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Archive for October, 2012

Leaders: Beware the 4th Cookie

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Generally, when the universe brings me the same story–either in a short period of time, or through different mediums, I think that’s usually a hallmark by which I need to share it with you, dear readers.  Such as the case with the 4th cookie, which was repeated to me in print this weekend, and in randomly watching a commencement speech, of all things, on youtube.

Here goes.

Once upon a time, 2 California researchers started an experiment.  They grabbed groups of 3 college students (same gender in each group – male and female) – and randomly assigned 1 of the 3 as group leader.  Then, they gave the groups difficult moral challenges to solve.  Thirty minutes in, they then produced a plate of cookies to the group.  How many cookies, you ask, for that group of 3?

Four cookies.

So, each person ate one – no brainer.  But what happened to that 4th cookie? Astonishingly, the same thing–over and over–in each group, in each room, by both genders…

Every time, the arbitrarily assigned leader of the group grabbed that 4th cookie and ate it with reckless abandon.  They ate it completely unashamed, unabashed, and smacked their gums when inhaling it.

What’s the moral of the story?  Well, the first time I read the story said to AVOID GREED as a leader.  Watch out for the inevitable greediness that comes with becoming a “leader;” corruption is inevitable. In the speech I heard, (when I heard the story again the second time), was–if you’re the leader, at least PRETEND like you don’t want the cookie.  Don’t just grab it.  And don’t assume that you deserve that cookie–because being a leader doesn’t mean being self-serving.  You’re still human, and really the same as your peers, even if you have a different title.

So, what did I learn from this?  That I’m kind of in trouble twice here–not only when I volunteer to step up as leader (which I happily do in many cases) I have to worry about that 4th cookie more than anyone–because 1. I’m not more entitled to the cookie, even though, 2. I love cookies–probably more than the average person–leader or not.

If all else fails?  Here’s hoping the cookies are oatmeal instead of chocolate chip…

“Best”-ness in Higher Education

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The term “best” has always been a bit subjective and nebulous to me – but lately, I’ve been trying to unearth exactly what “best” means…when it comes to higher education.  Unfortunately, it really depends.

What makes a college or university great?  Legacy?  Tenure?  Culture?  Strategy?  Strong LAS, entrepreneurial, interprofessional training, or STEM core?  Faculty?  Administration?  The students?  Or, all of the above?

When I ask people what they think the “best” is in terms of colleges or universities – the usual names pop up – like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Princeton.  If I drill down and ask about specific types of training, the answer changes a bit.  It also changes based upon where people are from.  For example, one of my law school chums from India thinks that IIT in India is one of the best, if not the best school in the world – but they don’t have music, dance, or communications schools – they are engineering, science, computer engineering, etc.

When I think best for food, I think of France.  When I think best for design – Stanford and RISD come to mind.  When I think best for pharmacy, I can look at the rankings, but really – it depends if you want to be an academic pharmacist, a clinical pharmacist, or some other type of pharmacist.  It also depends on your learning style and what type of environment you want to learn in to become great at what you do.

“Best” is tough, when it comes to higher ed, methinks.  It really depends upon the individual, and what really is best and is not best for him or her.  But I do think some schools have more “bests” figured out than others – it’s just peeling back the layers of what “best”ness really means…


Kicking It Up A Notch

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

So, I think I’ve sufficiently bragged enough at this blog about the 9 students who worked on compiling a student book project last year at Butler University called Pharmacy and Me.  No doubt about it – it was stellar!  The ladies working on it learned a lot, including how to work across 3 different colleges on a project where they were interdependent.

However, we thought we’d try and kick up the book project a notch this year.  We’re trying a student book project on asthma across 4 colleges this year at Butler (The College of Education, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, College of Business and Jordan College of the Arts).  While I was definitely impressed with last year’s bunch, this year’s is stepping up and representing as well, by launching a kickstarter campaign just today to get their book published.  You can watch their video at their pledge page here.

While they just launched this morning, they’re already nearly 1/2 way to their goal!  SO PROUD of all the ladies who have worked on both projects, and they never cease to amaze me.

No Time to Be Ill

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

I’ve got a royally nasty head cold right now.  I don’t usually get sick that often.  But lately, I’ve been running myself pretty hard again, now that the law school wheels are officially off.  (In fact, I sometimes think I’d like to go back to law school, just to relax a little.)  Of course, it doesn’t help when my family gets sick either, that increases the odds of my own illness. Bleh.

