Tag Archives: DeVry University

classroom-update

Experts say quality education equals quality jobs for Arizona

The formula is simple: W = $. A well-qualified, educated workforce equals high-paying, deeply entrenched Arizona jobs and statewide economic growth.

“There are too many buzzwords and not enough solutions,” muses Rick Heumann, Chandler’s vice-mayor and a passionate education advocate. “If we don’t do something now, we’re going to lose an entire generation. The legislature cannot continue to starve schools and colleges and expect the economy to grow. Incentives will not overcome lack of qualified workforce.”

Heumann, and other business leaders also say that the solutions are more than just funding. It’s a challenge through the whole system to create opportunities and relevance for today’s students to become tomorrow’s well-qualified workforce.

“Arizona education has to produce the talent needed to find a job and fill the gaps in the workplace,” says Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “We need to create more robust opportunities to inform students about career opportunities and the need for education.”

The Arizona business community is finding opportunities and step-by-step trying to bring change to the state’s education system. This is a marked contrast from political attacks on Common Core that one business leader confided are demonstrations that the legislature just doesn’t understand education or economic development.”

“There’s too much rote and not enough reason,” sighs Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc. “America is a world power because we know how to think. We’re losing our edge. Not only does STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) need to be at the core of what’s being taught, students must see relevancy to real life and learn to be creative and critical thinkers. It amounts to a needed change in the way we teach.”

Student retention through high school

“Ensuring that all our students are graduating from high school is simply the biggest priority,” sums Cathleen Barton, Arizona education manager for Intel. “We need students to graduate and be career- or college-ready,” she adds.

Study-after-study shows that students need education to get ahead. Barry Broome, CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council says that education is part of good economic development. “Improving education is a long-term investment for Arizona. Right now, only a small percentage of high schools generate half our college enrollment. That needs to change,” he says.

“We’re losing students at an unacceptable rate,” worries Bob Enderle, director of community relations at Medtronic. “About a quarter of our students don’t graduate high school, and that rate is higher in ethnically diverse populations.”

“Making education connect; making it more relevant will help keep students in school,” echoes Dave Cano, the company’s senior manager for continuous improvement and a member of Grand Canyon University’s STEM External Advisory Board. “When students don’t graduate, they earn less, the spend less and the add more costs to the system.”

Heumann adds that workers in minimum wage jobs do not earn enough to cover the costs of their services. “We need to help our students qualify for better jobs and then we need to make sure we have the jobs in the market,” he says. “With a high-paying job, a worker adds more value to the Arizona economy.”

Better education means a better economy

Eve Ross, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., director of public policy and strategic initiatives Ross about the vicious cycle, “Students are not getting a connection between what’s being learned and how it applies to careers. There are many well-paying careers that require some college, but not necessarily a four-year or graduate degree,” she says. “We need a whole class of student understanding and interested in manufacturing. We’re not talking about a worker tightening bolts on a parade of black Fords. We’re talking about workers who can see how things are made, and come up with ideas to make it better.”

“It’s a simple formula for economic growth. If we can’t attract well-paying careers, Arizona is not going to collect tax revenue for basic services,” she says. “We need a workforce who can read and understand a workplace; students who can do the math and innovate.”

Arizona does education well, but in pockets, says Koerber-Walker, “Schools are short on resources and there are many gaps creating ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ We’re at the bottom of the barrel in too many ways with education. Business will not come if kids are prepared for the jobs.”

The investment in education for tomorrow’s economy comes at a crucial time. Arizona has invested millions of dollars to ready the education system for Common Core standards. “Common Core came out of the business sector,” explains Broome. “Industry needs a uniform standard by which is can compare education achievement to the same standards in every state. This is going to create some concern in Arizona when the results start coming in.”

Building passion for learning

“The world is rapidly changing. Tomorrow’s workforce needs to be able to adapt to a rapidly changing world.” Hal Halladay is the chief people officer for Infusionsoft, “The system needs to focus on training and teaching students to love learning. Education does not end at graduation. Students must be able to continue to learn in order to be able to handle global change.”

