Foods That Help Slowdown or Mitigate Stress

Not only does stress impede your productivity, but it also impacts your mental and general health. People know stress is harmful, but just how harmful only a few are aware. Considering how many people suffer stress, every adult needs to know the effects of stress and ways to manage it – particularly using natural or traditional products. In Australia, 91% of people stress over one or more critical parts of their life. 86% of Chinese workers report feeling stress. Similar stats apply to other countries. Considering the high likelihood of feeling stress at some point in your life, we’ll discuss some foods and substances that will help you fight off stress.

● Foods Containing Selenium

A study found that selenium may help you maintain a healthy mood by reducing inflammation. Inflammation increases psychological disorder and mood swings. Selenium helps prevent cancer by its anti-carcinogenic functions, and it is one of the best antioxidants for managing cell damage. Selenium is mostly found in nuts, animal products, vegetables like mushroom and soybeans, and others. However, selenium should be consumed in recommended quantities, preferably 400 micrograms a day. A good source of selenium is the Brazilian nuts.

● Foods High in Omega-3

The fatty acid, Omega-3, is related strongly to the human body’s cognitive and mental health function. Omega-3 contains elements known to reduce inflammation and increases brain function. Examples of meals with Omega-3 are trout, herring, fatty fish, salmon, sardines, and more. A study found that eating salmon thrice a week reduces anxiety in men.

● Vitamin D foods

Researchers are increasingly convinced that vitamin D affects the mood in a way that reduces depression and anxiety. The Journal of Effective Disorders reported evidence that suggests vitamin D has a positive effect on depression. Other reports have similar conclusions on vitamin D concerning pregnant women and older adults. Another highly likely positive side to vitamin D is the improvement of seasonal disaffected disorder in winter. An excellent example of Vitamin-D-food is salmon, sardines, and egg yolks.

● Herbal Tea

To the body, feelings are as important as nutrients sometimes. It is a fact that drinking a warm cup of tea helps you relax. Research shows that seeping warm tea promotes feelings of interpersonal warmth and friendliness. Certain herbs can produce soothing effects, whether taken warm or cold.

Green tea is a good source of caffeine. Caffeine has both positive and negative effects and only becomes harmful when taken in large quantities or in the case of addiction. But a moderate dose should provide a jolt of energy that lighten your spirit and makes you feel like working.

● Dark Chocolate

Before a 2014 study that confirmed the suspicion that dark chocolates increase our ability to relax, experts believed that dark chocolates and cocoa do improve mood. It isn’t yet clear how dark chocolate helps the human mind, but it is known to contain high amounts of polyphenols, like flavonoids. A study found that flavonoids possibly reduce neuroinflammation, cell death in the brain, and improves blood circulation. The presence of tryptophan in chocolates also enhances neurotransmitters in the brain, which impacts our moods positively.

● Warm Milk

Using milk to get a better night’s sleep is a centuries-old tradition, and still works today. holds that sipping warm milk produces a relaxing effect on the body and psychology. Calcium is critical for bone growth and health, and can also reduce depression, as a study finds. Milk contains vitamin D, which, together with calcium, helps with muscle relaxation and stabilizes your mood. Foods with high calcium content include yogurt, cheese, canned salmon, sunflower seeds, and much more.

● Consuming Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are helpful bacteria that build a healthy gut system by eliminating or reducing harmful bacteria. Probiotics also boost your immune system and speed up the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Researchers found a direct correlation between gut health and mood disorders. Gut bacteria are found to produce molecules with neuroactive functions that improve your mood. You can get probiotics in food supplements that can cost up to $40 for a month’s supply. Probiotics are also present in natural foods – a better source than pills. A fermented yogurt known as kefir is one of the great sources of probiotics. You could also produce probiotics by growing a bacteria culture using cabbage juice.

● High Fiber-Content Foods

Foods high in fiber-content are suitable for the gut system and help slow down stress. A 2018 study found a strong correlation between increase intake of a high-fiber diet with reduced depression and stress. Fiber helps mitigate oxidative inflammation and stress, with the effect of reducing risks of cancer and other health conditions. You can find high fiber content in foods like beans, green peas, berries, almonds, and plenty of other greens.


Eating the correct diet helps mitigate vulnerabilities to most diseases, and improves our overall health. Many foods help us maintain healthy stress levels, which leads to higher productivity in the long run. Nutrition scientists are still adding to the list of stress-mitigating foods as research uncovers more. To learn all you need to know about stress and how to manage it, visit this website.

How Heating your Business Premises Increases the Productivity of your Employees

Did you know that you can increase the productivity of everyone in the office by maintaining a comfortable temperature in the office? According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the comfortable temperature in the office should be between 68 and 76 F. Although OSHA does not set it as a requirement to maintain that temperature at the office, it recommends such a temperature for the comfort of all office occupants.

