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Sean Watkins

Student Spotlight – Keara Vogt Wrightsman

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Homelessness is personal to Keara Vogt Wrightsman.

Keara, a Union psychology student, was homeless for 10 years before she entered a treatment facility in 2014, at 23 weeks pregnant. She graduated, had a new baby, checked into a women’s homeless shelter, and now works at Talbert House — a nonprofit that helps men, women, and children throughout Southwest Ohio overcome adversity to become healthy and productive citizens.

Her determination to change her outcome was recognized with the 2017 Jimmy Render Award from the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition that is given to homeless or formerly homeless individuals who have defied the odds and subsequently committed themselves to addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

In 2018, she was named the Talbert House Employee of the Year for her outstanding work placing homeless United States military veterans, both men and women, into housing and assisting them with employment and expedited Social Security claims.

Read about Keara and her plans in the Q&A below.

Q. What do you plan to do with your degree?

A. I am pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology in order to help treat and assess those who have been where I have and the understanding and knowledge to also help those who have been where I never have. My career goal is to be a clinical case manager and move on to my master’s degree. I work at Talbert House helping the homeless find employment and housing. I hope my story is an example to others who are struggling.

Because of my homeless related background, no one would hire me. Finally, Talbert House took a chance on me. I am trying to help. I also serve on the Affordable Housing Advocates Board, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, Heroin Coalition, Homeless Clearinghouse, Employment Work Group and the Veteran Work Group.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. My passion is to help people; especially those without a home or who are afflicted with addiction. In order to do that on all levels and to the fullest, I need to have a degree and higher education. A lot of change comes from the work groups and systematic change is needed for permanent change.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. This is my second time at Union. I had started in 2013 and dropped out. I have to have a university that respects my work and life. Union does that for me.

Q. If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?

A. Stay focused/ Don’t give up and reach out when you need help. Never give up!

Q. Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?

A. My current supervisor believed in me, when no one else did. She has given me the opportunity to grow exponentially. My passion for helping others and wanting to see change has pushed and influenced me as a person, throughout my entire life.

Talbert House honors Keara Wrightsman as Employee of the Year. Left to right, James Wilson, Talbert House Vice President Housing Service Line with Keara at the Talbert House Annual Employee Appreciation Celebration in January 2018. Keara is also a UI&U student.

Keara and other staff members also honored for outstanding service at the Talbert House Annual Employee Appreciation Celebration. Center is Neil Tillow, Talbert House CEO President.

Union’s Psychology program is led by expert practitioners in the field of psychology. The program also as an ideal preparation for students interested in pursuing a career in clinical or counseling psychology through graduate-level study and is closely aligned with Union’s Master of Arts major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which even allows qualified students to begin their Master’s during their final term of the major. In addition, there is an accelerated pathway from the B.A. program to the fully online Master of Arts degree program, where students can select from five unique majors. Start today. Click below.

Union Leaders Spotlight Cecil Thomas

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Cecil Thomas

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 50 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

We are honored to share the leadership insights of Cecil Thomas, a Union Criminal Justice Management alumni and Ohio State Senator, as we complete our May salute, in recognition of National Police Week officially held May 13 – 19, 2018. Union’s commitment to educating the law enforcement community is proven with a rigorous and research based Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management.

Senator Thomas is a twenty-seven year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department and worked in every district, including all 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods. He describes himself as a “servant leader” who has worked tirelessly to produce positive outcomes for the community. Cecil lives by the creed, “All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.” Read how his leadership style has made a difference.

Q. How do you define leadership?

A. There are various styles of leadership that define an individual. I would characterize my leadership style as a “servant leader.” A servant leader leads from the heart with a natural, God-given desire to improve the quality of life of people, their community and the world. A servant leader gets the job done, giving little consideration to who gets the credit. He/she leads expecting nothing in return.

