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This right here. 

I am a generally genuine person. I am personable as well as interpersonal. Professional. Trained in the ways of a true gentleman. 

A geek with a bad streak. Immature. Indecisive. Moody. Emotional and sensitive. Judgemental. Silly. Entertaining. Helpful. Supportive. Arrogant and Self-centered. Try to be sly and sneaky. Step right up to all this right here. 

Purported playa, money chaser, Sunday brunch time waster. Hella cautious and scary. Won’t fight until the senses ain’t caring. 

Yet after all of that, there are a few of you who see my authentic/deliberate self. Unhinged. Unbridled. Fun. On One. Bout that life. ‘There go Linc’. Followed by chants of ‘go Big Linc! Go Big Linc! And boy, does Big Linc go. Some of y’all have seen it in real life. Overexcited. Over zealous. And over arrogant. I go from Dr Linc J to Compton high in 9.83 seconds. Within reason, but Easily. Charmingly. 
My homies who called and did a telephonic intervention tonight shed some light. I appreciate my homies and love them like brothers. I’m who I am partially because of my interaction with them. I have a small circle, but it is endangered, highly valued and valuable.
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Adulting Training

It’s an old adage that parents have a giant responsibility. The care and raising of children is not to be taken lightly. Children come into the world with magnanimously limited basic skills, and over the course of approximately eighteen years, they need to learn aspects of life such as crossing the street, tying their shoes and how to behave in public and if ever in the presence and interaction of law enforcement [sic]. And even those examples are only related to survival; there’s still hygiene, ethics, and introspection, to name a very few in an endless pursuit for the safety and security of your child(ren) and Adulting Training.

I’m what you would call an ‘old man’s baby’ because my parents were older, established, and fairly old-fashioned. My father was highly observant and analytical, and he didn’t  waste his words. There was an Eddie Murphy movie where he only had 10,000 words before he went mute. I remember watching that movie and thinking my father could have lived his entire 80 years and still have a few words left at the end. When and if he spoke, it was meaningful, even if you didn’t understand what he meant for a little while (but that’s a whole ‘nother story). He was charming and discrete, analyzing every contact and context. On the other hand,  I always have something to say. I’m gregarious and boisterous, talkative, and indiscreet. I would have run out of 10,000 words within a few months. My son, Master, has learned to straddle that fence in his 21 years.

Child Birth Order theory is an accepted and much-referenced benchmark in studies. However, the other side of the coin is parents’ ages. Three natural patterns emerge when you look at parental age brackets [12-28], [29-50] and [51-70]. Differing socioeconomic influences, expected personal/professional/financial development, and general setbacks/obstacles/trauma have major influences on parental priorities, care and maintenance, proposed ‘life lessons’ and survival techniques. Obviously, environment plays a role; however, how and what you learn is linked, in part, to the age and wisdom of the person doing the teaching and life circumstances and experiences. I had petty criticisms of my father’s child-rearing practices, although he was a good, conservative father who was always there; I spent most of my childhood determining what type of father I was going to be based on mainly what I didn’t like about my father, but also several things I love about him. He was 46 1/2 when I was born, well into a good blue collar career, and lived through so much history and seemingly insurmountable challenges. 

I’m the cool parent. The hardworking, driven, Generation X don dada. I became a {step} father at 22 and Master was born when I was 24. My youngest, President, was born when I was 33 1/2. Against the intense advice of my homies, I remain open to the possibility of maybe one more child (I’m still a year and a half younger than my father was when I was born!). I’m no disciplinarian, and I want to have experiences with them that I could not have with my father. I want to talk too much to them, preach, fuss, cuss, laugh, teach, debate, discuss and discover with them. Whether we were sleeping in the car, a presidential suite, or partying on the top two floors of a swanky Santa Monica hotel overlooking the pier, my children are exposed, expectant and extremely emotional at times [see spoiled]. And I indulge them, encourage them and excuse their indiscretions. We listen to inappropriate music, bag on people, find the weirdest things funny, go to some major concerts, ride rollercoasters and plan kick-it trips. I was the fun-loving, young at heart, silly fourth child in my marriage (ref. a person who is an oldest  child marrying a person who is the youngest child).

Can we teach them everything? No. It takes a village, a dozen teachers, a few good doctors, pastors, yogis and palm readers, extended family and adult role models, a partridge in a pear tree, et al. Particularly in this social media age of technological advances and electronic dependence where there is no way cover all the bases. Experience, exposure and education are the best teachers. The best we can do is what our parents did before us and theirs before them and so on ad infinitum: reinforce the most important priorities [subjective] and be astute at parenting on the fly. Shit gets real really quickly. How often did we hear, “wait until you have kids, they’re going to do the same thing to you,” and we scoffed. Touché les parents.

