Financial Series #4 Consolidation and Forgiveness Clean Up Student Loans

Financial Series #4   Consolidation and Forgiveness Clean Up Student Loans

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

 

Perhaps in your 40’s you become something that solidifies.  You clean up tattoos, you clean up credit.

One way to clean up credit and raise your score is to enter into many, many payment arrangements to get to the finish line of each debt one has incurred. Chop it up.  A good idea is to consolidate all your student loans, more than once if you take out more.  When you take out more loans several loans show up on your credit report, but when you consolidate, all the loans shrink down to one single loan and make your score go up.

The next thing to do is to see to the end of that student loan.  There is such a thing as “Public Service Loan Forgiveness” and after you make 120 consecutive payments while working in a non-profit, or a federal or government position or for the Police Dept. or Fire Dept.  or for Peace Corps or AmeriCorps-they will forgive the balance after approximately 10 years of payments.  It’s good to get on an Income Driven Plan that is doable and pursue a service option if looking for a job and having high debt in student loans 100,000+ think about those practical options.  You will breathe easier when you have all finish lines and your score will go up the more arrangements you have, for post-dated payments, the better your score.  Don’t let debts linger or fester see them to the finish.

 

 

 

 

 

Up to Snuff #65: Three

Up to Snuff #65: Three
By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

The woman at the career office said, “I saw something so beautiful and it was a three.”

“Three,” she said, “could be many things she came to realize.” The initial impression reminded her of the delicacy of a PHD degree’s framing or the helm of an advanced degree or curriculum or a book title or a career choice. The three “style” provided excitement, depth and richness to a helm. After a while the exact writing of her initial impression was lost to her, all that she remembered was this delightful three and came to formulate all the ways in which it could be done or recreated in her own context.

The following represents a list of possible “three” or triple formations in a helm design that may be used to guide a writing, curriculum or degree choice or book research or title or career title. The “Triple Formation of a Helm Design” can represent juxtaposition or perspective for example. A Three design may actually get somewhere unique as if looking at distinct aspects and relationships will give you greater definition. Perhaps you have the benefit from a large number, juxtaposition and a small number that takes only a few aspects, as if advanced knowledge requires that you only “take an aspect.” An aspect and some relationships may be ample provision with which to build and craft a major work, for example, don’t try to take the ocean.

Often when a really great “Triple Formation in a Helm Design” arises one may consider applying it to a PHD degree design. For example when writing an APA Research Proposal or an essay sometimes those things can be expanded upon in later research or formal studies, even PHD studies. What is really special and can be delightful is once a three is transferred to a PHD it can then become the title of one’s career overall. The writer of the three may go on to do research, even for his or her whole life under that helm and design curriculum under that umbrella or with that same three.

Three balls are often juggled and one researcher pointed out that very seldom can people remember 5 items, only up to 4; the mind cannot go in too many directions at once. For example, if you were watching fish in a pond, 3 of them and suddenly many fish joined, you could still likely point out your initial 3 fish. Even if you were watching 4 fish, you might struggle, but could likely still point out your initial 4 fish after all the rest of the fish joined. But 5 fish is nearly impossible. Three may not at once seem significant but it represents a distinct and memorable good frame.

When you get deep into research and all of a sudden your three may acquire incredible depth, richness and originality. You may represent a small group of people in the world looking at that specific area. You may then become an authority on a subject in a field and receive grants, fellowships, speaking invitations and professorship. You may use your three to make significant advancements in the world.

If you write a major helm that has three variables or aspects, each aspect can become a chapter or its own book. When looking at the acceleration of knowledge three may be a number representational of advancement. Whether or not one is immediately enchanted with a three or not they may place it in their back pocket in the event they are guided to advance themselves in knowledge or searching for a way and a how. One may use three’s as if a “pocket game,” for scholars. For many, a three may be a PHD’s dress rehearsal.

A one when used in a helm may be naïve and require further development. A one may be so broad you don’t make a point that is precise enough or evidence based enough via research. A one may need specification, or narrowness or aspects. A one may be too general and inappropriate for a research based PHD. A Two when used in a helm may require further precision and honing in on subject matter. A two may require greater dimensionality or also greater development for a research based PHD.

What may also be nice when crafting a three, for use in one’s career, may be to survey pre-existing course helms, in the department in which you wish to teach. A savvy researcher may wish to become part of a family of classes-blend in- and whenever possible have something fresh to offer. Three’s generally turn into classes.

