Archive | Education Options

New Programs Keep Pace with Changing Healthcare Environment

By Glynn Cosker
Contributor, Online Learning Tips

Health information management (HIM) is an ever-evolving and vital field in the realm of health care. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the health information management sector is predicted to grow by 22 percent by 2022; occupations in nursing and the general healthcare field are also expected to grow by 19 percent by 2022.

HIM involves the secure analysis of digital and traditional medical information in every facet of health care with a few to providing the best patient care. Since the 2000s, traditional paper health records are gradually being replaced with Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Both hospital information systems and health human resources information systems (HRHIS) make up the world of HIM in the 2010s.nursing

Many U.S. colleges and universities now offer programs within the HIM field while also offering master’s degrees in nursing. One such school is American Public University (APU).

APU recently announced the addition of three new degree programs including the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management, and the Master of Science in Health Information Management. APU’s courses are offered online so students can weave studying into their already busy schedules.

“Our new Master’s in Nursing program has been designed to assist nurses in obtaining the necessary competencies and advanced knowledge outlined in the AACN Master’s Essentials to address the needs of today’s complex healthcare system,” stated Dr. Mandy T. Milot, APU’s Nursing Program Director. “The program was designed by scholarly nurses who are active in practice, and are leaders and educators in their fields. They have created a dynamic, interactive, and relevant curriculum that will contribute to advancing nursing practice and improvement of healthcare outcomes.”

Dr. Milot, who has 35 years’ experience in a variety of nursing roles in both the acute care and academic venues, said that APU’s Master’s in Nursing program will prepare students with the necessary skills and advanced training required in today’s complex and diverse healthcare industry in order to provide high-quality nursing care in a specialized role, such as the nurse leader or nurse educator.” Dr. Milot is referring to APU’s specialty tracks, Nursing Leadership and Nursing Education. Each learning track is tailored to each student’s specific needs and career goals.

HIM is here to stay. The Star Trek concept whereby we see doctors with handheld futuristic tablets displaying a patient’s entire medical snapshot (including easy access to 3D MRI results, x-rays etc.) is a concept that’s actually not too far off in our future.

APU hopes to become a mainstay for future generations of nursing and healthcare professionals.

Posted in Education Options, Healthcare Education

Advancing Education in the Realm of Electrical Engineering

By Brian Warnecke
Faculty Member, Electrical Engineering at American Public University

National Instruments (NI) recently held their annual NI Week Conference, the primary learning and networking event for users of LabVIEW and NI hardware. There are interactive technical sessions, workshops, case study presentations by academic and industry professionals, and panel discussions.

The two themes of NI Week 2015 this year were “Big Analog Data” and “Building the Internet of Things.” Big Analog Data refers to much of the data that engineers of every profession need. As much as we say it is a digital world, analog information is still the dominant type of data as most physical processes are really analog. The “Internet of Things” refers to all of the interconnected devices, like appliances and sensors for automation that are going to be joining us on the internet in the coming years. These devices are going to make our homes more efficient and make our transportation safer, among other benefits.

Keynote address at NI Week 2015. Photo credit: Brian Warnecke, APU.

Keynote address at NI Week 2015. Photo credit: Brian Warnecke, APU.

The keynote presentations each day highlighted these two themes in the field such as communications, biomedical, the smart electrical grid, automation, and robotics. These presentations were led by NI employees, but the presenters were the stars — designers from every field of electrical engineering, CEOs of technology companies, professors from world- class universities around the world, and even engineering students.

I, along with several American Public University (APU) STEM colleagues, attended workshops on LabVIEW, digital design, embedded systems, robotics, image processing and vision, data acquisition, and testing of electronic systems. The mixture of presenters and participants at NI Week is invaluable. In a workshop, we had the great opportunity to learn from the LabVIEW designers, get the perspective of other university professors, and learn about the applications from engineers in the industry.

NI unveiled multiple new hardware products during the week. Of particular interest to our APU faculty was new programmable logic device hardware that will be coming out later this year. The new hardware allows students with newer operating systems to integrate easier with the hardware and will give students exposure to modern digital design tools.

