HR learns to talk the talk

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. If HR professionals want totake their place alongside colleagues on the board, they must learn to speakthe same business language. But what is the language of business? Is it a formof  clever shorthand for technical termsor simply intellectual snobbery disguising insincerity? Jane Lewis investigatesThere are two purposesto language – the first and most obvious is as a means of communication. But wealso use language as an important differentiator of who we are – it helps reinforcea sense of group identity and cement a set of common goals. “He speaks my language”is a common enough expression, and is almost invariably used in the context ofpraise. The clear subtext is that if you can talk the lingo, you’re allowedinto the club. If you can’t, expect to be left out in the cold.This might explain why so manyassorted luminaries – from Tony Blair to CIPD director-general Geoff Armstrong– have lately been urging the necessity of talking “the language ofbusiness”. The importance of this from thepoint of view of the HR professional in particular becomes evident when youstudy the findings of a recent research project Tomorrow’s Organisation: NewMindsets, New Skills, published by London Human Resource Group. As the report’sauthor Amin Rajan concludes, “The picture that emerges is distinctlyuncomfortable. All the more so since HR professionals and line managersparticipating in our research presented a similar assessment.”The report shows that although HRmanagers usually share a set of common goals with their peers in linemanagement, the language both groups use to communicate these aims isremarkably different. The consequence is that mutual misunderstanding hasbecome almost inevitable. “It’s like a dialogue between two deafpeople,” says Rajan. “HR people talk about processes, line managerstalk about outcomes. HR wants to know how much something will cost, linemanagers ask where the added value is. HR thinks about budgets, line managementwants to know how to maximise profits.” And so on.You don’t need to be a languageexpert to understand the serious ramifications that such a state of mutualbafflement can have on the health and vitality of a company. Indeed, Rajanmaintains that the failure to find a common language is the main reason why somany change programmes fail. “People involved in changeprogrammes don’t have a common picture of what they want to achieve, and theydon’t have a language to express it. You need a common metaphor, and you need acommon language. If these groups are going to communicate on the samewavelength, HR needs to use business language.”This is hardly revelatory news tomost in the profession – indeed, senior HR managers have been banging on aboutthe importance of scrapping a process-based approach in favour of following a”business agenda” for some time. “The board is not interestedin elegant processes, it is interested in outcomes,” says Stephanie Monk,group HR director at Granada, speaking at the HR Forum nearly two years ago. And even then it was a case ofpreaching to the converted. “This is not a gathering of HR people, it is agathering of business people discussing business issues,” asserts CapGemini HR director, Robert Ingram at the time. “It is not about followingan HR agenda, it is about following a business agenda, but with an HR solution.”So how then do we explain what isobviously a continuing gap between desire and reality? If HR people know theyshould be acting as mainstream business managers – in which case talking the”language of business” would surely follow fairly naturally – whyisn’t it happening?Turning nouns to verbsThe most likely explanation, atleast for the language part of the conundrum, is that the concept of businesslanguage has itself acquired a bad reputation over the years as an exclusiveform of jargon, more caught up in the snobbery of the unfamiliar than in anyserious attempt to convey real meaning. Business language takes nouns and turnsthem into verbs – employees are “incented”, opportunities”leveraged”. The widespread adoption ofacronyms, again frequently used as verbs, makes it even more difficult toextract proper meaning. Businesses can be MBO’d, TQM’d, CEO’d and IPO’d – andthat’s before you get down to the real nitty-gritty of shifting paradigms,benchmarking metrics, and maximising the return on investment from yourstrategic alliances.In many ways business dialect canbe seen as the new Esperanto – an international communication system that, tothe outsider at least, obscures more than it elucidates. But at least Esperanto could neverbe accused of corrupting a perfectly good existing language, which is thecharge that the growing number of opponents of “business-speak” nowlay at its door. Last year, even the BBC Radio 4programme Today weighed into the fray, attacking the meaningless babble that isseeping out of the boardroom into mainstream language.Perhaps some of this terminology –phrases like “ballpark”, “mission critical”,”state-of-the-art” and “disintermediation” – originallymeant something specific to their instigators. But that precision of meaning haslong since vanished: these expressions are now far more likely to be used topad out sentences in the hope of impressing the listener. As George Orwell, oneof the great analysts of 20th century language, noted, “The great enemy ofclear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real anddeclared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhaustedidioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink”.Surprisingly, this