Universities deplore McCarthyism as MP demands list of tutors lecturing on Brexit

Tory whip writes to every vice-chancellor to ask for syllabus and any online material

Academics are accusing a Tory MP and government whip of McCarthyite behaviour, after he wrote to all universities asking them to declare what they are teaching their students about Brexit and to provide a list of teachers names.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and a staunch Eurosceptic, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching European affairs with particular reference to Brexit. Neatly ignoring the long tradition of academic freedom that universities consider crucial to their success, his letter asks for a copy of each universitys syllabus and any online lectures on Brexit.

Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, felt a chill down his spine when he read the sinister request: This letter just asking for information appears so innocent but is really so, so dangerous, he says. Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor and newspeak, naturally justified as the will of the British people, a phrase to be found on Mr Heaton-Harriss website. Green will be replying to the MP but not be providing the information requested.

MP's
Heaton-Harriss letter

Prof Kevin Featherstone, head of the European Institute at the LSE, is also outraged: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature. It smacks of asking: are you or have you ever been in favour of remain? There is clearly an implied threat that universities will somehow be challenged for their bias. Featherstone says LSE academics had already feared Brexit censorship after the Electoral Commission made inquiries during last years referendum campaign about academics debates and research, following a complaint by Bernard Jenkin, another Tory MP. Jenkin filed a complaint when the LSE hosted an event at which the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said there was no upside for the UK in Brexit. Jenkin, a board member of the Vote Leave campaign, also accused the LSEs Centre for Economic Performance of producing partisan research designed to convince the public to stay in the EU. The commission, whose job is to ensure fair campaigning, investigated and took no action against the university.

A spokesman for the LSE strenuously denies all allegations of political bias. The freedom for academics to study the major issues facing society, reach their own conclusions, and engage in public debate is essential for the health of our universities and the UKs world-leading research base, he says.

Featherstone says: I understand the LSE received calls from the Electoral Commission asking about speakers and the costs of events on an almost daily basis throughout the campaign period. He argues that both Heaton-Harriss letter and the Electoral Commissions investigation pose a threat to the role of universities as free intellectual spaces where academics can explore and question ideas without political interference. He says both developments risk plunging universities into dangerous new political waters.

The Electoral Commission says universities have nothing to fear from its inquiries. We produce guidance to help all non-party campaigners understand the rules on campaigning and we can advise universities in cases where they may be affected. These do not prevent campaigning or engagement in public debate, but provide the public with transparency about who is spending what in order to influence their vote.

Prof
Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University: Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor. Photograph: James Watkins

More than 80% of academics voted to remain, according to a YouGov survey [pdf] commissioned by the University and College Union in January. And within university departments focusing on European affairs, Brexiters are a rarity.

However, university experts on Brexit insist their personal views do not jaundice their teaching, and students are encouraged to question received assumptions and look at issues from all sides.

Julie Smith, director of the European Centre in the politics and international studies department at Cambridge University, says she told a lecture full of graduates about Heaton-Harriss letter last week. I told the students what my personal views were and emphasised that they were personal views. I voted to remain, but as an academic, my job is to impart knowledge, encourage debate and develop skills of analytical argument, not to impose doctrine.

Smith, who is also a Liberal Democrat peer, adds: If it is the case that a politician thinks he should interfere in the content of what universities are teaching and look at syllabi in order to see whether the correct line is being delivered, that is profoundly worrying.

Prof Piet Eeckhout, academic director of University College Londons European Institute, says it is unsurprising if most academics working on Europe are in favour of the EU. I have been teaching EU law for the last 25 years. The fact that I am sufficiently interested to spend all my days working on it obviously means I think EU law is a good thing.

Prof
Prof Kevin Featherstone, director of the European Institute at the LSE: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature

Pro-Brexit academics working in this area are also unhappy with the MPs behaviour. Lee Jones, reader in international politics at Queen Mary University of London, is one of the few openly pro-Brexit academics in his field. During the referendum campaign I said what I wanted and no one tried to shut me up, but I know colleagues elsewhere who have been blanked in the corridors because they voted to leave.

Yet Jones, too, is outraged by Heaton-Harriss investigation. It is really troubling that an MP thinks it is within his remit to start poking his nose into university teaching, he says. Universities are autonomous and politicians have no right to intimidate academics by scrutinising their courses. I have colleagues who are die-hard remainers. But I know what they teach and it is not propaganda.