With comfort comes productivity. However, there are always office thermostat wars where some people love the temperatures hot, others cold, and others are not sure what they want. As a leader, you need to choose a thermostat range that accommodates as many people as possible – ensure that the office doesn’t get too cold or too hot to accommodate some workers.

At the right temperature setting, your employees should feel comfortable enough not to remember the thermostat.

How Does Temperature Affect Productivity in the Office?

If you are always complaining about the productivity levels at the office, you are not alone. Whether it is just one employee or all the employees, productivity is an issue is so many offices around the world.

Decreased productivity levels are witnessed when employees are always on their phones, replying and sending messages, sharing funny memes, talking with coworkers about the weekend that was, taking long breaks, and getting lost in thoughts during meetings.

Although the temperature is not the only factor that affects productivity levels, it is one of the main factors why employees might feel less productive. In 2009, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) did research on office creativity and temperature. From the study, 22 percent of the respondents found the office too hot, 27 percent found the office too warm, 19 percent found it too cold, and 54 percent found the temperature to be just right. 

When the temperature is too warm, hot, or cold, the workers are not able to concentrate. Employers can make it comfortable for them by warming the room using a small electric heater. Today, it is easy to regulate the temperature ion these heaters. The heater is ideal when you work in a small office or a large office where workers are in small cubicles.

From the SHRM study above, at least half of all offices in the world are either too cold or too hot for the productivity of the workers.

What is the Right Office Temperature?

This is where thermostat wars begin. However, as a leader, you can always find a range that leaves every comfortable (and productive). According to a study conducted by the Helsinki University of Technology, workplace performance is at its optimum between 69.8 and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit – that is between 21 and 22 degrees Celsius. Productivity was highest at the highest point of the range, which is 71.6 F.

Cornell University conducted the same kind of study and found that cold workers make more errors when typing, thereby increasing labor costs by 10 percent. When the office temperature increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, it was observed that typing errors reduced by 44 percent. Typing output also increased by 150 percent.

Next time you think about productivity, think about the productivity of those working for you.

Other Factors Affect Productivity Too

There are many factors that affect how employees respond to office temperatures. Factors such as season, clothing, age, humidity, and health affect how an individual responds to the thermostat. For you to achieve maximum productivity for your employees, therefore, most of these factors need to be constant. If some workers are wearing heavy jackets when others are on light shirts, you may never come to a consensus on the right office temperature.

When it comes to season, winter days will see your workers less productive than summer days. In the same winter, workers can wear heavier clothing instead of adjusting the thermostat. This is the same for summer; wear light clothes instead of setting a lower temperature.

If the temperature of a place is comfortable, but the humidity isn’t, the workers will still not be comfortable. A relative humidity level of 40 percent is comfortable for all workers. However, when the humidity is low, a higher temperature (up to 29 degrees Celsius) will be optimal for performance. If the humidity levels affect performance at the workplace, a humidifier can be used to restore comfort.

When you manage office temperature and humidity, you increase productivity and reduce sick days. However, these two are only responsible for physical comfort. The workers also need to be mentally comfortable for their productivity to soar. Leaders need to find ways to motivate their workers t keep them mentally comfortable.


Maintaining office HVAC or getting small electric heaters and fans for the office will go a long way in enhancing productivity at work and improving the bottom line of your business. If the productivity is still low even after adjusting the temperatures, look at other factors.

The Role of Radio Stations in Combating Identity Theft That Can Help Media Companies

Most people know the dangers of identity theft. Media houses have a role to play, especially in sensitizing the masses on how to protect themselves from identity theft.

Radio stations and media houses have not been spared by hackers. In 2013, the New York Times and The Washington Post databases were hacked into by Chinese hackers. Since then, media houses have been more careful in how they protect their data. They have also been at the forefront in the fight against identity theft. Even though radio stations help fight identity theft, they are also at risk of being hacked which will expose a lot of their fans to identity theft.

Before they can sensitize their fans, these radio stations need to ensure that their systems are safe from hackers. They can ensure the safety of their systems through:

  • Take an inventory of customer data collected
  • Limit access to people who can access customer data collected
  • Encrypt any data sent from one platform to the next
  • Install Firewalls and identity theft and malware protection software
  • Educate employees about phishing and ways to protect themselves online
  • Regularly change passwords
  • Any records and documents to be disposed of should be destroyed or cross shred
  • Train employees to identify breaches and monitor accounts for irregular activities.

