Staff & Faculty

The staff & faculty at Coleman University bring a wealth of experience and in-depth industry knowledge. We’ve asked our service departments and instructors from all degree programs to share their insight and unique perspective.

If there’s a particular topic you would like to learn more about, or if you have questions, please let us know.

 

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Running is her passion: Leia Guillermo, Student Services, Coleman University

What would it take for you to run 23 miles in three days? Would you do it for money, fame, bragging rights, or for some cool gear?

Well, there is more than that in running a marathon for Leia Guillermo, a counselor in the Student Services department at Coleman University. In January, she completed her 38th marathon in Anaheim at the Disneyland® Star Wars Three Day Marathon. She ran the 5K, 10K, and the half marathon for a total of 23 miles, which is truly impressive! We interviewed Leia about her passion for running and her experience in the marathon community.

How long have you been running in total?

“I started in 2013, so this March will be 4 years.”

What got you started? Do you just love running?

“Well no, actually I hate running! What happened was, when I was 13, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I had to have surgery to correct it, but before then I was super active and afterwards I was super discouraged. I turned in a lazy bum. Then, one day my friend asked me to join her for a run and I agreed to go, but I kept putting it off. The first 5K that I actually signed up for was an ’80s-them run. I just decided to do it and not care about how fast I could finish it.

Then, I just started joining more and more races. I joined a half marathon on a whim. My first half marathon was for UC San Diego Health. I don’t know how I got addicted to it. I hate running, and you have to get up so early in the morning! But, I think it’s the people I meet that keep me going back. Everyone has an interesting story.”

What is one of your favorite medals that you have ever won?

“Definitely the Star Wars ones. The one from last year was the Kessel Run and the medal was one of the coolest I have seen.”

What is something that you have learned about yourself in becoming a runner?

“You go beyond your own expectations or self-doubts. I discovered I could go beyond what I thought were my limits.”

So, are you a member of any running clubs in San Diego? How do you hear about all of these races?

“I meet people in the community who tell me about races they are planning to run, and I am currently a race ambassador, so I promote different races in San Diego. Through that, I also meet other ambassadors who tell me about races they are working for. This year, I am a race ambassador for the Hot Chocolate run on March 26th in San Diego. It’s a 5K and a 15K.”

Does the theme of these marathon help motivate you to keep going?

“Yeah, it has to be themed. The entry fee for the Disneyland ones are very expensive, but others, like the Rock ‘n’ Roll one in San Diego, are less expensive and still a lot of fun. I like big races; the smaller ones without a theme are not as much fun to me. The first half marathon I ever did was in San Diego and I run it every year because it was my first. It is the only one I run that doesn’t have a theme.”

Do you dress up for these themed runs?

I usually don’t dress up because I just want to get out there and start running. But, this year was the first time I ever dressed up for a race. I wore a Ren costume for the Star Wars Half Marathon. It was hard to run in costume! I am so impressed by all of the costumes I see because I know it’s hard to run wearing extra stuff, so I don’t think I will dress up again.”

So what’s next for you?

“Well, in 3 weeks I am actually going to Disney World® to do the Princess Half Marathon, which is a Beauty and the Beast theme.”

Will you see any celebrities there?

“You do see some celebrities regularly at Disneyland marathons. I see Joey Fatone from NSYNC a lot. Sean Aston (Lord of the Rings) is at almost all of the Disney runs. I also see celebrities from the running community, as well.”

Are there any marathons on your Bucket List?

“Yeah, there’s a marathon at Disneyland Paris. I also want to do to the Boston Marathon®, but you need to qualify for it, so it will have to wait.”

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into marathon running?

“Sign up for a run you think will be really fun. Once you have made that commitment, it will be more important for you to go and finish it.”

If you are interested in the Hot Chocolate run in San Diego, visit https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sandiego. Enter SDSWAG2 at checkout for a free visor with your registration.

Coleman encourages all staff and students to engage in health and wellness habits like Leia’s. If there are any marathons you have run and would like to share your success story, send an email to ssanchez@coleman.edu.

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An Interview with Leticia Rabor

Leticia Rabor headshotThe faculty at Coleman is a diverse and interesting community. We have instructors from across the nation, and outside of it, who have a vast array of experiences and knowledge that make our university that much more dynamic. One of the strongest aspects of our faculty community is the continued effort to learn and grow. That desire to learn drove one of our Software Development instructors, Leticia Rabor, to fly to San Francisco for an exciting conference. We sat down with Leticia to discuss her time at the AnDevCon event and get some insight into what is trending in Mobile Development, which is one of the classes that she teaches.

