Category Archives: Education

Celebrate Thanksgiving

Giving thanks.  Embracing friendship.  Sharing a thoughtful meal.  Telling stories.  Thanksgiving conjures images of extended families and friends gathered around a beautiful table, sharing a delicious meal, and expressing gratitude for what they have.  International students studying in the US during the holidays have a multitude of way to celebrate this quintessential American holiday.  We’ve put together four fantastic options for you to consider as many US students return “home for the holidays.”

1. If an American friend invites you, accept the invitation

Thanksgiving is about, well, being thankful for what you have.  This includes being thankful for new friendships.  An American friend invites you?  Accept.  It’s an invitation to be a part of the family, to share the tradition, to take a break from school, and maybe even to participate in the day after Thanksgiving—Black Friday—the day that many retail shops offer sales and discounts in preparation for December’s holidays.  How’d “Black Friday” get its name?  It’s the day that many retailers’ ledgers assure that they will end their fiscal year “in the black,” or showing a profit for the year.

2. Consider on-campus opportunities

Feel like staying on-campus during the Thanksgiving break?  Look for campus traditions at your school.  Some schools offer their own Thanksgiving celebrations for any students and faculty who opt to stay on campus, or who may not have options to travel.  Kansas’s Hesston College hosts an annual Thanksgiving weekend, with a dinner and a bevy of other activities, including art exhibits, concerts, talent shows, basketball tournaments, a benefit fun run, and other special events. At Ohio State University, any students, faculty, and staff who are not planning to head home are invited to attend an annual Thanksgiving feast—this year, the University expects over 1,600 attendees.  At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, students and faculty spend the entire month of November learning about spirituality.  Several faculty at the University host international students at their homes on Thanksgiving Day—as an expression of gratitude for sharing their learning.

Philosophers on World

Why Does Philosophy Matter?

Why is philosophy so important that UNESCO designated this discipline with its very own day?  UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova explains, “Faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control. This is the best way to educate enlightened citizens, equipped to fight stupidity and prejudice. The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development.”

While we often think of philosophy as theoretical in nature, it not only has practical applications, but multidisciplinary ones.

Seven Influential Philosophers Across the Disciplines

Still think the musings of philosophers are more ethereal than earthly? Read on for a roundup of philosophers whose work directly shaped understanding in a particular field or area of study.

1. Michel Foucault

While largely regarded as a historian and philosopher, Foucault is also well known for his contributions the social sciences — particularly for his ideas about the link between knowledge, power and social control. His work has enlightening applications across a number of topics, ranging from socio-legal studies and the sociology of race to feminist and political theory.

2. Michel de Montaigne

While more of a statesman in his time, de Montaigne is now heralded as an author whose intellectually heady essay directly influenced writers from all over the world, including Descartes, Bacon, Pascal, Rousseau, Emerson, Nietzsche, Asimov and even Shakespeare. He’s also credited with the acceptance of the essay as a literary genre in its own right. His ideas about psychology — particularly as related to education, fear, motivation, happiness, and thought — also had a significant impact on psychology.

 

An Enduring Career

It’s like riding on a subway without holding onto anything for balance: the consistent shifting and evolution of your place and space on the train mirrors the metamorphosis of today’s work landscape.  One consistent trend in workplace evolution?  Time.  Young graduates will have to work longer than their parents.  Sure, you want to survive.  But we know that you want to do more than that.  You want to thrive.   Here’s how.

1. Changing Life Cycles

According to a recent Financial Times article, life used to be measured in three stages: education, work, and retirement, all with fairly equal amounts of time.  That cycle looks different now, with a significantly longer working life.  While an MBA used to be the catalyst for the job that would get you to your final burst of highly successful employment, it’s now somewhere in the middle.  When your working life begins in your 20s, you need to begin to think of this cycle lasting for fifty—or even sixty—years.  How should you prepare?  What do you want it to look like?  Consider what it would take to sustain your spending habits—and extrapolate those costs over the next half-century plus.

2. Transition and Change

Recognize that transitions—even positive ones—are always difficult.  They rattle your sense of self, and often your sense of place. They are always a time for growth, whether you want it or not.  The keys to your success? Flexibility and adaptability.  It’s unlikely that you’ll have the same job for 50 or 60 years. Keep your networks broad and varied—reach out to people of different ages, genders, and occupations.  As you build your portfolio, consider the trends that potential employers will invariably seek—and see.  With perseverance, your career portfolio will tell your story of resilience—and a willingness to try new things.

Study Business Analytics

Data matters. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted,” attributed to Albert Einstein, explains the purpose of business analytics perfectly.  We live in an age of bigger and bigger data—and businesses need ways to sift through it all, to figure out which combinations of data count—and which ones don’t.  The success of business in today’s global economy depends on it.  The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego offers a forward-thinking Master of Science in Business Analytics that teaches its students how to grapple with the reality of big data using business analytics.

What is Business Analytics?

