Category Archives: Leadership

I’m a Ph.D. and LOVING IT! Watch my dissertation presentation in under 3 minutes.

It feels AMAZING to have walked across the stage at the University of Nevada’s graduation commencement to officially recognize my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership specializing in international education.  To top things off, I’ve received second place for a fun university competition called the “3 Minute Dissertation Presentation”.  My short (< 3 minute) video summarizes my dissertation.  My full +200 page paper is published through the ProQuest Dissertation Database.  To learn more about my research without reading the entire document, you can always post a comment on this blog and we’ll discuss it.

 

I look forward to applying my research as I teach international people pursuing life, work, and studies in the United States.  If you are interested in learning more about how I applying my findings into practice, visit HLSL Institute.  Not only am I working in the United States, but I am available for international speaking, teaching, and training assignments. Contact me and we’ll schedule your next cross-cultural preparation workshop or seminar to prepare students, employees, or family members for successful transition and adjustment into the U.S.

 

 

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HackSchooling – Educational Leadership Issues

Logan Laplante, a 13 year-old boy, spoke at a 2013 TEDx talk about his experience with the educational system, home schooling, tailored education/learning styles, and “HackSchooling”.  How can this young student’s new perspective encourage educational leaders to improve our current and future educational systems?

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Cross-cultural Adaptation

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A couple days ago I bumped into a previous international student in front of my office. After exchanging pleasantries, my next question startled her, “how much longer do you have before graduation and how are you liking your study abroad so far?” It must have been a sensitive issue based on her squeamish hesitation.

Sighing with exhaustion, she admitted to having another two years of college before returning to her home country. She described that she was enjoying her time in America but that it was a challenge coping with the academic and social adjustments. “I have a friend now who helps me practice speak English. There aren’t any school services that I know of to practice speaking English and American students don’t have time to help.”

I then asked if she had made many American friends. “Not really. Americans pretty much keep to themselves. It would be nice to connect with a group of friends who were patient with me. It would also be helpful if they corrected my language skills instead of letting my misunderstandings pass by. How are my communication skills going to improve if I don’t know when I’m saying something wrong?”

Of course I offered to help and reminded her that my office door (and email) were always open but this topic begs the question: “Are colleges and universities providing sufficient support services for international students and can cultural adjustment be made fun, educational, and affordable?”

I think so but it presupposes that a new investment is made in this student body and new campus services. As globalization continues to reshape higher education, we’ll all feel the impact of a new international society. Employers are hiring culturally competent applicants and educational leaders are responsible for fostering those cultural competencies. In order to generate a diverse, internationally prepared workforce, we must first address how we introduce cultural sensitivities and facilitate cross-cultural adaptation. What international student support services do you use, do you need, or would recommend trying?

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International Student Support Services

Image Source: http://ow.ly/fNAFh

Image Source: http://ow.ly/fNAFh

Twenty-first century higher education strives to prepare an educated and civilly responsible workforce, capable of succeeding in competitive, global markets. Globalization and higher education are interdependent systems benefiting from each other’s successes as well as impacted by each other’s forgone positive contributions. Globalization is not a trend, but a growing influence reshaping college campuses and employer demands. As technology, transportation, and communication evolve, international collaboration increases; thus, presupposing a greater need for educational systems to bridge diverse cultural gaps.

Globalization and technology trends presuppose the increased need for highly skilled college graduates with intercultural communication and adaptation skills. As international student enrollment increases, there will also be increasing pressures to develop effective international student support services and the evaluation of those services while competing with for-profit and nonprofit institutions. Greater linkage between higher education student support services and international student needs will foster communication and facilitate better transition into American college cultures; ultimately strengthening international student successes.

Cross-cultural awareness + sensitivity + competencies = intercultural adaptation

Cross-cultural: researching and understanding the similarities and differences between two cultures.
Intercultural: The interaction between two cultures.

The preliminary findings from my dissertation pilot study, “International Student Perception of a Pre-Departure Cross-cultural Competency Preparation: A Phenomenological Study”, found two main themes. The first was that inbound international students need specific and unique student support services (compared to traditional students) that directly impact their academic success. The primary need was for better English speaking (not writing) services. The second was that cultural preparation strategies for international students are needed to enhance student transition into the American higher education system. Specifically, socialization or “sticky campus” strategies that increase a balanced student engagement lifestyle were addressed.