When we asked her what motivated her to go to the conference, Leticia replied “it was beneficial for my personal and professional growth and I learned a lot from the experience”. The AnDevCon is an Android Development Tech Conference that has multiple events throughout the United States and acts as a networking and learning seminar for individuals in the field as well as companies looking to promote their latest developments. Big names like Google, Amazon, and Android Studio were present to meet with developers and showcase their newest creations. According to Leticia there were over 80 workshops being presented that weekend, and all of them were focused on the up and coming tech being created, and the next generation of mobile development for Android. One of the workshops that Leticia attended discussed Proguard in the Android SDK, a Java Optimizer that was led by the original developer/creator himself. According to Leticia there were multiple workshops that were also lead by original developers, such as one that provided an in depth tour of the Gradle Build System.

Leticia Rabor at AnDevCon

One of the best experiences she had was being a part of a “Design Sprint Workshop” presented by Google. Different teams of developers with various backgrounds worked together to create an application that would help match entry level or professional workers with mentors in their career community. The teams had the opportunity to apply the 5 phase framework to accomplish a specific goal. At the end of the workshop the attendees voted on the best designs. The purpose of the Design Sprint Workshop is to gain familiarity with the methods and walk away with a set of tools you can incorporate into your product development process. Leticia plans to bring this type of coding collaboration to her classes to allow students to better prepare for workplace collaboration, communication, and develop their design skills. We also discussed the special events for women in technology that were hosted by the convention. She attended an exclusive luncheon for “Women Who Code” where she was able to meet and network with hundreds of women in the field.

Speaker at AnDevCon

One of the most interesting presentations that she attended was a discussion on the development of Machine Learning at the Google Keynote Seminar. Machine learning is a key evolution in the fields of computer science, data analysis, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. Speakers from around the nation presented the latest advancements in this technology and what may be coming in the near future for this type of programming. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience for Leticia is making sure to encourage students to go to these events. She said “It is really important that students go to these conferences so that they can network and experience this for themselves”. After hearing about all the incredible presentations that were at this conference, it is hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to go! The next stop for this conference is Washington D.C.  in 2017. If you are interested in attending this event go to http://www.andevcon.com and sign up for their next conference.

Second speaker at AnDevCon    Presentation at AnDevCon

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Elizabeth Sandoval Named Director of Admissions at Coleman University

Elizabeth Sandoval headshotSAN DIEGO Jan. 23, 2017 – Elizabeth Sandoval has been named director of admissions at Coleman University. Sandoval, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, has more than 20 years’ experience in the admissions field. Previously she was the director of admissions at IGH School of Nursing.

In her new role, Sandoval is charged with developing a training plan for the admissions team, coaching and overseeing a team of admission representatives, as well as working with both domestic and international students.

“I was an international student from the University of Guadalajara, and I understand the challenges students face when they arrive in the United States,” Sandoval said. “It is our goal to ensure that the enrollment process is seamless for everyone,” said Sandoval.

Sandoval earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in human and business psychology from the University of Guadalajara and continued her studies at the University of Phoenix, focusing on business management.

“We are pleased to have Elizabeth as a valued member of the Coleman team,” said Norbert J. Kubilus, president and CEO of Coleman University. “Her extensive knowledge of the San Diego area and commitment to leading successful admissions will be invaluable as Coleman continues to grow.”

About Coleman University
Coleman University is a private nonprofit teaching university founded in 1963 and located in San Diego, California. Its technology-focused undergraduate and graduate programs prepare individuals for careers and leadership in their chosen fields. As San Diego’s oldest school dedicated to information technology, Coleman University has historically educated a large number of the region’s business-technology professionals.

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Coleman University Program Director Mentors High School Team for CS Championship

With the first two qualification rounds behind them, two teams from SET (School for Entrepreneurship and Technology ) Charter High School in San Diego are gearing up to participate in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition State Round, beginning January 15, 2017.

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program conceived by the Airforce Association to inspire students to work towards achieving a degree in Cybersecurity, as well as focusing on building a career in the field.

This exacting competition provides high school and middle school teams (in separate competitions) with operating system virtual images for which they are tasked with not only finding vulnerabilities, but also hardening the systems themselves. This competition will simulate a real world experience of being an IT professional running the network for a small company. The SET Charter High School students have worked hard to reach this milestone in their CyberSecurity skill development and this event is a great opportunity to show off what they have learned. The winning teams of this round, and the Regional Championships, will be given an all-expenses paid trip to Baltimore Maryland for the National Finals Competition, where they will be competing for scholarships and national recognition.

