Acorn Chronicles

Nutt's To You...Written from Experience

Too Smart for Our Own Good?

Dear Smart People, Smart People Think They’re Right, but the Most Effective Entrepreneurs Assume They’re Wrong, by Jeff Haden is definitely worth the read – and not just for entrepreneurs. If you are not an entrepreneur, don’t let the title make you think this doesn’t apply to you. Leaders, teachers, students, preachers, politicians, parents, doctors, …

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H.O.P.E. for Humanity

Expecting or desiring something to happen is the basic tenet of hope. As a kid, you may have hoped for a special Christmas present; hoped the boy you had a crush on would notice you; or hoped to get a passing grade on a tough exam. Hope seemed so simple then. Hope is still a …

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Is “Good Leadership” Redundant?

Shouldn’t the word “leadership” stand on its own? Why do we qualify “leadership” with the word “good” or “bad?” I’ve been wrestling with this leadership question. If “bad” has to be placed in front of the word “leadership,” does that which is being described even qualify as leadership at all? What if instead of referring …

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Be a Good Follower

Being a good follower is as equally important as being a good leader. Most people play both roles, leader and follower. Being good at both will make a difference, especially in a crisis scenario. After all, following is ultimately an act of leadership. As I strive to be a better follower, below are beliefs I …

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The Paradox of Beliefs

Beliefs–what a person holds to be true or real, whether true or real–are the basis of a powerful paradox of the human existence. A classic tale that demonstrates this is Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Ugly Duckling. Accidentally hatched in a barnyard, the Ugly Duckling was bullied because he didn’t look like the other ducklings. He …

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Broken – But Not Forgotten

Yes. That is a picture of my trash. It is filled with garbage, discarded food, dust bunnies and debris from sweeping the floor, and even Buddy’s poop, the rescue dog who still struggles with going outside to do his business. On top of the smelly heap are the remains of broken and beloved Christmas decorations. …

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Yes! College Students Are Entitled

A common complaint among college faculty and administrators is about the audacious expectations of some (albeit not all) college students. These expectations get translated as “students are so entitled these days!” They are the source of much head shaking and the impetus for conversations that start with “when I was in school I would never…”. …

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To React or Respond? There’s a Big Difference

Each day presents opportunities to make choices about how to react or respond to a person or situation. Commuting to or from work, shooing kids out the door to get to school on time, leading a meeting, participating in a conference call, shopping at the grocery store…all of these (and many more) offer up the …

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Beliefs of College Students: Survey Results

The results of a survey I recently conducted to validate 17 proposed beliefs of successful college students are provided below. Each of the beliefs can be tied to growth mindset and GRIT constructs. Most of the 32 respondents were from Texas, but Georgia, Florida and California were also represented. Of the respondents, 77.24% currently work …

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Changing the Student Success Narrative in Community Colleges

Community colleges are open admissions institutions, providing everyone with access to higher education. Everyone. And it should stay that way. Unfortunately, and probably unintentionally, with the focus now on completion (not just access) a collective narrative that is framed within a deficit perspective has developed around the myriad reasons students don’t finish college ( a …

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Do To, Do For, or Do With Students

When it comes to how people interact with each other, there are four degrees of relationship along a continuum – each with an increasing level of engagement and effectiveness. 1st – You can ignore someone (least engagement, least effective) 2nd – You can do to someone 3rd – You can do for someone 4th – you can …

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Students “Don’t Do Optional”…Or Do They?

Today’s conventional wisdom (driven by research on student success and completion) has community colleges believing that “students don’t do optional.” This belief has perpetuated many of us to focus on two primary tactics to improve college completion: (1) mandate and (2) automate. Mandate: Orientation Student Success Course Meeting with an advisor Enrollment in a “learning community” Supplemental instruction …

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Real Life, Real Challenges

According to a September 2011 report by Complete College America, 75% of community college students are commuters, often juggling multiple priorities (families, jobs, school).  As such, non-traditional students are the majority now. Beyond juggling multiple priorities, many community college students are also dealing with incredibly complex life challenges (e.g. homelessness, poverty). They have significant obstacles …

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Finish What You Start

Think of something you’ve started. A diet, exercise program, home improvement project, a class, a relationship, a do it yourself project. Why did you start it? What compelled you to begin? Did you start something because of a desired future state? Dissatisfaction with the current reality? Hope for a change for the better? Curiosity? Ambition? Money? Desperation? …

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Buckets of Students

Who are community college students? Certainly we see students from across the continuum — from students who are not “college ready” to those who could’ve attended the top universities but chose the local community college for a variety of reasons.  As open admission institutions whose very mission is about access to higher education, we welcome …

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Incomplete Completion Agenda = Policy + Process – People

Policy + Process + People = Outcomes Community colleges across the United States have been working hard over the past several years to figure out how to get more students to finish a degree or certificate.  This work has been funded by the institutions themselves as well as several major foundations (think Lumina, Bill & …

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Tragedy? Really?

A few years ago the tabloids went crazy because it was presumed that Brad and Angelina’s twins had Down Syndrome.  Horrors! I will always remember standing in the check-out line at the grocery store.  Rachel was a little bitty thing, sitting in the cart.  As most of us typically do, I was scanning the tabloid …

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Except When She’s Not

With only the best of intentions, people will say, “Rachel is always so happy.” True.  Except when she’s not. People with DS have a full range of emotions and emotional responses.  Anger.  Frustration. Sadness. Sympathy. Excitement. Fear.  Intimidation. Love.  Affection.  Sorrow. Disgust. Gratitude. Pleasure. Pride. Boredom. You get the point. Happiness and joy radiate from …

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A Thousand Times Over

Before Rachel was born, but after DS-Day (when we knew for sure that extra chromosome indeed existed), I simultaneously wanted to know everything I could about DS, and I wanted to forget I had ever heard the words. While standing in the “Special Needs Kids” aisle at Barnes and Noble (who knew?) and staring blankly at …

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More Alike Than Different – Or Not

It sounds right when you first say it…”more alike than different.”  People with Down Syndrome are more like you and me than they are different than you and me. OK. I don’t necessarily disagree.  But I don’t buy it either. “More alike than different” is a well intentioned message, but it still implies people with Down …

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It Is “Down” – Like “Up”

People often mistakenly refer to Trisomy 21 (the medical term) as Downs Syndrome. Not so.  It is Down, like Up.  Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) is named after Dr. John Langdon Down who in 1866 described the condition as a distinct set of characteristics. Make no mistake about it, “down” does not describe someone inferior, unhappy, depressed or …

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Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Faces of the 2015 DSAH Calendar See the beautiful girl in the lower left corner? Yes.  That’s the one.  Miss September. Rachel Ann Nutt She’s the girl who forever changed our lives for the better. Our innocent lamb, full of grace.  You are amazing…just the way you are!

A Lighting Bolt Moment

It’s rare that you hear something so powerful that it stops you in your tracks and pushes everything else out of your head in that moment.  But, that very thing happened to me this week at the American Association of Community Colleges High Performance Team Training.  In the last few minutes of the last session on …

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Do the Right Thing…Anyway

That a leader will have to make difficult or controversial decision is inevitable.  Good leaders will explain their reasoning.  But, every once in a while a decision has to be made without being able to reveal the details surrounding the situation, such as in personnel matters.  The secret to navigating difficult decisions successfully (especially when you can’t …

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