Monday, June 2, 2014

A celebration with Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister

Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister
Saturday June 21, 2014
Hilton Miami Airport
5101 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
5:30 PM Reception
6:30 PM Keynote Address

The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister and esteemed Union alumna (B.A. 1997) will mark Union Institute & University’s 50th anniversary at a special celebration in Miami, Florida. Click here to purchase tickets. For more information contact Angela Bolt Byles (305) 653-7141 x2108.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller is currently in her second term. Before first taking office in 2006, her illustrious career included serving as Minister of Labor, Welfare and Sport; Minister of Tourism and Sport; and Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport. She was recently inducted into the prestigious International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of hall-of-famers including Rosa Parks, Nancy Pelosi, and Margaret Thatcher. Prime Minister Simpson Miller earned a Bachelor of Arts from Union Institute & University in 1997.

The Prime Minister 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 have pursued their education against all odds in order to transform lives and communities. “Anything I can do to make life better for the poor or the working poor, or wherever there is injustice, I will do,” she has said. “People. That is what influences me. It doesn’t matter what class, color, religion, or creed,” she continues. “I am the voice of the voiceless in the corridors of power.”

Her many achievements include:
• Mrs. Simpson Miller was the leading architect of Jamaica’s Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism     Development, the Honourable Prime Minister has been tireless in promoting and strengthening urban renewal and community development, leading to fundamental reforms in local government.
• As Minister of Labour, Welfare and Sport, she presided over the significant expansion of Jamaica’s Overseas Work Programme.
• National Insurance Scheme was transformed into a major component of the government’s social protection system.
• She was also instrumental in establishing a Labour Chair in the University of the West Indies, Department of Government.
• The Municipality of Portmore in the parish of Saint Catherine was established while she had Ministerial oversight of the Local Government Portfolio.
As both minister and as prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller has received several local and international awards and accolades:
• 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, City of Miami.
• She also received the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of women’s affairs in Jamaica.

Simpson Miller 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 Union Institute & University'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.”

From 1994-1997, Mrs. Simpson Miller attended seminars and periodically met with faculty at Union Institute & University's Florida Academic Center in North Miami Beach as she completed her bachelor of arts degree, while simultaneously attending to her parliamentary duties. When attending classes, Mrs. Simpson Miller was happy to be just another student, something that would have been impossible for her as a public figure in Jamaica.

Not only did she want to ensure that people would never be able to question her intellectual ability, Mrs. Simpson Miller was also motivated to complete her degree to prove something to 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 experiences at Union Institute & University because they assist 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 the Florida Center.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Gerald Fishman

Dr. Gerald Fishman, Union Institute & University

Union Institute & University prides itself on the number of scholar-practitioners we have leading our academic programs. Dr. Gerald A. Fishman successfully combines over three decades of psychological research and practice with a passion for community outreach and the skill and insight for effective institutional administration. He is a resource and model for both students and faculty, and he is a valued member of both his own local community and of the public health, social services and counseling community nationwide.

A New York State Licensed Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist trained in a number of therapy areas related to public health and chemical dependency, Dr. Fishman brings over 30 years of experience from his individual clinical, counseling practice to his role as Associate Dean at the Vermont Center in Brattleboro.

In this role of Associate Dean, he is responsible for administering and providing direct service to master’s and doctoral level graduate programs in psychology. He is active in program development and evaluation, institutional research, outcome assessment, and strategic planning in addition to his teaching responsibilities.

The Master of Arts with a Concentration in Counseling Psychology allows students to become familiar with identifying and treating psychological issues in a variety of clinical, educational and workplace environments. The degree also offers a unique graduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling.  Dr. Fishman’s training in therapy approaches related to chemical dependency and addiction issues, as well as his work with nonprofit organizations, universities, governmental agencies and school systems, make him an invaluable resource and model for students in the program pursuing professional counseling avenues in different areas.

Outside of the academy, Dr. Fishman has used his training to create a number of adolescent chemical dependency and adult disorder programs throughout the state of New York. He is also the director of the Human Services Consultation and Training Institute, in Albany New York, an organization offering statewide and national professional trainings in specific clinical, chemical dependency, behavioral health, and school psychology.