The two teams from SET are being mentored and monitored by Bill Reid, LCDR USN (Ret) the Program Director for Cybersecurity and Software Development at Coleman University.

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Someone You Should Know: Brent Miller, Career Services Department, Coleman University

Brent Miller is a career services advisor for students in the Game Programming Development & Design (GDD), Software Development, and Graphic Design programs at Coleman University.  Miller enrolled as a student in 2011 and earned both an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in the GDD program. Upon graduating in 2014, Miller joined the Career Services department thanks to his exemplary work as a student and teacher’s assistant, working with more than 100 students in the GDD program.

As a career services advisor, Miller screens and submits résumés for jobs that match students’ qualifications and interests, and informs students and alumni of potential job leads and upcoming career fairs. Students and alumni are always welcome to visit the department for a copy of the career services workbook. The workbook contains valuable information about writing winning résumés and cover letters, interviewing techniques, salary negotiating, business etiquette, and more.  As students draw closer to graduation, Miller is available to ensure that their job searches are simple, efficient, and effective.  Brent also keeps abreast of industry trends and changes, and regularly meets with employers to discuss their hiring needs.

Miller is a military veteran who spent 11 years as a member of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and held the rank of Staff Sergeant.  As an infantry platoon leader, Brent led marines into combat. During enlistment, he served as Marine Corps Security Forces (classified secret), drill instructor, and operations chief.  He also completed two tours of duty overseas.  He was deployed in combat zones to Camp Rhino near Kandahar, Afghanistan, from 2001-2002, and at Ramadi and Ar-Rutbah, Iraq, from 2006-2007. While in Iraq, he was wounded in combat and retired from the USMC in 2009.

Miller encourages students who need career advising assistance to contact him at (858) 966-3978, or e-mail at bmiller@coleman.edu or stop by his office Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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Dr. Rasha Roshdy Partners with SSUBI to Bring Medical Supplies to Egypt

On Dr. Rasha Roshdy’s Facebook page, there is always a lively discussion amongst her 40,000 followers. The page focuses on family and relationships and how Arab readers can live better lives. Recently, some of Dr. Roshdy’s followers reached out to her and asked if there was any way she could help support a few of the medical clinics in rural villages that were running short on supplies for their patients. Two villages were recommended: Abu Hammad in the governorate of Sharqia in Lower Egypt north of Cairo, and Faiyum in the governorate of Faiyum, located in Upper Egypt, southwest of Cairo.

Both villages are fairly isolated and each one is about 1.5 hours away from Cairo. Dr. Roshdy has witnessed the disastrous effects of income inequality and desperate living conditions of these people.

Many of them suffer from Hepatitis C due to the foul water and inadequate living conditions. The clinics are chronically short of basic medical necessities, such as bandages, needles, vaccines, and equipment. Gauze is desperately needed. One doctor told his patients to bring old clothes to cover their wounds in place of gauze. Often, people with serious illnesses are sent to larger cities, making the journey more  difficult due to a lack of transportation.

Fortunately, Dr. Roshdy has partnered with Laura Luxemburg, founder of SSUBI, a charitable organization located on the Coleman campus that provides poor and challenged small villages in Africa with medical supplies. When she explained the needs of the clinics in Egypt, Luxemburg immediately stepped in to help and Coleman students will assist in packing the items for shipment. Dr. Roshdy also started a GoFundMe drive to raise money to pay for the cost of shipping these items, approximately $3,000, which she plans to distribute in Abu Hammad and Faiyum when she visits Egypt in December.

For more information about Dr. Roshdy’s GoFundMe campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/medical-supplies-to-rural-clinic?ssid=825418310&pos=3.

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Faculty Spotlight: Ben Mead

Ben Mead in his office.
Ben Mead is an instructor in Coleman University’s cybersecurity program. Mead has worked in the IT industry for more than 15 years and has worked at Coleman since 2015.

“I have a passion for training and developing IT administrators, supervisors, and managers into the next generation of technology leaders,” said Mead.

Mead has vast experience within the IT industry. He previously worked in healthcare, biosciences, finance, and government, with noted success leading a broad range of enterprise IT initiatives. He has also directed and designed technology solutions that became platforms for business growth.

“As an instructor who is an industry professional first, I am striving to deliver practices and relevant hands-on training to my students,” Mead said.

With his professional background and experience, combined with his work as an instructor, Mead anticipates his students will achieve their own success in the IT industry.

“I look forward to seeing an infrastructure or project implemented by one of my students in the field,” he declared.

