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Strategies for Improving Student Retention as Detailed in Hanover Research

One of the significant challenges that modern colleges contend with is the capacity to retain students in respective programs until graduation. Therefore, contemporary colleges are increasingly compelled to craft operative strategies for retaining their admitted students. Some strategies that colleges use to support rejection efforts are presented by Hanover Research (2014) in their report “strategies for improving student retention.” The report details standard retention practices that American and Canadian higher education institutions use to maintain their student populations and strategies that are directed towards the retention of specific student population segments.

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The report is partitioned into two sections. The first section addresses institution-wide retention strategies, prevailing shortfalls in retention strategies, key aspects that influence retention, and precise retention strategies that three North American Universities employ. The second section presents various strategies and trends for the retention of first-year students and students of specific ethnic origin, predominantly aboriginal and Francophone students. Both sections of the report refer to real-world examples of retention efforts in existent institutions.

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            There are multiple reasons why students may stop pursuing their college degrees. Three common reasons are attributed to lack of funds, lacking sociological connection with the institution environment, and poor secondary school preparation. Financial problems and lack of financial funding are perhaps the most primary predictors of dropping out. Financial problems are traced to the loss of jobs either by the student or their guardian. According to LendEDU, a student loan refinancing institution, a more significant percentage of students drop out of school due to a lack of funding. Another significant share of students who encounter financial issues but do not drop out delays their graduation due to monetary constraints. The cost of college plays a critical role in financial issues that students face, as the average cost of tuition fees in 2018 was $34,740 at private colleges, $25,620 for out-of-state residents that attend public universities, and $9970 for state residents that attend public universities. The high burden of student loans across America provides evidence of financial factors in drop-out rates (Duque2017). The lack of social connectedness with the institutional environment is also a critical factor in drop-out rates. Tinto argues that social integration and commitment to a college institution constitute significant aspects of persistence (Schuh, Jones& Harper, 2010). Positive social connections enhance bonding with other students and staff, while negative social links create disparities and increase withdrawal chances. Lack of social connectedness and financial issues are exacerbated by poor secondary school preparation. Most high schools do not prepare students for higher education coursework. This causes a sense of shock and overwhelming overload when they join college.

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            Hanover Research (2014) proposes several strategies to assist students who stop pursuing degrees, including academic support, frequent assessment and feedback, and student engagement. Concerning academic support, Hanover Research (2014) refers to Tinto’s proposal to improve classroom practices by defining expectations. Clearly defined expectations can help students maintain realistic expectations and make places accordingly to cope with competing demands in college. Faculty members are encouraged to provide transparent information about assignments, examinations, course requirements, and projects. Academic support should be manifested through the alignment of assistance with daily learning expectations. Frequent feedback and assessment can keep students informed about their progress and allow involved parties to fine-tune their actions following the anticipated standards. Finally, institutions should engage students to influence their success and persistence. This could be done through community-building activities and involvement in group projects. Cohort models are suitable for fostering the progression of communities and groups. Student engagement initiatives should take into account faculty in their structure. When students engage positively and effectively with faculty, they are likely to feel accommodated and supported, thereby boosting their resilience and persistence in their program. Instructional advising skills and evidence of teaching experience are instrumental in fostering an engagement-ready faculty. Hence, colleges need to train their instructors and invest in continuous professional development. Professional development opportunities offer the chance to improve instructional effectiveness through training and the use of technology in interacting with students.             In conclusion, the current activity has informed the author’s ideas concerning the role that they play in supporting student retention efforts.

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To begin with, it has imparted practical knowledge regarding student success and retention theories. It is intriguing to discover that college drop-out can be linked to sociological, psychological, and economic factors. The discovery of these underlying domains helps the author trace the fundamental capacities within which key issues exist and possible avenues of addressing those issues. Educators are at a focal point in crafting retention efforts as they act as liaisons between students and the education system. Not only are instructors expected to engage with students but also to improve the engagement level of students while supporting them academically throughout their courses and programs. Instructors should gauge student learning capacities at an early stage and regularly. They should identify students who need help and notify advisors when concerns arise. For example, they could note students who have low scores and missing assignments and use these factors as risks to drop-out possibilities. Instructors should also seek professional development to enhance their skills and teaching excellence.

The Blood Brain Barrier And Its Components

Introduction

            As one of the most complex and delicate organs of the human body, the brain constitutes of multiple specialized parts that sustain its functions. Some of its constituent parts are responsible for facilitating its central functions such as memory and speech while others exist solely as supporting elements to the continuous function of the brain. An example of such supporting elements is the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). The BBB represents a protective barrier between the brain’s blood vessels and cellular components that make up brain tissue. While the role of elements like meninges, skull, and cerebrospinal fluid is to protect the brain against physical damage, the BBB’s major function is to defend the brain against disease-causing pathogens and toxins that may exist in the blood. The Blood Brain Barrier, thus, is a semipermeable boundary that restricts communication and transport of solutes between the circulatory system and the extracellular fluid of the Central Nervous system (CNS).

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            The BBB was first discovered in the 19th century by German scientist Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich had injected an aniline dye intravenously into a rat when he noted that it changed the color of all body organs but not the brain. His findings were further confirmed by Goldmann and Bouffard who also ascertained that an intravenously injected trypan blue dye did not end up in the brain of rats. These early experiments suggested the permeability properties of non-neural vessels were different from those of cerebral vessels. Consequently, the findings led to the conclusion that there was a barrier between the blood and the brain. Although the term “Blood-brain-barrier” initially referred to the restriction of certain molecules into the brain, it was later adjusted to include a range of mechanisms that sustain cerebral homeostasis.

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            It was not until the introduction of electron microscopes in the 1960s that scientists were able to study the structure of the cerebral endothelium and uncover the mysteries of the BBB. Today, it is widely recognized that the aspect of the BBB that provides a boundary between the brain and the blood is the ‘endothelial tight junction.’ This component consists of endothelial cells that create a lining in the interior of blood vessels. Endothelial cells are closely packed together in the capillaries within the Blood Brain Barrier to form tight junctions (Daneman 649). The tight gaps allow some elements to pass through while restricting others. For instance they allows fat-soluble molecules and some gases to pass freely and restricts potentially toxic compound molecules.

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Apart from the endothelial cells, the BBB also consists other components which are not strictly involved in restricting the passage of elements but which are involved in fashioning the selectiveness of the BBB in its function. They include pericytes, astrocytes, and the basal lamina. The cerebral capillary wall also contains a thick basement membrane which separates and encloses pericytes. This review discusses the structural and functional features of the BBB. It begins by examining the main cellular components and proceeds to explore the roles of junctions and transporters before delving into how Blood Brain Barrier functions can be inhibited by neurological disorders.

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Blood Brain Barrier Components

Cells

            As a compound structure, the BBB is primarily composed of four cell types namely, endothelial cells, Pericytes, astrocytes, and Microglia. Endothelial cells are lodged in a lining in the interior of the capillaries. They are closely packed together in a network that forms a barrier. The tiny spaces between them form the tight cellular junctions which are critical to the micro-vessels of the brain. Their main task is to maintain the permeability and integrity of the vessel, hence, regulating what passes through the BBB. Pericytes are deeply entrenched into the basement membrane and are closely linked to endothelial cells. There is a common consensus that pericytes are formed from the same foundation as smooth muscles cells (Zhao, Zhen, et al. 1068).

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Albeit pericytes provide structural support to micro-vessels, they also influence growth and permeability by signaling with the endothelial cells. They may also play part in immune functions such as detecting, consuming, and destroying potentially disastrous micro-organisms derived from the blood. Astrocytes, which assume star-like shapes, support the structural integrity of the BBB. They are purposely known for the role in recruiting peripheral cells, including white blood cells, into the CNS via the BBB. The final types of cells, the microglia are located just beyond the BBB. They are not intrinsically considered to be an integral part of the BBB, but are important in providing immunity. The function of these cells is to survey the CNS for microbes in order to engulf and damage them. Hence, microglia act as another line of defense against toxins and pathogens that cross the BBB. The next sections will expound on each of these cells in detail.

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Endothelial Cells

The body contains many types of endothelial cells. Generally, endothelial cells form a layer that regulates the exchange of substances between surrounding tissues and the bloodstream. Endothelial cells in the BBB are quite different from other endothelial cells in that they achieve a more restrictive permeability to protect the brain (Daneman 649). To attain a high restrictive permeability, endothelial cells in the BBB possess certain characteristics. First, they contain a smaller number of endocytic vesicles to impede transcellular flux. Second, they have no fenestrations. Third, they possess a high electrical resistance. This characteristics materializes due to the tight junctions which inhibit Para cellular flux. Fourth, they have a high volume of mitochondria. This reflects a higher rate of metabolism. Fifth, endothelial cells of the BBB contain specialized transport systems.