Other advancements are coming to hardware in the embedded systems and mechatronics areas. Those new products, combined with new integration information that we learned at the conference, will allow APU to remain at the forefront of universities when it comes to instructing on industry current tools. I am particularly excited by new directions that the industry is taking in integrating programmable logic with microprocessors to optimize the performance of digital and embedded systems. Beyond the performance improvements, APU can be instructing on tools that minimize design time and time to market for new innovations.

Another exiting development for APU students will be the introduction of an early term course on LabVIEW and NI hardware. This new course, ELEN 100, was formally structured during NI Week. This course will allow early term students to be exposed to engineering design and electrical concepts earlier than ever in our program. As students are getting started in their programs, we have the capability to give students a glimpse into where the degree program is leading them. This will allow students to better see the entire picture of their degree program as they get started.

These conferences are critical due to the rapid advances made by NI and demanded by the industry. In fact, the rate of advancement is so rapid that textbooks can often not be written before new versions are being released. So these events are critical in enabling us to come up to speed faster with new developments and learn best practices from both industry and academic professionals.

Beyond this conference, APU professors, instructors and academic leaders are going to continue their integration of modern design tools into the electrical engineering curriculum. Additional training needs for instructors were identified and we will be working on supplementing our knowledge base to continue to deliver a high quality educational experience to you. Lifelong learning is critical to career growth and your instructors are committed to demonstrating that attribute.

Throughout your degree program at APU, you will have the opportunity to use LabVIEW in many of your courses. You will have the opportunity, as you approach the conclusion of your degree, to leverage that experience to achieve certifications in LabVIEW to supplement your education as you enter or advance through your engineering career. Start thinking about those certifications as you work through your degree program.

NOTE: The most exciting news from NI Week was that the APU Electrical Engineering program was featured at NI Week. Dean Dan Benjamin was on stage during the academic keynote address to NI Week attendees to present the success of the APU BSEE program. The academic keynote was on “Connecting Teaching, Research, and Industry. The keynote video is available now and online and Dan Benjamin is on stage at about 44:30.

NI Week 2015 was a personally amazing experience for me. I made new academic and industry contacts. I saw exciting and dynamic new directions that we can take our program and curriculum. I learned from some of the top electrical system designers in the world. I am already looking forward to NI Week 2016.

About the Author

Brian Warnecke was awarded a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Wright State University in Dayton, OH. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Wright State University and a master’s in math education from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, UT. With industry experience in the semiconductor industry and digital design, Mr. Warnecke is a faculty member in physics and electrical engineering at APU.

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Scholar's Desk

Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Courses: How They Translate to Real World Success

mba-success-guidanceBy Gregory A. Cronce, MBA, MAOM, PMP, CBM
Faculty Member, Business Administration at American Public University

MBA courses teach you how to make better decisions. Yes, of course you will learn new skills because they are new, but upon reflection, you see the goal is to get you thinking differently. Of course, you need an in depth understanding of operations, project management, accounting, finance, and so on, but they are a means to an end. Your journey will involve scores of case study discussions, simulations, and team assignments to develop skills to make decisions.

Coursework in an MBA program involves a wide range of courses, from accounting and business strategy to human resources and marketing. The higher-level individualized coursework will give you a foundation for your specialization and theoretical aspects that cross the lines of many industries, businesses, and operations.

Consider an MBA for Mid-Career Advancement: Those with experience may be best suited for the Program

Cron.com states, “Mid-Career Workers” are professionals with ten or more years of professional experience. If you are making a career change or transitioning from the military, the skills you learn in a MBA program will transfer across many different operations, and it will help increase your competitiveness!

