Notice: Bethel University College of Professional Studies is closed due to inclement weather. Current students are advised to communicate with their advisors and other student service offices via email. Prospective students can obtain information by calling 877-4Bethel or engaging the website chat box.
Although homework is designed to help Bethel students learn, sometimes a student teaches others along the way. An essay written by Shatrina Taylor, an online student from Mississippi, recently touched – and taught – her teacher.
In fact, Orientation facilitator Elizabeth Park was so moved by Shatrina’s critique of an article titled “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” she asked Bethel’s PR Department to reach out to her. The stay-at-home mother of three agreed to share her essay, and readers will be touched and taught as a result.
“Life is what you make it. A person can choose to get the most out of life by defeating all obstacles that come their way, or they may choose defeat and simply throw in the towel. However, there are obstacles that are a little higher, and those are the ones that may negatively conquer one’s mindset. In the article “Where There’s a will, There’s a way” by Anna Harrington, she touches on resilience, and how people overcome certain life tragedies differently. I have endured many obstacles in my life; however, I have been resilient in overcoming them and in learning how to deal with new obstacles that continue to come my way.
I have endured numerous obstacles in my 31 years of living. One of those came when I was a 17-year-old high school senior and teen mom. The first challenge was trying to figure out how I would successfully juggle school, work and a new baby.
Although I had a strong support system that allowed me to work and continue school, I had one more major obstacle that came my way shortly before my child’s first birthday: My son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At first, I went through the denial stage, refusing to accept his condition. I refused to accept doctors telling us that my child would never walk, talk, sit up, crawl, feed himself, or be completely independent. I can recall times when my son would cry, and instead of responding right away to him, I would go into the bathroom, close the door and just cry.
Nevertheless, I eventually began to lean more on my family. In the article “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” family is listed as a crucial component of any support system. I learned to communicate with others who were going through similar situations. Author Anna Harrington also suggested the elements of emotions, spirituality and socializing, and each had its place in my life. I began to understand that I was not being punished — I was chosen to be the mother to a child who would eventually teach me about true determination.
My faith was strong, and I refused to allow my son’s condition to become an obstacle in his life, either. Now I don’t view it as an obstacle, but as a growing blessing. My son is now 13 years old and is an honor student. He can walk, talk, and is determined to be independent. His determination has taught me resilience and to never give up on the obstacles of life. My life would not be the same if I had given up on him, and he would not be the little boy that he is today. I had to be resilient because I had someone depending on me.
My point is that there are many outlets available to assist us in conquering obstacles, but we must allow ourselves to take advantage of them. Everyone experiences challenges, and everyone has a choice in how to deal with them. There is an expiration date to everyone’s struggles, and resilience can help people bounce back stronger than ever.”
Avery King, lead veteran recruiter and information technology and services recruiter for Hospital Corporation of America, is enthusiastic about his company’s involvement in Paychecks for Patriots, the statewide hiring event for military veterans to take place Thursday, October 9.
HCA has a solid veteran employee population and actively recruits veterans to join the company. Paychecks for Patriots is a chance for veterans to personally talk to HCA and other employers about the kinds of positions they’re seeking.
King said last year HCA brought more than 2,000 veterans on board. The corporation has found veterans learn quickly, have exceptional leadership skills, and are great team members. With their military background they’ve learned the value of following processes.
HCA is the largest private provider of health care in the United States with more than 160 hospitals in 20 states along with more than 100 freestanding surgical clinics. King said veterans typically do not think about health care as being an option for them unless they have clinical experience; however, HCA has additional opportunities in fields such as finance, administrative, and information technology.
Tennessee was the first state to hold Paychecks for Patriots. The event has subsequently been taken to Florida and Georgia on the strength of Tennessee’s accomplishment.
This will make the third year that HCA has taken part in Paychecks for Patriots. HCA has also worked with Paychecks for Patriots in Georgia and Florida, as the company has facilities in both those states. King feels other states’ adopting the Paychecks for Patriots model is a tremendous endorsement for the event’s success.
