Open House April 18

Potential graduate students are urged to join our open house events at the Louisville (10 31 Zorn Ave) and Radcliff (2000 Challenger Way) campuses on Thursday April 18th from 5:30-6:30 pm.  Learn about graduate school and what you need to do to be successful!

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Non-Profit Does Not Mean Non-Revenue

Long term business success requires some essential elements – a good product, effective marketing, and great staff. All of them require an investment in overhead. It is strange that we expect non-profit institutions to be great businesses under restrictions that prevents them from investing in marketing and employees. Non-profits need to reconsider their approaches to providing great products. In particular, they need to invest in their marketing and personnel to drive business – just as for profit businesses do.

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Webster absorbing TA amount for military students

Folks, we received word yesterday that Webster will be absorbing the amount that military would have gotten for TA if they were not able to secure it for the upcoming term and summer terms. Here is the notice sent out:

“Effective immediately, Webster University will absorb the TA portion for Spring 2 and Summer terms for any military member who was unable to get TA. (This) also applies to new students as well. Military member will still pay their portion. Application fees will also be waived for new military students.”

If you are in the position of losing your TA, contact us. You can still keep on track with your program at least the next two terms. We support you. We all hope that TA is restored before the Fall term. Call us at (502) 896-1835

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Book launch event this Thursday

Bill Lamb and other Business Leaders Celebrate New Books

The public is invited to Webster University to celebrate three new books by local business leaders. Their topics address issues facing entrepreneurs, and both small business owners and those running large organizations. Each author will speak about their work and be available afterward. Refreshments will be served.

Please register to

When:  Thursday, March 14th from 5:30 to 7 pm

Where:  Webster’s Louisville Campus

1031 Zorn Avenue, Suite 200, Louisville, KY 40207

Bill Lamb, General Manager of WDRB and WMYO TV, is presenting his latest book, Money Follows Excellence. After three decades of working in and managing television stations, lamb knows that running a business is a complex, multi-level process. He is also Vice President of Broadcast Operations for Block Communications, Inc., overseeing nine television stations in total. He points out that in every successful organization there are core principles, the most basic of which is “money follows excellence”.

Christy Smallwood, the “Wonder Woman” of the Arkham Executive coaching team, lays out effective networking strategies in her new book: The No Rules Way.  She describes what she has learned about effective business networking as she has moved from corporate America to starting her own business. Smallwood shares a number of “aha” moments as she followed guidance from John “Z” Zeydel, Louisville’s premiere networking guru, and her Arkham Executive business partner.  Her book can help any outwardly focused professional who seeks to improve business and professional relationships.

Dr. Jeffrey Grover is introducing Strategic Economic Decision-Making: The Use of Bayesian Belief Networks in Solving Complex Problems.Dr. Grover is Founder and Chief Research Scientist of DBA Consulting, Inc. based in Elizabethtown, Ky., and a Webster University faculty member.  He works with the Army Research Institute “to understand military decision making under duress”. His book shows how to make economic and business predictions more effectively through statistics.    

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Why Graduate School?

Webster University offers a unique seminar on the value and purposes of a graduate education.  Its sessions are held at its two campuses on the third Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.  Some of the highlights of the session include:

  1. Fewer than 8 percent of people have a masters degree or higher.
  2. Employment rates and compensation are significantly higher for people with graduate degrees than they are for other college degrees.
  3. People with graduate degrees live longer, happier lives than those without such degrees.

Each session delves into these factors in more detail and provides additional findings that may help a person determine if a graduate education is something he/she should undertake.  Potential attendees should notify the University of their intent to attend or to discover more information by emailing.

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What’s it like to take an online class? Part deux

It’s been a while since my initial post on the online class. It is now week 7, out of 9. I must amend what I said about the lack of rapport among students.  There is a little camaraderie among students, and one whom I actually exchange private messages with on class related and some personal getting-to-know-you stuff. The tone of posts stays academic for the most part, but some of us do let our opinions and humanity leak through in our discussions. Honestly, that’s what makes it really interesting.

I check in on my class a lot, everyday if not most, and at least twice a day. Not everyone does this as frequently, but I do it because you get no notification of new posts, messages, or posted grades outside of checking. (Changes may be ahead on that front.) By this time we have taken our midterm and completed two assignments in addition to reading and discussion, so we all know where we stand according to the expectations. My initial anxiousness has dissipated. Apparently students’ posting habits slack off at the mid point. I wonder if we post so much in the beginning to cover our bases, to make sure we are doing enough, and once we feel comfortable, tend to it a bit less.