Sensitize the Masses on the Dangers of Identity Theft

Radio stations have a chance to teach their fans the dangers of identity theft. Some people may not fully grasp what a hacker can do once they have stolen your identity. Identity theft can destroy one’s life besides messing up their finances. Below are some of the ways identity theft can mess your life:

  • Hackers can use your credit card details to shop online leaving you in debt
  • Hackers can use your SIN number and your ID to borrow loans from online payday lenders
  • Your information can be used to commit fraud online – you can be arrested for this
  • Hackers can also send inappropriate messages to your friends, family, colleagues, or your neighbors – this can result in these people picking up fights with you and not ever respecting you

After losing your personal information to a hacker, you might end up poor, in jail, and with no friends. The masses need to understand that everyone is prone to identity theft as long as they have internet access and transact online.

Teach the Masses How to Stay Safe From Identity Theft

It is not possible for everyone to never use the internet or never shop online. However, we can all be safe when using different services online. Hackers may not access your information directly but they might access the information through social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. It makes sense if an individual would want to subscribe to an identity theft protection service to keep their personal information safe. Some of the tips radio stations can teach their fans to include:

  • Creating strong passwords with numbers, letters, and special characters for all the accounts you access. These passwords should be changed regularly.
  • Enter as little information as possible when using apps
  • Limit posting personal information such as social security number, phone number, and current address on social media
  • Set your privacy to the highest level when using apps and online accounts. Regularly check these settings to ensure they are not affected by upgrades.
  • Avoid downloading free applications on your social media profile
  • Avoid friendships and connections on social media with people you are not familiar with
  • Verify any link sent to you before clicking on it
  • Keep track of your accounts such as bank accounts and social media accounts to ensure there are no suspicious activities
  • Google your name occasionally to ensure no dubious social media accounts are running under your name

Reporting Identity Theft Cases

Radio stations are mandated with reporting identity theft cases and discussing the conditions under which the cases occurred. This way, consumers can protect themselves better when they know the details of a case. If some of their fans are affected, they need to teach them the first steps in ensuring that their lives are not destroyed.

Individuals affected can, for instance, ask their banks to stop any online bank activities such as shopping. They can also report to the authorities that someone has access to their social security numbers and personal details to protect themselves from prosecution in case of fraud. In conclusion, radio stations can help consumers in choosing the right identity theft protection services. This way, consumers can pick services that will meet their protection needs and their budgets. The stations can further show consumers how to use these services and inform them of any updates.

Starting Small And Ending Up Big Like Biz 2 Biz

Any successful entrepreneur will attest to the fact that the power of business is to start small. This does not mean that you are not bound to fail in your business activities; failure is part of the success story. What they mean by starting small is that first you need to have the idea in mind and look for the best way to implement it. This could be whether you are already working or you are jobless and would love to make money from the business. When you have a job, you are financially stable. It has its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of it is the fact that you do not need to strain financially to fund the business as well as get your daily income. Its main disadvantage is that you will not give the business your all now that you have a back up a financial plan. There is also the possibility of using your income to the business such that you will not have proper accountability on whether the business is making profit or loss. You can only curb this by having an autonomous financial system away from your normal income.

Here are five steps of how to start small in a biz 2 biz enterprise

Carry out your research

Not all business is viable based on your location. This depends on many factors which include competition, technological advancement, and the market. While doing the research you have to run a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the business just to be sure of the market survey results. It is during the research period that you also need to make sure that you have the right information concerning the specific business.

Have a business plan

You need to have a plan which includes all the details of the business. In the plan, you need to have a financial flow, objectives of the business, its mission and vision and well the business structure. This is a hypothetical view of what you need to expect in the business with all the other factors considered. This is the point you need to specify all the financial sources including the amount. Narrow it down to both liabilities and assets that you may need in the business.

Legalize the business

The legality of the business is something you cannot afford to compromise. Get all the permits and the legal structures in place to avoid being in the wrong hands of the law. If there are some that may need time you need to start early. Take note all the financial implications should be stated out in the business plan.

Choose a location

You now have all the theoretical view of what you expect from the business. It is now time to choose your location with the SWOT analysis in mind. As much as this is just theory it needs to display the practical view of what is expected.

Start your business

It is now time to start the business. Get all that you need and just begin with little stock as you progress based on the market.
There is no guarantee of success. All you need is flexibility s your entrepreneur. Learn the market trends and changes were possible to take advantage of the peak times.

Business Men on Using Flex Belt to Their Workout

Word in the streets is that ab season is around the corner! And for people who don’t have the time to visit the gym, this is a potential nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to science, there’s a nifty little belt called the Flex Belt. This belt is designed to work the abs out without the work-out. That’s right, getting abs without going to the gym.

The Flex Belt has received a mix of reviews, but the overwhelming majority indicate that it works when used properly and consistently. For businessmen, this is probably a God-sent. Between busy schedules finishing last minute projects at work and late night meetings to close deals, it can be tough to fit in the time for a gym session.

