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NCU Professor Shares Innovations in Education Technology

1 hour 54 min ago

Technology has changed learning in the 21st Century, and NCU is a perfect example since the university offers 100 percent online coursework with no physical residency requirements. Throughout this industry, innovators are leveraging new tools to enhance learning and change how people think about education. One of those thought leaders is NCU’s Dr. William Smith, a professor in the School of Education. We recently caught up with Dr. Smith to find out more about a new learning management software program he created, as well as a hybrid school he founded.

What is a blended instruction model?

A blended instruction model is when learners come to school in a traditional manner with a teacher and a space/opportunity to learn, but they spend less days and hours than in a traditional school. To replace that time, the learner works independently leveraging an online program of content delivery to further the learner's academic growth. The learning is blended between being face-to-face with a teacher and working online through a learning management system.

Can you tell us about the school you created?

In order to provide a high-quality learning environment for our learners, we developed two programs:

  1. MySchoolatKent is a blended learning environment that students attend two days per week and the rest of the learning is supported virtually by HQ Online Teachers. The students also get other traditional brick and mortar supports such as a guidance counselor and a social worker to support them in their learning process.
  2. SuccessLink is where students get the same support, but these occur at regional centers such as the library. SuccessLink students typically have been involved in some sort of discipline action that limits their access to the traditional school setting.

Tell us about the blended instruction software you created:

The software called Edify is a next generation learning management system that allows learners to individualize their learning, teachers to deliver standards-based content, and most importantly, allows for each student and/or teacher to focus on what they do not know as identified through standards based assessments. It can serve as a digital textbook, a common assessment for formative and summative data, and can be the platform that connects the data side of education to the content side. Edify can be both an Inspired Learning Management Systems (iLMS) for students and teachers, since both can benefit. Students can benefit from standards-based content and teachers can benefit from professional development that is housed in the system.

What is your background?

I have been an educational leader for 26 years and have been a passionate advocate for educational reform.

What do you teach at NCU?

I teach a variety of courses within educational leadership including Contemporary Issues in Education, Educational Policies and Practices, Multicultural Relationships in Educational Organizations, and K-12 Specialization Action Research Capstone.

For more information on Dr. Smith’s software visit: http://www.kickstandsystems.com/videos
For more information on the Hybrid School visit: http://www.myschoolatkent.net/about-myschool/

Blog Categories: education-2Blog Tags: technologyonline technologychildrenschoolscomputers
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

The Benefits of the NCU Global Training and Development Specialization

02-04-2016 16:53

Today, business is global thanks to technology. To meet the demands of companies broadening their reach internationally, NCU recently added a master’s and doctoral degree specialization in global training and development. Dr. Vanessa Ann Claus, NCU Dissertation Chair in the School of Education shared her insights on this exciting field.

Q. What type of jobs are available in global training and development?

Businesses, in the United States alone, invest billions of dollars in training and development opportunities for employees. In fact, countries outside of the United States, such as India, often times have a Ministry of Human Resource Development, which advocates and provides opportunities for the continuous growth and development of citizens.

Employment opportunities exist at the corporate, governmental and nonprofit levels for global training and development graduates. Through this degree program, students learn about effective educational and instructional techniques, which are beneficial to all organizations. Most people, who have a degree in Human Resources, specialize in HR subsets including Compensation and Benefits, Training and Development, Employment, etc.

Q. What is the job outlook in the field?

As projected by GlassDoor.com, the job of HR Manager is among the sixth most desirable U.S. jobs for 2016. Organizations are continuously advocating for the growth and development of their employees and thus, increased emphasis for organizational training and development is becoming a necessity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Training and Development Managers is growing at a rate of seven percent. As the U.S., as well as other countries, continues to place emphasis on education and development, employment opportunities will continue to grow. Additionally, the median annual compensation for a Training and Development Manager is $101,930.

Q. What traits do you need to be successful in global training and development?

People who are successful in training and development possess some, if not all, of the following qualities:

  1. Dedicated to lifelong learning
  2. Committed to organizational success
  3. Passionate about teaching
  4. Enjoys being around others
  5. Organized
  6. Comfortable working in groups
  7. Good presenter
  8. Sound communicator
  9. Education focused

Q. What makes the NCU program in global training and development different?

NCU offers students the opportunity to learn both theoretical and practical information regarding the field of global training and development. Not only are students learning the most up-to-date information regarding T&D practices, but they are also applying their knowledge through critical thinking activities and assignments. Students have continuous access to instructors who possess theoretical knowledge, as well as field experience, which makes for an excellent learning experience.

Blog Categories: education-2Blog Tags: global trainingmanagementinternational business
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NCU Team Presents at Prestigious Conference

02-04-2016 16:22

In January, NCU professors Dr. Darren Adamson, Dr. Yulia Watters and NCU student Debi Bell traveled to the 7th Annual Qualitative Report Conference in Florida to present their paper, “Qualitative Inquiry in a Distance-based Environment: Thoughts and Tips.”