In terms of function, microvascular endothelial cells of the BBB regulate the transport of micronutrients and macronutrients besides managing receptor-mediated signaling, osmoregulation, and trafficking of leukocytes. The structural components that facilitate these functions are (1) tight junctions, which are composed of proteins such as claudins, occludin, and occludens, and cingulin; (2) adherent junctions, which are composed of catenins, cadherins, actinin, and cinculin; and (3) junctional adhesion molecules. The cytoplasm of endothelial cells has a standard thickness, limited pinocytotic vesicles, and lacks fenestrations. The cytoplasm represents the hollowed-out section of the cell membrane that contains fluid and which allows the transport of nutrients.

Endothelial cells are bordered by the basal lamina, which is essentially generated by pericytes, a matrix that exists outside the cell and which contains glycoproteins, collagens, proteoglycans, and laminins, among other proteins. Modification of the basal membrane can significantly affect the microvasculature permeability of the brain and this is especially evident in the occurrence of stroke and inflammation both of which lead to edema. The endothelial cells of the BBB are genetically or environmentally based. Some scholars maintain that endothelial cells of the BBB are genetically predisposed to becoming brain endothelial cells. It is also possible that they become brain endothelial cells due to being subjected to the brain microenvironment. Various experiments have provided substantiation to the later hypothesis. Such studies show that the local microenvironment of the brain is responsible for causing the unique differentiation of BBB endothelial cells. Factors of the microenvironment that may lead to the unique BBB functions of brain endothelial cells comprise neighboring cells, flow, and the extracellular matrix.

Pericytes

            Pericytes are located embedded in the vascular basement membrane on the abluminal surface of endothelial cells (Zhao, Zhen, et al. 1068). They are physically connected to the endothelial cells through gap junctions as well as through peg and socket mechanisms. Their primary role is to give stability to the endothelial cell monolayer. Pericytes achieve their structural support role through the regulation of angiogenenesis and creation of extracellular matrix. Pericytes are particularly important in the growth of tight junctions and restrictive functions of the BBB. Additionally, there is unwanted transfer of signals between endothelial cells and pericytes. Similar to endothelial cells, there is a distinct divergence between pericytes if the CNS and pericytes of the periphery. Pericytes located in the CNS are larger in number compared to those in the periphery. Hence, the ratio of endothelial cells to pericytes is much greater.

            Apart from providing structural support to the endothelial layer, pericytes can regulate blood flow in accordance with neural activity. This suggests their important part in the mediation of vascular tone and neural communication that regulates that role. Pericytes communicate with neurons, endothelial cells, and astrocytes to regulate the structure and function of the BBB. As indicated above, pericytes can initiate communication with secretory aspects over and above alterations in water channels and fluid movement. Therefore, interruptions in one cell type can affect other cell types. For instance, pericytes can be lost due to peripheral insulins resistance and have been shown to degenerate because of Alzheimer’s disease (Zlokovic, Berislav V. 188). The loss of pericytes has also been shown to be the cause of BBB breakdown and eventual dysfunction of BBB functions. The loss of pericytes primarily accelerates the advancement of the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, including tau pathology, neuronal loss, and amyloid beta (Aβ) deposition. The next type describes the role of astrocytes and how they contribute to the function of the BBB.

Astrocytes

Astrocytes are the most copious cells in the brain. They consist of star-shaped elements that form an environment in which all aspects of neuronal functions, including survival, metabolism, development, and neurotransmission, occur (Daneman 651). In essence, they are elements of the neuroglia, which literally means nerve cement or glue. The neuroglia is the tissue that support the CNS. The primary role of astrocytes it to regulate the local environment. They function as metabolic sensors that help in the repair and maintenance support via the release of facilitator molecules. The astrocytic end feet enclose the vascular tube, helping in the regulation of water and ion. The astroglial water channels that controls solute movement and perivasculat fluid transfer across the glyphatic system is the Aquaporin-4. The glymphatic system is a distinct mechanism of exchange between the interstitial fluid of the CNS and the perivascular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Through this system, the brain is able to control fluid flow throughout the CNS and facilitate elimination of toxins. Furthermore, the linkage between blood vessels and neurons helps astrocytes to send and receive signals about the flow of blood and control water content within the brain. There are 11 distinct phenotypes of astrocytes. Among these, eight are enmeshed in blood vessel interactions.

A symbiotic relationship exists between astrocytes and endothelial cells. Astrocytes discharge various chemical factors such as growth factors that stimulate aspects of the BBB phenotype. A lattice of fine lamellae is formed by the end feet of the glial cells. This lattice is closely placed on the outer endothelium surface to separate capillaries from neurons. Moreover, the lattice of the fine lamellae serves as a scaffold for guiding neurons in their proper placement in the growth and direction of BBB vessels. Astrocytic glia is especially vital in the maintenance and induction of BBB phenotypes.  Its role in intercellular signaling and endothelial interaction is necessary for optimal functioning of the BBB. There is mounting evidence to prove that endothelial cells impose a mutual inductive effect on astrocytes. Another role of the astrocytes is the dynamic regulation of microcirculation in the brain. The intercellular calcium responses of the astrocyte network can shape dilation of arterioles as a function of neuronal activity. Signaling between astrocytes and neurons is important in the control of energy supply to bolster neuronal functions.

Basal Lamina

The basal lamina consists of the membrane in which pericytes are embedded. It is located between astrocytes and endothelium and is made up of laminin, proteoglycans, collagens, and fibronectin, among other extracellular matrix proteins. The major role of the basal lamina is to provide structural support for the attachment of cells (Daneman 651). Cells are attached to the basal lamina through integrins which consist of transmembrane receptor proteins. The basal lamina also acts as a sheath that blocks the penetration of macromolecules. The basal lamina also houses cellular projections originating from pericytes towards the abluminal membrane in the endothelium at defined intervals. These cellular projections cover about 30 percent of the microvascular perimeter. Scholarly evidence points to the ability of pericytes to induce the tightness of BBB through regulation of proliferation of endothelial cells and the differentiation and creation of the endothelial tight junctions. Pericytes also embody a phagocytic capability which may serve certain roles in neuroimmune functions. Furthermore, pericytes are involved in the expression of receptors for given vasoactive agents such as catecholamines, endothelin I, angiotensin II, and vasopressin. This indicates that they may play a variety of roles in cerebral autoregulation.

Basement membranes

The basement membrane is a special type of extracellular matrix that exists underneath epithelial and endothelial cells (Zhao, Zhen, et al. 1066). It has many functions which include cell anchoring, structural support, and transduction signaling. Two types of basement membrane exist in the BBB. The first is an endothelial basement membrane while the second is a parenchymal basement membrane. Physiologically, these two types of basement membranes are indistinguishable. Their appearance is only set apart in areas where pericytes exist. Structurally, the basement membrane is highly organized and stretched to a thickness of 50 to 100m. In terms of biochemistry, the basement membrane consists laminin, collagen IV, perlecan, and nidogen. This set of proteins is synthesized mainly by the endothelial cells, astrocytes and pericytes.

The proteins laminin, collagen IV, perlecan, and nidogen interact with endothelial cells within the basement membrane through the integrin receptors, which make up the transmembrane heterodimers which interlinks the endothelial cell membrane factors of growth, ligands, and development receptors. Collectively, these are involved in the regulation of cell functions such as migration, survival, adhesion, differentiation, and polarity.  The dysfunction of integrin can cause abnormalities in the BBB. This is evident in mice experiments where dysfunction of integrin leads to loss of claudin and undeveloped BBB. The acute lockdown of laminin condition elimination of astrocytic laminin are precursors to the destruction of the basement membrane reduced tight junction expression, loss of polarity of astrocyte end feet, and disruption of BBB. By the same token, it has been demonstrated in mice that the lack of laminin lead to disruption of the BBB due to loss of pericyte coverage and loss of tight junction and adheren junction proteins.

Immune Cells (Microglia)

            Microglia are types of glial cells that exist in the CNS. They consist of 10 to 15 percent of all cells on the brain (Zlokovic, Berislav V. 187). Their chief role is immune defense. Being the local macrophage cells, they function as a line of defense in the CNS. Like astrocytes, they are distributed across the CNS in non-overlapping regions. Their role in immune defense is critical in overall brain maintenance. Microglia are designed to constantly scavenge for damaged and dead synapses and neurons, as well as infectious agents. Since dead matter can be potentially fatal within the CNS, microglia are very sensitive. They can pick up very tiny pathological changes. Their extreme sensitivity can be traced to the presence of special potassium channels that react to the smallest changes in extracellular potassium. Academic literature indicates that microglia are key in sustaining normal brain functions and wellbeing. Apart from surveying for unwanted material, microglia also track neuronal functions via direct somatic contacts as well as to apply neuroprotective reactions when necessary.

            The primary constituents of the CNS, which are the brain and the spinal cord, cannot be assessed directly by the body’s pathogenic mechanisms die to BBB endothelial cells. While the BBB prevents a majority of infections from reaching vulnerable part of the CNS, some infectious agents can occasionally pass. When this occurs, the microglial cells react quickly to destroy infectious agents and decrease inflammation. If not destroyed instantly, infectious agents can damage sensitive neural tissue and cause catastrophic health issues. Very few antibodies have the ability to cross the BB. Therefore, microglia must have the capacity to recognize foreign agents, engulf them, and serve as antigen-presenting cells that activate T-cells.