The international student perspective demonstrated that an earlier intercultural intervention could improve student cross-cultural competencies and thus, intercultural adaptation into American college cultures and their academic success. These findings should encourage college and university administrators to more intentionally and accurately address international student needs, prescribe more effective campus support services, and consider developing pre-departure cultural preparation services to better serve international students before they arrive on campus.

If you have experienced effective cultural preparation strategies or would like to recommend helpful educational strategies, please share them in the comments section below.  Thank you for visiting taramaddendent.com.

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We’re here to Help Students Succeed

The first week of our fall semester is over and students are now feeling the hefty weight of their course workloads.  What happens now?  How can students work through the new overwhelming stresses?

It all starts with knowledge: let students know about the wide array of campus resources available to help cope, guide, and manage their academic challenges. The following resources are just a few of the most common campus services for students:

Writing centers– An excellent campus resource that usually offers free writing tutors.  These specialists help students outline writing assignments, edit papers, structure references, and correctly report in-text citation to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Libraries– Besides the obvious free book rental, libraries are now a modern knowledge utopia.  Most provide free computer labs, free technology rentals (cameras, microphones, projectors, USB’s, tripods, movies, etc), free study rooms, discounted printing options, and research/presentation support.  Many campus libraries also offer free specialized student workshops about a wide array of topics including, “how to navigate WebCampus”, “how to Skype”, “how to create a PowerPoint”, or “How to use Endnote”.

Student Counseling– Most college students pay a psychiatric counseling fee as part of their student tuition but don’t realize it.  Campus counselors are professionals that help reduce anxiety and stress through specialized and confidential discussion. They also teach coping and time management skills. If it’s a service already paid for, why not use it?

Career Centers– While many students complete their coursework, they are also searching for work after graduation.  Building a professional resume, reference page, and cover letters takes time; not to mention the skill to present material in a competitive and professional manner. Student career centers are convenient and free campus resources that help maximize employment efforts in less time and are proofread by trained specialists.

Child Day Care– Many higher institutions provide free child day care for the mommy or daddy college student.  Space is usually limited, so get on a waiting list now. This student support resource can greatly help encourage a consistent attendance rate by not having to worry about a babysitter.

Health Centers– Another excellent student resource that help address and resolve stress and other wellness issues that distract students from completing homework on time. This is another service whose cost is most likely incorporated into student tuition; so why not use it?

Campus Gyms– There are numerous physical, emotional, mental, social, and other wellness benefits of utilizing campus gyms.  Students will experience a boost in self-esteem and health by keeping endorphins high and stress low. Membership fees are usually lower than regular private gyms if not free for students. Suggest that students try working out and having fun in campus recreation activities.

Professors & Administrators– We are here for students.  If they are struggling, have them stop by a professor’s office hours, pop into a Student Services office, or contact the Dean of their major.  We are here to promote their success.  If we can’t directly help the student, we will know the person who can and will make sure the two meet.

 

Students: RELAX and know you’re in good hands. College is fun and you’re going to do GREAT!

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Back to School: 5 Tips for Success

It’s a new academic year and college students must say farewell to summer vacation and prepare for their fall semester.  Regardless of discipline or grade level, the following five tips and tricks will better prepare college students for success:

1. ORGANIZE:

Tip: Buy a planner and write down all important dates such as the student tuition deadline, final day to add or drop a class, student orientation, first day and time of each class, etc.

Trick: Collect all course syllabi and transfer each assignment, test, or project’s due date for the entire semester onto the new planner.  This activity takes less than an hour and will save students major points by avoiding, “oops, I forgot that was due today”.

By-the-way:  Purchase your parking pass and text books early if you can’t buy them online.  This will save you hours of waiting in long lines during the first week of school.

2. INTRODUCTION:

Tip: Meeting your professors will help personalize your academic experience. Make sure they think you’re serious about earning a good grade in their class and that you are interested in the course topic (regardless of how you really feel about the subject).

Trick: Even though office hours are still a great way to introduce yourself, now you can find your professors on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Make a good cyber impression and they will take you seriously on the first day of class.