“We at HCA are again looking forward to meeting veterans face-to-face at this year’s Paychecks for Patriots event,” said King. “We will have the chance to talk to them about the opportunities we have and to also find out what their desires and skill sets are – and we can match those with our openings.” He said he strongly encourages veterans to attend the event along with employers looking for great employees.
To learn more about Paychecks for Patriots, including locations across the state, please visit the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development website for the event at http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/Patriots/Paychecks.shtml.
I bet you remember Dustin Hoffman’s role in Rain Man where he plays an autistic savant. Autistic savants are described as having incredibly deep memories that are exceptionally narrow. That is, they may be able to remember volumes of facts, but they are not able to put those facts to use. They can’t do anything with that knowledge. Knowing is not enough. To function as “educated” adults, we must also have the ability to think.
I believe the most important skill I can help to develop in my students is the ability to think. In fact, I prefer to think of my role more as a “facilitator of thinking.” I like to use a couple of verses from the book of Job in my classes to encourage thinking, “For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good” (Job 34: 3-4, NIV). What a great way to express it. Thinking involves testing words with our ears!
Confucius said, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous” (Frater, 2009). In other words, if we are going through classes and not thinking about what we are doing we are wasting our time. However, if we are trying to think but we haven’t studied the issue we may end up in more trouble! A critical thinker is able to raise vital questions, gather and assess relevant information, draw well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, question assumptions, and communicate this effectively to others. It is not enough to copy something from the internet and paste it onto a discussion board. It is not enough to complete assignments with the minimally required response. “Think left and think right, think low and think high. Oh the thinks you can think up if you only will try!” (Seuss, 2009).
Are your ears testing words as well as your tongue tastes food?
Frater, J. 2009, February 27. Top 20 wise quotes of Confucius (blog post). Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2009/02/27/top-20-wise-quotes-of-confucius/
Seuss, D. 2009. Oh the thinks you can think. New York: Random House.
Dr. Kenny Holt has been stomping out ignorance and facilitating thinking for almost 30 years. He continues to enjoy tasting food and testing words.
Going back to school can be scary to an adult who has been out of the classroom for many years. That’s why Bethel’s online programs fit so well with working adults. What a great way to get started or finish a degree! Because many students have a fear of the unknown class expectations or computer technology, it is my job as the instructor to put them at ease and guide them through the maze of technology and the learning processes.
My philosophy on online instruction is to put students at ease and always be mindful that they have many responsibilities and a life outside the online classroom. I try to be flexible and work with them, since most are trying to balance jobs, family life and school. As a Christian sister to my students, I feel it is my responsibility to be a friend, mentor and uplifting guide not only in their education, but in their personal life. I find that when I post an inspirational video clip, it seems to be just what was needed for at least one student. When I receive an email telling me, “That is what I needed to hear right now,”’ I know God had a hand in my selection of videos and time of sending. I truly believe that nothing is an accident and the students that I have are in my class for a reason. I need to be aware and open to how I can help them.
Since all facilitators have been on the other side of the desk as a student, we need to find ways to help each student learn and engage. Some may need constant attention, while others are just fine completing their online studies without much interaction with the instructor. Either way, my phone line is always available to students who need a listening ear, even if it is not about education. If I know that a student is dealing with a stressful situation or has lost a family member, I will try to email them several times to see how they are doing. I also may call them on the phone, if it seems the right way to reach out to them.
It is important to meet students on their level, and to truly care. Who knows, someday the table may be turned and I may need their help. :o)
In a recent interview, Nick Denton, founder of a network of news-and-gossip websites called Gawker Media, talked with reporter Jeff Bercovici about social media and the value of gossip in finding facts. His goal is to turn his 80 million readers into willing accomplices and become a nation of gossip reporters. In his interview, he talked metaphorically about the Panopticon (the prison in which everybody is exposed to scrutiny all the time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon) and compares it to social media.
There is some real truth that gets told that is never of a scale to warrant mainstream media attention, and there’s no mechanism for fact-checking, no real truth. It’s out there. Half of its right. Half of it’s wrong. You don’t know which half is which. What if we could develop a system for collaboratively reaching truth? Sources and subjects and writers and editors and readers and casual armchair experts asking questions and answering them, with follow-ups and rebuttals. What if we could actually have a process that didn’t require paid journalists? You could actually uncover everything, every abusive executive, every corrupt corporation (Denton, 2014).
