Mirgration from Puerto Rico to Orlando…..

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/us/puerto-ricans-orlando.html

There is little doubt that Hurricane Maria changed the island nation of Puerto Rico.  However, who would have thought that it would also change the makeup of Orlando?   To be more specific the education system.

Families lost everything in the natural disaster and thankfully some of them have relatives living in the US.  The article estimates that more than 168,000 people fled Puerto Rico for Florida and most have landed in Orlando.  This comes into consideration when speaking to the need of bilingual schools and educators because many new arrivals have a limited ability to speak English fluently.  The two main schools in the county have taken in 3,680 new students since the migration started in September.

These new arrivals will tax the affordable housing market, education system, and employment sector.  However, they are more than welcome to join FL in my opinion!  Trump’s mistreatment and double standard for not effectively helping them regain control of Puerto Rico in an efficient manner justifies allowing them to resettle here in the states.  They are technically citizens after all!

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

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Trump gets racial……again……

Once again Trump has single handedly fueled racial tensions and encouraged an environment of elitism for white Americans with a few key strokes on his Twitter account.  In the days following the destructive path of Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, the administration has received widespread criticism of how slowly they have reacted to and handled the disaster’s aftermath.

The mayor of Puerto Rico went on television and discussed why the US needs to do more to help.  After hearing a press secretary call the disaster a “great media story” the mayor lost her composure and said some frank statements about how the administration must do better in helping her island nation.  Some of the statements got back to President Trump and he immediately took to Twitter.  As normal, he retaliated with inflammatory ideology, some of which equated all Puerto Ricans as “lazy, unhelpful, and not community focused”.   The tripe stereotype of Latinos being “lazy” has been over played and well documented.  Shame on him for even going there.

This is a moment in time when citizens and communities need to unite, help each other out, and overcome the devastation to rebuild a great country.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

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Human decency in higher education might be missing at VT……

Earlier this month I attended a seminar entitled “Current Issues & Diversity in Higher Education” with Dr. Gasman from UPenn as the headline speaker.  She was absolutely motivating and enthralling in that she reviewed the current system of higher education and challenged all practitioners in the room to take a look at themselves to evaluate how “positively” they encourage and mentor student success.  Dr. Gasman applied for and won a $3 million grant to research why/how some HBCU, Tribal Colleges, and predominantly minority schools have had high success rates.  Her Top 10 Lessons were not life shattering nor rocket science, but, rather boiled down to basic human decency which in my opinion is becoming lost at top tier research institutions such as Virginia Tech.

Top 10 Lessons:

  1. Successful institutions assume success on the part of students rather than seeing students of color from a deficit perspective.
  2. Successful institutions teach in ways that focus on what the student needs to learn rather than what is convenient for the professor.
  3. Successful institutions have faculty members that allow students to bring their full identity to the classroom and capitalize on all aspects of a students identity in the learning process.
  4. Successful institutions have faculty members that come together to co-construct classes and a curriculum that empowers the student.
  5. Successful institutions provide students the opportunity to participate in culturally relevant assignment that speak to the issues in the communities from which they come.
  6. Successful institutions encourage students to live for something larger than themselves.
  7. Successful institutions gather as much data as possible on their students’ learning experiences.
  8. Successful institutions bring the student services and academic services sides of the institution together in order to focus on students rather than operate in silos.
  9. Successful institutions encourage student collaboration over competition and independence.
  10. Successful institutions provide students with peer mentors and peer mentoring opportunities across the curriculum.

Although we didn’t spend much time on each lesson she did review how each one positively correlated with high success in either program graduation rate, continuance of education (moving on from a college to university), and solid GPAs/class attendance.  I would be willing to wager that if VT did an evaluation on these Top 10 Lessons for all PhD students they would be surprised by the low scores received.  Some students like myself are constantly challenged with fitting into a “mold” that a professor wants us to be rather than encouraged to explore and bring individuality to a program.  This in effect stymies the generation of the thought process and reduces our possible impact on the world at large.  Challenge received and accepted……I think I’ve found an interesting research topic!

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

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Women can’t do it all…..admit it….

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://nypost.com/2017/09/08/viking-skeletons-dna-test-proves-historians-wrong/

Anything to do with Game of Thrones or Vikings automatically gets on my reading list!!  LOL!  I came across a New York Post article titled:  “Viking Skeleton’s DNA test proves historians wrong“.  I thought, hum, not surprising but what is this in reference to?  Turns out that what was long thought to have been a Viking male skeleton was in fact a female skeleton!!!  Her grave was discovered in the late 1800’s containing two horses, powerful weaponry, and valuables.  What’s important about this is that the discovery is the first absolute proof that women were Viking warriors….up until this point it was only hypothesized.  The ONLY reason the skeleton had the DNA tested is because a female researcher thought that the facial features and bone structure were feminine in nature.

A direct quote from the article sums up the biases and prejudices completely:  “This image of the male warrior in a patriarchal society was reinforced by research traditions and contemporary preconceptions. Hence, the biological sex of the individual was taken for granted,” Hedenstierna-Jonson and other researchers wrote in the report.

