Veterans Day at South University

by South University 11 November 2014

This Veterans Day, the South University community extends our gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has been a member of the U.S. military—including our own military students, faculty and staff—for their bravery and service. We honor your courage, patriotism and the sacrifices you’ve made for our country.

US flags

First recognized in 1919 and legally designated as a U.S. holiday in 1938, November 11 was originally known as Armistice Day to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, new legislation officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day and today, the day honors American veterans of all wars.

Not just today, but every day, our staff and faculty members strive to support those affiliated with the military through flexible degree programs, scholarship opportunities, and policies that can allow military experience to count as college credit. Last month, South University was honored by being named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by GI Jobs Magazine. We are and will continue to be dedicated to supporting military-affiliated students who wish to advance their education and enhance their professional skills and knowledge.

At South University, Online Programs, military students are encouraged to join our chapter of the Student Veterans of America in Connections (under the Organizations tab), a network where peers can provide academic and personal support, share helpful information, and discuss a wide range of topics and common interests. We also encourage every South University military student to see what resources and organizations are available at the campus or via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thank you again for all that you have done for this country!

The Outlook for Nursing Careers Remains Bright

by South University 6 November 2014

Recent years have come with the introduction of new healthcare legislation and standards, and, with those changes, so too has the face of healthcareand the role of nurses in particularchanged within the medical field. What's this mean for those considering a nursing career?

Nurse with patient

Will nursing jobs increase?

According to a spokesman for the American Nursing Association (ANA), the number of registered nurses is expected to increase by 26% by the year 2020, which is a faster rate of growth than with any other occupation. Insured healthcare is now available to more people, and, in addition, people are living longer and have access to more preventive care due to technological advances. All these changes increase the number of people in need of nursing care.

Where will nursing jobs be found?

According to the ANA, the areas where patient numbers are growing the most will determine where nursing careers are headed. Typically, the largest number of nurses are employed in hospitals, but that number is decreasing as fewer people are being admitted to hospitals. So, which areas will show a growing number of nursing careers? These are considered to be the most likely:

• Nursing homes
• Home healthcare
• MD offices
• High-specialty areas
• Outpatient care
• Academia

What are the requirements for a career in nursing?

Educational requirements vary based on the type of nursing, but more education often brings more career opportunities and larger earning potential. Education can be especially valuable in cities where there is already a larger nursing workforce and lots of competition for open positions.

• A certificate and license after a year of study is required to become a Licensed Practical Nurse who can perform basic functions in an office setting.

• An associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing is required to become a Registered Nurse who can work in a medical facility.

• A master's degree can enable a nurse to advance to higher levels of leadership and care, including nurse anesthetists, midwives and nurse practitioners.

• Post graduate certificates may allow nurses who already hold a master’s degree to find a new specialization and move their career in a different direction.

• A doctoral degree can prepare nurses to drive change and provide leadership within the healthcare industry.

Every nurse has to earn a state license after completing a course of study, and continuing education credits are usually required in order to renew a license. Some nurses opt to specialize further in areas such as pediatric or geriatric care.

Overall, the career outlook for nursing looks bright. Those interested in geriatric care, outpatient care and home healthcare may come to be especially well-situated for promising careers. For those interested in non-bedside nursing roles, nurse informaticists and nurse educators are also becoming increasingly important in the healthcare world.

See our list of programs in the area of nursing and learn how we can enhance your nursing career today.


How to Give Constructive Feedback That Works

by South University 28 October 2014

Are you currently a manager or working your way toward that much coveted office? A big part of being a leader and manager is providing feedback that helps those around you to grow and succeed. Yet offering constructive feedback that proves productive is a fine art—and one that takes practice. No one likes to feel attacked or criticized, and yet workplaces are environments that require constant feedback and evaluation. Whether you’re conducting performance reviews or general assessments, it's vital to practice positive delivery techniques that motivate rather than discourage.

thumbs up and thumbs down

Don't Negate Praise with the Word "But"

You might use the most reassuring compliments before this dangerous word, but the person will only hear the words following it. In order to make feedback more effective, separate praise from criticism. If someone is doing something well, state that wholeheartedly, not as a precursor to criticism. Doing so will allow for the complimentary words to carry more weight and will make the overall conversation feel more balanced.

Prepare Your Words

Solid preparation can prove the difference between a so-so conversation and one that inspires change and growth. Prior to vocalizing any concerns or suggestions, take the time to brainstorm a general outline of important points. Positive wording is the ideal way to avoid alienating an employee. "There's opportunity for you to grow as an excellent public speaker" is a far better statement than, "You need to work on your public speaking skills."

A surefire way to incite defensiveness from an employee is to use generalizations. Rather than saying someone is always late or never available, focus on specific incidents, and set encouraging goals to remedy problem behaviors. For instance, if an employee is routinely reporting back from lunch ten minutes late, focus on the dates of these incidents, ask for feedback from the employee on this issue and brainstorm ideas together that might help with time management.

Create a Conversation, Not a Lecture

Sometimes during evaluations or meetings, the conversation can become unintentionally one-sided. Allow the person(s) on the receiving end of the feedback to participate in the conversation as more than just an idle listener. Invite him or her to pose questions, clarify given examples and express any hesitations or barriers that might exist. Asking questions to the receiver also encourages a dialogue and makes the overall experience feel more equal.

Cater to Individual Motivational Styles

Each person is motivated in different ways. Some love praise, while others won't change unless they're given a form of competition. Instead of guessing what someone's individual preference is, ask him or her for feedback. Several assessments measure motivation style preference, and the results are often surprising. Understanding and utilizing motivational techniques is a highly constructive way of getting desired results.

