Best Universities In The USA To Study Online Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our day-to-day routines. We have had to adapt. Amidst all the uncertainty, you may still want to get your Diploma, Bachelor’s, Masters or Ph.D., and you are as uncertain about most things as the world is. The Education sector has also had to adapt.

Online programs are the best option in our current situation to get the ball rolling as far as your education is concerned. 

You are probably wondering:

  • Will I still be marketable in the workforce with a degree or certificate attained online?
  • Is studying online more costly or cheaper than attending classes physically?
  • And most importantly, which are the best Universities to earn your certificate via an online program?

In previous years, studying through online programs has been considered an option for long-distance students and working people whose work and class schedules conflict. In our current situation, online programs are a necessity. 

  • Will I still be marketable in the workforce with a degree or certificate attained online?

A certificate earned online is as good as one obtained in class. You should, nevertheless, look out for whether or not the institution you attend online is accredited. However, with the many colleges across the country, it is wise to choose the best ones. 

Being in the best online colleges will give you an added advantage over people who studied online in just a college offering online programs. Online programs or online courses are the same as those done in classes. The difference is, online programs are more convenient and flexible. It could suit your particular lifestyle.

  • Is studying online more costly or cheaper than attending classes physically?

Variations in tuition fees depend on the particular online programs and the university. We have highlighted some of them respectively in the universities below. 

  • And most importantly, which are the best Universities in the USA to study online programs?

Strayer University

Strayer University is a private, learning institution established in 1892. Over the years, the university has enrolled over 50,000 students globally through its online programs. It has its headquarters in Washington DC, with 76 campuses located in 15 states.

Strayer specializes in degree programs for working adults. Currently, they have an offer for spring classes starting April 5th in which students enrolling for a Bachelor’s program are getting a laptop pre-loaded with Microsoft software.

Strayer’s online programs are many. You have to head on to their website strayer.edu/online-degrees to go through the entire list. Popular fields include online programs featuring Bachelors in Business related programs, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, DevMountain courses, Digital Entrepreneurship, Health Sciences, Jack Welch programs, Joe Gibbs certificates, MBAs, Masters in Education, Masters in Health Service Administration, among others. 

All the online programs offered at Strayer University are accredited. Again, note that they have 50,000 students enrolled globally through the online programs. That is a testament to the excellent quality of their online programs. 

The tuition fee for the fall of 2019 was $1,480 per course for the Full and Part-Time degree programs and $1,480 for the Full and Part-Time Associates degrees. They may opt to update the fee structure, so stay updated on their official website strayer.edu/online-degrees.

Grand Canyon University 

GCU is a for-profit private, Christian University established in 1949. In 2018 they ranked, the largest Christian University based on enrollment. The university offers a variety of accredited online degree programs. 

They include Bachelors’ and Master’s online programs such as; Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Graphic Design, Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Arts in Communication, Master of Arts in Curriculum Instruction.

Grand Canyon University also offers online doctoral programs such as Doctor of Business Administration: Data Analytics, Doctor of Business Administration: Management, and Doctor of Business Administration: Marketing among many other Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral programs. 

All GCU online programs are fully accredited which helps in giving an edge when employers assess your papers. The university has also dedicated itself to providing online education with as good quality as traditional education. 

The requirements are a critical factor to GCU as they are to potential employers. Their online programs require the same credits as traditional programs. 

The tuition fees vary depending on the program of study. The range for all the online undergraduate programs is $395 to $470 per credit hour. Graduate classes range from $365 to $695. The rates apply to students interested in pursuing online degree programs or evening classes. 

University of Phoenix 

The University of Phoenix is a for-profit online college founded in 1976. The university has an open-enrollment admission policy meaning they accept all applicants with a high-school diploma, GED, or its equivalent as sufficient admission. UoPX is the largest recipient of federal GI Bill tuition benefits for military veterans. 

UoPX offers Bachelor’s, Doctoral, Competency-based programs, Associate’s Degree, Certificates, and Master’s online programs covering diverse fields like Business, Behavioral Sciences, Education, Healthcare, Technology, Criminal Justice, and Psychology.

All the online programs offered at the University of Phoenix are accredited. As stated above the requirements to apply for courses are a GED, High-school Diploma, or an equivalent. 

For Undergraduates and Associate’s Degrees, you pay $398 per credit as the tuition fees. For Master’s programs, you pay $698 per credit and for the Doctoral programs, you pay $810 tuition fees. The university has a platform on its website to apply for federal financial aid, military or veteran benefits, employer assistance, and other scholarships. For more information about the University of Phoenix online programs click on this link phoenix.edu.

American Public University System

American Public University System (APUS) is a private, also for-profit, online learning institution consisting of American Military University (AMU), American Public University (APU), and Hondros College of Nursing. The university was established in 1991 and is owned by American Public Education, Inc. a publicly traded private-sector corporation. 

The application process requires you to review APUS policies and declare your academic goal during your online application for admission. Remember they majorly focus on a particular niche of individuals. 

APUS’s most popular online programs include undergraduate programs in Intelligence Studies, Sports and Health Sciences, Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Emergency and Disaster Management, Nursing, Business Administration, and Management. The catalog explains their military branch. They also offer graduate programs in similar fields. Their curriculum has an emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities.

Their tuition fees vary but the average rates are $285 or $250 with a military grant per credit for undergraduate courses and $370 without the military grant, $250 with a military grant per credit for Master’s programs. For more information on the tuition fees structure and doctoral tuition fees visit https://www.apus.edu/tuition/index

The University of St. Thomas 

The University of St. Thomas is a private, Catholic university located in ST. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The institution was founded in 1885. They offer high-quality education in various fields. Annually, the University of St. Thomas enrolls 6,100 undergraduate students who are referred to as “Tommies”. 

Their online program focuses on participation. Thus students in online programs are included in live discussions, watching thought-provoking videos, listening to speakers, and collaborating with classmates. Online programs offered include undergraduate programs in Business, Catholic Studies, Education, Engineering, Law, and Social Work. 

Qualification varies for different programs and you can click on this link to get more information on the respective online program you may be interested in, https://www.stthomas.edu/academics/online-learning/.

Their tuition fees are averaged as $ 1,433 per credit for Undergraduate programs, $23,637 per term for Undergraduate banded rates for 12-18 credits. For more info on tuition fees hit this link https://www.stthomas.edu/businessoffice/resources/tuition2122/

Honorable Mention: Penn Foster College.

Penn Foster College is a private, for-profit college whose headquarters are in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1890 as International Correspondence schools and is now a 100% online college. 

Penn Foster’s online programs are all asynchronous meaning you can start them any time. Penn Foster is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).  Undergrad, Associates Degrees, and Undergraduate certificates offered are from the following fields; Automotive, Creative Design, Education, Engineering, Technology, Legal Studies, Trade, Health Services, and they also have high-school programs to get your GED. 

They accept international students.

Their tuition fees vary with the respective courses. They do have offers such as the $2 a day offer. For more info on their tuition fee structure, you can check out their website https://www.pennfoster.edu/college

Studying online gives you the flexibility to still work or do other things while earning your certificate. Online programs are the future of learning. You can earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or and even your Doctorate from the institution of your choice and suit your schedules without having to break bank traveling.

Filipino Culture and Its Impact on Nursing and Healthcare

The Filipino Culture

The culture of the people from the Philippines is a perfect example of a combination of values from the West and those that already existed in the East. Before the arrival of the Spanish, the culture was initially heavily influenced by the Malay heritage which was common in South East Asia. It was after the colonization of the islands by the Spanish, that the Hispanic influence spread and impacted the country, with Roman Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. After being under the Spanish and Mexican rule for nearly three decades, the United States of America (USA) took the island nation as part of their sphere of influence for 50 years a result of which is the English language that is presently widely used in this territory(Tan, 2009, p. 10).  The purpose of this research paper is to study the Filipino culture in relation to how individuals share thoughts ideas, taboo subjects in conversations, touch (between members of a family, the opposite sex, friends, healthcare providers) , gestures, acceptable ways of an individual standing while greeting people, temporal relation of the culture and the impact of the culture on health care and nursing.

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Sharing thoughts, ideas and taboos subjects in the Filipino Culture

            In the Filipino culture, the family is treated as the center of the complex social structure which includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sponsors, honorary relations (god-parents) and the nuclear family. The general idea behind such a structure is to ensure that there is a support system for a family, with the raising of a child becoming a communal task taken seriously by all. In the Filipino setting, strength within a family is derived from this structure that seeks to maintain stability for the young children growing up in this society. A person’s extended family acts as their patronage umbrella in situations of social importance such as when an individual is seeking an employment opportunity. It is from this premise that we elucidate the willingness to share of thoughts, feelings, and ideas within this culture, not forgetting areas of discussion that would be considered taboo. As mentioned earlier, the people in this culture happen to be highly family-oriented essentially making family the most important aspect of the life of any individual in this culture(Manuel & Philippineasian Society, 1995, p. 14). There is constant sharing of communication between family members who more often than not harbor feelings of love and care for their keen. The main reason why the sharing of information and feelings is important in the Filipino culture is to first to check whether or not the individuals I s experiencing an equilibrium or might be in dire need of assistance.

In the Filipino culture, it is common for family members to chat each other up, even if it means instituting small talk. Family comes first to all those who are from this culture, which means that the communication that takes place between members of the family is at times a precautionary measure meant to ensure that there is no weak link. If an individual seems distressed or expresses seems depressed throughout an interactive session between family members, an intervention is usually in the offing. It is the duty of the family to use the information gathered from the conversation to seek practical solutions to the debacles that a family member might be experiencing. Moreover, the Filipino culture is quite accepting of new ideas. In a family setting, the ideas that a family member might be having is put under discussion and subjected to an analysis mainly aimed to understand this point of view. Decades of foreign rule in the Philippines brought these people into direct contact with foreigners who also brought Roman Catholicism to these people(Manuel & Philippineasian Society, 1995, p. 14). Having said that, there are a couple of subjects that remain taboo in this society, most notably sex and death. Sex is a taboo subject that does not feature in most discourses, especially those involving the family members. There are many occasions in this culture where parents avoid the “sex talk” altogether as it is a lewd subject that is better left untouched. Children are thus expected not to bring this subject up in family conversation, lest they suffer disparagement from family members. Furthermore, death is a subject that is frowned upon by most individuals in this culture as the aspect of its inevitability is often ignored. Family members thus rarely share conversations that have death as a subject matter refusing to acknowledge that death always lurks in the corner, ready to rob individuals of their lives.