Three’s require cleanliness, maturity and to be academic. Three’s are a nice preface to formal research and inferential writing often associated to later advanced studies and PHD’s.

Where can you use a “Triple Formation in a Helm Design?”
1. PHD Degree Design
2. Advanced Degree
3. Curriculum Design or class
4. Book Research
5. Book title
6. Career Choice
7. An Essay
8. Research Proposal
9. A journalism article
10. Teaching Assignment

How can “Triple Formations in a Helm Design” be structured?
1. Subject, Place, Time Period
2. Perspective 1, Perspective 2, Perspective 3
3. From the World, Nation, and Citizens
4. Art, Culture, Ideas
5. People, Subject, Time Period eg. African Sculpture in 2018
6. Three ideas from the streets of Japan, 1, 2, 3
7. Major Helm 1,2,3, and Variable 1, variable2, variable 3
8. Literature, Poetry and Early Writing Experimentation
9. The Achievement of Quality, Problem Solving and Ethics in the Workplace
10. Subject 1, Subject 2, Juxtaposition

Rents have doubled in the last 3-6 years in Washtenaw County

Rents have doubled in the last 3-6 years in Washtenaw County

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Landlords have been known to come in and buy new properties and want higher and higher rents to increase their profits.  It happened in New York City where there was less ownership and a severely unbalanced economy where the public’s paycheck or where the median income was about $40,000 and the rents on the cheap end were $1600 and all the way sky high up to even $10,000 per month if you rented a pent house.

The point is the economy starts to unbalance when all the greed streams in via rentals and student exploitation and all of a sudden there is a marginalized population that doesn’t make it over the bar who has to either move or becomes homeless.   Washtenaw County  just experienced rapid rent growth in Ypsilanti where a  woman may have rented a $500-$600 apartment 6 years ago and now is faced with lows that are in the thousands-rents have doubled.    One land lady sold her building and right away the new landlord wanted to raise the rents  over and over and never stopped wanting more for the building.

I am appealing to Washtenaw County Leadership, we need to set up an “Office of Fee Inquiry” that sets prices that are fair and in keeping with the economy.  There are now not  affordable rents for students in Ypsilanti. Students have to double up and triple up to afford an apartment.  There are also extremely high rents in Ann Arbor around the University of Michigan.

It is predicted that rents will ruin this county making it unaffordable or unappealing to study and an unbalanced economy may make the poor even poorer.   Most student jobs only pay $8-$10 an hour.  If you look on craigslist at rents and at employment you will see a dramatic difference between low wages and high rents which are incompatible.  Wages didn’t go up, rents doubled. We have a problem with the economy.  In a city like Ypsilanti where rents really should be $300, $400, $500, $600ish-things are $1000, $1050, $1300, $1650.  The average student cannot work full time and even if he did work full time would earn ~$1280 at $8.00 per hour which would suggest he could afford perhaps a $250 or $300 rent. The current housing situation is not realistic.

What happened in New York after rents skyrocketed should really be a lesson for us all.  We need a place that will cap and price rents so that greed does not take over and before things like homelessness start to really become a problem.  We need to place caps and laws on landlords not to ruin our economy.  Washtenaw County is getting ruined.

 

 

 

Invisible President: Stop Birthing Babies Until There is Value to Man, a Prior Letter to an Editor

“Stop Birthing Babies

Until There is Value to Man”

 

Dear Editor,

In response to your article in Tuesday February 18ths, 2016  paper, “City’s Homeless Struggle to Cope with Cold,” this reader feels citizens should stop birthing babies until there is value to man.  Washtenaw County needs to place a greater value on its citizens above tents in the winter and beyond shelters as a solution.  I propose the government work on “valuation” of its citizens and provide as a birthright a “Basic Human Package” that includes a financial account and other items such as a dictionary at birth.

There is a need to put into place steps before this kind of dissolution when the people start to spill out into the streets.  The citizens should really start to realize that action is needed even for one person sleeping outdoors but in this county it has become the norm.  When the leaders do not call a state of emergency when their citizens do not have housing or even food sometimes it’s time to impeach.  One answer, which may be one of the only answers, is to value man and offer each citizen a constant prosperity.  Without a base income all citizens are in danger.  Illness is precarious, jobs are precarious, housing is precarious but a “Basic Human Account” should be a constant fixture that stabilizes mankind.