The conference is a multidisciplinary event that attracts a diverse audience including researchers, educators, and students from different disciplines (business, nursing, education, marriage and family therapy, psychology, etc.) who are curious to learn about qualitative methodologies.

The research presented at the conference focused on how the structure of a qualitative interview is modified if a qualitative inquiry is conducted in a distance-based environment. Basically, how the medium of the qualitative inquiry would change the inquiry itself.

The NCU team used an ongoing qualitative study exploring efficiency and retention in online environments as an example, to involve attendees in an interactive discussion about possibilities and limitations of a case study conducted in a distance-based university setting. The NCU team discussed the topics of the online-based Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, distance-based data collection, and distance-based researchers’ collaboration.

The goal of the presentation was to give attendees a better knowledge of how technology can transform the process of the qualitative inquiry; gain a better understanding of the unique aspects of an online-based qualitative study; and develop a better awareness of existing distance-based tools that can enhance the design and promote the completion of an online-based qualitative project.

Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

NCU Alum Discusses Benefits of One-to-One Teaching Model

02-04-2016 09:54

Dr. Enoch Osei obtained a PhD in Business Administration from the NCU School of Business and Technology Management. He shares his NCU experience and his opinion on the benefits of NCU’s one-to-one teaching model.

How has your PhD made a difference in your life?
Getting a PhD has made a huge difference in my life. It has provided me with an advanced theoretical and applied knowledge in my field of accounting. Having a PhD in advanced accounting has opened a world of opportunities for me.

How has getting a PhD from NCU, in particular, made a difference?
Graduates from NCU have been able to distinguish themselves in their chosen field and are proven lifelong learners and academicians or practitioners. The NCU name has allowed me to receive calls from recruiters without applying for positions.

Have you gained a new position?
I have always wanted to be in academia and I am now an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. I am respected at my current institution amongst my peers and can articulate and defend my decisions on a daily basis.

Blog Categories: online-learning-2Blog Tags: studentone-to-one teachingonline educationmentor
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Northcentral University to Kick-Start Graduates' Careers with Grants

01-31-2016 19:10

Eight NCU Students Will Receive $20,000 Grants Upon Degree Completion

Northcentral University will award eight $20,000 NCU Kick-Starter Grants to new students who have applied and started an NCU master’s or doctoral degree program on or before March 28, 2016. The eight scholars selected will attend NCU to the completion of their chosen master’s or doctoral degree and, upon graduation, NCU will present a $20,000 check to be utilized by the recipients in pursuit of kick-starting their dreams.

The NCU Kick-Starter Grant was conceived to invest in the University’s graduates and provide the chosen recipients with a $20,000 check to kick-start their goals and dreams. Recipients may choose to utilize their grant to fund a research study, launch a new business, start a nonprofit or implement other projects to fulfill their dreams after graduation.

Applicants will submit an essay, video or audio that describes the purpose and motivations behind their goal – and how an NCU Kick-Starter Grant will help them achieve it. Students must submit their entries, and start their graduate degree program, between February 1, 2016 and March 28, 2016.

Selected NCU Kick-Starter Grant recipients will be announced on April 20, 2016. For further information, and to apply for the grant, visit http://www.ncu.edu/kick-starter.

Blog Categories: education-2Blog Tags: grantkick-startawardeducation
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Tips to Creating a Winning Strategic Plan

01-26-2016 17:04

One can’t get where they’re going if they don’t know where they are or where they want to be. This is the reason why a strategic plan is so important for your team. It can be used to set priorities, focus energy and resources to ensure everyone is working towards a common goal. A good plan outlines where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.

While there is no right or wrong way to create this document, Dr. Marsha Tongel, a subject matter expert who also mentors doctoral students in NCU’s School of Business and Technology Management, has 12 sure-fire tips to help you create a successful strategic plan for your team:

  1. Think possibility not boundaries.
  2. Be aware of internal/external trends and factors that could influence your plan and its implementation.
  3. See your team’s purpose within the bigger organizational picture.
  4. Consider how your team’s plans could affect or impact other departments or aspects within the organization, such as processes, products, resources.
  5. Allow diverse and contrary voices to speak and be heard.
  6. Consider all the needs and resources of internal and external stakeholders, allies and partners.
  7. Consider using lenses such as criticalness, time or complexity to implement and available resources (financial, human, capital) to help establish plan priorities.
  8. Establish action steps, timelines and responsibilities to keep your plan alive and moving.
  9. Develop a well thought out communication plan and use it.
  10. Create benchmarks and evaluate your efforts frequently.
  11. Revisit your plan regularly and revise as needed.
  12. Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures.

In addition to her work with NCU, Dr. Tongel is Principal of Metanoia-TCG Consulting, a company that provides innovative and quality organizational, leadership and change management services.

Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: strategic planbusinessteamwork
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4 Types of Corporate Culture

01-25-2016 14:56

If you’ve interviewed any prospective candidates lately, you may have been asked questions about your organization’s corporate culture. So, what is it?

According to Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron, at the University of Michigan, there are four types of cultures:
• Clan-oriented cultures are family-like, with a focus on mentoring, nurturing, and “doing things together.”
• Adhocracy-oriented cultures are dynamic and entrepreneurial, with a focus on risk-taking, innovation, and “doing things first.”
• Market-oriented cultures are results-oriented, with a focus on competition, achievement, and “getting the job done.”
• Hierarchy-oriented cultures are structured and controlled, with a focus on efficiency, stability and “doing things right.”

“Building an appropriate organizational culture adds value to any organization,” said NCU professor, Steven Munkeby, PhD. “By defining the climate or culture, an organization’s leadership defines what is valuable to the organization.” There isn’t necessarily one culture that is better than another. Different personalities will thrive in different environments and different cultures will create certain business realities. For example, adhocracy leads to breakthrough change, while hierarchy leads to smaller, slower change.

“An organization’s leadership establishes the organization’s character, enforces policies, educates, rewards ethical conduct, and eliminates the ethical issues of a worker’s environment,” explained Munkeby. “Additionally, the organization’s selection of its cultural values is responsible for ensuring that worker behavior produces valuable services and products for society.”

Corporate culture starts with leadership and, according to Munkeby, the most demonstrable example of culture is one where the leader is true to his/her principles all the time, not just when it is convenient. The way the leadership acts and treats employees forms the backbone of culture and determines if employees buy into it.

Blog Categories: uncategorizedBlog Tags: corporate cultureworkplacebusiness
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Listen Your Way to Better Grades

01-22-2016 16:04

When you study, do you have music playing in the background? You might not know that what you listen to could actually help you learn better.

“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory,” explained Dr. Masha Godkin, a professor in the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences at NCU. “Music has the potential to take a person from the Beta brain wave state to deeper Alpha and then Theta brain wave states, depending on the music.”

According to Godkin, classical music, as well as meditation music with added technology like brain entrainment technology is ideal to promote learning. One reason this genre works well is that there are no lyrics to distract you. In fact, classical music with 60-70 beats per minute like Beethoven’s Fur Elise appears to help students study longer and retain more information.

Glenn Schellenberg, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, published a study that indicates fast, loud background music hinders reading comprehension.

“The reason why it’s a mess is you have cognitive limitations. If you’re doing two things at once, you don’t focus as well,” Schellenberg said.

A recent study published in Learning and Individual Differences found that students who listened to a lecture where classical music played in the background scored significantly higher on a quiz than students who heard the same lecture sans tunes.

Music likely helps learning because it has a profound effect on our mood, blood pressure and heart rate and arousal. For studying, you want music that is medium arousal provoking. Enough to keep you awake, but not enough to agitate.

For the next big paper you write, or test for which you have to study, listen to the classical selections of Beethoven or Bach for the smoothest results.

Blog Categories: study-tipsBlog Tags: learning tipsstudent tipsmusic and learning
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Top 6 Tips to Cope with the Stress of Being a College Student

01-22-2016 13:56

Pursuing your advanced degree, working full-time and balancing family obligations can be a challenge. Heather Millward, a 2015 MBA Marketing NCU graduate who works as a Senior Strategic Partnership Manager knows the pressures and offers her Top 6 Tips to Cope with the Stress of Being a College Student.

  1. Get rid of distractions. As someone who continually multi-tasks, I made the mistake of listening to music, watching television and constantly checking my email at the same time I was conducting research and writing papers. As you can imagine, it was overwhelming to have all this technology at my fingertips. My suggestion is to find a quiet place to focus on your homework and turn off the technology.
  2. Be reflective. If you are continuing your education in a field tied to your career, try to find parallels between your assignments and profession. Your instructors will help you achieve this goal by posing assignments that will force you to reflect on your career objectives. Even if your degree is in a different area than your specific career path, you can find some pertinent issues or topics that are important.
  3. Utilize your Instructors. Your professors are there for a reason; to teach and mentor you. They are also human with remarkable stories and insight. Remember, they were once a student and followed a similar process. This can lead to educated discussions that can be beneficial for both parties; whether you have differing views or not.
  4. Read up on the subject matter. Yes, we can learn a lot from a book. But books have their own expiration date, and learning is fluid. Read what is asked of you, but keep reading and hone in on what you are passionate about.
  5. Get support. Regardless of where you are headed in your career or education, going back to college will place time constraints on your personal life. This means less time with your spouse or children, and everyone close to you will have to make sacrifices. If these individuals understand your goals, they will be more understanding and, in the end, your biggest support system. Make sure to prepare yourself for an adjustment period and though your social life might take a bit of a hit, the feeling as you walk across the stage will make up for every happy hour or “Game of Thrones” episode you missed.
  6. Take it day-by-day. My best advice is to focus weekly on what you need to accomplish. If you concentrate on how many months or years your degree will take, it can overwhelm you. Prioritize your life and you will see it all come to fruition.
Blog Categories: study-tipsBlog Tags: MBAstudent lifeonline learningmarketing
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Q & A with NCU Alum and Author Michael Cohen

01-18-2016 16:35

NCU recently caught up with Cohen for a quick interview on his book.

