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Union Institute & University

Alumni Spotlight – Carol Keyes

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Carol Keyes

Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Learn how our UI&U graduates are living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.

Education: UI&U Ph.D. graduate (1980)

Profession: Educator, Professor Emeritus Pace University.

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

A. Personally my degree has given me the opportunity to work with wonderful colleagues, and to continue learning.

Professionally it enabled me to teach at Hofstra University, Pace University and the University of Wisconsin, develop programs for children and parents, work with differently abled adults and children, write books and articles for parents, teachers, and the field of early childhood.

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

A. The Union process of teaching and learning allowed me to be my own learner. My committee and faculty were wonderful. Were I to have a chance to choose a means to study for a doctoral degree again at this time, I would still choose to study the same way. I value being able to choose what I want to study, when I want to study, and the means by which I will acquire the knowledge and skills. I chose to work alone when it suited me, but in this Union process I had the committee and the network to reach out to in times when assistance was needed. The seminar and peer days were of value for several reasons. The peers provided a firm support in terms of the Union Graduate School process. The network also served to provide guidance and feedback in terms of personal growth. The diverse specialties of our entire group also allowed exposure to many areas of interest.

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

A. Connect with all other learners and faculty. Be open to experiences and opportunities.

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

A. Two main accomplishments come to mind; my books and articles for parents and teachers and helping to develop the National Coalition for Campus Child Care Inc.

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. Though officially retired, I have more passions than I can enumerate. I will highlight activities with my family; studying, learning, and writing; talking to young folks I meet about options in life. Every day is a gift.

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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

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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!

Staff Spotlights – Eileen Baker & Mary A. Amos

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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 week is National Distance Learning Week. In recognition of the Center for Teaching and Learning, UI&U is turning the spotlight on Eileen Baker, eLearning Development Specialist, and Mary A. Amos, Senior Academic Technologist and Designer, and UI&U alumna. Both work to provide a seamless transition for our students/faculty/staff and their online experience.

What excites you about being a part of higher education?

Eileen – Learning is a lifelong journey and passion of mine. Working in higher education allows me to indulge in this passion.

What excites me is there is no typical day in higher education. There are always new features to explore in CampusWeb and new technology to learn about. I get to share this knowledge with faculty, staff, and students to help them use it effectively.

Mary – Working in higher education is an opportunity to help people reach their potential, their goals, improve their lives and in some cases make dreams come true. Working in the Center for Teaching and Learning offers me the opportunity to investigate and implement new technology that supports our faculty in their teaching and students in learning. I love being in a position to facilitate innovation, helping support our faculty, staff, and students with current technologies.

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

Eileen – I was in my mid-twenties when pursuing my undergraduate degree. UI&U’s mission of focusing on adult students really spoke to me. Having a strong online presence removes location barriers and opens the educational doors to everyone, both traditional and non-traditional students alike!

Mary – When I first joined Union, it was an opportunity to explore the IT field. I was able to advance my skills in this area and realized I was also able to continue my own education in the Masters of Education program. Earning my degree from Union was a life changing experience that still helps me to better understand our student needs as well as assist our faculty in the online environment.

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

A. Eileen – I’m an animal lover, so something with animals; maybe the founder of a non-profit rescue, working for a foundation, or a veterinarian.

Mary – I would be a successful well-paid travel writer specializing in pet friendly places.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. Eileen – I took a winding road to realize my passion and getting into higher education. People are surprised by my past careers in finance as a banker and healthcare as a licensed massage therapist.

Mary – I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan! I listen to his iheart radio show frequently and am working toward being debt free.

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. Eileen – So many books come to mind, but I’ll limit to my favorite childhood book; The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

When reading it as a child, I was struck by the immense generosity of the tree to the Boy…examples of unconditional love. When reading it now as an adult, I am struck by how selfishness led to the Boy’s discontentment. Always wanting more, never giving back, and not showing thanks or gratitude breeds unhappiness.

I’m amazed by the brevity of the book, and yet there are so many interpretations of the meaning.