An MBA course, graduate certificate or MBA program may be the answer. Returning to school for many may seem like a challenging, overwhelming and risky task, but it can be worth the effort. The Graduate Management Admission Council states “59 percent of employers reported they were very satisfied with MBA graduate employees’ work performances.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, “job growth outlook for MBA holders may be as high as 11 percent higher through 2022, some fields like securities, commodities, and financial analysis may be higher yet.” WetFeet.com, a job seeking guide site states “many business schools are focusing on candidates who have some real world experience.” Real-world experience will give you more opportunity to contribute within the classroom to apply your experience to the problems and case studies you will solve in your courses and the program.

What DO MBA courses teach you?

MBA courses teach you to look at business problems holistically. Most business problems can be broken down into analytical frameworks, such as risk assessments, cost-benefit analyses, and strategic plans, that you can apply to any problem encountered. MBA courses prepare you to solve business problems. The courses teach you how to plan, and design solutions for any business problem through a structured way of thinking. Without this mindset, you run the risk of being too rigid, too slow, or too limiting in your solutions. This process can be applied in a variety of situations from one course to another, from one business problem to another.

MBA courses teach you to understand and interpret financial statements, marketing plans, market analyses, audit reports, and business development plans etc…This is the language of business, and understanding how to analyze and understand these documents will tell you the health of your operations and the strength of a vendor’s business. The courses will develop your analytical abilities and teach you to research, develop written analyses, and you will become more polished in your written and communication skills. You will ask better questions and make better decisions because you will know the difference between cash-based accounting and the accrual method, operations and project management, earned value and net present value…etc. This way of thinking analytically will become second nature and give you the ability to view all situations from a diverse analytical perspective. You can implement what you learn in the classroom into your job on a daily basis as you attend. MBA courses provide real-world problems with real-world solutions and applications.

Is the cost and time commitment of an MBA worth it?

Have you found yourself unable to advance in your career with many years invested? Business courses can give you new skill sets that complement your experience. Many corporations target MBAs, and the federal government has done so for over 20 years according to GovCentral. Many agencies have sought candidates with MBAs for both contract appointment programs and long-term positions and average salaries generally tend to be higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree, according to Indeed.com.

References

Wetfeet, Who Should Get an MBA and Who Shouldn’t, on the internet at http://schools.wetfeet.com/advice-tools/career-planning/who-should-get-an-mbaand-who-shouldnt (visited 8/19/15)

Cron.com, What Does Mid-Career Professional Mean? on the internet at http://work.chron.com/midcareer-professional-mean-29000.html (visited 8/19/15)

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), Corporate Recruiters’ Survey, 2011 General Data Report, on the internet at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED540683.pdf (visited 8/19/15) –

Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012, on the internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-4 (visited on 8/19/15)

About the Author

Gregory A. Cronce is a retired automotive industry executive and has served in leadership roles for over 25 years. He also held leadership roles in education, and government positions. He has taught management and business courses at the university level since 2002 as well as leadership, quality improvement and lean manufacturing training in the corporate setting. Currently, Greg is a Professor of Business, American Public University -School of Business.

Greg has attained a lot of education in my 55 years, this includes a PhD (ABD), two Masters Degrees: Masters of Business Administration (MBA-Management Concentration), Masters of Arts-Organizational Management (MAOM-Human Resources), Four Undergraduate Degrees: B.Sc.-Business (Management), B.Sc-Engineering (Electro-Mechanical), B.Sc-Organizational Management, B.Sc-Aviation Management and an Associate of Arts. He is a U.S. Navy Veteran with eight years active duty and enjoy shooting sports, reading technical material, competitive bowling (Professional Bowling Association, PBA 50), and golf. 

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning, Scholar's Desk

Prepare For College With This Simple Prep For Success Plan

digital-learnerBy William Arruda
Forbes

It’s that time of year again, when parents and students are preparing for a new academic year. This is the perfect time to develop a mindset for career success, starting with your reputation on campus and in internships, leading to the moment you land that ideal job after graduation. It all begins before you set foot on campus. Here’s the easy prep guide for college students.

