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portia simpson miller

“Journey, Break Every Rule” Docudrama Features Union Alumna

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The Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, Union alumna and former two-time prime minister of Jamaica, was featured in the docudrama “Journey, Break Every Rule.” The film premiered in Kingston in February. As Jamaica’s first female prime minister, she admits that she had indeed broken some rules as a fierce defender of the poor. Her three “p”s– persistence, productivity, and (putting) people first–led her to the highest political office in the land. Read more in this article from the Jamaica Gleaner.

As a leader in the Jamaican government, Simpson Miller has a track record as a fierce advocate for education. She strongly supports alternative models for those who are not well served by traditional forms of education. Often described as the “heart and soul” of her people, Portia has made remarkable inroads and contributions in her country. From her early days in the House of Representatives, in her positions as minister of a number of offices, to prime minister, she always met challenges head-on with a rare degree of integrity, focus, and positive vision for the future.


Voice of the Voiceless

A common refrain throughout Portia Simpson Miller’s long service was that she was the “voice of the voiceless in the corridors of power.” Her efforts and long-term commitment to address the concerns of women, the elderly, the poor, and the disenfranchised are renowned, as is her advocacy for social change, and her unwavering efforts toward peace in an increasingly violent world.

Portia’s deep understanding of community leadership, and her commitment to engage all citizens to be change agents, reflects her lifelong efforts to advance people’s lives through education and empowerment.

As prime minister, Mrs. Simpson Miller lived her creed and also breathed life into our university’s aspirational vision. During a visit to Union, Portia told the audience:

“One committed individual can influence an entire community to come together for a positive purpose. From strong, positive communities we can build strong, positive nations which can transform the entire world.”

Her abiding belief in our individual abilities to give back and to continually strive to make a difference, coupled with her heartfelt desire to improve the lives of her people, make her as an exemplary Union alumna, but even more so, as a citizen of the world. The university awarded her the university’s highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2001.


Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University degree program. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click here to learn more.

2019 Transfer Honor Roll

Union Named to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2019 Transfer Honor Roll

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2019 Transfer Honor Roll

Union Institute & University is one of 78 colleges and universities across the country named to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2019 Transfer Honor Roll in recognition of the dynamic pathways Union has created to support transfer students.

“This is a tremendous honor for Union and a great advantage for our students,” said Sonya M. Fultz, director of Union’s Academic Partnerships and Innovation. “This certifies that transfer students to Union will find a transfer-friendly university with easy access and seamless career pathways.”

Union offers a $3,500 scholarship exclusively to members of Phi Theta Kappa.

“In addition to the scholarship, students may register for 100 percent online degree programs with 8-week courses for multiple start terms per year and transfer up to 90 credits toward their undergraduate degree,” said Fultz.

Union will play a prominent role in the Phi Theta Kappa’s Catalyst conference from April 4-6, 2019, in Orlando, Florida. Union is a sponsor of the conference and Fultz will present “Transfer Pathways Made Easy” to advisors, and serve as a conversation facilitator during the Celebration of Scholars & Transfer Partners Breakfast. More than 200 students are expected to attend the event, designed as a networking session to help students explore transfer, workforce, and career prep tips.

The Transfer Honor Roll recognizes excellence and success in community college transfer pathway development among four-year colleges and universities. It identifies colleges and universities that understand the unique needs of community college transfer students and applauds the dynamic pathways these colleges have created to continue fostering student success at the four-year college. Colleges are selected for the Honor Roll based on their Transfer Friendliness Rating and participation in the PTK Connect online app.


Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University bachelor’s degree program. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Dr. Timothy William Quinnan President of Richmont Graduate University

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Dr. Timothy William Quinnan

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 55 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month we feature Dr. Timothy William Quinnan, the newly appointed president of Richmont Graduate University. Dr. Quinnan is one of a group of 26 Union alumni who are serving or have served as a college president. Learn more about Dr. Quinnan and his leadership skills in the Q&A below.

Q: How do you define leadership?
A: Leadership is the mindful use of persuasion rather than power to achieve a desired goal.

