Showing posts from September, 2011

Dream job (at a local institution)

So I recently applied to a position that would be my "dream job". It's working with veterans, at an administrative level, at an institution that serves a large number of students and vets. It's a full-time, grant-funded position, but it's what I really (really, really, really) want to do. It would be like the genie or fairy granting one wish for the career path you want.
But, like most things, it has made me reflect on what I want, where I want my career to go, and what my ultimate goal is. It started with a thought: I want to work, advise, and counsel veterans in an institution of higher learning. Ok, great. That's a huge description for one person's job. And then came the doubt: can I make enough changes to effect enough people to make it my final goal? Nope, probably not. Helping even one vet would make my degree worthwhile, but helping in the large-scale would probably be the career goal. Ok, so then what is the final career goal? I probably need to b…

GI Bill in the news...

8 For-Profit Colleges Collect More than $1-Billion in Veterans' Education Benefits
Why I can No Longer Teach U.S. Military History
Serving Soldiers?
For-profit colleges getting more GI Bill dollars
Highlighting Flow of Military Benefits to For-Profits, Senators Seek Changes in Key Rule
Above are some articles focusing on veterans in higher ed from this week. Every time I see an article with "veterans" or "GI Bill" in the title along side some mention of higher ed I get excited. But most of the articles don't even mention problems students face (other than a drop-out rate). They don't mention services provided, support structures, development, committment, or that they are high-risk students. They talk about how for-profit institutions some how trap them into an education. They discuss the 90-10 rule and how a senator claims the GI BIll was left out due to a technicality. Along with the frustrations of finding a job, attempting to get my husband back to s…

Budgets and Divides on Campus

There are lots of articles and research out there on how institutions of higher education can solve budget problems. I was reading this article, and I thought it was rather well-written and explained a lot about the research of budget cutting. And then I read the comments (there were 13 when I read them). There are many comments about the "problems" in higher ed, such as unions or administration or "student services" (I like that it was put in quotes).
I read Inside Higher Ed a lot, mainly because there is no subscription fee, and I cannot really afford to subscribe to The Chronicle of Higher Education. While the articles can be amazing and discuss really interesting topics, I find the comments (and sometimes the articles) to be in two or three categories (disclaimer: broad generalizations are coming, entire papers could be done on each topic). The first is faculty. They generally have the highest degree attainable in their field and they either focus on research o…

First-year Needs

When I was a Resident Assistant I primarily worked with First-Year Students. It was such a great experience! You could really see the students developfrom high school students into (mostly) independent adults. I didn't know much about theory back then, but it was clear that their behavior and attitudes changed throughout the two semesters of living in the First-Year Residence Hall Program. Now that I look back, it was a great program and some-what ground breaking. I participated in a professional-level committee for piloting a campus-wide first-year residential experience. We utilized programs from around the country and it was great to see work at that level while I was still a student.
There was a blog post this morning about first-year programming and the needs of first year students. All of what she states is true, the transition from high school to college can be difficult and overwhelming. First-year programming generally tries to alleviate a lot of the stress and provides a …

An Opportunity to Move On

Once upon a time I worked in an office environment, at Gold Institution. Initially I loved my job, I enjoyed working for my supervisor, learning new things, working with new clients, and using my skills. My supervisor, Greta, was amazing. She was well-educated, well-spoken, and believed in learning from mistakes and not punishing them. While working for Greta I also picked up a part-time job doing some consulting work, I needed to take two days off in order to finish the project for the consulting position. Greta immediately granted my request and wanted to know more about what I was doing and how she could better utilize my skills.
Greta was let go shortly after that due to both politics and reorganization. My supervisor then changed to Jane. Jane was a control freak, in many ways. Any mistake or oversight was looked over to the nth degree and I was given many talkings-to. I was given "freedom" to do many new things, because of the reorganization, but everything, and I mean…

Critically thinking about restaurants

Restaurant: There are some opportunities available at a restaurant (Marge's) including bartending, serving, and managing. I know (or rather knew, they are no longer there) two manager at Marge's, as does my General Manager (GM), and I offered to bartend a few days a week (they had lost all but 2). My offer was rejected, which is Marge's management's choice, and I accepted gracefully.
I recently heard a few new things about Marge's; one was that it was dirty, not in a health inspector sense, but in that it hasn't been kept up by staff and management. Another was that ticket times, the amount of it time takes for the server to input the food to the time the food leaves the kitchen, was unacceptable. The last one I heard was surprising, and that was that all of the staff members seemed to really like their GM. This was surprising because through previous conversations I was told that the GM was difficult to work for, had certain idiosyncrasies that made it difficul…

Research, veterans, and passion

My thesis from my Master's Program is on the transition veterans experience going from active duty to full-time student at a four-year institution. My husband inspired the original research, he was attending a local institution (ABC) for a degree in engineering. He had several years of experience from the Navy directly related to his new field and although this ABC refused to grant him very much credit for his experience and previous schooling, he was excited. He attended a few classes, always one at a time (he jokes he's on the 12 year plan), and we found various roadblocks and attitudes that kept him from enjoying his time on ABC's campus. One instructor's actions made me so mad I had to keep myself from calling him, his supervisor, and his supervisor's supervisor. 
So, I started doing research, and found that there wasn't much research on how to help students who are veterans or military personnel. I did find a few organizations who wanted to help veterans, H…