Set goals. You aren’t going to be able to do everything, and you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself from the start. Set realistic goals that are achievable but challenging, spurring growth. Visualize the differences you want to see in yourself by the end of the semester. What do you want to learn? What skills do you want to strengthen? Where do you want to expend your effort? What’s your ultimate goal? Answer these questions and stay focused by frequently reminding yourself of your goals.

Prepare for stress. As Stress Coach Jordan Friedman explains in this video, going off to university can be extremely stressful. Develop a plan to manage and minimize stress. Friedman provides a quick stress relief technique – and it’s particularly popular with students. Use it before exams, when you are feeling homesick or when you just want to get focused.

Build your brand. Finding your ideal job upon graduation starts on day 1 when you begin school. Think about the activities you pursue, class projects you undertake, social causes for which you volunteer and the many other roles you take on. How do you deliver value to those around you? Align your choices with what you want to be known for, and with your ultimate first-job goal. These are important steps to building your personal brand.

Get your digital house in order. Let’s face it. People are using Google to learn about you. In this new world where many first impressions are formed online, you need to make sure the virtual you is congruent with the real you. Here’s the four-step process to make sure your digital brand will work for you and not against you:

  1. Egosurf (Google yourself). Find out how you show up online. Check your profiles at your preferred social media. Take time to sweep away the digital dirt – content that muddies up what you want people to know about you. Start your college experience with a clean, authentic virtual picture of you.
  2. Determine how you want to connect as you build your professional network. Will you send Facebook friend requests, LinkedIn connection requests, or follow them on Twitter? Something else? Your classmates, university friends, professors, guest speakers, and career-services staff will all become valuable networking contacts throughout your entire career. Get in the habit of virtually connecting – and staying connected with them.
  3. Build professional content. If you are a freshman, an online search of you likely turns up mostly personal information with little professional content. You want to get a head start with professional information that will be attractive as you seek internships as well as volunteer opportunities on campus. The best place to start is with LinkedIn. Build your LinkedIn profile baseline with a professional headshot, and a compelling headline and summary. Then it’s easy to add to it as you get more experience. And remember to use your college projects (presentations, reports, mock marketing campaigns, etc.) as content for your profile. Think of your profile as a repository of all your successes, and update it regularly.
  4. Make a plan. The best way to keep your content up-to-date is to regularly engage. Egosurf at least every other month and commit to modifying your online profiles regularly so your online ID is both accurate and compelling to people who are making decisions about you.

Have fun! Fun is an important part of school and an important part of the learning process. Choosing a major should be an expression of your idea of fun, delivering activities that continually amplify your personal brand. In addition, we learn more and better when we inject play into the equation. In fact, in a recent Washington Post article, educational leadership expert Sean Slade reminds us that “brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory.” If you think of college as grueling and stressful and put too much pressure on yourself, you could actually undermine your success. What’s more, discovering how to enjoy college is great preparation for finding joy in the world of work – and that’s the ultimate definition of career success.

Learn more about building your personal brand. Download my complete list of 50 eye-opening questions to ask yourself when uncovering your brand here.

Also on Forbes:

The Best Jobs For College Students

This article was written by William Arruda from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

MBA vs EMBA: The 5 Main Differences Between Both [Infographic]

traditional-MBA-optionsBy Dan Scalco
Business2Community

If you’re looking to distinguish yourself in the business world, getting a master’s degree could be the best decision you make. It can lay the foundation upon which you can grow to become an executive, president, or even CEO. However, there are a lot of questions you must answer prior to making a final decision.

  • How much does the degree cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What pace will it go at?

Your answers to these questions will determine the type of master’s program you should go with – EMBA (Executive MBA) or traditional MBA.

Since an MBA and an EMBA program have many similarities, prospective applicants often find themselves wondering what is the difference between the two? This article (along with the accompanying infographic) breaks down both programs to help you identify which is best for you.

1. The Students

The average age of an EMBA student is between 32 and 38 years old. While most MBA students have only spent a few years in the corporate world, EMBA students tend to have at least a decade of experience under their belt.

