Tag Archives: training

Full Time or Adjunct? Which one is better for students?

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First, let me confess my bias:  I was hired as a full time faculty member with University of Phoenix back in February of 2015*. Prior to that, I spent the previous decade as a full time college administrator and an adjunct faculty member. I like being fully engaged in higher ed.

Is full time better for ME? You bet! But it’s not about me, cupcake, it’s about the students.  So, is it better for students? What’s happening in higher education.  Moves by Maricopa Community College District tells part of the story.  For the rest, join me, won’t you, for a few minutes in the classroom.

New college students must overcome external obstacles, internal doubts, and regular distractions from their studies if they wish to be successful (ie, graduate college and progress in their career). While those barriers are typically within their control, it helps to have someone in their corner.

Nearly all of the adjuncts I know are pressed for time. They usually have a full time job. In a growing number of instances, an adjunct may work for a half dozen schools, stringing together a bunch of courses to get them as close as they can to full employment.

What happens outside the classroom has a significant effect on the goings on inside the walls, or your CPU for those online educators. Day one, students respond positively to both backgrounds. In my experience, they are most interested in my work as a writer and literary advocate. Those in the job hunt, and really, if you are in college, you ARE in the job hunt, appreciate my two decades of employment, placement, and career development experience. What matters again is not my experiences, but how I present them that first day that matters.

My solution to the dilemma is to try and understand my audience and my purpose walking into that room or logging in for day one. When that is a consistent part of my practice, the student benefits. And I think that was why I meandered onto this career path in the first place.

Feel fee to share your own experiences, as teachers or students. I would like to profile others in a future post. Thanks!

 

*To add another layer, I was laid off in April 2016. I am now an Associate Faculty member at University of Phoenix…aka Adjunct.

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My First Art Exhibit 7/7/16

cover for event aka seven

A year ago, I started a 12 month new artist training program provided by the Riverside Art Museum. I joined to support my effort to bring art into all the corners of my life. For the last year, I have been writing and constructing and training and planning. And it all comes to a head this Thursday!

Please join me and over a dozen “newish” artists as we take over the Riverside Art Museum during a four-day free exhibition.  You can come anytime over these four days, but if you want to watch me pour you a drink and chat, please come to the opening reception on July 7th anytime from 5-9 pm.

Here are other ways to be involved:

I’ve created a poetry chat book, a companion piece to my exhibit.  If you’d like to buy a copy, visit one of the stores below. Hard copy and electronic available. 100% of the dollars on all sales through August 2016 go to RAM and the 52 Project.

Createspace store

Amazon

Donate to Riverside Art Museum (RAM) and support these types of projects:

Donate to RAM here

Like us and promote the event on Facebook:

Follow this on Facebook

 

Thanks for your support.

I look forward to seeing you on the 7th!

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Using the “F” Word in First Year Student Experience

Like the other popular “F” word, feedback can be used in many ways during a college students’ first year. A mindful conversation about how to make the most of this complex word may improve the classroom experience.  Contextual feedback fans a burning interest in the material. Timely feedback provides encouragement to keep going! But specific feedback improves the lives of students and faculty members in equal measure.

My students and I just completed week 4 of our 7 week University Studies class.  We use the time in class to get to know each other. A variety of in class assignments provide chances to craft and deliver a message that engages the learning and listening styles of your audience. Learning about the styles is one thing. Putting them into practice is a true achievement that furthers the goal to earn a Bachelor degree.

feedback-heads1

Learning curve item of the week – Weaving reminders of what was covered in class into the written feedback to students may improve retention. For example, instead of saying something bland like “Good progress on applying the learning styles to your note-taking“, a better sentence may read –  “When the tech support person came into class to help us hook the laptop to the projector, creating the chart of the steps she used is an example of Visual-Spatial Intelligence.”

The halfway point is a great place to provide feedback. Since feedback must be timely, it is a good thing we started the practice of feedback on Day 1. That way, the feedback now can be compared to last month and progress can be clearly measured. Two encouraging signs at this point:

1. Students are modeling in class behavior to the reading and activities. Many have written plans of study and as a result, assignments are getting in on time and properly formatted.

2. The feedback they give me is also contextual, timely and specific! What they are sharing with me shapes how the next 3 weeks will go.

Returning to the title of this post, overusing the “F” word, both of ’em, makes communication boring and less effective. Being mindful of when it is time to speak, when it is time to listen, and when it is time to act improves the first year experience significantly.

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Speaking of the First Year Experience…

Whew! I just completed week 3 of my first 7 week course as a full time faculty member.  Teaching University Studies, University Writing, and Critical Thinking to students just starting their college experience – or perhaps back from an extended break – is a true joy and privilege. Over the next year, I intend to share my experiences here. I will leave the data crunching and success metrics to the experts at University of Phoenix.  What I wish to share are impressions, interesting anecdotes, and light advice for anyone interested in the college experience, particularly that fraught first year.

