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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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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What Does it Take to Become a Graphic Designer in San Diego?

Nearly 30,000 graphic designers work in California, the state with the highest employment level in the field 1.  We recently interviewed Scott Norton, program director for Graphic Design at Coleman, regarding the questions he most often receives about pursuing a design career in San Diego.

Do you need a degree to become a graphic designer?
Obtaining a design degree is important, as employers seek individuals that have mastered tools such as the Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, PhotoShop, Indesign), which is taught at Coleman. Students also learn fundamental design principles so that students have a working knowledge of the technical aspects of design. In addition, Coleman teaches digital imagery, web and multimedia, vector graphics and typography.

“The advantage of becoming a graphic designer is that the skills you obtain in the classroom can be applied to a wide variety of careers in advertising, web design or game development,” Norton said.

Throughout a student’s career at Coleman, the career services department, as well as graphic design instructors, are available to provide practical advice on creating a resume and developing a portfolio. In 2015, the College Scorecard, an interactive online tool established by the U.S. Department of Education to assist families with college decision-making, ranked Coleman “above average” for high graduation rates and high salary upon degree completion.

How difficult is it to become a successful designer?
“Successful designers make it their passion,” said Norton. “They are constantly working on projects, whether in class or at home. And, they capitalize on social media to help them with their networking.”

While employers still want to see the traditional artist portfolio in-person, the web has become the new tool in showcasing an artist’s talent. DeviantArt.com is the largest online social community for artists and art enthusiasts to display their photos, digital art or paintings. Those interested in comic book creative are flocking to sites like Penciljack.com and DigitalWebbing.com. Employers are utilizing the web, also, often turning to Instagram in search of the next big designer.

However, Norton believes that good old-fashioned networking is still critical for new designers, especially self-employed freelancers. “You never know when the next job opportunity will present itself,” he said. “The key is to stay active in the community, network with others and maintain a positive attitude.” If a client is pleased with your work, sending a hand-written thank you note and asking for a referral are gestures will help generate word-of-mouth about your reputation as a solid designer.

What if I’m not interested in a traditional graphic design job?
The growing popularity of comic-inspired movies, the annual Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, and a recent Washington Post story on record-setting sales for comic books in June, are inspiring a whole new crop of young people to pursue a career in this exciting industry. “The success of leading comic book artists such as Annie Wu and Tradd Moore, is the result of their working harder for longer than other artists in the field,” said Norton. “Comic creative is fiercely competitive, which is why I tell students to continue to take on traditional jobs and seek out networking opportunities that will lead you closer to your ‘dream job.’”

How would you characterize the current job climate for graphic designers in San Diego?
San Diego represents a large and diversified economic landscape. It is home to a booming tourism industry, military and civilian technology, more than 430 biotech firms, and 13 area chambers of commerce in that represent thousands of small businesses. This rich, diverse community lends itself to a myriad of job opportunities for graphic designers.

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About Scott Norton
Scott Norton is the program director for Graphic Design at Coleman University. He has been a freelance professional creative since Y2K and holds an MFA in Graphic Design. He lives and works in San Diego where he has dedicated his existence to supporting the growth of the next generation of great designers.

127-1024 Graphic Designers. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271024.htm#st

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Cybersecurity Education: Focusing on the Future

By William Reid, LCDR, USN (Ret), Program Director, Cybersecurity, Coleman University

Coleman University proudly salutes the military, both current service members and veterans. As one of the Military Friendly® Schools in the U.S., we are in the top 15% nationwide that delivers the best experience for military students. At Coleman, our mission is to deliver relevant education that prepares individuals for technology-focused careers, and our programs are approved for veteran training. We are here to assist veteran students with the transition back into civilian life by helping them either update their existing skill set or provide them with the skills needed to embark on a new career.

One of the greatest workforce shortages organizations are facing today is in cybersecurity. According to a 2015 Peninsula Press analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 200,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow by 53 percent through 20181. As large and small organizations invest their monetary resources and labor into protecting serious, ongoing data breaches, new threats arise on a daily basis.

To combat this workforce shortage, Coleman offers a bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity. Here, students learn how to design and build secure networks, recover data after a catastrophe, and remove malware from systems. Instructors provide in-the-field hands-on situations to enhance classroom learning. Prior to program completion, qualified students are allowed to sit for the Security+ certification, one of the many in-demand certifications sought after by employers.

Coleman proactively seeks out other stakeholders in San Diego to address common workforce concerns. Most recently, we applied for a grant from The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), whose like-minded mission is to “energize and promote a robust network and an ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development.” Through this grant, we intend to work with K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and local employers, in order to provide early opportunities for education and mentoring in cybersecurity.

Our existing partners include National University, The Preuss School UCSD, local employers, and professional organizations, such as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Inc. (ISACA). In conjunction with National University, we intend to develop a talent pipeline for students interested in pursuing both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in cybersecurity. If awarded the NICE grant, our work with The Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla, a charter middle and high school for low income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college, will include establishing mentoring and early cybersecurity awareness programs for these students. Topics will include such things as cyber-bullying and cyber-predators.

The employment outlook for cyber jobs in the area is positive. In June 2016, the Cyber Center of Excellence released the report, San Diego’s Cybersecurity Industry: An Economic Impact Analysis and Workforce Study, and noted that there is a 13% projected cyber employment growth in San Diego in the next 12 months, compared to 2% overall regional job growth2.

Coleman University is ready to help prepare veterans for a career in cybersecurity. Call us today at 858-499-0202 to schedule an appointment with one of our admissions representatives, or visit us online at www.coleman.edu.

