Thursday, May 30, 2013

Union's Cincinnati Center Partners with Tom Geiger House

Cincinnati Union Institute Geiger
Union staff members with paper product
donations collected for Tom Geiger House.
In the true spirit of helping their neighbors, employees at Union Institute & University’s Cincinnati academic center have been organizing generous donations of items for the Tom Geiger Guest House. The program is part of the community service project Union Has Heart, which aligns with the university’s mission and vision.

Tom Geiger House helps the homeless and those in transition, serving mostly mothers with small children. They come seeking relief from poverty, neglect and abuse, and to build a brighter future by completing their education or job training. Geiger House is truly a neighbor, located within a mile of Union Institute & University’s Walnut Hills-area headquarters. The Union has Heart donations will be used in Geiger House welcome bags, including products such as toilet paper, garbage bags, soap, tissues, paper towels, dish soap, bleach, cleaning supplies, bedding, and gift cards.

Sophie Stanford, a transcript specialist in Union’s registrar’s office, helped organize the partnership with Tom Geiger Guest House. She notes “Geiger House families are moving into apartments, they are on the path to self-sufficiency and they need basic necessities. While Tom Geiger House provides resources and support, Union’s donations will go a long way to create a positive effect, improving lives and thereby, communities.”

A large box has been set up in the Cincinnati academic center lobby for staff and faculty to easily and conveniently donate items needed by Geiger House residents.  Each month a different category of product has been collected. Since the beginning of February, the Union has Heart campaign has amassed stacks of soap, paper products and personal care items that have gone directly to the Geiger House. 

“We truly appreciate Union Institute & University taking on this special project for the benefit of the people we serve in this facility. They are indeed a great community partner for us,” said Rob Festenstein, Individual Giving Coordinator with Talbert House, which operates Tom Geiger House.

“In order to truly engage, enlighten and empower, we must each reach out where we can to be a beacon of hope and help. We are empowering people in a small way to improve their lives,” adds Stanford. “I believe that organizations such as Tom Geiger House are some of the true gems in any community. They are a beam of light when things seem so bleak for some. This is why I am so very happy that we, as an academic center, can extend a helping hand to them. The work that they do is invaluable.”

Learn more about how Tom Geiger Guest House serves the Cincinnati community.

Read Soapbox Cincinnati's coverage of this story: UIU Employees Team Up to Support Women in Transition.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Returning To College as an Adult

Ben Mitchell, M.F.A.
Affiliated Professor of Writing and Literature
Union Institute & University

Bachelor degree

Although there are clearly many challenges when returning to college as an adult, there are real benefits on two distinct levels: one financial and the other more human. Going back to school requires a serious commitment of time, resources and money. For most people it also requires taking on debt. For adult students with children and a full-time job, a full load of traditional classes can be nearly impossible to balance. This is why Union’s Bachelor of Arts program succeeds. Through independent study adult students can juggle all of their responsibilities.

Let me start by sharing my experience of returning to college. Having struggled in college in the 1980s, I later returned, enrolled in Union’s Bachelor of Arts program (Norwich University at the time) and graduated in 1995. I remember the time before returning to school—the feelings of failure, hopelessness, and trying to survive in a bad economy. I felt like a loser. I was a loser.

Most of us can place ourselves somewhere on the continuum between winners and losers. Is this the core motivation of our culture, to move from the losers’ end of the continuum, to the winner’s circle? Are we becoming a winner take-all-society?

During the recent Occupy Wall Street movement, the notion of the 99 percent versus the one percent became popular. Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts highlights data that suggests that one percent of the population in this country controls 43 percent of the wealth. That is striking. Even more compelling is that 93 percent of the accumulated wealth of our country is controlled by 20 percent of the people. In other words, two people out of 10 control almost all the benefits of our collective economy.

