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February 2021
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Dr. Parker's Corner

Dear Faculty,

Thank you for the dedicated support you provide our students, especially during these challenging times. Your contributions to student care support our students' success and drives the realization of our call to holistic student support. Retention of our students is a shared responsibility. Student Services offers a wide range of services to help students from enrollment through graduation.

As you interact with our amazing students, please remember taking care of your own emotional needs is important when helping others. The compassion many of us feel for our students can affect us in both positive and negative ways. There are moments in all our lives when we need support. NU offers faculty 24/7 support no matter the issue through Cigna’s Life Assistance Program. To learn more, download the Life Assistance Program flyer, or call 800-538-3543. Get started with a visit to the Cigna Life Assistance website today. 

Featured Topic: The Heart of NU

"Compassion is not a virtue-it is a commitment. It’s not something we have or do not have-it’s something we choose to practice."

-Brené Brown

This quote from professor and bestselling author Brené Brown’s 2007 book I Thought it Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) focuses on the practice of offering compassion to others and reminds us of an important point: being compassionate takes effort. It seems like we are asked every day to extend compassion and understanding to our families, our students, and our colleagues and, after almost a year of this living in interesting times, many of us are feeling more than a little bit burned out.

As our lives have adapted to the challenges of the pandemic, it is possible that some of us neglected our own personal care and well-being in service to our jobs, our friends, our families. Students may be frustrated by the changes in workload and reevaluating the value of pursuing a college degree. Faculty may be experiencing the impacts of zoom fatigue, teacher burnout, and social isolation.

With that in mind, how can we continue to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our students if we are experiencing compassion fatigue?


A recent piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education offers some strategies to prevent burnout. Here are a few highlights:

  • Simplify synchronous meetings by asking more questions and encouraging discussion.

  • Take a break from being actively online and be clear about when you’ll return.

  • Stick to a schedule and set aside personal downtime to recharge.

  • Look for ways to share information widely (announcements, discussions) to keep emails and one-on-one meetings to a minimum.


The pandemic has altered the landscape of our lives and, while we are all doing our best to adapt to the challenges we face, it is up to us to make sure we are also caring for ourselves. Take some time this month to share some compassion with yourself!

From Your Teaching and Learning Team

The Office of Teaching and Learning Strategies has launched a new professional development module offering an overview of how to schedule, set up, and prepare for a successful meeting in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. This on-demand module also includes best practices for moderating your live sessions and tips on how to effectively use built-in engagement tools in your sessions. Whether you are using Collaborate Ultra for creating recorded lectures, small group discussions, office hours, or just need a refresher, this module is for you!

Looking for more Collaborate resources? Visit the OTLS website Blackboard Collaborate website for downloadable handouts, walkthrough videos, and job aids for both faculty and students.

Adjunct Faculty Perk: My Secure Advantage

All NU Adjunct Faculty have access to free financial wellness support through Cigna’s My Secure Advantage program. This program offers a series of on-demand online resources as well as personalized services that include discounts on tax planning and preparation, identify theft protection, and 30 days of money coaching services at no cost to you.

Download this brochure to learn more about how you can take advantage of this free program.

Faculty Spotlight: Steven Friedland

National University Adjunct Professor Steve Friedland has taught at universities, community colleges, and a parochial school since earning a master's degree at the University of Iowa with an emphasis in policy research and statistics and, at Northeastern University, a BA degree with an emphasis in public administration and economics. Professor Friedland began teaching with NU in 1988 and is the lead faculty in the School of Professional Studies for PAD 627 Quantitative Methods in Public Administration and has also taught statistics and research methodology courses.

Academy Insights invited Professor Friedland to share his thoughts on the impact of compassion in education:

When I think about National University, its mission and values, students, faculty, and staff, its founding and its history, I am reminded of this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

To be in the service of others is the driving force behind National University and its people. This University is driven to help everyone fulfill their potential and achieve their goals to become effective professionals, caring people, and ethical citizens.  At every stage of our personal and professional lives, the University supports this truth:

“Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, and tolerant of the weak, because someday in your life

you will be all of these.” 

—George Washington Carver

Early in his career, Steve worked for the Federal Power Commission in Washington, D.C., as a Legislative Analyst at the Boston Metropolitan District Commission, and as Executive Producer for Public Affairs and Religious Programming providing programs for CBS Radio. Since 2001, Professor Friedland has worked as a statistical and research consultant for projects such as the State of California Tobacco Cessation Project in a rural county, as a Field Enumerator for the 2020 Census, on quality improvement programs for business firms, and as a research specialist for health administration organizations.  He currently serves as a Parks & Recreation Commissioner in Coos County, Oregon. 


Want to be featured in an upcoming Faculty Spotlight?

Share your accomplishments by visiting the Academy Insights webpage and filling out the faculty spotlight form today!

From Our VP

The month of February is a time of celebration, from President’s Day to Chinese New Year to Mardi Gras. And equally important celebrations of Black History month and the American Heart celebration. As I think of the importance of these two events, I am inspired by the words of a great historical leader, Martin Luther King Jr., “Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.” 

As educators, we play an important role in supporting the whole student, of helping the students gain knowledge, but also inspiring our students to be true leaders and to lead from their heart. As you think about the courses you teach, can you identify opportunities to engage the whole learner? Are you helping your students connect to their passion for the topic, bringing in relevant topics or opportunities to apply what they learned? When I teach, I always try to kick off the new week with an inspirational quote focused on motivation, grit, or hard work. When I provide feedback, I encourage and support the student by reiterating what they have done well, or redirecting to the content, or providing additional resources. And I always want the student to know that I believe in their capabilities.  

As we continue to prepare for our LMS adoption of Brightspace, I am encouraged by the tools and data access available in our new platform that can help us to support student success. You will have access to student progress indicators and insights into their online learning behaviors.  We can use these tools to serve the whole student and hold true to the goal of education, supporting intelligence and character. Here is a sneak peek of a few Brightspace tools:


Thank you for all you do!  We look forward to continuing to support you.

Dr. Shannon McCarty

Vice President, Teaching and Learning