What if you did your own research and fact-finding?
His website is www.kinja.com. If you want to look for the latest gossip on nearly every topic, (except healthcare), it’s probably there. However, in healthcare, if you want to find the latest gossip on what’s happening, just turn on your television or pick up a magazine or newspaper. BUT if you want to be known as the “go-to” professional in the healthcare industry for the truth, then you will have to go beyond gossip given and look for facts, based on scholarly research and reputable journal sources. Go beyond the magazine stories, TV pundits and op-eds. Based on your own research, post your analysis and conclusions in the discussion sections (supported by reputable sources) and engage in debate, rebuttal, fact finding, and fact confirmation.
As a student, edge your way toward a more fact-based understanding of healthcare. BUT know that once you find the facts of today, tomorrow they may have changed. This is the essence of science: to be able to change our minds once we have better, well-established data and facts. But to get them we must look for them ourselves….every day.
You will find this process tedious and fraught with frustration and it will consume a great deal of your time. You may find that at the end of the class your investment makes you a more knowledgeable healthcare professional and that you have gained a process for finding the truth….every day.
“We do not receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Marcel Proust
Best wishes on your search and your discussions.
Dr. Pew serves as director of the Health Advocacy Leadership and Learning Organization. He has worked with public and private, not-for- profit and for- profit healthcare organizations and businesses in community health, continuous quality improvement, patient safety, Appreciative Inquiry, Strategic Planning and performance management and Quality Improvement He is a published author, public speaker and holds copyrights on Diversity Measurement Tools for large organizations. His most recent co-authored book is Don’t Go There Alone … A Guide to Hospitals for Patients and Their Advocates. Steve is the founder of Health Advocacy Leadership and Learning Organization (HALO), an organization dedicated to educating and training professionals and volunteers in health and patient advocacy in order to “bring out the best” in healthcare by teaching patients, families and advocates to be more informed consumers.
When Patricia Lewis enrolled in Western Kentucky State University in 1977, she majored in home economics and business, with a plan to open a tailoring shop after graduation. But as she entered her senior year, she was struck by the dual impact of a tough economy and a desire to see the world. A friend encouraged her to join the Army with her, and in 1985 she donned a uniform, heading to Germany as a wire systems installer in 1986.
“I didn’t enjoy the work,” she admits today. “But I learned how to make ‘fun’ of it. I made the best of the situation and I got to be good at it.” Patricia tried to complete her degree while she was overseas, “but I was out in the field so much, I just couldn’t do it.”
Time passed, and the somewhat reluctant soldier received promotion after promotion. She was sent to Fort Gordon, GA for nearly a year; took an extension on her enlistment, and did a tour of Korea for almost another year. Then, Patricia says, “God was definitely with me.” After a period of relatively mundane assignments, someone from the battalion anonymously nominated her to become part of the White House Communications Agency based on her professionalism, athleticism, and leadership potential. She found herself “serving our Commander-in-Chief,” who at that time was George Bush, Sr. Impressively, she rose to the rank of E-6 (Staff Sergeant) in less than six years.
Living in Washington D.C., Patricia’s duties “changed drastically,” she says. Her attitude also changed as her world opened up. “Most people get intimidated by rank. At the White House, four-star generals were nothing. I met heads of State – Nelson Mandela, President and Mrs. Clinton, and even the king of Morocco.” Her heady role would last for 11years, before being assigned to Fort Campbell in 1999.
Ultimately, Patricia was picked up for the position of Equal Opportunity Advisor on the post. By then, she had been in the military for more than a dozen years. She had seen much of the world. It was time to finish what she had started so long ago.
“I was driving down a road in Clarksville, and saw the Bethel University sign in front of the school,” she recalls. Patricia stopped and went inside, where a recruiter invited her to learn more about Bethel. “She asked me, ‘Have you finished your degree?’ Being me, I said, ‘No, have you finished yours?” she recounts with a laugh. “I was impressed when she said – yes, she had just graduated, thanks to Bethel.”