Q: When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A: It was in my late teens, particularly in athletic or social settings, that I first noticed others gravitating toward me for advice, support, and direction, even when there were other team captains or event coordinators. Back then, I wasn’t comfortable in the role and, in fact, tried to avoid it! Which is why it surprised me that I somehow succeeded in almost every instance that I led. In college, more co-curricular opportunities came my way and I began to embrace them, sensing that leadership might be an innate strength. Moving forward to the start of my career in higher education, I consciously, actively sought out opportunites. It was a recognition that I could never reach my professional goals without experiencing the rewards, challenges, and deep learning that attended leadership.

Q: Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.
I have long held that creativity is the soul of leadership, perhaps above all other factors. Consequently, I strive to promote work settings where innovation is prized as a means to enhance staff performance and organizational impact. An example would be the “Next Generation Initiatives” grant program I launched at the University of Texas at Arlington. Annually, we invited staff, faculty, and students to propose utterly new and experimental programs/services to improve student success by providing seed grants to pilot test them. Those demonstrating high impact were soon institutionalized as new, cutting-edge ‘best practices’ in our operations.

Q: What leader do you admire most and why?
A: Oh my, that’s impossible for me to answer. There are too many leaders I admire to choose one. For me, it’s more about the qualities displayed in life-defining moments or major crises and less about the entire resume of that person. That said, I tend to find historical figures the most compelling. Perhaps this stems from my aversion to a flood of contemporary experts who promise instant leadership success if one buys their book or attends their seminars. Maybe I’m an outlier but I still lean toward believing that leadership is more organic and less learned. Also, I’m awed by those who transformed the very nature of the fields they worked in, from politics, to the arts, to business. Only leaders who lift the worlds they inhabit to new and unprecedented heights have truly achieved their full potential.

 Q: What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
“The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility” T.S. Eliot

Too many in positions of leadership forget how long it takes to get there and how easy it is to lose.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. It all starts with You! And is all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to choose the degree program that is right for you.

Union Institute & University Offers an Immediate Solution for Displaced Adult Students

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CINCINNATI, OH – Union Institute & University is a solution for adult students searching for an alternative to continue their degree pathway due to recent closings amongst community education providers. Union can serve as an immediate solution for those students who want to pick-up where they left off in their education path.

Union places value on the student by offering a personal accord that most schools are not able to incorporate into their enrollment process. We believe that students deserve one-on-one attention to find the education path that suits their needs.

Union is here to serve adult learners through the transfer process in the following ways:

  • FREE application – Union’s application process is complimentary, never a charge to apply.
  • Transfer friendly – Union is transfer friendly. For example, up to 90 credit hours for undergraduates, PLUS a free transfer credit review.
  • Personal university – Union is known for its one-to-one attention to students. We have over 400 faculty & staff for our adult learners in ways other universities can’t match.
  • Displacement Scholarship – $100 discount per credit hour up to a maximum of $3,000 on the condition that students maintain continuous enrollment in good standing with UI&U.

Since 1964, Union Institute & University has specialized in adult education by offering busy, highly motivated adults the one-on-one attention that’s so hard to come by in their time-strapped lives. Union places students at the center of their own education. We like to say we are hi-tech and hi-touch.

To learn how Union can assist you in completing your degree, visit or call


About Union Institute & University

Union Institute & University is a non-profit, regionally accredited university specializing in providing quality higher education degrees for adults nationwide. Founded in 1964, Union’s academic programs and services are the result of more than five decades of identifying and refining ways to structure and deliver education to meet the needs of adults. Distinguished as the pioneer in adult education, Union perfected the concepts now common in higher education such as the hybrid model, a blend of online and traditional classroom instruction, interdisciplinary studies, and student centered education with socially relevant and applicable learning outcomes in its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs. The university is guided by its core mission to educate highly motivated adults who seek academic programs to engage, enlighten, and empower them to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Union is a national university with four academic centers located in: Ohio, Florida, and California.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Union Alumna Named One of 2019 Top Women in Business CEOs

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Dr. Patricia Savage, President/CEO Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries

March is Women’s History Month. The month celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting alumna Dr. Patricia Savage who graduated with her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a concentration in Organizational Leaership in 2005. As president and CEO of Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM), Dr. Savage provides leadership to manage the programs of ALSM, a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that supplies health and human services throughout eight counties in western central Pennsylvania. She was just named one of Pennsylvania Business Central’s 2019 Top Women in Business CEOs. Learn more about Dr. Savage and her views on leadership in the Q&A below.  

