Sustainable Cities of Tomorrow: What Does the Future Hold?

by South University 18 April 2014

With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent each day, many believe it is crucial that we strive to reshape the way we live, transforming our urban centers into sustainable cities. By focusing on energy efficiency, green spaces, and reduced pollution, we can create a future where our cities are green not just on Earth Day, but every day.

Emerald CityTransportation

Traditional gas-powered modes of transportation produce a significant amount of pollution and obtaining the fuel to power these vehicles can destroy valuable plant and animal habitats. The green cities of the future will incorporate new, clean transportation technology to ensure people get where they need to go, without damaging the environment. Scientists and environmentalists hope that one day the following will be reality.

• Public transportation will be powered by super-efficient solar panels and use smart technology to better coordinate routes and schedules.

• Electric cars will be powered by clean electricity from smart grids that utilize wind and solar energy sources.

• New, radical forms of transportation, like the Hyperloop and super-speed trains will reduce the need for energy-intensive airplane flights for longer trips.

Housing

Most people already recycle and choose energy efficient appliances, but in order to reach the truly sustainable cities of our future, more drastic and innovative approaches will need to be adopted. These may include:

• Buildings will be equipped with smart monitoring technology to track performance and adapt to people’s needs, reducing wasted energy and money.

• Green roofs, or roofs with plants on top, will help regulate a building’s internal temperature, while absorbing rainwater, providing us with fresh oxygen, and in some cases, producing delicious fruits and vegetables.

• Energy independent homes and buildings, equipped with solar panels, small-scale wind turbines, and geothermal heating, will reduce pressure on power grids and allow people to choose clean sources of energy for their homes.

Energy

Burning carbon-based fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas, for energy to power our lives is one of the biggest contributors of pollution and climate-altering greenhouse gases. Green cities of the future are likely to use renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, combined with smart grids and improved solar cells and wind turbines to provide clean energy. Here are a few more predictions about the future of energy.

• As solar panels become smaller, cheaper, and more efficient, they will be utilized throughout sustainable cities on buildings, streetlights, and vehicles.

Innovations in wind turbines could produce more efficient versions that are bladeless, float in the ocean, or even are high up in the atmosphere.

• Smart grids will allow consumers and power providers to communicate energy needs and uses in real time, which will increase energy efficiency, save money, and reduce blackouts.

How to Foster Collaborative Relationships with Your Colleagues

by South University 15 April 2014

A positive work environment is the basis of any successful enterprise. Colleagues who collaborate effectively are better able to address the needs of the business and overcome their daily challenges at work. Not all co-workers immediately form close relationships; sometimes finding the right mesh among the staff takes work.

Teamwork

To foster positive and professional relationships among colleagues, follow these steps for maximizing the potential of the group through a well-functioning collective effort.

Learn about Your Colleagues' Work

Getting a sense of your coworkers’ responsibilities, working style, professional strengths and areas in which they wish to grow can be a good starting point for a relationship and can help you be more appreciative of their work. Shadowing your colleagues (of course, with your supervisor’s approval) is one way to get a better sense of their schedules and required tasks. This familiarization will foster appreciation and give each employee a view of the context of their respective responsibilities and shared goals. This is also an excellent opportunity to learn ways in which you can help others and who you should turn to when you need assistance in different areas.

Earn the Respect of Your Peers

Become someone who your colleagues can rely on if or when they need support. If you commit to a deadline or project, be sure not only to act on your promise, but also to follow through in a timely manner. Conversely, if you know something is not possible for you to do, admit it and explain why, asking for help if you need it. Another aspect of building trust is sharing information. Maintaining regular and open communication with one another will help to pave the way for a trusting, honest relationship.

Attend Social Gatherings

Socializing after business hours is an effective way to create a friendlier and more effective workplace relationship. Getting to know the person, rather than just the employee, will open new avenues of communication and give you a better understanding of what you have in common.

If social gatherings or happy hours are not regular occurrences on your team, talk to your supervisor about scheduling a team-building activity. For example, you can suggest a charity event that your company and your teammates can sponsor or help support. By participating in a community event or social gathering, employees will become more comfortable with each other overall, with the added benefit of discovering new ways of relating to each other while on the clock.

Resources

Building Good Work Relationships
Fostering Positive Professional Relationships in the Workplace
Seven Characteristics of Successful Work Relationships 
Building Positive Relationships at Work

You Asked, We Heard: Introducing the NEW Online Library!

by Staff 11 April 2014

By Guest Blogger Kate Sawyer
Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Libraries, South University

Just in time for the American Library Association's Library Week (April 13-19, 2014) The South University Online Library has been updated and redesigned -- thanks to your suggestions and feedback. The new look is sleeker, more user-friendly and more organized. However, the main element is the new Library Search function.

Library Search

Library Search works like Google; it searches the entire South University Online databases along with the eBook and print book collections at our campus locations across the country. Using keywords, subject terms, author name or title, you can quickly find results from a variety of resources. If you receive a large amount of results, you can narrow them down using the Library Search limiters (online only resources, journal articles, etc.). For more information on using the Library Search feature, watch our YouTube video.