What made you want to write this book?
After graduation, I found myself thinking: Wouldn’t it be a great resource to provide a condensed and practical book highlighting the best practices for teachers based on all the research I had done on the topic of teaching techniques for special education. I decided that I wanted to provide the educational community a concrete, yet scholarly, guide to the very finest, best practice techniques for special education, sharing my knowledge with others in the field.

Like this post on NCU's Facebook page and win a copy of Special Education: Best Practices in Focus. Winner will be selected by random drawing.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in your research?
During my research for chapter four of my book, “Models of Emotional and Behavioral Disability (EBD) Treatment,” I’d never considered some of the possible angles of EBD intervention. I was previously familiar with biophysical and behavioral models, but other models such as ecological and psychodynamic took me by surprise. I find it fascinating that there are no less than six distinct methodologies in approaching EBD.

Is this your first book? If so, what was it like to write your first book? How long did it take?
Yes, this is my first published book. From the beginning until I was ready to submit my manuscript for publication, it took approximately four or five months. I wanted to make it properly referenced so the reader could have easy access to all sources. My book also allows easier access to pertinent information for both educators and those who have friends or family with special needs. This makes me feel accomplished and grateful that I persevered and did it. It makes me feel encouraged to take on new projects.

How does this tie into your work as a Rabbi?
Judaism places high priority on education - regardless of an individual’s intellectual ability. Educational best practices equally apply to religious education as well. Although I teach in a mainstream class, there are definitely students with mild learning difficulties that I was able to help due to the knowledge and skills I gained from my NCU degree in Special Education. I find it rewarding to know I was able to give them the best education.

Why did you choose NCU for your education?
When I wanted to continue my education for a Masters of Education degree in 2012, I needed a university that would be flexible to work with my schedule without compromising a solid and recognized degree. After much research on online colleges, I found that although many colleges touted themselves as being accommodating to individual schedules, they had additional requirements to log on at specific times to join a “virtual classroom” and other such things that didn’t allow me the freedom I needed to get my education on my timetable. In contrast, NCU offered exactly what I needed. Northcentral surpassed my expectations with a challenging and rigorous program with quality professors. Looking back, I would gladly recommend NCU and am proud to be an alumnus.

You can purchase Special Education: Best Practices in Focus here:

  1. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Special-Education-Best-Practices-Focus/dp/0692489819
  2. Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/special-education-michael-j-cohen/1122395366?ean=9780692489819
  3. AbeBooks: http://www.abebooks.com/9780692489819/Special-Education-Best-Practices-Focus-0692489819/plp

The NCU blog is always looking for interesting students and alum to feature. If you’re interested in sharing your success, please contact us at ncublog@ncu.edu .

Blog Categories: getting-research-publishedBlog Tags: get publishededucationspecial education
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How to Set Yourself Apart as an HR Professional

01-07-2016 16:43

As a premier University, Northcentral University is at the forefront of offering degree programs in high-growth career fields. NCU recently added the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) with a specialization in Human Resources.

Anyone who has ever managed people knows that the team is the company’s biggest asset and can often be its biggest challenge. The NCU MSOL in Human Resources prepares students to make a big impact in today’s global economy.

“The need for quality HR professionals is growing, and expected to continue. HR professionals are needed who not only know employment laws, but have the business savvy to adapt to changing business climates. They foresee potential problems before they become reality and can provide solutions,” said Dr. Christi Sanders, Professor, at NCU.

The new MSOL in Human Resource degree requires students to analyze global HR issues and develop solutions to real-world problems. The focus is not only on learning facts and figures, but also on developing critical thinking that can be used throughout a career.

“Many programs focus so much on theory that when students graduate they have no real skills that will help them get hired. What makes the NCU program so unique is that is it truly focused on developing the skill sets students will need to be successful in the business world,” said Sanders.

Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: MSOLHReducation
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Careers in Addiction Therapy

01-07-2016 13:13

According to Defining the Addiction Treatment Gap, a review of the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other national data sources, addiction continues to be a huge societal problem. More than 23 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs, or one in 10 people over the age of 12!

Clearly, more trained professionals are needed to cope with this epidemic, which is why NCU recently created a PhD in psychology with a focus on addiction. The program helps mental health professionals develop deep knowledge and expertise in the area.

