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Faculty & Staff

New Faces at Union

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Meet the new faces in the Career Counselor and Veteran Services positions – Rhia Batson and Will Willett.

Both share the UI&U mission of mission of engaging, enlightening, and empowering adult students to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Rhia’s goals are to guide students and graduates to sell what is different about them. “I want to help them discover the unique skill-set they bring to the prospective employer.”

She will focus on the improvement of the delivery of career services through accessibility, create special topic webinars on career pathways, improve the job board offerings, and be inventive in her approach to reaching out to students, alumni, and staff.

Rhia has been with Union for almost two years and was formerly the program advisor for psychology and social work students. She is fulfilling her career dream of serving in higher education.

“My career goal has always been to serve in higher education. I believe education is the best platform to make a difference. This new position offers the opportunity to look at students’ needs as a whole and that is exciting.”

Will is a Marine Corps veteran who served one tour in the Air Wing of the USMC and credits the experience with his fortitude.

“Basic training was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life, but having accomplished that I gained confidence and discipline. The military may not be for everyone, but I believe those that did serve should be treated properly by their country and government. There are wounds that you can see, and ones that you cannot; but both should be treated equally.”

Will’s objective is to connect with as many veterans as possible.

“I want to let veterans know about the innovative Veterans in Union program, help inform them about the best ways UI&U can help maximize their service-related educational benefits, and to help them get as many Union-related grants, scholarships, and stipends as possible.”

Rhia holds a Master’s of Science in Education from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wilmington College.

Will holds three degrees from Miami University of Ohio; A.S. in Engineering Technology (mechanical focus), a B.S. in Engineering technology (mechanical focus), and a B.S. in Aeronautics with a minor in Decision Sciences.

Rhia Batson

Will Willett

Reach out to Rhia and Will today to find out how Career Services and Veterans in Union can help you with your career path. Contact Rhia at Rhia.Batson@myunion.edu or Will at William.Willet@myunion.edu.

Student Spotlight – Venita Thomas

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Venita Thomas

Veterans Day offers the chance to thank the men and women who have served this nation both at home and around the world and their sacrifices for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Union wanted to do more for veterans to help them complete their degree. That goal led to the Veterans in Union program founded to recognize and honor the sacrifices made through our veterans’ service to our country, and commit to their success through a three-term $7500 living allowance stipend ($2500 per term) for honorably discharged veterans.

During the month of November, UI&U will spotlight a different veteran student each week. Get to know Venita Thomas an Army veteran and current Ph.D. student with a major in Educational Studies, in the Q&A below.

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

A. Continue to serve my country via the industry of education by becoming an educational consultant and professor.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. I was intrigued by Union Institute & University because of a campus being located in Cincinnati. Also the design of the program, a combination of online and onsite courses, adult friendly and I could maintain employment while earning my degree. Additionally, I was impressed with the alumni and faculty.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. Union is adult friendly, the staff and faculty understand my desire to complete my Ph.D. and have “real life” circumstances to maintain – it’s a “win-win” situation.

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

A. Life is manageable, be flexible, be confident, and work hard for what desires are in your heart to complete.

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

A. There are several individuals who have been and/or paramount in my life. This sounds cliché, however, my mother, the late, great Ruth Thomas. My mother would always tell me to “keep going,” never give up; I might have to wait a little longer for something’s, but waiting is okay – it’ll give me time to pray and think. Mom is correct – “waiting” – doesn’t hurt, it helps.

Enroll today and take advantage of the supplemental grant funding for veterans. Click below! .

Student Spotlight – Amy Oyos

By | Bachelor's Degree, Faculty & Staff, Latest News, News, Students, Union Institute & University | No Comments

Veterans Day offers the chance to thank the men and women who have served this nation both at home and around the world and their sacrifices for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Union wanted to do more for veterans to help them complete their degree. That goal led to the Veterans in Union program founded to recognize and honor the sacrifices made through our veterans’ service to our country, and commit to their success through a three-term $7500 living allowance stipend ($2500 per term) for honorably discharged veterans.