Chris Bickerton, reader in modern European politics at Cambridge University, and a fellow leave voter agrees. He adds: In my institution there is strong support for academic freedom. I applied for promotion after the referendum and never did I worry that my views on Brexit would affect the results or my promotional prospects. Nor did I feel any institutional pressure to think one way or the other in the runup to the vote itself.

Heaton-Harris did not respond to requests for a comment.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/oct/24/universities-mccarthyism-mp-demands-list-brexit-chris-heaton-harris

Catalonias Split With Spain Is About Identity, Not Just Money

As recently as July, secessionists in Catalonia seemed to be in retreat. Spain was the fastest-growing of continental Europe’s big four economies, creating jobs at a rapid clip. A poll that month by the Catalan government showed that support for independence had fallen to 35 percent, its lowest level since 2012. It appeared that Enric Millo, the Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia, might have been right when he predicted in 2012 that once removed from the flame of financial crisis, “separatism would sink like a soufflé.”

What’s sinking instead is the reputation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Acting on his orders, Spanish police used batons and rubber bullets against those who took part in an Oct. 1 referendum on independence that Spain’s constitutional court had declared illegal. Hundreds were injured in the melees.

The Catalan government claimed that despite Madrid’s attempts at suppression, 2.3 million people voted—about 42 percent of the total electorate—and about 90 percent of them chose to separate from Spain. The Spanish government cast doubt on the result, pointing out that the referendum, in addition to being illegal, lacked certified voter lists and wasn’t overseen by an official election board. And many of those who opposed secession heeded Madrid’s reminder that the vote was illegal. Spain’s King Felipe VI said in a televised address that separatist leaders showed “unacceptable” disloyalty.

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Photographer: Juan Teixeira/Redux

The groundswell of separatist sentiment in Catalonia has shown Spain and the world that money isn’t everything. A strengthening economy may have quelled Catalan nationalism a bit, but the desire many have for independence had deeper sources and never went away. Then Rajoy, playing to his conservative base, badly miscalculated. He thought a show of force would keep voters at home. But his attempt to stop the vote just pushed more Catalans into the separatist camp. “In the longer term, the divisions in Spain become more entrenched,” says Antonio Barroso, a political risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London.

Economics probably did matter in Catalonia, just not in the way that Spanish optimists were thinking. The reality is that the region hasn’t fully recovered from the global financial crisis, which pushed the economy into a double-dip recession and sent unemployment in the so-called autonomous community as high as 24 percent. (It’s still more than 13 percent.) “The financial crisis brought to the fore the fact that so much of our money is transferred” to the central government, says Jordi Galí of Barcelona’s Center for Research in International Economics, known by its initials in the Catalan language, CREI. “In a context of high growth and prosperity, this may be more easily forgotten. But during the crisis the Catalan government had to undertake huge cuts in services: health, education.”

The transfers issue might not have been enough to stir secessionism all by itself. After all, there’s little call in Connecticut to break away from the U.S. even though the state gives more than it gets. The difference is that the northeastern corner of Spain has its own language, traditions, and aspirations to national greatness. Its history is a seesaw of autonomy and what some see as subjugation. Catalans still commemorate the fall of Barcelona to King Philip V of Spain on Sept. 11, 1714. In 1939 the city fell to the Nationalist forces of Francisco Franco, who suppressed Catalan culture during his 36-year rule.

In recent years, independence-minded Catalans have focused their anger on a 2010 ruling by Spain’s constitutional court that erased parts of a legislative deal that accorded the region broad autonomy. In 2012 the Catalan economist Xavier Sala-I-Martin likened Spain to a possessive husband who reacts wildly when his wife asks for a divorce. “We Catalans have tried to explain during 30 years that we were uncomfortable and the replies have been no’s, scorn, indifference, and contempt. And now they’re surprised!” the Columbia University professor wrote on his blog.

The marriage is far worse now. “People are extremely disappointed, and I would say shocked, by the activities of the Spanish police,” says Giacomo Ponzetto, an Italian who teaches at CREI in Barcelona. “It was absurd, unacceptable behavior, and I would add extremely stupid.” Stupid as in self-defeating, he says. “The Catalan government was looking for this. It’s very obvious. They wanted to provoke a response.”