Personal spatial, distancing strategies and eye contact in the Filipino culture

In the Filipino culture, an individual’s personal space is considered quite vital. It is only during family interactions that this barrier is broken as members often interact cordially with each other in their quest tom ensure that the family members are of sound mental and physical health. The Filipino culture also brings forth a people that make friends easily and are hospitable and warm to any stranger with whom they might cross paths. Filipinos often strike up conversations with strangers or foreigners that they might come into contact with making a good impression with their humorous ways that show genuine kindness and modesty. However, it is important to note that in this culture, members maintain a reasonable distance between them and strangers as these are usually people they are not well conversant with. It is out of the respect that the accord a stranger’s personal space that they decide it is prudent to maintain a pragmatic distance between them and an individual that they have met. During interaction with strangers, it is typical of them to consider a seated position as most suitable as there is no difference in height between the two parties interacting. Additionally, the eye contact is also an important tenet of the Filipino culture. If the conversation taking place is between age-mates it is common for these individuals to maintain direct eye contact throughout the conversation to ensure that a level of involvement is established(Manuel & Philippineasian Society, 1995, p. 14). When holding a conversation with strangers, the Filipino culture requires that the individuals involved maintain frequent and brief eye contact. Older individuals often look down or away when talking to a person from a higher class or an authority figure as a sign of respect. Prolonged eye contact, can, however, be misinterpreted. For instance, if a Filipino male patient who is older maintains eye contact with a younger female nurse the interpretation often points to flirtation.

Gestures and Facial Expressions

One of the most common gestures in the Filipino culture is the paguma mano which is a usually a way of receiving blessings from the elders or a sign of respect. To add to this, the Filipino culture also features hand-kissing with the individual giving the greeting having to bow in the direction of the hand that has been offered by the elder while pressing their forehead onto the elder’s hand. An individual may request the recipient of the greeting to return the favor.  The younger generations in this culture often believe that it is the elders that are the custodians of the society’s wisdom and thus treat them with the utmost respect. Additionally, older family members can also be greeted using the paguma mano gesture as a sign of deference to their age. Facial expression also features greatly in the Filipina culture and is typically used to convey a specific message. To a foreigner, a smile might seem ambiguous, but to a seasoned Filipina eye, a smile can carry a lot of hidden messages that need to be decoded. It is common, for example, to encounter Filipinos who use their upper lip to point at something without using their hands. Similarly, raising one’s eyebrows with the head slightly leaning backward will be interpreted as a greeting with the recipient replying with a similar facial expression. Over the years, individuals in this intricate close-knit society, have incorporated the use of gestures to communicate and even express a wide range of emotions from one individual to another.

Greetings in the Filipino culture

In the Filipino culture, the most common form of greeting is the handshake. It cuts through individuals of all ages and can vary from soft to strong handshakes. Strong handshakes are often used to assert one’s self and indicate the higher position that they intend to take in a situation. When greeting another person, Filipino culture requires that one stand, especially when shaking hands. Standing is a sign of mutual respect between the two parties that have just met and it goes to show that both individuals are ready to act in a modest fashion. A pat on the back or shoulder is a common supplementary feature of these handshakes and is often used to reinforce the greeting(Ting-Toomey, 2002, p. 112). It is nonetheless dependent on the personal relationship that the two individuals share as it would be deemed rude by a stranger.

Filipino Culture’s Worldview

            The Filipino culture finds itself in a debacle; choosing the new western ways that were introduced by the foreign powers or holding on to their traditional Filipino culture. What is evident is the fact that these values and the culture as a whole cannot be discarded due to how deeply etched it is in the society. It is therefore very unlikely that the Filipino culture will be discarded altogether by this society owing to its deep-seated roots. The only likely outcome in future is the culture accepting some of the positive attributes of modern Western culture and incorporating them into the traditional one to forge a hybrid(Miranda-Feliciano, 1988). It is a culture that values personal interaction, particularism, a tolerance for ambiguity while valuing cooperation. Moreover, time in this society is considered fluid, which means deadlines and scheduling can be flexible( paki gs ama)- going with the flow.

Impacts of the Filipino culture on Nursing and Healthcare

As per the Filipino culture, health is mostly based on two principles; harmony and balance. In this culture, health is a result of balance in the body and illness is as a result of an imbalance in an individual’s body. They also believe that keeping the human body under warm conditions promotes health while a change of condition from cold to warm promotes illness and disease(Lopez, 2006, p. 350). The Filipino people normally have immense feelings of responsibility towards their families, which is a major reason why they seek health care. During the formative days of this culture, health would be maintained by following a strict diet while following a strict exercise routine. As it was the responsibility of the family to maintain the health of the all the individuals, a strong belief in Western medicine also developed amongst strict adherents of the Filipino culture to restore the body to its earlier form. It is their belief in Western medicine that has improved the health of people in this nation and lowered the mortality rate since its introduction. In the Filipino culture, decisions that center on the patient’s health, especially when death and dying are involved in healthcare centers is based on the family’s decision(Becker & Gay, n.d., p. 112). The Filipino culture requires information about a terminally ill individual being kept from them to avoid despair and make a last attempt at maintaining hope. As a result, it has been noted with great concern that this might be the main reason behind low hospice use in this culture. To provide care that is competent, all health care providers have to put all these points in consideration and be cognizant with the culture of those they are caring for. If health care providers respect the values and beliefs of those they are treating, a culturally competent care will be given ultimately.

Splinter Urbanism and its Role in a City Architectural Landscape

What is Splinter Urbanism?

Splinter urbanism is a term invented by geographers Simon Marvin and Steve Graham to refer to the fragmentation of one’s experience in the city using infrastructure (including communication and information technologies). The primary focus in this subject is infrastructure networks that span the globe with information drawn from professionals in Communications, Geography, Sociology and, most importantly, architecture. It is important to acknowledge that networked infrastructure systems have a direct impact on the urban environment through systematic changes in privatization and technological infrastructure. In the global circulation of vital resources, cities act as physical nodes facilitating the flow within it by using an intricate web of infrastructure (Gandelsonas, 1999, p. 23). Experts in architecture argue that there is a sense of cohesion created within the city itself through its networked infrastructure systems that forms complex machinery where inter-reliance exists between different levels to create a working urban environment. It is for this reason that networked infrastructure has been lauded for playing a key role in the social and physical formation of cities even with the ever-changing advances that play a major role in redesigning the management of infrastructure. In this essay, I will provide an in-depth elucidation of splinter urbanism, what it entails, and why it plays a major role in the architectural landscape of a city.

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What Does Splintering urbanism Entail?

The 21st century marked the beginning of infrastructure systems that were now open to the elements of market forces which have acted as movers of global capital. In this new-fangled market form, the provision of infrastructure happened to favor specific groups. As a result, social distancing within the society increases within racial, economic and social spheres. Splintering urbanism thus entails the dismantling of these multifaceted systems, a problematic undertaking as the networks do not develop crop up in seclusion. Such is the case due to the pathways and physical synergies in the midst of diverse networks. Western urbanism (1920-60), in particular, was popular for its endeavor endeavors in trying to create coherence and a caste system using ubiquitous development and standardization of power, transport, communication, and water infrastructure in the topography of cities. It was the paradigm shift of nations from capitalist modernization (Keynesianism) and mass production (Fordism) that the splintering modernism largely draws from in delivering public goods through public or private monopolies  (Stephen & McFarlane, 2015). In the formation of welfare states, these policies are prevalent and often utilized as instruments for reinventing urban centers as sanitized and highly functional areas. Even with this apparent normalization of the vast networked infrastructure, the normative aspirations aimed at reaching a “good city” status is placed in the hands of modernizers and planners hindering its universality.

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Why splintering Urbanism Plays a Major Role in the Architectural Landscape of a City

With the decline of the aforementioned standardized integrated ideal, splintering urbanism offers a new planning logic with provisions for regional and urban spaces. One important feature of this recent trend is the surfacing of infrastructural projects that are geared towards the provision of high quality and reliable services to selected powerful spaces. Consequently, users in this area are able to gradually withdraw from standardized, communal monopolistic networks that were commonplace in before. These “premium network spaces” have taken place in cities across the globe. Technocrats and architects, therefore, come to terms with the importance of understanding this new reconfiguration within infrastructural networks together with its effect on urban restructuring and change. In order to gain a full grasp of splinter urbanism, one requires an analytical prism that allows individuals to view cities as evolving entities that have been entrenched in a transformative geometry of links with the storing, channeling redistributing connections.

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In using infrastructure to investigate splintering urbanism, it is also important to bring the urban infrastructure and architecture to shed more light on the subject. Graham and Marvin (2001) are of the opinion that individuals need to acquire a more dynamic way of viewing urban areas and cities.

“When our analytical focus centers on how the wires, ducts, tunnels, conduits, streets, highways and technical networks that interlace and infuse cities are constructed and used, modern urbanism emerges as an extraordinarily complex and dynamic socio-technical process”  (Graham & Marvin, 2001, p. 8)

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A perspective such as the one quoted above refers to the infrastructure in the networks as an entity as opposed to viewing it as only having “impacts” on the architecture of the city. In this case, infrastructure is defined as the technologies and material objects that are woven into values, meanings and social practice that make up the fabric of modern-day urban cities. Furthermore, urban infrastructure is both social and technical, a perspective that leads splintering urbanism to conceive cities in as co-evolving, overlays that play a vital role in the organizing of complex articulation and the urban culture that is dynamic in their occurrence. The presence of national infrastructure privatization and progressive liberalization as the pivotal policies behind splinter urbanism has seen the rise in opening up of monopolies, international trade agreements and the materialization of new forms of competition. A consequence of this is that it draws global finance capital that is in search of high-profit, low-risk development schemes that involve fragments of the infrastructure networks (Coutard & Olivier, n.d., p. 12). Contrary to popular belief, these premium networked spaces that have been created do not always thrive in seceding and becoming autonomous. It is a progression that is highly contested by a myriad of players that include the social movements.

