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Practical Study Tips for College Students from South University Faculty & Staff

by South University
September 7, 2018
A photo of South University medical assisting student studying at a computer.

When you start classes, it’s normal to be nervous about how to study for a test or fit coursework into your daily life. Whether you’ve been out of school for years or you’re just unsure about beginning a new program, we’re here for you. To help you build good study habits, we’ve compiled our favorite study tips for college classes provided by South University faculty and staff, including:

  • Mark Fabbri, PhD, Online Programs, Psychology Chair
  • Alexandra Young, Academic Manager
  • Rachel Mitchell, MLIS, Director of Online Library Services

A photo of South University, Online Programs student studying at a computer. 1. Carve out time for studying in your day.

Mark Fabbri, our Online Programs Psychology Chair explains, "Finding time can be the greatest challenge to studying. We all have busy lives and sometimes putting studying on top of the list is difficult."

To address this problem, use a journal to track how you spend your day, noting when you’re doing something valuable versus simply passing time—but don’t count all down time as wasted. For example, Fabbri prioritizes playing Minecraft in the evenings because it’s his way to relax.

"I also have a grandchild to watch, parents to care for, my daughter's new novel to proofread, and I need to somewhere find the time to work and exercise," says Fabbri, who is currently working on adding another degree to his extensive credentials. "By looking at what I do daily, I was able to block out 1 to 2 hours a day to read and study early in the morning when I first get up. That also seems to be when I am most alert for studying. Everyone is different, but the key is finding the best time to study for your own schedule."

2. Be smart about the places you study.

Fabbri asserts that where you study is equally as important as when. "Removing distractions so you can focus on reading your text or articles needs to be a priority," he says.

Don't study in front of the TV or somewhere your children or housemates will distract you. Quiet libraries are often among the best places to study, as are coffee shops. If you study at home, play white noise or classical music (some of the best music for studying) to drown out distracting noises.

3. Make your study habits routine.

"Consistency is critical to success," says Alexandra Young, an Academic Manager at South University. "Do your school work at the same time and in the same place every day to start forming good study habits."

To stay on track, set regular reminders through South University"s online learning platform Brightspace or mark time off for repeat tasks on a physical calendar or agenda. Just remember—creating a routine isn’t easy. If you slip up, don’t feel guilty. Recommit to your routine the very next day. “It can take months for good study habits to stick," Young says.

A photo of South University, Online Programs student studying at a computer. 4. Study in short bursts.

Cramming in all your studying at once is not effective. "You will learn the material for your assignment then forget it,” says Young. It’s also not the best way to study for a test, as you might forget what you studied by the time the test is in front of you.

Young advises studying for 20 to 30 minutes at a time and then taking a 5-minute break, repeating this process 1 to 2 hours a day. "Set a timer for studying. Stay focused and don’t check your phone. If you struggle with getting distracted, use software or apps to block extraneous websites for set times," says Young. "During your break, stand up, walk away, and give your mind a chance to rest."

5. Plan ahead and start early.

Planning ahead leaves room for surprises, says Director of Online Library Services, Rachel Mitchell. "Waiting until the last minute depletes any margin you might need due to technical issues or unexpected circumstances," she says. "It's possible you'll need clarification on an assignment or reading. When you procrastinate, there's no time left to hear back from an instructor, colleague, or tutor."

Mitchell suggests noting important course dates in your calendar and setting deadlines for yourself ahead of those dates to give yourself that extra wiggle room. She also likes psychologist Tamar Chansky's recommendation to "set up the launch pad and walk away." The idea is that if you set yourself up for a task beforehand, you're less likely to procrastinate later. "Before your study session, get out your computer, pen, paper, whatever you need," says Mitchell. "Take a quick break and then come back to everything all set up and ready to go."

6. Ask for help.

Admitting you don't know something can feel intimidating, but South University makes so many resources available to you--including tutoring, the library, instructors, and writing centers.

"As soon as you have a question, reach out! Asking saves you time and energy," says Mitchell.

"If you’re unsure about an assignment, contact your instructor right away. Anytime you need help with research, citations, or finding information on a topic, contact the library. We are here to help!"

Young agrees, adding that Admissions Representatives and Academic Counselors can also help with questions about how to study in college. "If your graduation team knows your concerns, they will be better equipped to point you in the right direction."

Get moving on your academic success!

Students can find contact information in the Campus Common for their Admissions and Academic support teams, instructors, campus or online libraries, and other resources that can help you build your college study skills.

If you’re interested in learning about South University and our programs, request information or call 1.800.688.0932 today!