Reading this article reminds me of why I am so excited to research and challenge management theories that are egotistical in nature and allow for biases to run rampant in the corporate world:  “Perception Is Reality”.  No, it’s not.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

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Community College VS Research University Mission Statements…….

Umpqua Community College:  UCC transforms lives and enriches communities.

Virginia Tech:  The discovery and dissemination of new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

Having grown up in rural Oregon, UCC is where I started my college education albeit while as a senior in high school.  I took college credit Calculus, Spanish, and English at the campus.  Now, I’m attending VT for a PhD in Business with a concentration in Hospitality Management.  It’s intoxicating in a way to see the dichotomy between the two mission statements lined up side by side……you can really tell that one is a focused on meetings basic expectations and the other is programmed with a mindset of forward thinking and changing the world at large through research and development.

I’m thinking about it and realize that both schools experienced an active shooter in the past 10 years.  What are the chances of that?  How has that experience transformed or challenged current and future mission statements?  I wonder if any language of the VT mission statement changed after 2007?  Will the UCC mission statement change considering the recent atrocity?

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

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DACA has been rescinded……

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-administration-announces-end-of-immigration-protection-program-for-%E2%80%98dreamers%E2%80%99/ar-AArlgbm?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

Today was a big day in politics as President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and will affect over 800,000 lives merely with the wave of a pen.  Now he has placed the burden of ethics onto the shoulders of congressmen.  Many of the people affected will be our colleagues, students, and friends.  I’m not sure how many will be affected at VT per se but as it is an educational institution I can guarantee at least some will see an altered state in their future.  DACA was instituted under the Obama administration and provided two year work visas/contracts for undocumented youth who entered the country before they turned 16 and are currently still living here.   It is estimated that close to 11 million undocumented immigrants resided in the country at the time and DACA was Obama’s way to pave a path to legitimize or humanize the children who didn’t come to this country by their own demand.  Obama instituted DACA after the Dream Act failed Congress in 2010.

FROM THE USCIS.GOV WEBSITE:

According to the article the numbers are staggering as “more than 1,000 immigrants stand to lose their work permits each day once the program is formally rescinded”.  The thing to remember and the circumstances are different for each individual case, but, many of these immigrants have lived their whole life here and do not know any other home than the USA.  How is it conceivable that DACA which ensured they paid taxes on employment but didn’t provide any sort of legal immigration status be considered unconstitutional?  Is this really a priority that the administration needs to focus on right now?  How will it affect our educational community of scholars?  Even Obama is calling Trump’s actions “cruel” and  “self-defeating”

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

 

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Yep, we are all a little bit racist………..

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-was-a-racist-teacher-and-i-didnt-even-know-it_us_59a580cce4b0b234aecad244

I was scrolling through FB last week and the article “I was a racist teacher and I didn’t even know it” by Laurie Calvert of the Huffington Post demanded my attention.  The author explains how as a public school teacher she thought she was the perfect example of someone who wasn’t racist:  she had voted for Obama, encouraged minority children to express themselves in class, and showed heritage movies like Glory as cultural learning tools.  She then began working for the Obama administration in the Department of US Education which is where she encountered racial bias experts and participated in their workshops.

Laurie was a racist!!  It boils down that maybe she didn’t treat minority children in the same manner she treated white children, maybe she didn’t realize the way that showing Glory caused fear in the minority children who were surrounding by white children in class, and maybe she was supporting structures or systems that kept white people in power.  She had to do a lot of soul searching and came to the conclusion that she internalized racism even if only to a small degree.

My take on this article is that OF COURSE everyone is a little bit racist or has biases that are buried but still influence thoughts and motivations in some small way.  The bigger point is that we acknowledge those feelings and confront them head on.  You can’t simply change brain waves or patterns but you can channel them in a new direction.  Even if we don’t agree with what is being said because it makes us feel uncomfortable;  as an active participant against racism the challenge for white people like myself is to hear the concern, give credence/asses, adjust behaviors if necessary, and move on.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

 

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Research is immersion into the unknown….

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://jcs.biologists.org/content/121/11/1771

I recently read an article titled “The importance of stupidity in scientific research” by Martin Schwartz.  The title caught my eye and I wondered…..what could this possibly mean?!?  The author speaks fondly about running into an old colleague who was once in his PhD program but dropped out and went to Harvard Law School instead of completing the PhD program.  When asked why she had dropped out of the PhD program, the colleague responded “because it made her feel stupid”.

The author declares that while growing up we “like” an academic area primarily because we are good at it; we ace exams, we can speak for hours on the topic, and in general we genuinely find the topic interesting.  That all changes when entering into a PhD program.  All of the sudden we have opted to solve problems or challenge long held theories in the area.  We are no longer the experts but rather a novice studying new realms.  We are challenging ourselves to explore the unknown.  If you think about it there is no one right answer for a problem that doesn’t have a solution!

The author speaks about how “the scope of things I didn’t know weren’t just vast, they were infinite!”.  This in and of itself is terrifying to most people, but, we must realize that every person in the PhD program is experiencing the same feeling.  We can rest assured that the only manner of progression towards our goal is slow and steady with many mistakes along the way!!

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

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