Flex Belt has changed this for many businessmen. It’s a perfect addition for a gym routine for those who regularly exercise and it’s a great option for those who don’t frequent the gym. Some reasons why people have chosen the Flex Belt include it being a proven product to work, it’s convenience to use, and its adaptability to the busy lifestyle.

Proven science that works

The Flex Belt is an abdominal toning belt. It has been worked on in the labs for over 30 years! It has gone through a series of tests to ensure that the science behind it is safe and effective. So how does the belt give you abs?

Well, it works by sending electrical signals to your abdominal muscles–the same electrical signals your brain naturally activates and sends to your muscles when working out These signals activate and rel. muscles and they are what tightens and tones the muscles. The intensity of this can be controlled by you, the user on the settings. The product is made with high-grade medical materials to ensure safety and has gone through a series of tests to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

Ease of use

It’s a belt! Much like the one businessmen put on every morning. But it goes on the abs. You can imagine how easy it is to put it on. Aside from simply putting it on, the product controls for intensity settings are simple and straightforward. The intensity control setting ranges from 0 to 150; giving a range of options. For beginners, the range of 20 to 30 is a great point to start because it will help you ease into the more intense settings. If you want to go for 150, great! But be warned, you may wake up very very sore.

Adaptive and supportive of a busy lifestyle

Again, it’s a belt! It’s a conspicuous addition to the regular business suit and can be worn to work. This means that the pressure to wake up early to go to the gym can cool down a bit. Instead, you can integrate the belt into your daily routine i.e. wearing it while in meetings, doing some work on the computer etc. There’s truly no limit on where you can wear the belt. If you go to the gym, it can be an addition to your routine which you can wear as you exercise. You can imagine the intensity and the good results thereafter!

It’s easy to see why a Flex Belt is a great option for busy bees. It offers results without a strong need to change lifestyle. However, it has been shown to give even better results with a more healthy diet and frequent cardio exercise. So a 20-minute jog every other day can do even more for the abdominal muscle sculpt and an overall healthy feeling to boost beach bod confidence for the summer.

How To Start A Successful Children’s Indoor Trampoline Business

Learn about all the aspects involved in a children’s indoor trampoline business. Since trampolining became an official Olympic sport in 2000, its popularity has grown massively. Recently, the indoor trampoline industry has taken off immensely. In 2011, there were a handful of indoor trampoline park businesses. But today, there are more than 500 parks in the USA alone.

Who should start a children’s indoor trampoline business?

This is one of the fastest-growing segments in the entertainment and experience industry It is a great business opportunity for anyone who loves to have fun and seeks pleasure in giving people an amazing adventure. A children’s indoor trampoline business allows its patrons a memorable adventure and a whole range of fun activities in an indoor setting. However, business owners must have either big savings, a good business partner, or a good line of credit, as the initial expenses to install an indoor trampoline setup is high.

What is the target market and how is a typical day of business?

The ideal customer for children’s indoor trampoline business is a high-income family with super-active children. Trampolines are ideal for children to exhaust their energy. On a typical working day, the owner will welcome the guests, introduce them to the trampoline adventures, explain safety protocols, and answer their queries. In the background, the business owner has to schedule and manage their employees, inspect the equipment for maintenance, and market their businesses.

Skills required to start:

Technically, there is no specific skill set or qualification required for anyone to start a children’s indoor trampoline business. However, the business owner should have good communication skills in order to be appealing and approachable to the guests. It may also be beneficial if the owner becomes a certified technician in order to lower the overall maintenance cost of the equipment.

Costs involved:

The initial investment cost involved to start a children’s indoor trampoline business is high. It averages in the low seven figures since every trampoline equipment is usually custom built. However, to get the cost lowered down slightly, business owners can take these two steps:

  1. Acquire quotes from multiple contractors. This gives the business owner an opportunity to compare the different costs bid by different contractors before making the final decision.
  2. Searching for a building with a vast open space. A widely-spaced area ensures that the business owner doesn’t have to incur demolition costs.

Getting a good location is very helpful. However, families would be glad to drive down because of the uniqueness of the business as well as the experience. Business owners can also join different franchises so that the effort of branding and marketing is eliminated. Starting a children’s indoor trampoline franchise can cost anywhere from $1,000,000 to $3,000,000. Niche brands like Rockin’ Jump have a lower investment cost while Premium franchises like Sky Zone cost much MOM.

Earning potential:

A children’s Indoor trampolines can charge around the $10 mark. Rates are slightly higher in a high-rent area and are usually lower in areas with lower population. Since the initial investment is high, the children’s indoor trampoline business offers high-profit potential as well For instance, one trampoline business in California clocked a gross revenue of $2 million with a 39%-profit margin, i.e. around $780,000. Another business owner in New Jersey is expected a profit margin of 2S% by the end of this quarter. You can grow your profits by growing your business. This can be achieved through proper yet simple marketing. One good idea is to invite customers through target segmentation. Business owners can schedule different activities like a morning fitness class, an afternoon batch, and an after-school children’s club.