During the month of November, UI&U will spotlight a different veteran student each week. Get to know Amy Oyos, an Air Force veteran and current Master of Arts Health & Wellness major, in the Q&A below.

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

A. I plan to open a prenatal wellness center for expectant parents. I plan for this to be a non-judgmental, educational, community support place expectant parents can go to feel comfortable and learn about childbirth and lactation.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. I was looking for programs that gave me the ability to further my education in lactation. Union’s Health and Wellness program gave me the opportunity to receive a higher degree and sit for another certification in the field of lactation.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. After speaking with Ashlee from the admissions office I knew I made the right choice in schools. She helped me the whole way through and still checks in to see how I am doing. After all her help the veterans coordinator stepped in and has been there every time I have needed answers. They both went above and beyond anything I ever expected from a university.

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

A. Live life and find what you love. You may not know at 20 but when you find what you are called to do, don’t hesitate, Go For It.

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

A. I would say my Family. My parents have always been amazing and supportive. They have always given advice and supported me when I ignored it. Although they were right on more than one occasion they still gave me all the faith in the world that I could achieve whatever I wanted. My sisters have always pushed me to do my best and my own two amazing boys have pushed me to do my best and be my best.

Amy Oyos and her children

Enroll today and take advantage of the supplemental grant funding for veterans. Click below!

Proud To Be Union

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Union Institute & University proudly welcomed the Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, 1997 alumna, as the keynote at National Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, October 28, 2017.

Dr. Roger H. Sublett, president of UI&U refers to Ms. Simpson Miller as a UI&U global ambassador who exemplifies the university’s mission, vision, and values in her words and deeds. “She, like so many Union alumni and students, pursued her education against all odds in order to engage, enlighten, and empower those she serves.”

As guest of honor, she was treated to a dinner at Dr. and Mrs. Sublett’s home with Board of Trustee members on Thursday evening. On Friday she lunched with university leaders, met UI&U staff and toured the historic building that houses Union’s national headquarters. Friday evening she was the honored guest at a dinner with dignitaries and friends of Union.

In her keynote, the former prime minister reminded the more than 75 graduates that her story is the Union story. Born into humble beginnings, she had big dreams that required a college degree that would eventually lead her to make history when she became Jamaica’s seventh and first female prime minister in 2006 and elected a second time serving from January 2012 to March 2016.

She congratulated the new alumni on their perseverance to follow their dreams and asked them to join her in UI&U’s 53-year legacy of highly motivated adults positioned to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Your dream to follow a new career path starts today be enrolling in one of Union’s degree programs designed for the busy adult. Click below to find the right program for you.

National Commencement Is Almost Here

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National Commencement is almost here. This Saturday, October 28, Union Institute & University will graduate 75 students from 23 states and two countries, ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s. They will join the UI&U elite legacy of alumni who are transforming lives and communities and making a difference in all of their endeavors.

Highlights include:

  • Final commencement address by Dr. Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University, who retires at the end of June 2018.
  • Keynote by The Most Honorable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller, former two-term prime minister of Jamaica, a 1997 Union Institute & University alumna and the recipient of the university’s highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2001
  • The remembrance of the late Dr. Brian Webb with the new Brian Webb Award for Outstanding Master of Arts Thesis
  • The first TLC – or “tender loving care” award to Mrs. Mary Jestina Taylor, mother of Glenda Taylor, Ph.D. commencer, who is sight impaired, for her unwavering support to her daughter
  • Faculty Awards initiated by the Faculty Council
  • Marvin B. Sussman Award for excellence in dissertation
  • Moment of silence in remembrance of Dr. James Henderson, beloved faculty member who passed away this past February
  • And, much more!

The 2017 National Commencement is Saturday, October 28 at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in downtown Cincinnati. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.

Adults all over the world choose Union to complete their degree. Learn more about Union’s degree programs by clicking below.

Union’s Community Fest Reaches Out To Neighbors

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Fall was in the air and the soup was hot, as UI&U Cincinnati employees welcomed the Walnut Hills neighborhood at Community Fest on October 12.