            Microglia play an important role in constant surveillance of the brain parenchyma. They sculpt and coordinate neural circulates to maintain a healthy brain while responding rapidly to create reactive phenotypes during instances of brain damage and infection. When microglia is activated, it has the ability to function in various ways. They can accelerate the clearance of damage by phagocytosis. They can also increase progression of disorders by discharging molecules that can introduce neuro-inflammatory states. Microglia can also react to inflammatory diseases of the periphery.

Junctions

At the subcellular plane, the structural integrity of the BBB is maintained by the tight junctions. The main types of junctions are the tight junctions and the adheren junctions. Tight junctions seal the endothelial cells to form an unbroken tubular arrangement while adheren junctions initiate and maintain the endothelial cell contact. In endothelial cells of the periphery, the tight junctions are placed apically separate from the adheren junction. However, in the BBB endothelial cells, tight and adheren junctions are adjacent, creating the junction complex between neighboring endothelial cells. By component, the complex junction contains accessory cytoplasm proteins and transmembrane proteins which exist on the apical side of the endothelium layer. It is inside the junction complex that the transmembrane proteins interact directly. On the other hand, transmembrane proteins are anchored by cytoplasmic proteins to the actin cytoskeleton. The high occlusion of the cleft by the tight junction complex contributes to the high electrical resistance within the brain endothelium.

Tight Junctions (TJs)

Tight junctions consist a sequence of intramembranous strands that stretch across the inter-cellular cleft of contiguous endothelial cells (Zlokovic, Berislav V. 179). By composition, they comprise three major transmembrane proteins namely junction adhesion molecules, occluding, and claudin. However, there are other cytoplasm accessory proteins such as cingulin and zonula occluden proteins. The cytoplasm proteins are responsible for binding the membrane proteins to tactin, which is a key cystoskeleton protein. In particular, tactin maintains the functional and structural integrity of the endothelium. These phosphoproteins are the main components of tight junctions and the pare-cellular barrier of the BBB. Not only do they mediate the adhesion between cells through hemophilic means but also regulate BBB permeability and migration of leucocytes. Based on the location in the upper part of the plasma membrane, tight junctions provides the first layer of prevention against para-cellular diffusion of solutes into the brain. They are particularly crucial in the regulation of lateral diffusion between basolateral and apical plasma membrane domains. This aids in the maintenance of plasma membrane protein and lipid polarity.

Claudin, which is a major transmembrane protein that makes up tight junctions, contains four membrane-spanning areas with two intracytoplasmic termini and two extracellular loops. On the other hand, occludin represents a four transmembrane segment containing three intracytoplasim domains and two equal extracellular loops. Junctional adhesion molecules are classified within the immunoglobulin family and share a transmembrane domain with two big loops. Junction adhesion molecules are explicitly involved in fashioning the physiological function of the junctions. Occludins attach to zonula occludens protein 1 via the c-terminal in endothelial cells. Compared to the periphery, there is a higher expression of occludin in the brain. The zonula occludens protein 1 is also more continuous in the brain than the periphery. Even so, high levels are not adequate to guarantee high-resistance in junctions. In response to this, there exist other level of regulation for determining junction properties. Some scholar suggest that that the junctional proteins’ state of phosphorylation could serve a role in their activity. Preliminary experiment hint that occludin appears to be more phosphorylated in cultured endothelial cells of the BBB as compared to those of the periphery. Additionally, proteins such as p100 and p120 may be phosphorylated under various stimuli that affect the permeability of tight junctions.

Adherens Junctions

Adherens junctions are primarily involved in the mediation of endothelial cells and the control of para-cellular permeability (Zlokovic, Berislav V. 179). They are mainly made up of calcium –dependent protein cadherin. This protein links with the actin cytoskeleton through intermediary proteins to create adhesive properties between cells. Tight junction and adheren junction components, especially the zonula occludens and catenins interact and regulate permeability through the endothelium.

Adherence junctions are important in the sustenance of the tight junctions and the junctional complex. This is connected to their role of keeping adjacent cells together. The main elements of the adheren junction embroil transmembrane glycoproteins of the cadherin family. These mainly entail vascular endothelium cadherin which have the capacity to create homotypic adhesive complexes with neighboring cells in the presence of calcium. Glycoproteins are connected to the cytoskeleton via a cytoplasmic plaque with the help of anchor proteins from the armadillo family. These include but are not limited to p120ctn, g-catenin, and bb-catenin. These proteins contain armadillo repeat which represents a long amino acid sequence that facilitates binding to the cadherins.

Other Junctions

            Apart from tight and adheren junctions, there are other junctions implicated in the role of the BBB. For instance, the gap junctions are communicating junctions that facilitate the direct passage of molecules between cells. By composition, gap junctions are consist of various transmembrane channels referred as pores which are organized in a tightly packed arrangement. The amount of gap junctions that are shared between a pair of cells can vary. Typically, each gap junction channels is composed of two hemi-channels, one of which is located in the membrane of each cell. The half channels link together and create a bridge between the cells to form a channel spanning the cell membranes of both cells. Each of the half channels formed is referred as a connexion, each of which consists of six symmetrical integral membrane protein units. This implies that every channel is made up of 12 protein units.

            Intercalated disks are made up of three distinct types of junctions namely intermediate filaments that anchor desmosomes, actin filaments that anchor adherens junctions, and gaps junctions. Gap junctions are especially valuable in metabolic and electrochemical coupling. Some molecules that mau cross gap junction channels include regulatory proteins, ions, and metabolites such as calcium ions and cyclic adenosine monophosphate. The type of gap junction involved dictates what types of molecules can pass evenly across both directions. While some gap junctions will cross faster in one direction than the second direction, others may adopt an opposite pattern. Channels in gap junctions may not always remain open. Some may close at some point. This fluctuation is enabled by calcium ions which stimulate reversible conformational alterations in the connxin molecules.

Transporters

In the tissues of the periphery, nutrients and metabolic waste products are able to cross freely across the intercellular cleft. This is important as they are needed in the molecular exchange between the blood and tissues. The fact that that they can cross the intercellular cleft is enabled by the junctions of the periphery which are sufficiently tight to obstruct the flow of plasma proteins but permeable enough to allow the passage of small hydrophilic solutes. Nevertheless, the para-cellular pathway between the brain and blood is very restricted compared to that of the periphery. Indeed, in the brain, transport is facilitated by special transport systems within the endothelial membranes. There are more than 20 transporters that play the role of uptake. These are called uptake transporters and comprise nucleosides, amino acids, glucose, and various organic anions and cations.

A majority of transporters of the BBB, including the GLU-1 glucose carrier facilitate transfer but do not require energy (Zlokovic, Berislav V. 180). They move solutes down through an electrochemical gradient. In contrast, others need energy to transport substances against a gradient. The energy can be obtained directly from active transport or through coupling with other molecules to enable the use of favorable concentration gradients. Some transporter excist in the luminal or apical and the basal or abluminal membranes of the endothelium. Others solely exist in one membrane to allow for the potential for vectorial or directional transport. The sodium-dependent glutamate transporters seem to be present principally in the abluminal membrane and their critical role is to facilitate the removal of glutamate from the brain. Albeit the expression of brain endothelial transporter is well recognized, the basal or apical distribution remains unclear in literature. This is partly because its kinetics of transport are complicated and hard to model. Furthermore, the location of relevant proteins in the cell, such as enzymes, may play a major role in solute flux.

            Some uptake transporters of the BBB can work bi-directionally. Nonetheless, scholars have identified several families of transporters that can transport solutes out of the endothelial cells of the BBB, often consuming energy. Such transporters include the ABC family (Abbott et al. 20), the Breast Cancer Resistance Protein, and the Multidrug Resistance Related Proteins. While their roles physiology remain unclear, their potential in restricting the entry of harmful and toxic lipophilic agents in the CNS is evident. Scholars agree that they may have other functions, especially relating to drug delivery because of their potential to reduce or block entry of drug molecules.

Disruption of Blood Brain Barrier (neurological disease)            

The disruption of the Blood Brain Barrier can occur due to a range of disorders, including Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, and epilepsy. In these conditions, BBB disruption emerges an element of pathology. In some disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the materialization and extent of breakdown is more controversial and a growing area of research (Zlokovic, Berislav V. 188). When the function of BBB is disrupted, the main consequences are edema, dysregulation, and neuro-inflammation, which is a precursor to neuronal degeneration, increased intracranial pressure, and neuronal dysfunction. Even so, the precise mechanisms that underlie BBB disruption and its role in the development and progression of neurological conditions is not well understood. The phrase “BBB disruption” invokes images of the obliteration of a physical wall, interfering with the flow of molecules from the blood to the brain. Be that as it may, the BBB does not constitutes a physical wall but a sequences of physiological traits, the change of which is bound to significantly affect neurological development and health. For example, the disruption of GLUT-a glucose transport across the BBB can lead to seizure. By the same token, the dysfunction of the LAT1 amino acid transport can lead to manifestation of autism spectrum disorder. One of the most common disorders originating from BBB disruption that has been studied extensively is multiple sclerosis. BBB dysfunction is a key trait of the multiple sclerosis. The time course of leakage in patients with multiple sclerosis has been investigated using dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI. Barrier leakage has been observed in new lesions. MRI evidence shows that BBB permeability is a precursor to the formation of lesions. However, some lesions occur before the barrier dysfunction. In patients with stroke, BBB disruption materializes through the leakage of nonspecific molecules and structural changes in tight junctions. Generally, the disruption of the Blood Brain Barrier leads to some form of neurological issue.