Outside of the classroom, Mead can be found increasing his IT knowledge at technology-focused conferences in virtualization, automation, and information security, both black and white hat. He has also volunteered as a mentor at the FIRST LEGO League, where he served as a robotics competition judge and referee.

Mead holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an ITIL® certification. He is a Dell Certified Systems Expert.

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Faculty Spotlight: Jonathan Rodley

Faculty Spotlight: Jonathan Rodley

Faculty Spotlight: Jonathan Rodley

Jonathan Rodley is a part-time adjunct instructor at Coleman where he teaches English Composition and Creative Writing at Coleman University. Rodley says that creative writing is a way of life for him and he wants to share this passion with his students, whom he greatly admires.

“It takes a certain caliber of person who can work full-time during the day and come to class in the evening, fully prepared,” Rodley said. “I appreciate the experiences that Coleman students bring to the classroom.”

When he is not teaching, Rodley participates in poetry readings, book making, and attends conferences in writing and pedagogy. His other pursuits include spear fishing, surfing, and working as an ocean lifeguard for the City of San Diego during the summer. He served as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army from 2010 to 2014, spending time in both Georgia and Korea. As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, he is involved in the Psychological Operations Company, or PSYOP.

In the past, Rodley worked as a freelance reporter for the former North County Times, and a tutor/mentor for the federally funded Upward Bound program. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. His combined experiences make him a valuable contributor to the Coleman faculty team.

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Faculty Spotlight: William Reid

Faculty Spotlight: William Reid

Faculty Spotlight: William Reid

Bill Reid has been a part of the Coleman University community for four years. He is Program Director of the Colleges of Cybersecurity and Software Development.

Reid gained his love for teaching while in the military as an instructor in Advanced Electronics. Upon retiring from the U.S. Navy after almost 25 years, he spent thirteen years as lead contractor for mission planning support and information assurance at Naval Special Warfare Command, Coronado.

Reid is a certified Information Security Manager (CSM – 2007) and is known for his expertise in cybersecurity, software engineering, project management, and program management. He was a panel speaker at San Diego’s Cyberfest2015 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Information Systems Audits and Controls Association (ISACA – 2007). Reid is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM – 2011).

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Avoiding Failure with Higher Education Technology Projects

I am frequently asked for a definition of a “successful” technology project. As a career senior technology executive, university educator, and now university chief executive, I have a deceptively simple answer. A successful technology project is one that is delivered on time, that comes within budget, and that meets or exceeds stakeholders’ expectations. Yet according to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company in collaboration with the University of Oxford: “On average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted.”1 When I look around higher education, I would say these numbers are optimistic.

Why Higher Ed Technology Projects Fail
The easy answer to explain why technology projects in higher education fail is to place blame on ineffective project management and lack of communication. Technology project postmortems generally fail to get to the root causes of project failure—probably because true reflection means having to deal with the painful realization that the institution was ill-equipped to undertake the project in the first place. From nearly four decades of technology project-management experience, I see five main risk factors that lead to technology project failure. These risk factors are interrelated, and a failed project typically exhibits two or more of these factors.

Inadequate or Incomplete Definition of Requirements
In this age of agile project management, we seem to have lost appreciation for having a requirements document that details such items as the purpose for the technology project (including financial ROI), mandatory and desired functionality, and data conversion and retention requirements. In essence, what are the institutional, functional, and/or programmatic outcomes that the technology project must achieve? These outcomes form the basis for a project rubric, which can be used to evaluate aspects such as competing technologies (or systems), mode of implementation (e.g., “build versus buy” or a local server-based solution versus a cloud-based one), conversion schemes, documentation, and training. Without this rubric, how does one know whether or not this technology project has a chance of succeeding?

Lack of Stakeholder Involvement
I cannot overemphasize the importance of stakeholder involvement in a technology project. All too often, the technology department of a college or university initiates a technology project—and obtains funding for it—without involving administration, faculty, staff, students, and others who will potentially be affected by the outcomes of the technology project. Collaboration and cooperation between stakeholders and the technology organization are keys to project success.

Two decades ago, I was engaged by a college to “rescue” a student information system (SIS) conversion that was late and over budget. It was in month eight of what was supposed to be a nine-month project, yet no academic or cocurricular departments knew anything about the project. They were not involved in the selection of the new system, were never scheduled for training, were never asked to validate the student data being converted, and were never included in any other aspect of the project. The technology organization’s rationale for this lack of stakeholder involvement went something like this: “They are too busy to be involved. We will train them when the technology team is ready to deliver the new SIS.”