The fun filled afternoon offered delicious food, corn hole, building tours, neighbor showcase tables, and a unique way to connect with the neighborhood.

“Community Fest offered a new way to reach out to our neighbors and serve our community,” said Donna Gruber, Cincinnati Academic Center Executive Director. “Union has been part of the Walnut Hills fabric for 28 years and is located in a historic Tudor-style building. The area is a dynamic and vibrant neighborhood that is growing and changing in front of our eyes and Union is a dynamic and vibrant university that serves our community and also attracts many students from across the country. The afternoon gave us an opportunity for us to live our mission: to engage, enlighten, and empower adults to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

Become a Union student and live the mission to engage, enlighten, and empower.

The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller To Keynote Her Cincinnati Ohio Alma Mater Commencement

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Portia Simpson Miller

The Most Honorable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller O.N., B.A. will keynote the Union Institute & University National Commencement on Saturday, October 28, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The former Jamaica Prime Minister is a 1997 graduate of Union Institute & University. Ms. Simpson Miller served as Jamaica’s prime minister from March 2006 to September 2007, and again from January 2012 to March 2016. She retired in 2017, after serving as the leader of Jamaica’s opposition party (People’s National Party).

She, like so many Union alumni and students pursued her education against all odds.

“We are deeply privileged to welcome Ms. Portia Simpson Miller to help celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates at National Commencement,” said Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University. “She is truly a global ambassador who exemplifies the university’s mission, vision, and values in her words and deeds. She, like so many Union alumni and students, pursued her education against all odds in order to engage, enlighten, and empower those she serves.”

Ms. Simpson Miller says that she chose to study at Union Institute & University to broaden her knowledge base and solidify her academic credentials, which became necessary to advance in a political career that began while she was still in high school.

“It did not matter that I had served my apprenticeship in the intensive workshop of politics and government and had been schooled in the university of life,” she told graduates at UI&U’s 2001 Florida Commencement, where she received the university’s honorary doctorate for her exemplary efforts to improve the quality of life for all Jamaican citizens. “It did not matter that I was routinely called upon to represent my country at conferences all over the world. The absence of a college degree remained an issue in my life.”

“The courage it takes to return to college while working and raising families is the cornerstone of Union’s existence,” said Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University. “Portia is a living example of where a college degree can take a person. She rose from humble beginnings to become the first female prime minister of Jamaica.”

Not only did she want to ensure that people would not question her intellectual ability, Mrs. Simpson Miller was also motivated to complete her degree to prove something to herself and her constituents, especially to the youth of Jamaica. “Anything you make up your mind to do, you can achieve,” she said. “When you have the power that comes with knowledge, you can use it for the advancement of people’s lives. I will never forget my experience at Union Institute & University because they assisted me in continuing to make a difference.”

Despite her demanding schedule and extensive responsibilities throughout the years since her graduation, she has maintained her friendship with the faculty and staff at Union.

Angela Byles, Florida Academic Center Associate Executive Director, remembers meeting Simpson Miller in 1994 when she enrolled at Union’s Florida Academic Center.

“It was an honor to meet Ms. Simpson Miller for the first time in 1994 when she visited the Florida Center to meet with the Dean. I was struck by how humble she was and easy to talk to. At that time, her portfolio was Minister of Labour and Welfare in Jamaica.” said Byles.

“There are so many qualities that I admire in The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, or – ‘Sista P’(sister) P’ as she is affectionately called. She has a deep love for her country and its people. She has the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. She fought for the equality of women and it is well known that she has been a champion for the poor. She has spent more than 40 years in direct service to her people and her country

Ms. Simpson Miller’s ascension to Jamaica’s highest political office came after having served for 17 years as a Cabinet Minister with portfolio responsibility for Labor, Social Security and Sport; Tourism, Entertainment and Sport; and Local Government, Community Development and Sport; in addition to Women’s Affairs.

