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Dr. Robin Martin

Union Institute & University National Commencement Announced

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Union Institute & University National Commencement is Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Netherlands Plaza in downtown Cincinnati. 

More than 120 students have earned degrees in the following areas: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies. 

Dr. Robin MartinThe keynote speaker is Dr. Robin Martin, Deputy Director of Postsecondary Success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She leads strategy, planning, and management efforts, focusing on operational excellence and development and execution of key elements of the team’s work. Dr. Martin brings more than 20 years of higher education experience as an associate provost for diversity and inclusion, a tenure track faculty member, and athletic director and coach, including many years at the University of Cincinnati. She is a master-level certified executive coach and the author of Navigating Courage: Leading Beyond Fear, which offers insights for academic professionals seeking to build a focus on equity within their institutions. Using a design-thinking approach, Dr. Martin specializes in inclusive leadership, organizational change, and an African-humanist philosophy called Ubuntu, meaning, “I am because you are.” 

Dr. Martin holds a M.Ed. in Education from the University of New Orleans, and an Ed.D. in Urban Education and Leadership from the University of Cincinnati. 

Other highlights include the following: 

  • Marvin B. Sussman Award for excellence in dissertation 
  • Brian Webb Award for Outstanding Master of Arts Thesis
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching 
  • Certificate of Distinction for Excellence in Teaching
  • Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Certificate of Distinction for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Legacy Alumni Award
  • Recognition of veterans Designated by wearing a special red, white, and blue honor cord, in recognition of their service to our country

Union is sought after by adults because of its adult delivery model: Specialized distance-learning programs that combine online and classroom coursework with high-touch faculty attention, designed for students regardless of where they live and work. Union also has a long history of serving diverse populations: Minorities (48 percent), women (53 percent), and an older, adult population (average age of 37) and interweaves social justice in its curriculum. Union students recognize that with knowledge comes the responsibility to serve in advancing a culturally pluralistic, equitable, and interdependent world. We work toward equality of access, prize all aspects of diversity, and live a commitment to an innovative teaching and learning culture that promotes the common good, enriched by the depth and breadth of Union’s international community of students, faculty, alumni, staff, trustees, and partners.

As Dr. King stated so eloquently, the work we each do every day – whether learning, teaching, or serving students and alumni – is dignified and important, specifically because we, together, uplift humanity. The work our students and alumni do each day is critically important. All of us connected to Union strive each day to engage, enlighten, and empower each other as we work to transform lives and communities.

To learn more about National Commencement, click here. To learn more about Union and its mission to engage, empower and enlighten click here

wind turbine alumni story

Union Graduate Taps Nature’s Tools to Benefit the Planet

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wind turbine alumni story

By Maurice A. Ramirez, D.O., Ph.D. (Union Ph.D. 2008, Retired Disaster/Emergency Medicine Physician)

People who want to reduce their carbon footprint might shop with reusable grocery bags, drive hybrid cars, or toss their newspapers in recyclable trash bins. But Maurice Ramirez, D.O., Ph.D. 2008, and his wife, Allison Sakara, N.P., P.H.R.N., have taken a much bigger step to lighten their load on the planet. On March 16, 2019, they erected a 90-foot-tall wind turbine on their Lake Wales, Florida property, the first ever in the state’s Polk County and the first noncoastal grid-tied wind turbine in the state.

The couple already had installed 81 solar panels on their home and improved its air-conditioning system to increase energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

“We then asked ourselves how we could generate power when it’s dark and stormy,” Maurice recalls thinking. “The answer? A wind turbine!”

 

Permits needed

permit needed

While that seemed like a no-brainer, they first had to work with the county to write an ordinance to allow for a wind energy conversion system (WECS). Next was obtaining approval from county commissioners and the board of adjustments. They also had to overcome concerns about the tower’s height, operational noise, and any potential dangers to the environment. The couple lives in a nature conservancy that is home to a number of threatened species, so finding a WECS endorsed by respected experts as native-environment safe was essential. Fortunately, their love of research paid off and they were able to find a WECS endorsed by the Audubon Society as bird safe. They also received endorsements from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and their closest neighboring property holders, The Nature Conservancy. Addressing noise output, however, later proved to be more problematic.

 

Solve noise issue

“After the wind turbine was installed, we discovered that it was noisier than the U.S. Department of Energy certification documents led us to believe,” states Maurice. The turbine sits atop a 90-foot monopole tower, like a “giant pinwheel” on a hollow stick. “And the problem was that this large, hollow monopole tower was acting like a giant megaphone,” he explains. The tower not only carried the noise down to ground level but it also amplified the noise. Thus, the very quiet 30 decibels generated by the turbine at the top grew to 90 decibels on the ground – the equivalent noise level of a riding lawn mower.

