Academic Integrity Of Distance Learning

The Initial Knowledge State of College Physics Students, a 1985 paper by physics professors Ibrahim Abou and David Hestenes, stated that the “talk-and-chalk” method of teaching often  educates students in incremental ways. In fact, further research by physicist Richard Hake revealed that an interactive experience between students often fared better in terms of attention span than a teacher at the podium. Online classes, that promote group assignments via chat, videoconferencing and emails make the classroom mobile, more accessible, and therefore, without borders.

As discussed in an earlier blog, MOOCs have grown up and become a largely favored educational alternative to conventional instruction. Already, the numbers are impressive: 500 colleges and 200 organizations offer online courses — with an estimated 30 million students.

The Integrity of Online Learning
The Integrity of Online Learning

The academic integrity of online education works because it addresses aspects of traditional instruction that do not fully capitalize on the way students effectively learn. Online instruction via videos allow students to learn applying the brain’s innate métier: focusing, replaying, considering, learning. This is particularly true in more technical courses, where difficult chapters can be replayed to a specifically difficult portion of a lecture. With an online college experience, students receive an education that fosters complex thinking and subject retention. According to Barbara Oakley, “[…] online courses can hold students’ attentions, at times better than teachers in person can.”

Scott Freeman et al’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report revealed that the fluid and uninterrupted process of tutoring created improvements in learning. Since the birth of the internet some 26 years ago, distance learning techniques have proven to challenge traditional instruction. The flexibility of lectures via online lesson plans offer not just students the ability to make learning mobile, it can rejuvenate educators to create lesson plans with a greater marked purpose.

Photo credits

Online Learning

Research contribution

A. Anderson


Strong Demand for Nursing Degree Programs

Students obtaining R.N. and B.S.N. Degrees in Nursing from New York have more than doubled since 2002. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to nursing students has spiked from 4,913 in 2011 to 5,866 in 2014, according to the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies report. These figures present very good news, because New York and the rest of the United States desperately need more nurses.

Growth of Healthcare Employment
Growth of Healthcare Employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’, there will be a need for 525,000 replacements nurses in the workforce by 2012-2022, bringing the total number of job openings for nurses to 1.05 million by 2022.  Fueled by a baby boom generation of nurses now over the age of 46, the needs of the healthcare community has shifted and poses a substantial challenge to the health care educational community. More than 50 percent of the nursing workforce is close to retirement; younger nurses will need education to close the gap. Luckily, the potential salary and job growth outlook for those who pursue a nursing career has candidates entering nursing degree programs in droves.

This influx of interest in the nursing degree program has necessitated an uptick in online programs for nursing degrees. In fact, the number of fully online R.N. to B.S.N. programs in America has grown by more than thirty percent in the last two years according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

More Baby Boomers Retiring

Today, many online nursing programs provide interactive seminars to students in all nursing courses which address various readings, online discussion, and written assignments. Instructors convey concepts and assignments that aid students gain deeper, cognitive understand of each course. Through this process, learners must demonstrate mastery of the material, which faculty evaluates based on student posts on interactive discussion boards and written papers. In short, online courses prove just as rigorous as in-classroom courses. Online colleges and traditional colleges are accredited in the same way — they both must meet the criteria set by independent accrediting bodies to receive recognition by that body.

In order for the U.S. nursing degree programs to prepare future nurses to tackle the deficit in the field, the growth in on-campus nursing degree programs must increase in conjunction with online nursing degree programs to meet demand.


Graph sources

Baby Boomers Retiring

Growth of Healthcare Employment

Photo Credit

Medical & Healthcare

Research Contribution

A. Anderson

Physician Assistant Degree Programs

Physician Assistant degrees are growing in demand as more than 60% of the health industry’s workforce are in fields that require Allied health degrees of which a Physician Assistant (PA) graduate degree being one of the most necessary in the future. With a high annual median salary of over $90K and a job outlook of over thirty-eight percent more than other occupations, the PA graduate degree has massive appeal.

Quick Facts: Physician Assistants
2012 Median Pay $90,930 per year$43.72 per hour
Entry-Level Education Master’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 86,700
Job Outlook, 2012-22 38% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 33,300

Graph via

Why Are Physician Assistant Graduate Degrees In Such Demand?