This citizen wishes to responsibly address the media to find the steps before and after.  What needs to be done to execute a base income, perhaps the first of man’s prosperous condition?  This citizen would like to chart from this moment to the moment a Basic Human Package could exist.  I called the Governor one time and emailed his website a day I had no food and was between jobs and got no response.  Washtenaw County and Michigan may be slim on emergency prevention and response, care of citizens and valuation is low.  I called the mayor of Ypsilanti to find out if he had any provision for citizens who may not have food and he gave me the number to our prior Congressman, who never responded.

It is as if Michigan has no real scaffolding of a Social System.  Even the Mayor might redirect your call and the Gov. may not pick up.  I have listened previously to Presidential campaigns and never heard Social System mentioned.  I think it was Eisenhower that feared the streets filling up with homeless and built housing projects and created Social Security and DHS. Is this really what the citizens of Michigan want as their Social System?

The current charitable organizations may be to arbitrarily assisting people and this system however beneficial may not be the real solution.  I plan to run for office maybe 20 years from now but I’ll start right now campaigning for a “Basic Human Package,” that I think would end homeless, increase intelligence, make us more beautiful, healthy and peaceful.

Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Letter to The Editor

 

 

Outcome of Grade Grievance Meetings at Eastern Michigan University from Summer 2015 to Present

Outcome of Grade Grievance Meetings at Eastern Michigan University from summer 2015 to Present

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Ypsilanti, Michigan, the summer semester at Eastern Michigan University in 2015 was challenging for student A.

Inclusive of revisions she had signed onto 3 intensive writing classes in feminist theory, technical writing and feature writing.  When all semester work was said and done student A wrote ~20 papers in a short semester.  It must be difficult for Professor’s to gauge “course load” in any given semester.

After the completion of the summer term and after 2 grade grievance meetings for two classes, the offer from the Ombudsman’s Office came which was to apply to drop all three classes and clear the record.

Several months later in 2016, while student A sat out a few semesters, all three classes where wiped clean from her transcripts and record.  What became apparent when student A received an E at %48 from a southern male philosophy teacher of Feminist Theory-student A had no choice but to fight with the prospect of her student career ruined.  It became peculiar to student A why the Professor did not share her concerns and failed to properly listen and investigate.  Grade Grievances are likely disliked by Professor’s whose tenured positions may become compromised.

Three completed classes were denied grade changes in favor of a complete withdraw.  Affirmative Action at EMU mishandled the case that was brought from the Ombudsman’s Office describing it as outside their scope.  Affirmative Action detailed their area as having to do with overt racist or misogynistic or disability offensive “verbal” language, but not with racist language in college text books.  Affirmative Action did not desire to “read” the text book in question.  In spite of hard evidence The Office of Affirmative Action declined to support student A.

Later student A recognized the potency of going direct to the publisher or Follet who publish and sell the book as a college text book.

Faculty and staff were asked not to broadcast personal information about student A in connection with staff and faculty meetings in regards to the grade grievance proceedings.  Often student A feels faculty and staff speak candidly about students personal lives without care for their respect, privacy, merit or future.

Many students when faced with problems at the university may end up taking similar steps if left with no other option but to fight without wanting to make an enemy of the school.

Student A did not pursue legal options and in the end was pleased that her efforts were responded to and a middle ground solution was found.  She pleaded with one high up staff member not to get on the microphone and broadcast.  Student A says, “I am not litigious because I want my degree, love the school and want to be instrumental its continued growth.”

Meanwhile student A reworks her graduation plan.  She meets up with voice teachers and piano teachers in the music department.  She participates in a non-profit leadership group and received an honorary membership to The National Society of Leadership and Success from EMU.

When as in writings about professionalism and problem solving at work one often avoids “conflict” not to further compromise themselves.  Student A said her nerves were shot at meetings and her school work turned into evidence.  At first it seemed that everyone was against student A when Dean’s, Professor’s and student’s all sided against student A.

Eventually all grades did get overturned and were discharged with tuition refunded.  Sometimes you are left with no choice but to fight to continue your education, at all.

In conclusion, the grade grievance hearings were a success for Eastern Michigan University in that in spite of their tedious nature they found a neutral remedy and student A can peacefully attend school and complete her degree.  It is difficult to create a forum where student’s issues are actually heard and cared for.

Well trained professionals may need to govern key areas of change in the finance department and with the registrar, as well as mediate student, faculty and staff issues, tacit issues, work issues, behavior issues, and curriculum issues, teaching methods and work load issues.  Psychological concerns get on the table often especially with the anxiety that the graded tasks can create.   College text books may also need course evaluation following each class.