More recently, Dr. Fishman has served as a consultant with Casey Family Programs out of Seattle, Washington. This position involves consultation to not-for-profit community mental health centers and governmental agencies serving rural eastern Kentucky and providing a continuum of care to women, children, and families. In this role, Dr. Fishman participates in formative research, program development, and staff training.

We asked Dr. Fishman to share some of his views about the important topics for current students of psychology, as well as his insights into what it means for him to practice the value of social responsibility.

What started you on the path of psychology, public health, and psychosocial related services?
My interest in psychology and clinical practice with children and adults was sparked by my volunteer work in high school with special education students and peers encountering academic difficulty.  I reflected on the best teachers I ever had, asking what was it about these teachers that influenced positive learning and emotional and behavioral change in their students, and I also included the effects that these teachers had on me.  From these early experiences, I became very interested in understanding and applying principles identified and researched by psychologists to the goal of helping others encountering challenges in their lives.  This essential purpose influenced pursuit of specialized graduate training, certifications, and professional experience intended to address the needs of children and adults across a variety of clinical and behavioral health areas.

What are the top two issues that you believe need to be addressed for your students within the therapy and public health fields?
Addiction and trauma-informed treatment are two critical areas that need to be addressed with students in clinical training programs.  The scope and impact of substance abuse is increasingly apparent in mental health, criminal justice, health, and social welfare settings, with adverse childhood events (including trauma) evidenced to influence poor outcomes for both children and adults in these systems.  The symptoms of trauma and substance use disorders are maintained in a vicious cycle.  Trauma-informed care is based on a model of empowerment that promotes recovery from both substance use and mental health disorders and helps the client build skills to increase safety and effective adaptation in their lives.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of your career within the fields of counseling, teaching, writing, workshop leadership, etc.?
I am both excited and honored by the possibility of making a difference in the lives of others by training future counselors and clinicians in best practices and evidence-based approaches to relieving suffering, enhancing coping skills, and increasing positive life outcomes.  Continued evaluation of educational programs for quality assurance and quality improvement purposes is critical, and informs all of our efforts to provide a valuable and value-laden education for our students.  To this objective, I am actively involved in teaching, practice, and lifelong learning. Engaged study keeps us humble and grateful.  As the mantra goes, “the more I learn, the less I know.” 

What does “social responsibility” mean to you? 
As educators and human services professionals, social responsibility translates to ensuring respect for human dignity and human rights.  Social responsibility and, more broadly, social justice provide a set of principles which guide both the content and the conducting of education for our students.  Enhancing access to education, exploring the nature of responsibility to others through ethical, cultural, and societal lenses, and examining the values which inform our direct actions with others are crucial to influencing fair treatment and equality for all people we serve.

The Retirement Revolution with Dr. Ken Dychtwald

Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Agewave
Hall of Mirrors
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
35 West 5th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Thursday, June 26, 2014
8:00am Breakfast Buffet
9:00am Keynote
10:30am Book Signing

Tickets are now available for our special presentation The Retirement Revolution: How the Age Wave will transform our lives with Union alumnus Dr. Ken Dychtwald (Ph.D. 1976). Click here to reserve your seat. Tickets are $30 general admission or $45 with a personally signed copy of Dr. Dychwald's new book.

Dr. Ken Dychtwald earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Union Institute & University in 1976. Over the past 35+ years, he has emerged as North America´s foremost visionary and original thinker regarding the lifestyle, marketing, healthcare and workforce implications of the age wave. He is a psychologist, gerontologist, documentary filmmaker, entrepreneur and best-selling author of sixteen books on aging-related issues, including Age Wave: The Challenges and Opportunities of an Aging Society, Age Power: How the 21st Century will be Ruled by the New Old, and A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement and Success
In 1986, Ken became the founding President and CEO of Age Wave (, a firm created to guide Fortune 500 companies and government groups in product/service development for boomers and mature adults. His client list has included more than half of the Fortune 500. His explorations and innovative solutions have fertilized and catalyzed a broad spectrum of industry sectors—from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to automotive design and retail merchandising to financial planning and health insurance. He has just been chosen to serve as Chairman-elect of the American Society on Aging—the largest association or professionals serving the needs of older adults.
During his career, Dr. Dychtwald has addressed more than two million people worldwide in his speeches to corporate, association, social service, and government groups. His strikingly accurate predictions and innovative ideas are regularly featured in leading print and electronic media worldwide, including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times, Fortune, Time, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Inc., U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, HK Daily News, South China Morning Post, The Standard, The Straits Times, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, Today Show, PBS, NPR, and BBC.
Through his highly acclaimed presentations, his breakthrough research and consulting initiatives, and his leadership within both the social science and business communities, Dr. Ken Dychtwald has dedicated his life to battling ageist stereotypes while promoting a new, vital and purposeful role for life’s second half.