Research GuidesLibrary Search is only one aspect of our new and improved South University Online Library website. You can find a quick link to the library’s Research Guides in a predominant spot on the website. These guides make it easy to find resources, tutorials, videos, and other helpful information about your topic.

Tabs are located at the top of the South University Online Library website and allow you to access a quick connection with the library resources and services.

Library Navigation

With these changes and new functionality, the South University Online Library is excited to provide an easier, sleeker, and more efficient website for its students to use. Current students can access the library via the My Academics menu in the Campus Common. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the South University Online Library Staff. 

The Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

by South University 1 April 2014

Job interviews aren’t just a chance for the interviewer to choose the right candidate for the job. It’s also a chance for you to decide if the company and job is right for you. So when you’re given the chance to ask questions at the end of the interview, don’t pass up this golden opportunity to determine if this is the right fit for all involved.

Interview QuestionsThe Value of Asking Questions

If through the course of the preceding interview you’ve determined you are interested in the position, don’t squander the opportunity. Not asking questions might paint you as uninterested in the employer’s eyes, according to a Forbes article. Plus, the article continues, the right questions will show that you’ve done your homework, you're serious about the position, and you’re “savvy enough to take the additional opportunity to sell yourself.”

Top Questions to Ask

Questions that Show Your Interest

Hopefully through body language you’ve shown your interest in the job throughout the interview, but don’t let this last chance pass you by. Ask questions that demonstrate that you want the job, and that you can already picture yourself with it. Monster.com suggests questions like:

• What is the most important thing for me to accomplish once I’m in the job?
• This job sounds like something I’d like to do – do you have any concerns about how the job responsibilities match my experience and qualifications?
• How can I be successful in this position and how will I be judged?

Questions that Show Your Knowledge of Company

By demonstrating that you’ve researched not only the industry, but also this particular company, you show that you are proactive and don’t expect anything to be handed to you. These types of questions are important ones to ask:

• Why did you (expand in this area, close this division, etc.)?
• You’ve accomplished X in the last three years. Where do you believe future improvements will come from?

Questions that Hone In on the Company Culture

Above all, you want to make sure the company is a good fit for you. Before your interview, consider how you work best. Think back on previous jobs – what did you like best about previous supervisors? Do you need a hands-on manager, or do you like to be left alone to do your own thing? Ask these questions to determine if the company culture meshes with you:

• What is your managerial style?
• How receptive are you to employee feedback?
• How would you describe your company culture?

Questions about the Previous Position Holder

Asking about the previous employee will clue you in on whether this is a company that promotes its employees, or if perhaps there is some sort of disconnect between what is expected of employees and what can be realistically accomplished within the job. Ask the interviewer questions along these lines:

• How did this position become available?
• How long was the previous employee in this position?

A job interview is the time for you to assess if you’re a fit at the company, both for your career and the employer. Asking the right questions is the ideal way during your job search for you to gather the information you need to make this all-important decision.

What to Do When You Make a Mistake at Work

by South University 26 March 2014

No one is perfect. Despite our best efforts, we all make mistakes in both our personal lives and our careers. Even a small mistake can become a huge issue if it is not dealt with properly. The following professional advice will help you not only to accept your mistake and forgive yourself, but to learn and grow as well.

Making MistakesOwn up to It

Our first instinct after making a mistake is to try to hide it before anyone notices. Don’t do that! Lying, hiding, or trying to cover up your mistake will only make matters worse. Furthermore, hiding your mistake will damage your reputation and perceived character once the error is brought to light.

We are all human, and are usually forgiving in the case of mistakes, but when lying is involved, trust and forgiveness are diminished. So do the right thing – when you make a mistake, immediately bring it to the attention of your boss or supervisor.

Don’t Blame Others

Trying to place the blame on someone else when you make a mistake shows a lack of accountability on your part – and that is not a great quality to possess. By accepting the full responsibility of your actions, you will show that you are mature and accountable for your mistakes. Attempting to blame others could also damage your reputation with your boss and coworkers, and even cause others to see you as sneaky or untrustworthy.

Correct Your Mistake

The easiest way to get past a mistake once you’ve taken responsibility for your actions is to fix the mistake. Even if it means working later, going out of your way, or enlisting the help of others, correcting your error will show that you truly care about getting the job done right and are committed to delivering results.

Reflection

Mistakes are usually avoidable and happen due to careless oversights. Once you have taken responsibility for your mistake and corrected the error, take time to think about why you make the mistake. Were you rushing? Trying to cut corners? Not paying attention? Not asking for the necessary help? Make note of the cause of your mistake to avoid letting it cause more mistakes in the future.

Learning and Committing

There’s something to be said for the old adage “a mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.” Instead of seeing your mistake as a failure, try to frame it in a positive light and look at it as a learning opportunity. If we take the time to learn from our mistakes we are less likely to make that same mistake again.