America’s education system is built upon a rich history and diversity; we enjoy the envy of many in the world as a center of freedom and strong educational opportunities. However, during an Asia Pacific Rim International Study Experience (APRISE) tour of Chongqing, China, I found that comparatively our system may be missing a vital piece of the education puzzle. During our first full day we visited the Rock Carvings in Dazu. Here there are millennia old sculptures, carvings and engravings that detail the path to enlightenment. Based in Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, they provided background and foundation for us as study tour participants and provided understanding of the culture we came to observe and absorb.

As we began visiting schools and classrooms, the influence of China’s religious, cultural and social history was evident. This structure provides a strong foundation for their education system, a system that is becoming the envy of the world. In the United States, this type of cross-pollination is not possible in the public system. Not only is there the idea of separation of church and state, we also enjoy a vast melting pot of religions, races, beliefs, languages and ideas. Through internationalization however, our influence on China’s infrastructure and their influence on ours will soon change that.

In the near future, our reliance on popular culture, cookie-cutter politics and celebrity must give way to delivering ways for our students to find greater purpose and meaning in the world, not simply a higher socioeconomic status in the United States. We will know we have arrived when the debate goes from education being a private good/public responsibility to the idea that education is a global prerogative and human obligation.

As “new and improved” institutions of higher education are being measured through direct correlation to popular magazine, newspaper, and periodical rankings, it is important to understand what this progress means to the greater global community through a list of indicators of globalization. Using global worldwide university rankings and league tables as a guide, aspects of globalization such as study abroad and exchange programs, numbers of international faculty and students, international research and citations, awards, grants, certifications, global presence and recognition were frequently mentioned. Less so were the ideas of branch campuses, dual degree programs and other global indicators which could dilute brand image. When taking all of these phenomena into consideration, it is easy to observe that the global expansion of higher education has been accompanied by myriad missteps and problems. Through the inventory and definition of key phrases, terms, and practices that are distinct in globalization and at comparable, yet geographically-diverse, universities, a set of perspectives and rationales were matched from the theoretical frameworks in order to elicit responses that provided an understanding of the indigenous categories that the interviewees have created to make sense of their world and the practices they engage in that can be understood only within their worldview (Patton, 2002). Emic analysis was used to search for labels interviewees used to define and describe globalization programs, policies and profiles at institutions. Emic analysis involves analyzing cultural phenomena from the perspective of one who participates in the culture being studied. Through this method, indicators that effectively measure global engagement are revealed.

During the examination of global universities, it is valuable to consider international rankings, as they provide a framework from which indicators of global engagement can be culled. However, rankings can only go so far in the actual definition and description of what constitutes a global university. As universities operate in an environment of increased competitiveness and global engagement, focus and attention needs to be placed on the aspects of internationalization which prove to be beneficial for the university as well as its stakeholders. This process can shift the perspective of the universities in such a way that it provides accountability to the students, faculty, alumni, and entire community. The milestones of this project are: a toolbox for universities to profile their globalization, as well as a number of programs and policies (study abroad programs, international research collaboration, partnerships) which will bring together stakeholders from different levels to discuss the results and start implementation (Centre for Higher Education Development, 2011).

The primary focus of the societal trend of globalization in higher education centers around the number and proportion of international students and faculty, a diverse campus, and connections on a worldwide scale. These findings are consistent with Deem, Mok and Lucas’ (2004) assertion that there are certain qualities that coincide with world-class status and that, in order to have a world-class education system, several things are involved: understanding the world in which we live, the values and cultures of different societies and the ways in which we all, as global citizens, can influence and shape the changes in the global economy, environment and society of which we are part; knowing what constitutes world-class educational standards, measuring ourselves against them and matching them, being a global partner overseas, benchmarking performance against world-class standards, drawing on best practice everywhere; developing the capacity to engage strategically with a wide range of partners across the world that can help universities realize their goals to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economies in the world, and promoting the role of universities as international hubs for learning and research.

Thirteen indicators of global engagement were identified. This study was purposefully constructed to gather strong evidence for or against the existence of global indicators within each of four domains: stakeholder perspective/social and cultural rationale; internal business perspective/economic rationale; innovation and learning perspective/academic rationale; and academic management perspective/political rationale. Throughout each of the domains, a significant presence of members of the international community on campus is paramount. This aspect of globalization emerged highly within all four of the domains of the research framework. This includes the numbers and percentages of international students, faculty and administrators, as well as how their interests and influence affects the academic and social environment. Without the influence, interaction, and general presence of members of a global community, a university cannot portend to call itself a global university. Culture is defined as the habits and traditions that set the tone for an institution — that is, the specific ways that stakeholders come together or stay apart (Frost & Chopp, 2004). It makes sense that students, faculty, and academic leaders from geographically, ethnically and culturally diverse regions of the world represent the most relevant, pertinent, and also necessary, indicator of globalization.