If a prospective student already holds a supervisor or managerial position, they may find that they are more qualified for an EMBA program than an MBA. Since the professional network you gain while receiving an advanced degree is often an important factor in which type of program to pursue, higher-level executives find the stricter requirements of entering an EMBA program an attractive quality.

2. The Cost

While the cost of attending either program is comparable, what differs is the opportunity to be reimbursed for tuition by your employer. Since an EMBA program does not require that you quit your job, you may be eligible to receive partial or full reimbursement for tuition from the company you work for. Also, the average payback period for an EMBA degree is only 17 months.

Businesses view employees receiving advanced degrees as an investment in their successes as well, and therefore are willing to cover the costs. If your employer assists in paying for your degree, they may have you sign a contract ensuring that you will remain an employee for a set number of years after graduating.

3. The Pace

A full-time MBA is typically completed in two years, while an EMBA can similarly be finished in two to three. The reason why a student could complete an EMBA in the same amount of time as an MBA (while logging less class hours) is because an EMBA runs at a faster pace and has fewer prerequisites for graduation. You’ll learn more about the differences in curriculum below and why an EMBA is structured differently than an MBA.

4. The Curriculum

Designed to meet the needs of an executive level employee, an EMBA has a course load slightly different than that of an MBA program. Key differences are the absence of electives and removal of the “concentration” or “specialization” that is a component of many MBA curriculums.

Electives are usually present in an MBA program to help students familiarize themselves with all the sectors of business, even fields they do not foresee themselves working in. While this can help entry-level employees understand the bigger picture of how corporations function, it is usually not necessary for those at a higher level. Even though exploration can often lead to discovery of new passions, it is time consuming. For executive level employees already on a clear career path, omitting electives is the most effective way for them to earn their degree in a timely manner without compromising any core classes.

Another difference between an EMBA and MBA course load is that EMBA students are rarely required to choose a concentration. When this type of specialization is a part of the curriculum, students are forced to take additional classes to meet this requirement. An EMBA lifts this obligation for the lack of relevancy it has on executive level managers.

5. The Class Schedule

In accordance with the nine to five workweek that many of its students are tied to, EMBA programs have a flexible schedule that aims to not conflict with full-time jobholders. Classes are typically held in the evenings and weekends, with some programs requiring full Friday availability. While earning a degree while working full-time is a demanding feat, the EMBA class schedule caters to its student in the best way possible so that they can balance their responsibilities and achieve success in the workplace and the classroom.


MBA vs. EMBA Differences

Infographic source

This article was written by Dan Scalco from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

The Secret to Getting a Job After College: Pick a University That Offers Experiential Learning

hands-on-educationBy Amy Rees Anderson
Forbes

The approach of most higher education institutions is completely backwards today. Rather than first year college students picking their classes based on their goal of a specific dream job, they end up picking classes based on what the University deems to be generally required, the classes their friends are signing up for, and what time a class would require them to get out of bed in the morning.

Students spend their first few years of college taking “General Education” required classes which they are told will be useful to them in any job they choose – things like social sciences, art and music, literature, history, foreign language, and math (’cause all of those are really necessary for every job that exists…right?). Then, after they have suffered through a few years of classes on several topics they will never, and I do mean ever use again in their life, they finally get to start picking classes in the area they think they might have an interest in. Now keep in mind that at this point they typically still have had little to no education on the actual jobs that exist in each industry, nor what those jobs entail doing day to day, nor have they been exposed to actually see people working in those jobs firsthand. Nonetheless they must choose one so they can spend a few more years taking classes on their chosen area of interest until they graduate with a degree, at which point they go out into the world only to discover that either their understanding of what jobs existed was way off, or they get a job and find out they hate doing it. And all of that for the mere price of four years college tuition and housing. Awesome!

No…not awesome at all.

When asking our High School and early University Students what they want to be when they grow up, the overwhelming answer is, “I don’t know”, because they honestly don’t know! But whose fault is that? We ask our young people to decide what they want to be when they grow up but we give them almost nothing in the way of educating and exposing them to their options.

