Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Toys for Children

For a number of years, some Wichita woodworkers have been making wooden toys for children for Christmas.  Woodworkers make the toys and Wichita artists decorate them.  The Salvation Army then distributes them.  The toys were exhibited at the East Heights United Methodist Church.  My husband and I went to the exhibit, took some pictures, and I made the following video. 

I hope you like it.  The woodworkers and painters are to be commended!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gyazo: software to share screenshots

There are a number of ways to capture and share what you see on your computer screen.  One that I have used for a very long time is SnagIt (I'll write a post about that later).  The disadvantage (and advantage) of SnagIt is that you get a graphic that you can then edit and then share with others in a variety of ways.  But what if you were in an IM conversation and wanted to quickly and easily share something.  You should take a look at Gyazo.   I liked it so much that I went "ninja" (i.e. became a paid member).  Gyazo will let you quickly take a screenshot and then show you a secret web address for it which you can send quickly to someone else in an email, an IM, etc.  Quick and easy is the point.  NOW it even lets you do GIFs.

To illustrate what Gyazo can do, I activated Scrivener (another piece of software that I will do a post on later) and the screen shot that I made can be seen at the link below.

Pretty cool uh?  I haven't tried a GIF yet, but it is on my "to do" list. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blogging on Dr. Graham's Blog

Recently I have begun writing some HR relevant posts on Dr. Gerald Graham's blog, How Effective Leaders Get Things Done.  I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for his ability to write clearly and directly about significant management issues.  Recently a post that he made really resonated with me.  In this post, Gerald commented on the fact that few employees are motivated to change their behaviors on the job.  I asked Gerald if he would like me to do a follow-up regarding the same idea, but in a selection context.  My post - A Powerful Interviewing Technique - explains the principle of "The Best Predictor of Future Behavior is Past Behavior in Similar Circumstances" .

I would follow up on that post by saying that there is also a powerful situational influence on our behavior.   What we are likely to do and say in Church is probably not what we are likely to do and say at the local watering hole.  So circumstances / situations DO matter, which is why we added the phrase "in Similar Circumstances".

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I thought that I would do a little cross-promotion of my new blog.  The link below is to a review of a great book, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

Life After Life

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lifehacker tells you how to stay motivated and finish your school work!

Lifehacker is one of my very favorite websites to visit.  I almost ALWAYS learn something valuable there.  I am always surprised by the breadth of information that can be found there.  I've learned how often to mow my yard and how to pick out the best school supplies.  For right now I thought it would be appropriate to give you a link to the Lifehacker post on How to Stay Motivated and Finish Your School Work!   I'm going to use some of these tips to manage my own work flow for writing.  The ideas are widely applicable. 

Don't delay.  Click on that link and study it NOW.  It might just save your grades this semester.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Posting on Dr. Graham's Blog

I have partnered with Dr. Gerald Graham and am contributing periodic posts to his blog "How Effective Leaders Get Things Done".  Gerald is one of the smartest men I know, and a nice guy to boot!  Take a look at his blog HERE.  My most recent post can be found HERE.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More on Evernote!

I realized after I published my last post on Evernote, that I forgot to mention some of its really useful functionality.  First, Evernote can be used as a program on your computer (with a desktop icon if you like) or you can use it as a web-based program.  You can even use BOTH,  and changes you make in one will be synchronized to the other.   If you use the Desktop version, then you don't have to be connected to the internet to access it.  If you use the Web-based version, then obviously you do AND you can access it from any internet-enabled computer. In addition there is an Evernote App for your mobile device!

An additional tool that Evernote has that is VERY useful if you do a lot of browsing on the internet, is the Evernote Web Clipper, which is a browser extension used to save URL's, pictures, and text from web pages for later browsing.  You can select an entire page, a portion of the text, or even just the URL.  You can select the desired notebook to save the information to along with any tags that you want to attach.  For more information on Evernote, there is a great article on Mashable. 

For more applications that integrate with Evernote, check out the Evernote Trunk. 

For my previous post on Evernote, go HERE. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting Organized for a New School Term

The beginning of a new semester is the time to get organized.  While I still do make use of the ever-present yellow Post-It Notes of various sizes (the physical variety), I have found that one big disadvantage of them is that they are only in one place.  More and more all of us are using a tablet, a smart phone, and... oh yeah... the PC to keep track of what we need to do.  One GREAT cross-platform FREE software is Evernote.  I recommend giving it a whirl.  I have upgraded to the Premium version, but could probably get along just fine with the free version. 