Some traits of a servant leader are: courage, patience, honesty, integrity, stewardship, empathy, humility, respect, and a strong faith in God. Servant leaders are well educated on pertinent topics, good listeners, and open minded with balanced perspectives. They seek common ground and leave the door open for compromise while refraining from passing judgement. They are bridge builders and usually have a long history of serving, beginning with their childhood. They define themselves to others by example rather than allowing others to define them. They also seek to allow others to define themselves on a personal level aside from the professional level.

Q. Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.

A. Upon my arrival to the Ohio State Senate, I didn’t know anything about the 23 Republican senators I would be expected to work with on matters affecting all the people of Ohio. Rather than beginning my work in the Senate with little knowledge of my fellow colleagues, I decided to arrange individual meetings with each one of them. The purpose was to introduce myself to them on a personal level and to get to know them in the same manner. After these meetings, I was recognized on the floor as the first senator to ever meet individually in such a way as a newcomer.

This kind of relationship-building in the beginning of my career as a senator has afforded me the opportunity to work more collaboratively with my Republican colleagues in an effort to better serve citizens. Many bills that become law are usually the result of bi-partisanship, despite the fact that the Democrats are in the minority.

Q. What leader do you admire most and why?

A. I’ve long been an avid admirer of the work, speeches, and leadership qualities of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He showed great courage, patience, and determination when addressing controversial issues, especially involving civil rights. He was able to gain the support of the majority in America and around the world regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, or political affiliation. His honesty and integrity captured the hearts and minds of the masses.

Q. What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?

A. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Q. When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?

A. My first meaningful recognition as a leader occurred when I joined the Cincinnati Police Department in 1972. It was clear that there was racism within the department, but as a young man needing a job and wanting a college education, I remained silent and tolerated the gross unfairness. However, after obtaining a Law Enforcement Technology degree, completing the police academy, and starting a police career, I began to question the unfairness of department policies and the limited opportunities for African Americans and women within the Cincinnati Police Department for moving up the ranks. Unable to get a satisfactory response, I organized an internal movement that eventually led to two federal consent decrees that revolutionized policing in the City of Cincinnati. One, agreed to in 1981, focused on hiring practices, promotions, and job assignments of police officers, specialists, and sergeants. Another in 1987 focused on promotions of lieutenants and above. Both decrees are still binding today.

I never saw myself as a leader then, but it was truly gratifying to know I was taking on an unfair power structure and forcing change for the betterment of all. In reflecting back over my life, there are numerous incidents where I displayed characteristics of a servant leader but was unaware at the time.

A career in law enforcement is waiting for you with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management. A degree in leadership is waiting with a major in Organizational Leadership and a doctoral major in Ethical & Creative Leadership. Start today. Click below.

Union Leaders Spotlight on Dr. Roger H. Sublett

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Dr. Roger H. Sublett

Q. What is your favorite memory of your time with Union?

A. I have always enjoyed Union’s commencements and the opportunity to celebrate with our students and their families as our students fulfill a lifelong dream of completing a college degree. Union has always done commencements well, and I hope that tradition continues in the coming years.

Three commencements stand out to me: 1) the year David Gergen spoke and received an honorary doctorate from Union; 2) the year Connie Silver spoke and imitated a bird flapping its wings from the stage; 3) the year General Jeff Foley spoke to our students sharing both humorous and serious leadership experiences and received an honorary doctorate from Union.

Q. Can you share a humorous memory?

A. Staying with the theme of commencement, despite intense and involved training sessions, the doctoral hooding talents of Richard Green and Arlene Sacks at Union’s national commencements, while probably not funny to the graduates, were comical to those of us on stage and in the audience. The good news is that we never lost any of the graduates, but there were moments of doubt!

Q. What has been the biggest challenge of being president of Union?

A. The transformation of the Ph.D. program early in my tenure when Union was undergoing evaluation by the Ohio Board of Regents, the Higher Learning Commission, and the U.S. Department of Education presented the greatest challenge. However, we met all of those challenges, redesigned the doctoral program, balanced the budgets and moved Union forward in positive ways, while also enhancing the academic reputation of the university in the process.