Like it or not, Catalonia has been very much part of Spain—not least because it’s a fifth of the national economy. It exports more to the neighboring region of Aragon than to France, and more to Madrid than to Germany or Italy, says Pankaj Ghemawat, who teaches at the New York City branch of IESE Business School, which also has campuses in Madrid and Barcelona.

Many economists think Catalonia would be worse off economically on its own. The outcome hinges on whether it would assume a share of Spain’s national debt, whether it would be permitted to join the European Union and adopt the euro, and how much it would cost to replicate services—such as defense—it gets from Madrid. Further complicating matters, Spain could throw up legal obstacles to secession. One reason many Catalans have shied from independence in the past is that they weren’t ready to take a leap into the unknown.

But the violence that marred the Oct. 1 vote has focused Catalans’ minds on issues other than euros. “At some point the economic considerations start to be irrelevant and identity becomes paramount,” says Ghemawat. On Oct. 1, he says, “we took a giant step in that direction.”

    BOTTOM LINE – A long and painful downturn fanned separatist sentiment in Catalonia, which, contrary to predictions, didn’t die down with the recovery.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-05/anatomy-of-a-bad-marriage

    Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars

    Adjunct professors in America face low pay and long hours without the security of full-time faculty. Some, on the brink of homelessness, take desperate measures

    There is nothing she would rather do than teach. But after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.

    She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch, several years ago, when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction. In my mind I was like, Ive had one-night stands, how bad can it be? she said. And it wasnt that bad.

    The wry but weary-sounding middle-aged woman, who lives in a large US city and asked to remain anonymous to protect her reputation, is an adjunct instructor, meaning she is not a full-time faculty member at any one institution and strings together a living by teaching individual courses, in her case at multiple colleges.

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    I feel committed to being the person whos there to help millennials, the next generation, go on to become critical thinkers, she said. And Im really good at it, and I really like it. And its heartbreaking to me it doesnt pay what I feel it should.

    Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness. A quarter of part-time college academics (many of whom are adjuncts, though its not uncommon for adjuncts to work 40 hours a week or more) are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs such as Medicaid.

    They resort to food banks and Goodwill, and there is even an adjuncts cookbook that shows how to turn items like beef scraps, chicken bones and orange peel into meals. And then there are those who are either on the streets or teetering on the edge of losing stable housing. The Guardian has spoken to several such academics, including an adjunct living in a shack north of Miami, and another sleeping in her car in Silicon Valley.

    The adjunct who turned to sex work makes several thousand dollars per course, and teaches about six per semester. She estimates that she puts in 60 hours a week. But she struggles to make ends meet after paying $1,500 in monthly rent and with student loans that, including interest, amount to a few hundred thousand dollars. Her income from teaching comes to $40,000 a year. Thats significantly more than most adjuncts: a 2014 survey found that the median income for adjuncts is only $22,041 a year, whereas for full-time faculty it is $47,500.

    We take a kind of vow of poverty

    Recent reports have revealed the extent of poverty among professors, but the issue is longstanding. Several years ago, it was thrust into the headlines in dramatic fashion when Mary-Faith Cerasoli, an adjunct professor of Romance languages in her 50s, revealed she was homeless and protested outside the New York state education department.

    We take a kind of vow of poverty to continue practicing our profession, Debra Leigh Scott, who is working on a documentary about adjuncts, said in an email. We do it because we are dedicated to scholarship, to learning, to our students and to our disciplines.

    Adjuncting has grown as funding for public universities has fallen by more than a quarterbetween 1990 and 2009. Private institutions also recognize the allure of part-time professors: generally they are cheaper than full-time staff, dont receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance.

    This is why adjuncts have been called the fast-food workers of the academic world: among labor experts adjuncting is defined as precarious employment, a growing category that includes temping and sharing-economy gigs such as driving for Uber. An American Sociological Association taskforce focusing on precarious academic jobs, meanwhile, has suggested that faculty employment is no longer a stable middle-class career.

    Adjunct
    Adjunct English professor Ellen James-Penney and her husband live in a car with their two dogs. They have developed a system. Keep nothing on the dash, nothing on the floor you cant look like youre homeless, you cant dress like youre homeless. Photograph: Talia Herman for the Guardian

    The struggle to stay in housing can take many forms, and a second job is one way adjuncts seek to buoy their finances. The professor who turned to sex work said it helps her keep her toehold in the rental market.

    This is something I chose to do, she said, adding that for her it is preferable to, say, a six-hour shift at a bar after teaching all day. I dont want it to come across as, Oh, I had no other choice, this is how hard my life is.