In another, more recent SIS implementation, the institution’s technology organization proceeded with a “dry conversion” from a legacy homegrown system to an integrated vendor-supplied system. Thirty months later, and eighteen months after “completing” the SIS implementation, the institution is still struggling with the new system. Why? Without stakeholder involvement up front and during the project, the new SIS was made to mimic inefficient workflows based on the legacy system, data interrelationships were not understood by the technology folks (resulting in numerous data-related issues), and stakeholders again received “just in time” training that was ineffective.

Unrealistic Schedule
Higher education is not alone in its tendency to set schedules at the top of the organization. Some schedules reflect the reasonable constraints of a semester or term systemfor example, upgrading computer lab equipment over spring break, implementing a new financial system based on the fiscal year, or deploying a new admissions system over a semester break. Fitting implementation into the first available break in the academic or operating schedule is not a valid reason to rush a technology project.

Many higher education administrators (like their counterparts in the private sector) are unfamiliar with what it takes to deliver a technology project, especially the time needed to perform data quality control and to train faculty and staff to a level of proficiency with the new technology. Yes, taking longer to correctly complete a technology project has an associated cost, but so does delivering one that is doomed to fail. As I used to tell my software engineering students: Spending $1 to catch and correct an issue in the requirements stage of a project will avoid the $1,000 that will be required if the issue is left undetected until after implementation.

Scope Creep and Inadequate Change Control
Without a project rubric, it is difficult to contain the scope of a technology project. With overactive stakeholder involvement, there is a tendency to add functions and features—or to turn on options—that at best are a marginal improvement to the system being delivered. The results are cost overruns, missed project deliverables, and schedule changes. Every technology project should have a formal change-control process to handle implementation realities and stakeholder requests. One reasonable way to deal with requested changes is to create a priority list of those requests that can be accommodated in the initial implementation and those that will come later.

Ineffective Documentation and Training
The project rubric should be the foundation for ensuring the adequacy and effectiveness of documentation and training. Vendor documentation and training should be examined for every function and feature listed in the project rubric; institution-developed documentation and training should emanate from the project rubric. It’s never too early to start scheduling training for stakeholders based on their need to know or use the new technology. Here again, collaboration is essential.

Honing a Successful Technology Project Team
Mitigating project risk factors is a major part of avoiding technology project failures, but doing so will not be enough. A successful project requires strong project-management skills, frequent and clear communications with stakeholders, and a well-functioning project team. Honing a successful team to undertake a technology project requires preparation, leadership, and internal communication.

A technology project team brings together people who may or may not have worked together before. Some come from the technology organization, some are stakeholders, and still others are consultants or vendor representatives. It is extremely important that every member of the team knows his or her role and responsibilities and how to communicate within the team and has received an overview of the project itself, including goals, assumptions, limitations, constraints, deliverables, and deadlines. Conveying this information is the job of the project manager. Regardless of how many times these team members have worked together, this orientation is absolutely necessary.

Also key to preparing the project team is providing team members with the resources they will need to undertake the project—for example, hardware, software, Internet access, documentation, and training. Too often, higher education technology projects launch with insufficient resources, in part due to budgetary constraints. Time is another needed resource. Team members must have the dedicated release time necessary to spend on the project. This is extremely important for faculty and staff stakeholders, who will find it difficult to juggle project duties with everyday teaching or office responsibilities.

When a problem arises with the project—and it will—the team members and the project manager need to know about it and work together to get the project back on course. The project manager must anticipate problems, take corrective action, and help the team learn from the problems and issues encountered. Protecting the team from untoward external influence or pressure is also a key role for the project manager.

Continuous, positive reinforcement for team members can go a long way to moving the project forward successfully. There can be a lot of excitement and enjoyment in achieving the smallest of outcomes on a technology project. Acknowledgment of hitting project milestones helps build team morale, especially when the final deliverable is not yet in sight.

Takeaway
So what is the best way to avoid technology project failures in higher education?

  • Have a strong project rubric based on stakeholder involvement. It will be the foundation for the project plan, documentation, and training, as well as ongoing communication with the stakeholders.
  • Create a realistic schedule for the project and equip the project team with the necessary resources for success, including dedicated release time for this project.
  • Commit stakeholder resources for testing and training.
  • Empower the project manager to move the project forward without untoward pressure to change project scope or deliverables.

Finally, communicate … communicate … communicate!

 

Note

  1. Michael Bloch, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz, “Delivering Large-Scale IT Projects on Time, on Budget, and on Value,” McKinsey & Company, October 2012.

 

© 2016 Norbert J. Kubilus. The text of this article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

 

 

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