Legal requirements:

To start a children’s indoor trampoline business, one may require certain permits and licenses depending on the location of the business.

If food is sold inside the premises, the business needs licensing from a local health department.

For labor safety, the business has to comply with OSHA regulations.

The business also requires a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to carry out business from a physical location.

Final thoughts: If you have the capability to accommodate the high initial investment amount and have a flair of showmanship, the children’s indoor trampoline business might just be right for you It would be very helpful if you prime yourself for the various nuances involved in building a business, managing the manpower, maintaining the equipment, and marketing your business. A children’s indoor trampoline business yields better profits than most of the business segments in the entertainment and experience industry.

Charlotte’s New Legal Beagle

Filling underserved needs is a high priority at the new Charlotte School of Law, a for-profit institution with a pragmatic approach to teaching and learning.

Dean E. Eugene (“Gene”) Clark, who signed on with the school in late 2005, left Australia for Charlotte and the school, which welcomed its first students this past August. He sees unmet legal education needs in Charlotte, and to address those needs, he likes the teaching model of the Charlotte School of Law.

“What excites me,” says Clark, “is a legal education that is extremely student-centered. It is based on outcomes, and we will be judged by the outcomes we produce in the lives of our students, which includes not only success in law school, not only a high bar passage rate, but also a fulfilling career afterwards.”

Before arriving in Charlotte, the Kansas-born Clark was executive dean of the Faculty of Law, Business and Arts at Charles Darwin University in Australia’s Northern Territory. This involved leadership of four schools (including law) across six campuses. He forged a 30-year education career in the Land Down Under.

His wife Pat has long-established roots in North Carolina, however. Her mother was a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation and her family was among the Cherokees that were moved from the Blue Ridge Mountains to an Oklahoma reservation.

Clark is practical in his vision for this new institution: He hopes they can address the gaps between what prospective lawyers learn in class and what they are expected to know once they begin practicing.

“We’re making a far more serious commitment to skills and to comprehensive professional development,” Clark says, “and it’s really a professional degree compared to the traditional model.”

By reaching out to underserved populations, Clark means for Charlotte School of Law to offer this type of education to those who might not otherwise have access to it. In its inaugural class, 18 percent of Charlotte School of Law’s students are people of color.

The focus on an underserved population reflects an emphasis of The InfiLaw System, the parent company of Charlotte School of Law, as well as sister campuses Phoenix School of Law and Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Fla. Now a decade old and accredited by the American Bar Association, Florida Coastal has become the nation’s only law school where minority students have outperformed those of the majority on the state bar exam.

Based in Naples, Fla., InfiLaw’s chief executive Rick Inatome is managing director of Sterling Partners, a $300 million private equity fund. A technology industry pioneer, Inatome founded a computer company as a 17-year-old and, in a decade, transformed it into Inacom, a Fortune 500 firm with approximately 20,000 employees. He is a champion of bringing minorities into the American business mainstream.

Ensconced in a Georgian-style building on East Morehead Street, Charlotte School of Law has already begun serving a city and region that Clark views as underserved. Until this new campus opened, Charlotte was the largest city in the United States without a law school. North Carolina is the 48th state in number of lawyers per capita and South Carolina ranks last.

The new law school occupies 33,600 square feet in the three-story Morehead Street structure that had been home to legal firms for decades. It also operates classrooms in 10,000 square feet of a building on Harding Place, a block away. Total employment is 40, including 12 lawyers on staff and six full-time faculty. Clark expects the faculty to double for next fall.

Meanwhile, in another non-traditional move, Charlotte School of Law will accept approximately 20 more students for admission this month.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for December college graduates or for people who don’t want to wait until August,” says Victoria Taylor Carter, assistant dean of admissions. A Greensboro native who graduated from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, Taylor Carter came to the new Charlotte school after working in human resources handling employee matters for Wachovia, a stone’s throw away in center city.

Class Begins

Taylor Carter offers a catalogue of statistics on the school and its students. It received 1,010 applications for the first class. They came from 46 states. The school accepted 420 and a bit fewer than half of those sent in seat deposits. That ultimately produced 85 students for the initial class, with some from as far away as Hawaii and Maine.

A full 75 percent come from the Greater Charlotte region. In the full-time program, 48 percent are men and 52 percent women, and their average age is 27 or 28. Of 18 part-timers, 55 percent are men. Overall, students’ ages range from 21 to 48.

