Category Archives: News and Information

The process and role of discussion threads

Steve Pew jpgIn 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.

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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.

Patricia Lewis: A Tailor-Made Journey

Patricia Lewis
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

The Adult Learner as a Key Component to a Successful Organization

Dr. Deming Photo 20 Jun 14

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!

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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.

The Bright Future of Online Instruction

Diane2 (2)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.

 

Stephen Wayne Jackson: From NFL to CPS

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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

The View from the Top

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Strategic management is about running the entire organization. It’s the view from the top. While some Bethel MBA students are entrepreneurs and already understand the complexity of strategy, this represents a change of perspective for many others. They typically bring a diversity of technical skills and middle-management experience into the course, but haven’t yet faced the challenges associated with directing an enterprise. My job is to shift their focus from what’s best for their departments to what’s best for the organization. Continue reading

Congratulations to Our Newest Bethel Graduates!

CPS VP Kelly Kelley-Sanders hands a diploma to another CPS Grad

Bethel University held graduation ceremonies Saturday, May 10, 2014 on the school’s McKenzie campus, in the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena. Seven hundred two students were Spring 2014 graduates while 504 students were graduates from the December 2013 ceremonies that were cancelled due to inclement weather. Three ceremonies were held throughout the day to accommodate the large number of graduates. The following degrees were awarded: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration. Continue reading

Dr. Whiteman is putting leaders on track to successful careers.

Whiteman, Alan

Healthcare administration is a challenging field which requires a leader to fine-tune skills that meet the rapidly changing landscape of the healthcare industry.  In order to succeed, healthcare leaders must have a strong academic preparation in the nuances of the industry, coupled with learned leadership skills and high moral/ethical values. Continue reading