The Professional Environment in which physician assistants work typically are physicians’ offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities.  The direction of the Job Outlook for the profession is projected to grow thirty-eight percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growing elderly and general population, expanding chronic diseases and a physician shortage, will result in a higher demand for health providers, such as physician assistants. Physician Assistant ranks as one of the Top 10 Jobs In the United States by the The Bureau of Labor Statistics report 2014-15 because of salary, length of the degree program and flexibility to transition into many other fields of medicine.

Students for Physician Assistans Degree Program
Students for Physician Assistans Degree Program

What Is The Degree Program For Physician Assistants?

Physician assistants must have some experience in the allied health field prior to entering their two-year bachelor’s practitioner program. After earning a bachelor’s degree, most students complete a master’s physician assistant program — an intensive two-year degree which require candidates to familiarize themselves in specialities and expertise in wide-ranging subjects including biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology and physiology to name a few. Some students decide to take a BA-PA in conjunction with an MS-PA in an accelerated graduate degree.

Studying a broad spectrum of medical and surgical care, the knowledge retained will advance their proficiency in a broad range skills rather than one specific area of study. Graduate students master such subjects as surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatrics, pediatrics, among many other fields.

Licensing and Certification

To become a certified physician assistant and be eligible for the acronym PA-C, students complete a graduate degree from an accredited, Allied health college.

What Crucial Service Can Physician Assistants Provide?

Physician assistants practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They are formally educated to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment. Physician assistants are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and prescribe medication for patients. The PA profession is designed to be adaptable, preparing PAs to work with doctors in primary care or medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. Because of the breadth of their knowledge, they are highly capable of providing care in emergency situations. In the primary care setting, Physician Assistants can provide almost all of the clinical services that physicians provide, including diagnosing and treating illnesses. PAs may be required to make clinical decisions and provide diagnostic, preventive and other health services.

What Communities Do Physician Assistants Offer High-level Care?

Today, thousands of people have access to quality health care because there are PAs in their communities. Physician Assistants are critical to increasing access to care for underserved patients, as they are often the only health providers in these areas. PAs made nearly 300 million patient visits and prescribed or recommended approximately 332 million medications in 2008.

In order to continue giving high-quality healthcare to patients, physician assistants graduate degree programs are essential to the healthcare industry. These graduate degrees are growing in demand — which means more PAs will be entering the workforce to assist in the physician shortage in the forecast.

**U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Physician Assistants.

Research Contribution: A. Anderson

Photo credit:

MedSourceConsultants  — Physician Assistants

PA Grads

PA Grad Program

Students for PA Program


Allied Health Degree Programs in High Demand at Colleges and Universities

Allied health professionals are those who work and function within a variety of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic and direct patient care support services.  These practitioners make up approximately 60 percent of the health workforce in the United States.

The benefits of a Doctor of Osteopath Degree is that it carries with it the expertise in modern medicines, surgery, the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury, and a hands-on diagnostic and treatment system called osteopathic manipulative treatment . This system of osteopathic manipulative treatment can often alleviate symptoms without the use of surgery or medications. Osteopathic physicians work in partnership with patients to help them achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, injury prevention, and disease prevention through a holistic approach, using the body’s natural capability to fight off illness.

Allied Health University Students
Allied Health University Students

With the nation facing a critical physician workforce shortage, degree programs for health professionals are more relevant than ever. By 2020, the gap between our physician supply and demand will range from 50,000 to more than 100,000. Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine are in high demand to meet the upcoming shortage. According to a 2015 report released by AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), the nation will face a 46,000 to 90,0000 physicians shortage by 2025.

“The doctor shortage is real – it’s significant – and it’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD.

Currently, there are 74,000 licensed and active practicing osteopathic physicians who utilizes the entire scope of modern holistic medicine and a hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating illness and injury. More than 4,800 new osteopathic physicians enter the workforce each year — with more than 20 percent of medical students in the United States who are training to acquire osteopathic degrees. And the number of nurses, physical therapists, and physicians assistants wanting a DO degree are on the rise.

Allied health professional
Allied health professional

Thousands of Allied health professionals seek admission to Osteopathic Medical Schools every year.  Numerous international medical candidates also seek admittance to U.S. Osteopathic Medicals Schools because of the highly regarded Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

The interest in homeopathic, holistic and osteopathic systems of medicine is proliferating exponentially. The growing need to provide allied health care college degree programs is very attractive to entrepreneurial colleges and universities.