1″Demand to Fill Cybersecurity Jobs Booming – Peninsula Press.” Peninsula Press, 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 18 July 2016.
2″San Diego’s Cybersecurity Industry: An Economic Impact Analysis and Workforce Study.” SAN DIEGO’S CYBERSECURITY INDUSTRY (2016): 1-47. Cyber Center of Excellence. Web. 18 July 2016.

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Faculty Spotlight: Randall Cornish

Randall Cornish

Randall Cornish

Randall Cornish is an instructor in the College of Graphic Design at Coleman University. He teaches Graphic Design Principles, Layout and Typography.

Mr. Cornish has worked professionally in the field of graphic design since 1976. He is an award-winning educator who has been teaching graphic design part-time since 1998. He is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and an Adobe Certified Expert.

In 2016, he received an Award of Distinction (http://tinyurl.com/j5wfanr) for logo design from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts in New York City. In 2008, he received an American Graphic Design Award for poster design from Graphic Design USA magazine. Mr. Cornish is an honors and holds a degree in Visual Arts and Communications.

“As an educator, my dream is to encourage and inspire students to pursue excellence and unleash the power of their imagination,” says Mr. Cornish.

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Faculty Spotlight: Leticia Rabor

Employee Spotlight: Leticia Rabor

Faculty Spotlight: Leticia Rabor

Leticia worked as a professional Software and Systems Engineer in the Defense and Aerospace industries for over 13 years such as BAE Systems National Solutions, Lockheed Martin, and Science Application International Corporation (SAIC). Over the years, she has designed, implemented, and tested various image formation subsystem components for ground system development. She has done full object-oriented designs in C/C++ and Java, as well as developing test procedures with inter-process and multiple process communication. Leticia has drawn up and continues to develop some Mobile apps that are currently in the Google Play Store and Amazon Marketplace.

She has been working for Coleman since 2012 and has produced more than half of the courses within the Software Development Department. At Coleman, she teaches Programming Concept and Logic, Object-Oriented Programming, Mobile Development, Systems Design and Implementation, Software Testing, and Client-Side Scripting. She is currently developing a Coleman University mobile app that will provide access to its academic student services including course registration, financial aid, career services, and academics. She is also the faculty advocate for the Software Development Club. She currently is proposing a Software Code Jam that will allow students to imagine, code, and learn together in a team-based environment during a 48-hour development phase.

Leticia also conducts yearly external one hour workshops in mobile development and JavaScript/JQuery including the Geek Girls Tech Conference of San Diego, California. She also participated as one of the panel experts for “The future of mobile development” topic in June 2015 which was videotaped and published on Geek Girl TV.

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Coleman University Participates In Ocean Beach Clean-Up Day

On Friday, June 10, Coleman University staff gathered to clean up Ocean Beach, one of the most popular outdoor areas in San Diego. In partnership with San Diego Coastkeeper, CU obtained all the items needed to clear the beach with the Coastkeeper’s Beach Cleanup in a Box and got to work.

“At Coleman, we are always seeking out new opportunities to volunteer in the community,” said Dennis Young, Admissions Officer, Coleman, organizer of the event. “The cleanup provided a fun way for all of us to work together and help reduce pollution at the same time.”

In addition to removing the garbage, volunteers logged their “marine debris” findings on Coastkeeper’s data sheets. Marine debris is human-created trash and litter that either deliberately or accidentally makes its way to coastlines and beaches where it can eventually enter the ocean, bays, lakes or waterways. Plastic items such as bottles, lids or utensils to glass bottles, fishing lines, styrofoam, and metal are considered marine debris. 1

Having had a successful event, CU intends to plan future beach cleanup activities.

1 Information Source: U.S. National Park Service; Mote Marine Lab, Sarasota, FL. Coral Reef Alliance, http://www.coral.org/node/3916

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Dr. Rasha Roshdy Is The New Director of Research Programs

Dr. RoshdyDr. Rasha Roshdy has joined Coleman University as the Director of Research Programs.

In her new capacity, Dr. Roshdy will coordinate and conduct research activities for the University, manage the Institutional Research Board (IRB), and help develop our ability to receive and manage grants.  Previously a part-time instructor in Graduate Studies, she will now be a member of our full-time faculty.

Dr. Roshdy started her career as a French language instructor. She held the position of Assistant Professor for seven years at Kansas State University and the University of Arizona. In her 11 years working for the federal government, she has held several positions: teacher trainer, curriculum developer and academic coordinator. In her last government position, she became the Academic Dean of the Foreign Language Program for Naval Special Warfare. This program won an award for excellence for two consecutive years under her leadership.

In 2014 she created Maven Connections Consulting and focused her career on research, including work with higher educational institutions from Saudi Arabia. She was named a research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Language at Norwich University in Vermont and was nominated as a mentor last summer by MiddCore, the leadership and innovation summer program of Middlebury College.

Dr. Roshdy obtained her doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University, her Master of Arts degree in Education and French from Kansas State University, and a higher diploma from The Sorbonne in Paris.  She worked as a journalist in Egypt, her native country, and continues to write for several Arabic magazines and her own blog on Facebook, which has more than 37,000 followers.

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Ghassan “Gus” Hanna

emp_spotlight_gus_hannaI have four years of teaching experience and another 26 years of high tech industry experience managing hardware and software system design groups. I am an avid reader and enjoy researching new, emerging technologies in electronic systems as well as IT database design.

I have published three papers addressing the factors impacting decisions made by management of multinational corporations when investing abroad. I am also on the editorial boards of five academic journals where I review the quality of papers submitted for publications by authors from around the world.

My formal academic education includes a (2013) PhD in Business Administration from Northcentral University – Prescott Valley, AZ, an (1991) MBA from University of Redlands -Redlands, CA, and an (1986) MS in Electrical Engineering from University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ.

Dr. Ghassan “Gus” Hanna, Adjunct Faculty, College of Graduate Studies.

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