Students may feel tremendous pressure and loneliness in desperate appeals.  It would be great it EMU created its own log and historical archive for how all grievances were handled and handle them in an exemplary fashion. Students need to work hard to strengthen the Ombudsman’s Office with the know- how and compassion, to be an ear for students issues, that follows up. Every case presents history and may become relevant as precedents for future cases.  Keep track of daily life at EMU and report problems to the Ombudsman to create a record and trail for improvement.  Similar things may be happening to another student and as in Kahlil Gibran’s example, “to remove the stumbling stone,” for future generations to enjoy a well- crafted and governed education.

Invisible President #1: This Weeks State of The State Address From Governor Snyder

Invisible President:  This Weeks State of the State Address from Governor Snyder

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

In this week’s televised address “State of The State” by Governor Rick Snyder, the Governor highlighted that Michigan’s citizens were “coming home” for new opportunities and peaceful natural living after leaving for jobs and schools in other states. Michigan leads in the nation in terms of a sought after place to live. Michigan residents are coming home with fresh ideas and international experience, speaking multiple languages and with a taste for fine culinary and finery in general.  Local publications like “Hour Detroit,” offer a glossy version of the local restaurant and culinary “treasure trove” in Michigan.

Michigan continues to be a down to earth place to live-good, simple, living-medium sized cities not so small that you easily become “the talk of the town.” Michigan is “The humble state.”

The Detroit area out skirts have good schools for culinary including Schoolcraft College’s culinary program for those en route to becoming a master chef.  Michigan is a good place for independent international grocery and to open a restaurant.

Michigan shined as a new hub for manufacturing where even a coupon printing factory may generate millions of dollars. Manufacturing is attracting internationals to Michigan from countries like Albania, China and the Middle East.  University of Michigan has been compared to Harvard and was recently ranked in a number one position.

Michigan for multiple reasons such as manufacturing, good schools and The Great Lakes  warmly welcomes a large Asian population primarily Chinese to the state.   There are many loved  Indian, Korean and Vietnamese Restaurants and groceries.   Africans have flocked to eastern hubs and all over. International groceries have sprung up in every strip including Kasoa Market, an African grocery that sells things like mackerel in chili sauce, fufu, gari, plantain and guava juice. There is also Hua Xing Grocery, a large Chinese market with a whole aisle of noodles, tea break snacks, sake, teas, dumplings, Chinese vegetables and fresh fish.

It’s possible to enjoy  authentic and fresh Mexican cheeses and creams from “Dos Hermanos” Grocery on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti. In Michigan we are not talking about “borders” we are welcoming our international family.  Various citizens of Michigan are hoping to make this State “inhospitable to racism” and the contrary to promote a harmonious and loving melting pot.

Marijuana is  legal with an ID card in Michigan and has attracted many new businesses and eliminated a lot of crime. There are lots of places for outdoor camping and marinas.  The primary fruit crop that does well in Michigan is apples.  There are still lots of farms and rural areas and country living in general.

New business has been attracted to Michigan with the opening of breweries, Amazon in Livonia, The Google internet browser and search engine, the automotive industry and many others assuming and unassuming such as myriad cider mills, the non-profit sector or creative industry. Michigan enjoys a nice healthy mix that is part industrial and part natural, which can be an ideal.

Governor Snyder honored the military and spoke of “sharp shooters” and honored promising youth activism including from East Lansing High School who gave him “elevator pitches” in a recent meeting.

During his term Governor Snyder created several “commissions” to look at “best practices” internationally that may benefit Michigan’s infrastructure.  Very low unemployment and problems such as the Flint water crisis were well managed and cities like Flint are enjoying “resilience” as was written by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

The Governor said “up to third grade one is learning to read” then after third grade (they are utilizing reading) and “reading to learn.” Snyder is looking at issues involved with children’s education.

The Governor is working on a long term goal around community building hoping that like a contagion successful communities will support and model for each other.

A few days after the “State of the State” some Michigan women headed to Washington D.C. for a Woman’s March on Washington including owner of “All Sewn Up Sewing School,” Anne Reinstein. Even feminist and woman’s issues are being discussed in many homes and businesses. Feminist theory classes have heated up at Eastern Michigan University in the philosophy department where Ombudsman’s were contacted and grade grievances were filed.

