Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day – A Personal Perspective

It has been a while since I have put some ideas down on my blog but today seemed like a good day to come back. When I woke up this morning I was not thinking about suicide. I honestly never really think about it because I don’t think I have any suicidal tendencies. But when I got to my office I fired up my favorite radio program; The John in the Morning Show on KEXP out of Seattle. Each morning if I am in the office going about my day I will stream this station. Their music mix is amazing and they are the kind of socially responsible art I want to be a part of. John is great at knowing he is speaking to a global audience and while the show is apologetically Seattle he knows we hear him in Orlando too. Continue reading

Pop Culture Blind Spots – Marvel Universe and Game of Thrones Edition

The past few weeks have been rough for a guy who cherishes his encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture. I believe I am veritable wasteland of useless knowledge and pithy opinions on music, movies, and television. I am a 46 year-old man but I got up early on Tuesday to take a look at the latest fashion on the red carpet at the Met Gala. And, like always, it did not disappoint. I am often the ringer on any trivia team. Trust me, you want me on your side when it comes to worthless barroom questions on listing movies Hugh Grant was in or what was the release year of the Clash’s London Calling. And I’m even better at sports. Want to know what happened in the 1996 NBA Finals? I’m your guy. The last five gold medalists in women’s Olympic figure skating, done. Continue reading

Gen X Chronicles – Every generation has their Saturday Night Live cast

This week on Saturday Night Live former cast member Adam Sandler hosted and it certainly had a throwback feel. From the opening monologue he had Chris Rock on the stage trading jokes. There were plenty of silly songs, the Opera Man made an appearance, and there was a skit dedicated to many of his more outrageous characters in his movies. It was, as SNL episodes go, an above average episode. And I should know, I have been watching and have watched virtually every SNL episode since I stumbled upon the Buckwheat’s Been Shot episode in March of 1983. I was ten years old and while I may not have understood every skit it introduced me to humor in a profound way. Since that episode I likely have seen 800 episodes of this Saturday Night tradition. Continue reading

Are internships really that great? It depends #500daysofwriting

For decades the conventional wisdom for students in college has been in addition to your coursework it is a really good idea to get an internship. Internships provide eager students with a window into the working world, provide valuable skills and work experience, and help the student network their way into a career. Of course these opportunities come with a price. Internships are, by their very nature, designed to be a bit of a boot camp for the interns. Students toil away at sometimes menial tasks with the hope to be included in major projects or given tasks which allow them to showcase their talent. And of course the experience can vary widely from deeply involved and rewarding to the stereotype of the intern getting coffee and the dry cleaning. Continue reading

Its Not About The Salmon, but it Kinda is

Two weeks ago I was at a major higher education conference. I was invited by a partner of the Florida Consortium to attend the conference and sit on a panel on employability and nomenclature. It was a huge success. I enjoyed working with my peers to discuss this important topic and to suggest ways business and universities can work together to create more sensible and transferrable terminology for students moving from the classroom to the workplace. But this is not a blog post about that. It is about what I experienced at the conference that now shade my feelings on higher education forever.
First, it should be noted that the conference is expensive. Participants paid over $3,000 each to attend and it was held in a city known for expensive hotel rates, higher than average airline fares, and the food is plenty expensive. I was lucky in that I did not have to pay for a registration because I was an invited speaker. So one would expect the event to be nice. And it was. Continue reading

Getting the Doctorate is all about timing

I graduated with my EdD in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M – Commerce in 2011. It was the right, albeit, expensive choice for me. Since receiving my doctorate degree I have gone on to serve as the director of the office of Student Involvement at the University of Central Florida, teaching the higher education department at the same school and now serve as the Executive Director of the Florida Consortium. I have had more chances to present, write, and speak in environments where I know my EdD was a critical designation for my selection. So being Dr. Preston has been a good thing overall. Continue reading

The Unseen and Seldom Talked About Responsibility of Privilege

I am sitting at a deli in downtown Atlanta on a chilly Friday. I am attending the AAC&U Annual Meeting and it is time for lunch. As you can tell by the picture I had a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup and I got a Diet Coke (after all this is Atlanta, home of Coke). This morning I enjoyed breakfast at my hotel (one that I did not pay for out of my pocket). I got here using a plane ticket paid for by my employer, rode the MARTA train, attended the conference, and tweeted about my experience on a phone that was subsidized by my employer. Throughout the conference I will enjoy complimentary snacks at a reception, be provided unlimited tea, coffee, water, and soda, and given lots of resources I get to take home. I have to admit, it’s pretty great. Continue reading

How I learned to be the trimtab and not the boat

Working for a university is hard work. There is a lot of pressure to perform and you always know that a failure at your work affects if students can do their work. There is also the pressure that comes from the perceived pressure to be great all of the time. Finally, there is the issue of impostership. When you are constantly surrounded by really smart and accomplished people there is a sense that you don’t quite measure up and you will one day be “found out”. I find from time to time I suffer from this lack of confidence and push myself to be all things to all people. But I am getting over it, here’s how. Continue reading

Like it or not, College is Vocational Training through personal enrichment

As the Executive Director of a multi-university Consortium I get an opportunity to interact with a lot of different folks, doing a myriad of jobs, and with differing impacts on college students. Working with three universities representing over 180,000 students in large metropolitan cities like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando I get to assemble teams of university professionals which include faculty, administrators, community leaders, and student leaders. While the topics and discussions range in subject matter and importance there seems to be a prevailing and ongoing conversation as to the importance of college and its role in a modern society. Continue reading

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