Q. What would you like people to know about you that they might not know?

A. In addition to my leadership work, reading and writing, I am a bit of a frustrated artist and will take up painting again, along with photography, when I transition from Union. I have also started two children’s books about the pets we have had over the years. I hope to complete these books soon in honor of our three grandsons, Adam, Evan, and Owen.

Q. What is your favorite book?

A. I am an avid reader, so this is a hard question for me; however, today I would say it is Robert Lawrence Smith’s “A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense”. This is a book that inspires the reader with its simple approach to life’s challenges. It offers insight about life’s lessons while emphasizing our “common humanity-goodness, courage, common sense, reflection, wonder, patience, and understanding-to what the Greek philosopher Plato called “our mysterious preference for the best.” I return to this book frequently for inspiration and reflection when I have had a tough day or a tough week. While it is not considered scholarly, it is a book that impacts all who read it and is filled with words and lessons of wisdom as the title indicates.

Q. What is your proudest moment at Union?

A. There are many, but a memorable moment came in 2005 when Union achieved closure with the Ohio Board of Regents, the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission. I knew at that time that while Union still had significant challenges ahead, the university would survive and thrive in the coming years because we had successfully addressed all of the external challenges and we were masters of our own fate. I remain very proud of the team of individuals from across the university who worked hard together to overcome those challenges, thus preserving the great legacy of this unique institution. As a part of that moment, the 50th anniversary was the culmination of our efforts and what a great celebration it was in 2014!

I have also always been proud of Union’s commitment to our students in fulfilling our mission of social justice, social responsibility, and community connectedness. It is a unique mission, and one which places Union in the forefront of higher education in preparing leaders for the realities of today’s world. That moment in 2005 assured that Union would continue to exist as a unique leader among higher education institutions.

Accreditation Earned By Bachelor of Science in Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation Program

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Union Institute & University’s Bachelor of Science in Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation Program has been awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

“This accreditation is a testament to the strength of the program and the desire to provide the highest quality education possible to our students,” said Dr. Lisa Akers, program chair. “CAAHEP Accreditation also increases career opportunities for graduates because employers look for graduates who have expertise in specific content areas. Accreditation assures that students have received sound knowledge and skills-based competencies that are ethically bound and evidence-based.”

CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2000 educational programs in twenty-six (26) health science occupations. (Source: CAAHEP)

UI&U has one of the few, online Bachelor of Science Maternal Child Health in Human Lactation and Master of Arts in Health & Wellness degrees in the country.

Careers in the field of human lactation include functioning as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in hospitals, in public health agencies, or as in private practitioners. Upon earning their degree, students go on to work assisting new families immediately after the birth of their infants, teaching breastfeeding classes and working with new families in the federal supplemental foods Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, opening their own private practice where they work with families in their homes, and working alongside midwives and doulas in birth centers.

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Today is the day to enter the exciting human lactation profession. Click below.

National Police Week – Faculty Spotlight on Arti Parmar and Duanne Thompson

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Union is saluting our Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management (CJM) students, faculty and alumni throughout the month of May in recognition of National Police Week officially held May 13 – 19, 2018.

This week the spotlight is on CJM faculty members Dr. Duanne Thompson and alumna Arti Parmar. Arti holds a UI&U Criminal Justice Management degree and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. Both professors are examples of the real world experience CJM professors bring to the student experience. Learn more about these instructors in the Q & A below.

Q. What excites you about being a part of higher education?

A. Arti – I feel higher education broadens practical benefits and provides professional development.

Duanne – The ability to pass it on. My mentors before me took time to give me their knowledge and experiences. I now have the opportunity to pass my experiences and knowledge to others.

Q. What attracted you to become a part of the Union family?

A. Arti – I loved the design of my classes as a student and the interaction with students, who were a part of my law enforcement community.

Duanne – A good friend and peer (Dr. Nadine Wheat) had joined Union and she spoke very highly of the colleagues and Union family. After speaking with multiple Union faculty and admin staff, I really could feel the family atmosphere at Union.

Q. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?

A. Arti – I have the best job in the world, being in the law enforcement profession. I just love what I do.

Duanne – President of the United States.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. Arti – My career. People cannot believe I enforce law and arrest people.