Professor Vincent Nijs, co-director with Professor Terrence August of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, describes the field this way, “I think of business analytics as the field focused on how to use data and models to make better business decisions.  Data Science uses many similar tools (e.g. machine learning) but the set of questions they seek to answer are often different.  You can think of business analytics as ‘data science for business.’”

The Amount of Data That Companies Collect Gets Bigger and Bigger…

Just how big is big data?  Really big, and getting bigger all the time.  The EMC Digital Universe Study predicts that by the year 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second for every human on the planet.  What does that mean?  There will be 44 trillion gigabytes (44 zettabytes) of data in the digital universe.  Where does the data come from?  Just about everywhere—1.2 trillion searches per year on Google alone, over 1 billion people using Facebook every day, trillions of photos taken, and billions shared.  By 2020, there will be over 6.1 billion smartphone users, and at least 1/3 of all data will be transmitted through the cloud. We haven’t even talked about online banking, business, movies, television, music, and games.

A Masters Degree in Education

Teachers make a difference in the lives of kids all over the world every day. However, the prospect of entering the teaching profession and remaining in it for the next 30 or more years can be a daunting one. Whether you’re worried about landing a job in a competitive market or about making enough money to support yourself once you’re hired, getting your master’s degree can offer a smart solution. Let’s count down four reasons why all teachers should consider graduate studies in education.

1. You’ll increase your earning potential.

While many teaching jobs require master’s degrees, others may call for just a bachelor’s degree. In this case, getting the bare minimum can hurt you in several different ways. Not only does it lower your chances of getting hired when you’re up again more qualified applicants, but it also means you’ll likely end up collecting a higher starting salary.

According to The Houston Chronicle, most school districts offer teachers with master’s degrees across the elementary, middle, and high school levels supplemental pay in the form of a “bonus” or “bump.” According to analysis by the Center for American Progress this averages between an extra $3,000 and $10,000 a year! And while the cost of getting a master’s degree can seem prohibitive, the degree can pay for itself in just a few years. Not only that, but most school districts require continuing education credits — doesn’t it make sense to put those credits toward a degree?

2. You’ll enjoy greater career mobility.

While a bachelor’s degree may qualify you to be a classroom teacher, many other school jobs  require advanced credentials. If career advancement is important to you, a master’s degree is a must-have. Whether you’re looking to work as a school administrator, curriculum director, content/subject area specialist, or school counselor, you’ll likely need a master’s degree or more.

Additionally, a master’s degree can also open up new possibilities outside of the school system entirely. From textbook authors and community college teachers to educational consultants and educational researchers, these sought-after, well-paid professionals almost always have upper-level qualifications.

In addition to helping you move up the latter, a bachelor’s degree can lead to broader career prospects, which can be an effective defense against teacher burnout — a pervasive phenomenon among today’s hard-working teaching professionals.

Politics of Christmas

Deck the halls.  Hang the mistletoe.  Stuff a stocking.  Christmas has long been associated with merriment, joy, good tidings, maybe a plum pudding, lots of presents, comfort… and controversy.  Yes, it’s true.  Join us as we travel back in time and explore some Ghosts of Christmases past.  Hold onto your Santa hat.

Medieval Christmas: Misrule or Misery

Christmas in the Middle Ages was a lot different than Christmas today.  For starters, it was not the biggest holiday of the year – that honor went to Easter.  And while medieval Christmas was, to some extent, a Christian feast day the period surrounding Christmas preserved much older traditions. One such tradition? The reversal of societal norms. From boy bishops to the Lord of Misrule and the Feast of Fools, medieval Christmas was often a topsy-turvy time.  But the misrule wasn’t always good natured. Christmas could be a terribly dangerous day if you were not a Christian.  While medieval Europe’s Jewish population faced persecution year-round, the Christmas period was sometimes marked by increased hostility against Jewish communities.

Victorious against King Charles I, the Puritan Parliament of 1647 canceled Christmas.  The principle: if it’s not in the Bible, it’s not Christian.  Merriment?  Forbidden.  Feasting?  Fasting.  Shops?  Ordered to stay open.  Churches?  Shut down.  Ministers preaching on Christmas?  Arrested.  To Puritan England, Christmas was Pagan and distinctly “un-Christian.”  On Christmas Eve, 1647, the House of Commons ordered local militia committees to protect shopkeepers (who had no legal choice but to open) from ‘Affronts, Abuses, and Prejudices’ by ‘Malignants’ or ‘Others’ who may have opposed the Parliamentary order.  What about the colonies? Christmas was outlawed in Massachusetts from 1659-1681.  Punishable by a harsh fine, or worse.  Oh, and the carolers?  They formed an underground…

Degree Can Save Time

It’s hard to argue that the cost of higher education isn’t exorbitant. After all, most families don’t have a spare $40,000 or so laying around every year for tuition and other college-related expenses. And while there are many amazing life advantages that come with getting undergraduate and advanced degrees, it’s also true that there are ways to cut costs without losing out on those benefits.