Splintering urbanism is an important phenomenon that is still extensively discussed in architectural circles presently. It acts as the first analytical geography of how the network society is formed and has inspired waves of ambitious researchers to undertake empirical studies on social mobility, inequality, and urban infrastructure. In the splintering urbanism thesis, lays great emphasis on the universal nature of a modern integral ideal and viewing it from a global perspective. It is this restructuring process that ultimately leads to the incorporation of territories such as the Caribbean Islands into various spatial dynamics of sophisticated metropolitan localities such as New York City.  Inquiring the material culture in architecture using the available infrastructure, we become aware of its history, development and how various aspects that make it are still changing. Splintering urbanization also comes with “globalization”, the construction of innovative networks amongst privileged members of the society who now have an opportunity to use state-of-the-art infrastructure.

The new millennium offered dwellers of urban enclaves he opportunity to experience a change in their architectural landscape that was mainly driven by the changes in infrastructure that covered its whole expanse. Through the implementation of a pragmatic focus on city planning and selective interventions to respond to the immediate political and social demands, splintering urbanism has emerge as a top contender in providing an organized system. Nonetheless, the ubiquitous model of a high-modern integrated city will still remain a defining element in the cultural transformation of urban centers.

Book Review: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel is a book in its own league. Nothing confirms this more than the fact that it is a winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for non-fictional books and became a best seller in 1998. Diamond does a superb job at catching the attention of the reader by providing them with a fascinating and detailed account of about 13,000 years of societal development and human evolution. Although there have been a few points of controversy that the book has raised among scientists, the book has tasked itself with answering very many complex questions that had largely remained unanswered for decades. In its preface, Diamond first begins by recounting how he was initially intrigued when Yali, his New Guinean friend once asked him once; “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had a little cargo of our own?”(Diamond 14). The “cargo” mentioned so fondly by Yali is technology, and in particular simple tools such as axes, other accessories like umbrellas together with complex inventions such as cell phones, computers, and the Internet. Diamond notes that two centuries before his meeting with Yali, the communities native to New Guinea had already been using their own form of stone tools. It is this sudden realization that makes him interrogate the main factors that led to this stark gap in development between these two cultures.

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At first, many would wrongly assume that Diamond could be writing the book to celebrate European conquest over other nations. Conversely, Diamond is not on a mission to glorify anything or anyone but simply tries his level best to describe what happened in history, and why events took the course that they did. He also clarifies that his is just a descriptive work of literature and does not, in any way, judge anyone. However, there are several occasions in the book where he voices his own opinion and in particular, his utter disgust for the racism that European colonialists harbored. For the most part of this meticulously written book, his tone is dispassionate and scientific. He searches for a conclusive answer to his question by first examining history over the millions of years that have passed, mapping out those first migrations of hominids from Africa to their destination in Eurasia and later from the Eastern Asia region towards the Pacific Ocean Islands, Siberia to the Americas. He follows the biological evolution of human beings and later focuses on certain representative societies which he uses to illustrate the truth that is there in his findings. While emphasizing the difference that exists between the developing cultures, he emphasizes on the writing, food production, government, technology, and religion. Using his opinions, he then demonstrates the reason why a difference among the cultures occurred.

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From the onset, it is easy for one to misinterpret the rhetoric of the book as Diamond’s simple argument that the hunter-gatherer culture such as that of the aborigines and Native Americans as being inferior to that of the industrialized civilizations. In truth,  he doesn’t argue that one society is better than the other but surprisingly mentions that before contact, these hunter-gatherers were better off without the “development” that was brought. He shows how human beings learned how to effectively replace these practices with the onset of industrial and agricultural practices. He is also not saying that hunting and gathering are inferior to agriculture but simply stating that farming was more efficient in extracting food for certain areas. It is also important to note that throughout the book, Diamond seems to have written the book to refute persistent unscientific claims that Westerners were superior in comparison to people from other regions in the world. He makes specific mention to the racist’s attempts to twist science as seen in their use of Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species to justify their subjugation of these people and their brutality towards them during the conquest. (Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review: The Fates of Human Societies 25). He is insistent on there is no scientific link between culture/race and the intelligence of a people. To bolster this point, he describes his personal experience working as an anthropologist in New Guinea. It was in this island nation that he met some of the most brilliant people. He even seems convinced that these people could be smarter than the Westerners. In this society, survival was determined by luck and health meaning that individuals did not die from infectious diseases such as smallpox and the plague. Survival was more of a product of intelligence and talent such as being able to avoid accidents and their ability to hunt food successfully(Diamond 21). Additionally, Diamond points out that the average New Guinean spent more time out exploring the world around them than the average Westerner who would spend more time watching TV.

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In conclusion, the main argument in Diamond’s book is that that the differences that exist between different peoples and societies around the world are large as a result of the geographical differences present around the world. There are certain parts of the world where human beings decided to pursue agriculture due to the temperate climate and fertile soils while making good use of the time and resources available. These agricultural societies would, in turn, gain tremendous advantages over the other non-agricultural semi-sedentary societies as there was a subsequent increase in free leisure time to conquer other nations. The sheer depth of Diamonds argument makes for a smooth exposition that is used in combination with a didactic style during his narrations. Guns, Germs, and Steel is an impressive milestone of imagination that manages to succinctly describe the interaction between ‘primitive’ peoples and ‘civilized’ minds.

An Analysis of “Attacking Student Loans” by Carolyn M. Brown

A pertinent issue that has been widely ignored in the United States is that of the crippling student loans debts and its effects on a generation had banked on the fund bettering their chances of securing a high paying job. Currently, the Federal government owes close to $1.5 trillion in loans that had been provided to students to further their education (“Trump’s Silence on Student Loan Crisis is Deafening” 1). What is even more shocking is that presently student loan debts have skyrocketed to a level that is way past that of revolving consumer and credit card debts combined. About 44million of the population in the United States carries a average debt that is close to $34, 000 with interests alone amounting to $90 billion annually.  Critics of the student loan system have accused the Federal Government of profiteering from a program that leaves young adults in a state of limbo when they are forced to struggle for the rest of their lives to clear the loan (Best and Best 45). The situation is further exacerbated by an absence of statutes of limitation and a lack of bankruptcy protections which means that there is no safety net for those who took them. In her piece, “Attacking Student Loans’’  by Carolyn M. Brown, an editor at Black Enterprise brings this issue to perspective by using Bryan Mitchell, a Business Administration graduate from the University of New Haven (UNH) as an example of how this flawed system can affect the progress of an individual. The purpose of this essay is to provide an in-depth evaluation of “Attacking Student Loans’’ , with special focus on Mitchell’s case, the steps he is taking to free himself of his $120,000 student loan debt.

Student loans are more often than not only confined to a federal source. They can also emanate from private firms and banks that offer lending services to students who prefer to go at it alone and in a lone ranger fashion (Akers 3) .For those who qualify and are awarded these loans, the reality of what they got themselves into dawns on them as soon as they complete their higher education program. For most public employees such as teachers who earn a modest net monthly salary, life becomes challenge especially if intends to make immediate headway in life. It is not a hyperbole that most students who are “fortunate” enough to get these loans will be virtually unable to clear it in their lifetime. In Carolyn M. Brown’s piece, she does a superb job in bringing this issue to light by using Mitchell as an example of how unsuspecting young ambitious Americans fall into the student loan trap. In the four years that he spent in the University of New Haven (UNH) studying for an undergraduate degree in Business Administration (B.A), he was left with a $ 120,000 in student loan debt (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 1). The debt accrued from his fees and tuition that cost an estimated $15,000 every semester together with two Federal loans that were subsidized at a rate of 6.5% and eight other bank loans that were unsubsidized with interest rates that between 2.5%  to 9.75%(“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 1).  The sad part is that is required to pay an upwards of $700 monthly which is close to one-third of his meager monthly income, towards servicing the interest. Brown relates Mitchell’s predicament in great detail, showing the darker side of student loans.

According to Brown, Mitchell’s is not an isolated case. A majority of Americans are facing the same challenge, albeit suffering in silence with student loans preventing them from buying their dream homes or even starting a family. From a financial expert’s point of view, student loans are viewed as a “good” debt as it essentially improves their potential for higher earnings in future. However, the reality on the ground is not always so with college graduates having to seek second jobs to pay off their loans as their income is more often than not less than what they are expected to pay back. Brown’s opinion centers on the burden that student loans bring upon the lives of young adults that can take 20 years or even more to pay off.  She gives a staggering statistic; most undergraduate students leave the institutions with an average of $ 20,000 in student loan debts while graduate students have to grapple with a debt that can range from $30,000 to $120,000 (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 1).   Brown acknowledges this problem and tries to bring forth feasible solutions on how to avoid being swallowed by the student loan Leviathan and how those who already took it can manage their money in better ways that will ensure timely servicing of these debts so as to focus on other important things in life.

Brown’s subject, Mitchell, got into the debacle that he is currently in due to his “do it yourself” approach in life that led him to take independent choices such as financing his own college education. In retrospect, he regrets filling that Free Application For Student Aid application as he admits that he was, in all honesty, naïve about the reality. (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 1). Now that he is older and most definitely wiser, he opines that seeking assistance from his collage’s Financial Aid Department would have been the best choice for him as he would have sought the advice of counselors (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 1). These individuals would have been of great help in assisting him investigate any grants, loans or special programs that were on offer and specifically those for which he was eligible. His biggest mistake was to borrow money directly from an assortment of banks whose interest on college loans for students, as he later came to find out, were relatively high. These loans often attract students as they are easy to secure, but in the long run end up become too expensive for the students to pay back in time. Because there is no collateral for student loans awarded, the interest charged becomes higher (Collinge 1). Mitchell admits that he was oblivious of this fact which came to haunt him later on in future. It is important to note that Mitchell has learned from the mistakes that he made during his undergraduate years at college with his current employer now paying for his master’s degree.