For example, if you were to poll high school and first-year college students nationwide and ask them what actual jobs exist in the field of “Marketing” I would venture to guess that the majority of them have absolutely no idea. Why? Because no one has taught them. Sure, they are taught that the field of Marketing exists, but they are never taught what actual jobs exist in that field, nor what each jobs day-to-day duties would entail, nor are they taught what specific skills they will need to learn in order to obtain one of those jobs.

Let’s take another example such as the field of Software Development. Students are taught that they can become a computer programmer, but students aren’t taught about all the other jobs that exist in that field – such as doing User-Interface Design where you design and draw screens for what a software program will look like, or a Spec Writer who is tasked with writing the specifications for how the software should flow and what each button should do when pushed. Perhaps if we were to spend time teaching about these additional jobs in the Software Development field we might even entice more of our young ladies to get interested in pursuing this field. In my own experience of running a software company, I found that women often exceled more than men did in the creative and user-experience based aspects of software development, yet we struggled to find women who had gone into this field because at a young age it was never really presented to them as one of the options to consider.

We might do a great job of teaching students how to add one plus one, but we fail miserably when it comes to helping them understand why knowing how to add those numbers matters to their life, and how they could possibly apply that specific knowledge to be able to make a living for themselves someday.

If we truly want to affect change in our educational system the High Schools and Universities must flip their approach:

First, during High School students need to be taught about the real-life jobs that exist in each industry. Then, as a basic requirement for the first year at every College, students need to be given opportunities to have exposure to the jobs that they think they would have an interest in so they can see firsthand what doing that job everyday would look like before we expect them to make a determination of what they want to be when they grow up.

Universities need to make experiential learning the very first General Education Required Class for every student during their first year of college. Doing so will give students a vision of their future and get them excited about a specific field of study right out of the gate. They will also have a better understanding of what classes to choose in order to learn those actual skills needed to get into the particular job they want. Just imagine the difference it would make in the lives and future of our young people, as well as the difference it would make for all the prospective employers looking to hire them when they graduate.

According to a McKinsey study fewer than half of employers today feel that new graduates are adequately prepared for entry-level positions. Employers need higher education institutions to both deepen the relevance of their curriculum as well as do more to prepare their graduates for the working world. Part of preparing the graduates for the working world is helping them learn the skills most in demand today which are problem solving, teamwork and communication (see survey findings). Each of these skills is best learned through the hands-on experience gained through experiential learning opportunities.

Employers play a crucial role in the success of these programs which develop their future workforce. Employers must actively partner with Universities to offer internships and project opportunities for the students. Through these programs Employers get first pick of future candidates, and the success of these programs is shown (see previous Forbes article) by the fact that more than half of companies with 100 or more employees end up offering full-time jobs to their interns.

No doubt the future of higher education is going to belong to those institutions who provide students experiential learning opportunities first and foremost. One example of such an institution is Knod. Graham Doxey, who founded Neumont University, a project-based learning experience, is taking experiential learning one step further with a program based wholly online. Knod not only provides an immersive, hands-on experience for students, but also the relationships to build a career and livelihood – all while earning a bachelor’s degree. Knod focuses on the experiences, not the theories. Students sharpen their experience chops by working with real companies on real projects as part of their learning, not as a tangential activity.

The most memorable and valuable experiences of our formative years don’t happen in the classroom – it is in doing that we learn our greatest lessons and ultimately reap our greatest rewards.

~Amy Rees Anderson (follow my daily blogs at www.amyreesanderson.com/blog )

This article was written by Amy Rees Anderson from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

Love of Learning is the Key to Success in the Jobless Future

lifelong-learning-jobless-futureBy Vivek Wadhwa
The Washington Post

Not long ago, schoolchildren chose what they wanted to be when they grew up, and later selected the best college they could gain admission to, spent years gaining proficiency in their fields, and joined a company that had a need for their skills. Careers lasted lifetimes.