Medtronic has jumped into the partnering role with education. It’s been incredibly rewarding and equally frustrating. “We tried to bring students to demonstrate relevancy between what they’re learning and career opportunities, but the process was filled with road blocks,” says Ederle. “We ended up bringing in teachers as interns. One of the science instructors going through the program said it would change the way he taught physics. That’s a success, as we see it.”

Connecting science and technology to something students understand is the key of generating a passion for education. Zylstra talks about the Arizona SciTech Festival, “We had a physics professor talk about the science of baseball. All of the sudden, the kids were seeing how math and physics are in the world relevant to their interests. It’s this type of change we need in education to connect students to learning.”

“We have a mismatch between skills and opportunity,” Barton emphasizes. “Jobs are changing too fast, and education is not changing rapidly enough to keep up. We need to take schools to the next level of teaching.”

Koerber-Walker is concerned that there has been so much focus on what needed to be learned to pass the standardized tests, students weren’t given an opportunity to understand how to use the learning. “There needs to be improvement in outcomes,” she explains. “Students are lacking in soft skills. They need to learn critical thinking, problem solving and an ability to write and communicate.”

“We’re getting good workers coming out of college,” comments Halladay. “The problem is that while the students have the technical skills, they are not getting training on how to function in a face-to-face environment. They need an ability to adapt to changes and creatively solve challenges.”

Partnership part of a solid solution

“This is not going to be resolved by just giving schools more money,” Zylstra says. “It start with motivating parents to be participants in their child’s education. It requires business to partner with schools.” Enderle and Cano at Medtronic, agree. Barton and Heumann cited examples in their conversation.

Heumann doesn’t mince words. “We’re not competing with Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi for jobs. We’re competing with Texas, California, Washington and New York. Our education investment needs to be at their levels, not the bottom of the heap.”

“We need to re-fund education. The way education is funded does not reflect the needs of business in Arizona,” suggests Koerber-Walker. “Teachers are spending major portions of their own incomes supplying classrooms. That has to stop. We need to invest some dollars to provide schools with the tools to teach the workers we want to offer new business.”

“We have a lot of thoughtful people involved in the process of bettering our schools and workforce. In business, we know that if you don’t invest in training, you start losing ground to competition.” Barton is listing off the solutions she’d like to see for schools. “We want teachers to have the resources to make the curriculum relevant to keep students engaged.”

“Charter schools need to have the same public accountability as public schools,” insists Heumann. “If we have a well-balanced education with pay encouraging bright and effective teachers into the profession, we’re going to do a lot better with students coming out.”

Halladay sums up what a good education system means, “When I try to recruit top-level knowledge workers for my company, the quality of schools is a big reason they will accept or walk away from the job offer. The inconsistency of education quality across the Valley is a major recruiting challenge.”

Heumann sighs, “We can spend millions on cutting taxes and offering incentives. If we don’t have good workers, we’re not going to get good companies locating here. It’s simple economics.”
A well-educated workforce equals strong economic development.

Not making the grade
Personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s states with the best and worst school systems. WalletHub used 12 key metrics, including dropout rates, test scores and bullying incident rates to assess the quality of education in each state. According to the analysis, Arizona has the 9th worst school system. Here is where Arizona schools rank in individual categories (1=best):
35th – Dropout rate
8th – Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade
36th – Math test score
46th – Reading test score
49th – Student-to-teacher ratio

Executive Education
Here are the colleges and universities in Arizona that offer post-graduate programs:

Argosy University
602-216-3118
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Norma Patterson, associate vice president of academic compliance

Arizona State University
480-965-7788
Website
Number of campuses: 4
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Michael Crow, president

A.T. Still University
480-219-6000
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Craig M. Phelps, president

Communiversity @ Surprise
480-384-9000
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Master’s
Leadership: Todd Aakhus, Ph.D., director