view of businesslanguage as a parlance swamped with sly verbal innovation, has also beenespoused by some of the UK’s leading management experts. New phrase, old conceptSean Ricard, senior businesseconomist at Cranfield School of Management and a key lecturer on the school’sMBA course, is unequivocal on the subject. “Too often so-called businesspeople wrap themselves up in language that is opaque when it is clear that theessence of business is good communication,” he says. “I’m verycynical about it. Almost without exception it’s a case of coming out with a newphrase to describe an old concept. “Half the time this languageis invented to sell books. When there are problems to sort out in realcompanies, people sit down and talk about them in plain English.”Amin Rajan agrees. “I advisecompanies to use absolute simplicity in language – clear, short words that willtrigger actions and provoke the question, ‘What are we going to do?’ “It is intellectual snobberyto use long words, but underlying that is a more sinister purpose, which is,‘We’re not going to do anything’,” he says. To counter this, he suggests thatcompanies should talk about “aims” not “objectives” and”goals” rather than that ubiquitous catch-all, “vision”.But Ricard does concede that hispolicy of avoiding fancy business vernacular terms wherever possible can bedifficult to carry out to the letter when you are teaching something asbusiness-specific as an MBA course. “If you don’t talk about ‘core competencies’people may think you’re not up-to-date,” he says. And elsewhere he has remarked that,”at a senior level, HR directors should be able to talk knowledgeably totheir colleagues in accountancy or marketing, so that if someone comes into theroom talking about ‘stock asset variables’ you are not going to be phased byit”. Moreover it is clear that some examples of business parlance,while admittedly falling into the category of new phrases for old concepts, cannonetheless represent a convenient shorthand. “Outsourcing” is a goodexample of this. Yes, the idea of it is as old as business itself, but how elseare you going to describe the practice quite so neatly without resorting tocomplicated sentence structures? If we can incorporate”angst”, “pyjamas”, “cul-de-sac” and”beriberi” into mainstream English, then why not”downsize”, “multi-task”, “outsource” or even”mainstream” for that matter?”The point of jargon is thatit can help you make shortcuts to difficult concepts,” says ValerieGarrow, senior researcher at Roffey Park. Moreover, as she points out, everydifferent department in any organisation has its own vernacular – and HR itselfis no exception. The real question, therefore, for any HR professional bent ontalking the language of business, is how to decipher what should be embracedand what rejected. As Rajan sums up, “There is alot of hype out there and HR people have got to learn to sort the wheat fromthe chaff.”It has often been remarked that thenative language of business is still numbers – how could it be otherwise whensuccess is ultimately measured in terms of profit, cash flows and ratios?Consequently if HR people are to make a real impact in improving the business,they must be able to understand – and express – some of the basic tenets offinancial management. Given the, ahem, strategic importance of understandingcustomer markets and the pivotal role of IT in any modern business, it mightalso be a good idea to brush up on what these departments are saying too.No magic”There is nothing magic toit,” says consultant Paul Kearns at Personnel Works. “It is just aquestion of understanding what is actually meant by real business terminologythat says something specific – things like ‘profit and loss’ and ‘net presentvalue’.” This doesn’t mean swallowing anaccountancy rule book, so much as familiarising yourself with what is importantto how the business is actually run.Some companies have taken the onusoff the individual by running general business literacy courses acrossdepartments. At the US headquarters of the PR firm, Shandwick International,for example, the chief learning officer organised an in-house”university” in a bid to help staff from a range of different disciplines”to think more like MBAs”. He also made it mandatory for all staff totake a class in Business Literacy I – designed to acquaint them with how theagency actually runs its business.The staff’s reaction has beenoverwhelmingly positive. “I thought these classes would cover the basicsof accounting,” says one. “But they focus on how our company makesmoney – and can lose it – on a daily basis.” Learning what makes figures move inthe right direction for the business as a whole allowed staff to reassess theirown contribution to the process, and often resulted in them making changes tothe way they approached their jobs. But perhaps the best way to go about learning the language ofbusiness is to concentrate less on the language per se and more on the actual issuesthat it is trying to describe. Once you have actually understood the mainpreoccupations of the line businesses, the language will take care of itself. Thus the main guiding point must beyour own understanding. “Use language that means something. Don’t useanything if you are not confident about its meaning,” is Kearns’ cardinalrule. Geddit?Legitimate andillegitimate business languageLegitimate1 Thinking out of theboxCurrently voguish means ofexpressing creative or imaginative thinking: devising new ways to solve oldproblems. To some extent replaces phrases like “green-housing” and”blue-skying” – far too amorphous for most managers to get theirheads round. At least a box has structure – even if you’re trying to think outof it.2 Asset-based businessmodelsNew economy term for those”traditional” organisations majoring in the sale of”physical” goods, as opposed to those concentrating onknowledge-based services or digital products. See also “short-termassets” – aka physical stock. A company with no “short termassets” on its balance sheet normally specialises in brainpower,information aggregation and so on.3  Virtuous cycleA win-win scenario – one in whichall activity winds up being beneficial/profitable. A good, if somewhatsqueamish, example is maggot farming. Farmers are paid to take away the rawmaterials of their trade (chicken carcasses) and then profit again from the twoproducts of the process – the maggots themselves (sold to anglers), and the carcasses(transformed by maggot activity into fertiliser).4 Foot-printingThe process of tracking customeractivity across a website. Considered critical to the art of building upcustomer profiles, but of secondary importance to the feat of turning”clicks into hits” – that is, converting site visitors into payingcustomers.5 Object-orientedOriginally a technical term used todescribe the new generation of component software that can be assembledMeccano-style to form customised applications – and just as quickly dismantledif necessary. As with the best computing phrases (downtime, multi-tasking) theconcept of assembling defined “objects” for a particular purpose hasnow been taken up by mainstream business. Often used to describe the activity ofsetting up particular processes or teams to deal with specific projects/jointventures and so on.6 Spider-plantingA new phrase for spinning offcompanies: how you go about setting up healthy subsidiaries. Baby spider plantscontinue to get nourishment from the parent while establishing their own roots.Trendy because it taps into current bio/eco preoccupations, and also provides asimple, easily understood visual description of the activity.7 B2B and B2B2CB2B is shorthand for “businessto business” trading; B2B2C stands for “business to business tocustomer” and describes the “value chain” in which a basicproduct supplied by one company is enhanced by another partner organisationbefore delivery to the customer. Closely related to…8 Dynamic tradeThe delivery of highly customisedproducts and services. In theory, it’s the customers drive production, pricingpolicies and market conditions.9 Hot-deskingA useful little phrase to describethe process of abandoning fixed office formats in favour of more fluidarrangements conducive to flexi-working/creativity and so on. Unlikely to standthe course of time because it is unpopular with most employees: if you get inlate, you might not get a desk at all. 10 HeuristicImportant-sounding word with usefulsocial-science overtones. Defined as: allowing, or assisting to discover.”Heuristic” has replaced “holistic” as the preferred pseudyword in training circles and is becoming almost ubiquitous in any descriptionof a knowledge management programme. Use with caution: abuse of meaning andfinite time-span probable.Illegitimate1 RightsizeWhile “downsize” and”upsize” are admittedly clumsy Americanisms they have nonetheless wonthemselves a place in the UK business lexicon. Not so “rightsize” – afar-too-sinister euphemism for redundancy programmes which hints at Newspeak,the language devised by Big Brother in 1984 to eliminate subversive ideas.2 360-degree managementA self-important term for doingyour job properly by keeping your eyes peeled. Too much emphasis on 360-degreemanagement could lead to accusations of lack of focus.3 Added valueAlmost impossible to avoid, but thephrase has become so overused that it has lost most of its specific meaning andnow has unfortunate connotations of bargain basements. If you must talk aboutvalue, use it in the context of “value chains”, and “highvalue” integration. No one quite knows what they mean but they soundclassier.4 Paradigmatic shiftAnother expression borrowed fromthe philosophy books, meaning a fundamental change in approach or philosophy.Came to the fore at the start of the dotcom era to describe the shift from anindustrial to a knowledge-based economy. Now distinctly diluted in meaning andpasse. If you want to stress wide-sweeping change try the expression now hip inCalifornian circles, “a tectonic plate shift”.5 “Run it up andthe mast and see who salutes it”A clumsy example of US imagery(meaning to run an idea past someone) which never quite made it over here –except among flash ad-men. Treat those who use it with caution. Although someUS phrases – most notably “ballpark” and “pitch” (bothbaseball derivatives) – have now become parlance, use with care. An exceptiongaining popularity in UK circles is “elevator pitch” – a neatexpression for selling an idea quickly – as in the time it takes for anelevator to reach its destination.6 Disintermediation       The process of eliminatingthird-party sales organisations – in other words, selling direct. The businessequivalent of disestablishmentarianism: long words used for effect. Now widelydiscredited as wrong-headed as well as cumbersome.7 Benchmarking            Pseudo-scientific phrase usedinstead of the more simple “comparing”.8 Functionality andConnectivityKnown fondly among the cognoscentias the “F” and “C” words. Both sound important but meanvery little. Previous Article Next Article HR learns to talk the talkOn 6 Mar 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