“I think NCU offers many things to help students with this career path,” said Dr. Patricia Postanowicz, Professor, NCU Department of Marriage and Family Sciences. “Many of the courses students take give exposure to issues related to substance abuse and the varying ways it can affect a family and the addict themselves. Secondly, students explore populations of varying types, so students who are passionate about addictions can get a real life experience working in this area before graduation. There is a lot of flexibility in how a student can construct their clinical internship and this allows students to get practice right in their own communities and see what services are and aren't being offered, as a way to decide what their clinical niche could be.”

Graduates in the field have diverse career options according to Postanowicz. Many NCU grads choose to establish a private practice. Their addiction specialization helps set them apart from other psychologists in their community. This allows them to become a local expert in the field of recovery oriented therapy for clients and their families.

“Another option is to work in an inpatient treatment facility, which is what I did,” explained Postanowicz. “I was the PhD level therapist at an in-patient, 28 day facility for adults and adolescents. We had several services on campus for patients and their families. I conducted group, individual, and couple counseling, as well as psych educational groups for families and patients. In addition, I did assessments required by insurance and supervised master's level interns.”

Graduates also work in outpatient facilities, which offer similar services to in-patient programs without the 24/7 supervision and care element.

Entrepreneurial-spirited graduates have also opened halfway homes for recovering addicts.

An addiction specialization in psychology helps give a focus to a practice and offers a wide variety of different career settings fitting a wide range of personalities.

Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: addictionstherapycareers
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Five Ways to Increase Your Klout Score

01-05-2016 13:15

If you have clout, you have influence and power. If you have “Klout,” however, you wield this power online, and social media metric company, Klout, has a score for you.

Why does a Klout score matter? Simply put, it can help you get hired, it can help you make sales and interact with customers and it can give you credibility in a crowded and loud world.

Klout looks at more than 400 metrics to measure how influential you are across social media platforms. Here are five surefire tips to increase your Klout score:

  1. Be authentic: This is common social media sense. Be who you are. Talk in language that sounds like you and share things that speak to you. Even online, people can sense a phony and so can Klout!
  2. Connect with influencers: Your Klout score is helped when someone with a high Klout score interacts in some way with your post. The key to doing this is to offer compelling content. Post your own content and share the content of influencers to start an online relationship. In addition, the more C-level executives you’re connected to on LinkedIn, the higher your Klout score.
  3. Be active but not noisy: Klout rewards people who consistently produce engaging content. However, if you’re too active and inundating your followers feeds, they will get turned off and ignore you. It’s a delicate balancing act.
  4. Focus on one network: Klout weighs the network you’re most active on more heavily than others so pick the one you love and go with it.
  5. The higher you climb, the harder it gets: Once your Klout score reaches 40, it gets harder and harder to inch it up. In order for Klout to be an effective measurement tool, it weeds out those who aren’t truly influencers.

It’s time to get online, get social and raise your Klout score!

Blog Categories: tips-to-improve-your-lifeBlog Tags: businesssocial mediacustomerssales
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Top 10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Franchise

01-05-2016 12:48

You want to be an entrepreneur, but you’re concerned that starting your own company can be risky. Instead, you begin considering buying into a franchise to satisfy your itch for self-employment, while mitigating some of the uncertainty of starting a new company from scratch. Both options have their pluses and minuses.

In a 2015 FranchiseGrade poll of more than 1,000 franchisees in fast food, lodging and real estate, 52 percent felt that they didn’t make a fair profit. Before you buy into a system, do your research.

Here are 10 tips to help you evaluate whether or not a particular franchise is a good investment for you:

  1. Proven Systems: When you’re buying into a franchise, you have access to their expertise and formula for success. Make sure there is a system in place for everything from payroll to marketing to HR practices and more.
  2. Coaching: How much training does the franchisor provide? You want a structured, formal program. Make sure the coaching includes extensive initial training on all the systems and follow-up coaching afterwards.
  3. Chemistry: How do you get along with the founders of the company? How do they treat current franchisees? Talk to other franchisees to get a true picture, instead of relying on a marketing brochure. Seek out the most successful franchisees to see what they do differently.
  4. Earning Potential: The statistics show that some franchisees don’t feel they’re making enough money. You’ll want to examine the company’s track record and research the market. Ask for a comprehensive list of the financials.
  5. Be Exclusive: Like in any long-term relationship, you’ll want exclusivity. If you can’t be the exclusive franchisor in your given area, you may want to consider a different opportunity.
  6. Read the Fine Print: Many franchise agreements have hidden fees. Retain an attorney to review the paperwork to ensure you know exactly what the true costs are. Make sure you review the Franchise Disclosure Agreement with a fine-tooth comb.
  7. Networked: Look for a company that has a strong network of franchisees who share experiences and best practices.
  8. Wiggle Room: While you want strong systems, you may also want a company that allows its franchisees some level of freedom and creativity to tailor the franchise to its locale and create marketing strategies that work in individual areas.
  9. Speak Up: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about EVERYTHING from financials to marketing to IT support to future plans. You need every bit of information you can obtain to make a smart decision.
  10. Passion: Make sure you are passionate about the business idea and the parent company. You’ll be spending long hours to make it work, so ensure it’s a good fit.
Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: businessfranchises
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NCU’s New SCHOOL OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES: Merging Marriage and Family Sciences & Psychology, a Positive Step

01-04-2016 16:50

In 2015, we developed and implemented many positive developments for our University and students: new regional accreditation, bold new programs and specializations, among other advancements. Now we are proud and excited to announce the birth of our new School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SSBS), a larger School created by the merger of our School of Psychology with our School of Marriage and Family Sciences.

