What You Can Learn From Your Mentor Outside the Discussion Board

Posted Friday, July 11, 2014

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

More than 250 years later, Benjamin Franklin’s words still ring true when it comes to the academic relationship between student and mentor. It’s a common misconception that a mentor and teacher are one in the same. While both work with students and grade assignments, teachers focus on instruction and presenting information. A mentor’s role is to facilitate your learning and assist you on the path to earning your degree.

But how might they do that? And why? Glad you asked!

They may ask you to explain your reasoning, provide feedback on your latest assignment or encourage you to pursue a research topic you are passionate about. They inspire and motivate you to take responsibility of your education. And usually, what your mentor teaches you offline, can be just as important as what you learn online.


Mentors can be a valuable networking source.

With their academic background and professional experience, mentors can be the connection you need to advance your career. Dr. Dwayne Hodges, mentor in the School of Applied Science and Technology, recognizes that course mentors are industry practitioners and experts. He believes students should take advantage of their mentors’ knowledge and expertise to cultivate relationships and build a network of contacts for future opportunities. When a student is ready and willing to learn, he makes every effort to help them reach both their course and personal learning objectives, often meeting students in-person to discuss the subject matter over coffee or connect with students on LinkedIn. So maximize every chance to avoid “just being a name” and stand out in your courses, because your mentor could very well provide the best endorsement of your work ethic, skills and strengths. 


Mentors empower you to take responsibility of your learning.

When it comes to your coursework, how you choose to apply that information is up to you. In other words, no one is telling you that you have to write an essay detailing the circumstances of a historical event or complete a math worksheet of long division problems, characteristic of a childhood education. As an adult, your mentor will provide you with the opportunity to use your existing experience and knowledge, and apply it to a project or assignment. Or you may decide to use your coursework as a chance to develop a work-related interest. In the end, the more active and hands-on your learning experience, the more memorable (and fun) your education will be.


Mentors encourage your critical thinking skills.

“I can guide students to useful information,” says Dr. Mark Kassup, mentor in the Heavin School of Arts and Sciences. “And I can challenge them to move beyond simple answers and partial solutions.” In other words, there’s a reason your mentor asks you to try again; he is fostering your ability to think through questions and offer strong responses, both necessary skills for your professional and career development.

How have your mentors helped shape your academic or career development?

Tags: Career , Mentors , School of Applied Science and Technology , Taking Courses

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The Secret to Earning a Second Degree

Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014

By Donald S. Cucuzzella, MA
 Assistant Director
School of Applied Science and Technology

Students have frequently contacted me about pursuing a second degree, whether it is a second associates or bachelor’s degree. Perhaps they want to gain new skills and broaden their knowledge in two different fields. Other times, students are looking to make a career change and have identified that a second bachelor’s degree can help them in that goal. It’s important to assess which situation best fits your academic and professional goals, and decide if a second degree, second area of study or graduate degree is a better choice for you.

If you are transferring in a large amount of college credits, it makes sense to get the most out of those credits. However, you must also meet all the requirements to earn any degree, which can significantly increase the amount of time and money you spend on its pursuit. So how do you know which academic avenue to take? Consider your options and the requirements:

Second Associate Degree
If you wish to earn a second associate degree at Thomas Edison State College, and have already earned one at the College or at another regionally accredited institution, you must complete a minimum of 12 additional credits beyond the date your most recent associate degree was completed. You must also satisfy all the requirements of the degree as indicated in the Thomas Edison State College Catalog.

Second Bachelor’s Degree
If you have earned a previous bachelor’s degree, and wish to pursue a second, you must complete a minimum of 24 additional credits in the area of study/core beyond the date your most recent bachelor’s degree was completed. You must also complete all the degree requirements indicated in the Thomas Edison State College Catalog.

If you have earned your first bachelor’s from the College, you must apply again for the second degree, however, your application fee is waived. Whether you earned your first bachelor’s degree at the College or at another institution, the application process still requires an academic evaluation of your transferred credit with room for at least 24 credits relative to your area of study.   

Two Areas of Study Within One Degree
Similar to declaring a double major, you are able to pursue a second area of study within your degree program. For example, you can complete a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in English – you would only need to complete the Area of Study requirements as outlined in the program’s credit distribution guide – because your general education requirements would remain the same (as opposed to pursuing a second degree, where you would need to fulfill another set of general education requirements). No more than 9 credits that are used in the first area of study may be used for the second area of study. All related required credits for each area of study, as well as all degree requirements, must be met at the same time. To pursue this, all you have to do is contact your academic advisor, and it will be added to your degree plan.