"HR learns to talk the talk"

Badgers Claim 80-75 Road Victory at Southern Idaho

first_img Written by February 8, 2020 /Sports News – Local Badgers Claim 80-75 Road Victory at Southern Idaho Brad James Tags: Snow Men’s basketball FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailTWIN FALLS, Idaho (February 8, 2020) — Leading by just three points with :02 seconds remaining, Brantzen Blackner hit a pair of free throws to seal the Snow College victory on the road against Southern Idaho. The win marked the Badgers’ fourth-straight victory and solidified the team’s hold on second place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference with a two-and-a-half-game lead over Utah State Eastern in the standings.With 14:26 remaining the game, and the score tied at 49-49, the Badgers came out of a timeout to go on a 10-2 run that would create the momentum needed to hold the lead through the remainder of the game.“There’s been a lot of years where we haven’t won up here,” Snow College head coach Rob Nielson said. “It’s great for our guys to come up here and compete for the win.”Tredyn Christensen led the Badgers with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and was credited with seven rebounds, including six offensive boards. Brayden Johnson chipped in 14 points, while Blacker and Trey Farrer had nine points each.The Badgers will return ot Ephraim on Thursday, Feb. 13 to take on Utah State Eastern. Part of the “Pack the HAC” promotion, the first 500 fans wearing orange to the game will receive a free orange creamsicle.last_img read more

"Badgers Claim 80-75 Road Victory at Southern Idaho"

Wintershall Dea completes top hole drilling campaign on the Nova field

first_img Wintershall Dea completes top hole drilling campaign on the Nova field. (Credit Wintershall Dea) Wintershall Dea completed the top hole drilling campaign on the operated Nova field in the Norwegian North Sea ahead of schedule.The campaign, carried out by the Seadrill-operated West Mira rig, involved drilling some 3,400 metres of top holes for the six Nova production and water injection wells on two different templates.“We continuously try to improve our drilling operations to be safer, more efficient and more sustainable. Working together as ‘One Team’ with all involved, we were able to deliver the top hole campaign safely and two weeks ahead of schedule”, said Nils Petter Norheim, Wintershall Dea Norge Head of Drilling & Wells.Five of the top holes were drilled in one batch with repetitive operations. After each operation the team evaluated the performance, capturing best practices and lessons learned to optimise the equipment and drill the next section even more efficiently. This approach helped to continuously improve the drilling performance.High efficiency also translated into a more sustainable operation, with fewer days on the rig resulting in lower emissions. The reduction falls into a broader low-emission strategy, with the West Mira operating an energy-saving hybrid battery power plant, which increases the rig’s energy efficiency. The two supply vessels that support the rig are also equipped with hybrid batteries, which further reduces the environmental footprint of the campaign.“With all the top holes drilled, we have achieved another Nova milestone ahead of plan. We will continue drilling and the next step is to safely deliver the three production wells and three water injection wells before production start which is planned for 2022.” said André Hesse, Nova Project Director at Wintershall Dea.Nova drilling will last throughout most of 2021. Source: Company Press Release The campaign, carried out by the Seadrill-operated West Mira rig, involved drilling some 3,400 metres of top holes for the six Nova production and water injection wellslast_img read more

"Wintershall Dea completes top hole drilling campaign on the Nova field"