Anyway, this week, I’ll be discussing what I’ll potentially be doing next fall.  Hint: it could be big.  Epic.  But that’s all I can say right now – I don’t want to jinx it.  I will say that it is hard to plan far into the future with thoughtful detail, and keep the balls rolling in the present.  I’m sure those of you who score high in “futuristic” like me on Strengthsfinder 2.0 can relate.

Also, I’m heading to TedX Indy this week, and I’m pretty excited about it, as it’s on education – yay!  Hope you already got your ticket if you’re in my neck of the woods, because it’s totally sold out.

Tomorrow is also the launch of the student book project via kickstarter at Butler this year.  I can’t wait to share it with you – the students really rocked it.  They have a great story AND a great video to share as they gather resources to publish their story!  In fact, all the senior 6th year pharmacy students are returning to BU this week to share their research via poster day – YAY and good luck to all!

Last but certainly not least, a couple of my friends were close enough to petition their bar exam results, and officially made it into the club this week.  Congrats to them!  (Of course, my score was too low to petition – but I’m so glad I have friends who don’t have to go through that Hades again!  And no–I haven’t fully decided quite just yet if I’m totally in on another round with that wad of fun…you’ll have to stay tuned should you care to know…)

That’s all I’ve got this week.  But that’s plenty.

On top of a nasty cold!

No time to be ill’in!


4 Key Skills EVERYONE Must Have Moving Forward

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Professors: take note. (Myself included.)

This article from Forbes recently breaks it down.  There are 4 key skills that they argue every health care employee should have:

1. critical thinking
2. collaboration
3. resourceful
4. technologically proficient

I argue EVERYONE moving forward needs these skills – not just health care professionals.  So – back to the profs like me.  Where are we going to teach these skills in our classes?  I argue we can do it via the highest forms of learning:

1. project collaboration
2. teaching (students teaching – not the profs teaching)

If you can get different types of students working together on interprofessional projects with tangible outcomes, they win.  If you can get them to teach each other?  That’s the highest win.  That achieves all 4 above.  Best of all – if you can get the teams to work while they are in different parts of the world, figuring out how to collaborate online…?  That’s it.  Shangri-La of winning for higher ed.

Example: we have 8 students working on a book project about asthma across 4 colleges this year at Butler as their senior project.  It hits all 4 of these domains.  Best part?  They figured out how to rock it on their own.  We just opened the door – they had to go through it and figure out how to work together in the virtual room.

Teachers – how are you getting your students to these levels of learning?


Friday, October 19th, 2012

Last night, those of us who are huge fans of Project Runway watched the season finale of season 10.  It was fun to watch – because producers allowed 4 rather than 3 finalists to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week–and all 4 designers were truly different in their style and taste.

The winner?  Dimitri Sholokhov.  And, he has a great story.  He came to this country with a few clothes and a few hundred dollars in a backpack, along with a huge dream.  One day, he wanted to design clothes, and last night on TV, he kicked his dream forward in a big way.

There’s been a lot of talk in this election cycle about immigration reform.  However, what no one ever really discusses is the fact that this in the past has been a country of immigrantpreneurs.  We or our ancestors all came to this country at one point as an immigrant with a dream (except, of course, the Native Americans).

The interesting question is: are we still helping those from outside our country with entrepreneurial dreams by letting them in to fulfill those dreams, and in turn, help make America greater?  Is our country still the best place on the earth for immigrants who want to work hard, create, and build new companies to follow their dreams?

It was for Dmitri.

I just hope it still is for everyone else too.

Missed Opportunities vs. Connecting the Dots, Retrospectively

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

What I’m about to throw down may be way too deep for me with only one cup of Joe in me at this point in the morning, but as I head to a meeting today about the future of education, I think it’s worth trying to write down.

Seth Godin this morning blogged about missed opportunities.  Steve Jobs said that connecting the dots only makes sense looking backward, rarely looking forward (check his Stanford commencement speech for the direct quote).  I think it’s a mixture of both.

I missed some opportunities in my life and career, which may or may not have seemed right at the immediate moment.  But really, retrospectively, the choices I made (and that fell out of the sky and presented themselves to me) made sense in the end.

Not to go too cosmic or philosophical, but a lot of things really do work out in the end.  Whether you believe in making them happen, or them happening to you, however the choices come, it can and usually does work out in the end.

I feel like I’m going in a circle here, but I hope you get my point.