Tuition is $26,900 for full-time and $21,700 part-time. Clark calls that roughly equivalent to out-of-state tuition at UNC Chapel Hill, and Taylor Carter adds that financial help is readily available. About half the first class gets financial aid through loans or scholarships.

“We’ve got a very generous merit scholar program,” she says, “and wonderful lenders that we work with. We have a nice partnership with Wachovia for folks to look at some other creative financing.”

She believes attrition will be low, partly because of a strong academic support program that recognizes differences in learning styles. The school soon will add a career services director to help students find summer work as well as post-graduation employment.

Provisional ABA Accreditation takes 24 to 36 months, Taylor Carter says, adding that the school is working hard to make that happen before the first class graduates in 2009. A team from the American Bar Association will visit the school in fall 2007. ABA provisional approval by spring 2008 is the school’s goal, with full approval targeted for 2010. Students who graduate from a provisionally accredited law school are entitled to sit for the bar exam.

And why would an employer consider a Charlotte School of Law grad? Taylor Carter has a ready response.

“Our inaugural class, they’re part of something that isn’t an established shop,” she says. “They’re willing to take the risk and join us in this journey. These are the kind of folks that are going to be bulldogs. They’re not afraid of work.”

Indeed, Adam Bridgers says he picked Charlotte School of Law partly because he likes the Queen City and also because he’s not averse to risk. From the Wilmington area, Bridgers was student body vice president in his junior year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he graduated with a bachelor’s in political science in May 2006.

Risk a Success Factor

“You look at individuals in American society that we consider successful and what’s one common factor?” Bridgers asks. “It’s risk. A key to success is risk-taking. Look at Bill Gates and people like that. It is taking a risk to be at a new school, but I believe it’s a healthy risk.”

Dean Clark, 58, is no stranger to risk, having left the predictable life of a Kansas attorney to teach in Australia. He acknowledges the entrepreneurial spirit of the school’s first class and adds that the legal education the school offers is focused on outcomes in students’ lives.

He thinks another attraction is the quality of people associated with the school. Its board includes Burley Mitchell, retired chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, and is chaired by Shirley Fulton, a former N.C. Superior Court judge.

Art Gallagher, president of the Charlotte campus of Johnson & Wales University, says he joined the school’s board because he was impressed with its leadership, student-centered approach and commitment to serve the underserved. “The core values at Charlotte School of Law are similar to those at Johnson & Wales University,” he says.

Clark values advice Gallagher shared. “If you have a commitment to the community, you will get rewarded ten-fold,” Gallagher told him. “The community has welcomed the school,” Clark says, “and that has reinforced our desire and commitment to be part of the community.”

Charlotte School of Law won’t turn a profit for at least seven years, Clark says, but it is contributing to the Charlotte region in many ways already. Not the least of these is developing people who will add value to companies and organizations, regardless of whether their core function is the law.

“The law degree is becoming akin to a premiere master’s of business administration degree,” Clark says, adding that banks are among the biggest hirers of attorneys these days because of the heavily regulated environment in which they operate. “Training in law develops conceptual thinking, and argumentative and other skills that are of the highest order,” he adds.

An Image That Will Grow

Asked about the longer term future for Charlotte School of Law, Clark points to a greeting card he plans to send to one of his two daughters, both of whom are on tennis scholarships at Montana State University. It pictures a housecat staring into a mirror and seeing the image of a male lion.

“We will be a law school highly regarded by its students and employers,” he says. Students will be helping with legal aid, working part-time in government and in various law firms.

“We will be deeply embedded in the region,” he continues in painting his view of a decade from now. “Our faculty will contribute to innovation in Charlotte. We are adding value, bringing people in and creating jobs. We will have invested millions of dollars in the Charlotte community.”

He expects the school will find larger quarters in two or three years.

Clark would be open to cooperating with area schools, such as UNC Charlotte and Queens University of Charlotte, to give their M.B.A. students an opportunity to combine that degree with a Juris Doctor from Charlotte School of Law. He might even consider a law school partnership with either campus.

“We’re going to be successful in our own right,” he says, “but we would be open and responsive if there is a value proposition that is good for both organizations.”

But for now, Clark concentrates on producing quality graduates. Re-emphasizing a commitment to teaching, Clark says Charlotte School of Law administers a rarity—a mid-term exam. Further, professors sit down with students and give feedback on their graded papers. Every student must have a personal laptop computer. Classrooms and gathering spots are festooned with electric sockets.

Each graduate will have built an electronic portfolio and will be able to show a prospective employer a compact disc that includes writing samples and excerpts from making a mock argument.

“We’re big on evidence,” Clark says. “We’re not based on anecdotes.”