This helps to emphasize the economic value of graduating from college. A college degree significantly increases your odds of becoming part of that 20 percent. Furthermore, a college degree will statistically double your income over the course of a lifetime. A 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report suggests that over an adult's working life, high school graduates can expect to earn, on average, $1.2 million; those with a bachelor's degree, $2.1 million; and $2.5 million with a master's degree. Earning a degree will statistically increase your chances of earning a decent living. It will move you along the continuum toward that winner’s circle

My bachelor’s degree from Union Institute & University made it possible to gain a position that, for the first time in my adult life, provided health insurance. This degree made it possible for me to get paid vacations and paid holidays. When you get paid to go on vacation, you are a winner, right?

But, I also have a mind.

Now by mind, I don't just mean some hunk of gray tissue animated by electrical activity. To me a “mind” is something much more; something George Hegel might call “Geist.” The Christians call it Soul.  Hindus call it Autman -- spirit incarnated into flesh. There is something in a living cell that is not in a dead cell, not just electricity but life. Life itself is the great mystery.

It is this mind that truly concerns us. Here at Union Institute & University’s bachelor program we take a somewhat radical approach. We ask: "Who are you? What do you think? What is your understanding, your spirit?” We want you to think critically, to challenge assumptions, to question deeply the very structure of what we know. We are not concerned with making students regurgitate memorized information and fill in bubbles. In the bachelor’s program, as you learn more and assimilate material, you will come to trust and value your own insight, your own perception, and your unique flashes of genius. These are the pearls, the real treasures of our species.

Real knowledge is constructed when new ideas and information are sifted through real life experience. New ideas challenge our ideas, our cherished assumptions and beliefs and then we create a new understanding; we actually create a new model of the world within the mind. In order to do this we must start with what we already know. No one comes to Union Institute & University as an empty brain to be filled. Each student brings a great wealth of understanding and knowledge earned over years of struggle, failure, and success. We will challenge your ideas, inspire you, push you, and you will create a new understanding that is truly yours. Rather than just learning random material to pass a test, our students engage with the questions at the core of their life, creating meaning from the truth of what we know.

The independent study model makes it possible to be a student and parent, while working full time and doing all the things adults have to do. The self-designed curriculum allows you to choose subjects to which you connect personally. Not only does this make it much more meaningful, and easier to make the time for school in a busy life; it also means our students explore the material on a much more essential level, often working at a level usually associated with graduate school. In fact, many of our students go on to excel in graduate school because they are already accustomed to working at that degree of inquiry.

With all this in mind, I respect the challenges that adult students face as they wrestle with the decision to return to school in this uncertain economy. But it is also from this perspective that I can say that the bachelor’s degree program at Union Institute & University is a truly remarkable option. Is there a guarantee that graduating from Union Institute University will make you one of the winners? No. Does it statistically increase the odds? Absolutely. Our graduates have the power to think critically about the world, to challenge the assumptions of our culture and to construct a new understanding. These are tools that enrich your life and provide you with benefits impossible to calculate numerically. This we promise to all of our graduates.

Learn more about the bachelor degree programs at Union Institute & University.

Ben Mitchell Union Institute University
Ben Mitchell, M.F.A. is an affiliated professor of writing and literature at Union Institute & University. He is the co-founder of Student Mentoring Services, a groundbreaking educational consulting firm that helps learning-disabled students transition to a university experience. Previously, Mitchell worked for 13 years at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont and authored and edited a series of Landmark Press books about learning disabilities. Mitchell holds degrees in both education and writing from Goddard College.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Workshop: Narrative Therapy & Interpersonal Neurobiology

Strange Bedfellows or White-Hot Marriage?

Presented by Jeffrey L. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Union Institute & University
Brattleboro Academic Center
3 University Way Brattleboro, Vermont 05301

June 7, 2013 | 9:30am-4:30pm (lunch provided)
Registration: 9-9:30am
May 1 - $110; $90 for students/non-profit organizations
After May 1 - $140; $110 for students/non-profit organizations
CE - 6 credits: $20 fee

This CE event is co-sponsored by Re-authoring Teaching. Brain science is currently one of the most widely discussed topics in psychology and psychotherapy. This workshop will explore how ideas from the field of neurobiology interface with narrative therapy theory and practice.