More coffee now…

The Binder

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

For those of you who left the planet last evening and didn’t watch the POTUS debate, there was a “binder” mentioned.  This “binder” allegedly had a group of qualified, capable women in it that were able to work in the Romney MA-state offices, because only men had originally applied.  So, there began the stream of references on Facebook and Twitter to the “binder.”

I started thinking about my own cadre of amazing women as peers, or “binder” – who’s in mine?  Here are a few amazing gals that I’d be thrilled to have in my binder, and whom I call upon when I need some advice or wisdom:

Michelle Cove – Writer and movie producer, Michelle is one of the most amazing storytellers I have in my network.  She’s also got a new book out called I Love Mondays for those working moms out there who are trying like crazy to make it all work.

Kelly Hartman – Kelly runs a couple of companies now, but what I dig about her most is that she’s doing what everyone else thinks is impossible: she’s getting people to work and live their best lives possible.  She doesn’t view individuals as handicapped – she views them as handicapable.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins – She’s done an amazing job with building her brand as a national leader in career development, living in central Indiana–no easy task, considering one is typically on either coast to build a brand empire.  She has a radio show, written a book, and I’m sure is on to some even cooler things shortly.

Peggy Paul – Peggy is founder of SheTaxi. (Disclaimer: I guest blog for her.) However, what I love about her is that she took her diagnosis of cancer, and turned it into a platform for women to share wisdom with others WHILE kicking cancer’s dupa.  Talk about taking a lemon situation and making lemonade – rock on!

Sarah Sladek – Sarah runs a company called XYZ University – and has written about Gen X and Y in the workplace. She also ran Rock Stars at Work – one of the coolest conferences I’ve ever been to – where they honor companies that are honoring their own employees.  Sarah is not afraid to tell it like it is in the workplace, even when employers may not want to hear the real deal….that’s what I dig about her most.

Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of other women in my binder–I’m very lucky and blessed to have a lot of amazing women in my network who I consider mentors and peers.  But the women above are a few amazing examples of who would be in my peer binder.  (Just in case you need a binder for Washington D.C., future POTUS, for your consideration…)

Who’s in your binder?


How To Start a Publishing Project for Students

Monday, October 15th, 2012

I got asked this today.  Since I’ve done 4 student published book projects now – I thought I’d share a 50K ft. overview of the process.  (BTW–2 of these projects have succeeded, 1 has failed, and another is this year’s–so the jury is still out).

1.  Get a book publishing idea.

2. Get GREAT students who can run with the idea.  Yes, that means students who are self motivated, persistent, and passionate about writing.  NOTE: this may not be your 4.0 students.  In fact, often times it is NOT them.  It is the 3.0-3.2 students who get things done, are passionate about what they do, and have awesome people and soft skills.

3.  Be clear about the application process for the project – tell students what they need to apply to work on the project.  Give them a deadline.  Watch them amaze you with their well-thought-out ideas on how to run the project.

4.  Have them all meet face to face at least once at the very beginning – so, for example, this year, we’ve got 2 students from 4 different colleges involved in a book publishing project.  We tried to get all the players in the room together at the beginning – set parameters and timelines, but didn’t have all the details.

5.  Stand back and watch the awesomeness – make sure you’re clear about the final product, but be fuzzy about everything else.  This is the magic of having students collaborate on a project.  They get to figure out how to work with each other, remotely sometimes, with technology, get things done, deal with people not like them and teamwork…all key skills employers want from future college grads.  This of all is the best part – standing back.  I’ve oftentimes been amazed by what students can truly deliver when you get out of their way and let them rock.

That’s it.  Sort of.  Not really – but the key pieces are here.  In this era of students trying to differentiate themselves among their peers – there’s nothing cooler than handing a potential employer a copy of your published book as a student.  Honestly?  WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY when I was in undergrad!  But now, I am redeeming myself by making it an option for a few students who really want to differentiate themselves.

Writing isn’t for everyone.  But it sure can be fun for those of us who want to shape and lead our professions!

Going with the Muse

Friday, October 12th, 2012

She’s a fickle creature, at least for me.

The muse doesn’t always show up.  Thankfully, she did today.  I cranked and will crank this weekend on a major proposal for one of my future upcoming most-epic episodes (stay tuned – I can’t say any more than that just now).  Also just finished a post for one of my guest blogging features over at SheTaxi.

Here’s my post point: if you’re lucky to have the muse show up, keep her entertained.  For me, that means keep writing.  I keep writing until my eyes can’t read the screen anymore, my hands are tired, or I just get so exhausted that the brain just shuts down.  Keep working until you can’t work anymore.

Because that muse may take her time showing back up again soon.