Fortunately, as an undergraduate at Florida State University, Maurice, a retired emergency room physician, studied sound physics, and Allison, a regulatory affairs specialist for medical devices, is an accomplished concert musician. Both recognized immediately that the root of the problem was resonance. They designed a system to mitigate resonance amplification in the hollow tower and installed vibration barriers between the turbine and its tower. “Our technology changes wind turbine towers from megaphones into mufflers,” Maurice describes. Their system lowered the noise level to between 38 and 45 decibels, achieving a reduction in perceived noise by more than 90 percent.

It’s a process that’s paying off. “We could not find any patents like our noise reduction technology,” he says. The result: Maurice and Allison now have a patent pending for their multi-modal approach for turbine noise mitigation and tower resonance reduction. That’s one of several patents they have pending or already hold, ranging from support of disaster responders to their innovative Natural Air E-Control system for HVAC energy conservation and indoor air quality improvement.

 

Credits Union with innovative thinking

Asked how they come up with their inventions, “We’re both medical disaster response specialists” replied Maurice. “We’re used to coming up with ‘MacGyver’ solutions,” referring to the famously unconventional problem-solving character of the CBS television series. “This is what made me a good emergency room physician and diagnostician. Its a thought process I learned from the 19 Nobel Prize laureates I studied under at Florida State University and developed during my doctoral program at Union Institute & University.” Such thought processes not only led the Union graduate to a successful career in emergency medicine and multiple patents, but also contributed to Maurice receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Disaster Medicine by the American Academy of Physician Specialists.

The fruits of that thought process are not limited to awards and inventions. Everyday benefits of their innovations make the energy efficiency of Maurice and Allison’s home exceptional. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an efficient new home consumes 30 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per 24-hour day, while the average older home consumes 85 kWh per day. The couple purchased an existing home which was found to consume 90 kWh per day. After completing the initial wave of energy efficiency measures, energy use fell below 70 kWh per day – and that was after adding a swimming pool, hot tub and large koi pond! Now, with an array of 81 solar panels and the wind turbine, Maurice and Allison generate 90 to 160 kWh per day (varies due to weather). That allows them to “bank” energy with the local power company against future needs, then annually sell energy back the remaining kWh to the local power grid.

 

Fourth most energy efficient home

According to the Residential Energy Services Network’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS), the nationally recognized system for calculating a home’s energy performance and the industry standard for that measurement, a home with a HERS Index score of 70 or below is considered ideal. The HERS score for Maurice and Allison’s home was originally 91, which is in keeping with many existing U.S. homes. After all the efficiency improvements, the house scored a remarkable negative 63. This score makes their home the most energy efficient renovated residence ever rated and the fourth most energy efficient home (renovation plus new construction) out of over two million homes rated since the program began.

So why did this couple invest so much time and money into energy efficiency and renewable energy systems? “For most people, including healthcare professionals, their home is their largest and most important investment,” replies Maurice. “Any improvements in energy efficiency that you make to your home not only save you money month-to-month, having a favorable HERS rating boosts your resale value. Some banks also promote ‘green energy’ projects, assisting you with targeted energy-efficiency renovation loans or rewarding your efforts with a reduction of your post-renovation mortgage rate.”

For this couple, their inventions and their renewable energy projects come down to a common motivation. “Allison and I believe that, as healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility to lead by example when it comes to global problems that impact individual and global health,” Maurice explains. “Even if you don’t invest in solar and wind power, just spending a few thousand dollars to improve your home’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality generates both local and global benefits.”


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

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Union Institute & University and Rotary Club to host reception for Mandela Washington Fellows

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Pictured left to right: Rotary World Affairs Committee member Baffour Otchere, Fellow Nahla Maalla, Fellow sponsor Megan Fischer of Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank, Fellow Leticia Asangono, Fellow Otil Amoroso Lufuma, Fellow sponsor Richard Stewart of Carriage House Farm, and Rotary World Affairs Committee member Rand Oliver.

Union Institute & University and Rotary Club of Cincinnati will host a reception for Mandela Washington Fellows on Wednesday, August 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the university’s headquarters at 440 East McMillan Street in Walnut Hills.