Q: How do you define leadership?
A:That’s difficult. The concept is an abstraction. I think leadership is as diverse as the people who are leaders. Something good leaders have in common is that they place the good of their organization, team, unit, culture, society, family —whatever— over benefit to themselves.

Also, they are mission-driven—which is to say that their heads are screwed on right; they don’t get distracted from the vision that inspires their mission. They control themselves.

Q: When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A: It was in school. I was a good student in high school, didn’t that did not seem to be an arena in which I would lead. In college, I began to realize that I was in control of what I was learning. I started producing knowledge, not just absorbing it. I recall one experience when I began to take control of myself and found that my vision could inspire others to share that vision.

Q: Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.
A: Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM) serves a large number of senior citizens, both those who live independently and those who are in health care centers. As we age, we strive to maintain our cognitive fitness. Although many of our residents participate in activities and do cross word puzzles, word search, and other programs that enable them to maintain their level of cognition, I challenged the enrichment staff to find a research-based program that would increase cognitive fitness. At first, there was some resistance and some doubt about a program like this being of benefit. At a conference that focused on healthy seniors, I found a software-based program and I shared this program with our team. They liked it and reviewed the results of the research, although there was some concern that our residents would be fearful of a computer-based program. After some training of both the staff and the residents, the program was embraced and is being used today. It has been successful on some of our campuses/programs, and others are still in the process of integrating the program. The example of leadership is that I worked with our team who is committed to the quality of care of our residents and challenged them to build on our programs. As a result of education and discussion, a new program was embraced.

Q: What leader do you admire most and why?
Martin Luther. It took great courage to be a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. He was a person of high morals, vision, courage, and persistence, all qualities that I admire.

Q: What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
“As a leader, you have to have the ability to assimilate new information and understand that there might be a different view.” – Madeleine Albright

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Student stars in Clownvets – Premiere is March 7

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Bruce Reges has found that laughter can be the best medicine. The veteran and Ph.D. student suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He recently joined nine other veterans on a trip to Guatemala with Dr. Patch Adams, (yes, the one made famous by Robin Williams). The trip was a pilot program to help veterans by helping others. They dressed as clowns and visited hospitals and orphanages.

The film named Clownvets premieres March 7 in San Jose, California. Click to watch the Clownvets trailer with Dr. Patch Adams

“The experience helped me to get in touch with my emotions again,” said Reges. “In war, it is necessary to shut down to stay alive. You don’t get close to someone because they may be gone tomorrow.”

Reges is no stranger to performing. “My mother was a teacher and used puppets to reach children.  I helped her with the shows. In high school, I did a stint with Bozo the Clown on television in my hometown of Grand Rapids.”

While serving in the United States Army in Iraq, he used puppets to bridge a gap between the children and soldiers. “The kids were frightened. The puppets allowed the children to see us as people. In the end, the puppets helped the children open up and let us know where bombs were hidden. The puppets saved lives. That is how Peace Through Puppets started.”

Currently a Ph.D. student in Educational Studies, he was encouraged to enroll at Union by his VA doctor and master’s degree advisor, both of whom graduated from Union.

His dissertation/committee chair Dr. Beryl Watnick, has encouraged him every step of the way. “Bruce entered his Ph.D. program with some trepidation about whether he was up to the challenge of such a rigorous and scholarly journey,” says Dr. Watnick.  “Over the semesters, I have witnessed his growth as a doctoral student as well as his desire to contribute to scholarly conversations on the state of our current educational system. Bruce’s military service, along with his work as an innovative educator, deepen his passion for his continued evolution as an educational leader and scholar.”

Reges hopes to make a positive impact in education. “I hope I can be a force for social justice and more male involvement in elementary school instruction. Too many times, I have worked in elementary schools where I was literally the only male there on a consistent basis. Everyone including the support staff were all females. I feel a balance is needed of positive male influence.”

Even though there is not a cure for PTSD, Reges is hopeful. He has a daughter he loves spending time with, continues to spread joy through Peace Through Puppets, and looks forward to receiving his Ph.D. “Laughter may not be a panacea, but it sure can’t hurt.”