Patricia enrolled. An active-duty soldier, she nevertheless fit in with her new group of civilian cohorts, and warmed to her first instructor, Sandy Louden. Then, with just five more classes to go before graduation, Patricia got orders for Iraq. “I had waited so long, I was really disappointed. But I remember Sandy had said we would all hit bumps in the road, and that everybody goes through challenges on their educational journey. She promised that Bethel would work with us, no matter what.”
A year and a lifetime later, Patricia returned from Iraq. True to Bethel’s word, she was able to start where she’d left off, dropping seamlessly into an existing class at the Clarksville campus. “It felt different, because I didn’t know my new classmates. But I was like, ‘I am going to finish’!”
And finish she did, walking the line to receive her diploma in December of 2006. She was honorably discharged from the military the next year, and was hired as a civilian video/teleconferencing technician at Fort Campbell. The job took her to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2013.
Looking back on her determination to finish what she started, Patricia says, “I firmly believe knowledge is power. When you focus on what you already know, you can become afraid of learning what you don’t know. For me, I was never afraid – I don’t have the gift of fear,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard, but I always believe there’s someone out there who’s willing to touch and teach, if you’re willing to open up.”
Now officially retired, Patricia is living life to the fullest. She recently climbed Mr. Kilimanjaro, and plans to visit Rio de Janeiro and Egypt next. “I’m 55 years old,” she says, “and I feel like life has just begun.”
~ PR Director Cindy Chambers
For those of us who finished or even started our formal higher education as experienced adults, it is often easy to forget our accomplishments and potential. Organizations are always looking for “good people”! It is human nature to want to hire and/or promote folks we are associated with or are referred to us by friends or colleagues. But, for us to take advantage of this potential pool of candidates, individuals have to be prepared when the opportunity arises.
In several of my courses, I teach that your career will often be shaped by an unexpected opportunity, but you can only take advantage of it if you have prepared! This is a multi-faceted challenge starting with our work experiences — we must continually strive to enhance our skills and qualifications. For example, voluntarily taking a certification course or volunteering for a special project for the betterment of the organization and exposure to management may seem like a small step, but it can reap big rewards.
The next challenge is to further your formal education by earning your master’s degree. Many top-tier universities offer high-quality online degrees, and we are no exception. The stigma of years past concerning online degrees has quickly diminished. This allows working adults the ability to manage their time and earn a quality degree in their chosen field of study.
The moral of this story is to be prepared for that unexpected opportunity that comes your way, and create your own “opportunities” every day!
Professor of Business & CIS Dr. Ron Deming has over 35 years of experience in mid-level and senior executive positions both in general management, higher education and information- technology positions. He uses this broad experience base to help guide students through courses from a real-world experience perspective.
Like many students, you understand the value of furthering your education. But due to work and family obligations, you may not be able to commit to being in the classroom several nights a week. Enter online education! The online learning environment brings a unique set of benefits and challenges to students when compared to traditional face-to-face courses and lectures. However, with preparation and the correct frame of mind, you can find great satisfaction and success in the brave new world of online instruction.
Online courses are different from the traditional classroom in a number of ways:
- Online courses are reading intensive. Content is presented through web pages and online textbooks along with audio/visual presentations and interactives rather than through traditional classroom lectures.
- Interaction with your professor and classmates in online courses occurs mainly through discussion board posts, emails, online chats and message boards rather than traditional face-to-face interaction.
- Although there are usually specific due dates for assignments, participation in the online course can usually be scheduled around work and family. Rather than driving to the University to attend your course at a specific meeting time, you can log in to the course anywhere you have a computer and internet access.
- Since the professor will not be there in person, taking attendance and delivering a lecture you must be self-motivated and willing to accept the challenge and responsibility of being an independent learner. When you have questions or concerns regarding assignments, you must take the initiative to contact your professor.
- While you’ll typically cover the same material in the same amount of time as in the traditional classroom setting, you can be assured that your learning experience will be no less rigorous! You must be disciplined and motivated to get the most from your online learning experience.