    Advertising online, she makes about $200 an hour for sex work. She sees clients only a handful of times during the semester, and more often during the summer, when classes end and she receives no income.

    Im terrified that a student is going to come walking in, she said. And the financial concerns have not ceased. I constantly have tension in my neck from gritting my teeth all night.

    To keep their homes, some adjuncts are forced to compromise on their living space.

    Caprice Lawless, 65, a teacher of English composition and a campaigner for better working conditions for adjuncts, resides in an 1100 sq ft brick house near Boulder, Colorado. She bought it following a divorce two decades ago. But because her $18,000 income from teaching almost full time is so meager, she has remortgaged the property several times, and has had to rent her home to three other female housemates.

    I live paycheck to paycheck and Im deeply in debt, she said, including from car repairs and a hospitalization for food poisoning.

    Like every other adjunct, she says, she opted for the role thinking it would be a path to full-time work. She is so dependent on her job to maintain her living situation that when her mother died this summer, she didnt take time off in part because she has no bereavement leave. She turned up for work at 8am the next day, taught in a blur and, despite the cane she has used since a hip replacement, fell over in the parking lot.

    If she were to lose her home her only hope, she says, would be government-subsidized housing.

    Most of my colleagues are unjustifiably ashamed, she said. They take this personally, as if theyve failed, and Im always telling them, you havent failed, the system has failed you.

    A precarious situation

    Even more desperate are those adjuncts in substandard living spaces who cannot afford to fix them. Mindy Percival, 61, a lecturer with a doctorate from Columbia, teaches history at a state college in Florida and, in her words, lives in a shack which is in the woods in middle of nowhere.

    Lecturer
    Lecturer Mindy Percivals mobile home in Stuart, Florida. Her oven, shower and water heater dont work. Photograph: Courtesy of Mindy Percival

    The mobile home she inhabits, located in the town of Stuart, north of Miami, was donated to her about eight years ago. It looks tidyon the outside, but inside there are holes in the floor and the paneling is peeling off the walls. She has no washing machine, and the oven, shower and water heater dont work. Im on the verge of homelessness, constantly on the verge, she said.

    Percival once had a tenure-track job but left to care for her elderly mother, not expecting it would be impossible to find a similar position. Now, two weeks after being paid, I might have a can with $5 in change in it. Her 18-year-old car broke down after Hurricane Irma, and she is driven to school by a former student, paying $20 a day for gas.

    I am trying to get out so terribly hard, she said.

    Homelessness is a genuine prospect for adjuncts. When Ellen Tara James-Penney finishes work, teaching English composition and critical thinking at San Jose State University in Silicon Valley, her husband, Jim, picks her up. They have dinner and drive to a local church, where Jim pitches a tent by the car and sleeps there with one of their rescue dogs. In the car, James-Penney puts the car seats down and sleeps with another dog. She grades papers using a headlamp.

    Over the years, she said, they have developed a system. Keep nothing on the dash, nothing on the floor you cant look like youre homeless, you cant dress like youre homeless. Dont park anywhere too long so the cops dont stop you.

    James-Penney, 54, has struggled with homelessness since 2007, when she began studying for her bachelors degree. Jim, 64, used to be a trucker but cannot work owing to a herniated disk. Ellen made $28,000 last year, a chunk of which goes to debt repayments. The remainder is not enough to afford Silicon Valley rent.

    At night, instead of a toilet they must use cups or plastic bags and baby wipes. To get clean, they find restrooms and we have what we call the sink-shower, James-Penney said. The couple keep their belongings in the back of the car and a roof container. All the while they deal with the consequences of ageing James-Penney has osteoporosis in a space too small to even stand up.

    James-Penney does not hide her situation from her class. If her students complain about the homeless people who can sometimes be seen on campus, she will say:Youre looking at someone who is homeless.

    That generally stops any kind of sound in the room, she says. I tell them, your parents could very well be one paycheck away, one illness away, from homelessness, so it is not something to be ashamed of.

    Ellen
    Ellen James-Penney teaching an English class at San Jose State University in California. She tells her students, youre looking at someone who is homeless. Photograph: Talia Herman for the Guardian

    I hung on to the dream

    Many adjuncts are seeking to change their lot by unionizing, and have done so at dozens of schools in recent years. They are notching successes; some have seen annual pay increases of about 5% to almost 20%, according to Julie Schmid, executive director of the American Association of University Professors.

