Annual Faculty Senate Conference at Florida Memorial University

For the non-FMU followers, I presented my paper on Best Practices for college teaching at my university’s Annual Faculty Senate Conference this past Friday to a group of faculty members from various departments and many of my students who were able to sit in, observe and even contribute to the discussion.

Check out my presentation. Let me know what you think!

2010 New Decade New Best Practices for Freshman Studies

Health Care Plan Takes a Bite Out of America’s Wealth Inequality

So besides providing millions of uninsured Americans (including you college students) and lots of money for Financial Aid for millions of college students through Pell Grant, President Obama’s Health Care Plan has also addressed our nation’s wealth distribution inequality.  For too long, the upper middle class to full-fledged rich community coutinued to get richer and remain rich when the lower to middle class got poorer and poorer.  Basic necessities like quality housing, education, jobs/careers with comprehensive health care packages seems to be reserved for people in a higher income bracket.  Now that division has exploded.

Check out the following New York Times article and try out the Multimedia application to test out how this new plan will affect you.

Let me know what you think!

Health Care Bill Passes with More Money Going to College Students in the Process

So in addition to making history yesterday for passing the Health Care Bill for millions of uninsured Americans, our legislative branch has also introduced to the nation of struggling college students $67 billion for financial aid (ie Pell Grant).  So now, there is NO excuse for mediocrity, ladies and gentlemen!  So what is holding you back from being successful? Be honest! That is the only way that you will improve.

Haitian Women, Girls Now Becoming Rape Victims

Haitian Women, Girls Now Becoming Rape Victims.

Just when you think the people of Haiti couldn’t suffer anymore, a story like that above comes out and immediately hits you in the heart.

Rape, like dometic violence and incest, is a real social issue that plagues women of many cultures/backgrounds/social classes/countries.  Often times, the victims of such crimes are so ashamed that they cannot file a formal report to the authorities. 

After just attending a panel discussion on “Writing Women into History” in celebration of Women’s History Month today, I find a story like this replusive and tragic to say the least.

Without the necessary security in the “tent cities” of functioning police nor vital electricity to light dark areas, women and children become victims yet again after losing family and homes in the earthquake.

This reality just shows us all that when a country’s government is weak and finances are low, treachery can reveal itself in the most vilest and immoral ways.

This should make you appreciate all that you have as an American citizen, not say that these kinds of crimes don’t exist in the United States.  They do and victims are still too ashamed to fill reports but at least in the United States, women have the right to prosecute their attackers through police involvement.

Remember, you have a choice to remain a victim or become a survivor! Only then can you regain some small part of the power you lost in the crime!


#ThrowbackThursday – Four Years Ago . . . “Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair . . . But I’se Still Climbin'”












Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
– “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes (1922)

As a continued student of lifelong education, I am always amazed to how often I can find so many relevant messages and themes in older literature, current events (Thank you, Mr. President for that Education reform!), and popular culture.

In Hughes’ poem, a mother is explaining to her child what the world is really like after the protective bubblewrap comes off when you grow up. The metaphor is pretty powerful!

Life is not easy, not even after high school, not even after college.  If anything, the contrast is even more profound and jarring.  In high school, you lived in the safety net of regimented classes, free or reduced meals, extracurricular activities, and a growing social circle.  Now in college, you live in a safety net of on-campus cliques, “free” money from financial aid (that you NEED to be using for books instead of those new sneakers!) and being on your own for the first time.


Then you graduate! What do I do ?  Where do I go?  Where do I live?  At first, you are completely terrified at the idea of not being able to answer these questions with any form of conviction and confidence.  I mean, you JUST graduated! Why do I have to have my life figured out RIGHT NOW??!!!  The beautiful thing about this is YOU REALLY DON’T NEED TO HAVE ALL OF THE ANSWERS RIGHT NOW!

What your parents and older adults don’t tell you is that THEY didn’t know it all either!  How reassuring, right??

But you better have a Game Plan or at least a sketch!

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#FlashbackFriday FOUR YEARS AGO, Being/Getting a Mentor

So as an avid listener of such thought-provoking and funny radio programs as ” The Tom Joyner Morning Show”, “The Steve Harvey Show”, and “The Michael Baisden Show”, I am aware of the importance of tangible role models for young people to look up to and learn from. Not too sound conceited (“but I have a [GOOD] reason”), I consider myself one of these earthy superstars who lives the “grind” and gains God’s excellence everyday.

As an educator, it is hard to measure your specific impact on the pupils you instruct but you get a few “shout-outs” from engaged students.

For instance, yesterday and today I am in the throes of Midterm Exam grading. My Literature students’ assignment was a four-page paper on what they have learned in the class since the beginning of the semester. My College Writing I students’ assignment was a five-minute PowerPoint Presentation of their proudest moment for their community.

So far, I have read some shamefully tragic forms of papers and witnessed some presentations that lack any decisive main idea and/or evidence of real learning.  Luckily, there are a few that I can hold up to my ear and hear a student’s awakening from a life of dormancy. It is AMAZING! I am so privileged to be a conduit in this discovery of self, critical thinking, and literary appreciation.

Now I have empowered my students to take advantage of shaping their future by attending Mr. Michael Baisden’s One Million Mentors Event at Miramar Cultural Center tomorrow (Friday) at 7PM (doors open at 6). I just got my free tickets (so students, get down here EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A TICKET).