Purplebricks CEO bats off criticisms over TrustPilot reviews

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Purplebricks CEO bats off criticisms over TrustPilot reviews previous nextAgencies & PeoplePurplebricks CEO bats off criticisms over TrustPilot reviewsComments come within upbeat trading update made today ahead of AGM in London.Nigel Lewis29th September 20171 Comment3,696 Views Michael Bruce has said he is proud of the company’s 27,000 TrustPilot reviews despite recent problems with its listings on the online business reviews site.This includes most recently that reviews were removed by TrustPilot after Purplebricks mistakenly invited UK customers to review on its US listing on the site.The comments are made in this morning’s Purplebricks trading update ahead of its Annual General Meeting today at the offices of its PR firm.TrustiPilot reviewsThe company has also been criticised for its aggressive attempts to get TrustPilot reviews of its service removed that it considers unverified or not genuine.Despite these difficulties, the company says it is on track to reach its £80m revenue target set in June within its 2016/2017 final results.And Purplebricks says its revenues for the first six months of its financial year, which began on 1st May, are already likely to be double those of the previous year and that it has increased the number of Local Property Experts from 540 to 640.This includes three LPEs in South East Kent who are all related – couple Julian and Sarah Hunt and their daughter Joanna (pictured, above), highlighted by Purplebricks.Purplebricks also says it Australian and recently-launched US operation are doing well too. It expects to meet its revenue target for the first of the financial year of £12 million in Australia, where it has increased the number of LPEs from 77 to 100, while its US launch has “gone smoothly”.This includes a UK-style ‘misery’ TV advertising campaign and that it has received its first instruction to buy – and that it is “extremely pleased with the quality of the people applying to work with Purplebricks.Instead of LPEs in the UK and Australia, US counterparts are called Local Real Estate Experts.It also now has local and central management teams operating in California and New York.“We will continue to invest in infrastructure and teams to support our rapid growth, while our focus will remain on providing an excellent customer experience,” says Purplebricks CEO Michael Bruce (pictured, right).“We are relentless at working to ensure we understand our customers’ needs and meet their expectations and are proud of our 27,000 Trustpilot reviews.” Purplebricks Michael Bruce September 29, 2017Nigel LewisOne commentRobin Bruce, HelpHound HelpHound 30th September 2017 at 1:32 pmJust wondering why any business would use an independent site when the world of reviews is so totally dominated by Google? Here’s our take on the whole issue: http://www.helphound.info/2017/02/review-management-in-2017-guide.htmlLog in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

"Purplebricks CEO bats off criticisms over TrustPilot reviews"

Australian Navy Member Part of Eternal Flame Ceremony

first_imgPetty Officer Don Blackley is in France as part of a small contingent of Australia’s Federation Guard, supporting commemoration activities marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landing on June 6, 1944, which marked the beginning of the end of the Nazi occupation of western Europe.“I was really proud and honoured when selected for this task. Originally, I was hoping for Anzac Day tasking, but when I found out I was going on this job, I felt very proud to be part of a massive international commemoration,” Petty Officer Blackley said.“Also, being the first RAN member to act as flag bearer during the Eternal Flame Ceremony at such a historic location is just icing on the cake.”The Eternal Flame Ceremony is a time-honoured tradition in Paris. Every evening at 6.30 the flame is rekindled, and veterans lay wreaths decorated with red, white and blue near the flickering flame. It burns in the darkness to recall the sacrifice of an unknown French soldier who gave his life during World War I.Australia’s Federation Guard is accompanying a group of Australian World War II veterans, all who flew Royal Air Force combat missions in support of the D-Day campaign.“It was definitely breathtaking to stand there with the Australian National Flag in my hands and have Australian and French veterans lined up on either side – it was really was great to be part of something like that,” Petty Officer Blackley said.The Federation Guard, veterans, members of Australia’s military Attaché in France and staff from the Department of Veterans Affairs will attend the official commemoration ceremony in Normandy on June 6. Smaller ceremonies will also be held at Ellon Airfield as well as in Villers Bretonneux, during which the veterans and Prime Minister Tony Abbott will lay wreaths.[mappress]Press Release, June 06, 2014; Image: Australian Navy For the first time in history a member of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has actively participated in the Eternal Flame Ceremony, which is conducted every evening beneath the world-renowned Arc De Triomphe in Paris. View post tag: Flame Back to overview,Home naval-today Australian Navy Member Part of Eternal Flame Ceremony View post tag: France June 6, 2014 Authorities View post tag: member View post tag: Naval View post tag: europecenter_img View post tag: News by topic View post tag: part View post tag: Eternal View post tag: Ceremony Australian Navy Member Part of Eternal Flame Ceremony View post tag: Australian Navy View post tag: Navy Share this articlelast_img read more