    Schools are often opposed to such efforts and say unions will result in higher costs for students. And for certain adjuncts, any gains will come too late.

    Mary-Faith Cerasoli, 56, the homeless adjunct who captured the publics attention with her protest in New York three years ago, said that in the aftermath little changed in termsof her living situation. Two generous people, a retiree and then a nurse, offered her temporary accommodation, but she subsequently ended up in a tent pitched at a campground and, after that, a broken sailboat docked in the Hudson river.

    But there was, however, one shift. All the moving around made it hard for her to make teaching commitments, and in any case the pay remained terrible, so she gave it up. She currently lives in a subsidized room in a shared house in a wealthy county north of New York.

    For Rebecca Snow, 51, another adjunct who quit teaching after a succession of appalling living situations, there is a sense of having been freed, even though finances continue to be stressful.

    Author
    Author Rebecca Snow, now retired from adjuncting, has moved to a small apartment just north of Spokane, Washington. Photograph: Rajah Bose for the Guardian

    She began teaching English composition at a community college in the Denver area in 2005, but the poor conditions of the homes she could afford meant she had to move every year or two. She left one place because of bedbugs, another when raw sewage flowed into her bathtub and the landlord failed to properly fix the pipes.

    Sometimes her teenage son would have to stay with her ex-husband when she couldnt provide a stable home. Snow even published a poem about adjuncts housing difficulties.

    In the end she left the profession when the housing and job insecurity became too much, and her bills too daunting. Today she lives in a quiet apartment above the garage of a friends home, located 15 miles outside Spokane, Washington. She has a view of a lake and forested hills and, with one novel under her belt, is working on a second.

    Teaching was the fantasy, she said, but life on the brink of homelessness was the reality.

    I realized I hung on to the dream for too long.

    • Do you have an experience of homelessness to share with the Guardian? Get in touch

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/28/adjunct-professors-homeless-sex-work-academia-poverty

    Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against ‘no shorts’ policy

    Dozens of pupils at Isca academy in Exeter stage uniform protest after school insists they wear trousers despite heatwave

    Some had borrowed from girlfriends, others from sisters. A few had gone the extra mile and shaved their legs. When the Isca academy in Devon opened on Thursday morning, an estimated 30 boys arrived for lessons, heads held high, in fetching tartan-patterned skirts. The hottest June days since 1976 had led to a bare-legged revolution at the secondary school in Exeter.

    As the temperature soared past 30C earlier this week, the teenage boys had asked their teachers if they could swap their long trousers for shorts. They were told no shorts werent permitted under the schools uniform policy.

    When they protested that the girls were allowed bare legs, the school no doubt joking said the boys were free to wear skirts too if they chose. So on Wednesday, a handful braved the giggles and did so. The scale of the rebellion increased on Thurday, when at least 30 boys opted for the attire.

    Quite refreshing was how one of the boys described the experience, pointing out that if even Royal Ascot had allowed racegoers in the royal enclosure to remove their jackets, then the school ought to relax its dress code. Another said he rather enjoyed the nice breeze his skirt had afforded him.

    A third, tall boy said he was told his short skirt exposed too much hairy leg. Some of the boys visited a shop on their way to Isca the name the Romans gave to Exeter to pick up razors to make sure they did not fall foul of any beauty police.

    Ironically, the temperature had dropped in Exeter to a more manageable 20C, but some boys said they had enjoyed the freedom afforded by the skirts and that they might continue.

    The school said it was prepared to think again in the long term. The headteacher, Aimee Mitchell, said: We recognise that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible.

    Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys, and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families. However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future.

    It was too late. The revolution was picked up by media organisations across the globe, and Devon county council was forced to help the school out with inquiries. A spokesperson said: About 30 boys arrived at school this morning wearing school skirts. None of the boys have been penalised no one was put in isolation or detention for wearing a skirt.

    The mother of one of the boys who began the protest said she was proud of him. Claire Lambeth, 43, said her son Ryan, 15, had come home earlier in the week complaining about the heat. He said it was unbearable. I spoke to a teacher to ask about shorts and she said it was school policy [that they could not be worn]. I did say this was exceptional weather, but they were having none of it. If girls can wear skirts, why cant boys wear shorts?