Threats Illegal Immigration Poses to the United States and Possible Solutions

Immigration has been a key dynamic in America’s growth and development for the entirety of its existence. In fact, immigration has been characterized to be as old as America itself. This is not surprising given that the country was founded and built by immigrants from the ground up. The first wave of immigrants arrived in the Americas as early as the 1500s and consisted of Spanish ethnicities. The Spanish did not precisely settle in the northern part of the continent designated as modern day America. Rather, they conquered and settled in the southern part of the continent. The biggest wave of outsiders to settle in United States arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries and was predominantly composed of Europeans and Africans. Most of them were inspired by the pursuit of resources while others were laborers and slaves. Since then, more waves of immigrants have inhabited America through the years, leading to the creation of a multicultural nation with a multiplicity of races, ethnicities, and cultures.

Read also An Ethical Analysis of the U.S Immigration Situation

While most immigrants are documented, there is a large share that is not documented. Undocumented immigrants, commonly known as illegal immigrants, are migrants that have entered the United States territory without adhering to federal immigration laws (Motomura) The number of undocumented immigrants is estimated to be 10 million. Researchers and political commentators have argued on the benefits and harms of illegal immigration. Some claim that illegal immigrants contribute to economic growth, increase the size of the economy, contribute more tax revenues, and enhance the welfare of natives. However, others cite their harmful implications such as displacement of employees in the labor market, abuse of welfare (Fox 1052), and increase in budget. This essay details the threats that illegal immigration poses to the United States and possible solutions.

Read also The Ethics and Challenges Defining Contemporary Illegal Immigration into the US

            It is hard to ignore the positive aspect of illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants constantly add to the unique blend of cultures that defines the United States. It is important to note that the common motivation of people that immigrate illegally is often tied to the economic and democratic success of the country. In fact, today’s illegal immigrants move into the United States to embrace American values, including the ability to worship freely, chart economic destinies, and express themselves without retribution. Hence, illegal immigrants do not move into the nation to undermine American values. Instead, they are attracted by those very values. As far as the cultural wealth is concerned, it is evident that America’s cultural composition has significantly changed to immigration. Since 2000, populations of Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans has increased. During the same period. America’s culture has shifted immensely, resulting in a diverse population. Increased diversity and cultural assortment has not only contributed to America’s economic vitality but also promoted innovation, created jobs, and increased national productivity. Seemingly, immigrants have collectively strengthened and revitalized American institutions and beliefs nationally and internationally.

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            On the other hand, illegal immigration poses real threats to the success and stability of the United States. One of the most common arguments against illegal immigration is normally attributed to the displacement of workers. Proponents of this view maintain that illegal immigration has a deleterious effect to the job economy (Liu 2547). The core notion is that illegal immigrants find employment quickly because they are more likely to accept low wages and minimum benefits. Indeed, a large part of illegal immigrants who enter the United States border from Mexico rarely need healthcare insurance plans and benefits in the same way that documented citizens do. Hence, illegal immigrants are an attractive option for employers who want to save on taxes and costs. Moreover, illegal immigrants do not remit their taxes and information to the government. It is this reason that makes illegal immigration a threat to the economy.

Read also National Immigration Forum – Summary

            Another threat regarding illegal immigration is that undocumented immigrants have outwardly anonymous profiles. Once an illegal immigrant enters the country, there is no record of where they go or where they originate from. This has numerous repercussions to the citizens of the United States. Such anonymity means that terrorists can use illegal immigration as an avenue to target Americans. Additionally, anonymous profiles mean that immigrants may transmit diseases and cause untold suffering to the entire population. This threat does not only directed towards American citizens but also towards the immigrants themselves. Due to lack of medical coverage and access to public services, immigrants face significant health and economic threats (Martinez 947). Illegal immigrants are likely to have poor housing and education, in addition to deprived living standards. In reality, illegal immigrants are victims to human trafficking, prostitution, and kidnapping (Cianciarulo 54). For instance, it is estimated that there are approximately two million victims of human trafficking among Mexican immigrants in the United States. Some are kidnapped and forced to work as laborers while others are tricked to work in foreign countries where they are abused and raped.

Read also Article Summary – Cities Vow to Fight Trump on Immigration, Even if They Lose Millions

            The attempt to address illegal immigration is not an impossible feat as many would claim. In point of fact, the government can address the issue through proper reforms and reliable task forces. The effort of stopping illegal immigration is especially reliant on political goodwill. Leaders and politicians can create measures to reduce illegal immigration without the need for new legislation.  Federal immigration laws that have already been instituted should be applied universally as opposed to selectively. When laws are implemented universally, there will be a less likelihood of successful illegal immigration. For instance, the government should ensure that all employers employ documented workers. Employers should primarily focus on the bigger picture rather than on the fleeting economic benefits of hiring undocumented workers. Illegal immigrants tend to take job opportunities from locals because of their cheap labor offers. The congress and court system should simplify laws to help prospective immigrants to understand the legal requirements of immigrating into America.

Read also Immigration Front, Current Event That is an Example of Federalism

            A significant measure of curbing illegal immigration is the prohibition of crossing and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Since a majority of illegal immigrants cross into the United States territory through the Mexican border, the government can concentrate efforts on avoiding such crossings. Possible solutions include increasing the number of patrol officers and the use of restrictive infrastructure such as lights, fences, and barriers. Security agencies should map out key hotspots and interdict offenders. For arrested offenders, the government should consider deportation as a possible option. Deportation has been an effective option of dealing with illegal immigration (Capps). For example, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported about 330,000 illegal immigrant in 2018. Deportation represents removal and court-ordered departure of undocumented immigrants back to their place of origin. In 2013, nearly half a million illegal immigrants were deported. The Obama administration deported three million people in total. Nearly half of those had a criminal record under their names. Previously, the bush administration had also deported undocumented persons. Apart from deportations, the United States government also uses returns as a viable option for offsetting illegal immigration. Returns mean turning people away at the border.  In 2018, the ICE returned about 100,000 potential immigrants.          

Read also Issues Affecting Immigration – Research Paper  

On conclusion, this essay has presented the threats that illegal immigration poses to the United States and possible solutions. Although some commentators claim that illegal immigrants contribute to economic growth, increase the size of the economy, contribute more tax revenues, and enhance the welfare of natives, others point to their harmful implications such as displacement of employees in the labor market, abuse of welfare, and increase in budget. One positive aspect of Illegal immigrants is that they constantly add to the unique blend of cultures that defines the United States. The common motivation of people that immigrate illegally is often tied to the economic and democratic success of the country. Hence, a majority of illegal immigrants move into the United States to embrace American values, including the ability to worship freely, chart economic destinies, and express themselves without retribution. On the other hand, illegal immigration poses real threats to the success and stability of the United States. One of the most common arguments against illegal immigration is normally attributed to the displacement of workers.

Read also Application: Enforcement of Immigration Laws

Another threat regarding illegal immigration is that undocumented immigrants have outwardly anonymous profiles. Once an illegal immigrant enters the country, there is no record of where they go or where they originate from. This has numerous repercussions to the citizens of the United States. The government can address the issue through proper reforms and reliable task forces. Leaders and politicians can create measures to reduce illegal immigration without the need for new legislation. A significant measure of curbing illegal immigration is the prohibition of crossing and deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Lululemon Athletica Inc Strategic Analysis

Vancouver-based Lululemon Athletica Inc. has provided premium quality apparel to premium customers with notable financial gains in the past half a decade (Lululemon, 2021). The company’s business aspects seem to be improving despite the worsening state of the economy. This moderately famed designer and retailer of yoga-based clothing and related accessories closed 2015 with unexpected gains. These gains were mainly driven by various successful product categories, including certain men’s product lines and women’s pants. The company’s margins were significantly better in the final quarter despite being quite average in the previous financial periods (Macrotrends, 2021). Generally, the brand has attained a reasonably strong imprint in retail, and the management is trying to use this strength to push more sales and drive higher revenues. Although sales are expected to grow in the forthcoming quarters, the biggest question that the management needs to consider is how it can boost profitability after posting flatshare figures (Baalbaki, Gilliard, & Hoffman, 2019) rather. Will the stock price recover after taking a downward trend in the past quarter? Perhaps another question that needs to be considered is whether Lululemon will compete with its fierce competitors, which have larger market shares and stronger brands. This paper presents a strategic analysis in the form of a SWOT analysis to evaluate its current positions as it relates to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Read also Business and Corporate Level Strategic Analysis – AT&T Corporation

            One of the greatest strengths of Lululemon is its premium brand affinity (Wu, Greenberg, Pridemore, Yuan, & Yan n.d.). A larger part of the company’s following consists of a sect-like group consisting of educated, health-sentient, and high-income female audiences (Stokes & Adams, 2008). Some of the most preferred products include its comfort wear apparel and yoga pants. These products appear to be appealing to Lululemon’s customers. Despite recent price hikes, the company’s business has continued to improve (Schlossberg, 2015). Customers appear to be recognizing the legitimacy of the price hikes as current products are manufactured from new high-tech materials rare in the market. Despite the small size of the company, compared to more prominent brands like Nike, it has managed to record the highest sales per square foot in the retail sector. Lululemon’s leadership in the rising athletic apparel segment is defined and firm.

