There Is A Surplus Of College Professors Out There But Only A Handful Of Dr. A’s

There Is A Surplus Of College Professors Out There But Only A Handful Of Dr. A’s

There is an abundance of commodities in our economy in 2019. Do you want to get a college education? You are welcome to choose between and among 5,300 different options. These options are private, public, christian, HBCU, women’s college, you name it. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are $486,000 plumbers in America. There is one billion websites on google and somewhere between 600,000 and one million books published every year for your to choose and buy. On Spotify alone, we have 40 million songs to choose from and 3 billion user playlists to listen to. And to complement this madness, we can choose between 59 different kinds of salad dressings at Publix.

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It is no accident that the value of these commodities are decreasing in price and need fast. Our economy isn’t scarce anymore which means that we must do something different in order to attract people’s attention to whatever we do or sell.  Advertising a lot isn’t the answer, obviously. We don’t need to be cluttered with more messages these days. The over reliance on advertising isn’t the answer, I say.

What do we need to do then in order to make our offerings more scarce, then? In my opinion, this can only be accomplished by helping the client to save time.

In my industry of higher education, I do what I can to help my students to save time. I produce tutorials, podcasts, design video games, work in class with them on projects, go to the cafeteria and guide them on life pursuits, you name it. I make the lives of my students easier which in effect makes them save time. I’m willing to trade my time for their attention. They appreciate it. I innovate, earn the permission to speak with them and they choose me over the other thousands of daily stimuli they ignore every day.

It seems to be working. In the past semester alone, I carried out a conversation with 569 students, advised them in my office, at the mall, in the cafeteria, playing ping pong on campus, at the library, on the street, in their dorm lobby, at the park, during spring break, fall break, thanksgiving, at the swimming pool, via facebook, instagram, snapchat, linkedIn…

Wake up! Our economy has changed. Our standard operating procedures are being flipped upside down to accommodate for this explosion of intellectual property that is available for us all. Higher education is tanking because of lack of change and understanding about where the economy is headed. Information is now free. If we are to charge fore information, we may need to somehow incorporate the time variable in our offerings.

We don’t like (or want) to be bothered or interrupted anymore. There is so much noise in our lives because of over production. No wonder why students hate to waste time and effort. Things are available for them right now and often someplace else. They don’t need to come to a college class to learn. They may want to come, however, if they save time.

Here is my advise to you: If you want to advance your industry, be different. I’m different by saving students time. What are you doing to be different?

There is a surplus of college professors out there but only a handful of Dr. A’s. Are you the “Dr. A” of your industry? What is your competitive advantage? What are you doing different for others to choose you over the million other options they can choose from?

For now, this is what I’m doing. Tomorrow? Who knows! I will invent something else.

 

 

 

 

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Change Is Coming: Technology Is The Fuel

Let me break something to you. We are approaching the fourth industrial revolution. Energy, transportation, heath and communication will change drastically in the coming years. Get ready! The life of tomorrow won’t be anything like living how we live today in 2018. Our living systems are evolving at light speeds. Isn’t it true that we now have alternative methods for generating energy, new ways of transporting ourselves, receiving health care and communicating? Open your eyes. The future of humanity is already here.

We are going to witness a boom in smart power, or the technology that is able to self manage, in our life time. Don’t be surprised if you get a smart roof next time you change yours. Some of the ways we have traditionally moved tangible products in the past is already changing. We are seeing a peak in the adoption of labor robots in companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart and a plethora of self driven cars being introduced into the market. This trend won’t go away, by the way.

Telemedicine will explode within a decade, I bet. The technology is already here. Our systems are robust enough to accommodate this obvious trend. Medicine is expensive! We need an alternative to the high costs of health care. Can technology help us with making care more affordable? Probably, but at what cost to the local economy?

The way we are going to communicate with each other in the near future will make us laugh about how we used to communicate in the past. Did you remember the movie Superman back in the late 1970’s? Many of the things we saw in that movie, such as holographic images, will be mundane for most if not all of us.

Get ready for the idea of wearing third party mechanical parts in your body. People are going to need them in order to make a decent living in the future. Some are predicting that we are going to increase our economic growth in the years to come probably because of wearable technologies. I don’t know about that. Sure, technology in this instance is good because it may help us to make a better living. Would you be comfortable wearing an RFID chip in your arm? I’m not comfortable with that. How about you?

I am skeptical that human labor alone will be a big part of this boom in productivity. We may see an overall increase in our gross national product because of technology advancements but in an age where the natural and the artificial are merging, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that companies will look for the superhuman employee or the perfect robot. The employee of the future is going to perhaps be a merge of digital and biological. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the world economic forum, goes further to state that “the fourth revolution won’t change what we are doing, it changes us.” I concur.    

We are living in a period of transition where the unknown will meet innovation. Don’t be anxious about what is about to happen tomorrow in regards to technology and employment in our society. Focus on today’s problems and trust that God will take care of you regardless of how much you may think that technology is taking over. Don’t lose focus on what is important. Everything in life is changing including you. God is in control. You are not God.