Here are some things that you can do with it. 

Find a Tweet, or get an email that you would like to save?  Are you on your phone and not at your desk?  Your Evernote account comes with an email address, so you can simply forward whatever you have to Evernote.  I have a neat app on my iPhone called CamScanner.  It turns a camera shot into a PDF which I can then email.  One way to use this for business is to scan those restaurant receipts, turn them into PDF's, and email to Evernote.  You can then organize them according to the consulting project in Evernote. 

Another nice feature of Evernote is that the notes that you save (which can contain pictures, text, audio, or video) can be organized into Notebooks.  Notebooks can be organized into Stacks.  You might have a "Stack" for Class Notes.  Under that Stack, you have a Notebook for each class that you are currently taking.  Notes can have Tags, which can be searched for.  For example, use the Tag "Assignment" for class assignments. 

For an extensive list of the ways to use Evernote, try THIS article from

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Beginning of the School Year

Some of you know that this year (May 2013) I retired after 33 years of teaching at Wichita State University.  As I start to see more and more information about the start of the school year, I am conflicted as to what I should be feeling.  On one hand, I am relieved that I don't have to gear up for teaching a new semester. On the other hand, there are definitely things that I would be looking forward to.

In the past, this is the time that I would start thinking about revisions to my syllabus.  What new things does the university require?  What did I learn from the last time I taught this course that might impact what I do this semester?  Even though students might not believe it, I would go back and read the student comments from my evaluations from last year.  I've read them before, but this time I would be looking at them with a view toward trying to learn what needs to change.  This year I don't have to do that. 

What will I miss?  I'll miss seeing my colleagues on a daily or weekly basis.  I'll miss complaining about parking (well maybe not so much that!).  I WILL miss the students.  I'll especially miss "my" HR majors.  I'll miss seeing them in class.  I don't have a solution for this.  I am NOT regretting my decision to retire, just realizing that there are things that I will miss.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Helping Students Think Critically

For a long time I have been concerned about trying to help students develop their critical thinking skills.  I have read articles, watched videos, and simply thought about the process.  The article that I have linked to below is one of the very best that I have seen that addresses this issue.  If you are a teacher and want to help students develop these skills, take some time to read this and think about it.  One of the things I particularly like about this article is that it addresses things that can be done in the asynchronous online environment.

Click HERE for the article.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trip to Lake Louise - June 19 - June 26 2013

Richard and I planned a trip to Lake Louise, Jasper, and Banff.  Unfortunately, we got there JUST before the Alberta 2013 flood.  Below is our original planned route.

We flew in to Calgary Airport and rented a car to drive to our first stop which was Lake Louise (B on this map).  We got into Calgary in the early evening and drove to Lake Louise in what was at times a downpour.  The Trans-Canada Highway at Canmore (shaded in blue) washed out soon after we passed.  We got to Lake Louise and checked in to the hotel.  Our original plan had been to spend three nights at Lake Louise, two nights at Jasper (C on the map above) and then to the Banff Park Lodge.  Unfortunately, the washout on Highway 93 (smaller blue square above) made the drive to Jasper impossible.

We started contingency planning.  With the Trans-Canada Highway closed at Canmore, and 93 closed, the only way back to Calgary (which was experiencing massive flooding) was a very long and circuitous route to the south, east, and then north on Highway 2.   With the flooding in Calgary expected to proceed to the south of Calgary, that option seemed ill advised.  On Saturday, we changed our airplane reservations to fly out of Vancouver.  We planned to check out on Sunday and spend Sunday and Monday to get to Vancouver and fly home on Tuesday.

Imagine our surprise when we checked the Information Board at the hotel on Monday morning and found out that Highway 93 was open to traffic.  Sigh.  There WAS some good news.  The rental car company waived the $400 fee to return a car to a different location.  Also, what we THOUGHT was going to be an 805 mile drive turned out to be an 805 KILOMETER drive (only about 500 miles) so a very easy drive for two days.  The drive from Lake Louise to Vancouver was through some VERY beautiful country.  The Canadian Rockies are marvelous and they seem not to be as commercialized as the Colorado Rockies.  I'll be posting some pictures and will link to them here.