Ellison Clary is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

E3 Engineering Educational Excellence

Behind the academic machinery at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a visionary who reaches for the seemingly unattainable and makes it a reality. An engineer by degree, he is every bit the calibrator of disparate forces, and calculator of alternate resources, turning working capital and human resources into top-notch intellectual capital.

Jim Woodward is Chancellor of UNC Charlotte, the equivalent of a CEO to the Charlotte campus. Woodward has an exalted mission for this school: to be one the finest publicly funded research institutions. He also has a fierce commitment to the city that supports it, believing it to be pivotal to the university’s success. It is very clear that his vision for the university is viewed through the pane of strategic business processes. He sees the financial fluidity of the region, its major industries and political backbone as the primary vehicles for UNC Charlotte’s growth. In turn, the university provides the research and human talent that enable the economic community to prosper and continue to fuel the institution. Woodward’s vision can be attributed to an unusual combination of impressive academic achievement and deep immersion in private sector business. He joined UNC Charlotte as its third Chancellor in 1989 after serving on distinguished faculties including the U.S. Air Force Academy, N.C. State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In some of his most valuable work experience, Woodward used his doctorate in Engineering Mechanics to consult several years for Rust Engineering Company, an international engineering and construction firm. This position solidified the union of his engineering discipline and business expertise. It also allowed him to keep his feet planted in the private sector. According to Woodward, “The position required me to interface between the engineering plans and the funds analysis of projects. I spent a lot of time providing capital expenditure analysis.”

Woodward returned to the University of Alabama, serving as dean of engineering and senior vice president of Academic Affairs for five years, before accepting the chancellorship of UNC Charlotte. He recalls, “I was attracted to UNC Charlotte because it wasn’t fully developed. I saw a huge amount of potential in Charlotte, and I wanted to work hand-in-hand with its business leaders to recognize that potential.”

Woodward places a lot of responsibility on the campus to serve its local citizens. Of the administrators who will admit to having ‘customers’, many believe the customer is a combination of the student and parent choosing the school. But Woodward says this definition is far too narrow. “The most important concept in a public institution is the word ‘public,’” he explains.

“UNC Charlotte is here not just to educate the students and set them loose to go wherever. We have a heavy commitment to make sure that our programs are in the best interest of local industry, and that we are providing top-notch intellectual capital for businesses. The citizens of North Carolina have invested heavily in UNC Charlotte and the onus is on us to make sure we are contributing back into the local economy, thereby making it attractive for our graduates to stay in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.

Using Resources Wisely

In 2000, the citizens of North Carolina voted for a $3.1 billion bond referendum for Higher Education Improvement. Of that, $192 million is currently being used to add 600,000 square feet to the campus, including 180,000 square feet designated for state-of-the-art science and technology buildings that will support and enhance The Charlotte Research Institute. The institute focuses on three programs: Optoelectronics and Optical Communications, Precision Metrology and eBusiness. These programs were thoroughly researched and designed to generate talent that will feed directly back into the state economy. With North Carolina’s preeminence in the glass fiber market, its numerous banking institutions relying heavily on security, privacy and systems, plus textiles, manufacturing and the motorsports industry, it is evident that the strategy for UNC Charlotte’s expansion was methodically engineered to the area.

Woodward points out, “With these programs, UNC Charlotte is optimally positioned to provide the finest education, and the finest candidates in their fields, nationally and internationally. We anticipate that this will feed directly back into the regional economy.”

Woodward has spent a lot of time developing UNC Charlotte’s size, programs, amenities and buildings to nurture its vision. In addition to the three buildings within the Research Institute, a humanities building, an admissions building, a College of Health and Human Services, a new student union, a formidable College of Education building, plus parking and facilities management buildings are planned. Add to that a chancellor’s residence, alumni center and residence halls, and that’s a lot of bricks.

Expanding with Growth

Chancellor Woodward works diligently to secure funding and continue planning the programs and facilities to serve and enhance the experience of the ever-expanding enrollment at UNC Charlotte. This year the campus will accommodate more than 19,000 students, and enrollment is expected to rise to 25,000 students by 2008. Compare that to the 12,500 students at UNC Charlotte when Woodward started in 1989, and the need for expansion is evident.

The improvements are not just for the students, however. Woodward explains, “This expansion is significant on several scales. One, these projects demonstrate a significant commitment to the community. Two, they help provide a larger pool of talent for local industry. And three, and very importantly, the new programs and space enhance the prestige of the campus, thereby making it more attractive to faculty talent.”

He adds, “The bottom line is, you have to be able to attract good people. We compete nationally for every faculty position we have to fill. Last year we had a net gain of 50 faculty members; this year we will have a net gain of 55. If you look at our professors’ qualifications, you can’t help but be impressed. Our faculty members have superior credentials, and many of them choose this university for its vision and commitment. They see that UNC Charlotte is an institution growing in size, programs and prestige. They want to share the experience of building something important, to have their intellectual and personal vision influence the character of the university, the intellectual community and the regional community.”