Online learning didn’t come about before I finished my Ph.D. However, all of my post- graduate work has been completed online. Whether it was business law or management, I found I was able to master the subject matter while working 40 hours a week and spending time with my family. In fact, many students report learning more in online classes than in traditional classes, and they find the online learning experience to be more rewarding. I believe that the future of online instruction in higher education is bright!
Dr. Diane Minger is a fulltime professor of Marketing and Management at Cedar Valley College. She also teaches a variety of undergraduate and MBA courses for Bethel University. Dr. Minger is a pioneer in online instruction and has been teaching online since 1997.
Bethel University students are discouraged from using Wikipedia for academic research … but one CPS student ended up there for a completely different reason. Search Wikipedia for “Stephen Wayne Jackson,” and you’ll find a former football star who’s now scoring big in our Organizational Leadership Program.
Steve, who played defensive back for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1991 to 1999, made it all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV, where he and his team took on the St. Louis Rams. Although the Titans lost 23-16, Steve says the experience was “absolutely amazing.”
“I was in my ninth year as a professional player. I had gone to the playoffs and achieved some success. But Super Bowl is everything, times 10, squared,” he says. “The excitement, the buzz in the air, the media attention, the way the focus ramps up – it’s just the ultimate experience.”
Second only to … this interview?
“Really. That’s true. I never, ever thought I would be interviewed by my one-day alma mater,” he says seriously. “It’s an incredible honor.”
And a long time coming. Calling his educational path a “25-year plan to graduation,” Steve went to Purdue University in 1987, but left there in 1990 to join the Houston Oilers. “I always said I’d go back to college … and then I looked up, and I had gone from being 21 to being 45 years old.”
He was inspired by a teammate, Marcus Robertson. Marcus had gone to Bethel, earned his degree, and raved about his experience. Steve was moved and motivated. But more importantly, he says, “I was just tired of being a hypocrite.”
He had coached for the Buffalo Bills, the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions for 12 years. “I told my players they had to get their degree. I tell my kids they will get their degree. But, when it came to finishing my degree, I had every excuse in the book.”
Coaching is a fulltime job, all year long. But after retiring to become an entrepreneur in Houston, Steve no longer had a grueling schedule. “There’s no draft, no training camps. And all of the excuses I had, I don’t have now.”
Now in his second class, Steve is tackling every assignment, and catching every opportunity.
“Actually, I love it. It’s revitalized a thirst in me that I thought had long been quenched. Talking to my classmates about issues outside of football has been stimulating,” he says. “It gives me insight into things that are going on outside the NFL.”
He equates Organizational Leadership with coaching. “They are not just similar, they’re exactly the same. At the end of the day, professional coaching is a business. There are 32 owners who hire presidents, who then hire managers, who then hire employees – the players. There’s marketing, there’s motivating the workers. My experience coaching NFL really helped me understand business, more than anything.”
But what does a successful businessman and father of two — daughter Dominique is 13, and Stevie is 9 — hope to gain by earning this degree?
“I hope to get out of it that it’s mine,” he says firmly. “As a coach you can be fired, as a player you can be cut. But no matter what happens to me, I can tell my own children and those that I mentor that no one can take this degree away from me, and no one can take a degree away from them. Nobody.”
In fact, he’s passing on this message through the newly-formed Steve Jackson Foundation, a non-profit organization that will be up and running in July.
“I want to remind others that the combination of education, health, and athletics can mold people. Coaches used to be mentors. They should be mentors.” Steve’s camp will bring together athletes, leaders in the community, parents and students. “We’re telling them they’ve got to have the grades, and they’ve got to stay on the right track. We’re going to show the students and their parents what that track is.”
Steve Jackson’s track led from college, to the Super Bowl, to coaching … and now, to Bethel University. As he put it, “No matter how far removed you are from school, it’s never too late for you to go back and finish your degree and reach your goals. Life is a long journey, and just like in sports, it’s not how you start — it’s how you finish.”
- By PR Director Cindy Chambers