Month: March 2012

Internet Security Certification Achieved!

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How much do I know about the internet? Quite a bit actually. How much do I know about security? A respectable amount, but probably not as much as I understand about breaking into systems, breaking into other people’s computers remotely, and hijacking backend systems through low-grade injection models. Looking at the amount of materials I have access to and the understanding I have, I studied for a few short days to brush up my skills, and gave this a shot. Achieving this certification through BrainBench actually allowed me to expand my knowledge enough to talk with One of my co-workers, Ms. Cherry, about internet security and sound like a knowledgeable individual.


Internet Security Specialist Certification Achieved!

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Internet Security Specialist Certification Achieved!

Today, my oldest daughter let me know that today was Pi Day, and that her school would be celebrating Pi Day by allowing students to sample several different types of Pies in the Gym. I don’t get to have pie. That’s a real downer.

Its partly a downer because while I’m sitting in a lab taking an examination based on my knowledge of internet security, my daughters are both chowing down on pie. I defy you to tell me that that is fair.

Anyhow, I’ve been studying up on internet security over the last month or so with an eye toward getting this certification. It was a wonderful vaidation that my knowledge of internet security methods and actions rises above simple concepts exploration, and into certification from brainbench with the notation of internet security specialist.

Tyler Dockery Became a certified internet security specialist with
Tyler Dockery Became a certified internet security specialist with

The Search for Grant Funding

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The Search for Grant Funding was presented by Lisa Bulls and Richard Sullins. It was an information session on how to locate potential sources of grant funding for projects big and small, and how to begin the process of developing an idea into a winning proposal .

The session was strongly tilted toward using the school as a resource, and the upcoming “foundation” efforts. The Wake Tech Foundation (to which I contribute monthly) is a great resource for teachers. They will be willing to help with the wording of the paperworks necessary to complete your proposal.

The remaining portion of the development was a short list of grant proposal websites. I had hoped for some hands-on discussions, but there simply wasn’t enough time. I hope to put some of this work to work for me.

Leadership: Management Styles

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Leadership managment stylesToday’s leadership professional development session: Management Styles, was presented by Sam Strickland

In order to be more effective, organizations will have to move to more organic and participative management styles.As the workforce- especially the workforce in top institutions such as Wake Tech Community College- gets more educated, we see a stronger relationship forming between education, management styles, and institutional effectiveness. In today’s professional development session, Sam Strickland made a clear connection between a more participative management style and education and skills.

Unfortunately, numbers that showed a more educated workforce did not necessarily show an increase in organizational ability. If you want to have an effective management style in a heavily-educated workforce, you must adjust your organizational design and management style.

Three ways in which organizational design and management style can affect:

  1. organizational effectiveness
  2. individual performance motivation
  3. existence of organizational communication, coordination, and control mechanisms

These allow the performance of individuals to come together in ways that produce an effective organization; as well as individual performance capability.


Organizational effectiveness

Historically, there is a strong connections between the level of organization within an institution and its effectiveness. There are many different management styles, but no “magic bullet” style that is always effective. The key to organizational effectiveness is finding the particular approach to management that fits the type of demands a particular technology places on the organization. This should be taken to heart within each department and division.

Individual performance motivation

Motivation is frequently given in terms of individual rewards, however, this does not always translate to organizational success. In order for the organization- say Wake Tech, for instance- to succeed, smart management will make a clear, visible connection between the success of the individual and the success of the organization. Self-managing teams are another great way to help individuals feel responsible for organizational performance.

In an organization our size, the best management styles will contribute a sense of organizational performance, because they create an environment in which the individual feels they can influence the direction an organization takes, the decisions it makes, and future strategies or tactics the organization employs.

Existence of organizational communication, coordination, and control mechanisms

For an organization to effectively come together, there must exist a means of organizational communication, coordination and mechanisms of control that allows the performance of individuals to come together in ways that produce a quality organization. Teams need information on their performance for self-management and interfacing with other teams.

High Involvement Systems

High involvement systems by their very nature require greater individual performance capability on the part of the employees than other systems. These systems call for individuals to influence decisions, exercise a broader range of skills on the job, and interact with people in groups and settings outside of the norms of most business settings.

Planning for Your Next Opportunity

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Planning for Your Next Opportunity was a professional development session co-presented by Gayle Greene, Rita Jerman, Anthony Caison.

In this session, presenters will share lessons learned along their career paths that may help you establish your own path and position yourself when opportunity comes knocking!  This development session was mainly a discussion for staff members, focusing on making connections, asking your boss for new opportunities, excelling in your current roles, and discussing your desire to move up into management

A section was included about briefly discussing getting higher grades on your performance reviews through rising above your job expectations. The most important thing they pointed out, and kept referring to, was that even when taking on new jobs and new expectations within your current job, it is vitally important that you continue to do an excellent job at your current position. Losing a foothold in your new job when taking on new opportunities will NOT look good when asking to take on new responsibilities in a new work opportunity

This session was very informative, although it was not really very helpful as far as teaching faculty were concerned.

Understanding the Performance Appraisal Process and Performance Management

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Today I attended a professional development session: Understanding the Performance Appraisal Process and Performance Management as presented by Benita Clark.

In this session, employees with Wake Tech Community College had the opportunity to ask questions about the Performance Appraisal Process. The question: “What does it take to get a 4?” was explained and examples provided on what it takes to “exceed expectations”. HR was also there to answer questions about the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and that process as well.