HERE are the first pictures... I'll post more when I get them from Richard.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

State Budget Cuts for Kansas Universities

June 5, 2013

This past weekend, the Kansas Legislature based a budget which will mean a cut of 1.5% in state funding in each of the next two years.  What does this mean for Wichita State University?  It means a loss of more than $3.3 million in state funding over the next two years.  The result for students is very likely to be tuition increases.  The Governor still needs to sign the budget, but I can't see how he could not sign it. 

I personally don't see how Kansas Universities will be able to absorb these cuts without increasing tuition for students.   

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cleaning Things Out

I am in the process of clearing things out of a storage locker and in going through the contents of one of the boxes, I found the document that I scanned below.  Note the date:  Dec. 1937 and the lines highlighted in yellow.  Is it just me or does that sound very contemporary?  These savings accounts paid 2% a year.  I just scanned the first page of this four page pamphlet.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What MOOCS Can Teach Us About Online Education

An interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding what hard-core online learners can teach faculty about "what works".  MOOCs ( massive open online course) have attracted some learners who have engrossed themselves in the courses.  What can they tell us about what works and what doesn't?

The first observation is one that I have seen from my online and hybrid courses.  Organization is king!  Six students were interviewed for the piece, they were "hardline" online learners.  They said that ...clarity and organization were key.  ".. a sure way to botch a MOOC comes down to one word: "ambiguity." When assignments, expectations, or the mechanics of the course are unclear, forum discussions erupt with frustration and misinformation."  Don't try to "wing it".

Another observation was that "Professors are the stars. When the students talked about the MOOCs they've taken, they usually mentioned the professor first. They sometimes couldn't remember the name of the university offering the course."  I think that part of this might be the personal connection that the teacher is able to make with their students.  The last point that is made in this article is that passion matters.  Professors need to show their enthusiasm and excitement about the course.

Another observation from these students was that video doesn't do it alone.  Text still matters.  "When the only materials are lecture videos, it can be hard to go back and study for quizzes or exams, several of the students say. Since the videos aren't searchable in most MOOCs, students aren't sure where in the video to look for a given concept they are reviewing."

Thanks to the Chronicle for publishing this article.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Red Apple Award

At a faculty meeting on Friday, I was surprised to receive this award from the Barton School of Business.  Many thanks to Dean Hensler and to the faculty and staff of the Barton School for this recognition.  I had asked that there be no retirement reception for me.  To me a reception felt like a closing of a door, which I would like to leave cracked ajar. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I always tell my students that I am happy to review their resumes for them.  A difficulty with this is that once in a while, I get a student who sends it to me as an email attachment and indicates "I'll wait here at my computer for your feedback so that I can send it in as soon as possible".  I usually ask for at a couple of days to provide meaningful feedback to students. 

I have found a great article on common resume mistakes that I recommend.  After you have fixed all these problems, my review of your resume will be much easier. Remember, most recruiters and managers that look at resumes will NOT spend much time with it.  If your resume doesn't pass a quick scan, no matter how good you really are... you won't get a chance at an interview.

13 Resume Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

Monday, March 4, 2013

Where should I go to college?

I have always told students to go to the best school that made sense for them financially.  The value of the education that they receive is more than just what they learn, it is also a function of the perception of that university by employers.  Today (March 4, 2013), the Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a Special Report on "The Employment Mismatch" discussing a variety of aspects of what employers think of the four-year college degree.  One important finding is the value of internships as something which differentiates students in the eyes of a potential employer. 

Another finding that seemed on-target to me from what I hear from employers is the statement that "While fresh hires had the right technical know-how for the job, said most employers in the survey, they grumbled that colleges weren't adequately preparing students in written and oral communication, decision-making, and analytical and research skills." 

Another interesting finding for me was the relatively low evaluation of online colleges (see graphic below).  I am particularly puzzled by the difference in preference between for-profit colleges and online colleges.  Since many for-profits have moved online, I am curious as to why employers see the difference.  Below the graphic I have given the source for the information.