Detroit continues to flex where new charismatic leaders such as L. Brooks Patterson are spotlighting Oakland County’s achievements in magazines.  Some think bankruptcy may have been a “smoke screen” planted to shield Detroit from rising internationalism and growing population counts in hip neighborhoods like Hamtramck.

Michigan’s educational institutions are leading in terms of preparing technological leaders at schools like University of Michigan Dearborn with good medical schools and schools of engineering or Lawrence Tech that has good architectural engineering programs and promotes fields like “computational biology” or Data Mining entered through its mathematics and computer science program door.   Michigan’s manufacturing has always attracted good engineering programs at Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Lawrence Tech, and still others at Michigan Technological University in the upper peninsula-in a natural reserved area-where the Governor is based.

 

 

 

 

Invisible President: An Analysis of Unpaid Labor in Washtenaw County and Unpaid Labor in General

An Analysis of Unpaid Labor in Washtenaw County and Unpaid Labor in General

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

A student wishing to build their resume with volunteer work or humanitarian service may elect as an option, an unpaid position.  Unpaid positions can be extremely valuable for professional development and even status greater than an employee.  What can ultimately happen to a student or anyone signing on to an unpaid position is the assignment to themselves of a zero wage which may elicit disrespect from peers or other paid workers. There is a case where a volunteer at a theater working alongside paid workers was called a “slave,” which is true of a theater in Ann Arbor. In this case the volunteers felt prestige for service work and the employees felt superiority as wage earners.

Some businesses may have the majority of their work force unpaid and be completely reliant on unpaid labor. Even when working unpaid, “thank you’s” may be hard to come by.  People will in fact look down on you when you are working without a wage.  Will you even get a reference from an unpaid position?  Will they even remember your name? Should there be a record of your employment and a reference required? Should references always be required for every position?

In some instances disrespect extends to consultants and employees who use “two voices” for management and unpaid workers. 

Many managers show a “lack of interest in paying” their employees. Payment for some managers is not their priority and barely on their radar.  A paid worker may represent a threat and upset the hierarchy?  The lower you are, the higher they feel, the less you receive, the more sushi for them.

Unpaid labor also becomes cumbersome in discussions of salary history with potential employers who may view them as a low-pay or even an unpaid equivalent.  Unpaid labor is still further cumbersome in the presence of rampant racism and historical slavery.  There is no requirement that an internship, for example be unpaid, the good ones tend to pay.

How do positions come to be unpaid? Unpaid positions may represent a kind of theft.

Just because they didn’t pay, doesn’t mean they still don’t owe. There are several options including:  the department of labor, invoicing, collections agencies or starting your own collections agency, put it on their credit report and give them a rating, harassing phone calls, threatening letters, a lawyer, a blog, government, report to news/press, racism registries with state and local government or your own, setting up your own law firm, arbitration and binding contracts, speaking in legal terms and citing infractions, public letters, out of business strategies, replacing business in your community, researching legal cases on Linux and the internet, keeping a journal, or calling the police to report theft, filing a police report or opening an “Office of Pain and Suffering” that will replace your money.

A brief sampling of Washtenaw County produced a variety of unpaid positions such as internships, docents, board members, student groups, volunteer work, student jobs, independent fundraising, starting your own business, advocacy work, consulting,  film festivals, art festivals, fashion studios, start-ups, non-profits, family businesses, searches on student employment websites and we may also include minimum wage labor as labor that is barely paid or not equivalent.

What generally happens in some cases is one person has paid themself and neglected to pay the rest of the staff, sometimes pursuing interns or volunteers.  Other times in the cases of university faculty and staff, all receive departmental budgets and often neglect to spread their budget across all employees. Unpaid labor presents a “larger piece of the pie” for someone else and perhaps overall savings or profit for the department or company.

Very often it is a failure of management to identify proper funding channels or to value others as they do themselves.  The management may reach as high as the American government that may not have considered the trials of non-profits who fill the variety of holes in the American social system when planning their budgets.  Very seldom will the national or local governments be inclusive of local businesses that serve their communities in their budgets and should.

The downfall of a community with an abundance of unpaid labor is that it indicates something about that community.  It may present evidence of poor leadership, inadequate business skills, racism, and misappropriation of funds and may even be a huge crack in the wall.  Internships may save a company money and may appear to be a win-win situation but other factors may show that accepting a low wage for your work may create devaluation of mankind and in the workplace, presenting long term obstacles.