Now, by my estimates, the half-life of a career is about 10 years. I expect that it will decrease, within a decade, to five years. Advancing technologies will cause so much disruption to almost every industry that entire professions will disappear. And then, in about 15—20 years from now, we will be facing a jobless future, in which most jobs are done by machines and the cost of basic necessities such as food, energy and health care is negligible — just as the costs of cellphone communications and information are today. We will be entering an era of abundance in which we no longer have to work to have our basic needs met. And we will gain the freedom to pursue creative endeavors and do the things that we really like.

I am not kidding. Change is happening so fast that our children may not even need to learn how to drive. By the late 2020s, self-driving cars will have proven to be so much safer than human-driven ones that we will be debating whether humans should be banned from public roads; and clean energies such as solar and wind will be able to provide for 100 percent of the planet’s energy needs and cost a fraction of what fossil fuel— and nuclear-based generation does today.

A question that parents often ask me is, given that these predictions are even remotely accurate, what careers their children should pursue: whether it is best to steer them into science, engineering, and technology (STEM) fields, because it is these disciplines that are making the advances happen. The STEM—humanities dichotomy has been a traditional difficulty for parents, because English, psychology, history, and arts majors have been at a financial disadvantage over the past few decades. Parents have encouraged their children to go into fields such as finance, engineering, law and medicine, because they’re where the big money has been. But that is changing.

I tell them not to do what our parents did, telling us what to study and causing us to treat education as a chore; that instead, they should encourage their children to pursue their passions and to love learning. It doesn’t matter whether they want to be artists, musicians, or plumbers; the key is for children to understand that education is a lifelong endeavor and to be ready to constantly reinvent themselves.

We will all need to be able to learn new skills, think critically, master new careers, and take advantage of the best opportunities that come our way.

Technology is now as important a skill as are reading, writing, and mathematics. Everyone needs to be able to use computers, search for information on the Internet, use word processors and spreadsheets, and download apps. These skills are now common and useful in every profession. People who master social media gain an advantage in sharing knowledge and connecting with others. Kids in Silicon Valley who can write code have an edge in starting technology companies.

But this too is changing, as it becomes possible for anyone to write apps and snap together industrial-strength computer systems using powerful new software-development tools.  For the foreseeable future, professions such as data science, software architecture and bioengineering will command premiums; but design and the soft sciences will gain increasing importance.

Steve Jobs built the world’s most valuable company by focusing on design. He showed that, though good engineering is important, what matters the most is great design. You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools, but it’s much harder to turn engineers into artists.  An engineering degree is very valuable, but the sense of empathy that comes from music, arts, literature, and psychology provides a big advantage in design. A history major who has studied the Enlightenment or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire gains an insight into the human elements of technology and the importance of its usability. A psychologist is more likely to know how to motivate people and to understand what users want than is an engineer who has only worked in the technology trenches. A musician or artist is king in a world in which you can 3D-print anything that you can imagine.

Education will always be a platform on which to build success, but it really doesn’t matter what you study. My advice to students is to complete a bachelor’s degree, at the least, in fields in which they have the most interest. They should go to any good school and not obsess over joining expensive elite institutions that will burden them with debt and limit their life options. Through college, they will gain valuable social skills and learn how to interact and work with others; to compromise; and to deal with rejection, failure, and change. Most importantly, they will learn what they don’t know and where to find new knowledge when they need it. And we can hope that they will develop a deep passion for learning.

All of this uncertainty and change can seem unsettling.  As Peter Diamandis has said, “on the road to abundance there will be turbulence.”  The light at the end of this tunnel, however, may be a world in which the pursuit of enlightenment is more cherished than the pursuit of money.

This article was written by Vivek Wadhwa from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

Student Profile: From Retail Management to Leadership Author

American Public University Alumnus, Henry Jordan

American Public University Alumnus, Henry Jordan

Interview with APU Alumnus, Henry Jordan

The following profile is the second in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Degree earned: M.A., Management (2015), and B.A., Management (2013), American Public University

What have you been up to since earning your master’s degree in management at APU?