Read also British Airways Strategic Analysis

            Another critical strength in Lululemon’s strategy is its inclination to ride the athleisure bandwagon. As more people continue to adopt a health-conscious mind, the business has found it necessary to cater to this potential customer group. The approach seems to be effective as the business is continuously growing over time. The rising need for athletic apparel that can be worn in sport settings and around urban neighborhoods should see Lululemon pulling more financial gains since such clothing types are core to its enterprise. The casualization of clothing has been particularly pervasive in the American market (Ganak, Summers, Adesanya, Chi, & Tai, 2019), and people are more willing to wear casual clothes anywhere. This is positive news for Lululemon.

Read also Tata Group Global Strategic Analysis

            A healthy balance sheet is an additional strength for Lululemon. Not only does the company have a good record in finances, but it also lacks debt. This should allow the business to reinvest its profits and repurchase shares in the forthcoming quarters. Though the retailer has never disbursed dividends, it is in an excellent position to start doing so. Lululemon’s robust financial growth is being noticed in the financial markets and among competitors such as Nike and Under Armour.

Read also Target Corporation Strategic Management Analysis

            While a premium brand affinity may be one of Lululemon’s strengths, it could also be one of its principal weaknesses. The company charges significantly high prices for its products, partly due to its high input in research and development. This price catalog is relatively higher than that of its competitors. Similar products from Under Armour and Nike cost considerably less. High prices may not hurt its premium customers. However, it could hurt business strategy once the firm attempts to explore other markets and when macro-environmental forces impose economic constraints on the existing pool of customers.

            Brand perception is another area where Lululemon is weak. For the longest time, since its inception, the brand has been perceived as a yoga brand. This perception is suitable when targeting yoga customers. However, it limits Lululemon’s expansion goals. In fact, the company has not experienced revolutionary success while trying to expand beyond this audience. While there is a large percentage of people among its customers who use apparel for sporting activities, the brand has not convinced the market that its product lines can serve purposes outside the sports domain.  Another issue relating to brand perception is that Lululemon is essentially viewed as a female-only brand (Tybout, 2017).  Indeed, the company has struggled to expand past the female demographic as men’s wear only comprises 6% of sales. On the other hand, competitors like Nike have managed to pull male customers from the market.

            Lululemon’s largest opportunity is the chance to expand to the international market. Until now, a larger share of the firm’s sales is concentrated in North America. The management has recognized international expansion opportunities, primarily targeting Asian and European markets where the company only registered 11 units in sales in 2015. With the prospect of opening an additional 11 stores in the international market, the company hopes to accelerate its expansion across the world (Bearne & Bearne, 2014). The goal is for international sales to account for at least 20% of total sales. In addition to international expansion, Lululemon seeks to continue expanding its reach in the North American Markets, including the United States and Canada. The opportunity for market expansion should be bolstered with the chance to use eCommerce platforms, which are less costly in terms of capital.

            Another critical opportunity is the prospect of expanding product lines. Since Lululemon has already registered noteworthy success in the women’s pants segment, now would be an excellent time to enhance its women’s tops segment. The retailer should also consider the men’s segment, which has a considerable potential to drive profits in the running, training, and yoga sub-segments.

            The biggest threat to Lululemon’s business is competition. The market for athletic clothes is exceptionally competitive, and the firm competes directly against renowned brands and wholesalers, some of which are primarily focused on women’s athletic apparel. Traditional sellers of athletic apparel are also a cause for concern. Examples of significant competitors are The Gap, Under Armour, Reebok, and Nike. A majority of these companies have existed longer than Lululemon and are more aware of market needs. They also offer products at lower price points.

            Succinctly put, Lululemon has a solid growth strategy due to its premium brand image and prospected expansion to international markets. Nevertheless, the management needs to address a few strategic issues for the firm to remain financially and competitively successful in the near future. These include quality control, lacking technological integration, narrow focus, and lack of brand awareness. Quality control relates to the firm’s level of quality and customer satisfaction. Lululemon should pay attention to critical indicators of quality such as customer satisfaction and amount of recalls. Recent product recalls should be investigated in-depth to avoid catastrophic failures (Tsang, Chu, Pothecary, & Chung, n.d). This could be achieved with technological integration, such as collecting reviews from customers through eCommerce platforms. Technological integration could also help the company boost sales without adding much to its costs. The problems of narrow market focus and limited brand awareness should be solved through aggressive marketing campaigns. The management should consider social media because of its low fees and potential to reach large audiences worldwide. The option of hiring a social media manager should be reflected upon to enhance Lululemon’s marketing realm. Additionally, the firm should contemplate the cultivation of brand presence in major online platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. This will go a long way in creating large followings and deeper customer relationships. The firm should also contemplate the option of differentiating its product further. Production differentiation creates the opportunity to sell to more audience types while leaving enough room for teaking prices. The present price catalogue is largely inaccessible by a majority of sports-centric buyers. Lululemon should benefit from its solid growth plan. The prospects of increasing men’s offerings, venturing into international markets, and catering to more customer segments should prove useful in achieving success. The business inclination towards the health-conscious market is incredibly shrewd as people around the world are recognizing the benefits of maintaining an athletic lifestyle.

A Flooding Mitigation Plan for Birmingham City

Mitigation refers to efforts taken to minimize loss of life and even property, done by reducing the impact of disasters. Some hazards are more priorities than others mainly because their effects on the legal, political and community domain are more adverse compared to the others. Birmingham is a city in Central Alabama. The city undergoes several hazards which include biological and environmental hazards among others. Its greatest is severe weather. The city experiences torrential rains and tornadoes. It is necessary to take steps to avoid further consequences from it while putting into consideration the cost implications and the impacts of these actions on the political, legal and community domain in the city.

Read also Ohio Flooding Strategic Mitigation, Response, and Recovery plan

Birmingham should consider the severe weather it experiences as a significant risk. The city receives heavy rains accompanied by tornadoes and flash floods.  Birmingham’s development and high-density population are the cause of the city’s vulnerability to such weather events. Water runoff is increased two to six times in an urban area compared to water flow in a natural terrain. As a result, parking lots and streets are converted to moving rivers and building ground floors fill with water (Birmingham, 2017). Repetitive cases of flooding have led to the loss of residential homes. Several neighbourhoods dwell in Village Creek’s floodplain and floodway. 4,574 residential dwellings, critical facilities, and 196 commercial structures are at risk of sudden flash floods (Birmingham, 2017). Natural disasters lead to billions of dollars in property damage and economic loss annually in Birmingham. The population keeps on shifting to areas prone to hazards, escalating further disaster-related losses.

Read also A Flood Mitigation Plan Example

The damage history arising from flooding has prompted Birmingham to seek authorization to come up with structural and non-structural solutions to resolve it (Bentham Science Publisher, 2012). The passing of the Water Resources Development Acts facilitated projects in the Village Creek Hazard Area. The funds received from Congress were $29.4 million, and $7.4 was contributed by the City of Birmingham (Birmingham, 2017). FEMA has also played a big part in funding mitigation projects in the city. One of the projects funded by FEMA is the acquisition projects. Acquisition of properties along the floodplain of Village Creek has been part of projects taken to control the weather hazards in Birmingham. Reports have shown that acquisition projects have helped to avoid losses of even more than $60 million since 1995. The savings represented more than 150% return on investment (Birmingham, 2017).

Read also Disaster Preparedness – Persuasive Thesis

Acquisition costs shared by FEMA and the City of Birmingham have facilitated the avoidance of a direct loss amounting to $3.4 million. Losses avoided in the disasters are studied in order to measure the benefits from a mitigation project. Such studies bring out the financial savings appreciated by the community as a consequence of implementing such a mitigation project. Acquisition and relocation projects have proved to be very significant, seen in the savings made from repetitive flooding (Birmingham, 2017). Acquisition plan minimizes a community’s vulnerability to disaster losses. Most families are unable to pick up the pieces after flooding disasters, as most of them do not afford flooding insurance. Relocating them ensure that they live a flood free life.

Read also Improving Emergency Management from Disasters – Hurricanes Sandy And Katrina And 9/11

Property acquisition is an advantage and real project as it offers both permanent and temporary vulnerability to future risks and damage from natural disasters (The Pew Charitable Trust, 2016). It also gives a chance for the local government to accomplish other flood management goals. Property acquisition reduces the cost of disaster funding and helps the community to achieve its aims, for example, affordable homes and open spaces with the risk of natural disasters (The Pew Charitable Trust, 2016). Property acquisition allows for preservation and maintenance of ecologically important wetlands and beach fronts.

