New World University

“The mission of New World University is to provide quality, affordable higher education to individuals in economically developing countries by building a vibrant international academic community through which researchers, educators, and students can interact.” — New World University Mission Statement

New World University
A few posts ago, I promised to explain more about New World University. Here’s an overview about it.

Some partners and associates and I have started a new institution called New World University. It’s based in the Commonwealth of Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean, and our goal is to reach students in low and middle income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

It’s an institution that’s been a long time in development. It first started with a few conversations with friends at a conference in 1998, took life a bit when a core group of us became involved in the open educational resources movement in the early 2000’s, became an active project in 2010, and first accepted students late last year.

We’ve begun with one year certificates, two year diplomas, and three year BSc degrees in International Business Leadership, and plan to offer similar sets of programs in computing technology and development studies going forward. We keep costs low by using open educational resources for textbooks, and by offering instructional and student services à la carte so that students only pay for what they really need from us. Because of this, the most motivated and self-starting students can complete a Bachelor’s degree through us through independent study for less than one thousand U.S. dollars.

Of course, just setting up an institution like this isn’t very valuable unless its credentials are recognized. To that end, our accreditation application is in progress with the National Accreditation Board of Dominica, which has reciprocity agreements with similar agencies in other countries.

At this point, we’d like to establish relationships with education entreprenurs and NGOs around the world to discuss ways we can cooperate to serve students. Anyone who is interested in having that conversation, or who is just curious about what we’re doing, is welcome to email me:

King Of The Traffic Lights

“At least for now, I’m going to continue to do the commuting thing, … It’s just become part of my life. Sometimes coming home I think, ‘What am I doing? I’m completely insane.’” — Scott Harris

I’ve started at VIU, and so far so good. I’m getting enough to do to keep me on my toes here, but I can see value in what has to be done.

But this post isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Specifically, it’s about commuting. As soon as I realized I was looking for work I wouldn’t be doing from home, we realized that we had one car too few. When I worked outside the house before, Adella either was at home or was working close enough that we could carpool. But now she has a far ranging Zumba schedule, and I work too far away for her to be able to drop me off and pick me back up.

I hadn’t really wanted to devote resources to a second car, but there was no choice, and as the saying goes, when life give you lemons, make a whiskey sour. So I decided as long as I was going to get something anyway, it might as well be something fun, like, say, the Mazda Miata I’ve always wanted. Our budget on this was nowhere near that for a new one, or even a middle aged one, but fortunately they’re well made and they’ve been in production since the ’80s, so find one old enough that even I could sort of afford it was possible. I only had to go back to model year 1996 to accomplish this. Yeah, the car is older than my fourteen year old.

But like I said, I’ve wanted one of these for a long time. When I myself was sixteen or so, I went to the local Mazda dealership and asked whether I could test drive one. They let me, and it was awesome. Some of you might be wondering what sort of crack smoking car dealer would let a sixteen year old kid test drive a new car, but I grew up in an affluent area where some parents bought their kids new cars for their birthdays or graduation, so the dealer wasn’t as crazy as he might seem.

Anyway, it really is a fun little car. My mechanic looked it over and said it looks sound, so hopefully it will let me recover from the impact of having had to buy it before it gives me any repair bills.

The other thing is that I’d forgotten how cripplingly insane Northern Virginia rush hour traffic is. I’m “lucky” in that I commute the other way from most drivers, outbound in the morning and inbound in the afternoon, but even at that it’s been bumper-to-bumper both days so far on the Beltway. I’ve decided to give up on it and take local roads all the way. It’s twelve miles from my house to VIU, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but traffic lights have always adored me, turning red on my approach to be able to spend as much time with me as possible. Both days it’s taken forty-five minutes to get to work.

But hey, everyone else does it, right?

I Found My New Job!

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” — Seneca

VIU logo
This is a pretty exciting follow up to my most recent post. On May 12th I start at Virginia International University as Academic Operations Manager. I’ll be reporting to Dr. Goran Trajkovski, the Dean of the School of Computer Information Systems and the School of Online Education. I understand I’ll be doing a bit of everything, but it’s largely a student facing position, which will be refreshing after a number of years dealing mostly with faculty members and then clients. Even though it’s been rewarding to teach the students I’ve had in my online courses, that’s not the same as getting to know them in person.

I’m interested in VIU for a few reasons. One, as I mentioned, is that the position lets me work with students. But not only that, VIU’s population is 97% international students, and as someone with a long running interest in international higher education, that’s especially interesting to me. The school is also fairly new, having been founded in 1998, started operations in 2000, and becoming accredited in 2008. That newness means that there’s room for diligent, capable people to gain more responsibility than they would at an institution that has been around for decades, and indeed this is something that was suggested to me by a number of people throughout the interview process. I also appreciate that VIU’s goal is to differentiate itself from alternatives by offering a superior service experience to students. In particular, the chance to help build up their online programs should be a blast!

So that’s it in a nutshell. Conventional employment will be an adjustment after nearly two years of working from home, but I’m ready for it.

Back On The Job Market

“Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.”

So I’ve had a major bit of news this past week. For nearly two years, my two main contracts have been to design and teach courses for LCO Ojibwe Community College, and to write articles and other content pieces for Education Dynamics. The latter has taken up the vast majority of my time since then, and provided a more or less full time income. Unfortunately, however, Education Dynamics has been wrestling with changing market realities lately, and my contract has been reduced pretty dramatically as a result.

On the one hand, I’m fortunate in the sense that I still have them as a client, even if it’s just a few hours worth of work per week. But what’s left isn’t enough work, so I find I’m back in the job market. The name of my web site hasn’t been accurate for a long time, but it seems for the time being it’s exactly right: hire me!

If you or anyone you know needs an educational technologist, higher education administrator, or writer, with experience in for-profit education, non-profit education, and startup environments, please let me know. My resume gives a pretty good idea of what I can do, but I’m also fast to pick up new things, so if there’s something you need done that’s even close, let’s talk about it!

New Day Job!

As of December 4th, I’ll be the new Director of E-Learning at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. I didn’t dislike either student services or international student advising, but I have to say that I’m excited to be doing something that’s more commensurate with my abilities. I’ve also wanted to get back into technology a bit, and this is obviously in that direction.

Credit where it’s due: I hadn’t planned to look for a position like this until I finished my Master’s, but the day before leaving for Jamaica, good ol’ Mom emailed me asking whether I’d seen the vacancy for it. I hadn’t, but went ahead and threw together an application, thinking that I’d be one a hundred qualified applicants, and that I probably wouldn’t even get an interview.

I was wrong. Thanks, Mom.