Since finishing my master’s degree at APU, I have been doing some long overdue travel with my wife Caroline, and promoting my new book – “Leading Through Relationship First.” We love to travel and find that experiencing other cultures around the world can improve our perspective and critical thinking skills. We recently returned from Australia where the people were just fantastic.

Tell us about your new book “Leading Through Relationship First.”

Several years ago, I realized a need for more discussion and emphasis on the topic of servant leadership. When I met Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart in the late 1980’s, it had a major impact on the type of leader I would seek to become.

I began my career at Walmart in 1985 as a part-time associate, and retired as a senior vice president in 2013. When I first met Sam Walton, I was a young assistant store manager. Mr. Sam pulled our small management team aside and sat us down for a cup of coffee. He spent time getting to know us before he began evaluating our business. He got down on one knee and talked to the associates as if he were just another member of our store’s team. Throughout my career, many people impacted my performance and the type of leadership style I would possess – one of them being Sam Walton.

“Leading Through Relationship First” walks through the critical elements of building, motivating, and empowering a great team – all under the umbrella of servant leadership. The book contains many best practices that can help any leader improve the results and effectiveness of their leadership style.

How did your studies at APU prepare you for your success in your career and in writing this book?

I have always enjoyed writing but needed more structure, discipline, and training on how to properly convey my message. As a student at APU, I was afforded the opportunity to get a great deal of practice with my writing. During my 28-year leadership career in retail, I gained many insights that I wanted to share in the form of a published work. When the time came to write my book, I felt confident, prepared, and inspired to begin the process. Not only did my education improve my technical writing skills, but it also helped me to broaden my perspective and more openly consider how various groups would perceive my message. Through continually hearing the thoughts of my peers on class related topics, I was able to develop an approach that would appeal to the majority of people – focusing more on what we all have in common as opposed to our differences.

My educational journey also helped me to realize that there was a future for me in the teaching field. As I worked with various professors and students throughout my courses, I found that I really enjoyed this environment and began to pursue my qualifications so that one day I could teach at the college academic level.

What are some key things a reader will learn from your book?

It places emphasis on people and relationships as the foundation for building a great team. Expectation setting is then built upon that foundation. Teaching, training, and employee development is discussed as part of aligning everyone on the team within the expectations that are agreed upon. The book also discusses the need for making critical adjustments within the team when necessary to ensure maximum potential is achieved.

It is my hope that the reader will be reminded that it takes relationships to establish trust, trust to establish commitment, and commitment to achieve great things through people.

What fundamentals of management, from the program, have you been able to take with you into your career?

Throughout my academic journey, we examined many aspects of management and leadership. Of particular interest to me was the presence of ongoing change in the world and in the environments that we as leaders function in each day. I was reminded throughout our studies how important it is to remember the fundamental values that never change, in spite of various shifting circumstances. Ethical behavior, kindness, thoughtful gestures, and humble attitudes have always been, and will always be, part of the characteristic of great leaders.

One of my professors, Dr. John Moore really inspired me. Dr. Moore’s teaching style is much like that of my own. Throughout my leadership career in business, I had frequent and numerous opportunities to engage others in a teaching environment. Dr. Moore helped me to realize that teaching others in the academic environment can be equally, if not more engaging. I thoroughly admire his approach and the manner in which he leads others in their academic objectives.

What is your favorite thing about online learning?

The online learning environment is extremely accessible. With the busy nature of life today, we all have more on our plate than we seem to be able to tackle. Online learning allows the student to access the classroom when and where it is best for them. This unlimited access is extremely valuable to me as a working professional and a student.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love the great outdoors and also enjoy traveling to new places. My wife Caroline and I are avid scuba divers and love the water. I also enjoy staying current with world events and technological trends that affect the manner in which people respond to  various leadership approaches.

Online education isn’t a one size fits all, but it’s a great opportunity for those looking to increase their knowledge in current areas of expertise, or to look at new avenues for growth. Our student profile series will give a face and personality to our dedicated online learners at the university. Interested in learning more about your online education options? Explore our schools and programs at APU.

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