Free Webinar: What Supervisors Look For in Great Employees

What Supervisors Look For

Presented by Dr. Charles F. Piazza
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
8:30 pm EST

Join us for a free leadership webinar to learn the key qualities and skills that supervisors are looking for in their employees. This webinar will be both a presentation and discussion in which participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

We will be discussing
• Learning to grow with your job
• Leadership and adaptability
• Collaborating with others
• Dealing with complex situations
• Innovative problem-solving

This event is free and open to the public. Contact or 513-487-1261 to register.

Charles F. Piazza, Union Institute & University

Charles F. Piazza, Ph.D. is an organizational/workplace scholar, practitioner and ethicist, with more than ten years of experience in teaching and assisting individuals to resolve contemporary workplace issues. Dr. Piazza focuses on developing visionary transparent leaders who establish organizational structures, cultures and work environments that foster innovative socially responsive solution building, collaborative knowledge sharing systems, work-life balance, and community involvement.

He has developed virtual learning courses since the late 1990s and has been awarded instructor of the year three times in three different disciplines. Dr. Piazza has worked with professionals to expand their thinking and skill set in sustainable strategic management, global professional ethics, leading organizational innovation, and developing alternative business models.

Dr. Piazza serves as the chair of Union Institute & University’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program. He is also the special assistant to the university president, working on university-wide strategic innovation efforts.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Rick Chaffee

Dr. Rick Chaffee, Union Institute & University

Dr. Rick Chaffee’s understanding of leadership and mentoring practices is informed by a diverse background in professional ski racing, a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in Applied Social Sciences from Union Institute & University. Dr. Chaffee’s has experience teaching both at the high school and collegiate level. He also has worked extensively in leadership training for the Marathon Oil Company, as well as working as a manager for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo. More recently Dr. Chaffee has been recruiting and mentoring members of the National Guard and employees of various corporations to focus on their degree completion through Union Institute & University.

Your first career was as an Olympic skier. What started you on that path of professional skiing?

I was born in Rutland, VT and my mom and dad both ski raced. My mom was an alternate on the 1940 Olympic Team but that year the games were cancelled because of the war.

There was a ground swell of interest in skiing around Pico Peak near Rutland as a local woman, Andrea Mead Lawrence, became the first American to win Olympic gold medals in skiing in 1952.
This ground swell of interests gave rise to organized efforts to support ski racing in the region. I ski raced from the age of five or so. My sister, Suzy Chaffee participated with me in the '68 Olympics in France and I competed again in Japan in 1972. Our University of Denver ski team won the NCAA Championships during each of my four years there.

After you transitioned out of skiing professionally, you went on to teach and to help establish the Green Mountain Valley School. What was your vision for that school?

After teaching for six years with Johnson State College, I was asked to help a local academy, The Green Mt. Valley School, become an elite ski racing academy. I taught, coached and was director of community life with the school.

Our vision was to create a high school in which students could excel both academically and athletically. The goal was for faculty, staff and students to create a supportive learning community in which students could pursue their dreams. The school has since developed into one of America’s leading ski racing academies and college preparatory schools.

You teach in Union's Leadership program and are invested in both educational and corporate leadership training.  What are the aspects of leadership that you see as essential today both in the academic world and in the corporate world? What aspects of leadership do you feel are essential for your students to grasp?