“Union is delighted to join the Rotary Club of Cincinnati in hosting the Mandela Washington Fellows,” said Dr. Rand Oliver, UI&U professor and Director of Alumni Affairs and member of the Rotary Club World Affairs Committee. “Union’s commitment to social justice mirrors Rotary International’s mission to advance goodwill around the world.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders was established in 2014. The flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), it empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2019, the Fellowship has provided 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

The Fellows, who range in age from 25 to 35, are all accomplished in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2018, Fellows represented a diverse group of leaders from 48 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Meet the four Fellows working in Cincinnati below.

 

Mandela Washington Fellowship Biographies

Amedy Pereira, Sao Tome and Principe. Working with La Terza Coffee.

Amedy Taty Pereira is the manager of Ephraim, a family business that–in addition to producing coffee and cocoa– is also a restaurant and a guest house in the heart of São Tomé. Amedy inherited the company from his father, the only coffee and cocoa producer on the island at the time, at the age of 18 after a health scare. Given the opportunity to manage the growth of Ephraim, Amedy has been at the firm ever since. The opportunity to lead the company fostered a previously untapped entrepreneurial desire. Amedy is also a volunteer and leader in the Association Asas Célélé, which aims to support underprivileged children and orphans in the community of Roça Monte Café. He is a communicative, resilient, organized, and passionate leader that continually looks to develop his skills to add value to Ephraim.

Leticia Asangono, Equatorial Guinea. Working with Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank.

Leticia Alene Nsue Asangono has eight years of experience in the oil and gas industry and works as a contract analyst for Marathon Oil. She is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Administration at Atlantic International University and is a 2018 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur. Outside of her studies, Leticia runs ONG Pañales Y Comida Infantil (ONG PACOIN), a non-governmental organization that provides free food and diapers to children in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. As the founder of ONG PACOIN and a single mother, Leticia intimately knows the challenges parents face when raising a child. Leticia also volunteers with organizations, and currently works with the La Ronda Project by donating food and clothing to families affected by fires in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Leticia plans to open new ONG PACOIN branches throughout Equatorial Guinea to support more children and families in need.

Nahla Maalla, Sudan. Working with the City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability

Nahla Maalla is a certified energy management professional and the founding engineer of the energy conservation project in DAL Dairy factory. She is an alumnus of the 2018 Arab Program for Sustainable Energy Youth program which took place in Egypt 2018 and was a member of the first prize winner team in the United Nations Development Programme 2015 Social Good Summit. She is also blogger, through which she shares her insights about the energy issues, opportunities and its associated socio-economic impacts on the sustainable development in Sudan.

Otil Amoroso Lufuma, Angola. Working with Carriage House Farm.

Otíl Venancio Amoroso Lufuma is a young farmer from Soyo, Angola with seven years of experience in agriculture. Otíl primarily works in banana and maize production and is the founder of an agribusiness start-up and manager of his own farm. Otíl has completed several trainings on modern farming technologies and volunteers in his community as a leading agriculturalist helping women and young children from low-income families to pursue careers in agriculture. Growing up in a low-income family himself, Otíl learned to farm from his grandparents. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Otíl’s long-term goal is to work on self-sustainable agricultural growth projects to fight malnutrition, hunger, and extreme poverty.

 

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

2019 Mark Dunakin Award recipient

Fallen Officer Memorial Award 2019 Recipient Selected

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Mark Dunakin Award recipient

Officer Kyle Nathan Henricksen has received the 2019 Mark Dunakin Award for Extraordinary Achievement. Union Institute & University presents the award to a graduate of the Criminal Justice Management undergraduate program.

The Mark Dunakin Memorial Award honors the memory of Sergeant Dunakin, a UI&U student who tragically lost his life at age 40. He and three other Oakland police officers were killed in the line of duty on March 21, 2009. The award is presented to a new graduate of the UI&U Criminal Justice Management major who serves in law enforcement and who emulates Sergeant Dunakin’s commitment to community service, academic success, and enthusiasm for the major.

The faculty chose Officer Henricksen as an example of someone who displayed extraordinary achievement throughout his undergraduate program. He not only works hard and maintains high standards, but shows a deep commitment to serving others in his community and beyond. He received the award at the California Commencement on July 21, 2019.

 

About Officer Henricksen

Officer Henricksen is a 10-year member of the Pleasanton Police Department (PPD) and a former deputy with Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). With nearly 14 years of experience, he currently serves as Secretary for the Pleasanton Police Officers Association (POA). He is known there for his uncanny understanding of the law, departmental rules, union contracts, and professional protocol. Colleagues also say he’s infamous as a quick-witted, irredeemable jokester.