By-the-way: You’re social media pages should be professional before you reach out to professors.  If they’re not, clean it up.  College is the time that you, as an adult, must present yourself as a professional. Remember that employers use social media to screen out inappropriate job candidates by Googling your name.

3. GET STICKY:

Tip:Sticky Campus” refers to college campus activities that engage student participation. Many believe that students, who get involved with campus activities like sports, clubs, school government, campus jobs/internships, etc., tend to do better at school and graduate faster than students who only go to class.  Join at least one campus activity this semester and watch your network expand and opportunities come to you.

Trick:  Balance your time commitments.  Remember that class is your primary responsibility.  Only participate in campus activities as long as they don’t distract you from school.  In other words, don’t spread yourself too thin.

4. ACADEMIC ALLIES:

Tip:  Make sure that you have at least one class ally in each course.  This person can fill you in on assignments or notes if you miss a class, they can be someone to work with on a group assignment or study with for a big exam.

Trick: On the first day of class, strike up a conversation with another student and introduce yourself.  Then find them on Facebook (or another social website) to keep it causal and have easy communication about class.

5. RESOURCES:

Tip:  Even in the current academic budget crunch, colleges and universities provide their students with an array of free resources.  Knowing what support is available, a student’s job becomes much easier.  For example, it is common for colleges and universities to provide free writing centers, career centers, health centers, child day care, gyms, libraries, computer labs, study rooms, free movies and technology equipment, free student planners, concerts, art shows, job fairs, banking, mentoring, and psychiatric counseling.

Trick: Check online or with the campus information center for all free student resources in the beginning of the fall semester. Use them or at least stop by the office responsible for the resource and become familiar with how they can help you succeed.

Good luck and let me know if you have any other tips or tricks for college success.

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How to Increase Faculty Publication Rates

In higher education, the “publish or perish” environment presupposes an academic’s ability to construct, submit, and defend written positions while expanding preexisting research and theory.  It’s very important that faculty who seek research and tenured positions, be active publishers in peer-reviewed journals.  Unfortunately, only a small percentage of academics are actively publishing.  Current publication rates also seem to be disproportionate with the value and pressure higher education places on faculty to publish.  The number of publications and the integrity of those publications can either help or hinder faculty professional development (employment, promotion, tenure), professional value within the system (institutional or national recognition), and the chances of earning professional incentives (grants and awards).  As important as publications have been made within higher education, how can educational administration more effectively support faculty to publish?  The following suggestions are helpful publication interventions that increase faculty publication rates:

  • Writing-for-publication professional development courses, retreats, workshops, or consultations.  These strategies provide structure, writing timelines, goals, and instruction.  Ideally, the PD publication intervention is also fun; hosted in a motivating environment amongst like-minded researchers and writers.
  • Writing-for-publication support groups, clubs, teams, and social media forums. These strategies strengthen writer motivation, decrease writing anxiety, provide a reward system for successful publications, offer accountability measures, and create structured time dedicated for writing.  Facebook, acadamia.edu, and academic blogs are just a few examples of how social media can increase communication amongst writing group members.
  • Writing-for-publication co-author partnerships.  This strategy unites two academic writers with a common writing goal.  The relationship helps keep each author accountable or on task.  Co-authors also share research and writing responsibilities as well as provide editing support.  Co-authors may choose their writing partner from within their same discipline or establish a cross-discipline partnership to complement their expertise.
  • Writing-for-publication coaches or mentors. These strategies provide structure, accountability, instruction, lessons on writing processes and politics, practical writing exercises, and editing support.
  • Submit papers to cross-discipline, peer-reviewed journals.  This can increase the exposure rate and therefore, the acceptance rate into journals with paralleling research interests.
  • Strengthen undergraduate and graduate writing-for-publication cultures on campuses.  Indoctrinated with the motivation, experience, and skills needed to publish, students seeking professorship and research positions will demonstrate more consistent publication rates after graduation.

The scholarly peer-reviewed journal article has been a key indicator of an academic’s value in higher education.  Without a strong record of publication, many academics will be denied rewards such as external funding, promotion, tenure, or even employment.  The suggestions mentioned above provide structured interventions to streamline publication processes and increase faculty publication output rates.

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