Brown’s article intends to depict the adverse effects that student loans can have on individuals but at the same time giving them solutions on how best to clear them while embracing new spending habits. Mitchell, for instance, now works full time at the prestigious Goodwin College located in East Hartford, Connecticut working full-time an officer in the admission department earning about $40, 000 annually(“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 2). In order to take on this arduous financial challenge, he is fully committed to making changes in his lifestyle. For a start, he has taken a part-time job to boost his income, reducing his living expenses and also going to the extent of making an application for tax credits on his college loan due to the interest on his amount. Additionally, he intends to seek the services of a tax adviser to know whether he currently qualifies for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 2). Brown is instrumental in providing help for individuals who find themselves in financial ruts such as the one Mitchell was in. Through the Black Enterprise, she pens down a seven-year plan blueprint that is meant to assist Mitchell and individuals of his ilk to annihilate their outstanding student loan debt.

Trimming living expenses is the first step suggested by Brown. Mitchell, for instance currently rents an apartment that costs $600 monthly. According to Brown’s assessment, Mitchell can start by moving in with a roommate in an apartment that cost $800 a month, saving $200. If he does this continually, he will have $2, 400 annually to contribute to his loan settlement.

Another practical option is boosting one’s discretionary income. According to the piece, Mitchell is making the necessary arrangements to earn an extra figure of about $200 weekly as a personal trainer in his local gym as a personal trainer (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 2). A recent promotion also guarantees him an increase of $5,000 annually that comes in handy in his attempts to settle his debt.

Paying down all existing loan principles comes in third as a feasible way to settle one’s student loan arrears. For a start, Mitchell should apply extra payments aimed at the principal of the student loan taken with the highest interest rate. He should apply this strategy until his clears the whole amount. 

Building a savings reserve is important, not only as a contingency measure but also in having money ready to settle the student loan debt. A suggestion in the article is that Mitchell set aside monthly savings that amount to $100.  His goal is to ultimately clear his debt but it is important to remember that emergencies always seem to come when one least expects them, making it vital to always be prepared.

Staying ready with a 401(k) payment is also an important way to offset student loans (“Attacking Student Loan Debt” 2). Mitchell should not worry about other investments at the moment, which means that it would be advisable for him to stick to his 5% contribution regimen. Brown ends by giving a crucial piece of advice; attending state university or college can go a long way in reducing ones costs in fees and tuition as residents more often than not offer lower rates. It is thus paramount for students to put all this into consideration to avoid regretting their decision in future.

Relationship Between Advertising and the “cool” Factor – Argumentative Essay

Introduction

Consumerism has emerged as one of the most dominant forces in the 21st-century market. A strong urge to conform is largely to blame for its steady rise as individuals who find themselves in various subcultures strive to be accepted fully as authentic members. In an industrialized world of alpha consumers, “cool kids” and pseudo-cool persons paying attention to the elements that make up a subculture can determine the brands success or failure in the market. A widely accepted fact is that these alpha consumers more often than not band together in a cooperative gesture to fully embrace consumerism through the brands that they identify with. “Cool” becomes an aspect that can now be purchased for those loyal enough to follow the trendsetters (Parsons & Maclaran, 2011, p. 91). Over the years, the mainstream has made concerted efforts to co-opt this “cool” factor in their marketing and advertisement campaigns while presenting their brands and in time creating a following that equates “coolness” with being fashionable. Companies that were in tune with what was in vogue amongst many of the subcultures that exist in society became aware of the fact that the “cool” factor was the greatest advertising goldmine.

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If utilized in the right way, tapping into the full potential of what is considered “cool” by subcultures could possibly catapult these firms to greatness. Moreover, a subculture such as that of the hipsters that presents an anti-establishment image has also been the focus of mass media advertisements as it represents the figure of a modern day cultural rebel. These individuals seem to resist the mandates of civilization with enterprising firms taking advantage of this perceived “coolness” to facilitate the subcultures rebellion by producing consumer goods specific to them. The purpose of this argumentative essay is thus to provide an elaborate depiction of the relationship that exists between advertising and the “cool” factor. To aid this elucidation, three advertisements will be analyzed; Beyonce and Tina Knowles appearance in the “Got Milk?” campaign, Harley-Davidson print advertisement and the 2008 Converse Connectivity campaign.

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Example1 : Beyonce and Tina Knowles in the “Got Milk?” campaign

The image above would catch the eye of anyone familiar with pop culture. Beyonce is a popular celebrity who since 1997 has been prolific in churning out hit singles and albums for her loyal fans. In the advertisement, a young radiant Beyonce has one knee on the couch while her other leg crosses that of her mother Tina who is seated next to her holding her by the waist. Tina is holding a tall glass of milk while they both stare directly at the viewer with a stripe of milk residue on their upper lips. “Got Milk?”Campaign began in 1993 as a pilot project of Goodby Silverstein &Partners advertising agency for the then California Milk Processor Board to encourage the consumption of cow’s milk among Americans. From a marketing perspective, the aim of the advertisements was to increase milk sales through the strategic use influential campaigns and commodity brands (Arenofsky, 2009, p. 57). The signature “Milk Moustache” became its logo with many celebrities coming on board to bolster these efforts (Keller, 2013). Beyonce and Tina Knowles were among the many celebrities who graced this print advertisement, faces that were very familiar the viewers. These two celebrities are well known and their appearance in the campaign reassures those viewing it as most people know them and as a result, find it easy to trust them.

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Furthermore, by featuring Beyonce’s mother, the advertisement introduces a new twist; family values. The advertisements emotional appeal is strengthened by Beyonce’s reminiscing on how she always wanted to grow into a woman similar to her own mother. These sentiments are made clear by the advertisement as they are pictured together side by side. Facts about the nutritional value of milk are also featured in the advertisement including little-known facts about weight loss. To aficionados of pop culture who idolize Beyonce, such a campaign would go a long way in encouraging them to increase their consumption of milk. In addition to this, the catch phrase in the advertisement gives a factual slogan that drinking milk regularly can actually help one lose weight. Young girls and women seem to be the target audience of the campaign with Beyonce being the epitome of the person they would want to become.

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Example 2: Harley-Davidson print advertisement

The image above is that of a Harley-Davison motorcycle advertisement intended to depict what the company stands for; freedom.  Gentleman dressed casually in his biker jacket, blue jeans and boots rides his motorcycle while the lady sitting behind holds on to him. They seem to be riding in a freeway devoid of traffic enhancing their sense of new freedom. It is through such advertisements that Harley-Davidson has been able to command loyalty in its consumers. The freedom that it represents is mostly aimed at individuals who identified as hippies in the 1960’s and the modern day hipster (Rollin, Pineo & Mommer, 2012, p.23). The common denominator in these two groups of people is their desire to live life to the fullest in freedom and without any restrictions. To them, experiencing freedom is best done behind the wheel of an 800-pound Harley-Davison motorcycle that ultimately creates a primal connection with its rider. It is for this reason that both men and women have coveted this brand of motorcycle for over 110 years with a brand loyalty that is second to none. The Harley- Davidson motorcycle company views life as a journey contrary to views held by those who suggest that life is a destination.

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Consumers who view this advertisement would be of the opinion that riding on a Harley-Davison motorcycle would make them feel like “rebels”. To them, this is a new an alien concept, especially if they are the typical soccer mom, office-bound Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or lawyer. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what background they come from. As soon as they are on a Harley-Davison, they feel like defiant hipster rebels ready to live life to the fullest and experience all that it has to offer them (Noel, 2009, p. 48). The brand thus creates a personal identity in those who choose to embrace it, allowing them to be their truest self by giving them the much-needed freedom. The brand also encourages those who intending to ride them to escape the monotony of routine and live life like the legends that they are. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company has also enjoyed the loyalty of its customers as a result of “Harley lifestyle” that they offer to their target market ( Schultz, 2009, p. 107). Harley Owners Group (HOG), as it is fondly referred to, is a group of hard-core target owners instrumental in fostering camaraderie among all the members creating a deep emotional connection with this consumer product.

Example 3: The 2008 Converse “Connectivity” campaign

The image above depicts a Converse sneaker billboard in Berlin, Germany that was part of the 2008 “Connectivity” advertisement campaign. In the image presented to the audience, celebrities ranging from Joan Jett, Greenday. Sid Vicious to James Dean are all standing in a horizontal line with their legs apart. The only thing that they seem to have in common is the Converse sneakers that they are all sporting as their feet overlap. The Converse sneaker logo is placed at the periphery of the black and white images. In 2008, Converse launched this campaign during the celebration of their hundredth anniversary to celebrate the rich legacy that the brand represented while the shoes design remained relatively the same. The print advertisement is in black and white while being presented outdoors to reach a younger demographic. In the image, influential artists from the past and those that a reign presently appear in the advertisement and were use to emphasize Converse as a conduit for connectedness (Ries & Trout, 2001). All campaigns have a mission that they intend to achieve. That of the 2008 “Connectivity” campaign was to encourage the younger generation of teens to leave the mainstream behind and do their utmost to be unique in all ways possible.

In the 1960’s the footwear was associated with grunge and punk subculture. Musicians were the ambassadors of this new way of life often wearing the Converse sneaker as their symbol. Bands such as Nirvana and The Ramones had their members dressing in this brand to further push agenda of their subculture. The brand later took advantage of this opportunity to use these idols of music in advertising it and showing how it connected them all to each other. A sense of community is created by the advertisement which seems to transcend time as the musicians come from different eras (Lantos, 2015, p. 23). It is the Converse sneaker brand that links these eras figuratively and literally while presenting a personalized format of advertisements. All individuals depicted in the billboard represent the type of person that would most likely purchase Converse sneakers. The role of the artists is to provide a link between the merchandise in question and its subsequent recommendation. In the Converse sneaker “Connectivity” campaign the consumer is likely to be attracted “cool” factor as the footwear seems to be endorsed by influential musicians.