The workshop will guide participants though discussions on how neurobiology conceptualizes the brain's structure and a concept of mind, its relationship to memory and emotional systems, and the role of mindfulness in clinical practice. Drawing from the current literature and utilizing clinical examples, Dr. Zimmerman will compare and contrast ideas from the neurosciences with those from narrative therapy. Of particular interest will be his comments on the controversial questions regarding the role of affect in narrative clinical work, and the importance of the therapist’s mind within the therapeutic conversation.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
--Name the connection of mind to brains and relationships
--List three similarities between the central tenants of narrative therapy and those of interpersonal neurobiology
--List the seven primary emotional systems in the brain
--Name an important effect of collecting moments in narrative therapy work

Jeffrey L. Zimmerman
Jeffrey L. Zimmerman, Ph.D. is one of Michael White’s (co-founder of narrative therapy) first North American students. Dr. Zimmerman has been a major thinker, teacher and writer in the field of narrative therapy more than 25 years. He is the lead author of the seminal narrative therapy book If Problems Talked and is the director and co-founder of Bay Area Family Therapy Training Associates (BAFTTA). Dr. Zimmerman maintains a private practice where he sees children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He is a former associate professor in a psychiatry department and adjunct faculty member at Stanford. He has been a licensed clinical psychologist for more than 25 years and lives, works and plays in San Francisco, California.

802-257-9411 | 800-871-8165 x8400

Refunds offered until May 1, 2013 with a $25 processing fee. No Refunds will be given after that date.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Union's Doctoral Psychology (Psy.D.) Program Earns Designation Status

Doctor of Psychology Psy.D.

Union Institute & University announced April 25, 2013, that the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists Designation Committee voted at its March 2013 meeting to approve for Designation the Union Institute & University (UI&U) Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program in Ohio and Vermont. 

Designation from ASPPB/National Register enables doctoral psychology programs to demonstrate that they meet widely accepted national standards, important to credentialing bodies, students, and the public. 

Union Institute & University Dean of Graduate Psychology Dr. William Lax said, “We are pleased to have received designation status. Union is one of the first doctoral psychology programs in the country using a blended delivery model to earn designation. We believe that our innovative program is a model for the future training of psychologists.” 

With this designation, a graduate of UI&U’s Psy.D. program who decides to apply for licensure as a psychologist will typically meet the jurisdictional educational requirements for licensing. Once licensed, a graduate of a designated program is eligible to apply for credentialing as a Health Service Psychologist by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists. Additional information is available on the ASPPB's website and the National Register

Union Institute & University’s Psy.D. program with a concentration in clinical psychology was founded in 2007. The program integrates classroom and online courses in its curriculum and students benefit from UI&U’s experienced psychology faculty and collaborative learning environment, developing the attitudes, knowledge, and skills they need to advance their careers. Students attend on-site classes every other weekend during the first year, and one weekend a month in years two through three. Bi-annual week-long Academic Meetings, bringing together students and faculty, occur in Brattleboro, Vermont in the fall and in Cincinnati, Ohio in the spring in years one through three.

For further information about the Union Institute & University Psy.D. program in Cincinnati, Ohio or Brattleboro, Vermont visit

Free Psychology Webinar: Counseling Approaches

Motivational Interviewing and Stages of Change
Thursday, May 30, 2013
12:15-12:45pm EST

Union Institute & University Counseling Psychology

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Please join us for a webinar presented by Union Institute & University’s M.A. with a Concentration in Counseling Psychology program. Jerry Fishman, Ph.D., associate dean and faculty in Union’s M.A. with a Concentration in Counseling Psychology will host the presentation.

For webinar visual:
For webinar audio: 1-866-951-1151
Conference ID: 3425762

RSVP requested but not required:

Motivational Interviewing focuses on exploring and resolving ambivalence about changing behavior and has been effective in the treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Techniques and strategies that are responsive to the client’s readiness for change are used collaboratively with the client to increase intrinsic motivation and help move the client toward meeting their valued goals.