing and talking about your dissertation topic,” says Dr. Heather Frederick.
“To pick a topic that you are only vaguely interested in is like marrying someone you only kind of like.” Additionally, picking a topic that is too close to home (for example, the impact of divorce while going through a divorce) can make it very difficult for you to maintain a scholarly voice. Dr. Frederick’s advice – “Just don’t do it!”
Your initial dissertation idea(s) may change as you begin conducting your literature review and writing your concept paper. However, you should be able to answer yes to these six questions:
1. Am I passionate about this topic?
2. Do I enjoy talking about this topic with others?
3. Do I really want to become an expert in this area?
4. Can I study this and still be interested in it a year from now?
5. Can I study this area from an objective standpoint?
6. Am I objective about this topic in general?
If you have answered yes to all six questions, then you may have a winner!
What’s next? Read as much as you can about your general research area. Ideas for dissertation research do not materialize out of thin air. Rather, a good idea will come after you have conducted a fair amount of reading in an area and then thought about the next logical step in a sequence of research.
Originally published in the Summer 2013 issue of Higher Degrees.
While many of us use academic journals as resources for information, for an elite group of scholars, they serve as a platform for showcasing research and discovery. Planning to pursue a career in academia or climb the ranks of the professional world? Getting published in an academic journal could be a catalyst for growth in whatever career you choose.
If you’re tossing around the idea of submitting an article for the first time, take a few minutes to browse the suggestions below before you hit send.
Do the Research
The ultimate goal is to make a significant contribution to your academic arena, so find the academic journal that will best play host to your ideas. If you completed research on space travel, you wouldn’t submit your article to a journal about prehistoric animals, would you? Try browsing the databases you have become so familiar with throughout your academic career to find the best fit for your work.
Be Conscious of the Requirements
Like any publication, academic journals have an expected standard for submission. Becoming well-versed on the requirements before submitting your work gives you a better chance of getting published. Many journals, such as the American Educational Research Journal – a publication available through NCU’s library – even provide a Submission Preparation Checklist to follow.
Get Feedback Before You Submit
Have someone you trust proofread and suggest changes before you submit your final work. A fresh set of eyes can provide a new perspective and suggestions for positive change. Whether it’s the spelling error you missed after staring at your computer screen for fifteen hours, or a complete overhaul of the first paragraph, change can be good!
Don’t Get Frustrated With Rejection
For every article you see in an academic journal, there were probably thousands that were submitted for review. Don’t take it personally if you’re rejected a few times. Use the opportunity to refine your work or do a little more research to find a more appropriate platform for your ideas.
Human beings are relational creatures. We tend to thrive on personal relationships, but more often than not, these relationships can become the source of our happiness when things are peachy keen and our source of angst when problems arise. Sometimes, this angst may lead you to consider talking with a professional who can help, but how do you know when it’s time?
When You…Need Extra Support
“Family therapy makes sense when a person or group of people find themselves in need of extra support,” explains Dr. Annabelle Goodwin, foundations faculty for Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences. “We are systems thinkers, which means we tend to do a good job of considering a person within the various systems that they are connected with (including familial systems, social systems, work systems, etc.).” This unique perspective of viewing issues in the context of a person’s relationships is what sets marriage and family therapists (MFTs) apart from other trained mental health professionals. “As an MFT, we are prepared to walk with our clients on a journey toward improved health,” adds Goodwin.
When You….Have a Problem That Needs Solving
While an MFT is certainly concerned with the your overall, long-term well-being, they are problem solvers by nature. Their objective is to diagnose and help treat your issue. In fact, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, MFTs tend to practice “short-term therapy,” with “nearly 65.6% of the cases completed within 20 sessions (12 is the average).” So if you’re looking for someone who will let you lay on their couch and pour your heart out for an hour a day, week after week, year after year, an MFT may not be for you.
When You… Are Struggling with a Mental or Emotional Disorder
If your angst magnifies and leads to mental or emotional disorders such as adolescent drug abuse, depression, alcoholism, and marital distress and conflict, it may be time to talk to a mental health professional. An MFT can help you better understand underlying issues in your relationships and how they can contribute to the health problems you may be facing.
When many of us think about working virtually, we think “no make-up, no uncomfortable shoes, no awkward silences in my one-on-one, and no interaction with that one person who always seems to track me down with mind-numbing questions before I’ve even made it to my desk!”