Conclusion

Advertisements take up the task of cultural intermediaries when marketing strategist use subcultures and the elements found in them to appropriate a sense of coolness that most consumers are drawn to. Whether it is Beyonce and Tina Knowles in the “Got Milk?” campaign, Harley-Davidson Advertisements or Converse sneakers “Connectivity” campaign, subcultures are studied and their elements use to create a sense of “coolness” if one decides to switch to the brand. The high sign value that celebrities, feminist sensibilities, nostalgia and fringe music genres have been used in advertisements as it these groups that are most likely to depict a “cool” factor from a subculture.

Occupational Analysis of a Human Resource Specialist

The Nature of Human Resource Job

Human resource job is an occupation that involves bringing organizations and people together to meet each other’s goals. HR job is universal in nature, since it is found in all business organizations. It centers on outcomes rather than rules. It is a job that centers on assisting workers to develop their ability fully and also encouraging workers to offer the best to their organization. Human resource job focuses more on people at work. This includes groups or individuals. It attempts to put individuals on assigned jobs so as produce desirable outcomes. It assists an organization to attain its future goals by offering well-motivated and competent workers. It attempts to maintain and develop cordial association between individuals working in different levels in an enterprises. Human resource job is a multidisciplinary activity that utilizes inputs and knowledge drawn from economies and psychology among others (Gupta, 2015).

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Human Resource Development Occupation

Human resource development is a branch of human resource management that specializes more on nurturing workers’ skills. Human resource development also centers on employees personal development. Since the expectations and needs of individuals are ever changing and growing, this occupation is there specifically to assist workers to cope with and prepare for such changes as well as the future uncertainties. HRD focuses on promoting employees’ retention in the company by enhancing employee’s personal and career growth in an organization. Thus, Human resource development occupation involve professionals with immaculate people management skills, since they are required to be in a position to realize talents among individual from backgrounds cross section.

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Difference between Human Resource and Human Resource Development Functions

Human resource manager is a professional that involves coordination, direction, and planning of the organization administrative functions. HR managers oversee the hiring, recruiting, and interviewing of new staffs. HR managers are also involved in consulting on strategic planning with top executives. They also serve as a connection between employees and the organization management. HRD on the contrary is a specialty in the human resource professional. It involves specializing on human management skills, career and personal development of employees. HR offers wider services as compared to Human resource development (Differencebetween, 2015).

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Any HR has basic HRD skills, those that specializes in HRD are HR who take more interest on development of skills and ability among workers. HR develops and manages organization’s human elements as a whole on long-term basis. Human resource development on the contrary centers on learning experiences that are organized for a particular time period to create desired changes on behavior. Another major difference between the two is that HR stresses on employees, employees attitudes and their abilities. Human resource managers create an essential organizational resource, which needs to be efficiently and effectively utilized to attain the goals of workers and the organization. On the on contrary, HRD stresses mainly on development and training of workers. However, since HRD is a HRM subset, most of the activities to be carried out by the HRD professional must be approved by the HR personnel or department. Nevertheless, cooperation of Human resource development is very essential for the general success of HR operation. When HR focuses on taking care of individual workers’ needs and trying to satisfy these needs and requirements of workers through all forms of motivation, HRD centers on upgrading the competencies and skills of workers so as to improve employees’ work performance (Gopinath, 2015).

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Human Resource Job Description

Human resource managers have a number of responsibility. They serve as a connection between employees and management by handling questions, administering and interpreting contracts and assisting in resolving work-associated problems. They are also involved in modifying and analyzing benefits and compensation policies to create competitive programs and guarantee legal requirements compliance. Human Resource managers also advise organizational managers on employment policy aspects that include sexual harassment and equal employment chance, and recommend required changes. They also conduct complex staffing duties that include administering discipline procedures, firing workers, refereeing disputes, and understaffing. They also conduct and plan new workers’ orientation, to promote positive attitude toward objectives of an organization (Collegetoolkit, 2015).

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Human resource managers identify job vacancies in an organization and take part in interview, recruit and choosing applicants. They coordinate, supervise, direct, and plan subordinates work activities and staff relating to employee relations, labor relations, compensation and employment. The also coordinate, control, plan, direct, or organize the labor relation, or personnel relation activities. They also represent company at personnel-associated investigations and hearings. Human resource managers also administer performance, benefits and compensation management system, recreation and safety programs. They also offer prospective and current with information regarding wages, policies, working conditions, job duties, employee benefits and promotion opportunities. Human resource managers also analyze statistical reports and data to determine and identify causes of personnel issues and create recommendations for enhancement of personal practices and policies of an organization. They also create and adhere to personnel operations budgets. They compile statistical reports and maintain records regarding personnel-associated data that include rates of absenteeism, hires, performance appraisals, and transfers (Aparna et al., 2010).

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Human resource managers are also involved in analyzing needs for safety and health in an organization. They also carry out exit interview to establish causes of employee’s termination. They oversee the classification, job positioning, evaluation and occupations rating. Human resource managers also prepare professional forecast for project employment needs. They study collective bargaining contracts, arbitration decisions, and legislation to evaluate industry trends. They also allocates duties to workers, guaranteeing suitable placement among personnel. They administer and develop special projects in aspects such as employee awards, pay equity, day care, and savings bond programs. They help in labor contract interpretation and negotiating contract bargains. They report and negotiate for industrial accidents on behalf of insurance carriers. In addition, they evaluate, administer and develop applicants’ tests. They also give relocation or outplacement assistance to terminated workers. Additionally, they communicate with vendors to offer workers a number of services that include relocation, transportation, or food services (Michael, 2010).

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Human Resource Competencies

The success of human resource manager is attributed to the core competencies in the position. Human resource personnel’s who contain particular core competencies have a competitive advantages as compared to others. They also add competitive advantage to their organization. Competency refers to a cluster of associated characteristics, knowledge, abilities, and skills, which are associated to the performance of the essential aspects of a profession’s practices. A competent human resource manager should have good negotiation skills, efficient job knowledge, effective training, influential power, and recruitment qualifications. Negotiation skills include effective relationship and communication skills that enhance win-win situation in negotiation. In addition, job knowledge include enough information on labor law, health and safety laws, federal, state and local policies, which alter regularly. They should also have enough knowledge and ability to integrate legal requirements, while creating organization policies, associated to labor operations in an organization (Hrpa, 2014).

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Human resource manager should also have great qualification in recruitment process. This include the ability narrow down possible applicants to the anticipation that they can effectively fill open as well as future job positions. This might include obtaining potential employees from universities and colleges, as well as obtaining candidates via referral. They should also manage to use cost effective recruitment techniques, but still maintain efficiency in their work (Anaejionu, 2015). In addition to all this, a competent human resource manager needs to be leaders besides being a manager. Good leadership skills are very essential to all human resource managers, since they deal with humans whose emotions and behavior can be influenced. Therefore, Human Resource managers should demonstrate effective leadership skills to be able to influence employees into satisfying the company’s goals and objectives (SHRM, 2008).

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Interview with a Human Resource Manager

An interview conducted with a HR manager clearly demonstrates that human resource managers play a great role in an organization. According to the interviewee, human resource managers assist in controlling the organization workforce and hence the general organization performance. Human resource managers manage this through recruitment, motivation, compensation, appraisals, and policies formations in an organization. Recruitment of qualified employees with the right skills, ability, experience and personality acts as the beginning of the organization success. However, this is not enough, human resource manager also have a responsibility of ensuring that these employees are able to employ their skills, abilities and experiences for the benefit of the company. This is normally done through motivation and ensuring that the employees have a conducive work environment.

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According to the interviewee, this motivation can be enhanced through competitive compensation, benefits that are beyond the governmental recommended, and adopting good leadership skills that enhances good relation, open communication and transformation where necessary. Workers should also be encouraged to pursue personal growth through promotions, verbal appreciation, and short-term as well as long-term incentives based on their performance. This according to the interviewee implies that human resource managers have a role of conducting employees’ appraisal frequently, to be able to know which employees need to be promoted, rewarded, demoted and terminated. The appraisal also assists in determining aspects that need to be changed or duties to be changed. This will assist in enhancing the organization performance.

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According to the interviewee, human resource managers play a great role in determining the policies that govern an organization, especially in aspects related to labor management. These policies highly contribute to the establishment of the organization culture. Organization culture plays a major role in determining the workforce behavior. The interviewee, described human resource managers as the backbone of an organization since they also contribute greatly in enhancing the attainment of the organization’s goals, by ensuring the employees’ production strategies align with the organization’s performance goal. The interview clearly demonstrated the importance of human resource manager and also the great need of a highly competent human resource manager in an organization.

Painting Analysis : Wanderer above the Sea of fog by Casper David Friedrich and Inwangjesakdo by Jeong Seon

Introduction

For the longest time, nature drawings have been one of the popular as an observational form that appeals to Eastern and Western artists. From Nature drawings, both sides of artists depicted not only the realistic and magnificent view but also the expression of their minds and emotions. However, there was a significant difference between Eastern and Western artist. They approached nature with a different point of view. Take for example Wanderer above the Sea of Fog from Casper David Friedrich. Its depiction of plentiful air and fog gives depth to this art piece and a wanderer is positioned at the center. This kind of composition leads our eyes to focus more to a wanderer than nature.Western art, most humans are in the middle of nature. Additionally, their arts express the perception of subjective emotion as well. In contrast, Inwangjesakdo from Jeong Seon depicts only nature and it seems like nature embraces human. Moreover, it describes the magnificent detail with unique brush skills. Western nature drawings show human beings can go beyond nature and Eastern drawings show nature as a great existence that can’t be overcome.

Description of Wanderer above the Sea of Fog painting by Casper David Friedrich

The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is a German Romantic art oil painting that was completed in 1818.  The medium of the painting is oil on canvas, with its dimension measuring 98.4 cm by 74.8 cm. The painting features a foreground where a young man is seen standing on a rocky crag. His back faces the viewer and is dressed in a dark green overcoat while gripping a walking cane in his right hand. The Wind catches his hair as he gazes out into the landscape before him. The middle ground that is before him also comprises of several other ridges, but different from the one he is standing on. Wreaths of fog cover the forest of trees before him and can be perceived from the top of the escarpment. In the distant horizon, faded mountains can be seen rising from the left side and gently leveling into the lowlands on the eastern side.