Read also Challenges Posed By Pregnant Women In A Disaster Or Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Situation

Other examples of severe weather conditions include thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Thunderstorms usually occur during the summer. Supercell thunderstorms are the worst kind of storms as they are the strongest and most dangerous. Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air descending from thunderstorm clouds to make contact with the ground. They can occur at any time of the year. Hurricanes, on the other hand, form over warm ocean waters (National Weather Service, 2017). The solution strategies for such extreme weather conditions include evacuations, contraflow and even strategies as simple as staying indoors. Use of lightning arresters can be put in place during cases of single cell tornadoes. Spreading awareness through the internet is also crucial (Dunbar, 2007). These solution strategies are usually successful as they are typically as simple as staying under the protection of one’s house, although sometimes policies like evacuation may lead to overbuilding of traffic. The acquisition strategy funded by USACE and the City of Birmingham had a total of $36,332,343 between 1989 and 1994 (Birmingham, 2017). The total loss avoided was $60,309,747 accounting for 166% of the total acquisition cost.

The community is both negatively and positively impacted by the mitigation project (National Weather Service, 2017). The community is positively impacted in that the members are given a chance to relocate and begin life in much safer areas. They can live a life free of the risk of natural disasters. The community is, however, separated from each other. People who have grown up close to each other are separated. They are forced to begin their social lives anew and leave their old friends. Through such strategies, the government can save money used to fund victims of natural disasters. The politics of the area is affected as its inhabitants have already moved (National Weather Service, 2017). The residents of Birmingham can minimize the legal costs that come with ensuring their houses against flooding. In case| the projects are not undertaken, it will result in more loss of property and life, and the local government will incur more costs funding the victims of natural disasters (Bentham Science Publisher, 2012). Residents will have to pay more for their flooding insurance, which they may not get full payment back, given their susceptibility to floods and natural disasters.

Mitigation of flooding and the impacts that come with it is possible in Birmingham. All the funding received from the Congress and the local government is enough to facilitate the mitigation project put in place. The acquisition project has proved to be successful over the years as reports have shown that there has been an extensive prevention of losses from natural disasters. The reduction of losses is regarding money and lives. Once the right steps have been completely identified, it will become possible to do away with the effects of natural disasters permanently.

Evolution of Affirmative Action Over The Last 40+ Years

For over 40 years, affirmative action has been used as a solution to racial inequality problems faced by organizations. The concept of affirmative action was introduced in 1961 by President Kennedy. Its creation was influenced by the high levels of discrimination that were observed in constitutional guarantees and civil rights laws. Enforcement of the term ‘affirmative action’ was however done during the reign of President Johnson (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005). The original goal of affirmative action was to level the playing field with reference to jobs and education, and to make sure that blacks and other minority groups had equal opportunities for career advancements, scholarships, promotions, financial aids, school admissions, and salary increases that had been set aside exclusively for the whites. Many people viewed affirmative action as a temporary issue that would end immediately a level playing field is created for all American citizens. However, for more than 45 years now, affirmative action still exists but with a totally different image from the one it had in 1961 (Rojas, 2002).

Read also Influence of Minorities on the Political Process and the Impact of Affirmative Action

In its original form, affirmative action gave minorities and women equal opportunities during employment hiring, entrance to universities, and federal contracts. It attempted to eliminate discrimination against women and minorities in America. During this time, affirmative action was labeled ‘reverse discrimination’ because it discriminated against white men. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows review of race-conscious affirmative action that is practiced by public or private employers and unions. Title VI of the Act allows review of affirmative action if practiced by private or state recipients of federal funds. Affirmative action that is practiced by government agencies is subject to review under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In 1965, Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 that required the Secretary of Labor to formulate rules that will allow federal contractors to eliminate discrimination. The department of labor, in collaboration with the construction industry, established plans that could pressure labor unions to create work crews that are ethnically balanced (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Read Also What Would Happen If Affirmative Action Did Not Exist?

One case that can help in understanding the Civil Rights Act is the Griggs vs. Duke Power Company of 1971. In this case, the court held that affirmative action prohibits both intentional discrimination as well as employment policies that have resulted into the impacts of previous discrimination. It was established that organizations that discriminate against employees on the basis of race will have violated the Civil Rights Act. In 1976, the Supreme Court decided to except the federal government from liability under the fifth Amendment’s due process clause (Rojas, 2002). This was in the case of Washington vs. Davis of 1976 where the Supreme Court argued that the federal government could not be granted the same impact standard under the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause employers in the private sector are protected by the Civil Rights Act (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Read also Time to Scrap Affirmative Action

Flaws in the policies that support affirmative action began to occur in the late 1970s. People were concerned about reverse discrimination when an increasing number of white men were denied education chances in institutions of higher learning. This issue was evidenced in the case of Regents of the University of California vs Bakke of 1978 (The Regents of the University of California, 2010). In this case, Allan Bakke was denied a chance in the University of California Medical School in two consecutive years. The school had reserved 16 out of 100 seats for women and minority groups and Bakke could not be given a chance because he was a white male. The Supreme Court later affirmed that affirmative action was a legal approach that organizations can use to reduce discrimination. However, the court was against the inflexible quota system that the medical school was trying to include in the affirmative action programs. For this reason, the court had unfairly discriminated against Bakke. According to Lewis Powell, the then judge of the Supreme Court, stated that universities may use race-based affirmative action in their admissions. However, racial quotas must completely be eliminated. In this case, race is just one of the factors that universities can use when they want to maintain a heterogeneous student body (Rojas, 2002).

Conservatives looked at the affirmative action concept as a zero-sum game that only opened doors for minorities while it denied whites education and job opportunities. The white angry men felt that majorities of unqualified blacks were enjoying opportunities offered to them by the American system. Some Americans blamed minority groups for trying to make the American way work for them yet they had experienced even more serious adversities in the hands of Asians and Jews. By the mid 1980s, American Universities used both the quota system and the race-based system in the admission programs. Several educational institutions and companies began to change the original intentions of affirmative action (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that the government should set aside a certain amount of money to reward companies that did not discriminate against the minority groups. This ruling was meant to prevent companies from discriminating against minority groups. In addition, the ruling was meant to increase the number of businesses owned by minority groups. Non-minority businesses were expected to subcontract approximately 9.5 percent of their businesses to minority businesses. It is also during the late 1980s when it was held by the Supreme Court that discriminative practices that were performed before the Civil Rights Act were legal. Looking at the steps that affirmative action had taken up to this point, it is clear that the original intention of affirmative action had been changed (Rojas, 2002).

Debates about the effectiveness of affirmative action became even more complex and difficult. In the late 1980s, many people began to understand numerous injustices that were brought about by affirmative action. In Wygant case of 1986, white employees in senior positions were laid off while black employees retained their jobs. In 1987, the Alabama Department of Public Safety declined to promote black people above entry level even after they were demanded by the court for 12 years. In these instances, the initial goal of affirmative action had not been achieved because a level playing field had not been created for American citizens (Rojas, 2002).

The quota systems that universities had imposed in affirmative action programs began to fade in 1994 when the University of Maryland awarded scholarship only to African-American students. The University was struck by the Supreme Court which later affirmed that such practices were illegal. In 1998, the University of Texas Law School was also struck by the Court of Appeal for admitting students by race. This caused further disintegration of the University practices and admission systems that largely discriminated against white students. The main objective of the Supreme Court in these two instances was to do away with the issue of ‘reverse discrimination.’ The debates continued until 2003 when the Supreme Court decided to endorse the opinions if Justice Powell. This was in the case of Grutter vs. Bolliner of 2003 that involved the University of Michigan. In this case, the Supreme Court held that diversity of the student body is a compelling issue that can allow for the use of race in admissions. However the road for diversity-inspired affirmative action programs in 2003 was not as clear as those of 1978 (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Some American citizens feel that affirmative action resulted into the impacts of reverse discrimination against white males because it prevented discrimination against women and minorities. In several instances, conservatives have accused the Supreme Court of endorsing reverse discrimination. When raising their complaints, American citizens stated that academic institutions and employers favored men and minorities in almost all aspects. Conversely, other Americans supported affirmative action because they felt that this system helped to counteract the past injustices that had been committed in institutions of higher learning and companies (Rojas, 2002). According to supporters, affirmative action could assist companies and academic institutions to achieve gender and racial equality. In a reaction against affirmative action, President Ronald Reagan decided to cut finding for civil rights division of the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to Reagan, black and other minorities should not be compensated for past injustices and the government should relax its efforts of fighting for equality on behalf of minorities and blacks (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Personally, I feel that affirmative action has consistently and effectively been used to create a more robust and productive workforce. Affirmative action led to the creation of a policy that improved schooling for minorities in the late 1960s. Between 1960 and 1995, the percentage of minorities who graduated from college increased from 5.4 percent to 15.4 percent. Additionally, affirmative action led to a proportional rise in the number of Hispanic and Africa-American students who joined college in 1998 (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005). Again, affirmative action has effectively assisted academic institutions to break separation and segregation that have historically been rooted in their national life. Through affirmative action, diversity has been encouraged in the workforce which has helped to enhance engagement and active thinking processes. Diversity that is encouraged through affirmative action has also promoted motivation and intellectual engagement in the workplace (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

The positive impacts of affirmative action cannot be denied. Since 1961, affirmative action has assisted minority groups to get equal opportunities in institutions. For more than 40 years, affirmative action has helped to repair the damages that had previously been committed. To date, academic institutions all over the nation consist of students from diverse backgrounds. Companies have also employed workers from very diverse populations. Debates over affirmative action practices are still on the increase up to date. Many people feel that the original goal of affirmative action has not been achieved. In both public and the private sector, employees continuously complain that affirmative action is robbing them of opportunities and promotions. In another side, organizations continue to work hard towards achieving effectiveness in maintaining racially diverse workforce (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Enforcement of Immigration Laws at the Local, State, and Federal Level

Should enforcement of immigration laws occur at the local, state, and federal level?