Throughout 2015, our faculty, curriculum development experts and administration worked together to develop a plan to maximize resources and synergies. The resulting decision was to merge the School of Psychology and the School of Marriage and Family Sciences. NCU has done so in order to increase the resources within both schools and to expand the scope of academic offerings in the social sciences in the future.

According to Dr. James Billings, Dean of the new School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the future looks even brighter for our students: “The merger of these two outstanding Schools lays the foundation for a stronger and larger School focused on social science.”

Billings explained, “This move will enable NCU to support new degrees in the social science field and create increased opportunities for cross-discipline research, course work, and academic pursuits for students and faculty. This is an exciting time in the development and growth at NCU, as we continue to pursue academic excellence in creative ways.”

According to Billings, this change should have no impact on student degree plans or on services.

This means there will be no changes to students’ assigned professor or academic advisor based on the creation of the SSBS: Students who were enrolled in the School of Psychology are now enrolled in the “Department of Psychology” within the SSBS. Similarly, students who were enrolled in the School of Marriage and Family Sciences become students of the “Department of Marriage and Family Sciences” within the SSBS.

For more information about the new School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, please contact your academic advisor at 866-776-0331 or read more about it here.

Blog Categories: psychologyBlog Tags: social and behavioral sciencestherapy
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Ten Tips for Launching a Successful Online Business

01-04-2016 16:44

Today it’s relatively easy to start an online business. However, creating a successful and profitable business is a whole other story.

The online space is crowded. In just 20 years, websites grew from a mere 3,000 in 1994 to more than one billion in 2014!

If you’re going to start an Internet based company, here are 10 Tips to help make sure that you don’t get lost in cyberspace.

  1. Solve a Problem: You may love the idea of a product that keeps light from seeping in the space your curtain doesn’t cover, but if you’re the only one awoken by a sliver of light, your product isn’t going to sell. Consider products or olve a Problem:services that solve an issue enough people have. Look at forums, keywords and competitors to see what people are searching for and what is selling. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying that the most common startup mistake is solving a problem no one has.
  2. The Customer is King: Happy customers are great, but you can learn a lot from people who return your product. Ask them for feedback to determine what is needed to improve your idea. Actively seek their input through automatic follow-up emails that thank customers and solicits feedback.
  3. Be Different: How many different products are there? Make sure whatever you’re selling has something that sets it apart from the competition. You have to give the customer a reason to pick your product over another.
  4. Actions Trumps Words: Stop talking and start doing. We can have grand ideas on paper for our business, but if we don’t implement them, we’ll get nowhere.
  5. Create a Visually Appealing Site: Make your site visually appealing and easy to navigate. You need to grab someone’s attention in seconds. Have an opt-in offer to capture email addresses. Don’t make a customer click more than twice to checkout and don’t litter your site with pop-up offers or ads. User experience goes a long way to converting window shoppers to buyers.
  6. Make it Mobile: Make sure your website functions and looks good on a smartphone. You’ll be hard pressed to find a smartphone user who doesn’t scan the Internet on her phone.
  7. Understand SEO: In such a crowded marketplace, you need to have strong search engine optimization for people to find you.
  8. Be Social: If you have an online business, you need to have a social media plan to drive traffic and create relationships with your customers. Social reviews help convert skittish buyers into customers.
  9. Advertise: To standout, you will want to advertise. It isn’t enough to have a “if I build it they will come,” mentality. Explore Google Ads and social media ad programs.
  10. Repeat Visits: You know it is far less expensive to retain a customer than acquire a new one. Keep your customers coming back by offering valuable content and special offers to purchase.
Blog Categories: tips-to-improve-your-lifeBlog Tags: online businessentrepreneur
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Start the Year Off Right! Six Ways to Implement Positive Change on the Job

01-04-2016 14:45

It’s not rocket science to understand that a happy, positive work environment is more pleasant than one filled with gloom, doom and negativity. It’s also not a stretch to think that a positive workplace can help the bottom line. How does a manager implement positive change to create this upbeat corporate culture if it’s not in place now?

“First start with a simple mission and vision statement which integrates joint accountability between leadership and organizational members. The mission states “Who We Are?” and the vision statement identifies “Who We Want to Become?” Build a business strategy which is in alignment with the mission and the vision,” said Dr. Wanda Corner, Ph.D., NCU School of Business and Technology Management.