One of the ways that Woodward sought to increase the stature of UNC Charlotte on a national scale was to introduce doctoral programs. In fact, he credits this as his most significant accomplishment, as well as his most challenging. “Financing doctoral programs is incredibly expensive because of the resources necessary to run them – the equipment, technology and project funding. However,” he adds, “without the Ph.D. programs, we would not have the research base necessary to support the economic development of Charlotte.”

Securing approval for these programs is no easy task. Adds Woodward, “The review of Ph.D. implementation must be approved by the Board of Governors for the North Carolina University System. It is my responsibility to assure that we select the right programs for proposal, to submit compelling justifications for approval, and to see that once they are created they are operating optimally.”

UNC Charlotte started three Ph.D. programs in 1994, and has expanded to eleven to date. It has awarded 111 Ph.D.’s. Woodward anticipates increasing doctoral offerings at the rate of one program per year.

Raising the Stakes

Critics say that overemphasizing research can dilute student education due to the redirection of resources and faculty. Similarly, many disagree with the idea of education being run as a business, believing that learning should be undertaken as its own reward. Woodward maintains, “I think you run the enterprise as a business. You plan properly, invest your resources in concert with that, hold people to high standards and reward them when those standards are accomplished. Then, you undergird them with an efficient management system.”

Woodward continues, “This in no way detracts from the core nature of the university, which is to discover and communicate knowledge. Research is the discovery, teaching is the communication. There is no conflict between that core activity and running an efficient business.”

It is difficult to argue with this. Since Woodward has been chancellor, he has secured significant resources for UNC Charlotte. Though his efforts the university’s Silver Anniversary fundraiser garnered $32 million – twice the university goal. He has raised millions in bond issues and appropriations funding, and most recently has met $90 million of a $100 million fund drive over the past three years.

And he can ‘show you the money’. Among the results of his fundraising efforts are the James H. Barnhardt Student Activity Center, Irwin Belk Track and Field Center, the doubling of the Atkins Library and doctoral programs in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Biology and Information Technology, not to mention the “master plan” for the current expansion.

He also laid the groundwork for a competitive intercollegiate athletics program. UNC Charlotte is now a member of Conference USA, which has garnered UNC Charlotte national exposure. “Athletics are the most visible university activity to the public. It’s been said that ‘Athletics are the lens though which the public sees a university.’ It is essential that we build and maintain a successful and honest athletic program, as it puts us in the spotlight and then reflects upon the whole university.”

In addition to the buildings, programs, athletics and faculty, a consistent management style has also enabled the university to complete a totally revised General Education Curriculum. This revision was a major accomplishment, which required each department to reevaluate its own curriculum. For the project to be successful, a great

synergy and cooperation was needed in what is often a very combative arena. Each department fears losing resources, especially funds, to another. To finalize this objective is remarkable; Duke University attempted it five years ago and eventually abandoned it.

The Budget Bear

It is certainly no secret that the current state of the economy and deep state budget cuts are taking their toll on public universities. Yet, Woodward remains steadfastly focused on the task at hand. “The current financial difficulties will in no way impact the scope, vision or commitment to our master plan. Our plan is the right one for UNC Charlotte. It may be implemented at a slower pace than we had originally anticipated, but we fully intend to become the next major publicly funded research university.”

He adds, “There is, interestingly, a positive side to budget cuts. Of course they are bad, because they are cuts, but they also require you to streamline the processes, and eliminate unnecessary expenditures, which increase the operational efficiency of the university. By focusing resources and increasing efficiency I believe that we have effectively minimized the impact of the budget cuts.”

Woodward admits to some sacrifices, “We have had to increase class size, and we have had to reduce the number of sections in some offerings, which can make meeting graduation requirements more complicated. I am worried about this, but I don’t believe there has been any permanent damage. However, if these cuts were to continue I believe we could begin losing our most valuable asset – our faculty. Faculty talent is highly mobile, and UNC Charlotte educators haven’t had a decent raise in four years.”

Woodward maintains, “If you can predict your financial situation, you can manage it. We have the highest quality, and strongest strategic planning process around. By making our own predictions from our own data, we will work to fend off any lasting damage.”

Turning back to the positive, he adds, “Right now though, there is a very high degree of morale on campus, and the general attitude is that our expansion is making the campus and the institution a place to be proud of, and a place people want to work. The growth is a symbolic commitment to our faculty and to our city that we are going to answer the call and become a national leader. UNC Charlotte will be a distinguished university that properly serves the needs of the citizens of North Carolina and Charlotte.”

Susanne Deitzel is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.