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The painting’s composition contains elements derived from Elbe Sandstone Mountains that are found in Bohemia and Saxony. The mountain on the left side of the painting could most probably be Kaltenberg or Rosenberg. The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog stuck closely to the Romantic style, similar to other works by Friedrich such as The Sea of Ice and Chalk Cliffs on Rugen. It is important to acknowledge that painting represents a form of Kantian self-reflection, evident in the wanderer’s gaze into the murky sea of fog that is before him. It seems to represent a metaphor for the wanderer’s unknown future. The Romantic perspective of the world is first and foremost inspired by imagination’s emotive power. In doing so, an artist would be able to reach an understanding of nature and themselves. A painter thus paints not only what he sees before him but also that which is inside him. The Kantian idealism used in the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog painting seeks to express the artist’s receptiveness and looks beyond the interiors of royal palaces and into the wild landscapes. It creates a world of scale, space, and motion in the painter’s artistic imagination.

Description of the Inwangjesakdo painting by Jeong Seon

The Inwangjesakdo painting by Jeong Seon is an ink on paper painting painted in 1751 during the sway of Joseon Dynasty King Yeongjo. The title of the painting translates literally to “After Rain at Mt. Inwang” which was the artist’s portrayal of the of the mountain after the mountain had cleared (Young). The artist is clearly in touch with the environment that surrounds him and makes an attempt to give a depiction of the beauty present in the Korean Peninsula. The genuine paintings of where Jeong Seon lived was responsible for the creation of a genuine Korean Style of painting. Landscapes feature prominently in East Asian art as they are greatly revered by these people. The landscape represents painters codified illustration of a human perspective of nature.

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The painting style in Inwangjesakdo features a prominent mountain looming in the backdrop of an idyllic scene of numerous trees. It is important to that painting of the Korean landscape and native sites were non-existent before Seon’s work. He poignantly presents an accurate depiction of Mount Inwang in Seoul with a cropped composition. The bold and sweeping brushwork used has been vital in capturing that moment when the said moment emerges from the mist. In a way, this painting also a sign of hope that there is always an end to tumultuous times and that there is a silver lining to every cloud. Additionally, Korean Confucianism is present in Seon’s work, through the presentation of an art for that appreciates all the aspects of the universe, living or non-living. Seon is clearly marveled by the beauty of the landscape around him. His own perception of the beauty that lies before him is brought into being by his paintings as an acknowledgment its uniqueness.

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Korean art ,traditionally borrows a lot of its aesthetics from Chinesse and and Japanesse art through the use of similar motifs,forms, techniques and concepts. All these elements were blended I with Korean Confucianiusm to create art that was very distinct. The uniqueness of Seons Korean art lies in his understated simplicity, sponeinity and harmony with nature. His art is one that centres mainly on naturalism, which is noticeable through the period of the Three Kingdoms (c.57 BCE-668). The simple practice of accepting ones nature as sit is, leads Seon to create a work of art that people can develop an appreciation for the arts and their surroundings. There is evidence of a detailed monochromatic art as per Korean Confucianiusm. A class-based distinction was often made, where one was only allowed to see colour in succinct momochromatic paintings. Authors of  in the Korean society were of the opinion that Confucian art was to be viewed within certain gradations because, according to them, the use of color would coarsen the paintings and restrict ones imagination.

A Comparison of The Two Paintings –Wanderer above the Sea of Fog painting by Casper David Friedrich and Inwangjesakdo by Jeong Seon 

Both the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog and Inwangjesakdo paintings are works skillfully crafted to appreciate the landscape. Both painters have taken it upon themselves to paint physical structures that many take for granted in their localities. A depiction of the mountains in this sense is a reminder to people of the beauty that is found in nature and thus should avoid at all cost to take them for granted (Hwan, 11). The artists long for a connection with the natural world that would be represented by the moving paintings that would evoke feelings of admiration from those viewing it. A new age had come in Western Romanticism and Eastern Confucianism where individuals would shift their focus from indoor settings and venture beyond this limiting environment to embrace nature.

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Both painting, however, differ in the manner in which the artists intend to tell nature’s story. Apart from containing physical features, Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog also contains a human angle to the tale. A young individual stands with his back facing the viewer perhaps in awe of finally coming to terms with the beauty that surrounds him. A human angle presents an all round theme of nature, where human beings are also included as part of the equation. Seon’s Inwangjesakdo painting on the other hand only contains the physical aspect of nature. Structures appear, but there are no human beings shown in the paintings. It is widely thought that his intention in this painting was to help people to appreciate the beauty that is found in the physical environment. He does a perfect job when he uses his ink brush on a handmade paper to depict what some ignore on a day to day basis.

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Conclusion

 Paintings offer a window into the human perspective in an assortment matters. The nature theme permeates Wanderer above the Sea of fog by Casper David Friedrich and Inwangjesakdo by Jeong Seon, illustrating a longing by these individuals to connect with their environment. Both paintings attempt to open the eyes of the viewer to a world they the world they had taken for granted and its beauty not appreciated. It is surprising that the study of Korean art is at its formative stages in the West even with it’s detail and authenticity. In the West, this is the situation that often stems from Koreas position.

Experts view it simply as a conduit to transport Chinese culture to the Japanese Archuipelago. What most of there research overlook is the assimilation of ideas that took place in Korea that gave the nation its own distinct art form. It is therefore important to have a holistic approach when appreciating art from different cultures because each area develops a distinct style, even when the art contains borrowed techniques and styles.

Travel and Tourism Industry Seasonality Issue – Hospitality Management

Travel and Tourism Industry is one of the rapidly growing industries in the United States. The industry has a very significant impact on the society and the degree of effect it generates is analyzed based on the extent of seasonality arrivals and on the volume of tourists that visit a certain region at any given time. According to Uysal, Fesenmaier and O´Leary (1994), tourism forms a very integral part of the economy of the United States and its performance highly depends on seasonal changes in human behavior, climatic conditions, as well as economic activities. Seasonality is therefore an issue that is currently affecting the Tourism and Travel Industry in the United States, and that need to be addressed with immediate effect. This paper examines seasonality as one of the issues that has been affecting the Travel and Tourism Industry in the recent past. It also gives a detailed description of the causes and impacts of seasonality with respect to the Travel and Hospitality Industry. The paper also outlines what the United States Travel Association is doing to adapt to seasonality issue, and what such actions could mean to the future of the industry.

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Seasonality involves high concentration of tourist flows to one destination in certain months of the year. High flow of tourists to one particular destination during a few weeks is likely to put pressure on the industry because it places a great burden on the resources of the destination area. This phenomenon also results into carrying capacity problem in the industry. Uysal, Fesenmaier and O´Leary (1994), define seasonality as a very important period within the year when business activities are bounding due to change in climate and seasons. Tourists regions have different seasonal potentials due to variations in natural factors. It is for this reason that different tourist attraction centers are believed to have varied seasonal qualities and resources. Some regions find it extremely difficult to overcome problems that are caused by seasonality. Since majority of tourism activities rely on climate-dependent attractions to attract tourists, they are greatly affected by changes in weather and climate. Examples of tourist destinations that largely rely on out-door facilities include countryside attractions and coastal resorts.

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Causes of seasonality can be classified into two broad categories namely natural causes and institutional causes. Natural causes of seasonality refer to changes in natural occurrences such as weather and climate. The main variables that contribute to variations in the number of tourists traveling to a particular destination are differences in temperature, amount of rainfall, quantity of snowfall, and changes in hours of sunlight. Natural factors can make a place either attractive or unattractive for tourism activities (BarOn, 1975). For instance, areas with warm and cold climate are largely characterized by seasonal changes in the number of tourists visiting due to different tourist activities that can be carried out during such seasons. Natural seasonality is associated with variations in the number of tourists visiting a given destination on a yearly basis. Tourists have specific climate preferences which call for the need to distinguish between different types of tourists. For instance, some tourists will often wish to enjoy sunlight on the beach while others will prefer hiking on the snow (BarOn, 1975).

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Institutional causes of seasonality in tourism mainly refer to changes in human behavior and are linked to three different factors namely holidays, and travel habits, and hosting of events. Institutional seasonality is largely dependent on economic and sociologic factors because some tourists will be motivated to visit certain destinations as a result of social, ethnic, or religious factors, while other people will visit certain areas because they like traveling and they have money to do so. The fact that both natural and social factors can generate seasonality makes the issue a very big problem that should be addressed as possible considering the degree of impacts that its brings to the Travel and Tourism industry as a whole (BarOn, 1975).

Seasonality poses numerous problems in the Travel and Tourism industry including ecological-related impacts, economic-related impacts, socio-cultural-related impacts, and employment-related impacts. Economic-related problems that result from seasonality are often observed during off-peak periods when very few tourists are visiting a particular destination. Peak seasons normally compel tourist attraction centers to expand their businesses in order to take advantage of the rising number of customers. Unfortunately, during off-peak regions, these destinations experience loss of profits especially due to underutilization of resources are tourist facilities. This negatively impacts the Travel and Tourism industry as a whole in the long run (Koenig-Lewis and Bischoff, 2010).

Seasonality also causes seasonal employment in tourist attraction destinations which largely affect the industry and national economy as a whole. According to BarOn  (1975), concentration of tourists during peak season at a destination results into ecological problems such as air pollution and congestion. Sub-cultural impacts that result from seasonality in tourism affect both the visitor and the host community and they include things such as poor quality of life and lack of parking space. These negative impacts have compelled the Travel and Tourism industry to formulate and implements strategies that can help solve the seasonality in the tourism industry.

The Travel and Tourism Industry in collaboration with the United States Travel Association is working very hard to ensure that seasonality problem is effectively dealt with. One important thing that the Travel and Tourism industry must understand is the fact that the problem of seasonality cannot be solved completely because natural and institutional causes of seasonality cannot be avoided. The nature of benefits reaped by tourists varies from one season to another. It is therefore important for the industry to understand these specific tourist needs for every season in order to prepare various destinations early to fully meet those needs. This will help to prevent ecological impacts associated with seasonality such as congestion (Koenig-Lewis and Bischoff, 2010).