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Columbia BSN Students and Faculty Publish Article Offering Advice on Nurse Bullying

by South University
July 9, 2018
A photo of two South University nursing students

While bullying in any workplace is a concern, bullying in healthcare settings can be a serious issue with the potential to impact patient care and inhibit teamwork and communication among nurses. Earlier this year, a group of South University, Columbia instructors and Bachelor of Science in Nursing students published an article in the April 2018 Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services focusing on the bullying of student nurses in clinicals.

The authors of the article include:

  • Sandra Renee Henley, PhD,MSN, RN, Assistant Professor, South University, Columbia
  • Carlos Paxtor, BSN student
  • Rodriques Perry, BSN student
  • Hillary Wren, BSN student
  • Kimberly Samuel-White, BSN student
  • Brittany Roseborough, BSN student
  • Nautika Wills-Smith, BSN Program Graduate, RN
  • Carolyn Horner, Ed.D, Assistant Program Director, General Studies

Entitled "An Opinion on Mistreatment Faced by Student Nurses During Clinical," the piece explains how bullying imposed on new nurses as an initiation to the profession—an act described in the phrase "nurses eat their young"—can lower the ability and desire of student nurses to learn as well as compromise the care received by patients. The article also offers advice for those involved and affected by nurse bullying.

Advice for Student Nurses

If bullying occurs during clinicals, student nurses should directly confront staff nurses, the authors assert. While this can be a difficult conversation to have, it is important to remain calm and base the discussion in logic and in a shared desire to provide quality care for patients. Addressing and resolving the issue, can allow you, as a student nurse, to better focus on your patients and increase your learning throughout your clinical rotations.

The authors also suggest that students notify their clinical instructors of any bullying or mistreatment, so that the clinical instructor can offer guidance and help to resolve the situation.

Advice for Staff Nurses & Clinical Instructors

Look to be part of the solution by being a good example and role model in the workplace. The responsibility of preventing bullying and improving patient care and student learning is a shared one. Identify and assess your own patterns of behavior as well as those of your colleagues, and be sure that you are helping to create an environment that encourages learning, teamwork, and communication among everyone. Ultimately, this will result in better prepared nurses and better treatment of the patients in your facility.

Moving Forward Together

Clinical rotations are a time for student nurses to discover their potential to improve patients' lives and for them to build a foundation of knowledge and experience upon which their careers will grow. It is because of the critical importance of the clinical experience that student nurses must address and overcome any obstacles—bullying and otherwise—to patient care, learning, and teamwork, while the rest of the nursing and healthcare field should work to support student nurses and prevent them from encountering unnecessary roadblocks as they begin their journey in healthcare.

View the full text of the article to learn more and educate yourself on the topic of nursing bullying.

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South University Volunteers Help to Develop IT Skills in Autism Community

by South University
June 22, 2018
A photo of an information technology professional using a computer.

Angelo E. Thalassinidis, PhD, Chair of the Department of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Tampa, first started volunteering with the MacDonald Training Center (MTC) at their Help Desk around 7 years ago, and it’s a partnership that, over the years, has kept growing.

Founded in 1953, MTC was one of the first US preschools for children with disabilities and has been a leader in serving individuals with disabilities ever since. They currently offer educational, vocational, and residential support programs to individuals with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities in Tampa and Plant City, Florida.

IT Career Opportunities for People with Autism

By 2020, the US will have nearly 3 million adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and, of the current adults with ASD, 70-90% are categorized as underemployed or unemployed.

"There is a huge question as to how we can help this community escape the barriers to employment that they face," says Dr. Thalassinidis. "So, we are asking what more can the Macdonald Training Center do, as well as what can we as a department do to be more involved in addressing this issue."

According to the National Institute for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), part of the problem is that traditional efforts to employ these adults focus largely on social deficiencies rather than cognitive strengths. Interestingly, Dr. Thalassinidis and other academics note that many people with ASD have strengths uniquely suited for careers within the information technology field, including high-demand areas like cyber security. Not only do most people with ASD have average or above average IQs, NICE reports that many of these individuals are skilled in:

  • Critical thinking
  • Rapid pattern recognition
  • Efficient quantitative analysis of data
  • Precision focus

"There are tracks within information technology where people with differences perform much better than the average person," explains Dr. Thalassinidis. "In those areas, we need people with special skills, and some of those special skills are commonly found within the disability realm."

Building a Partnership & a Solution: South University & MTC

With curriculum development support from South University and Dr. Thalassinidis, MTC has recently launched an innovative training program, Excellence in Computer Education and Learning (EXCEL), designed to help prepare youth on the autism spectrum for careers in technical industries and positions.