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Sure, it can be great, but it’s not all pajamas, morning breath and messy hair. Remember, your identity within your team is shaped by emails, conference calls, and instant messages! If you’re considering a virtual position, or struggling to adjust to life in your home office, get better prepared to prove your worth by browsing the suggestions below.
Commit to Using Multiple Modes of Communication
As a virtual team member, you should be sensitive to how others communicate most effectively. While you may be comfortable delegating tasks via email with ten documents attached, your team might benefit from a short conference call in order to feel fully informed. To avoid confusion and ineffective meetings, make an effort to become well-versed in your team’s communication style.
Choose a Face-to-Face Communication Tool
There’s nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting, so how can you accomplish that from across the country? Check with your IT team to see if there is a video communication tool most commonly used in your office. If not, do a little research and find out what works best for you. Whether it’s Skype, GoToMeeting, WebEx, or another webcam program, choose a user-friendly tool and commit to using it for as many meetings as possible.
Pick a Point of Contact to be Your Eyes and Ears
Virtual employees are not visible, so making sure your presence is felt is important. Try picking a teammate you work well with to be your eyes and ears. If you’re accidentally left off a meeting request, they’ll forward it. If you’re not aware of an important call tomorrow, they’ll give you a heads up. Not only will this help with making sure your voice is heard, you’ll feel better knowing you’re on top of everything going on in the office.
Make the Extra Effort to Attend Events and Celebrations
“The hardest thing about being a virtual team member is nurturing and building relationships with other team members,” says NCU’s Senior Marketing Manager, Alexis Castorina, who works virtually from her home in Pittsburgh, PA.
To overcome this hurdle, work with the social committee in your office to get a schedule of events for the year. Then, take the time to plan ahead. Scheduling your visits to the office when special events are planned will help you get to know new team members, ensure that everyone remembers your face, and keep you engaged with office culture.
The first few months of a new relationship are the best, aren’t they? It’s all about the nervous energy, long conversations about the future, meeting the
family for the first time, and spending every waking moment together. Ah, love!
So, how do you know when you’ve hit a bump and what can you do? For the inside scoop, we asked Dr. Roxanne Bamond, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and full-time faculty for Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences, for some red flags that can help you prepare for potential bumps ahead and know when to seek help.
1. “Maybe a therapist could help us?”
Many times, one partner suggests going to therapy before the other realizes there is a problem. Even if the suggestion wasn’t yours, don’t ignore this or blame your partner. Take the suggestion as a compliment – your partner wants to make things work!
2. “I wish my partner was as good a listener as you!”
If you find yourself complaining to your friend about your partner’s bad habits, or engaging in long, intimate chats with the person in the next cubicle, take a moment to stop and reflect on your actions. When you begin discussing the intimate aspects of your relationship with other people, you are at risk of creating an emotional bond with a person outside of your relationship.
3. “Have you two thought about going to therapy?”
Oftentimes, our closest friends and family can see our relationship derailing before we can. If someone close to you points out flaws in your relationship don’t take it personally – they are just trying to help. Take the opportunity to open your eyes, look forward, and take an honest look at your relationship.
4. “What happened to date night?”
Life is hectic for people who are working, going to school, raising a family and engaged in community activities. For many couples, the first thing eliminated from the schedule is time spent with each other. If you find that it takes too much effort, you’re too exhausted, or you simply do not want to create the time to spend with each other, checking in with a therapist is in order.
5. “Our kids are driving us crazy!”
Often, differing parenting styles can lead to polarization in a couple’s relationship. Therefore, when your children are having difficulties, it is likely that those difficulties will bleed into your relationship with your partner.
If you find that your kids are becoming a source of division, it’s time to seek help. Marriage and family therapists are specially trained to understand the family dynamic and help the entire family get to a better place.
6. “I am afraid to talk to my partner.”
If your arguments have become violent or scary, it may be time to seek help individually with a therapist. Marriage and family therapists are not only trained to assist with family issues as a group, they are also able to help the relationship by working with one family member at a time. Acknowledging and discussing your fears, anxiety and anger with a therapist can help open more effective lines of communication with your partner.
7. “I don’t know how I feel anymore.”