    Ryan came up with the idea of wearing a skirt, so that evening we borrowed one. He wore it the next day as did five other boys. Then this morning I didnt expect it to take off like that. The school is being silly really this is exceptional weather. I was very proud of Ryan. I think it was a great idea.

    Another mother said: My 14-year-old son wanted to wear shorts. The headteacher told them: Well, you can wear a skirt if you like but I think she was being sarcastic. However, children tend to take you literally, and because she told them it was OK, there was nothing she could do as long as they were school skirts.

    A third mother said: Children also dont like injustice. The boys see the female teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think its unfair that they cant wear shorts in this heat.

    There were signs that the revolution might be spreading. The Guardian has heard of at least one more school in Wiltshire where one boy turned up in a skirt, although it did not go down quite so well with his friends.

    And schoolboys were not the only ones making controversial dress choices because of the heat. Michael Wood, who works as a porter at Watford general hospital, claimed he was facing disciplinary action from his employers Medirest for rolling his trousers up to try to cool down. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the case, but said: The health and safety of our colleagues is always our number one priority.

    What happened to summer school uniforms? Matthew Easter, managing director of the schoolwear supplier Trutex, said they had become less popular for reasons of economy. Its really up to the individual school to decide, but the headteacher is in a difficult position. A decade or so ago, summer wear was more popular, but theres been a change recently to try to make uniforms as economical as possible. Summer uniforms are only worn for a matter of weeks.

    If parents havent bought uniform shorts, then some children may feel disadvantaged, so perhaps the decision in this case is simply down to fairness.

    It may be that the weather will solve the problem for the school. The Exeter-based Met Office situated up the road from the school predicts pleasant, but not searing, temperatures over the coming week.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/teenage-boys-wear-skirts-to-school-protest-no-shorts-uniform-policy

    What you should think about while considering a career change to healthcare

    Image: PIXABAY

    Between now and 2024, the healthcare field is projected to experience the fastest employment growth, which is creating opportunities for people who are passionate about healthcare and considering a career in the industry.

    The healthcare field is broad and dynamic, said Doris Savron, executive dean at University of Phoenix College of Health Professions. A career path in healthcare can range from IT to nursing to administrative staff, and each path is unique in what level of degree, time commitment and licensing are required.

    For those looking to make a career change, the transition is not always easy. But with a bit of planning, you can remove many of the unknowns. According to Samantha Dutton, Ph.D., MSW, program dean at University of Phoenix College of Humanities and Sciences, this transition period can be made less stressful with some preparation.

    “The most important thing someone considering a career change is expect a bit of uncertainty during the first few months. Feelings of being anxious or unsure of their decision are normal,” Dr. Dutton says. “It will get better.”

    For those looking to make a change to the healthcare field, but dont know where to start, meet Diana Zuniga. She is in the process of making a change to a career in healthcare by furthering her education at University of Phoenix. Shes a great example of how to pivot directions and find a new path.

    Diana Zuniga c/o University of Phoenix

    Image: University of Phoenix

    Discovering her passion

    Zuniga says she’s had a passion for healthcare for years. She studied healthcare while she was an undergraduate student, but like many others, she switched her field of study a few times.

    Her husband, who works as a research scientist at a cancer center, inspired her to pursue a career in the field. Through discussing his work and seeing the impact he was making, she was motivated to take steps to finish what she started as an undergraduate.

    Knowing that there are ways I can help improve the procedures in a hospital, have a more positive impact on patient care and really understand the field has made the change to a new career and all the work involved worth it,” she says.

    Taking the leap

    When making her career change, Zuniga experienced periods of anxiety and questioned her ability to successfully make the transition.

    She was concerned about her peers having more experience.

    “I often wondered if it was too late to change careers,” Zuniga says. “But instead I look at this experience as an opportunity to present an outsiders view on some of the things we learn in class.”

    Being new to the healthcare field is a hurdle and her biggest asset.

    “Having more exposure to the healthcare field and the work I will be doing has shed a light on my abilities,” she explains. “And I now remind myself that if I am truly passionate about it, then nothing will stop me from achieving my goals of helping others.”

    Getting the help you need

    Zuniga is not alone in this transition. In addition to support at home, she has a team of people at University of Phoenix rooting her on.

    “My enrollment advisor has been my confidant and my cheerleader,” she says. “She checks in on me constantly, and I have been able to vent to her some of my frustrations when I do have them.”

    She’s also made friends from all over the country through her online course work. Zuniga cites these people as great resources for both aid and support in the pursuit of her dream.