"Australian Navy Member Part of Eternal Flame Ceremony"

Study: Oxford third most expensive university in UK

first_imgOXFORD UNIVERSITY has the third highest cost-of-living index in the country, a study by The Independent has found. With rent and associated costs reaching on average £120.01 a week, only the Royal Academy of Music and Imperial College, both in London, are more expensive.The survey took into account the cost of accommodation, drink and a sample basket of goods. The Royal Academy of Music, costing on average £147.07 a week, was the most expensive institution surveyed.The University and OUSU have been quick to point out that Oxford offers a large number of bursaries and have criticised the figures.A spokesperson for the University suggested that the figures do not account for the shortness of Oxford terms compared to other universities, and that some rent payments also include costs for food.”These figures must be put in context. First, rent should be compared to other universities on an annual basis, not a weekly basis. Since Oxford terms are only 8 or 9 weeks long, students in college accommodation are actually only paying rent for half a year, which brings the annual costs way down, and most Oxford students get 2 if not 3 years in college accommodation,” he said. “These rent prices also often include food. Third, we have the most generous bursary scheme in the country to support students from lower income backgrounds, with colleges offering additional financial support.”James Lamming, OUSU Vice-President for Access and Academic Affairs, did not believe the Independent’s study was a cause for concern, confirming that Oxford provided greater bursaries and hardship support to assist students.”Along with other Universities in the Southeast, the cost of living in Oxford is higher than in other parts of the country,” Lamming said. “However, this fact’s importance must be considered in a wider context where Oxford University provides one of the most generous bursaries in the country, considerable hardship support and fantastic facilities such as libraries that help keep academic expenses down for all students.”He also reiterated OUSU’s campaign for student loans to better reflect the greater cost of living in Oxford compared with the rest of the country. “OUSU policy, supported by students, believes regional weighted loans must be available outside of London to reflect the actual cost of living in a particular region, so as to ensure students base their decision to study on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay,” he said.Britain’s cheapest weekly rent is at Bradford University, costing only £40.51 a week.last_img read more

"Study: Oxford third most expensive university in UK"

Counselling cutbacks

first_imgChanges to the referral system for the University Counselling Service have caused concern amongst students this week. It has emerged that the number of sessions offered by the service will be dramatically cut this term.Previously, students who were referred, either by staff members or themselves, would be assigned a counsellor, with whom they would meet and decide on the best course of action. If it was established that they would benefit from weekly sessions, then these would take place without any further assessment.However, owing to the strain placed on resources at this time of year, the service has changed its policy. Instead of initially offering ongoing counselling, students will be given just two sessions, before having to “re-refer” themselves and then wait to be allocated support again.Alan Percy, Head of the Counselling Service, explained that the measure is necessary to give everyone the best chance of access to the service. He commented, “The beginning of Hilary term is always the busiest time of year for the counselling service in every university. As a temporary measure, we have introduced a system guaranteeing an initial session with a follow-up session for those students who can be helped with a brief intervention, as we want to see as many students as possible before the end of term. This measure has been introduced in previous Hilary terms and has proved to be successful in bringing down waiting times.”He added, “The service will continue to see students for on-going support. Where this is needed and appropriate, students will also be offered support through the service’s group work provision and self-help resources.”The Counselling Service is one of a number of support systems that are in place for students at Oxford. The services offered include one-to-one counselling, group counselling, self-help guidance and workshops. Where appropriate, there is also liaison with GPs and other professionals.The recent change has elicited a mixed response from the student population. The main concern is that those students who are most vulnerable are going to be left without the help that they need, simply due to a lack of resources. One such student, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “I’m really disappointed about this development in the counselling service. Last term I was having weekly sessions and felt like they were really helping, but when I started a new set of sessions with a different counsellor this term, I was told I could only have one more after. I feel really let down by this, and I just can’t afford to pay for counselling privately. I don’t think people understand how important this is, I’m genuinely really worried about not having access to the help that I need.”However, Kirstie Mok, Women’s Welfare rep at St Catz, focused more on the strain that can be placed on these services, commenting, “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, especially if they feel they wouldn’t be able to cope with the number of referrals otherwise. There will always be the danger of someone slipping through the net and not getting follow-up counselling after the two appointments, but given the experience and training of the people who work at the Counselling Service, I don’t think this is likely to happen. It sounds like they are just going to make better use of all the other support networks and resources available.”One second year student commented, “If this is a question of resources, then the University surely needs to look at what it can do financially to help. Leaving students without adequate support in the ‘pressure cooker’ that is Oxford is a dangerous thing to do. If they want students to excel academically, then they have to support them.”last_img read more