"Survey Results and Methodology
The findings on these pages come from a survey developed, fielded, and analyzed by Maguire Associates Inc., a higher-education consulting firm, on behalf of The Chronicle and American Public Media's Marketplace. Maguire invited 50,000 employers to participate in the study., a career-services consultancy, helped develop the sample by providing a contact list of employers that recruit recent college graduates.
The survey was conducted in August and September 2012. There were 704 responses.
Results were organized by industry and hiring level. Hiring levels were divided into human resources, managers, and executives."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Google Plus - World Domination

Here is a very interesting article about Google Plus and its very rapid rise in usage.  The author says that:
Google Plus’s Ganesha-like arms can handle all of your company’s communications--if you let it. My buddy Andy Wilson, for example, runs an e-discovery company called Logik. He has swapped out everything with Google Plus. Instead of Yammer, employees post to their “work” circle. Instead of Skype, employees use Google Hangouts for cross-coast meetings and calls. Instead of Eventbrite, they use Google Plus events. Now, while Andy’s certainly an early adopter of this strategy, he didn’t do this for his health, either--he did it because it worked better for his company and saved them money.
I feel a little behind the curve on this one because I only recently participated in my first Google Hangout.  The potential downside that I see to this is that you have to have a gmail account to play. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Critical Thinking

I just received my copy of "Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools" from CriticalThinking.Org.  The book (well really a booklet) provides an outline of how to think critically.  In other words, how to reason.  There is a quote near the end of the book that I particularly like:  "Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens." (William Graham Sumner, 1906).  I think that having citizens skilled in critical thinking would make the political process much easier to bear. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The MINI Cooper Horn Section

Some of you may know that I drive a Mini Cooper S.  It is a fun car to drive and surprisingly roomy (at least for me).  Please enjoy the video below.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


How cool is this? I can imagine students coming to class in one of these. To read the complete article
go HERE.

Learning about jobs

Sometimes students come to me asking for advice about writing their resume. One of the things that I frequently notice on their first draft is that they have not done a very good job of describing what they do on their current or past jobs. I think that it is because they are not familiar with how human resource professionals describe jobs. Understanding job content is the starting point for almost everything that HR accomplishes. I thought that it might be beneficial to provide you with some links to VERY useful job-related web sites. The first of these websites is O*Net Online. Take some time to cruise over there and learn about jobs and what people do in those jobs. The second resource is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. If you haven't yet found what you want to do with the rest of your life, this is a valuable resource as well. The last resource is the online version of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. While not as elegantly designed as the previous websites, I find this one the MOST useful in actually writing job descriptions. As an example of what is available in the DOT, I decided to search for my job as a University Professor. In part that job description is as follows:
Conducts college or university courses for undergraduate or graduate students: Teaches one or more subjects, such as economics, chemistry, law, or medicine, within prescribed curriculum. Prepares and delivers lectures to students. Compiles bibliographies of specialized materials for outside reading assignments. Stimulates class discussions. Compiles, administers, and grades examinations, or assigns this work to others. Directs research of other teachers or graduate students working for advanced academic degrees. Conducts research in particular field of knowledge and publishes findings in professional journals. Performs related duties, such as advising students on academic and vocational curricula, and acting as adviser to student organizations. Serves on faculty committee providing professional consulting services to government and industry.
Actually this is pretty accurate! I strongly encourage anyone who is looking for a job or is going to be writing job descriptions, to bookmark these URLs.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Generations in the Work Place

Yesterday in my introductory HR class, the topic was Diversity Management, EEO, and Affirmative Action. As part of the discussion on Diversity Management, I discussed some information on Generations in the Work Place. Any discussion of "generational differences" as always made me a bit uncomfortable because I know that I am considered a "leading edge" Baby Boomer (i.e. one of the oldest of the generation) and I don't necessarily feel that I am the "same" as my generational colleagues. In thinking about this issue, I came across a quote that I think perfectly summarizes the issue.
It can be difficult to have conversations about the similarities and differences between groups of people. Within our diverse global community, there has been a long-standing debate about the advantages and disadvantages that result from focusing on "differences." Indeed, research often suggests that there are more important differences within any particular group of people, such as among women and among men, than there are differences between those groups.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I just could not resist posting this video here. It is just a delight! Watch it and smile.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spring Semester Starts!

Yesterday (Jan 22nd) was the first day of classes for the Spring 2013 semester.  Since I have a MW teaching schedule, today is the first day that I am meeting with my students (and my last semester in the classroom).  I'm going to do an experiment in my HRM 668 class (compensation and benefits) and try "tweeting" information to my students.  If anyone wants to follow me on Twitter, I am @Nbereman.