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in a Union Institute & University Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand your knowledge and expertise. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Veteran and military spouse is working to improve lives in the military community

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Amanda White

March is Social Work Month. This celebration is an opportune time to highlight students in the UI&U Social Work Bachelor’s degree program. Every day, the nation’s social workers work to empower and elevate millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Student and veteran Amanda White plans to empower and elevate the military community after graduation. Learn more about her goals in the Q&A below.

Q: What do you plan to do with your degree?
A: I plan to work with the military and veteran community, to help address the unique issues facing service members and their families. As an NCO in the Army, it was my job to take care of soldiers. That desire has not changed, even though I no longer wear the uniform.

Q: What led you to this program?
A: I was drawn to the social work field after my son’s diagnosis with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). It was a chaotic and confusing period in our lives, and our social worker was a steady and comforting guide in this new landscape. I want to be able to provide that same service for others and I believe that pursing a degree in social work is the best way to do so.

Q: Why did you choose Union for your studies?
A: The Social Work Bachelor’s program at Union offers the quality of education I desire, while allowing me the flexibility I need as a military spouse and a parent.

Q: If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?
Hold steady, drive on, and do the thing. Life will throw challenges at you, may make you feel a bit weak in the knees some days, but do not stop pushing and do not wait for things to be ” just right”. That’ll never happen, so you’re just going to have to do it imperfectly. And don’t worry so much – it’s all a wonderful adventure.

Q: Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?
 I have been influenced by a myriad of people in different phases of my life, so I don’t know that I could chose just one. Right now, in this moment, my greatest influences are my children. I have this desire to do right by them, to be better for them, to change the world for them, and that drives my actions every day.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Social Work degree. It all starts with You! And it all starts at Union Institute & University. Click below to learn more.

Perspectives: Black History and the Union Community

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Throughout the month of February, Union Institute & University is celebrating Black History Month with “Perspectives”, a video series featuring Black History and the Union Community. Please tune in to each perspective.

Sen. Cecil Thomas and Union alumnus
Julie Washington
UI&U Trustee
Eric Kearney
CEO Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber
Jill Meyer
President & CEO, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce
Gino McGowens
Union alumnus, Senior Director, Member Relations,
Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber
Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be with a degree from Union. Click below to start.

Alumni in the News – Living the Union Mission

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Sabrina Puppin Opens “Fluid Perceptions” at Grand Hyatt Doha

Internationally known artist and U&U alumna, Sabrina Puppin, has just opened a new show named “Fluid Perceptions” in Doha. Learn more about Dr. Puppin and her remarkable work at this link.

What Makes Preachers and/or Pastors Great?

That is the question that UI&U alumnus, Dr. J. William Poole answered in his book, “What Makes Preachers and/or Pastors Great?” Dr. Poole concluded that they live by example as he examined the lives of four prominent African American ministers. Read more about the late Dr. Poole and his findings at this link.

Recipient of Union Honorary Doctorate to Deliver Convocation Address

La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and UI&U recipient of an honorary doctorate, will address psychiatrists at the APA Annual Meeting in San Francisco when she delivers this year’s William C. Menninger Memorial Convocation Lecture, titled, “Psychiatric Leadership to Expand Equity and Well-Being.” Read more at this link.

Be part of the Union Mission to be a world-changer by enrolling in a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program today. It all starts with You! Click below.

Dr. Kim C. Byas, Sr., Appointed Program Director of Innovative Master of Science in Health Care Leadership

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Dr. Kim C. Byas, Sr.

Kim C. Byas, Sr., Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.H.E., was appointed to lead Union Institute & University’s new innovative Master of Science in Health Care Leadership (MS-HCL) program.

As a seasoned health care professional, Dr. Byas has served nearly 40 years in various health care settings—including as regional executive with the American Hospital Association where he works with hospitals on federal advocacy, health care system transformation, and health policy.

Dr. Byas cites two very important reasons for the formation of this new program. “First, many of us dream of a health care system that provides the best care with the best outcomes possible—regardless of ethnicity, cultural background, or financial circumstances. As most know, our health care model falls short of achieving this.