Research Contribution: A. Anderson

Three Basic Rules for College Presidents at the Start of a New Academic Year

A new academic year can bring unexpected challenges and opportunities for a college president. Building positive long-term relationships through an open exchange of ideas, centered on mutual respect, is the foundation for long-term success.

relationshipsBuild Meaningful Relationships

Building meaningful relationships starts by continuing to know your faculty, administrators, and staff. Some presidents are so busy with  day-to-day obligations that they forget to engage in meaningful conversations with a cross section of employees and students within the college community.  Nothing builds a positive long-term relationship better than honest exchange of ideas and mutual respect.

Ears to the Ground

A college president must operationally understand the departments within the institution. Being a hands-on leader familiar with the daily challenges of faculty, administration and staff is critically important to ensure proper execution of the Strategic Plan. Employees respect a leader who is familiar with daily struggles and has an ear to the ground in the larger decision making process.

Intellectually Honest and Decisive Row of light bulb 3D on blue background. Innovation concept.

A leader needs to personify a culture of honesty and transparency — a culture of authority, responsibility and accountability. Respected presidents also seek to inspire a shared vision based upon the bests interests of the entire college community, including students, faculty, staff, and outside stakeholders (including investors at for-profit institutions). But at the end of the day, not all decisions can be accommodated solely by consensus. A college president is hired to independently analyze alternative solutions to tough problems. Being intellectually honest and decisive is the key to successful transformational leadership.

Research Contribution: A. Anderson

Dr. John J. McGrath’s Teaching Philosophy

John J. McGrath Teaching Philosophy

As a College President, I actively promoted faculty intellectual engagement and scholarship in their academic disciplines. Academic freedom is at the core of college and university life. I believe that faculty should continuously engage in advancing their critical thought processes, especially for the discovery of new knowledge. My greatest existential awareness as an undergraduate philosophy major was that the truth regarding the transmission of knowledge for good teachers lies first in their capability to intellectually reason and challenge the minds of students.

The art of teaching clearly lies in the ability to effectively communicate. When I hire new faculty members, or consider applications for promotion in academic rank for existing faculty members, my highest priority is not an assessment of academic qualifications and professional experience – it is, clearly, do I believe that this individual is a great teacher in the classroom. Having an extremely intelligent professor that cannot clearly and effectively communicate, and challenge minds, is not providing a college education. Of course, I fundamentally believe that excellent academic qualifications and, if possible, real life professional experience are central to the professoriate, but those competencies must be leveraged through the ability to effectively transmit knowledge.

As an undergraduate and graduate professor, I would always have two primary goals for all my courses: 1) Make sure that students had a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter – both from a theoretical perspective and a practical assessment standard, and 2) Make sure that I am intellectually challenging students to think independently and thereby enhancing their reasoning capacities with respect to the creation and logical construction of new intellectual ideas.

I often quoted Aristotle in my classroom: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. I love challenging students with controversial ideas. Active participatory exchanges between students is fundamental to my pedagogical philosophy. And, I always tell students not to be afraid to ask any question — and intellectually challenge me. It is exciting, dynamic and fun. My other favorite quote that I relate to students comes from Albert Einstein: “A person that never made a mistake never tried anything new. Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”.

My academic specialties include Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Evidence, and Jurisprudence. I also have taught courses on Irish History and have spoken and debated issues with respect to the Northern Ireland peace process throughout the United States. In almost every course, I create a syllabus and class outline that includes objective sections along with a creative essay for the midterm and final examinations. Additionally, most of my courses require a research term paper which is separately evaluated on the following four standards: 1) Originality, 2) Creativity, 3) Accuracy, and 4) Research and Documentation. Student class participation is also a key metric for my evaluation of intellectual and practical understanding of the course.

I also believe very passionately that professors have an obligation to do everything reasonably within their power to make sure their students understand the material required in the course. That means working with students outside the formal classroom, providing help through the library and/or learning center, engaging with academic support staff such as retention counselors and academic advisors, and most of all, if possible, being a caring friend to students.

One of my most rewarding experiences is when a former student comes up to me in an unexpected place and says, “I remember you. You helped me to think independently and search for the truth”.   I will take those moments into the hereafter.

John J. McGrath, Ph.D.

The Harvard Business School Campus Expands Beyond the Yard

Tech opens forum for online learning
Tech creates forum for online learning

Disruptive technology is a machination, stratagem or invention that displaces an established industry methodology and redefines its internal infrastructure, often to the point of deconstruction. Currently, the industry model that has become the target of disruptive technology is that of on-campus education.