Some people are too self-centered to be good managers and employees may find that their portion of the payroll exists in managements personal accounts.  Ego, sexism, racism, ignorance may perpetuate a belief in someone’s mind that he/she has a value that others do not hold or a need that others are not worthy.

What should be brought into policy and law is an equivalent wage.  For example it may be necessary if you have been offered a job to tally the various tasks to see if your hourly wage is adequate to cover the amount of responsibility.  Perhaps America has devalued its people and disrupted work by electing a minimum wage, not to fall below as opposed to an equivalent wage to match.  It can be terrifying to receive a minimum wage that is not in keeping with the economy.  After a while, the people start to spill out into the street, when the economies go long term unbalanced.

Possible solutions government needs to take could be a thorough analysis of businesses under their umbrella to see which of those need government support or to possibly pay all wages from the government to stabilize business and society. The Federal Reserve doesn’t represent a small budget but an arbitrary budget that should also match the budgetary needs of  the country-not what is often said by officials that there is not enough in the budget or the budget is running out-a fallacy.

It may be necessary to institute an “Office of Fee Inquiry” that sets wages, prices, rents etc. to create a unilateral approach to employment etc. and balance the economy.  Very often subtle changes, even new landlords upset the local economy and may create social problems.  Long term neglect of employees also creates social problems.  People make economic decisions all the time unmonitored and uncaring of their impact on a community. Where in that chain can be inserted supervision? Someone may move to Ann Arbor from New York, get into rentals and gauge an aggregating increase in rents and destroy the town.

How does money get into the proper hands, how do budgets get properly allocated, how do we start to make this area inhospitable to racism? At universities students can often be added to payroll or placed into a budget somewhere.  The necessary caring doesn’t exist for enough management to show concern for their constituencies lives. Perhaps a gravitation away from hierarchal business strategies can be replaced with social models.  There are many things that could be solutions to the problems created by unpaid labor.

It is strange, it is as if shoes exist for an  unpaid job.  What was it like for example, to work in the south after slavery? Employers who do not pay adequately become stigmatized as well as position histories.

Watch out, for example for poorly planned positions and vacuous position titles which may indicate a workplace where management is ill equipped and uncaring.  Positions such as “intern” or “office assistant,” may represent jobs bearing poor designation  or “unspecified labor” and offered for a lower wage.  Positions should have titles, be well crafted, and with equivalent wage.

We as a people need to reexamine our current business models and address schools of business to plan new strategies. Hierarchal business models are obsolete. We must be entering a new era, where it’s time for caring and time for sharing of wealth.

 

 

An Approach to Art Making #1

An Approach to art making can include diverse formulae. One such formula may root an artwork in “research.” A body of research may form the foundation of an artwork.  “Rich” artwork may result from a body of research.  Research may need to employ writing, to develop the artwork or artworks.  Without writing, it is difficult to have the dialogue one needs to be engaged with an art work-before and after the artwork. Research may also involve data collection or formal methods employed by scientists in, for example, social methods or qualitative methods or quantitative research methods. An artist may also utilize methods in investigative journalism.

A second road may be a formula such as “Quepine (QPN),” Question, Proverb and News. Quepine can be a divine formula for beauty or knowledge or beauty from knowledge. Quepine is a formula that may result in sacred artworks and make an artist wise. Quepine can root a subject matter in history by attaching it to the news. News is history. Giving a subject history gives it depth and a road to travel on in time.  News has been a theme in art for a long time.  News is used in wax print textiles, art, and music of certain cultures, especially African cultures, who may name a baby or feature a notable from the news.  In some of the African music, the news may be right in the music. A small rural village may become reliant on musicians to convey the news to the people via songs.  Also, some art schools taught “news” as a way of plucking from current events, subjects relevant to the human condition as was done by a student colleague from the Parisian E’cole de Beaux Arts.  Human condition is not exclusive to the news, but it is a worthy method.  Human Condition was taught, perhaps, as a notch from existentialism and existentialism is perhaps “the root of art.”

Why this writer believes that existentialism is “the root of art”  is the relationship to “art” of the word in “Crackiola,”  “are-tea,” or  “our essence” or the “I AM” which was used by many supercomputers and by the Chinese Manufacturers.  The English language breaks down into codes and root systems.  Secondly, many crucial areas in art are easily organized around existentialism or the “I AM,” such as history, the human condition, social, observational, humanitarian and so on.  Drawing, painting, sculpting and photography etc. may all be existential.