One lesser-known pathway worth exploring for students looking to save both time and money? An accelerated degree. Here’s a closer look at this alternative to conventional degree programs, along with four reasons why an accelerated degree program — particularly one overseas — might be right for you.

What is an Accelerated Degree Program?

An accelerated degree program is exactly what it sounds like: this non-traditional course of study offers students the same degree in a particular field of study in a shortened period of time — as little as half when compared to conventional degrees. Available at a number of different academic levels, accelerated degree programs usually come with more stringent admissions requirements, including a minimum GPA, course credits, work experience, professional certification, and/or completion of a lower-level degree program.

In addition to bachelor’s degree programs, other popular accelerated degrees include nursing, business, law and medicine. For each, admissions requirements, course format, and completion time vary depending on the school. Additionally, many accelerated degree programs are dual in nature, meaning enrolled students can work simultaneously toward a bachelor’s and advanced degree. (This avenue may also allow accepted students to bypass graduate admissions tests, and the fees that go along with them.)

Women and What They Studied

As America’s first female Presidential nominee from a major political party, Hillary Clinton has helped pave the way for women in the United States and around the globe. With so much political clout, it’s not surprising that Hillary studied political science during her undergraduate years.  Women around the world wield more power now than ever before, but female leadership starts long before the election ballot.  Let’s take a look at eight of the world’s most powerful women—and what they studied.  And don’t be surprised. Political science degrees abound, but you don’t need to study government to become a world leader.  Let’s see what they all have in common?

1. Angela Merkel

The German Chancellor has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Leipzig. She worked as a chemist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences from 1978-1990.  After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, she entered politics.  In 2005, she became Germany’s first female Chancellor. In the light of seismic political shifts around the globe, Merkel recently announced that she will run for a fourth term as Chancellor.

2. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

In office since 2006, the Liberian President is the first female leader of Liberia.  She is Africa’s first female head of state.  In 1971, Sirleaf earned her Master’s in Public Administration at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, after which she became Liberia’s Minister of Finance. In 2011, she shared the Nobel Peace Prize with fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen.  Their work?  The non-violent struggle for women’s safety, and women’s rights to full participation in peace-building.

Bachelors with an International Master Degree

There’s no magic to a master’s degree—but the right one at the right time and in the right place can make a significant difference in your overall happiness, salary, and career opportunities.  What can sweeten the pot? How about an international master’s degree?  Graduate studies abroad can give your undergraduate degree a big boost, but adding more years to your education is a big decision. So, what in it for you?

You Can Improve Your Career Opportunities

Do your research.  If your prospective master’s degree is tied to a specific type of job that you want, then you’ll definitely have a broader reach of opportunity.  Consider occupational therapy, in which a master’s degree is the key to success, or business management, where that MBA will certainly give you a competitive edge.  Public school teachers will experience almost immediate benefits with a master’s.  In some fields, where a master’s is a terminal degree, such as an M.F.A., you’ll be able to teach at the university level.  Clinical psychology is another great example of pursuing a master’s in a specific field so that you can do the job you want.

You Can Earn a Better Salary

A graduate degree doesn’t always mean extra money, but in some fields, it’s the only way to make more of it.  If you choose to study medicine or law, of course, you’ll need an advanced degree, but those of you who have your bachelor’s and are contemplating the endeavor?  You can plan on making at least $400,000 more over your working lifetime with a graduate degree.  Teaching is one profession for which you’ll automatically get paid more. Graphic design, marketing, finance, and therapy are other fields in which you’ll definitely see a better salary—and more professional marketability – with a master’s degree.

A Global Journey

Hear a voice from the past, from across an ocean, from the future, or maybe even one that you could hear on your own street.  Whether it’s the crack of a new book’s spine, the worn, well-loved pages of a favorite, or the soft glow from your e-reader, the act of reading a book transports you.  To another place.  Another time.  To a group of people whom you don’t know.  And everyone is looking for something.  Join us on our journey around the world—in books.  Find something that speaks to you and tuck in.

Written in 2006, Adichie’s wrenching tale chronicles five people’s lives as they navigate politics, power, academics, journalism, women’s rights, marriage, and the struggle for daily survival during Nigeria’s Civil War in the late 1960s.  How blurred are the lines between life and death?  What does it mean to be in love?  How does war affect humanity—and its soul?

A Chinese classic on feminism, circa 1827.  While the Qing Dynasty period wasn’t known for embracing femininity, the author was. Ruzhen offers us a subversion of gender roles in a fantasy classic—often with a humorous twist.  He believed in equal rights for men and women and wrote Flowers in the Mirror as one fantastical version of what that kind of world could look like.

Travel to Barcelona, on Zafón’s meticulously detailed streets with young Daniel in 1945, just after the Spanish Civil War.  Pick up an obscure, tattered book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and join Daniel on a dangerous mystery that will take you throughout past and then-present Barcelona—and the heartbreak of the human spirit.  Also Try Zafón’s 2009 prequel, The Angel’s Game, written in 2008, seven years after Shadow of the Wind.