Duanne – That I have survived 28 years in law enforcement, trained with departments around the world and I have a Ph.D.

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. Arti – Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso. Because…you just never know someone’s potential and shouldn’t judge people by what you see. Sometimes what you see may be misleading.

Duanne – Art of War by Sun Tzu. This work covers tactics and concepts that can be utilized in many different disciplines.

Arti Parmar

Duanne Thompson

The Union Criminal Justice Management degree is sought after because experts who know the field teach the classes, just like the professors profiled in this article. They have experienced law enforcement firsthand – as line employees, support personnel, supervisors, managers, and executives. A career in law enforcement is waiting for you. Start your law enforcement career today with a UI&U Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice Management degree. Click below.

National Police Week – Commitment to Excellence: UI&U Law Enforcement Alumni Rise Through The Ranks

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Union Institute & University is proud to salute law enforcement professionals nationwide during National Police Week, May 13 – 19, 2018. UI&U is also proud to offer a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management that is rigorous, research based and has propelled the careers of many alumni.

The Union CJM degree program is the choice of law enforcement officers nationwide because of two factors:

  • Law enforcement professionals designed the program.
  • The program is designed to rise through the ranks into supervisory, management, and executive positions within the criminal justice system.

Two recent examples of CJM alumni rising through the ranks include Chris O’Brien and Paul Cooper recently named Chief of Police of the Hollywood, Florida Police Department and Assistant Chief of Police University of California Irvine.

Chris O’Brien

Paul Cooper

They join the 30+ UI&U graduates whose degrees have helped them attain the ranks of Chief of Police, Assistant Chief, and Sheriff. You can review many of these alumni on this notable alumni page.

Other CJM alumni who display excellence include the recipients of the Mark Dunakin Memorial Award for Extraordinary Achievement:

“There is a reason over 6,300 law enforcement officers hold a Criminal Justice Management degree from Union,” said Paul Brugman, UI&U Criminal Justice Program Chair. “The classes are taught by law enforcement professionals who understand the real-world issues faced in the field. Union understands the demands of the working adult. The CJM program provides a flexible, online delivery that allows the law enforcement professional to work fulltime. The program also connects the student to site coordinators who provide personal attention not available at other universities.”

 Alumna Selina Hightower, shift commander in a Florida police department, credits her UI&U CJM degree for her career climb. “My degree is a sense of satisfaction in this accomplishment. I am the first in my family to graduate from college. I was also the first African American female sergeant in my department. I am now a shift commander in the patrol division. My degree also means more advantages in the promotion process.”

CJM Chair Brugman explains that a Union Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) degree is another value for the law enforcement community after completion of the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management.

“The MSOL is a perfect fit for the law enforcement officer who wants to further his or her leadership skills. Leadership is a key component in today’s challenging workplace. The MSOL prepares emerging leaders to lead strategically, solve complex issues through critical and analytical thinking, and develop creative solutions.”

Another value of a Union education to the law enforcement profession includes the Union in Veterans program, a program that assists veterans in completing his or her degree with scholarships and a living stipend, recognition as a Military Friendly School, and designation of one of only eight schools that form the Fraternal Order of Police University.

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management is within your reach. Today is the day to start your law enforcement career. Click below.

National Police Week –Alumni Spotlight on Selina Hightower and Charlie (Chuck) Johnson, Jr.

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Union is saluting our Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice Management (CJM) students, faculty and alumni throughout the month of May in recognition of National Police Week officially held May 13 – 19, 2018.

This week the spotlight is on UI&U CJM alumni Selina Hightower and Charlie Johnson Jr. Both are law enforcement officers. Learn how their Union degree has helped them achieve their goals in the Q & A below.

Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

A. Selina – My degree is a sense of satisfaction in this accomplishment. I am the first in my family to graduate from college. I was also the first African American female sergeant in my department. I am now a shift commander in the patrol division. My degree also means more advantages in the promotion process.

Chuck – This degree has helped me close a chapter in my life that had been opened for 22 years. It has expanded my professional growth by opening doors that were previously inaccessible in my particular agency. In my agency, in order to be considered for anything above captain, a four-year degree is required. I am not saying that is the direction I am headed but at least I know I am qualified.

Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

A. Selina – Union reaches out to alumni. The staff is passionate and wants to see students succeed.

Chuck – The professional people that are available along the way, from the educators/professors, to the administrative personnel. They respond to your emails and phone calls in a very timely manner. They are truly there for you. I believe Union realizes there are many choices for post-secondary; therefore, they really market and follow up on being at the top of their game in this arena.

Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

A. Selina – Learn to manage your time. It can be rough working full-time and going to school. Time management is the key to success.

Chuck – Take the step, I struggled with this also, but you just need to check around and ask some questions. When your questions have been satisfied, going forward there are people that will mitigate some of the process. The process of registering, student loans, financial aid can be exhausting, but Union has people ready and willing to help and guide you.

Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

A. Selina – My greatest accomplishment is making my mom proud of me.

Chuck – Just being able to balance a full-time work schedule with a tough class curriculum. In addition, I would have to say to do this without taking a break in school was a huge accomplishment.

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. Selina – My passion is to make a difference in my community. There are too many negative stereotypes about police officers. I strive to let the community know we care about them and their concerns. I love working with youth and volunteer with youth groups.

I also love to travel. I have been to Africa, Italy, Turkey, and Greece.

Chuck – I’m an outdoors guy, so being in the woods and enjoying nature. I also enjoy the gym and athletics. That has been a major part of my entire life and it continues today.

Selina Hightower

Charlie (Chuck) Johnson, Jr.

A career in law enforcement is waiting for you. Start your law enforcement career today with a UI & U Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice Management degree. Click below.

National Police Week – Student Spotlight on Jason Bassett

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Jason Bassett

Welcome to National Police Week, May 13 – 19, 2018. This celebration of America’s law enforcement community provides an opportunity to highlight our Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice Management (CJM) students and alumni throughout the month of May. The CJM degree is Union’s largest undergraduate program with over *6,300 graduates and over 25 chiefs of police, assistant chiefs, and sheriffs who credit their Union degree for climbing the law enforcement ranks.

Meet Jason Bassett below. Jason is a California police lieutenant who just completed his Master of Arts in History & Culture. Jason is also a CJM alum.

Q. What do you plan to do with your degree?

A. I would like to teach at the community college level. I teach law enforcement topics now, but I am a history buff and want to branch out into non-law enforcement topics.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. I completed my bachelor’s degree with Union in 2002 and had said every year until 2016 that I was going to go back for a master’s degree. I finally got around to registering and began the program.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. I liked the format and way that the classes were structured. I had not been in a formal academic setting for a long time but I knew that it was significantly different from listening to my kids’ experiences. Distance learning was going to be my only option, so I chose Union based on my positive previous experience and the fact that a program in History and Culture was offered.

Q. If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?

A. Start now! Don’t put off your educational goals. There will never be a good and convenient time, so go ahead and get started now.

Q. Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?

A. My parents have been my biggest influence. They showed me the value of hard work and that with that, I could achieve my goals.

(*Undergraduate bachelor’s degree alumni with various majors or concentration studies in the area of criminal justice.)

Today is the day to start a rewarding career in law enforcement. Click below to learn more.

Union Institute & University Announces 2018 Florida and California Commencement Speakers

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Dr. Kim Byas and Dr. David Fike will be the commencement speakers for the Union Institute & University 2018 Florida and California Academic Center commencement exercises.

Dr. Byas will address the Florida diploma recipients on Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina.

Dr. Byas is a UI&U doctoral alumnus and a member of Union’s Board of Trustees. He serves as a Regional Executive with the American Hospital Association. Dr. Byas works with hospitals in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin on federal advocacy, health care system transformation, and health policy, using nearly 40 years of health care leadership experiences in various settings—including direct patient care, public health, health insurance, consulting, and policy.