Second, Union Institute & University’s historic and unique commitment to experimental adult education prepares motivated adults who want to work to improve health care access and eliminate health inequities.  Consequently, Union Institute & University has more than five decades of success in helping adult learners first transform their lives; and then transform their communities and promote social justice.  Union Institute & University is nationally ranked as the fourth best university for adult learners—individuals who work, support families, and have very busy lives while seeking to change the world.”

Dr. Byas was instrumental in designing this accredited and 100 percent online program that includes the following unique program features.

  1. Each student works with a senior health care executive who will be a mentor from start to finish. This feature is both unique and essential to the MS-HCL program because research shows that the most important determinant of long-term leadership success is mentoring. Subsequently, students will work with mentors in the field who can model behavior and help them navigate very complex health care settings.  Such mentoring will help each student become an effective leader in today’s rapidly changing health care field.
  2. To encourage professionalism and to foster enthusiasm for life-long learning, each student in the MS-HCL program will be given a membership of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)—the premier professional organization for health care leaders.
  3. As part of the admission process, each student must identify a work-related project that is addressed throughout their coursework. At the conclusion of the program, each student will have a work plan or a finished project ready for implementation.
  4. In addition, the MS-HCL program offers coursework that emphasizes population health, social entrepreneurship, and data analytics. After completing this program in 12 months on a full-time basis, each graduate will be prepared to provide ethical and creative leadership that promotes social justice in health care.

Unlike MBA programs that cost at least two to four times more that the MS-HCL program, this program is also distinct and different from MBA in health care, MHA, and MPH degree programs in this one key way: The MS-HCL Program trains participants to lead financially successful organizations and foster social justice in health care delivery—not study policy or develop research models.  The MS-HCL program will impart practical knowledge and leadership skills for achieving social change, as well as fostering creative problem solving within an ethical framework.  Ultimately, graduates of the MS-HCL program will drive success within their health care organizations.

About Kim C. Byas, Sr., PhD, MPH, FACHE

Dr. Byas is Program Director, Union Institute & University’s Master of Science in Health Care Leadership degree. Prior to accepting this position, he served for more than 16 years as the regional executive with the American Hospital Association working with hospitals on federal advocacy, health care system transformation, and health policy.

He has more than 40 years of successful leadership and innovation in health care settings ranging from his role as the interim president/CEO, Institute for Diversity in Health Management; CEO of Kailo Alliance—a health care strategic consulting company; executive director of a multispecialty physicians group; and as adjunct faculty with DePaul University’s Master in Public Administration program and Loyola University of Chicago’s MBA in Healthcare.

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

He volunteers with many not-for-profit organizations—including the National Association of Health Services Executives; the HCA Corris Boyd Scholarship Committee; the advisory boards of the Master of Health Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Master of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati; March of Dimes—Chicago and Illinois; the Advisory Board to the Office of Equity and Inclusion at The University of Michigan, and the Multi-racial and Multicultural Council of the National Rural Health Association.

He is a former board member with Union Institute & University where he served as vice-chair; a board member of the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University; and a founding board member and past chair of the Asian Health Care Leaders Association.


Oncology Research Fellowship, Harper‑Grace Hospital; Detroit, MI

Philosophy Honor Society, Wittenberg; Springfield, OH

Summer Research Fellowship, Michigan Cancer Foundation; Detroit, MI

Indiana State Hoosier Scholar; Gary, IN

Federal Government

Grant Reviewer for HHS Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Adviser to the HHS Office of Minority Health

HPSA & MUA Advisory Committee, HRSA

Professional Associations

American College of Healthcare Executives

American Public Health Association

American Society of Association Executives

Asian Health Care Leaders Association—founding board member and board chair (2011-2013)

Chicago Health Executive Forum

Multi-cultural and Multi-racial Council of the National Rural Health Association

National Association of Health Service Executives—Chicago Chapter

Speaker and Trainer

Presentations at state, regional, national, and international conferences such as International Conference of Nurse Practitioners and Advance Practice Nurses in Rotterdam, Healthcare Financial Management Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, Federal Office of Rural Health, Health and Human Services—Office of Minority Health, March of Dimes, National Association of Health Service Executives, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in the online MS-HCL program for adults with at least three years of health care-related work experience. Click below to register or learn more.