With a strategy in place, it’s time to implement programs that foster innovation and support the well-being of employees. According to Corner, the following six examples of positive change can have a big impact:

  1. Mentoring programs (peer-to-peer or mentor-to-protégé).
  2. Innovation Laboratories to facilitate business competitiveness and sustainability (including people, products, technology, and processes).
  3. Joint leadership and organizational member facilitated workshops such as: strategic planning, appreciative inquiry, professional development, etc. Use these workshops as an opportunity to build trust in a safe environment for both leadership and the organizational members.
  4. Identify a short or long-term community or charity project in which team members may contribute to the organization’s corporate/business local community social responsibility (i.e. Habitat for Humanity, cancer awareness, CARE, or other).
  5. Health and wellness initiatives for employees (fitness, nutrition, or other).
  6. Document and celebrate success! Monitor incremental goals for progress and the attainment of major milestones. Include rewards and recognition at regular intervals. Without celebration, it is easy for organizational members to view positive change initiatives as disingenuous and non-productive.

Whenever organizations rock the status quo, there’s always someone on the team who resists the change. Here are Corner’s five tips to get buy-in from everyone in the group:

  1. Create a communication plan before implementing change strategies.
  2. Build processes where each team member can measure their own success, as well as success of the overall team. This builds a climate of accountability, fairness and equity.
  3. Identify objections of team members to determine whether the resistance is rooted in misunderstanding or unwillingness.
  4. Ask for their help with specific examples of their needed contribution.
  5. Be prepared emotionally for resistance. For example, people may state “that’s not the way that we used to do it.” Anticipate and prepare for the resistance with a positive response. If they still resist to the point of disruption to the overall team’s productivity, make sure you have prepared responses that are in alignment with the mission and vision statements, and address the individual accountability of each member to the overall success of the team.
Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: corporate culturepositive changecorporate social responsibility
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

How Does Your Emotional Intelligence Stack Up?

12-31-2015 12:33

As we were growing up, intelligence was always emphasized. It just might, however, be your emotional intelligence (EQ) that separates a good leader from a great leader.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, express and control one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically.

In the late 90s, in a Harvard Business Review article, Rutgers psychologist Daniel Goleman established the importance of emotional intelligence to business leadership saying:

“The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”

With so much business success riding on EQ, let’s examine the components that comprise emotional intelligence:

  1. Empathy: The ability to connect with someone with compassion humanizes a manager. A good manager has the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and feel their point of view.
  2. Self-Assessment: High EQ leaders are introspective. They understand their own strengths and weaknesses and the impact their actions have on others. Because they can see their true selves, they’re able to improve on weaknesses and play to strengths more easily.
  3. Self-Regulation: High EQ people think before they act. They have discipline. They understand that if they react with emotion in the moment, it can have a bad effect on members of their team. Great leaders know how to remain calm and stay positive on the outside, even if that isn’t how they’re feeling on the inside.
  4. Effective Communicators: High EQ individuals are able to express both thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way. They also realize that much of what we communicate is through body language, not words. Since so many problems in the workplace are caused by miscommunication, this is important.
  5. Listening Skills: So often people rush through listening to get to the point where they can talk again. High EQ people not only listen to what is being said, they’re able to pick up on what is not being said -- the emotion behind the words -- and make team members feel heard.
  6. Anticipation: People with strong EQ can read situations and anticipate how people will react.

So, how does your Emotional Intelligence stack up?

Blog Categories: psychologyBlog Tags: emotional intelligenceEQbusinessleaders
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Is Project Management for Me?

12-31-2015 11:58

Over the next decade, project management is slated to grow by more than $6 trillion globally. Clearly, this is a lucrative field with job stability, but how do you know if you have the personality and attributes to maximize this opportunity?

“The dynamic business environment requires that most improvement and innovation efforts utilize a project management approach,” said Jama L. Bradley, PhD, Dissertation Chair, at Northcentral University. “Project management has been, and is projected to be, a growing field requiring individuals with leadership, technical, and people skills.”

Being a good Project Manager isn’t just about technical and business skills. The most successful PMs also bring people skills to the table while delivering projects on deadline and budget.