-Existentialism

“Planning” may also be something that architects utilize to build houses and could be a word that artists need. This writer was explained how an architect may have a very detailed and specific set of plans to build an exact design precisely and swiftly with all the electrical outlets etc. An artist may make “plans.” An artwork based on plans may have an interesting result that is often mechanical or electrical or structural. Computer Aided Drafting may be utilized.

Recently, this writer was asked “what are your goals?” and “how will you design your studio?” right after. It was asked in a sewing class and functioned like an epiphany, the student began to develop this wild list of “sewing goals.”

If one picked up a good newspaper or a selection of newspapers and thought about say for example “world peace” or integrated social elements into ones goals their studio may take a different turn. What if one had an “umbrella” under which they were working from? An artist’s umbrella.

-Goals

– Studio Design

-Umbrella

“Technique” is the fourth road. The technique provides an endless possibility. Most art schools provide students with strong technical backgrounds, which always serve an artist.  An artist may choose to hinge their artwork on a technique and be infinite within it.  The technique can be powerful when coupled with for example, “history.” Students of art may also embark on an existential path that explores diverse techniques.

“Studies” are another road that was used in Nikolai Gogol’s book “Diary of a Madman.” Studies can provide a context for future works or larger works or thumbnails or for manifestation.  With studies, one may take it apart in many ways, to ascertain many diverse things. Studies may lead to problem solving or product design or anything in the realm of possibility. Studies may serve government and help people to bridge gaps and jump over fences. In Gogol’s book, “Diary of a Madman,” his main character was engaged in studies and posted an ad in the newspaper to solicit clients for his portraiture.

-Research

-Quepine

-Planning (as in Architecture)

-Technique

-Studies

In the presence of writing an artwork can literally fall- “when it falls.” When one is writing a book, for example, and illustrating pages, drawings are easily pulled from the text.

However, most artworks are “site-specific.” An artist can search for a locale, build a locale or create a site-specific work of art.  Recently an artist went to plan an exhibition and recognized this phenomenon- that in fact, artwork is almost always “site-specific.” Or an artwork can be adapted to space and remade.

Another intersection I find very meaningful is “custom design,” for the artist and for the designer.  Custom design, commissions and site specific art works, bare a relationship. There is a necessity in art to think about space.

Custom Design may be very relevant to artists, who in turn may pursue credentials from multidisciplinary design programs such as “MDP” in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan.  Custom design may involve manufacturing, technology or systems design mixed with artworks. For example “Church Pop,” may be installed in a house or perhaps a fiber art wall installation or a sound system. An artist may need to be an engineer. An artist’s ability to manifest their ideas has often been incongruent. But the creativity of an artist may place on paper, a vision for an entire city or even in exhibition unveil viable ideas to solve the world’s problems.

-When it falls

-Site Specific

-Custom Design

 In the Middle East, it has been said, to employ “finery techniques,” that “fine art should be fine.”  In the Middle East it is commonplace for a lot of people to reside in palaces, which would further create a desire for finery, or art that is compatible with the local architecture.

At the Central Academy of Fine Art in China, they are painting birds and flowers-not exclusively. It was said to me by a Chinese Artist that “birds are always beautiful.” If you choose a beautiful subject, the result is almost always beautiful.

-Finery

Art Relevant Juncture has also to do with relevance itself. It was said to this artist that she has a “relevant” artwork. That “the more relevant, perhaps the better the art,” was said by someone from the University of Michigan.

Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

(Excerpt from “Art Relevant Juncture,” by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu based on her research about art.

Afua Osei-Bonsu Chosen for Next Gen Leadership Award 2016

Hi Afua,

“Congratulations! You have been chosen as a Next Generation Nonprofit Leader by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance!  Your selection as a NextGen Leader is a nationally recognized honor for you personally, as well as for your campus’ Nonprofit Leadership Alliance program.”

NLA

 

Teacher Evaluations, Ombudsman’s Office Influential in Navigating Student Concerns Offensive Language in College Text Books and Grade Grievances Plague Student Life

 

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Spring Term at Eastern Michigan University, one student who chooses to remain anonymous and will be called “Student A” found herself in the Ombudsman’s Office complaining of offensive language in her college text book. On page 33 of Student A’s, Feminist Theory Text book published by Blackwell Publishing, it was written as an example, “dirty nigger.”