University Extension at Harvard has most likely expanded beyond what President A. Lawrence Lowell thought it would be when he established the program 100 years ago. The extension program now offers world-renowned education to 50 states and 195 countries due to the growing popularity of MOOCs — massive open online courses. Harvard University, along with many Ivy League institutions, has been considering offering Harvard courses and degrees online lest they fall behind the disruptive technology utilized by distance learning.

MOOCs on the rise
MOOCs on the rise

The controversy with online learning as actual course syllabus has been two fold. When Harvard Business School dean, Nitin Nohria, commenced the campus planning and case study method adoption, he came across opposition — by staff and students.

The pros and cons of the ‘to online or not to online’ argument has been personified by two of Harvard’s most renowned faculty members. For Michael Porter, “A company must stay the course, even in times of upheaval, while constantly improving and extending its distinctive positioning.”

Speaking on behalf of the pro argument is Clayton Christensen (author of the 1997 book,The Innovator’s Dilemma), who suggests that the only way market leaders like Harvard Business School survive “disruptive innovation” is by disrupting their existing businesses themselves.

Other reputable schools, like Stanford and Wharton School (UPenn), have gone Christensen’s way of thinking by adopting MOOCs into their curricula, without the pillar and post debate as seen by HBS. One of the biggest draws of MOOCs for students is the considerably lowered tuition costs — HBS runs approximately $100K for an MBA.

Though a student should not expect to garner a traditional Harvard M.B.A. online, as of this summer, HBS launched the HBX Program, which has its own admissions office and has aims to create a new entity of degree. The “pre-MBA”, according to Harvard Business School professor Jay W. Lorsch, would offer a new type of credential. “Instead of having two big product lines, we may be on the verge of inventing a third.”

Harvard University's Widener Library
Harvard Widener Library

Some educators predict a dire future for colleges that allow this online ‘watered down’ curriculum. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, pointing to the aircraft industry stated, “In order to get into China, Boeing transferred its technology to parts manufacturers there. Pretty soon there’s going to be Chinese firms building airplanes. Boeing created their own competition.” Pfeffer thinks business schools are on a similar path, “[we] are doing it again; we are creating our own demise.”

That sentiment may be falling on deaf ears, as HBX has tentatively begun admitting several undergraduate students into a program called Credential of Readiness (CORe). Thus far, the program includes three online courses: accounting, analytics and economics for managers. The course is nine weeks and tuition is $1,500. Only students with a high level of class participation will be invited to take a three-hour final exam at a designated testing center.

Despite Harvard Business School debate or which side of the argument any given person resides, educational disruption isn’t coming, it has arrived.

Research credit: A. Anderson

Dr. John McGrath’s TCI Graduation Ceremony Speech

As Chief Executive Officer and President of TCI College, Dr. John J. McGrath gave the following commencement speech to the Graduating Class of 2015 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Dr. John J McGrath Addresses TCI Graduates-2011R at Jacob Javits Center in NYC.jpg

Good afternoon everyone and congratulations to the TCI Class of 2015.  It is an honor to stand before such a distinguished group of women and men who are about to receive their College Degree.

Today is your day! Today, you earn a college degree which is a testament to your intellectual acumen and spirit of determination. And, as you know better than anyone else, you earned it.  No one – no one can ever take a college degree away from you.

You dreamed about this day, graduating from college – sometimes against all odds.  You sacrificed and persevered to achieve your dreams.  You did not give up!

Many of you juggled the competing demands of family, work and college.  Some of you are parents, some of you are single parents, but despite all the obstacles, despite all the times it would have been just too easy to give up – you said no — and you overcame the obstacles placed in front of you.  You earned this success today!

Some of you came to college as an “Ability to Benefit” student without a high school diploma – but you had the courage and fortitude to take and pass a tough federal test to get admitted to the college.  And now, here you are — graduating.

I want to let you in on a fact to success and happiness.  The real inspired leaders of this world are those who prepare themselves intellectually and never give up their dreams.  A simple rule for a true leaders is:  “If the front door is closed, go through the back door, if the back door is closed,  go through the window.  And, if necessary cut a hole in the roof.”

Courage, passion, determination, and creativity are the true hallmarks of champions!  You — the graduates of TCI College — are champions.  Faith in yourself, commitment to excellence, and vision.