    Zuniga plans to complete this round of her education next year, when she will decide whether or not to pursue further classes and earn her MBA. She’s looking forward to entering the healthcare field full time.

    If youre considering making a career change to the healthcare field:

    1. Identify your passion. Zuniga’s dream of working in healthcare started pretty early in her journey. It may take you a little longer to not only discover what opportunities are available in the healthcare field, and to find what you love.

    2. Talk to someone experienced in the field. According to Savron, working in healthcare often means specialized training and credentials will be necessary. By speaking with someone who is working in the specific area youre interested in, you can better understand what level of education is required or which certifications are needed to fill that role. Additionally, you can make sure that the day-to-day work, job opportunities and work requirements align with what youre looking for in your next career. Speaking to someone who is practicing in the field youre considering will give you a chance to ask questions and get meaningful, practical answers.

    Image: PIXABAY

    3. Save up and explore scholarship opportunities. The choice to go back to school involves important financial planning and decision making. University of Phoenix provides many resources to assist you in considering this decision. Explore financial options and tools that are available to you.

    4. Look for flexible education options. Taking classes online means you can pursue your career in your own time, allowing you to keep working during the day and studying at night.

    5. Do not give up. Things may seem difficult at times, but keeping your goals in mind and working hard may help provide motivation and encouragement. Its important to remain focused on your decision to enter this field. According to Dr. Dutton, “It may take time to realize the benefits of changing careers and that time varies by specialty and your individual background. You may struggle at the beginning; this is normal.”

    For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, visit University of Phoenix’s website.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/26/changing-careers-healthcare/

    India’s leading edutech startup is now a Harvard case study

    Image:  GOOGLE PLAY STORE

    Education technology startup Byju’s, backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), is now a Harvard case study.

    It is only the fourth Indian startup to make it to the hallowed Harvard Business Publishing platform, after Flipkart (India’s largest online retailer), Paytm (India’s biggest mobile wallet) and GOQii (India’s leading health and fitness startup).

    The case titled ‘Byju’s The Learning App’ will outline the startup’s unique usage of content, media and technology that has enabled it to create a compelling product for students.

    Byju’s now has over 400,000 annual paid subscribers, and over 8 million downloads so far. It also claims that the average time spent on the app is a handsome 40 minutes.

    What makes Byju’s a two-year-old company unique?

    In the words of its founder, Byju Raveedran, Learning through technology triggers changes in how students consume content. It offers them newer ways to explore concepts and initiate learning on their own.”

    Perhaps that is what drew the attention of Mark Zuckerberg as well.

    Last September as the CZI led a $50 million investment in Byju’s, the Facebook founder wrote, “I’m optimistic about personalized learning and the difference it can make for students everywhere.”

    “That’s why it’s a major focus of our education efforts, and why we’re looking forward to working with companies like BYJU’s to get these tools into the hands of more students and teachers around the world,” he added.

    Not only Zuckerberg, Byju’s drew an undisclosed investment from World Bank‘s International Finance Corporation too. With these dollars, the startup plans to roll out new products and expand into the US and the UK.

    Meanwhile, the Harvard case study, which has been authored by John Jong-Hyun Kim, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, and Rachna Tahilyani, associate director, Harvard Business School India Research Center, is available for teaching purposes within and outside Harvard.

    “It is very humbling to have our brand story as a Harvard Business School case study. This further encourages us to innovate and build learning programs to revolutionize education and create a whole new segment of self-paced learners globally, said founder Raveendran in a statement.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/05/zuckerberg-backed-edutech-startup-harvard-case-study/

    Duolingo launches paid subscriptions as it experiments with new ways to monetize its service

    Earlier this week, the popular language learning service Duolingo quietly introduced paid monthly subscriptions in its Android apps.

    Subscribers get two benefits: theywont see ads in the app and they will be able to download lessons for offline use. In addition, there is also a feel-good aspect to this, as Duolingo highlights that subscribers to Duolingo Plus, as the subscription is called, will help millions around the world learn for free.

    The new subscription service,which you can buy through an in-app purchase, currently costs $9.99 per month. Its live now on Android and will come to iOS in the future.

    Its worth stressing that this subscription is completely optional and a company spokesperson told me that Duolingos learning content will always be free.

    Update: a Duolingo spokesperson tells me that the company expects to break even (or come close to it) by the end of the year and that the company has a fully fleshed out monetization plan. We have updated the headline to reflect this.