Leadership is influence in service of a common purpose. The participants in our leadership classes become excited when they discover that many of the theories validate an intuition that they have had for some time. The courses I teach with Union Institute & University and those I taught in corporate training, focused on helping both leaders and followers organize what they already know so that it becomes more useful to them. Teaching is especially fun when that happens.

Most Union Institute & University students are adults with years of experience in organizations. My role then is to bring together a field of knowledge such as leadership and the lived experience of our participant. When that happens, the learning takes place very fast because the participants already know experientially these concepts and theories.What I find most satisfying about teaching leadership is helping our leadership students remember what is most important to them, which is keeping their integrity.

It seems that we are so challenged by the environments in which we work, so caught up in surviving, that we often lose touch with what is most important to us. Such things as:
  • Doing our best and being of good will;
  • Avoiding the tendency to create in-groups and out-groups in our organizations. Because our mind operates by categorizing, there is a natural tendency for leaders to classify their followers and thereby create in-groups and out-groups. Building high quality one-on-one relationships with each team member, despite the differences in intelligence, motivation, career aspirations, and skill level, will take us a long way toward developing a sound organizational climate.
Here is an example of what I enjoy most in teaching leadership. I ask students to respond to this handout as we approach the end of the leadership course. This piece resonates strongly with our leadership participants:
“You are nearly finished with the course. Whatever you have learned here, the insights from the instruments, from the theories, from your application of theory to the cases, and all the insights you have had from your whole life, these will not be lost. What is important now is this: When you find yourself in a situation, whether you are the leader, follower or a peer, do not try to remember these theories or past insights. Instead, be present to the situation, to the people, to the issues….listen. Be open to whatever is happening…to your own thoughts and feeling and the responses and feelings of the other parties. Then draw on your intelligence, your concern for the well being of people and your sense of beauty and fairness.If you do that, if you do your best to be present to this unique situation and these unique people at this unique moment, with deep concern for both people and the task at hand, what you need to know will be made available to you.It is impossible to determine what to do ahead of time, for every moment is new and fresh and calls for its own unique response.It is in the humility of being open and present, trusting that the right words and responses will come to us, that we find our ‘voice’ and truly serve.” 

Who are the leaders and examples that you look to or aspire to be like? Why?
 In my classes I use Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and Joshua Chamberlain’s speech to the mutineers of the 20th Maine at the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. I am also a great admirer of Nelson Mandela and the Persian poets Rumi and Hafiz.These are leaders who were fearless in their support of freedom, equality and community. I admire all who try, as best they can, to live the qualities of intelligence, beauty and love.Ultimately, however, leadership is a matter of the heart.

What are your current projects that you’re most excited about? 
Our B.S. Business Management and Leadership faculty have been working together to develop ‘sound guidelines’ for our collaboration forums, ways to strengthen the quality of our on-line courses in CampusWeb.Another project of special interest is an application of ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ to our peer review process. The Faculty Affaires and Development Committee, FAD, has been creating a peer review process that focuses on two things: developing faculty and celebrating the good things happening in the university as we share our interests and our successes with our peers.Appreciative Inquiry is a process for developing organizations by identifying and celebrating its strengths. Or, as Peter Drucker stated so well in one of our training videos for this process [...] “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths that make our weaknesses irrelevant.”

What does “social responsibility” means to you, and how you live out that value in your life?
My interest in social responsibility at the moment is focused on the leader-follower relationship in organizations whether public, private or corporate. The leader-follower relationship has profound ethical implications. Organizations and their leadership have a social responsibility to see that the leader-follower relationship is ethical.There are many methods that leaders can employ to get things done. There is coercion, manipulation, mutually agreed upon transactions, and inspiration. Only two of these are ethical.

Freedom to follow without threat or coercion is part of social responsibility in our organizations. Our essential equality as persons, despite differences in roles, is another requirement of social responsibility in the leader-follower relationship. The leader-follower relationship has not been a focus of social responsibility until recently. It is, however, a major focus in our Ethics and Leadership class.

Within our own organization, Union Institute and University, it is important that we help each other keep our personal and institutional integrity. That’s how we live social responsibility in our own house.