Throughout his career, Dr. Byas has been involved in numerous ambitious healthcare projects. He has written, secured, and managed multiple federal and private foundation grants; evaluated existing programs and developed strategic options; organized and managed multi-county integrated delivery systems in numerous states; established provider networks that include physicians, hospitals, therapists, optometrists, pharmacies, and other healthcare providers; and recruited and trained executive management teams to operate care corporations.

He has also served on the boards of directors for the Asian Health Care Leaders Association, the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and March of Dimes.

Dr. Byas received his Ph.D. in Ethical and Creative Leadership from Union Institute & University, Master in Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and B.A. from Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

The California Academic Centers commencement speaker is Dr. David J. Fike. The graduation will take place on Sunday, August 19, 2018 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Fike has been president of Golden Gate University located in San Francisco since 2015. During his tenure, Dr. Fike has introduced new degrees and programs, integrated degree and credentialing programs for greater student flexibility, expanded partnerships with the business community, and implemented strategic priorities and capacity building for continued leadership in the future.

He is the former president of Marygrove College, a century-old liberal arts institution in Detroit. Dr. Fike has served as an elected official in Kensington, California, from 1994 to 1998. He has held numerous appointed positions on boards and commissions, including the BioScience Workforce Advisory Team for the City of Oakland, the Life Sciences Task Force of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, the Bay Area’s Community Capital Investment Initiative, the Community Reinvestment Subcommittee of Alameda County’s Economic Development Advisory Board, the City of Oakland’s Sustainable Community Development Commission, the BayTEC Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of AnewAmerica Community Corporation, and the Board of Directors of the Chabot Space and Science Center.

As an economist specializing in capital markets and urban economic development, Dr. Fike has provided consulting services and research in the areas of economic revitalization, sustainable community development practices, capital access in underserved markets, and strategic decision-making. Dr. Fike also served as part of a team sent to Central America to develop a strategic plan for the establishment of a nationally chartered bank to finance infrastructure projects for El Salvador’s cooperative sector.

In 1995, Dr. Fike was granted a prestigious Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship. Dr. Fike holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

The Florida Academic Center graduation is Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, 1881 SE 17th Street Causeway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. For more details click here.

The California Academic Center graduation is Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278. For more details click here.

Start your new career with a Union Institute & University diploma. Click below.

Innovative Partnership Benefits Lactation Field

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Union Institute & University’s (UI&U) Maternal Child Health in Human Lactation is one of the few lactation programs in the country offered at both the bachelor’s and master’s level. To complement the innovative degree program, UI&U and OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank (OHMMB) have partnered to open the second milk drop in Cincinnati.

Human milk is the ultimate source of nutrients and immune protection for infants. Babies benefit from the active growth hormones, developmental enzymes, infection fighting and immunological factors found in human milk.

Chris Smith, UI&U alumna (2005), OHMMB Outreach Coordinator & Lactation Consultant, and president of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association (OLCA) was instrumental in bringing the milk drop to Union.

“As a graduate of UI&U I am excited to see my school reach out and support breastfeeding mothers in the Cincinnati area by opening this milk drop. I feel like this is their way of giving back to the local community as well as supporting the lactation community by supporting milk donation and milk banking,” said Smith.

The donated milk benefits babies in the Cincinnati region.

“Currently, about 23% of donors to the OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank are from the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Area. In the past year, roughly 20,000 ounces of milk has been donated to hospitals in the area. Just one ounce of milk can feed a premature infant for three days. In 2017, OHMMB dispensed about 30,000 ounces (10%) of our milk to four hospitals in the Cincinnati/NKY area,” Smith explained.

A milk drop allows the donor to drop off the milk at Union in one easy stop. Union personnel will immediately put the milk in a freezer and prepare for mailing to the OhioHealth Mother’s Milk Bank. The Union team who worked to make this partnership a reality include Nicole Schreck, Senior Director of Enrollment and Lakesha Williams, Regional Recruiter. Team members who will oversee the process are Renee Cave, receptionist and Chris Clark, maintenance.

Click here to watch a video of the opening.

To learn more about being a donor, visit

If you have a passion to counsel expectant mothers and mothers of infants about feeding and caring for their young infants, click below to start your new career today.