Mary – Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It is part of a series of four books. A friend recommended I read them out of order, which is unusual, but I was glad I did. By reading the second book prior to the first, I fell in love with these amazing strong southern women. Then when I read the first book, the reader is introduced to some of their character flaws, but I had already fallen in love with them. You are more accepting of their actions. If I had read the books in order, I may not have continued reading the series. I also love anything by Fannie Flag who wrote Fried Green Tomatoes as the Whistle Stop Café and for great humor my go to author is Tom Robbins.

Mary Amos

Eileen Baker

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Behind the Scenes of Online Learning at Union Institute and University

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In recognition of National Distance Learning Week, we are shining light on the value online learning brings to higher education. Below is an article written by Robert Cotter, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning & Information Technology at Union.

From its inception in 1964 Union Institute & University (UI&U) has been a leader in the development of alternate methods of instruction for adult students. UI&U has historically provided distance education using the best methods available, including correspondence, telecommunications and, finally, the internet. In 2017, UI&U is leveraging its 50+ years of experience with distance learning to provide high quality online courses and programs for adult students at the undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. levels.

Online learning at UI&U is student centered and designed to appeal to the needs and preferences of contemporary adult learners. UI&U’s is committed to providing our students with a successful and transformational learning experience. To ensure student success the entire University is involved in the online learning process, providing a university-wide support system for our students that integrates all of the administrative and academic resources they will need during their time at UI&U. This holistic approach to online learning support ensures that our academic programs are closely aligned with key student success functions including enrollment, advising, retention and career services.

UI&U’s online courses are developed around the principles of active learning and critical thinking.

The design of UI&U’s online programs and courses is governed by a set of institutional standards, developed in-house, that ensure a high quality and consistent learning environment for our students. Course design begins with the identification of the student learning objectives and associated assessment methods. Course materials and learning activities are then selected and sequenced to help students successfully achieve the course objectives. Care is taken to ensure that all UI&U courses comply with relevant standards for course activity relative to credit hours, using the Carnegie Unit guidelines.

The University places a special emphasis on orientation and training resources for new and continuing students. Students are familiarized with the skills and behaviors associated with successful online learning. Newly admitted students receive an overview of the technologies they will use, including an in depth introduction to the learning management system and the student portal. The UI&U library provides one-on-one informational and consulting sessions as well as self-directed orientation modules. The Writing and Math Tutoring Center is a virtual resource that customizes its instructional and consulting interventions to the needs of individual students.

Student engagement is a critical part of the UI&U course design process. The University’s guidelines emphasize several best practice features including instructor presence (an identifiable persona and a ubiquitous virtual presence), a student community (facilitating student to student academic and social interaction) and free flowing communication (soliciting student feedback and leveraging students’ social media skills). Learning activities that require peer to peer interaction and exchange are encouraged and prioritized.

UI&U’s faculty receive a significant amount of required training and support for the design and delivery of the courses they teach. Newly hired faculty participate in several required professional development programs, including an introduction to the learning management system and training on other technologies and systems relevant to academic activity. The faculty onboarding process also includes an introduction to the University’s course design and delivery standards and the University’s performance expectations for online instruction. Faculty members are also provided with a course on online pedagogy that emphasizes the critical components of online teaching: the roles inherent in online facilitation, developing content for online delivery, relevant assessment techniques and the importance of instructor presence and student communities. The University’s instructional design team assists faculty with course design issues and provides the majority of the technology-based training the faculty receive.

True to the University’s innovative mission, UI&U will continue to enhance and evolve its online learning practices to match the changing preferences of its students and the new capabilities technological advances will bring. As more adult learners look to online education to acquire the competencies and credentials they need to succeed, Union Institute & University intends to remain on the forefront of online learning by excellent and accessible academic opportunities.

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Student Spotlight – Scott Meyer

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Scott Meyer

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 Scott Meyer, an Army veteran and current Criminal Justice Management student, in the Q&A below.

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

A. I plan to continue to grow in my career of law enforcement.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. Friends, coworkers, and a desire to further my education

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. The online program allows me to implement proper time management in order to attain my goals of higher education in balance with my career and family.

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

A. Start your education now and plan for the future. Invest, invest, invest.

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

A. I would say the United States Army has influenced me the most. My time in the Army instilled discipline and allowed me to mature far more then I could have realized as a teenager. I could not imagine where I would be right now in my life if I had not enlisted.

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.

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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.”

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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.