The enforcement of the immigration should be done at both federal and state and local  level to increase efficiency in fighting illegal immigration (Hollifield et al., 2014). Being done at the state level will ensure that those immigrants in the different states are dealt with according to the federal law set in place. At the local state, the police should help in the enforcement of immigration by using the various training provided by the federal government to ensure that immigration is steeped and minimized extensively throughout the United States.

The state laws on immigration should not conflict with the federal government’s law and should ensure that they add more strength or make similar laws that enforce the immigration laws. A case in point is the state of Arizona which had four conflicting laws the preempted the federal immigration laws. Conflicting laws will bring confusion into the justice system. Therefore, it will be difficult for a state to use a certain law, which is countered by another law formed by the national government. For there to be harmony, the state laws should concur with the national government. Therefore merging and bolstering cooperating with the states, local and the federal government will improve the efficiency of dealing with the multiple immigrants in the various states since the federal government cannot be able to work effectively on the immigration issue alone. Eth use of the security agencies in conjunction with an added workforce in the states will help enforce the immigration laws and reduce further cases regarding immigration.

Challenges Related to Enforcing the laws at the Local Level

The challenge in enforcing immigration at the local level is quite a daunting task. There are many immigrants staying in the various states who have either entered illegally or absconded on deportation orders. Others are fugitive aliens who have outlived their stay and were more than 500.000. The challenge facing immigration at the state level is a limited workforce. A challenge at the local is the conflicting argument of using the police in enforcing immigration laws while their mandate is to protect the public. As such, they will have to concentrate on immigration more and thus the protection of the citizens will be second.

At the state, level the enforcement of the immigration, laws have not had an impact. Some of the states do not put much of their resources in combating immigration. There is thus a lack of political will in dealing with immigration issue at the state level. State government can have a great impact on immigration if they collaborate which the government agencies that deal with immigration. Also, its takes the local state government to come up with measures that will support the immigration reform agenda of the federal government. Some states have passed various laws that seek to provide a sanctuary to the immigrants, as such the local agents in the respective states don’t focus on dealing with immigration as they follow the don’t ask don’t tell rule on the status of immigration.  As a result, the state has very limited cooperation with the federal government in enforcing the various laws. Some large states like New York, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle to name a few have limited the enforcement of immigration federal laws by passing laws that limit enforcement of immigration in their states. Various groupings involving police chiefs have supported the ideas of not involving local agencies in enforcing immigration laws, as it would have an effect on policing.

Challenge related to Enforcing the laws at the State Level

The enforcement of immigration laws has had its face of challenges. The federal government has opted to increase partnership with the states in combating the immigration problem (Rosenblaum, 2011). In the past, the state battled the problem sing handedly with little or no help from the local agencies and the individual states. The ICE and the local and state enforcement agencies have entered into partnerships through the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Reconciliation Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 (Varsanyi et al., 2012). The act elaborated on the various offenses that can lead to the deportation of illegal immigrants and the various penalties they face should they violate the law.  The laws have reduced their rights and increase security at the border of US and Mexico.

Effectiveness of Enforcement of Immigration Laws

The immigration and customs enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, has enhanced the effectiveness of the various states and local agencies by offering training regarding immigration (Provine & Varsanyi, 2012).  The trained helps the interested parties in identifying the various immigrants and removing them from the country. The various states have with this training been able to identify more than 130000 illegal immigrants that can be deported at any time as their cases are deliberated by the justice system (ICE, 2010). The states have effectively used the Criminal Alien Program to identify illegal immigrants in the various states and penitentiary facilities to ensure that they are deported as soon a possible. The ICE has greatly help the states and local enforcement agencies in dealing with immigrants within their localities and ensuring that they are dealt with according to the law.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and A good Man is Hard to Find – Literary Analysis

“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

            In this story, the author personified old man in the form of an Angel which signifies wisdom and integrity. Literary analysis on this story indicated that the theme did not focus on the real Angel but compares the wisdom of an old man with that of an Angel. In the society, the old men are characterized with wisdom and they are often consulted for advice by the younger people (Marquez, 1955). The author attempted to emphasize the importance of the old man in the society. However, not all the people in the society are in agreement with the wisdom of the old man. As a result, the advice sort from the old man can sometime create conflicts between the younger people and the old man. Gabriel presented how the young people in the society lack logic which is exhibited by both ignorance in their actions and words.

            It is ironical to find the old stuck in the mad with large unusable wings because they are considered to have accumulated a lot of experience over years. As a result, they are expected to provide guidance and resolve issues that affects the society. For instance, the author stated that he found the old man stuck in the mad and the old man possessed wings. Furthermore, the old man was speaking an unknown dialect (Marquez, 1955). No one in the society knew where the old man was coming from and who he was. The woman confirmed not knowing the old and she suspected to be an Angel, but yet they didn’t believe to be an Angel. No one believes he could actually be a supernatural being because he is found in such a decrepit state.   Pelayo and his wife Elisenda become wealthy from charging admission fees to see this angel, who they keep in a chicken coop for several years, mistreating him for many years (Marquez, 1955).  When the chicken coop eventually falls apart, they move him into a shed that’s adjacent to their new house.  Pelayo and his wife think the old man will die but he regains his strength and one day he flies off into the air as they watch him disappear over the horizon. Here, Marques indicated to have taken a negative perception regarding the nature of the human being by comparing both natural and supernatural beings. Marque’s assertion exhibited the negative perspective of the human being towards a strange creature or anything that appears to be totally different and not understood by people. We all wonder if angels are truly real or if it’s just something made up and Marquez’s story shows us that when we don’t understand something or someone and are afraid of it or them, society tends not to be so kind towards the unknown or misunderstood.

“A good man is hard to find”

            The main theme of this story revolves around the moral codes. The grandmother and Misfit differed because their moral codes they were living by influenced their perceptions, actions and decisions. The moral codes of the grandmother was conflicting with that of the Misfit because at the beginning of the story, Misfit moral code was presented to look as misguided, but at the end of the story, the author vividly demonstrated that grandmother’s moral code were in fact inconsistent and flimsy. The grandmother lived by the moral codes that she perceived would make people good by focusing on being a lady, for example, she put much efforts on the appearance and overlooking the substance (O’Connor, 1953). Her judgment and criticism deceived her family and made her to lack a fundamental awareness of the world around her. The author end the story by showing that grandmother was unable to pray when faced with difficult situation, yet she professed her love for Christian piety, hence questioned the divinity and power of Jesus.

The theme of the story surround the grandmother who attempted to convince Bailey her son and his wife to consider going to East Tennessee for family vacation instead of Florida. Her argument was based on a scenario in an article about Misfit a convict who escaped and headed towards Florida. The second argument was that the children have once visited Florida and there was need to go again there for the family vacation. John Wesley the elder grandson suggested that the grandmother should stay at home, but his sister, June Star resisted strongly that her grandmother would not stay at home. The grandmother dressed in clothes and hat that had flowers in it in order to be identified as a lady in case an accident occurred in their way.            

On their way, the family stopped to have their meal and snack at Red Sammy Butts’s restaurant known as Tower. The owner of the restaurant complained that people nowadays are untrustworthy because he allowed two men to bought gasoline on credit. The grandmother considered Red Sam as a good man, but his wife insisted that she does not trust any man including him. As the grandmother asked whether they have heard of Misfit, Red Sam says, “A good man is hard to find.” As they drive deep into the woods, grandmother let the cat to escape from the basket, thus startles Bailey who was driving the Car. They got into an accident, luckily they were not hurt. The passing car pulled on and three men carrying guns approached the car. One of the man was Misfit. In general, the author tries to show that we should not judge people’s actions before understanding the truth behind their actions.

Elements to Address When Developing A Team

Imagine you’ve been promoted to a management position and you are tasked with developing your new team. In this assignment you will create a writeup that depicts the different elements that need to be addressed as you assemble your team.  

What is a team?

A team refers to a group of persons with different tasks and skills, who work together on shared projects, goals, or service with mutual support and interconnecting functions. A team is created to ensure that the said group of people collaborates effectively in completing a specific task. For teams to be effectual, they must perform both the teamwork and task-work successfully Teamwork is one of the most essential facilitators in attaining cost-effective, positive outcomes in different organizational settings. Teamwork is said to offer higher adaptability, creativity, and productivity compared to what an individual can offer while enhancing staff retention and job satisfaction. To ensure the improved performance of team members, the team leader should focus on developing a diverse team where people with different attributes are engaged. This paper describes the process of diverse employees’ team formation, how to improve team dynamics, and enhance employee behaviors and management measures employed to guarantee that team functions align with the mission of the company.    