A little bit about this development session was bait-and-switch. When discussing “What It Takes to Get A 4”, the team basically pointed out that everyone wants a “4” (out of 4) on their performance appraisal review, and that receiving a 3 should be enough. We had recently switched from a 5 out of 5 system, and part of the presentation on “What It Takes to Get A 4” was centered around 4 actually being the new 3. And how “meets expectations” was the new standard.

In the second portion of the class, they gave examples of staff members going above and beyond to receive a “4” rating in the new system. This upset quite a few people. First, the difference between staff and faculty is a pretty large gulf. The things that staff would do to receive high grades might include taking on a big project, heading a committee with the school president on it, or getting new outside funding for the school. Secondly, the examples for receiving a “4” rating included things many people already did but were not receiving “4” ratings for: having extended office hours, building new or updated curriculum for your departments, teaching 5 or more classes in a semester, getting stellar ratings on your course evaluations, posting more than 5 office hours during the week, leading a student club, lecturing to clubs or outside groups, running special projects for the deans, etc.

This ended up with lots of muttering and displeasure from faculty members asking questions about how they could bring information from this session to their supervisors to boost their scores, how they could retroactively improve their performance reports, and how some people were already doing these things for years and had never seen top scores.

In the end, we discussed this topic so much, and so animatedly, that this part of the session ended with a note very loudly from Benita Clark that the ultimate determining factor in your performance review came from your supervisor.

At this point I mentioned that during my most recent performance evaluation, my supervisor had said “We are supposed to give every single teacher a 3. We aren’t EVER supposed to give out a 4 rating unless it has been pre-approved by the Dean.” Benita mentioned again that everyone wanted to get a 4, and that each department was different.

We had taken up so much time with our Q&A session that we had to rush extremely fast through the PIP session. The Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) session was short, sweet, to the point. Benita wrote here email on the board and suggested any future questions could be addressed to her directly.

Getting Familiar with FERPA!

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Getting Familiar with FERPA! was a professional development session presented by Amanda Roberts & Salanna Holmes urging us not to be afraid of FERPA.

The Registrar’s Office presenters invited us to join them for an informative, interactive session on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This professional development session was designed to update staff and faculty on recent changes in the federal law (or Wake Tech policy regarding FERPA) and to dismantle the fears and misnomers surrounding this very important piece of legislation.

I found it very enlightening. I had been warned of noting “Yes, you could stop there, but its C-level work” during one of my first teaching sessions in the late 2000s. Noting what grade a student COULD receive did not constitute a FERPA violation, but it could if discussing their final works.

It was interesting to note the required steps for giving information out to a priveledged   party was so involved. Each intersted student had to fill out forms, including a secret FERPA password, and neither I nor the staff would know about the password until the records were needed. Its very serious stuff, but NOT something covered in our training sessions. It was good knowledge to get.

Building Budgets in Bad Times

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Building Budgets in Bad Times was a presentation given by Jennifer Willis, Benita Budd, and Steve Prescott. What are the budget forecasts for 2012 and 2013? Will community colleges face more budget cuts?

Unfortunately, the answer was yes. The real trouble for 2012 had to do with monies. None was set aside by the state for employee raises, and so the only way new raises could be given was through a process involving the changing of titles. Unfortunately, few if any new titles were going to be surfacing.

Jennifer Willis, from the System Office, updated the attendees on what to expect. Steve Prescott and Benita Budd explained the community college budget process, and the rising importance of FTE’s (Full Time Enrollments) in the process of raising and accumulating funds.

In the end, they also gave great tips on faculty advocacy and key talking points for getting others to join in and helping to meet your legislators and raise money.

Plenary II: Student Learning, Outcomes and Completion

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Plenary II: Student Learning, Outcomes and Completion
This plenary session M.C. Carrie Bartek allowed faculty and staff in Career Programs to learn about how our educational programs assess student outcomes and how these outcomes are used to increase student success and completion. Results of student learning outcomes assessment in our courses and how they are used to help students complete will be shared.

Contributing department heads presented their SLO’s (Student Learning Outcomes) to the assembly, as well as their numbers and the results of their work. Especially well presented was Alison Consol’s work with Advertising and Graphic Design classwork, and the materials presented by Simulation and Game Development.

This session was followed by poster presentations in the great hall.

HTML5 Certification Achieved!

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HTML5 Certification Achieved!

My training in HTML started in 1996. Stop laughing. I didn’t use it much, finding it clunky and difficult to work with. Programs like Web Warrior used some of the first WYSIWYG interfaces, but their setup was basically put together to show you what you had done, rather than allow you to design visually. Later, in 2000 I got to know Macromedia Dreamweaver 2.0 and Adobe Golive, finding GoLive to be the better of the two. That said, I took training in Macromedia Dreamweaver to get to know it better when receiving my certification in Web Design from the University of Georgia (UGA). In all honesty, I used Adobe GoLive more often, because I simply couldn’t afford a full working version of Macromedia Dreamweaver until about 2005.

Well, a lot has changed between 2012 and 2005. HTML had upgraded to HTML5 some time ago, but implementation of it is still spotty at best. That said, we have classes that teach HTML5 and my grasp on the new items such as sections, articles, headers, footers, HTML5 video and HTML5 audio were tenuous at best. This will only become more visible, more popular, and more widespread as time goes on.

As such, I had decided I would spend some time learning about HTML5 over the last few weeks, and I felt my grasp on this was good enough to seek certification. I’m glad I achieved this certification in HTML5, but I’m more glad that I understand the core concepts and specifics about this new coding style.

Tyler Dockery is certified in HTML5 coding through
Tyler Dockery is certified in HTML5 coding through