My first piece of advice?  Work in a community you care about. I am fortunate to say I have been able to serve students from Inland Southern California (aka – Inland Empire, aka – Inlandia, aka “that place east of LA”) since 2004.  I tell my students the first day:

“Listen, I’m here for selfish reasons. As members of my community, if I help you finish your degree, you will likely be happier with your career. That career happiness translates into economic improvements for where I live. Which in turn improves revenues which can be used to improve schools, services and infrastructure.  I help you, my community wins, I win!”

My first observation? The less I talk, the more they listen. When I start the discussion and pass it off to them, they pay attention to each other.  Here’s how they helped me build MY faculty schedule. At the third hour of a four hour class!

larry's schedule

My first lesson? Set your expectations high. I erroneously assumed that since I would be teaching freshman, they may not be well prepared and need MANY HOURS of work just to get them up to speed. I have found myself in the enviable position of seeking out advanced activities to bring to the classroom to keep them from becoming bored! Thanks to the book, An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi (free plug, I am not a paid hack – www.bookofbadarguments.com) I know that was the logical fallacy of a Hasty Generalization. Thanks Ali!

I could go on, for pages, but will stop here. Thanks for listening!  Next week we are discussing learning styles, study habits and ways analyze and discuss the writing of others.  Any suggestions to help those topics? Most welcome!

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Week #2 Training – Telecommuting 102 – Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

Well…

Off to another excellent week of training for this new teaching role with University of Phoenix. Week 1 hit on tons of stuff (drinking from the fire house as our trainers like to remind us!). What strikes me is the attention to student support at every stage. When we discuss the learning objectives, we talk about how the students incorporate the learning. When we talk about communication by forum or email, we talk about how the student interprets our actions and words – what we say and don’t say is heard loud and clear. When we correct, we do so from a desire to help the student improve.

It should go without saying that we don’t want to derail their motivation or crush their young college hopes and dreams. But it reminds me of how often I go into a situation only looking at the resolution and not at how the feelings of those involved are concerned. Some might say (and some of my former managers have) people should not be concerned about others feelings. I disagree. Feeling shape our perceptions – our perceptions shape what we think we are capable of learning and doing – what we learn and do BECOMES a part of who we are…which will influence how we feel.

Ah, another circle found. It bears remembering that these things tend to come round and round. Therefore, the good and the bad we leave in our wake – as managers, as teachers, as partners, as humans – affects the feelings of others. And it will still be in our path when we come around again. Better to leave things we need – things that nourish and help us grow – rather than laying traps and debris in the way.

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Filed under employment, higher education, telecommuting, training, Uncategorized

New Job Day #2 – Adjusting to Telecommuting

want me to staple that for you?

want me to staple that for you?

More good training today. Everyone returned for Day 2 which is a good sign.  How cool is this…I am now one of more than 300 full time faculty working at University of Phoenix.  I love being part of something bigger than myself and that’s how it feels at the moment.

My short discussion today will focus on the more pedestrian parts of telecommuting –

Dress code/grooming – Today I’m dressed to engage my body AND mind. I’m in workout clothes, no shoes…but I did brush my teeth! I bought an exercise ball to use as a chair.  Doing core exercises and learning how to make students feel welcome on their first day, feels like a win to me.

My co-worker, Blue the Mastiff-Shepard mix, is guarding my door against intruders and interlopers – Good Boy!

Not for nothing, but I’m in a good spot to work and keep an eye on the neighborhood.  Has not been too distracting. I’ve managed to get all my work done, now I can watch some more tutorials and search for some neat things to bring to class next Wednesday!

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New Job Day #1

Wow, many new and exciting things in this new job. First, I spent last night moving my new home office from my bedroom to a spare room. After looking at the set up required and the number of hours I will be working from this space, it just made sense to move it down the hall. I checked to make sure the equipment work…it did the first time!

Got plenty of sleep, woke up on time to make the “commute” down the hall for the 8 AM start!  I’m part of about 30 other newly hired full time faculty (FTF). So cool to be part of this initiative to better support student success – GPA, completion, retention, graduation. And knowing I will impact local students where this is there best chance to achieve career and academic success is key for me. I want my work to make a difference. I was pleasantly surprised to see community impact listed as a Core Value in my training this AM at University of Phoenix 🙂

All the technology worked well and there was a minimum of background noise…but it is still amazing that folks out there still have not mastered the “mute” button for teleconferencing…I hope I don’t run into these people at a movie.

Our structured day just ended. I’m spending the duration of the day on personalized training, setting up the new class (GEN127) I will start next week, and chatting with my new peer mentors.  It still feels unreal, those first few days are always the best, so I’m going to try and stay in this great moment as long as possible.

More to come!

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