Transformation is an Urgent Calling

10/23/2016 10:42

Ah, Life: What, If Not Transformation, Is Your Urgent Calling?

Rainier Maria Rilke

We’ve always known what we need to do: everything within our power to ensure student success. And now, more than ever, we need to help our students become graduates in a timely and focused manner. And so we seek superpowers, which, insists lecturer David Agoff, is entirely within the realm of personal possibility.

The process of development combines both effort and effortlessness. Change is inevitable, but directing it is something else. Here to help us…

Mandatory Business Advising: Rapport and Support

Incoming freshmen stand at the crossroads, and perhaps too many stand at the corner of “what” and “where.”  Lack of clarity adds time to the journey toward graduation, especially in cases where neither road leads any place interesting for too long a time. Students may struggle with asking for advice until too late in the plan.  A critical path becomes disrupted; without adequate controls in place, forward motion slows to a crawl, and we end up with hapless students cramming four years of study into six.

Jenn Duggan, shown above last week advising a class of incoming first year students, notes that the word “mandatory” may sound harsh, "but it represents a strong first step." First, it puts students at ease in discussion of a future that matters – their own.  Naturally, the general practice of making commitments, particularly to a major, doesn’t come easily - but living without commitments for too long can lead to discontinuous growth patterns that needlessly hold students back.

When a student is supported to commit to a major early, based on the assessments and discussion that great advising offices offer, the student begins in a strong position to succeed.

Of course minds may change. New paths can be forged into areas discovered by a student during the course of his or her studies. Solid advice on the matter from the first days of the journey forward leads to better decision making, a smoother process, and the success we each want our students to achieve.

 Get to Know Dr. Joseph Liu (And Call Him Joe!)


If you already know one of our newest faculty members, Joe Liu, you know he is always working. Pass his office any time of the day or night, look into his window and there he is. Recently, Joe offered his thoughts in response to a few questions I posed. With a newly minted PhD in Management and a concentration in Organizational Behavior from Georgia Tech, I have found him to be a wealth of good, current advice on more topics than I can list. Most interesting to me? He even provided references for some of his replies…yes, he is always working, always teaching.

How’s Chico life so far?

 I have been living (here) for about two and half months and am enjoying the small-town atmosphere.

 What do you love most about working at Chico State?

The students! After teaching a similar course for 3 instances at Georgia Tech, I was skeptical as to whether Chico State students could really do much to surprise me. Boy, was I wrong! Thus far this semester, I have been asked several questions that I have never been asked before in my previous courses and have had insights shared with me from students’ experiences that really made me think deeply about the topic I was presenting; I even had to look up some findings from research to answer students’ questions! Overall, I am impressed with the interactions I have had with students in the classroom.

What are your goals for your first year at Chico State?

I would like to continue to further integrate myself into the Chico community as well as the College of Business. Professionally, I somehow got it into my head to try to write a theoretical paper (even though I have never done so), so I am excited to learn and continue growing as a researcher in this capacity.

So, what’s the deal with the picture in your door window? Which made David Rahn, David Agoff and I think you were definitely a great, fun addition to our little hallway neighborhood.

Beyond being a humorous (I hope) play on how hard I work, I think it is a good teaching point for any students that come to my office. There is a large amount of research in the management literature that supports the importance of impression management (i.e., the process by which people control the impressions others form of them). Specifically, this body of research consistently shows that various impression management tactics impact the perceptions recruiters and managers form of individuals. For example, one research study finds that, even after controlling for actual levels of performance, employees who start work earlier are rated as better performers (Yam, Fehr, & Barnes, 2014). As another example, another study found that job applicants with a firmer handshake were rated more favorably by interviewers (Stewart, Dustin, Barrick, & Darnold, 2008). While there doesn’t seem to be a rational “reason” why someone would rate an individual that has a firmer handshake or starts work earlier to be a better employee, research suggests that seemingly innocuous behaviors an individual engages in have a large impact on the impressions others form of them.

Armed with this knowledge, I like to encourage students to be aware of all the behaviors they exhibit on job interviews and to be sure they are managing the impressions others have of them in a way that maximizes their chance for a job offer. Once they become employees in organizations, it is still important to actively manage how others (especially their boss) perceive them in terms of their attitudes, values, and work ethic. While a cardboard cutout or picture of yourself working taped to a window won’t likely effectively manage a typical boss’s impression of an employee, my hope is that our students can find ways to clearly portray what we are training them to be: highly productive employees with good social skills that desire to make a meaningful impact in the business community and world at large!

Thank you, Joe. With every interaction, we can learn from each other, and from our students, too.

SHRM: Alive Again at CSUC!

Ghadir Ishqaidef reports on the success of her efforts to establish a student executive team to reboot the Chico State SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) Chapter activities on campus. “More than forty students showed up at the first meeting,” she said. Chapter President Pa Thao filled me in on what’s happening.

Pa says that “SHRM is the world’s largest HR professional society. It was founded in 1948 and exists to promote the HR profession. SHRM provides education, conferences, seminars, and certification while representing 285,000 members and 575 affiliated chapters in more than 165 countries.”

 The revitalized CSUC team has taken off like a flash. October 1st, they participated in the COB Competition Event hosted by the Project Management Group (PMG).  Guest speakers representing the Human Resources field of interest will be presenting every two weeks throughout the semester. Of special note – plans for the Torres Shelter Resume Building Workshop is in the works. Chico State SHRM will partner up with the Torres Shelter in an effort to improve, refine, and proofread resume and cover letters from members of the community.

Pa notes the vast experience, not only represented by the speaker roster, but of the students who hold offices within the Chapter. Each is experienced, even accomplished in many areas. One is a job developer at Caminar (which supports persons with disabilities); a few are working in the field as HR assistants already; one is volunteer coordinator at the Butte Humane Society; and several are world travelers.


Thanks, Ghadir, for your belief in the possibilities of this Chapter – your trust in these young leaders is appreciated and clearly well founded.


Kristin Minetti: Advancing with Her Teams

In her second year of teaching at the College of Business, lecturer Kristin Minetti (third from right, above) has shown herself to be an enthusiastic mentor to her students. Serving as Research Assistant for Assurance of Learning, District Director for Delta Sigma Pi, Advisor to the American Marketing Association CSUC Chapter, and as Sales Competition Coach at the Seufferlein Sales Center, it’s safe to assume Kristin’s plate is full.

Still, she always finds time to promote the work of her students. When I asked what the Marketing Group was up to she replied via email:

"The American Marketing Association (AMA) is doing great this year and I am so proud of them!!  We just hit 50 members, which is double from last year.  The new board is working very hard to recruit members, sponsors, and have valuable projects for the students.  Some of our activities include:


-          Weekly meetings in Glenn 112 on Wednesdays at 7pm

-          Guest Speakers from sponsors, alumni and other marketing professionals

-          Hands on projects including:

o   Participating in the Ebay Case Competition (A national AMA competition against other colleges)

o   Community service opportunities (speaking at high schools and junior highs about alcohol and drug safety, supporting causes, volunteering at local events)

o   Participating in a Marketing idea competition for

o   Planning and executing a Miniature Golf event

o   Attending the AMA National Collegiate Conference in New Orleans in Spring 2017 to bring home awards for Chico State!

-          Workshops to help improve resumes, interview skills and how to market yourself!"


A busy schedule virtually ensures significant progress when coaches and advisors are as strong as those in the College of Business. Congratulations to all of you!


I’ll wrap up this edition with something special I found on TED. It’s appropriate to what the theme of the blog turned out to be this week – “We transform the world in which we live and work, and we do it every day.” Click below to view.