Your family is here today because they love and respect you.  For many students, your family provided the shoulders for you to lean on to get you to this point — Graduation at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  Your parents respect you (will the parents please stand and be recognized), for those of you who are married, your husband and wife respects you (will the spouses please stand and be recognized), and for those of you who have children, they deeply respect and look up to you (will the children of the graduates please stand and be recognized).  Now, everybody, let’s have a great round of applause for our champions – our TCI 2015 graduating class.

I would also like to recognize the distinguished faculty at TCI – they intellectually and professionally prepared you to be here today (will the faculty please stand and be recognized).  The TCI administration and staff have also worked hard and have had real faith in you (will the administration and staff please stand and be recognized).

I would also like to thank the New York City Police Department Pipe Band. They are here every year at our graduation ceremony; “Up the Field.”  And, for those playing in the beautiful string quartet during the ceremony, thank you.

My father always reminded me that: “Courage is Half the Battle.”  He was right.  Securing a college education was the right move!  You academically prepared yourself for reaching your goals in a very competitive world.  My dad shared with me something that I carry every day: “The person who knows how most likely will have a job — but the person who also knows why   – will most likely be the boss.”

You invested an important part of your life in earning a college education.  The faculty challenged your mind to not only comprehend “How” to do something – but “Why!”  College helps you with being able to think critically, write accurately, speak effectively – and college provides you with the foundation for intellectual inspiration to secure greater heights.

Take this great college education – combine it with your courage, determination, passion and creativity – and change the world.  Because, “existentially”, you are free to achieve your dreams.

As I reflected about addressing the TCI graduating class of 2015, I chose the following quotes from philosophers, intellectuals, political leaders, civil rights leaders, and athletes because they have greatly inspired me throughout my life – and, I hope they inspire you as you go forward as TCI graduates in the world.

    1. Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Men should look within themselves to get a true value of life.  You must critically analyze the effects of your choices and actions in the process of becoming and determining your future.
    2. Aristotle: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
    3. Harriet Tubman: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
    4. John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death — and saddling up anyway.”
    5. Nelson Mandela: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” “There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are living.” “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
    6. Malcolm X:  “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
    7. Victor Hugo: “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”
    8. Albert Einstein:  “A person that never made a mistake never tried anything new.”  “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
    9. Martin Luther King, Jr.:  “Change does not role in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.  And so, we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.  A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
    10. Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I lost over 300 games. Over 26 times, I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” “I have never been afraid to fail.”
    11. Rocky: “Let me tell you something you already know.  The world aint all sunshine and rainbows.  It can be a mean and nasty place – and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.  You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.  But it aint about how hard ya hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.  That’s how winning is done.  Now if you know what you are worth, than go out and get what you’re worth.  But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you aint where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody.  Cowards do that and that aint you.  You’re better than that.”  “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts – it’s how many times you get back up.”
    12. Muhammad Ali: “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.” “If you ever dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.”

If possible, I encourage the graduates to secure their Bachelor’s Degree and, if possible, go after postgraduate degrees.  Again, no one can ever take a college degree away from you!

Please listen very carefully. I want you to lead an inspired purposeful life. At the end of the day, when you look back on your life, you will ask yourself: “What good did I do when I was here, what contribution did I make for this short time I was here on earth?”

I want to suggest something very private to the graduates.  I challenge you to reflect upon your own personal Mission Statement in life.  Reflect on it deeply.  Write it down.  Place it in a hiding spot known only to you.

Where do you see yourself two, five, ten, twenty years from now?  Then, go back to your Mission Statement at those intervals and truly examine your life.  Compare your dreams with reality.  How are you the same?  How did you grow? How are you different?  Did you meet your goals?  Did you have the courage, determination and inner confidence to reach those goals?  Or, how did new dreams replace existing dreams?

Reflect upon your life intellectually and spiritually.  Don’t worry about critics; there are always plenty of those. Stay true to courage and passion as reach your dreams.  I’d like to quote former President Theodore Roosevelt with respect to critics and real success in life.

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcomings.  But who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause.  Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.  So that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls that know neither victory nor defeat.”

Be honest with yourself.  Stand tall with grace and integrity.

Remember that great intellectual genius, Rocky Balboa:  “It’s not how many times you get Knocked Down in life – it’s how many times you get Back Up!”  Stay strong and passionate. Always follow your heart. Trust yourself.  Pursue your dreams with dignity. Never give up!

I will end with a most sincere Irish Blessing: “May the road rise to meet you.  May the wind be always at your back.  May the rains fall softly on your fields. And, may God hold you forever in the palm of his hand.”

Congratulations.  God Bless You.