    About a year ago, Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn announced that the companywould start experimenting with ads and optional in-app purchases to figure out how each would impact app usage and the financial health of the company. At the time, von Ahn said that Duolingo was spending about $42,000 per day on its servers, employees and other operating expenses, a number that has surely increased over the last year or so.

    Subscribers will help keep language education free for millions of people around the world, von Ahn writes in this weeks announcement.

    Ads in an educational app are always a difficult tradeoff between monetization and user experience because they are, by default, designed to take the user out of the app. Von Ahn acknowledged as much. I dont like ads any more than you do, but we need to test if a small non-intrusive ad at the end of a lesson makes people use Duolingo less. (We know this would take us a long way towards breaking even.), he wrote a year ago.

    Now, however, it doesnt look like ads are going away anytime soon, because not seeing ads is, after all, one of the main benefits of paying for Duolingo Plus.

    The original idea for monetizing Duolingo was to use the combined brainpower of its users to power a translation service. This service, however, remains in beta after all these years and the company doesnt really highlight it anymore (and as far as I can see, theres not even a link to it from its homepage at this point).

    Duolingos mission is to provide free language education to the world. Having talked to von Ahn many times in the last few years, I know that hes extremely passionate about this. At the same time, though, Duolingo also took almost $84 million in venture funding since it launched in 2011 and those investors surely want to see a return.

    Its worth noting that Duolingos move here feels a bit similar to that of Berlin-basedBabbel, the companys biggest competitor in Europe. Babbel, too, tried the ad model but found that it couldnt sustain its business through ads alone. In a last-minute pivot before running out of money, Babbel switched to a paid model and today it has hundreds of employees andruns a cash-flow positive operation. In all fairness, though, its mission wasnt to offer free language education to everyone, so it had far more freedom to pivot.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/21/duolingo-launches-paid-subscriptions-as-it-struggles-to-monetize-its-service/

    “How Diabetes and Hypertension Can Lead To Chronic Kidney Disease”

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    Hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) and Diabetes are two of the most common causes of kidney failure in North America. These conditions can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys over a long period of time, leading to what is known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Requested by Dr. Joan Krepinsky of the Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research (HCKR), this video offers the general public a glimpse into the mechanisms that are currently believed to be involved in these chain of events.

    Presented by the Demystifying Medicine Series at McMaster University, ​Hamilton, ON, CA. ​ Winter 2015.

    Credits: Lily S. M. Liu, Sara Levine, Zainab Naimpoor, Brittany Marinelli

    ​​Instructors: Dr. Darren Bridgewater, Dr. Kjetil Ask

    ​References/​ Lab: Dr. Joan Krepinsky, Pavithra Parthasarathy​​, Richard vanKrieken

    Associations: Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research (HCKR) ​;​ St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton ​;​ McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences ​

    © McMaster University 2015

    ICD 9 Coding — Coding Hypertension and Chronic Kidney Disease

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    ICD 9 Coding — Coding Hypertension and Chronic Kidney Disease

    That's Alicia's. I guess I'll bring that answer sheet up.

    Alicia: Yeah. And you know what? You guys, I just took a class on this so it's very exciting. I just feel like my little spongy brain has absorbed all kinds of information and it was a lot of fun. I've struggled with this too.

    So hypertension, abbreviated HTN if you guys didn't know that you know, what is hypertensive disease? And it's so broad that you know, you can't really define it per se. But the main thing about hypertension is you want to know is it essential or primary hypertension? Okay… and it's going to mean, is there no underlying condition that is causing the blood pressure to increase? Okay so what percentage do you think is essential or primary hypertension? In fact, 95% is essential and unless blood pressure readings are very high, efforts to control blood pressure are usually based on things that… you can just change in your lifestyle. You know, you can lose weight. You can exercise. You can you know, reduce your salt. You know, reduce your stress. Only 10% have a secondary hypertension which would be under category 405.

    So probably the first code… I always laugh because the first code that most new coders learn is 401.9 because you see it a lot especially if you're coding for Medicare patients. Everybody seems to have hypertension. So let's see, the physician must document if the patient's hypertension is benign or malignant in order to get your 4th digit. Okay so if it doesn't say whether it's benign or malignant then you have to use 401.9 which, by the way, translates in icd 10 as I10 which I think is kind of fun. So now you already know an icd 10 code.

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