Bachelor’s to Master’s Program
As a student at Thomas Edison State College, you are able to earn 9 graduate credits that will apply to both your bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at the College. If you are serious about earning a master’s degree, this program gives you a 9-credit head start toward that goal. You can apply for the program if you are an enrolled undergraduate student with at least 60 undergraduate credits toward a bachelor’s degree at the College, a minimum 3.0 GPA and at least three years of degree program relevant experience. If admitted, you are eligible to take your first graduate course after you have completed 90 credits toward your undergraduate degree with an overall GPA of 3.0. Learn more about the Bachelor’s to Master’s Program here. 

So you can see, a student would have to complete an additional 24 credits at minimum to complete a second bachelor’s degree. For that reason, whenever students have asked for my advice on the subject, I have always suggested they pursue a Master’s degree. My experience has led me to believe that an employer would rather see a degree progression (i.e. Associate to Bachelor’s to Master’s) than two degrees at the same academic level. If you are willing to put the time and money into pursuing an additional 24 credits for a second bachelor’s, then I would consider it a better use of your resources to pursue a Master’s degree at 36 credits. However, sometimes it is a better move professionally to obtain a second degree. Whatever you choose, always discuss your degree changes, plans and options with your academic advisor. They are there to help you with whichever path you choose.

Tags: Career , Degree Programs , Transfer Credits

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13 Apps For Your Inner-Business Mogul

Posted Thursday, June 05, 2014

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, starting an MBA program, collaborating on a group project or looking to develop stronger professional skills, having the right tools at your fingertips to effectively and efficiently conduct business will prepare you for whatever corporate curveballs are thrown your way. We’ve found 13 apps that are designed to help you monitor your finances, keep up with trends and conduct meetings with clients or classmates at a desk or on the go. Maybe these apps will bring out the inner-business mogul in you.

Forbes Magazine
This app is designed to help you stay up-to-date with the people, ideas and technologies that interest you. It is intended to help you track your portfolio and investments, monitor the market and, of course, read the lists of the most powerful people that influence industries around the world.

ScanBizCards Lite Business Card Scanner + Reader
Networking and business go hand-in-hand. From forming business relationships to setting up meetings, networking the right way can expand your business circle for optimal success. Next time you make an important business connection, scan their business card with the tap of a screen, and a new contact is created in your device instantly.

CareerBuilder for Employers
Finding the right employees can be a challenge. Reading resumes, arranging interviews and conducting searches can become time consuming. CareerBuilder for Employers allows you to view resumes and connect with candidates from virtually anywhere, through your existing CareerBuilder account.

LinkedIn has become the source for networking with the brightest and most talented professionals. Access the connections, jobs, news, updates and insights to remain productive and efficient on the go.

Printing, signing and returning documents is not only time-consuming – it can also be a headache. Easily sign and send documents electronically in just minutes to manage critical business transactions whether at home or on the road. Most importantly, DocuSign is safe, secure and legally binding.

Skype for iPhone
Call, see and message clients and associates around the world, with whatever device you choose. The app includes all the features of the desktop version, including file sharing and instant messaging. Conduct a meeting in real time with several colleagues, from the comfort of wherever you choose to be.

Invoice2go Plus
A bulky accounting program can make invoicing and reporting a tedious process, but the Invoice2go Plus app aims to remove those time-consuming and costly barriers. Invoice, evaluate estimates and submit purchase orders, all synched to the cloud for easy retrieval.

Inc. Magazine
Inc. Magazine has become a thought leader for entrepreneurs and small business owners to build and grow their companies. The app provides you the information, resources and strategies you need to lead your budding organization.

NYTimes - Breaking National & World News
Naturally, the New York Times is synonymous with award-winning journalism, and their iconic newspaper translates seamlessly to a digital app.  Read the latest news and cultural content from their 50 bureaus around the world, and receive breaking news notifications for events as soon as they occur.

The Bloomberg app offers comprehensive access to finance news, market data and portfolio tracking tools for your personal holdings in a detailed format that is most important to you. Listen to interviews with some of the world’s smartest names in business, and watch real-time video of the 24-hour financial news network, Bloomberg Television Live.

Join or schedule a meeting, presentation or lecture from any mobile device, directly from the app. Easily view and share reports, spreadsheets or documents for group assignments or client projects.