Ms. Simpson Miller has received several local and international awards and accolades, including:

  • In March 2007, she was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s World Women and Sport Trophy for outstanding dedication to women in Jamaican Sports – both athletes and administrators.
  • In 2009, she received the Distinguished Award for her dedication and commitment to urban renewal and community development from the Mayor of the City of Miami.
  • She received the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of women’s affairs in Jamaica.
  • She was inducted into the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Hall of Fame in recognition of the “incredible impact that women of courage, creativity, and passion have made towards improving society, inspiring others, and building better leadership in the world.”
  • In 2012, Time Magazine named her among its “100 Most Influential Persons in the World.”

Mrs. Simpson Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Union Institute & University. She also completed the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2001, Prime Minister Simpson Miller was awarded Union Institute & University’s highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters: Honoris Causa, in recognition of her achievements and commitment to transform lives and communities. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the Northern Caribbean University, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

Adults all over the world choose Union to complete their degree. Learn more about Union’s degree programs by clicking below.

Staff Spotlight – Carolyn Krause

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Carolyn Krause

Each month, faculty and staff are recognized for their enormous contribution to Union. In the words of President Sublett, “Only people make a difference in an organization and only people are important in our lives.”

This month UI&U is highlighting Carolyn Krause, VP of Advancement. Among many other responsibilities, Carolyn works closely with President Sublett to coordinate and oversee the myriad details of National Commencement. This special day takes months of planning to make sure everything is perfect for our highly motivated adults as they culminate their studies and reach their professional goals, joining the 15,500 Union alumni who engage in a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

The 2017 National Commencement is Saturday, October 28 at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, beginning at 11 a.m. The Most Honorable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller, 1997 alumna, and former Jamaican prime minister, will present the keynote. Union’s trustees, faculty, and more than 75 commencers and their families will participate in the ceremonies.

Learn more about Carolyn in the Q&A below.

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

A. Working in the non-profit arena makes my life meaningful. Higher education is so rewarding because we have the opportunity to serve so many as they achieve their long-held dreams and go out into the world with fresh perspectives and the desire to make a difference. Working in higher ed allows me to contribute and give back so others can succeed and pay their education forward. An added bonus is that higher ed is constantly changing and innovating. Exposure to so many great minds — all looking to make a difference– is always inspiring.

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

A. From the day I walked in the door, the Union community has humbled me. We are surrounded by inspired and inspiring individuals with hard won goals. Our students are working — sometimes two jobs — raising children and/or caring for aging relatives. They are leaders in their organizations, active in their neighborhood, their churches, local and sometimes national government, and they are taking the little time they have left to pursue an advanced degree. They are hungry to better themselves and their communities and Union provides that pathway.

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

A. The one I have, of course!, but I would also love to work for a foundation, seeking and funding projects that improve the lives of others, particularly through art.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. I had the privilege and opportunity to grow up mostly overseas, living in three continents. That experience allowed me to learn about different cultures and better understand how the majority of the world’s population lives. There is so much good to be done in the world, and education is the best pathway to make a difference.

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. I always say, “you mean, besides Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved?’ I have so many favorites: anything by Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies) Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch), Ann Patchett (Bel Canto). All of these award winning authors tell remarkable and memorable stories, and peel away layers of the human condition, all while writing absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous prose.

To learn more about National Commencement, visit the link below or call us today at 800-861-6400.

Faculty Spotlight – Al Cobos

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Albert Cobos

Each month, faculty and staff are recognized for their enormous contribution to Union. In the words of President Sublett, “Only people make a difference in an organization and only people are important in our lives.”

This month Albert Cobos, MS, Adjunct Faculty Member / Los Angeles Campus is recognized. The spotlight is also on National Hispanic Heritage Month and Union’s commitment to diversity. Union serves a 26% Hispanic adult learner population. It is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division web page. A HIS is defined as a university where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total enrollment.

Get to know Al Cobos, Hispanic faculty member at the Los Angeles Campus, in the Q&A below.

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

A. I love being an instructor for the university and for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department where I work as a training and curriculum developer. Teaching at the university level allows me to remain relevant in my field which is criminal justice. This discipline is as multi-faceted as the students in my classroom. Topics such as current events, managing our people, ethics, civil disobedience, constitutional policing, and the continual progression of technology keeps me well informed for my students. I firmly believe that there is no finish line or final destination when it comes to instructor development. It is a continual process.