There were five findings that emerged:

  • international faculty, students and administrators are vital to globalization processes
  • global consciousness should be integrated throughout the institution and all levels
  • brand image and recognition are important aspects of a universities global profile
  • international collaboration and cross-border engagement are essential
  • administrative involvement and support are necessary for successful programs and policies to exist

By coupling the ideas from the theoretical frameworks, a perception of globalization from an array of stakeholders and investment agents was provided as well as justification for the inclusion and placement of globalization indicators on the resulting framework: The Scale of Global Engagement. There emerged 13 indicators of globalization at colleges and universities: 1) large body of international students, faculty, and administrators, 2) brand image/recognition, 3) international partnerships, 4) funding/fundraising for global activities, 5) international research collaboration, 6) publications/citations worldwide, 7) active, academic cross-border engagement, 8) closely-coupled systems, 9) international offices, 10) top-down administrative support and involvement,11)  meaningful interaction/integration on campus, 12) global programs and activities, and 13) global consciousness. The aforementioned indicators were categorized to match the perspectives/rationales of a newly created scale of global engagement.

Higher education around the world has made a transition due to the current societal trend of globalization. Colleges and universities around the world have entered an era where the movement of minds and cooperation of academia are fashioning out a new brand of institution. Undeniably, globalization and internationalization have had an impact not only on campuses, but also students, faculty, and administrators. Increasingly, institutions are using rankings as a measure of global impact and engagement; however this practice can sometimes prove to be rather useless in the context of the majority of universities dotting the globe. By combing through the methodologies of rankings and other global measurements, which continually increase in scope and breadth as universities struggle to cross international borders and create worldwide connections, there exists a need to further and fully define the current internationalization movement. By developing a list of indicators of global engagement for colleges and universities, the aim is to see how and why “globalization has become one of the most important factors that influence the development of higher education worldwide” (Jiang, 2008).

In fact, this era of globalization is one of the most influential factors in higher education and is pushing universities into a worldwide competition for world-class status. The final result of this inquiry provides a framework for tracking and understanding globalization and its impact on campuses. A new university has emerged. This requires rethinking the modern University, because how we track the global era of higher education is vital to its successful future. This article provides a list of indicators that identifies globalization on campuses as well as provides ideation toward the utilization of global practices and policies.

Defining global engagement through a list of indicators provides a clear and thorough observation on the impact internationalization has on higher education. Historically, there has been extensive criticism of rankings for suggesting false levels of assessment precision. Although criticized in close circles of academia, rankings are taken seriously by administrators, and academic departments are feeling pressure to demonstrate their value. Many of these departments analyze how they can use rankings data to recruit new faculty and top students (Jaschik, 2010). The development of a list of globalization indicators is pertinent to the further development of institutions in that institutions are provided with a practical tool that can assist in the development of academic and professional programs that reflect the globalization of society, the labor market and the global economy. Altbach estimates, “academe itself has become globalized, and institutions seek to benchmark themselves against their peers worldwide — and often to compete for students and staff (2010). A limitation of rankings is that there is only room at the top for as many world-class universities as meet the accepted criteria for such measurement. It is a zero-sum game, where the top 100 is limited to 100. For every space that is taken by a university, there exists one less opportunity for aspiring and emerging world-class universities. Altbach further suggests that perhaps a better idea than rankings is an international categorization system that can delineate institutions according to their missions (2010).

The goal is for a majority of schools to be able to gauge their global engagement, impact and interaction. Many criticize rankings for frequently changing their criteria or rankings’ methodologies making performance difficult to measure longitudinally, and difficult to usefully make comparisons to other institutions. However, 21st century needs to compete, to use other institutions as a point of reference, and to globalize internationally make the creation of some form of indicators warranted. Of the 80% of universities that believe their institutions appear “favorably” in the rankings, 71% promote their rankings results and marketing materials, says Jaschik (2010). This leads to further criticism of using rankings, because as Jashik states, “universities adopt policies that may not be educationally sound for the sole purpose of advancing in the rankings” (2010). For example, schools might decide to focus on faculty research and publication in order to receive citations and major publications, instead of focusing on student learning and intercultural curricular experiences.

Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it is “an act of real audacity when a ranking system tries to be comprehensive and heterogeneous (2011). He also surmises that at no point do the college guides acknowledge the extraordinary difficulty of the task they have set themselves. The first difficulty with rankings is that it can be surprisingly hard to measure the variable one wants to rank — even in cases where that variable seems perfectly objective (2011). For instance, when measuring the number of international students and faculty an institution, the number attained will include several other variables that will have an effect on the total, such as meaningful interaction, school climate and culture. By developing a list of indicators of internationalization and overhauling the idea of rankings and measurements shows promise in the development of globalized institutions on a worldwide basis, and at an innumerable level.