He completed the police academy at age 22, overcoming a broken foot during training to graduate on time. Immediately upon graduation he started his career with the ACSO, where he was assigned to the Alameda County Jail.

In 2009, he transferred to Pleasanton Police Department where he has served on patrol and joined the motors unit. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers recognized Officer Henricksen for his dedication to reducing drunk driving incidences in 2014.

 

An Officer and a Family Man

A consummate professional, Officer Henricksen is a dedicated father, husband, son, uncle, brother, and friend. He and his wife Jennifer serve as parents not only to their two biological children, but also to Jennifer’s younger sister and Kyle’s niece. The #Henricksen6, as they call themselves, spend their time shuttling among the children’s many sports activities and school events.

With the support of his wife and children, Officer Henricksen sought to fulfill a promise he made to himself, his parents, and his wife by completing his undergraduate education. In 2018, while remaining a fulltime member of the PPD, he was admitted to Union Institute & University where he majored in Criminal Justice Management. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

In addition to all of this, Officer Henricksen is currently fighting stage IV pancreatic cancer and undergoing experimental treatments. A true testament to his extraordinary character, Officer Henricksen maintained a full-time academic load after diagnosis and remains an active father and Secretary to the Pleasanton POA. Every day Officer Henricksen demonstrates that he will not not let his diagnosis define or limit him.

Fellow officer Ryan Tujague wrote the following: “Kyle is an amazing person and his family have this bond that you truly rarely see. Kyle is also the secretary for our POA. He continues to hold this position while he is battling pancreatic cancer; traveling to Stanford, getting treatment, attending his kids’ athletic events, and finishing his education. Kyle clearly has lot on his plate and he still answers his phone to answer POA questions from officers and other board members. He is well loved within our department.”

 

Past Award Recipients

Past recipients of the Union Institute & University Mark Dunakin Memorial Award for Extraordinary Achievement are:

  • 2011 – Isabel Resendez
  • 2013 – Frederick Henry Bobbitt Jr. and Tony Silva
  • 2015 – Ray Framstad
  • 2016 – Sergio Lepe
  • 2017 – Orrlando Mayes
  • 2018 – Heather Forsythe

 

 

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

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.

thoughts on notre dame

A Union Ph.D Student Shares Thoughts on Notre Dame

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thoughts on notre dame

On April 15, 2019, the world watched in shock and dismay as flames engulfed Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, burning the building’s delicate and recognizable spire and most of its roof. Luckily, the interior avoided extensive damage thanks to its stone vaulted ceiling. Also, many works of art and religious relics were moved to safety. With rebuilding already underway, interest in the structure and its history has increased. Art historian and Ph.D. student Bruce Maggi shares some thoughts on Notre Dame the significance of the iconic structure.

 

Q & A with Bruce Maggi

Q: Can you give us a brief history of the cathedral? 

A: Notre Dame de Paris is more than 800 years old. It sits on a small island called the Ile de la Cite in the middle of the River Seine in the heart of Paris. The cathedral was built over the course of 200 years; it was started in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and was completed in 1345. It was built on the ruins of two earlier churches, which were themselves predated by a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the Roman god, Jupiter.

Notre Dame was, at one time, in a stage of total disrepair and close to the point of being demolished, but was later saved by Napoleon who himself was crowned Emperor in 1804 inside the cathedral.

The cathedral was one of the earliest structures built with exterior flying buttresses. These buttresses allow for the tall walls and large amount of stained glass windows. The buttresses act basically as an exoskeleton that takes the weight of the room off the walls and directs it out of the main building.

 

Q: What attracts people to visit the cathedral? 

A: Notre Dame de Paris is visited by approximately 14 million visitors per year, even more than the Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame has been visited since its completion. It falls as part of the Reliquary route that worshipers would use across Europe during the Middle Ages. The cathedral houses numerous relics that are very important to the Catholic Church, including the Crown of Thorns of Christ and piece of wood said to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

 

Q: What should people know about the cathedral that they don’t know?

A: Numerous cathedrals and churches share the name Notre Dame. Notre Dame means “Our Lady,” for the Virgin Mary.

The cathedral contains one of the oldest surviving wood timber frames in Paris, involving around 52 acres of trees that were cut down in the 12th century. Each beam is made from an individual tree. For this reason, the lattice of historic woodwork that burned in the fire was nicknamed “the Forest.”