We’ve all had tough days, but taking out your frustration on your partner causes undue tension. Try talking to a professional on an individual basis about life and the struggles that come along with it. As you start to feel better about yourself, you’ll find that you can invest more positive energy in to your relationship.
When we’re young, our siblings are our best friends. Every free moment is spent together – playing, laughing, bonding through trouble caused throughout the day, and competing for attention. Yes, the seed for sibling competition and rivalry is planted young. For those that face the task of overcoming it, it’s a lifelong commitment.
Before diving head first into how you can cope with this issue in your own life, let’s focus on a relationship we can all aspire to emulate.
Northcentral University team members and identical twin sisters, Kristen Carter and Kathleen Van Riper, have worked together at NCU for over 3 years and couldn’t be happier. Both characterize one another as their best friend, express a love for working together, and support each other through all of life’s hurdles. “No rivalry with us,” Kristen says, “we always want the other to do well or achieve similar success!”
Sufficiently green with envy and longing to mend fences with your brothers and/or sisters yet? The four tips below can help you get started.
Make the Grand Gesture
Swallow your pride, pick up the phone, and make the first call – even if you don’t feel you’re in the wrong. Nothing can be fixed if you both sit on your hands forever. Whether you have the occasional argument or your relationship is a rollercoaster that never ends, one of you needs to be the first to break through the wall. Sure, that first conversation might be awkward, but it’s all downhill from there.
Take a Walk in Your Sibling’s Shoes
We all focus on our own agenda when it comes to conflict, but if you can force yourself to take a step back from the chaos – do it! Take a moment to actively think about what your sibling must be feeling and thinking. If you were forced to walk a mile in their shoes, would you feel the same? A new perspective on an old conflict can help shed some light on solutions you hadn’t thought of in the past.
“Let the Good Times Roll”
Even the most tension-filled relationships have their bright moments. When your stress reaches a breaking point, try taking a walk down memory lane by looking through old pictures, emails or Facebook posts. Remembering the “good times” will help you gain perspective on your relationship as a whole, rather than just a few moments in time.
Bite the Bullet – Apologize
For some of us, “I’m sorry” is the hardest sentence we’ll ever say. It’s tough admitting we were wrong, but we all have to admit that the results are worth the sacrifice, especially when it comes to our siblings. So, tuck that tail and go for it!
The demand for mental health practitioners who specialize in treating military families has grown since 9/11 as the number of families impacted by military service increases.
Therapists need to be equipped to understand the unique challenges of military families and military culture. NCU offers a Ph.D. program and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy specializing in Therapy with Military Families.
Dr. Mellonie Hayes, licensed family therapist in Georgia and full-time faculty member for NCU’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences, explains the opportunities for MFTs interested in this area of practice.
“In the last eight years, there has been an increased demand for services for military families. It started with the military service member who needed to be reintegrated into civilian life or was preparing to leave for service,” she explained. “And then we saw more programming extended to military family members. All of these different programs have really opened the door in the last few years for therapists to work in different installations for the military.”
MFTs working with military families have a number of opportunities and can work in civilian communities, Mobile Vet Centers, on bases, and even in military installations overseas in positions known as military family life consultants.
While it is helpful for an MFT to have a personal affiliation with the military to establish a connection with the individuals she is treating, it isn’t a requirement, and a keen understanding of military issues can be garnered in other ways.
“The military is a culture of its own, and from my experience, service members appreciate working with therapists who have a military background or are from a military family because they understand the culture so it’s easier for clients to connect with therapists who have that background,” noted Dr. Hayes. “However, there are many therapists who do not have a military background and acquire that background through clinical experience.”
Dr. Hayes said she was acclimated with military culture by learning from colleagues in the field, visiting support groups, and through clinical practice.
Her advice for those interested in this area of therapy is to become familiar with the culture and the resources to help military families. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) often has various training opportunities for therapy for military families. Another great way to understand the issues important to military families is to attend community support groups offered for military veterans.
“In support groups you really have an opportunity to hear about the military personnel’s experiences first hand, and you really get to know them in an environment that has nothing to do with their work on a military base,” explained Dr. Hayes. “It’s very informative and really helps you understand the issues they’re dealing with on a regular daily basis and what knowledge you need to have and resources you need to be able to help.”