Access your photos, documents and videos from any device in the Dropbox cloud. Share your biggest and most critical business files instantly without the hassle of accessing a remote hard drive. And with a safe and secure encryption, you can work with your team and update key files like you’re using single computer.


What apps have you found useful as you conduct business on the go?

Tags: Business and Management , Career , Online Tools and Resources

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Latest Gallup Poll Reveals What Employers Look for When Hiring Employees

Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Image courtesy of Gallup, Inc.
Image courtesy of Gallup, Inc.

Qualifications. Employers favor them. Candidates want to develop them. But what does this factor even mean? And how can candidates and employers share the same definition of qualifications?

For the past three years, Gallup, Inc. and the Lumina Foundation have released an annual survey (What America Needs to Know About Higher Education Redesign) gauging the American public’s perception of higher education, including workforce readiness. This year, in addition to this poll, a second survey was conducted of business leaders in the U.S. to determine what factors they favor when making hiring decisions for their organizations. The results reveal the qualifications employers want in a candidate and the competencies you should develop to get hired. According to the Gallup-Lumina Foundation study:

In ten years, business leaders say 55% of jobs at their organizations will require some kind of post-secondary degree, credential or certification.*

In the future, business leaders noted in the survey that they expect a shift in educational requirements for over half of the job opportunities at their organizations. In addition, they foresee that it will be more important, if not already required, that future job candidates possess a post-secondary degree or credential to be considered for any positions.*


84% of business leaders consider a candidate’s knowledge as a very important hiring factor, while 79% of business leaders find a candidate’s applied skills in the field to be very important when making hiring decisions for their organizations.


Business leaders indicated in the survey that they are looking for candidates with specific skills, experience and knowledge when making hiring decisions. A candidate must be able to possess these key factors to get a good job.


In addition to experience, business leaders most want employees to possess strong communication skills, including writing and speaking skills.


To succeed in the workforce in the coming years, business leaders specified in the poll that employees should develop strong communication skills, including writing and speaking, in addition to the on-the-job, practical experience required in their chosen field.

What does this mean?

If you haven’t given much thought to a career plan, then now is the time to start. By creating a plan, cultivating the skills you’ll need for your chosen career and including any relevant degrees or certifications, you’ll help ensure your future success.

Your future employers are looking for a well-rounded employee; focus on using every learning opportunity to develop the workforce skills that will set a solid career foundation. And when it comes to rewriting that English Composition I paper, again, trust that you are refining your writing, communication and English skills.

Your future self will thank you.

*The Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that 63% of all job openings by 2018 will require workers with college degrees.  Source: Projection of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Center on Education and the Workforce.


Tags: Business and Management , Career , Going Back to College , Majors and Degree Programs , Motivation , Taking Courses

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Do You Have the Skills Necessary for Your Dream Career?

Posted Tuesday, April 08, 2014

By Roxanne L. Globis
Director of Alumni Affairs

Whether you’re looking to start, change or advance your career, career planning can get complicated.

And time consuming.

And confusing.

And a thousand other challenges.

However, if you create a plan, the more effective you will be in your job search. Let that plan help you research, discover and cultivate the skills you’ll need for your chosen career, and you can ensure success for the future you. Here are five online tools and career resources that can guide you every step of the way, from before you graduate to earning your degree, and beyond.

If you're looking to network with people at a specific company, industry or location, the LinkedIn Alumni tool makes finding (and connecting) with Thomas Edison State College alumni easy. Want more? Join the conversation and become a member of the College's student and alumni group.

You can build your pathway to career success with this robust tool that offers tips for job searching and links to national, state and local resources. It also includes the Military-to-Civilian Job Search tool where veterans and service members can search for jobs based on the skills and experiences gained in the military.

American Corporate Partners (ACP)
In a new partnership created earlier this year, Thomas Edison State College military students can utilize the services of this nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting service members in their transition from the military to the private sector. With the help of business professionals nationwide, ACP offers veterans tools for long-term career development through mentoring, career counseling and networking opportunities.

mySkills myFuture
This tools helps you find new occupations to explore. You can identify occupations that require skills and knowledge similar to your current or previous job, learn more about these suggested matches, locate local training programs and/or apply for jobs.

My Next Move
Explore your career options with this interactive tool that includes the tasks, skills, salary information and more for over 900 different careers.

What online career resources have worked well for you? Let us know in the comments!


Find more career resources by visiting www.tesc.edu/AlumniCareers.

Tags: Alumni , Career , Military , Student Services , Veterans

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