If you look at a photo of the cathedral from before the fire, you’ll see a rooster on top of the spire. This rooster was not a purely decorative bird. In 1935, three tiny relics—an alleged piece of the Crown of Thorns and some bits of Saint Denis and Saint Genevieve (the city’s patron saints) were secured inside the metal bird’s body. The idea, the story goes, was to create a sort of spiritual lightning rod to protect the parishioners within.

All 20 of the bells in the cathedral except for Emmanuel (weighing 13 tons) were melted down to make canons during the French Revolution.

 

About Bruce Maggi

Maggi is a Ph.D. student with a concentration in Humanities & Culture at Union Institute & University. He is also an art history professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway, SC. Maggi earned a M.Ed. in 2006 and a M.A. in 2014, both from Union Institute & University.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

law enforcement career

CJM Degree Impacts Law Enforcement Career

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law enforcement career

Union is saluting our Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice Management (CJM) students, staff, and alumni through the month of May in recognition of National Police Week, celebrated nationally from May 12–18, 2019.

This week we spotlight Sergeant Brian Kinney, Homicide Investigator, a CJM alumnus. Sergeant Kinney discusses the impact his CJM degree has on his life and law enforcement career.

 

Q & A with Sergeant Brian Kinney

Q: How does a CJM degree benefit the community?

A: The CJM degree benefits the community by providing a better-rounded officer who has been exposed to contemporary techniques within a justice organization, interpretation and analysis skills, and better communication tools. I also believe the degree makes for a more empathetic officer.

Q: How does a CJM degree benefit a Law Enforcement Officer?

A: I believe the degree provides an officer with better decision-making skills. In addition, the degree allows the officer to be eligible for promotion.

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

A: My degree has given me a sense of accomplishment. I am the first male in my family to graduate from college. I am also a role model for my children. They watched me work full time and still complete my degree.

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

A: Union allowed me flexibility and the ability to schedule classes around my work schedule. The program advisers understood that I worked full time and my classes had to be built around my work schedule.

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

A: Stick with it. Don’t quit. Your degree will open up professional opportunities that didn’t exist before.

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

A: My greatest accomplishment is my family. My wife and two children have supported me every step of the way professionally and personally.

Q: What is your passion away from work?

A: My passion away from work is to spend as much time with my family as possible.

 

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.

 

Oh, the Places They’ll Go! Union Graduation 2019

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Graduating from college is one of life’s significant milestones. On May 5, 41 adults celebrated this achievement with their families, the president, faculty, administrators, and staff from Union Institute & University.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our graduates. Earning a degree is life changing, and we know that Union graduates are world changers,” said Dr. Jay Keehn, executive director at Union’s Florida Academic Center in Hollywood. “What makes Union unique is we know each student. We understand the struggle of working full-time, raising a family, and completing a college degree. Now they will go out and impact not only their lives and their families, but also make a difference in their communities.”

Uplifting Words from Dr. Webb

Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, president of Union Institute & University, welcomed the graduates and elevated them with these words: “To all our students: We trust that your Union education has – in the words of our mission – engaged, enlightened, and empowered you to become change agents and leaders. We look to each of you – in your own ways – to continue to make a difference in your own communities and to carry the Union legacy forward.”

Union Institute and University graduatesDr. Webb acknowledged the sacrifice of the students, and also the families – the mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons, and daughters who supported each student along the journey. She congratulated the students on earning their degrees by borrowing time from family and friends, by balancing their time and energy between jobs and community commitments, and through sheer discipline and hard work.

 

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. Call 800-861-6400 or 305-653-7141 or visit the Florida Academic Center located at 4601 Sheridan Street, Suite 400, Hollywood, 33021. To learn more about course offerings, admissions and financial aid resources, visit www.myunion.edu.

Union Ranked Among Nation’s Best

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Washington Monthly 2018 College Rankings

Union Institute & University was recently ranked by Washington Monthly as among the nation’s best.

Union ranked second among Best Bang for the Buck Colleges (page 44), and scored #11 for Best 4-year Colleges for Adult Learners (page 32). Union also ranked #54 as a higher education model in Washington Monthly’s 2018 College Rankings (page 76). Washington Monthly ranks schools that welcome low-income students and focus on the opportunity to transform their lives and communities. The researchers look at social mobility as a priority, and factor in price and percentage of students receiving Pell Grants.

Union’s founding in 1964 was a result of presidents coming together from 10 colleges to create a new institution that could break down barriers to higher education and better serve working adults and others seeking to find alternatives to traditional higher education.