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

A. Teaching at the university level was a personal goal to accomplish after earning a Master of Science degree. The attraction to Union was being able to instruct students that were currently in the criminal justice field. From social workers, police officers, deputies, and probation officers, the experience brought into the classroom is an essential part of each discussion. Tapping into our students experiences is key in delivering course content which is relevant and applicable to our students. Union allows for practitioner faculty members to make the classroom an engaging environment to learn.

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

A. Simply put, a chef. I have enjoyed cooking all of my life and eating great food is an equally enjoyable experience. I have watched so many shows about successful chefs and their approach to cooking. I have learned some valuable nuggets of knowledge reading and watching these successful chefs. For most of the success that they have had, most of them were incredibly proficient in their cooking skills and most were French trained chefs. However, their creativity and greatness in the culinary world manifested once they were able to break free of the conventions of traditional French cooking. They took risks in order to reach a high level of creativity. While I would love to have these skills to work as a chef, the approach is similar to teaching. We learn the basics of instruction, but once we become proficient in this intricate skill, we can become creative in the process of mastering our craft, instruction.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. I am an introvert. I truly enjoy speaking at conferences, training events, and of course the classroom. I seek out opportunities to speak in front of people as much as I can. It is a skill which is a continual evolution for proficiency. However, I love spending time alone. I can be found dining, having coffee, or watching a movie alone. I am very comfortable with this part of me. It allows me the freedom to think. I took a solo trip from California to Alaska and back a number of years ago on my motorcycle. I loved it. It was a time to enjoy the journey while having the time to think. Solitude is one aspect of our lives that we should seek out and embrace.

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. I’ve read so many books over my lifetime. One that I enjoyed was The Explorers by Martin Dugard. It is an account of two competing explorers who are searching for the source of the Nile River in Africa. Their successes, failures, and creative risk-taking truly resonated with me since living a full life is not about taking the safe route or being status quo. To achieve true personal fulfillment, risks must be taken. They are not reckless risks, but rather calculated ones. I’m a risk taker by nature, but this book expanded the possibilities.

Learn more about Union’s commitment to diversity, by clicking below or call us today at 800-861-6400.

Staff Spotlight – Dr. Nelson Soto

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Dr. Nelson Soto

Each month, faculty and staff are recognized for their enormous contribution to Union. In the words of President Sublett, “Only people make a difference in an organization and only people are important in our lives.”

Dr. Nelson Soto, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Union Institute & University, is in the spotlight. The spotlight is also on National Hispanic Heritage Month and Union’s commitment to diversity. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Union will highlight the students, staff and faculty of Hispanic heritage with features, social media posts, and more.

Union is proud to serve a 26% Hispanic adult learner population and to be the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division web page.

Learn more about Nelson and his bond with diversity in the Q&A below.

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

A. I learn something new every day. The higher education profession encourages learning and critical thinking. Where else can a person get paid to learn?

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

A. Union is personal to me. I was raised by a strong single mom. She moved to this country from Puerto Rico when she was 18. My sister and I speak Spanish because my mom wanted us to respect our roots and heritage. She worked herself up the career ladder without a college degree. Her employer offered tuition benefits but she was afraid. As my sister and I became older, we encouraged her to go to college, but her fear was larger than her dream.

That is why Union’s mission of a college degree for adult learners is so precious to me. In many ways, I am doing for others what I couldn’t do for my mom.

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

A. I have a heart for marginalized populations. A leadership role in an institution that makes policy and provides resources to vulnerable populations would be attractive to me.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. As an administrator, I have to make difficult decisions and I know I often come across as stern and serious. But away from work, I am a teddy bear. I am a dedicated husband and father. That is my real self.

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. The Bible. I don’t know of another book that offers peace and everlasting loves, shows us how to live and be a good human being, self-help, help for others, and hope all in one context.

Learn more about Union’s commitment to diversity, by clicking on the button below.