DeVry University
602-870-9222
Website
Number of campuses: 4
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Master’s
Leadership: Craig Jacobs, metro president

Grand Canyon University
800-800-9776
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Brian Mueller, CEO

Midwestern University
623-572-3200
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: No
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Kathleen Goeppinger, president and CEO

Northern Arizona University
928-523-9011
Website
Number of campuses: 34
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Rita Cheng, president

Ottawa University
800-235-9586
Website
Number of campuses: 3
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Master’s
Leadership: Dr. Kirk Wessel, dean of Angell Snyder School of Business

Thunderbird School of Global Management
602-978-7000
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: MBA
Leadership: Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., president

University of Arizona
520-621-1162
Website
Number of campuses: 2
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Ann Weaver Hart, president

University of Phoenix
480-557-2000
Website
Number of campuses: 5
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Timothy P. Slottow, president

education.business

Educators say executives can increase workplace value

Despite signs of what most people view as a recovering economy, more than half of Arizona’s workforce stresses over job security.

A recent University of Phoenix survey revealed that 61 percent of working adults worry about losing their jobs in the current economic climate and 20 percent anguish over it at least once a week.

“In a challenging economic environment, workers should be doing more to position themselves as leaders in their organizations, but the survey finds that many are holding back at work, and this can have a negative effect on performance and productivity,” said Dr. Sam Sanders, college chair for University of Phoenix School of Business and a former human resources executive with more than 20 years of hiring and employee relations experience. “Those who understand the big picture and how their own skill sets help their companies achieve goals should have more confidence and can have an advantage in the workplace.”

To separate themselves from others and to create more job security, many executives are strengthening their skill sets through education.

“The trends in executive education is for shorter duration programs than those that preceded the recession, with emphases on acquiring skills that lead to promotions or career advancement and new market opportunities,” said Dr. Kevin McClean, interim dean, Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University. “Another key ingredient is the opportunity to network. These objectives are not really different from those that motivated people to pursue executive education in the past.”

Executive trends

Some of the shifts that educators are incorporating into graduate business programs include more emphasis on leading in turbulent times, developing organizational talent, innovation and creativity, and flexible, participative strategic planning.

“Executives are being asked to take on more responsibility and act more holistic in understanding the interdependencies of people and functions in organizations,” said Dr. Kirk Wessel, dean of Angell Snyder School of Business at Ottawa University. “This is being reflected in curricula.”

Educators are also being asked to help prepare executives and business students to deal with increasingly more complex business issues.

“For example, rather than teaching executives innovation or risk, we are talking about ‘risk-bound innovation,’” said Dennis Baltzley, Ph.D., senior vice president of executive education at Thunderbird School of Global Management. “Leaders want to know how to create an environment of innovation, while creating a ‘boundary’ of risk management. We must innovate, but more than ever, a bad decision can be fatal.”

Baltzley said Thunderbird is also seeing a dramatic interest in global global leadership.
Our customers want to know how to lead effectively across borders, cultures, different business models and philosophies,” Baltzley said. “Since 2008, growth has been slow in the U.S. and other mature markets. This led many businesses to leap into emerging markets with the promise of double digit growth whether they were ready or not, and most were not as ready as they would have liked.”

Paul Melendez, assistant dean of executive education at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, said he is seeing four specific trends:
* Customization: Executive education is becoming much more tailored to specific organizations, with programs, content, and learning customized to the unique needs of the organization. While many business schools still offer one- or two-week open-enrollment programs, organizations are finding it more beneficial to develop a program that is tailored to their executives.
* Consulting: The natural extension of customized programs is a consulting model where education and problem-solving are combined into a program. “We have helped organizations develop their culture, strategically plan, and develop a wide variety of business improvement plans through programs that also provide education for leaders,” Melendez said.
* Strategic partnerships: Eller Executive Education has developed strategic partnerships with Miraval and Canyon Ranch to offer programs that join cutting-edge leadership and management principles and with world-class health and wellness programs which they have dubbed “integrative leadership.”
* Privatization: A year ago the university spun Eller Executive Education out of the UA to allow greater operating flexibility. “As a result, we are now providing many more custom program for private, governmental, and non-profit organizations,” Melendez  said. “We have seen a number of other state business schools also privatizing their executive education organizations.”