Strategies that are used to solve the problem of seasonality in the Travel and Tourism industry are intended to fulfill three main objectives. These include increasing demand during off-peak season, reducing tourists demand during peak season, and redistributing demand in both peak and off-peak seasons. Differential pricing is strategy that is intended to increase demand during off-peak and reduce demand during peak season (Koenig-Lewis and Bischoff, 2010). Under this strategy, tourist destinations with the help of the industry’s management charge relatively low prices during off-peak and high prices during peak periods. Differential pricing strategy helps the Travel and Tourism industry to ensure that people who were unable to travel during peak due to high charges get an opportunity to visit similar places during off- peak. This way, the tourist destinations are assured of constant flow of visitors throughout the year. Additionally, the Travel and Tourism industry is able to minimize wastage of resources as its facilities are effectively utilized throughout the year (Koenig-Lewis and Bischoff, 2010).

Another strategy that the Tourism and Travel Industry is using to solve the seasonality problem involves focusing on diversified attractions to ensure that tourists are redistributed in many destinations all year round. This also includes introduction of new products such as special events that target specific target markets. The United States Travel Association has recognized that seasonality in tourism can also be solved by pushing for creation of policies that will encourage tourists to visit particular destinations during off-peak. For instance, the Association is pushing for federal involvement in tourist promotion in order to encourage those who do not like traveling during off-peak to do so (Platzer, 2014).

In addition, the United States Travel Association together with the Travel and Tourism Industry are struggling to reduce costs of obtaining Visas for tourists who are willing to travel to tourist destinations within the United States during off peak seasons. They use the Visa Waiver Program to facilitate foreign travels in the United States at a time when very few travelers seem to be moving to the region. All these strategies are implemented in order to promote development of the Travel and Tourism Industry now and in the future. The Travel and Tourism Industry should put the necessary resources in place to ensure that the seasonality problem is solved and maintained at low levels even in the future. In case the industry may require certain legislations to be put in place to solve seasonality in tourism, it should seek for immediate support from the United States Travel Association (Platzer, 2014).

Significance of the GASB Statement No. 34 Requirements

GASB Statement No. 34 (GASB 34) and Inclusion of Management Discussion and Analysis

The GASB Statement No. 34 (GASB 34) requires that every financial report, which is audited, include an MDA (Management Discussion and Analysis) section covering particular financial events. The section ought to be incorporated into the corresponding financial report as RSI (Required Supplementary Information). The MDA is essential in the report owing to various reasons. First, it presents the government’s general financial status or condition. Second, it assists users in determining whether or not the finances of the government have deteriorated or increased in the preceding year. Third, it reveals why there are considerable changes if any in the status instead of merely listing the changes as percentages or monetary values. Fourth, the MDA helps users in comparing the year-to-year finances in line with the government-wide type of information regarding expenditures, revenues, assets as well as liabilities.

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Fifth, the inclusion of the MDA is important since it explains the variations that may be present between final and initial budget amounts. Sixth, the MDA helps describe long-term debt, as well as capital asset, activities in given years, including descriptions of any executed capital expenditure commitments. Seventh, the MDA presents users with discussions of any established or known, actualities that may be anticipated to impact on the financial positions of given governments in the days ahead, including tax changes and employment-base changes. Eighth, the MDA presents users with discussions of any established, or known, conditions that may be anticipated to impact on the financial positions of given governments in the days ahead, including tax changes and employment-base changes. Lastly, the MDA presents users with discussions of any established, or known, decisions that may be anticipated to impact on the financial positions of given governments in the days ahead as well.

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Net Assets to Replace Fund Balance in the GASB Statement of Net Assets’ Equity Section

GASB 34 requires that net assets replace fund balance in the net asset statement’s equity section. Notably, the statement was previously christened the balance sheet. Notably, the statement allows users to establish rapidly whether or not the financial condition of the government has deteriorated or improved by zeroing on the residual net assets at the end of a given accounting period.

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The statement shows the degree of ease with which given assets may be sold since the assets are listed in it in line with a liquidity order. Assets that are listed in the statement as being current can be disposed of in a year. They are listed at top of the list. They include receivables, cash, and investments. The assets that are typified as non-current are listed below the current ones. They can be disposed of off to get cash in a period extending beyond a year. Governments report capital assets along with restricted assesses as non-current in the statements. The restricted ones are those that a given government is bound by law or externally not to utilize to attain any given operating goals. Consequently, the inclusion of net assets in the statement can be viewed as helpful in showing users the different forms of assets that are available to given governments for specific uses.

Inclusion of Statements of Activities

GASB 34 requires that statements of activities be included in the government’s financial reports. The inclusion of statements of activities in the financial report helps with the presentation of information regarding the costs of running the government’s programs. The inclusion of statements of activities in the financial report helps with the presentation of information regarding the costs related to the government’s programs. Besides, the inclusion of statements of activities in the financial report helps with the presentation of information regarding how the costs are shared out among the organizers of the civil actions aimed at promoting budgetary accountability.

Users find the statements rather useful in showing them the degrees to which specific government functions or mandates place on themselves by way of things like taxes. Besides, the statements assist users in assessing the bottom lines of their governments. One of the bottom lines is whether or not government expenditure is less than government spending. The second of the bottom lines is whether or not the government is running its operations using the resources accumulated over the years or burdening succeeding generations with the payment for the services it offers today.

Inclusion of Government-Wide Financial Statements (GWFS)

GASB 34 requires that GWFS be included in the government’s financial reports. Its inclusion in the reports is important since it provides users with a detailed overview of the finances available to or spent by the government in the same place. Previously, information regarding the finances available to or spent by the government was not found in the same place. The information includes the costs related to affording citizens specific services within a given. It is possible to provide users with a detailed overview of the finances available to or spent by the government in the same place since the GWFS are put together in line with the FABA (Full Accrual Basis of Accounting). Private enterprises as well use the FABA to ensure that they report own activities together rather than spreading them across several funds.

The FABA recognizes expenses along with revenues as they happen or occur. Every government activity is reported: current liabilities, current assets, lasting liabilities, and infrastructure assets. Every GWFS prepared using the FABA assists users more effortlessly appraise whether or not the financial position of the government has deteriorated or gotten better owing to the various activities it executes within the year.

Every GWFS prepared using the FABA assists users more effortlessly judge whether or not the activities are being paid for today or burden of paying for them is transferred to succeeding generations. Every GWFS prepared using the FABA assists users more effortlessly judge whether or not the activities are supported by user fees, or charges, or taxes. Besides, every GWFS prepared using the FABA assists users more effortlessly determine the government’s investment in specific infrastructure assets, including bridges and roads.

Presentation of Fund-Based Information (FBI) by Principal, or Major, Funds

A major fund is defined as the one whose liabilities, expenditures, revenues, and assets are as a minimum a tenth of the whole of that fund type or class and as a minimum a twentieth of all the related enterprise and governmental fund aggregates. The government can require that other funds be taken as major when reporting if the government views them as especially essential to users.

Enhanced Budget to Real Comparisons

To date, different governments provide specific information within own yearly reports showing how their general fund accrual results compare to their final budgets (Fischer, Taylor & Cheng, 2012; Gross, McCarthy & Shelmon, 2005). As well, to date, different governments provide specific information within own yearly reports showing how each of its principal special revenue fund, which has lawfully adopted a budget, compares with the others (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 1996; Financial Accounting Foundation, 1998). Even then, GASB 34 requires that the governments should provide information on their initially, or originally, adopted budgets.

The majority of governments execute the revision of own budgets severally within any given year (Heinfeld & Association of School Business Officials International, 2003). The GASB 34 requirement that the governments should provide information on their initially, or originally, adopted budgets and information on own actual and final budgets ought to assist users to easily, as well as readily, appraise the governments’ capacity to estimate own general resources (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2002). The requirement ought to assist users to easily, as well as readily, appraise the governments’ capacity to manage own general resources.

Besides, the requirement ought to assist users easily, as well as readily, determine the budgetary compliance of the governments (Fischer, Taylor & Cheng, 2012; Gross, McCarthy & Shelmon, 2005). The schedules for comparing the different budgets are found in financial statements’ RSI sections. The comparisons and the related reconciliations presented in the statements assist users to appreciate how GWFS and the FBI relate with each other.

Infrastructure Asset Reporting

GASB 34 requires that GWFS include information regarding every capital asset. The assets that are typified as being capital in nature include every general government-owned infrastructure asset, including sewer systems, roads, and bridges. Before the actualization of GASB 34, the then financial statements were devoid of information regarding the capital assets (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2002). The GASB 34 requirement that GWFS include information regarding every capital asset obligates the government to provide users with the information. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2002).

In cases where governments supply the users with the information via condition assessment, the information becomes rather handy to users in varied ways. First, the information helps users assess the related infrastructure assets’ condition regularly. Second, the information sheds light on the approaches that the government employs in measuring, as well as reporting, the condition of infrastructure assets and their anticipated condition levels. Third, the information helps the users compare the yearly resources needed to maintain, as well as preserve, infrastructure assets with the corresponding actual expenses. Fourth, the information explains the factors that affect any trends defining the information that is disclosed in the RSI section.

Distinguishing Between Business and Governmental Activities in Government-Wide Statements

GASB 34 stipulates the different principal features that should typify statements that are taken as government-wide in their scope. One of the principal features is that the statements should make the differences between given primary governments’ business activities on one hand and governmental activities on the other hand (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2002). The statements do not entail activities that are clearly fiduciary. In such activities, the governments function as trustees for external parties, including staff retirement systems since every resource that belongs to the activities cannot be accessed by the governments in their efforts to provide particular services (Fischer, Taylor & Cheng, 2012; Gross, McCarthy & Shelmon, 2005).