I am understanding things I never knew I didn’t know, like that the Dow Jones Index Average is comprised of just 30 blue chip companies, how to write income and cash flow statements, and how to read and create a balance sheet. The business plan will be a useful tool in making necessary changes for the business I am writing it for. Who knew that business could be so interesting to a non-business major?

My verdict on online classes: I like them. I do get tired of looking at a screen, and clicking and typing, but I love the time management it allows. The learning is quality, you can’t slack in your posts without suffering. Also, the work is independent, (aka not group focussed), which I really value. It allows me to travel and keep up, which I am doing right now. I am signed up for a Fall 2 class, Accounting. We will see how it may differ. Three more weeks to go!

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What’s it like to take an online class?

So I’ve enrolled in a prerequisite course for the MBA, BUSN 5000, online.  I already have the MA in Media Communications and take courses as they interest me, and I like to take advantage of my tuition benefit. Why online when I could take it here on campus? Because I want to leave work at the end of the day and not come to my workplace on Saturday mornings. Why BUSN 5000? I don’t have any business courses in my academic career, only knowledge gained through work experience, so I feel it will help fill a knowledge gap. So far so good. The syllabus makes it clear what is expected of the student. We are to have our responses to the discussion questions posted by midnight central time each Thursday with meaningful replies to our fellow students’ points. I am a nerd and posted first on each one, and will be reading through others’ posts to make comments tonight.

This is my second online class with Webster. I have found them, as most do, to be more work than on-ground class attendance, but I can eat dinner at home every night, work in my pajamas, do a little here and there, and think a little more about the work I am doing. One has to stay on top of these online classes to succeed in them. I have realized one thing I find difficult about online courses. I am one who likes feedback, to know always where I stand in regards to performance, one who seeks approval, and I seldom assume the positive. Online interaction doesn’t give the non-verbal communication we take for granted, facial expression, tone of voice, body language, and so much is conveyed through that. Rapport is difficult to build in this environment. We’ll see if my pov changes through the term. At this point I have to rely on what the syllabus states is required for the class and relax. Dr. Kugelmann spells out pretty well what is expected in plain terms.

This is nearing the end of week one. For the main project for the class I will be creating a business plan for an actual business that needs one. I look forward to it. I will check back in to let you know how it all goes. What do you think about online courses vs. in class? Love’em? Hate’em?

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Dr. Glenn Rodriguez’s many hats

You’ve heard all the statistics, the typical younger worker will have x amount of jobs in their lifetime, unlike our parents’ and grandparents’ careers working 45 years at one company. Dr. Glenn Rodriguez has had a multifaceted career and he will tell you that education has prepared him for each career move. Here is what he shared with the Young Professionals of Hardin County this spring.  

Rodriguez teaches Marketing at McKendree University in Louisville, where he formerly served as Dean. He is a man of action when he speaks, (sorry for the blurry photos). Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he is the son of Emilio Rodriguez, an orphan. This is pertinent because his father’s experience in the orphanage helped shape the journey for Glenn’s life.

As he tells it, the man at the orphanage who would teach the boys a trade had died, so his father learned to play the trumpet. After enlisting in the US Army, his father started the Army’s first Hispanic band. He experienced being paid less because expectations of Hispanics were lower. This laid the course for determined hard work and the pursuit of excellence. The military took them out of Puerto Rico. Father felt it important and valuable for his family to not live on base, to absorb whatever culture they inhabited. Rodriguez attended school in France, and still speaks the language, making three that he speaks. After returning to Puerto Rico, Glenn saw the draft coming and enrolled in ROTC courses in high school, (first of many proactive educational steps), and later entered the Army. Glenn earned his BS in in Industrial Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico.

After his time in the army and finishing his degree, he took a job with Union Carbide, taking him to West Virginia, where he worked for 21 years and started his family. He recognized early on that higher education lead to higher income in the corporate world and he earned an MBA from Marshall University. Fast forward to the disaster at Bhopal, India. In the wake of this tragedy, Union Carbide downsized, leaving Glenn to find a new career. He tried outside sales and “HATED it”.

His extensive experience, education, and bilingualism set him up for international work. Rodriguez was sent to Mexico to train on hazardous chemicals in the dawn of NAFTA. Eventually Papa John’s came calling. He would become the first hispanic in the International Division, but not before the mandatory hands on training, learning to make pizzas and restaurant operations. The eight week training took him 13. Let’s say he was going for perfection.