If you’re considering pursuing a master’s, PhD or doctorate degree in Project Management, assess how your skills and personality line up with the Top 10 traits of great project managers:

  1. Ability to Organize and Prioritize: Because there are so many moving parts of a project, the manager has to pay attention to both the big picture and the details, as well as know how to focus the team’s time and attention.
  2. Strong Intuition: A good manager has a sixth-sense in her ability to anticipate challenges and pitfalls ahead of time and avoid them or work them into the project timeline.
  3. Ability to lead: This one seems obvious, but a strong manager not only has to lead direct reports, but often people over whom he has no direct connection. The leader also has to get buy in from many different types of people and must know how to tailor a message to different groups.
  4. Good Communicators: With so many different groups and people involved in a project, the PM has to know what, when and how to communicate to all the stakeholders. Having high emotional intelligence is a big plus.
  5. Pragmatic: Most project managers are ruled by analytics. A good PM knows that at some point you have to stop analyzing, make a choice and move forward.
  6. Empathetic: Project managers can only succeed if the team succeeds. A strong PM knows how to motivate the team by understanding the different needs and goals of each type of stakeholder.
  7. Value input: Strong project managers ask good questions and take others’ opinions and ideas into consideration.
  8. Nimble: Project managers must react to sudden change, interruptions and issues along the way. Having a calm, go-with-the-flow demeanor is important.
  9. People Person: If you’re the techie who likes to hunker down in his cube with headphones on, project management is probably not for you. The job requires dealing with many types of people. While you don’t have to be an uber extrovert, you do need to enjoy interacting with others during your day.
  10. Strong Networking: Good PMs have a strong internal and external network they can call on as things come up in the project lifecycle.
Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: Project ManagementcommunicationOrganizational Leadership
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

Are You Running Your Organization Like a Pro Football Team? The Top 10 Business Lessons Learned from Watching the NFL Playoffs

12-30-2015 13:17

Nearly 50 percent of Americans are NFL fans, and with the play-off games upon us, millions of people will be in the stadium or glued to their TVs hoping this is the year their team goes all the way.

We can receive more than just entertainment from watching the NFL Playoffs. By observing the strategy behind pro football, we can learn some valuable lessons to use in our own business playbook.

Here are The Top 10 Lessons to take from the gridiron to the boardroom:

  1. Get Buy-in: It hasn’t been a great year for the Green Bay Packers, but that doesn’t keep their fans away. More than 116,000 people are on the waiting list for their season tickets. No matter where they play in the league, stands are filled with green and gold. How did the Packers create this strong fan base? Easy. They got buy-in. The Packers are the only team owned by the public. Their fans are invested, literally, in the team. When you get buy-in from employees and make them feel like they have ownership of an idea, a project or even a company, you create loyal employees.
  2. Balance: One player does not win a championship, no matter how good he is. Look at Tony Romo, Warren Moon, Barry Sanders, and Dan Marino. All are amazing athletes whose fingers are still missing Super Bowl rings. Football is a team sport, so is business. To have a successful team or company, each person must perform his or her best. One-stand out alone cannot carry the load for a winning team.
  3. Different Management Styles Work: People are different and so are leaders. Observe Bruce Arians vs. Bill Belichick vs. Mike McCarthy. They all manage differently, yet all have led their teams to success. The important thing isn’t the way you manage, it’s that your team respects the way you manage and respects you.
  4. ROI: After each game, the coaches and players analyze tapes and look at what went right and what went wrong. They also set a strategy for the next team they face. NFL teams are constantly looking at the ROI of what they do and how they can tweak it and make it better the next time around. A smart company measures the ROI of its all its projects and programs.
  5. Leverage Your Brand: The NFL has a strong brand and they know how to capitalize on it. Of course there are ticket and merchandise sales, but in recent years, the NFL has create new days of football (Sunday and Thursday night games), as well as the NFL RedZone, fantasy football leagues, NFL Sunday Ticket and more. A smart company is always looking for new revenue streams, while at the same time, upholding a strong brand image.
  6. Resiliency Wins: Week-to-week in the NFL, teams lose games, players get injured, and big play calls can go against you. The winning organizations are the ones that rise above it and find a way to put more notches in the win column. Entrepreneurship is often one step forward and two steps back. The successful entrepreneur knows that one loss does not make a season.
  7. Training Day: NFL players are the cream of the football crop, yet there are weeks of training camp and practices during the season to prepare for the next big game. Smart businesses similarly invest in their people through educational development. The better trained employees are, the greater the likelihood that they can “score” a big win for their team.
  8. Calculated Risk: Remember that time your favorite NFL team went for it on fourth down, made the play and ended up winning the game? That was an in-the-moment, calculated risk. Sometimes in business, we can over-analyze a decision. When that happens, it’s time to check in with your gut and decide if it’s time to roll the dice. If it works, you’ll be rewarded with a successful outcome. If not, assess why it didn’t work, and determine what needs to be adjusted.
  9. The Buck Stops Here: At the end of the day, the coach takes the brunt of the blame for losing a game. A good coach does it without excuses. As the leader of your team or company, you’re ultimately accountable for the plans, programs and strategies. Celebrate your wins, but be prepared to own your losses too.
  10. Eye on the Prize: Every player in the NFL knows the goal they’re working towards: victoriously hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy on Super Bowl Sunday. In business, your team should know the goals they’re working toward and those will be measured. Help them visualize what success looks like, and provide the support they need to achieve it.
Blog Categories: time-management-tipsBlog Tags: businessmanagementsports
Categories: NCU Recent blog posts

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