 Distinguishing between business and governmental activities in government-wide statements is essential since it lays bare the activities. Notably, the activities taken as governmental are usually the ones commonly linked to government mandates such as law enforcement, sanitation, and public works (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2002). The activities taken as being business-type include the fee-charged operations such as sewer service operations and water service operations. Besides, the distinguishing between business and governmental activities in government-wide statements is important as it helps users in appreciating the differences between primary governments’ activities and the activities of units of the governments. Each of these two sets of activities is reported different from the other. Notably, the units are lawfully distinct entities for which the primary government leaderships are financially liable such as a landfill. Notably, there are different statements that are taken as government-wide in their scope. They include statements of net assets along with statements of activities.

Risk Assessment of the California University Property

Risk assessment

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) model in risk assessment provides me with a tool for conducting a risk assessment of the property of the California University. The first step of threat assessment wherein the hazard or threat is identified, defined, and quantified i.e. rating of the threat. Threat identification step involved the use of threat or hazard vulnerability assessment which  enables me to develop a system wide Safety, Security and Anti-terrorist committee otherwise called the SSAT committee to fully assess the state of California University regarding the overall exposure to threats or hazards, security, and its ability to respond to physical threats or hazards like the human-caused tragic events, natural hazards like earthquakes, technological hazards as well as terrorism.

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With the SSAT, I therefore have the responsibility of creating a consistent as well as a comprehensive system approach framework that is geared towards the physical hazard identification.  Alongside the physical threat or hazard identification, I also find it easy to conduct the university risk assessment as well as the mitigation strategy development allowing for the California University flexibility and maintenance of its prior proper response to specific priorities and concerns.

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In order to realize the effective SSAT analysis, I facilitated a comprehensive Building Vulnerability Assessment (BVA) with a goal to conduct the University risk assessment and subsequently develop a system wide approach geared towards ranking of the risk or the threat events. Through this, I did identify the vulnerability of the university location and possible critical high valued facilities that were irreplaceable. In the BVA report, there were identified threats and hazards. Threats in this case can be explained as any evident indication, event or circumstance with a potential to be the cause or result to a damage or loss to an asset.

Hazards on the other hand are of categories; natural hazards are the natural events or circumstances such as wind, seismic disaster, flood among others. The cause of such events has to be natural. The identified natural threats subjected to the California University were catastrophic earthquakes and destructive high winds. Historical and quantitative data reveals the probabilities, durations, magnitude as well as the recurrence of these natural hazards. This makes there recurrence very predictable.  Human- caused also referred to as the manmade hazards refers to the technological hazards with terrorism inclusive in this category (Davies & Gurr, 1998). They refer to all those events that originate from human activity. Terrorism refers to the unlawful act of violence and force against individual people or properties to coerce the government to give in to selfish demands of a particular group.

The actions of terrorists include killing people or injuring their captives. In most cases they seek for publicity for their cause, political gain or even monetary gain for their destructions. California University can be a target of malicious attacks. There is however very scarce data on these possible manmade attacks. The magnitude as well as the recurrence of such malicious attacks in California University is barely predictable. California University can be subjected to domestic terrorism, which can be those domestic activities that involve dangerous acts to the students’ lives especially by bringing the university building down.

These are the activities that violate the United States laws and are geared towards the intimidation or coercion of the civilian population; the students as the staff personnel. The university can also be a subject to the domestic terrorism because of its big population especially the domestic terrorist activities with the objectives of influencing the policy of the United States government by mass destruction.

The university property building can be a subject to explosive blast weapons. The explosive design threat to a building can be defined using two distinct parameters.  The first parameter is the stand-off, which is the measure of the distance from the center of gravity to the component or property of interest. The second parameter is the weapon size; this is measured in equivalent pounds of trinitrotoluene. The building of the university should be supplied with adequate reinforcements to withstand severe damage that could lead to collapse resulting to loss of lives. United States is a nations with more than thousand annual explosions with most having weapon yields of 5 pounds or less. The smallest weapons but with greater impacts are normally subjected to the secured areas of the buildings like the university buildings.

Threat rating is done according to the likelihood of the threat occurring to the building.

Threat

Seven-level linguistic value

Numerical value

Catastrophic earth quakesMedium low4
Laboratory/ residential  building fireMedium5-6
Public health emergencyMedium high7
Crop eco- tourismMedium high7
High windsMedium low4
Truck bombMedium5-6
Sport event disturbanceMedium low4

In conducting the asset value assessment of the University building, I had to conduct a detailed and thorough planning and research to generate relevant questions that would aid the process since there was need for me to conduct an interview of the people around with relevant knowledge of the building. I did an extensive search for the inputs from the building owners, the facility staff of the building, the students residing in the building and other relevant people who proved to be of great help in assisting me identify the critically most valuable assets in the building. In my interview, I generated a list of specific areas to be covered which I prioritized prior to the interviews.

An asset requires protection since it is a resource of value. In the California universities, assets include the tangible buildings, equipment, facilities, activities as well as activities and operations.. Identifying these assets and prioritizing them provide the best mitigation measures in maximizing on their protection. The identification is done in two steps. The first step involves the definition and understanding of the building’s core processes and functions that are so basic for the building to be able to continue with its operations even after an attack. This first step will enable the design team to focus on what the building purposefully does, how it does it as well as how the various identified threats can affect the building.

The second step is the identification of the building infrastructure which involves the critical components of the building and information system and data. It also involves the security systems of the building as well as life safety systems of the building including the safe haven areas of the building. In every building, the most vital assets are the people, therefore in order to identify and assign value rank infrastructure, I had to consider the following; I had to identify the number of people who may be killed or injured during a direct terrorist attack to the building. I will find out what become of the building functions and services as well as the occupant satisfaction could a specific asset be lost or damaged? In this ill have to assess whether the primary functions will continue could a specific asset be lost or damaged, I will determine the effects or impact of asset’s lost or damage on the other building’s assets.

Finding out if any sensitive or critical information is handled or stored in the building and asses its value and whether these critical information have back-ups elsewhere is a very vital consideration. Assigning value to an asset is done after generating a list of a building’s asset requiring protection. Asset value refers to the degree or extent of debilitating impact that is most likely to be caused by the destruction or loss of the building’s asset. Assigning value requires a scale; I will use the seven-level linguistic scale supplemented by a numerical scale as it is the most commonly used by FEMA. In this type of scale, we values such as very high is assigned 10, high 8.9, medium high 7, medium 5.6, medium low 4, low and very low 1. In the California university a case whereby the loss or damage to an asset would exceptionally have grave repercussions such as a big loss of lives, extensive injuries and total loss of the building’s primary functions and processes would be valued very high.

  Asset

Seven-level linguistic value

 Numeric value

Site Medium5
Electrical systemsMedium high7
Fire alarm systemsHigh8
Communication system (IT)Very high10
Mechanical systemsMedium high7
ArchitecturalMedium low4
Utility systemsMedium high7
Structural systemsVery high10
Plumbing systemMedium low4

After assigning value to the building’s asset, I did the input values to the critical site infrastructure and the functional critical site

In risk assessment, I will analyze the probability of occurrence of the threat since a risk refers to the potential for a loss or damage to an asset.Risk assessment is the analysis of the asset value and asset vulnerability to be sure of the level of the risk for each of the critical assets against each threat which is applicable. It is therefore a process that involves the preparation of the risk assessment matrices, establishment of the risk ratings and prioritizing the observations in the Building Assessment checklist. In the preparation of the risk assessment matrices, I derive the inputs from the first three steps. When estimating the risks, I will consider a number of factors like identification and rating of the threats that their occurrences can cause harm to the building and those within it, then the value asset and people that need protection. There is a need for an on-site meeting with the building’s key staff members (Hague et al 1984).

Preparing of the risk assessment matrix will involve the critical asset value of the California building. The asset value for a function in the California building will be the same for all the threats. The matrix in this case will help in identification of the functions in a quantitative form. Secondly, the critical infrastructure asset value; the asset value for a specific given infrastructure asset will be the same for all the threats. It is the economic replacement cost. This is followed by the critical threat rating, critical infrastructure threat rating, and critical vulnerability rating i.e.

Function

Cyber attack

Suicide bomber

Biological

Vehicle

Administration    
Threat rating8524
Vulnerability rating7898
Asset value4444
Engineering    
Threat rating5854
Asset value7777
Vulnerability rating6527

The next step is the determination of the risk ratings; this is done with a specific formula suggesting that to get risk, we find the product of the asset value, threat value and vulnerability rating. Getting the risk led me to the preparation of the risk estimation matrix. Which I can classify as a low 1-60, medium 61-175 and high which is any value greater than 176. Then I prepared the site functional and infrastructure pre-assessment screening matrix of the California building. With the help of the California university building’s field team I performed an on-site assessment and filled out observations in the California University building Vulnerability Assessment checklist which help me when prioritizing the observations. This is done so as to able to come up with the best mitigation measures to the building. In the checklist I had the site column, the vulnerability column, the guidance column and the observation column.

Consideration of the mitigation options, I performed the following activities; identification of the preliminary mitigation options that were geared towards reducing the risks like reinforcement of the university building with strong barriers for high winds, upholding the established building safety measures towards fire related risks. This process however, is all inclusive, the engineers, landscape architects, and other relevant technical personnel has to be included. The final decision about the kinds of mitigation measures to be implemented however resides with the building owner, the California University foundation personnel. Mitigating measures are however of different categories, there those aimed at delaying the attack, preventing and attack, mitigating the effect of an attack.

The identification of the preliminary mitigation measures of California University was best for the preventive mitigation measures. Reviewing the mitigation options it the second step. This is done from the preliminary list of mitigation options which are grouped under preventers, regulators, protection and control for the attacks to the University building (Cruden & Fell, 1997). I therefore determine among the list, the most feasible mitigation measures which I found out to be the preventative mitigation measures. For these measures to be acceptably implemented they require political and community support as well as the resources.

Therefore I must look at the political and communal implications of my established mitigation measures. For example, my proposed mitigation measures require initial construction of barriers to the most eminent attacks from high winds, a measure that would include high initial capital to realize good long term prevention effect to the attacks by strong winds as well as other natural catastrophic. Even though the finance required is high but compared to the long term benefits, it is worth it.

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