When these guidelines are followed, feedback discussions and formal performance reviews can be a much smoother, productive process.

Why Choose Online Learning

by South University 22 October 2014

When it comes to advancing your career, broadening your skill set, or creating a specialty in a certain niche, online classes can provide the perfect platform for continuing your education. Adult learners face unique challenges in education, and one ideal way to remedy many of these obstacles is through online learning.

Man on computer

1. Increased Flexibility

Adults are more likely to encounter the challenge of balancing their studies with demanding work schedules. With online options, students don't have to inquire about changing their work hours or leaving early to attend lectures. Instead, they can focus on their classes at the times most convenient to them, thus establishing a less stressful environment and a timetable that is more conducive to learning. This reason alone is enough for many people to explore what the online environment has to offer.

2. No Commute

While traditional students often reside on or near campus, adult learners are typically established in an off-site residence. Rather than waste time sitting in heavy traffic to get from the office to a night class, consider the benefits of driving home, fixing a cup of hot tea and not having to face the drive back home after class is dismissed. The money you'll save on fuel also sweetens the deal.

3. Fewer Costly Books

As the cost of textbooks continues to rise, online learners have the opportunity to avoid incurring this large expense. Most online classes are supported with readily available materials accessible through your home computer. Instead of searching through a 500-page textbook for a specific entry (and lugging your books and materials across campus), students can simply open a PDF or e-book that specifically relates to the subject matter at hand -- one more way online learning provides students with unbeatable convenience.

4. More Interaction

One of the biggest concerns most people have about online education is the notion that there's less interaction available with the class instructor and fellow students. Luckily, this is a major misconception. While on-site classes do offer the opportunity to interact with others in-person, online classes can also provide enriching, one-on-one experiences. Campus classes often consist of a lecture and perhaps a brief question and answer session. With online formats, students are encouraged (and often required) to post feedback on lectures, readings and ideologies. Because everyone in the class gets to weigh in, the conversation is varied and diverse. The instructor also gets to receive input from every student individually. Plus, you can word your responses exactly as you want them, which beats the feeling of dread associated with holding your hand up in a crowded lecture hall.

5. Improved Technology Skills

Another common fear that adults have regarding online formats is the amount of technological know-how involved in the process. Have no fear -- instructors understand that students come to online learning with varied technology skills. Most assignments involve clicking on files, posting comments, and attaching documents. Instructors and technical support personnel are easily accessible through emails and phone calls to address any tech concerns you might have, thus alleviating unnecessary apprehension. As a bonus, you'll become more familiar and comfortable with technology as a whole. Adult learners will likely find that the overall benefits of online learning make exploring the growing range of classes and programs offered in this format well worth their time and consideration.

3 Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid in Academic Writing

by South University 9 October 2014

Over the course of your studies, there’s no way to avoid writing academic and research papers, but avoiding some of the most common writing pitfalls is easier than you might think. Developing your writing skills as a student is essential, as these skills will allow you to clearly convey your ideas and opinions and will go a long way in helping you throughout your professional career. Here are 3 mistakes you should be sure to avoid, so that you can compose essays that are clear, concise and persuasive.

papers in the trash

1. Ambiguity

Ambiguous writing muddles your argument, making it difficult for your reader to understand what you're trying to say. Ambiguity in writing comes in many forms, but two areas are particularly susceptible to vagueness. First, ambiguous pronouns can make an otherwise clear sentence downright confusing. Using pronouns to represent previously introduced subjects varies your writing and allows you to avoid sounding repetitive. However, pronouns such as it, they, this, and these risk being ambiguous. To avoid being vague, define these pronouns. For example, instead of saying, "This was successful," write, "This study was successful."

Similarly, a modifier, which is a short phrase that describes another word or phrase in a sentence, can be ambiguous when it is improperly placed in the sentence. To avoid ambiguous modifiers, keep them immediately before or after the words they describe.

2. Lack of Credible Sources

Sources can bolster your argument and connect your research to the writers and researchers who came before you. However, while the Internet has simplified the research process, it has also exposed students to many unverifiable sources.

Knowing how to conduct research can help you avoid using questionable sources. For starters, anonymous sources should not be trusted. The credibility of authors can be verified by researching their background to determine whether they are a subject matter expert or simply an opinionated blogger. Questionable sources can further be avoided by searching on reputable websites, especially those that end in .edu, .org or .gov.

We recommend beginning your research through the Online Library, accessible in the Campus Common via the My Academics menu. The Online Library staff also regularly hosts webinars that can help you to enhance your research skills, and staff members are available to assist you at or 1-866-874-0730. To see our webinar schedule, check our events calendar!

3. Improper Style

Style guides might seem like burdensome rules that frustrate and confuse students, but they also help create cohesive, easy-to-understand papers that are consistent from start to finish. Many students overlook style guide formatting or fail to apply rules consistently, which can result in a paper that is challenging to read. Moreover, failing to follow proper style risks unintentional plagiarism.

Adhering to your program- or course-specific style guide, whether that is APA, MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style, among others, is essential. In addition to ensuring that your academic paper adheres to basic formatting guidelines, you should also ensure you cite sources properly throughout. Whether you use parenthetical citations within the text or footnotes at the bottom of the page, your in-text citations should line up with a complete and correctly formatted works-cited page at the end of your paper.

Don’t forget that South University offers a Writing Center where someone will review your papers and give you feedback prior to final submission. Just select the Tutoring Service link in your classroom on any assignment page!