“This new ranking underscores and validates Union’s commitment to its social justice mission by removing barriers that so many experience as they strive to attain a college degree,” said Union President Dr. Karen Schuster Webb.

“We are committed to equity of access to educational excellence around the country and the world. In addition to degree completion programs that offer high transferability rates and accelerated learning paths, we are working to improve pathways for stackable certificates and seamless bridges from one degree level to the next. Union is the right partner to solve the need for higher education degrees due to its more than five decades of identifying and refining ways to structure and deliver education to meet the needs of online learners,” said Dr. Webb.

According to Washington Monthly’s September/October 2018 College Ranking publication, “The rankings are often listed alongside (or above) U.S. News. We rate schools on three equally weighted criteria: social mobility, research, and public service. Instead of rewarding schools that reject 95 percent of applicants, we give high marks to colleges that enroll lots of low-income students and help them graduate and earn a good living without too much debt. We factor in pure research spending and the number of undergraduates who go on to earn PhDs. And we give extra weight to colleges that send their graduates out into the world to serve the community at large.” (Carey, Page 15).

Mollie Miller, M.B.A., Director of Institutional Research & IRB Coordinator, in Union’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness said, “Washington Monthly provides a unique perspective within the higher education ranking landscape. Rankings such as these demonstrate Union’s global standing compared to peer institutions and universities.”

Founded in 1964, Union has perfected the adult delivery model: Specialized distance-learning programs that combine online and classroom coursework with high-touch faculty attention, designed for students regardless of where they live and work. UI&U academic services include small classes, dedicated faculty who are practitioners in their fields, one-on-one program advising, writing and math tutoring services, access to its renowned 100 percent online library, and career services.

Union Institute & University undergraduate students achieved a successful outcome measure (graduation rate) of 70% at 4-years (according to IPEDS Outcome Measures – Winter 2018).

To learn more about Union Institute & University and its career pathways designed for the working adult, click below.
Michael Raffanti Ph.D

Professor Michael A. Raffanti has gone to the dogs!

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Michael Raffanti Ph.D

Tacoma resident Michael A. Raffanti, Ed.D., J.D. has gone to the dogs! Dog rescue that is. He recently co-founded a non-profit organization called Mila’s Mutts to collaborate with a rescuer in Mexico to get dogs off the street, provide veterinary care, and transport them to the U.S. where they are adopted into “fur-ever” homes.

“Like so many animal lovers who travel to Mexico, I was astonished and saddened by the number of dogs and cats roaming the streets of La Paz, which we began visiting in 1999. Early on, we would feed strays, but were disappointed by the lack of options for us to help these animals more substantially. That changed when we discovered that it was relatively simple to transport dogs back to the U.S.

I had heard about individual “rescatistas” living in La Paz who open their homes to stray animals purely out of compassion and great personal cost, caring for sometimes more than 20 dogs. I was introduced to an amazing rescatista, Ceci, about a year ago and since that time I have become more involved in supporting her amazing rescue efforts. Desiring to make a more substantial contribution to Ceci’s labor of love, I am partnering with like-minded friends to form Mila’s Mutts so that we can support Ceci’s work in rescuing Mexican dogs and finding homes for them in the Pacific Northwest. I believe this comports with our social justice mission at UI&U; we reduce suffering for these dogs and work collaboratively, across cultures, to bring more compassion into the world.”

If you would like to help Michael and Mila’s Mutts, reach out to him at Michael.Raffanti@myunion.edu.

 

About Dr. Michael A. Raffanti

Dr. Raffanti is Dean of the Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies Program. In addition to administering the UI&U Ph.D. program, he teaches seminars in research and educational studies, and supervises dissertation research. Dr. Raffanti has a varied professional background in education and social justice. While practicing poverty law in San Francisco, he collaborated with community members in launching a law academy at an urban high school, which precipitated his movement from law to education. While earning his teaching license, he directed the education department of an AIDS service organization and developed HIV prevention programs for adolescents, gay and bisexual men, and communities of color. Dr. Raffanti has taught third grade in urban settings and served in a variety of educational leadership roles. He also taught at-risk high school students in a weekend community college program. Michael has online/blended university teaching experience at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Western Governors University, Fielding Graduate University, Pepperdine University, Southern Arkansas University, and California Institute of Integral Studies. His research interests are in leadership studies, social justice education, diversity, and qualitative research methodologies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history from University of Portland, a master’s degree from The Evergreen State College (education), a Juris Doctor from Boston College of Law School, and a Doctor of Education from Fielding Graduate University.

 

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