"Counselling cutbacks"

Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund director speaks about rare disease research fundraising to student senate

first_imgThe director of the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund promoted the fund’s new initiatives to raise money for research on rare diseases during an address to student senate Wednesday.The director, Sean Kassen, introduced three ways students can support the cause, including using “Coffee for a Cure” Keurig cups, collecting can tabs and taking the “Pucker Up” social media challenge.“I met with [student body president] Becca [Blais] probably about four or five months ago and said, ‘How can we partner with the students and see if we can get them more engaged?’” Kassen said.Blais suggested starting an initiative centered on three easy things students can do in the morning to fight childhood diseases, Kassen said.“Coffee for a Cure,” he said, emerged out of a collaboration between business professor and Keurig co-founder Chris Stevens and Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee.“[Mother Parkers] came to us and said [they] want to do a partnership where we do ‘Coffee for a Cure,’” Kassen said. “For every one of these little ‘K cups’ that are sold here on campus and externally, they actually give money back to the Parseghian fund.”Currently, Tim Hortons coffee sold from the L&S Personal Service Coffee website gives back to the Parseghain fund, Kassen said. For every K cup purchased, 5 cents will be donated to rare disease research, according to the website.Kassen said students can receive a discount using the code THNOTREDAME.“Not only is it a great cause, but it’s also the first recyclable cup,” he said. “You probably have some K cups in your student government office, and it’s probably Green Mountain or Starbucks, and you can’t recycle them.”The second aspect of the initiative is a can tab recycling program through the Ronald McDonald House, and the “Pucker Up” challenge is a social media-based fundraiser similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, where participants attempt to eat a slice of a lemon without puckering. Both programs are in support of rare disease research.“We’re committed to find a cure for these rare diseases,” Kassen said. “We’re trying to raise about a million-and-a-half a year.”Kassen said the Ara Parseghian Medical Fund supports rare disease research and has raised over $15 million for research on Niemann-Pick Disease Type C, which, according to the National Riemann-Pick Disease Foundation website, is also known as childhood Alzheimer’s. The website said Niemann-Pick Type C is a fatal childhood illness and has an estimated 500 diagnosed cases worldwide.“Niemann-Pick Type C is a cholesterol storage disorder,” Kassen said. “All the cells in your body actually create cholesterol. But in these kids, they can’t transport cholesterol out of their cells. The cholesterol builds up in their neurons, in their central nervous system, and that’s the first thing to go.”Three of Ara Parseghian’s grandchildren — Marcia, Christa and Michael — were diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C in 1994. Kassen said Marcia died at the age of 16, Christa at the age of 10 and Michael died just days shy of his 10th birthday.“In 1993, at about the age of 4 or 5, [Mike and Cindy] started to notice some issues [in Michael],” he said.Kassen said Michael was walking strangely and not responding to some questions. After having been to doctors all over the country with few answers, a doctor at Columbia University diagnosed the disease.“The doctor looks at the family and says, ‘I know what your son has,’” Kassen said. “‘It’s genetic, it’s fatal, only a few hundred kids have it and you have to test the rest of your kids.’”Parseghian’s son Mike and daughter-in-law Cindy lost three of their four children to the disease; only their son Ara Jr. did not have the disease, Kassen said.“As you can imagine, this was devastating,” he said. “Back in 1994, nobody knows anything about [the disease]. So [the Parseghians] said, ‘We want to try and find a cure.’”Working with Notre Dame and scientists around the world, Kassen said, the amount of research surrounding the disease increased greatly.Experimental treatments on children and animals have been able to slow the progression of the disease, and Kassen said he hopes to see the very first treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C approved within six months.Kassen said he hopes the “Coffee for a Cure” initiative continues furthering research and fundraising efforts on the Notre Dame campus.“Eventually, what Mother Parkers wants to do is have the first Fighting Irish Coffee,” he said.Duncan Hall senator and sophomore Steven Higgins recommended promoting the brand over email.“I think that if you sent out an email to student body saying that this is what buying this kind of coffee does, and here’s a link, that might be a good way for people to have it in the back of their minds,” Higgins said.Walsh Hall senator and sophomore Ellison Rooney suggested taking advantage of the [email protected] email as a way to advertise the coupon code for the coffee.Kassen asked the senators to promote “Coffee for a Cure” to their clubs and residence halls.“If you have an opportunity for us, let me know,” he said. “If student government will help push this out, even better. This is sort of a first conversation, which I hope is a long relationship.”Tags: Ara Parseghian, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, Niemann-Pick Disease Type C, Notre Dame Student Senate, rare diseaseslast_img read more

"Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund director speaks about rare disease research fundraising to student senate"

ASIA program

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaBrutus stood patiently as yet another student pulled on a glove up to her shoulder. The steer has gotten used to people sticking their hands through the fistula, or tube, in his side, reaching into his stomach and squeezing a handful of his lunch.The steer is doing his part to help attract students into animal and dairy sciences at the University of Georgia.Recently, 54 high school students gloved up and reached through Brutus’ side as a part of the two-day Animal Science in Action program designed to spark students’ interests in agriculture.”The best way to get kids is to recruit early,” said Steve Nickerson, ADS department head in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.ADS is already one of the UGA college’s largest departments, with 165 undergraduates on the CAES Athens and Tifton campuses. Nickerson said their short-term goal is to enroll 200 students.”One percent of the whole U.S. population feeds the rest of the country,” Nickerson said. “What’s going to happen in 10 to 20 years? We’ve got to recruit more kids into production agriculture in order to feed the growing population in the future.”The job demand is high for animal and dairy science students who don’t become veterinarians. Four to five jobs are waiting for each of them at graduation, Nickerson said.Nickerson estimates that 20 percent of the Animal Science in Action students eventually enroll at UGA under his department. Another 20 percent ends up elsewhere in the CAES.The program is open to high school rising juniors and seniors and mostly draws students from Georgia. This year, however, one girl flew from New York, and another drove up from Florida to attend.With more jobs than applicants, the outlook is good for students with ADS degrees. “There is a need now in the animal and dairy industry for all the graduates they can get,” said ADS professor William Graves.But what really attracts students to the increasingly popular recruiting program is its hands-on approach, Graves said. And vaccinating a piglet and sticking an arm into a fistulated cow is about as hands-on as it gets.Good news for the industry and the department is that enrollment in the two-day Animal Science in Action camp was up in 2006. In fact, for the first time ever, Graves had to coordinate two buses full of students.Even better is that the department “has been advising a lot of freshmen this summer,” Graves said. “We’re very excited about that.”The hands-on part of the department helps attract students to our programs,” he said. So does the veterinary college, which pulls many of its students from the CAES animal and dairy science program.”We seem to place our kids very well within the industry,” Graves said. “A lot of them end up in the vet school or in graduate school.”The department is also dealing with the fact that “so many people nowadays don’t know where milk comes from,” Nickerson said. From tours for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program high school applicants to Animal Science in Action, the department is educating people on knowledge that was commonplace 100 years ago.Recently, ADS had a Beef 101 class for 26 chefs and others who work in the restaurant industry to educate them on where the beef they serve comes from.”Many of them had never touched a cow,” Nickerson said. “It gave them an appreciation of where a cut comes from.”(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

"ASIA program"

Elmont Man Reported Missing

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Thomas KellyUPDATE: Thomas Kelly has been found.Nassau County police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 62-year-old man who was reported missing in Elmont over the weekend.Police said Thomas Kelly was last seen on Covert Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. Friday.He is described as 5-feet, 11-inches tall, 155 pounds with salt and pepper hair and blue eyes.It is not clear what he was wearing at the time of his disappearance. Police noted that Kelly needs medication.Detectives request anyone with information regarding this crime to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.  All callers will remain anonymous.last_img read more

"Elmont Man Reported Missing"