Change is eminent. People of Cleveland, you will eventually be affected by the fourth industrial revolution and everything that is associated with it. Four of our most fundamental systems we have — energy, transportation, heath, and communication, will evolve. You will be transformed in one way or another. You may become a hybrid of man and machine for your own sake. The machine is expanding its lead. We are becoming an obsolete commodity in this old world of ours. I am not sure if the future will be necessarily promising for us. It will certainly be a technological one.

We live in a wild world. 

Change is coming; technology is the fuel

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Glory be to God, always… Credit for this article is given to the most high. 

Let me break some news to you: We are approaching the fourth industrial revolution. Energy, transportation, health and communication will change drastically in the coming years.

Get ready!

The life of tomorrow won’t be anything like living how we live today in 2018. Our living systems are evolving at light speed. Isn’t it true that we now have alternative methods for generating energy, new ways of transporting ourselves, receiving health care and communicating? Open your eyes. The future of humanity is already here.

We are going to witness a boom in smart power, or the technology that is able to self-manage, in our lifetime. Don’t be surprised if you get a smart roof next time you change yours.

Some of the ways we have traditionally moved tangible products in the past is already changing. We are seeing a peak in the adoption of labor robots in companies like Amazon and Walmart, and a plethora of self-driven cars being introduced into the market. This trend won’t go away, by the way.

 Telemedicine will explode within a decade, I bet. The technology is already here. Our systems are robust enough to accommodate this obvious trend. Medicine is expensive! We need an alternative to the high costs of health care. Can technology help us with making care more affordable? Probably, but at what cost to the local economy?

 The way we are going to communicate with each other in the near future will make us laugh about how we used to communicate in the past. Do you remember the movie “Superman” back in the late 1970s? Many of the things we saw in that movie, such as holographic images, will be mundane for most, if not all, of us.

Get ready for the idea of wearing third-party mechanical parts in your body. People are going to need them in order to make a decent living in the future. Some are predicting that we are going to increase our economic growth in the years to come, probably because of wearable technologies. I don’t know about that.

Sure, technology in this instance is good because it may help us to make a better living. Would you be comfortable wearing an RFID chip in your arm? I’m not comfortable with that. How about you?

I am skeptical that human labor alone will be a big part of this boom in productivity. We may see an overall increase in our gross national product because of technology advancements, but in an age where the natural and the artificial are merging, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that companies will look for the superhuman employee or the perfect robot.

The employee of the future is going to perhaps be a merge of digital and biological.

Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the world economic forum, goes further to state, “The fourth revolution won’t change what we are doing. It changes us.” I concur.

We are living in a period of transition where the unknown will meet innovation. Don’t be anxious about what is about to happen tomorrow in regard to technology and employment in our society. Focus on today’s problems and trust that God will take care of you regardless of how much you may think that technology is taking over. Don’t lose focus on what is important. Everything in life is changing, including you. God is in control. You are not God.

 Change is imminent. Citizens of Cleveland, you will eventually be affected by the fourth industrial revolution and everything that is associated with it. Four of our most fundamental systems we have — energy, transportation, health and communication — will evolve.

You will be transformed in one way or another. You may become a hybrid of man and machine, for your own sake.

The machine is expanding its lead. We are becoming an obsolete commodity in this old world of ours. I am not sure if the future will be necessarily promising for us. It will certainly be a technological one.

 We live in a wild world.

——— (Previously punished in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info).

As technology fails, activities for the win

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The infusion of innovation changes the composition of any living system forever.

For some reason, we are choosing to ignore the laws of innovation, diffusion and adoption – and all for the sake of technology.

The mighty smartphone may have given us some “superpowers” such as the ability to quickly respond to messages via social media and to share photographs with our kids, but it also has helped kill shopping malls and other retailers all across America, especially in small towns and cities like ours.

Smartphones are not just killing us. They are, as mentioned, killing our malls. When we were younger, people used to go to the mall to walk around, converse, exchange ideas and buy stuff. Today, very few people go to the malls in small towns and cities, and when they do go, they go to walk, not to buy.

Our ideas are now exchanged on social media. We buy our things on Amazon. By the way, did you know that Toys R Us went out of business? Go figure.

Black Friday is dying. Cyber Monday is expanding. Most mall managers are concerned about these new online trends. They have a reason to be concerned, I think. We need to do something about this, ladies and gents. The good news is: I have a solution to this whole mess. Are you willing to hear it?

Here we go with my solution to this whole shopping mall mess in small towns all across America, and small cities like ours:

First of all, trash the idea that malls are places where people go to buy clothes. This retail model is approaching death.

Why don’t we turn these dinosaur malls into activity malls? Seniors are already walking there anyway, right?

Don’t you think that we should expand the offerings and capitalize on what people are asking for? Listen to me: How about if we turn Bradley Square Mall into a facility with a rollerblade hall and an indoor ice skate arena?

By the way, is there a place in town for kids to play, especially during winter and early spring? Let me tell you something: Parents don’t want to buy clothing and toys for their kids every week. Parents want some sanity after working a long week at work.

Turn these dated malls into a kids’ activity place. Maybe mall managers should consider not renewing some of these clothing store contracts (which are struggling to stay in business anyway) and replacing them with a bumper-car enclosure, an old-fashioned arcade, Chuck-E-Cheese, air-bounce, trampoline, billiards, you name it!