The internationalization of higher education is providing worldwide access and global expansion to institutions on a world stage. As scholars and researchers define and further flesh out the implications of globalization at colleges and universities, the development of indicators of global engagement can help institutions navigate through a society of fading borders. The place-based identity (Armstrong, 2007) of colleges and universities is changing and national boundaries have become largely irrelevant (Wildavsky, 2010).

With this in mind, colleges and universities must find ways to cooperate, collaborate and participate on a global scale in this era of globalization. Universities need to be able to illustrate the presence of these indicators of global engagement within the institution in order to effectively claim to be global institutions producing global scholars. Through a methodical process of definition, characterization and description, globalization at universities is operationally explained for the benefit of developing indicators of successful and progressive global academic image and recognition. Defining globalization and understanding what constitutes a global university is challenging, as institutions use unreliable and invalid rankings to define globalization. The following list of indicators offers opportunities for comprehensive, research-oriented and geographically diverse institutions to gauge global impact and influence through a standardized list. The focus is to create positive outcomes, increase the quality of programs, create innovation in learning and provide global integration.

Dear Linc:

As I stand on the precipice of my fortieth year, I felt that we should have a conversation where we can reflect on the last ten years and work through the next ten years. Life is a series of trials, triumphs and tribulations, and the best we can do is be prepared for what may come. From our strong foundation, assiduous parents, and strong mind to the many opportunities and contingencies we have experienced, this life has been a charmed life, even at the lowest of times.

Over the last ten years, I have grown considerably.Through credentials and crises, each challenge changed me. I set goals, made mistakes, learned from my experiences and challenged myself to achieve more, become more significant. My greatest hope is that there is a legacy attached to the name Lincoln Duane Johnson that lives long after my physical body is no longer useful. Much of what we have done so far is in preparation for that idea to come to fruition. I do not know when our final day will be, but I do know that we must commit to doing the very best we can, everything in our power, to achieve as much as we can in the time that we have. The proverbial clock is ticking.

Next year, after the addition of a prefix to our name, a ten year plan will be employed. The years 40 – 49 are crucial to further career development, as I have given you a research interest and have set the ball in motion for books to be written, ideas to be shared and lives to be changed. It is my hope that you have taken the ball and run with it! It will not be and has not always been easy, but we can do it. The family, our wife and kids, accomplishments and accoutrements have made us into the Lincoln we are now, and will become. Live life with purpose; give life with precision.

Did you know that today, July 24, 2011, is Parent’s Day? Me either. I assume Parent’s Day falls on the fourth Sunday in July each year and was created to synthesize the rift caused in families by separate Mother’s and Father’s days. Of course I am being dramatic about it, but over the years as I transitioned from son to father, I have often wondered why not a day for both parents? Those of us fortunate enough to be raised by two would love the opportunity to celebrate them both. Also, as a parent, it just seems more…legitimate. Any man can be a father, but just like the proverbial Tango, being parents takes two.

I absolutely love my parents. It was not always so. Much of who we are come from our parents, positive and negative, whether we like it or not. It has always been said that we can not choose our parents, yet even when we feel we have the worst parents on earth, we have to admit that most times we’re a perfect fit. My mother was and is the center of my universe. I revolve around her like planets around the sun – from my career, to how I sit, my mannerisms, ways of saying things – in truth, I am a Momma’s boy. Her influence permeates throughout my life, even when we don’t speak for months. My father showed me and socialized me to be a man, a hard worker who cares for his children and does all of this with very few words. Of course I didn’t get the few words part, but as I grow older it is like watching myself grow into him. After his death in 2006, I noticed myself morphing into him, his looks, his attitude, his speech patterns and persona. So on this Parent’s Day, I would like to honor them by accepting that I was born unto who I was for a reason, and they did everything they did to make me who I am now.

As a parent, I often feel sorry for my children. My parents were older when I was born, 36 and 41 and a half, so I wanted children young. I would have been a teenage parent if luck and circumstance had not been on my side. I feel sorry for my kids sometimes because they had to grow with me, go through hardships and challenges as I grew into the man I am now, and never had the stability I had growing up. My children right now are 19, 15 and 5 and we are just now “making it.” I know that those hardships and challenges will somehow benefit my children, but as a parent, we want nothing but the best for them, and unfortunately, the best is sometimes a lofty, but unapproachable goal. Let us use this Parent’s Day to reflect on our own changes and challenges and look forward to watching life tread out in front of us and from under us. I have done many things in my life, but by far the most difficult has been being a good father and husband – being a Parent.