Currently, the South University, Tampa department has one IT instructor teaching at MTC, an experience they hope to learn from and build on. “We are starting with a course on Microsoft Office Software right now, but the dream is to expand to cybersecurity,” says Dr. Thalassinidis, explaining that their first priority is understanding the educational needs and learning styles of this population.

In the near future, Dr. Thalassinidis hopes to start having South University students volunteer at MTC under the guidance of the IT instructor. He believes doing so will not only help the instructor reach more students but will also contribute to the University’s mission of helping to shape the character of our students.

"We strive to develop our students as citizens. We try constantly to instill volunteerism into their everyday life by engaging them in community events on and off campus," says Dr. Thalassinidis.

From working with and better integrating disability communities into society to offering local organizations a helping hand, this practice of supporting each other and focusing on our strengths is what Dr. Thalassinidis believes will help us to keep up with the technology that is continually reshaping our lives.

"By looking at and working on our strengths rather than our weaknesses, by looking at and embracing diversity and change, this is how we will be able to survive all of this disruptive innovation and evolution in technology that we are experiencing."

Learn more about the MacDonald Training Center here or about South University Information Systems and Technology programs here.

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Meet Claire Stigler: An Instructor Passionate about the Art of Teaching and Healing

by South University
June 18, 2018
A photo of Dr. Claire Stigler.

Dr. Claire Stigler is an Assistant Professor in the Public Health Department at South University, Austin.

She holds an MS in Human Biology from the University of Indianapolis, where she studied paleopathology and trauma in historic skeletal populations in the Archeology and Forensics Laboratory and the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory. Fascinated by the elegance and resilience of the human form, she pursued her Doctorate in Chiropractic medicine at National University of Health Sciences and earned her degree in 2013.

Dr. Stigler has been teaching anatomy and physiology courses to Public Health and Physical Therapy Assistant students at South University, Austin since 2015. She is passionate about science and medicine and strives to share the beauty and complexity of human anatomy with each of her students. She believes that, living in a global community, we all have a responsibility to leave things in better condition than when we found then. Working in education allows her to do exactly that, as she takes every opportunity to act with compassion and lead with a generous heart to provide a positive role model for her students.

Outside of teaching, Dr. Stigler maintains a private chiropractic practice in Austin and is currently completing her Applied Clinical Nutrition certification. In all things, Dr. Stigler aims to help others create the happiest, healthiest version of their lives and achieve their optimum level of wellness in mind, body, and spirit.

Learn more about South University, Austin and our program offerings today!

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School of Pharmacy Faculty & Student Published in US Pharmacist Journal

by South University
May 31, 2018
A photo of the South University, Columbia School of Pharmacy building.

When becoming a pharmacist, you promise to devote yourself to a "lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy."

As part of this oath, pharmacists dedicate themselves to improving patient care through continuous lifelong learning and unwavering professional advocacy. They also commit to doing all they can to prepare the next generation of pharmacists to follow in their footsteps.

Three of our School of Pharmacy faculty and one student have recently exemplified this oath and their commitment to knowledge development and sharing with their May 2018 publication, "Treacher Collins Syndrome," in the monthly US Pharmacist journal. The authors, all affiliated with the Doctor of Pharmacy program at South University, Columbia, include:

  • Dr. Natasha Colvin, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, South University, Columbia
  • Dr. Harskin Hayes, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, South University, Columbia
  • Dr. Alyson Shirer, Adjunct Instructor of Pharmacy Practice, South University, Columbia
  • Ms. Arnethia Wills, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class of 2018, South University, Columbia

Photos of Dr. Natasha Colvin,Dr. Harskin Hayes,Dr. Alyson Shirer,Ms. Arnethia Wills

According to their article, Treacher Collins syndrome, or TCS, is a rare genetic disease that occurs in approximately 1 in 50,000 live births and affects craniofacial development. The physical anomalies resulting from this disease can lead to hearing, eating, vision, and breathing problems.

Written to inform and support fellow pharmacy professionals, the article reviews the following:

  • TCS features
  • Risk factors
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Investigate treatment (or treatments currently in the research phase)
  • TCS in the media

"Although pharmacotherapy is not a major component of TCS treatment, familiarity with the disease, its management, and available resources may help pharmacists serve affected patients, their families, and the public,” the authors explain.

To read the full piece, visit the US Pharmacist website. Congratulations to all involved for developing this informative article and contributing to the education of pharmacists everywhere!

Learn more about South University’s Doctor of Pharmacy program today.

Source: The Oath of a Pharmacist

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