We live in a dry county, people. Shouldn’t we make the mall the place for teenagers to go and have date nights? I bet we can turn the finances of these shopping malls around quickly.

Let me say this again: People want an activity mall to take their kids to, have fun and get some sanity. It is the No. 1 complaint I hear from people these days.

How do you monetize this idea of having an activity mall? It is simple. If people want to go to a store only, sell them a ticket for them to go to a store only. Another option? People can pay for an all-day pass. People can even buy a yearly pass and enjoy all the activity mall’s activities for a cheaper price. In a couple of years, we may witness the biggest revival in shopping malls this country has ever seen.

We need stronger leadership to turn mall operations around. Let’s not allow our indoor malls to become a place for delinquents to hang out.

I tell you this: Turning the current shopping malls into activity malls will help destroy some of the delinquency we now sometimes may see in shopping malls.

Technology may change the composition of a system forever, but our ability to adapt and reinvent trumps the side effects that new technologies have on old living systems.

Let me say this loud and clear: We can turn these malls around. All we need to do is to think differently, have people on board who believe in the vision, and survive the transition.

Are you game to make our town awesome? I am.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Change Is Inevitable: We Might As Well Get Used To It.

Change Is Inevitable: We Might As Well Get Used To It.
Change Groud at AECT
Change crowd at AECT, 2015.

Chameleons and leaves change colors. Caterpillars change into butterflies, car models and colors change, fashions change, seasons change…  everything changes yet folks are still afraid of change. Change is part of life and should be widely celebrated instead of being avoided. Change is good, necessary and an important process in the develop of any living system.  For some goofy reason, however, change rarely occurs in higher education which in my opinion is a sin. Presidents come and go; Governors start and finish their mandates; Representatives are elected and re-elected and little is done to make public higher education institutions better funded. What is often certain and also don’t change is that school operating budgets will be cut every year, professors will have to learn to do more with less in public colleges, and most taxes payers will complain that colleges and universities are a burden to their pockets and their state finances. In fact, many would rather see you and your family go into poverty than being financially generous for the common good. The truth is that change is difficult but it shouldn’t be. Public universities are fat dinosaurs draining a self-destructing system that refuses to re-invent themselves for the sake of tradition. Although there are a number of ways in which public universities can change, I will discuss in these article three ways in which schools could change for the better.

  1. Hire more practical professors.  Public universities would be better places if they reduced the amount of “theory only” college professors from its body of docents. The age where scholars just came to class to share knowledge with students is coming to an end quickly as knowledge is now available for free on-line. Why should anyone be hired today as a college professor to teach a course using a book and give students quizzes, only? This antiquated system and approach only creates the illusion that passing the course with an “A” grade equates success. Do you really think that companies want to hire students who can perform well on standardized tests, only? I am not saying that we should abandon the quiz system and all that type of stuff. My suggestion is that this former education protocol becomes complementary to the practical skill-set that students receive from professors who de facto practice their crafts. We need more professors who can train students to be doers not reciters.
  2.  Identify faculty talent early on and train them to be administrators. One of the most challenging tasks of any university is to find faulty members with talent for leadership. I am not aware of any academic unit that can properly function without a Chair and Dean who are versed in budgeting, sophisticated technology skills, foresight, the ability to focus and manage resources, have open meetings with constituents, and know and implement processes and procedures of higher education according to the rules and regulations of the institutions in which they work for. Just because a professor is a good teacher doesn’t mean that he/she will be a great administrator or even read the faculty handbook. The skill-set that is required for a Department Chair to have is much different than one of an Associate Professor whose primarily responsibilities are to teach, research, and serve. People who speak about others are small minded and often incompetent and unsuitable for a long-term career in administration and leadership with success. Identification of talent must occur early in any public university and should occur during what we call the tenure-track years of potential candidates… which is the time where senior education administrators can mentor potential faculty stars into a career in educational leadership.
  3.  Spend money in people first, technology second. It has been my experience that students like to speak with professors not a machine.  In the three universities I’ve worked for, students along with their parents and siblings made the choice to attend our universities because of a full-time professor that they have spoken with. I myself have recruited literally hundreds of students simply by returning phone calls and hosting them on campus; by answering their questions with enthusiasm and care; by giving them information about our schools and the surrounding communities, and such.  A lot of what I’ve told potential students was available on-line but parents and students want to talk and speak with people. If the overall goal of colleges and universities today is to attract more students, I recommend hiring more professors first, and invest in technology second. Let’s not forget — a public university without students isn’t going to be in business very long, despite having all the technology in the world available.

Chameleons and leaves change colors. Caterpillars change into butterflies, car models and colors change, fashions change, seasons change…  everything changes yet folks are still afraid of change. Educators are terrified of change but they shouldn’t be as long as change is done with planning and care. Change is eminent in life. I have learned, served and contributed to a number of systemic change projects in my profession in the public sector and quite frankly, I am pretty proud of it. We need folks who care and are able to plan real change. The future of the enterprise depends on it. I am confident.