Increasing your stock

Michael Bevis, director of academic affairs at University of Phoenix, said more executives have started to approach their careers in the same way they approach business management by focusing on building their personal brands.

“When you think about a company brand, it isn’t just about what you are communicating, but how that brand addresses the needs of the intended audience,” Bevis said. “One of the things I work on with executives and other business students at University of Phoenix, is developing a personal business plan that starts with the personal mission statement. You wouldn’t run a business without a plan and the same should be true about your career. If you are not setting goals, measuring progress and making sure your knowledge stays current and relevant, your personal brand — like that of a company’s — can become stagnant.”

So what programs are out there for executives to utilize to strengthen their brand?

* University of Phoenix: Within the MBA programs, concentrations allow executives to grow specific skills. It is common for executives or business owners to have specific knowledge about an industry or certain aspects of business management, but skills or knowledge gaps in other areas. Concentrations can help professionals hone certain skills, such as people management, finance or marketing.

* Thunderbird School of Global Management: Thunderbird offers a range of options from its short programs — less than a week — to its more in-depth MBA offerings. “We have a Global MBA Online that allows you to learn global business from anywhere in the world and an Executive MBA that’s on-campus, but provides a schedule suited to the working professional. “ Baltzley  said. “We also offer online certificate programs which are designed specifically for working professionals looking to improve their marketability and gain a leading edge over their competition.

* W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University: “Our executive-education programs, such as our leadership development workshops and our certificate programs in real estate, supply chain management, and service excellence, can give executives deeper skills and expose them to new ideas,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “However, if they want to move into leadership roles beyond their current functional areas, then the MBA is the best option, though short non-degree courses that develop leadership skills are also helpful.”

* Eller College of Management: Eller Executive Education offers a variety of week-long programs and year-long programs for leaders of different types of organizations. “We are also launching a program in early 2014 that is specifically oriented toward CEOs of mid-sized to large companies,” Melendez said.

* DeVry University: Keller Graduate School of Management offers seven specialized master’s degree programs and 13 graduate certificate programs.

* Ken Blanchard College of Business: GCU offers very practical programs that include a master’s in leadership, a masters in accounting, and a masters in public administration.

* Angell Snyder School of Business: Case teaching methodologies teach executives to think critically about all internal and external factors that come into play in developing effective organizational strategies, irrespective of the industry.

Moving forward

The most important message that educators have for executives who may be worried about maintaining their position in the current economic climate is to stay current on trends in your industry, keep your brand current by understanding how your skills and experience fit into the big picture of an organization.

“This past year, we were asked repeatedly how to be effective in managing a diverse, multicultural, and geographically dispersed workforce, and how to stay relevant in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world,” Baltzley said. “Without question the term ‘VUCA’ has come of age and has several implications for executives who want to remain relevant today.”

To stay in the game, Baltzley has three pieces of advice for executives:
1. Get your head into what it means to think globally. If you think your company is domestic and American, and it will never go global, you are wrong, global is coming to you. In fact, global is probably already there, in the form of complex supply chain issues or direct competitors, so you better get prepared.
2. A term coined in the late 1970’s is important here – “Permanent Whitewater” – That is, if you think the whitewater is going to slow down, or that a calm patch is just around the corner, you are mistaken. You have to prepare yourself for leading in constant change in scale and speed.
3. Check your personal leadership style. Are you able to influence people very different than yourself? Do you enjoy variety, the unknown, surprises? Is your self-confidence and personal energy level pretty high? Do you like to test yourself, take some risks? If you can’t answer “yes” to most of these, you have some work to do to become a more adaptive leader.