In September of 2001, he was working in Costa Rica. Wanting to return to the U.S. immediately after the September 11th attacks, it took them several days to get back. This event caused Glenn to evaluate his priorities. He resigned from Papa Johns, halting worklife after 30 years, not knowing his next career move, leaving 120k per year for zero dollars. But he had decided to pursue a PhD. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville for which he wrote his dissertation on business faculty recruitment. This educational achievement and expertise set him up for his leadership position at McKendree University in 2005.

  • Vision
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Integrity
  • Community involvement

These are Dr. Rodriguez’s pillars of excellent leadership. Regarding the last point, at age 46, the good Dr. signed on with the local volunteer fire department along with two other men, one 22, the other 18. He is on call to assist with Spanish speaking people in emergencies. He considers this his most important job.

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Cognitive Reality and Cognitive Dissonance

My career has been spent in education.  My main focus has been finding better ways to explain what is happening in the world.  To do this, I have spent a lot of time reading, researching, analyzing and reporting data.  I like to think that I tend to avoid cognitive dissonance, when the facts and evidence I see differ from my beliefs or how I see the world.  In other words, we see the world from where we are standing – based on beliefs that were instilled and accepted as true.  Dissonance arises when the evidence points in a different direction.  We say to ourselves “that can’t be true.”

We live in a world of cognitive dissonance.  We all have things that we “know” are true but we can’t prove them because reality refuses to cooperate.  I see my wife as tall but in reality she is barely five-two.  That fails to meet most definitions of vertically gifted.  I still see her as tall.

Many people know that the earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling, that higher levels of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere raise ambient temperatures, and that humans by burning fossil fuel increase the amount of carbon dioxide but some people claim that climate change is just a myth. This may cause cognitive dissonance in those who know all the facts but still choose to believe that the facts can’t be true.

Interestingly, many scientists are just as blind to their biases as other people (this is an assertion and not necessarily a fact).  Tobias Gerhart, PhD at Rutgers’ Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research in his article in Research Fundamentals notes that bias is the “systematic error in a study.” He points out that all studies have bias and that one role of the researcher is to identify and reduce its impact. Some studies are done because the researcher has a point to prove – biasing the study from the start.

Our job, as educators, is to help people face the inconvenient truths (or at least inconvenient facts) and discover what might be a reasonable conclusion. The challenge is overcoming our personal biases and beliefs and allowing the evidence to lead us to rational decisions.

As we listen to the rhetoric of political debate, business groups, religious organizations, and others we need to recognize that they all come with their own realities that may or may not be based on cognitive realities.  Our job as an intelligent species is to hear their points, understand that they (or we) may be denying facts or using selected, crafted facts to prove a point and then make our own interpretation based on the best evidence and not just the intensity of their arguments.

My quote on this is that “reality is based on what we see and believe and not necessarily on what is factual.”


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Graduation = best day of the year

I regard graduation day as the best work day of the year. It is also the most work, but this day holds the reward, the long delayed gratification for our students, their families, our faculty, and for me in my role at Webster as Community Relations Coordinator. I encounter some of them in the inquiry stage, answering the basic questions, then guide them through New Student Orientation at the start of their program. We see most of our students just one day each week. Some graduate so quickly, it seems that they were just in Orientation or an Open House, yet nearly two years have passed. The time passes, most of those who start the process will finish. We are now sliding toward our spring ceremony on May 19th. This year we are fortunate to have the president of the university, Dr. Elizabeth Stroble, as a guest and participant.

Webster University Spring 2011 class

Spring 2011 class

Walking in our ceremony is voluntary. As an adult, there are few moments to celebrate publicly, to serve as an example for one’s family, coworkers, and  the community. That’s why it’s important for our graduates to participate. We lift them up and challenge them to continue learning, to use what they have learned to make headway in business, in the community, and at home. We thank and acknowledge their families who have been there through the papers, the reading, the presentations, and finals. And the families are so proud, that really is the best part.

One faculty member is nominated to be the receive the Robert D. Hess Distinguished Faculty Award, and one student from each of the two campuses is recognized with the John Feiock Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Some will go on to pursue a doctoral degree, most will not, so this event is their final academic celebration. We strive to make their education the enriching experience they seek. Our hope is that they can continue to look at the world through new and wiser eyes.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories.

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