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Creating a Diverse Team of Employee with Different Strengths

One way to create a functional team with higher chances of being successful is by embracing diversity. One can create a diverse team by integrating people of different cultural, religion, race-ethnicity, country of origin, or different levels of skills, competence, operational level, and tasks among other things. Creating a diverse team can be illustrated by a team of health emergency response systems, in an area impacted by a natural calamity such as an earthquake. To create such a team the team leader needs to consider the main goal of the team, which is saving the life of the victims and helping them to adapt to the new normal (Kozlowski and Ilgen, 2).

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The team leader will also need to evaluate the possible health needs of the targeted population. For instance, the earthquake victims are likely to demonstrate physical injuries and trauma due to the harsh experience, death of the loved ones. This means medical professionals that include doctors or physicians, and nurses are highly relevant to be integrated into the team. Others include the psychologists to assist in psychological issues. The team leader can also include public health workers to assist in enhancing public health. This means the team will comprise of members from different areas of specialization. The selected members will include individuals of different gender, ages, and levels of skills and experience. The team member will be selected from different cultural groups to ensure that the team can care for all victims from different communities despite language barriers and other challenges. Team diversity strengthens the team in that members can assist in addressing cultural diversity among the patient, and ensure whole care among patients and calamities.   

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Methods Adopted to Improve Team Dynamics and Employee Behaviors

The group dynamics concept refers to changes that might happen in any section of the group and bring out reactions and actions in the group structure that impact group members. To be able to comprehend the groups, their dynamics require to be assessed. According to Gencer (1), group dynamics include behaviors and attitudes within the small groups. Thus, to improve group dynamics, the group leader needs to employ effective group management strategies that influence members’ behaviors and attitudes. This can include promoting open communication among the team members. This will help in learning more about each other, understanding one another, and eventually developing trust among the groups.

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Group dynamics can also be enhanced by embracing diversity management and inclusion among the team members. This will help to build respect among members despite their level of diversity. The team leaders should also promote group dynamics by building a team culture that enhances collaboration among members and working together to achieve a common goal. The team culture will influence workers’ behaviors (Gencer, 1). It will dictate workers’ norms, practices, and operational procedures, which will influence how they interact with. This can be done by the use of developing team policies and encouraging members to follow these policies. The team leader plays a great role in improving members’ behavior and attitude by ensuring that he or she establishes a team’s goals and objectives. They also assist in defining strategies that members must employ to help them achieve their objectives. The leader’s ability to influence their members’ commitment towards achieving the team’s goal also plays a great role in promoting team diversity.

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Management Techniques you would implement to ensure that the Team Aligns to Company’s Mission

Team management refers to techniques, tools, and processes for coordinating and organizing a group of people working towards a shared goal. One of these strategies involves aligning the team goals and operational strategies with the organization’s goals. In most cases, the team focuses on part of the organization’s projects or tasks which eventually contribute to the organizational general performance. Organizations normally have their goals which focus on accomplishing the organization’s mission and vision. The team also has its own specific goals that focus on the successful completion of the team goal or tasks. Being a part of the organization, the team goals should be guided with the organization’s goal, mission, and vision. This means the team should be working to make a positive contribution and a positive milestone in attaining the organization’s goals and mission.

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Thus the team must cascade its goals with those of the organization to ensure its alignment with those of the organization. Another strategy is ensuring effective communication not just within the team, but also within the organization (Mealia and Baltazar, 3). Effective communication will make it easy for the team to collaborate with the organization to be able to understand the organization’s goals and strategy and hence making it easy to align the team goal with that of the organization. Besides, effective communication helps in making the followers understand team strategies and applying them effectively to achieve team goals. This thus assists in ensuring no mistakes done in aligning the team’s goals with those of the organization.

Conclusion

A team involves coming together of two or more persons with shared interests or goals. Each of the team members plays a specific role to attain the team goal. However, for the team to accomplish its role effectively the team leader must ensure to develop team dynamics. This involves influencing members’ behaviors and attitudes to be able to focus on team goals and objectives. It also entails creating a good relation among the team members to build trust and to enhance collaboration that eventually promotes a positive outcome. Other than this, the team must ensure that it makes a positive contribution to the organization by aligning its objectives and goals with those of the organization. This can be attained by cascading the team goals in the organization’s goals, and by ensuring effective communication not just among the team members, but also between the team leader and the organization’s management.

Plato and Greek Philosophy Influence on Western Ways of Seeing, Being And Doing

The Greeks made incredible and important contributions to numerous disciplines. The Greek Philosophy had the greatest effect on the Western Culture. Greece gave the modern Western civilization its grasp and understanding of cosmogony, philosophy, and theology (Soames, 2019). It also impacted areas of politics, governance, social sciences and other sciences.

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Plato and Socrates are among the major shapers of Western culture. Their logical thoughts continue to influence the way the people in the West see, do and be. They made tremendous contributions to philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, art, architecture, literature and modern drama.  Throughout history, the ancient Greeks have impacted Western civilization and the influence is still felt. The Greek culture influenced the Roman Empire and many other civilizations in the manner of creating sophisticated sculpture and architecture (Soames, 2019).

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Ancient Greek Philosophy was built on the doctrine of reason and inquiry. The Greek philosophy was keen on emphasizing logic and championed the idea of being impartial, rational and observing the natural world in the quest to understand phenomena. In modern days, the Western culture implements these philosophies in most decision-making processes, explanations of theories and understanding concepts.

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We owe our basic mathematics knowledge such as Geometry and the concepts of mathematical proofs to the ancient Greek mathematicians such as Pythagoras. Western cultures have exploited these concepts in calculation of distance, area, circumference and surface area. These concepts have made life smoother and solving of questions very easy and possible. The ancient Greeks tried to describe the planetary movement by establishing the first astronomic models. This became the backbone of the modern solar system, influencing the study of heavenly bodies, astronomy, meteorology, climate change, diurnal variations and weather changes. This knowledge can be used in predicting seasons, planning ahead and making informed decisions.

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Plato was phenomenal; he changed the questions of his mentor and teacher-Socrates into written form. He wrote on various topics of drama and biology. This exemplified the Greek philosophical culture. These great works by Plato were a game changer in the literature and art domain as he inspired the genre of Greek comedy plays (Georgiadis, Sarigiannidis, & Theriou, 2021). The styles that were used in the original works are still being used in the modern plays.

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Plato was very keen that he recognized the need for humans to work together for the mutual benefits and profit. He was passionate about society and believed that each individual has different skills and attributes, and if well combined and worked together, the total productivity would increase exponentially. This is the modern basis of specialization, and division of labor in industries. The current groups of people who are driven to produce things, those that protect these things and those that gives reason to these things. This is the backbone of innovation and invention.

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The Greek philosophers were excellent in capturing the human form (Soames, 2019). They sculpted and created human forms that were unique, fascinating and idealized to perfection. There figures are still sold at very high prices because of their artistic magnificence ever to be seen by any civilization. They built some of the finest, urbane and distinctive buildings. These include; temples, stadia and theatres. These works are still being copied and cannot be explained even in the modern era. Their buildings were simple, proportional, had perspective and harmony- this influenced the Roman Empire and provided the foundation of the classical architectural orders that now dominate the Western World till date.

Read also Examining Allegory of the Cave Myth From Plato’s Republic And Application In Our Lives

Plato was interested in understanding the relationship between man-made and natural structures. He also related the impact of this relationship on people and society. He tried to find meaning in this by trying to explore the meaning of justice. He built the first university in Europe- this would later foster social advancement and progressively influence governance till modern day. Plato established a political and economic model that worked to benefit all members of society (Georgiadis, Sarigiannidis, & Theriou, 2021). Using this model, life has been made easier and bearable. In modern society, people work together for mutual gain leading to a prosperous and thriving and stable political and socioeconomic structure.

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The Platonic love is believed to be the doctrine of friendships and attempts to explain excellence and adoration. Using several characters, Plato was able to explain how man begin feelings of attachment to another given individual that then leads to love and admiration of the moral and physical excellence. This philosophy has been used to explain relationships that have no sexual element but are very stable and promising.

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The greatest and last of Plato’s works is the Laws and Timaeus. This documents the creation of the earth by the demiurge. This philosophy describes how Plato made the universe out of the four components: fire, air, water and earth. These he called the body of the universe and are currently used and regarded as essential sciences, that is, material and space sciences. This was a subject of society, the Laws was concerned with defining the ideal state, planned a practical yet imperfect government that is realistic (Bazaluk, 2017). The influence of Plato and the Greek philosophy on the Western world is overwhelming and vast. The philosophers were logical thinkers and were responsible to most ancient century discoveries that continuously impact our lives till now.  We should all understand and appreciate their impact and conduct more research into their philosophies so as to get meaning and relevance.