In a telephone interview with Case Management Coordinator, Julia Heck, of The Ombudsman’s Office she described their responsibilities as follows:

“The Ombudsman’s Office handles policy or process, what to do if you are treated unfairly, how to navigate current processes and procedures, for addressing concerns and how to break down concerns into manageable parts, how to walk them through proper procedures to address those concerns with the instructor, or to move to the Department Head, or still further to the Dean.”

Heck said, “The Ombudsman’s Office helps to navigate until due process is heard.” On a recent appointment with the Ombudsman’s Office by Student A to ascertain what to do if college text books need to be scrutinized edited or omitted and a second issue of a grade grievance, several avenues were outlined with Case Management Coordinator.

Student A had previously met with her instructor and Department Head about her text book concerns and was disappointed in the outcome.   No plan for investigation was outlined or to edit the text book. The said “Feminist Theory: A Philosophical Anthology” textbook by Ann E. Cudd and Robin O. Andreasen was described by both instructor and department head as a historical text. One specific essay highlighted for racism was “Second Sex,” By Simone de Beauvoir. Student A received an in person meeting but was dismayed, when Professors spoke in favor of the book citing perhaps it being “caught in translation,” or “ahead of her time” and “that’s the way it was.”

Heck instructed Student A, in a meeting to write 5 brief bullet points that were referred to the Dean of Arts and Sciences for resolution. In Student A’s letter to the Dean she wrote a brief introduction, illustrated 5 bullet points, which were followed with a brief conclusion. Student A expressed in her conclusion that “the class is in need of revision.”

Heck expressed to Student A, to utilize her “Teacher Evaluation” to reach the Dean or the Professor and comment on her experience in the course. Student A felt the Teaching Evaluation had too much brevity and did not allow her to analyze or fully express her concerns to the Dean, Department Head and Professor.

Heck says, “That Teacher Evaluations allow our students to evaluate the course environment, course structure, teaching style and areas for improvement to help teachers.”

“Grade Grievances are specifically for grades,” said Heck. According to Heck, “(Teacher Evaluations have to do with) overall how you would rate this course and allow students the ability to write comments at the end.”

Student A wonders if there needs to be a more comprehensive evaluations to improve teacher performance, but also to evaluate their course materials and the given course load. Students shouldn’t be expected, according to Student A, “to work 7 days a week on a class, teachers need to measure course load.”

Student A was described by History Department’s Head as “jarred” from the racial commentary in the essay “Second Sex.” The presence of racist text in the college text book caused her to not want to read thoroughly for fear of taking- in racist material. Dispute over Student A’s performance and grade passed through the Dean of Art and Sciences email and was later scheduled for a formal Grade Grievance Committee Meeting. There is immediate concern over historical texts or classical material that may have racist content which will be handled by the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action. Student A found that everywhere she found the word “privilege” in the text book, there tended to be racist content. The case is still under investigation.

Student A after vocalizing her concern over the said text book infuriated her professor who eventually gave her an “F” in the Philosophy 226 Feminist Theory class. According to student A, perhaps it’s better to get an “F” in the course when “nigger” is in the text book, I wonder who got an “A.”

Student A speculates that her GPA and transcripts have been impacted until proceedings hopefully overturn decisions by three teachers to give her all grades below “C.”

What has been interesting for Student A is when confronted with this type of adversity when one feels their life has been ruined or college career severely marred, to look for options, bargain and guide committees, Deans and Offices towards a positive resolution. It could be suggested to give credit for the course without grade or to drop courses and receive a refund or even to receive a scholarship and grade change.

What was also apparent was that Grade Grievance Committee Members in the first of three filed Grade Grievances framed Student A as a bad student and their questions were not skilled, driven towards investigation or solution. Members of Grade Grievance Committee’s judgement may be impaired due to vulnerability of their position in the school. Teachers do not wish to oppose department heads or colleagues and would prefer to disregard one student than face job complications. Even students may not support another student and make negative assumptions or dislike conflict with faculty members.

Student A still has not received due process and hopes to overturn her grades for spring term and recall the book. It is rumored that Student A may be nominated for a “Martin Luther King Jr. Student Award” for her pioneering spirit in the face of adversity.

What really plagues student anxiety is when they peacefully broach a sensitive matter with a professor who appears to have incorrect emotions on the subject and fails to scrutinize, investigate or support the student. Never in this process did the Professor feel that it was incorrect to have “nigger” in the text book. Instead he fought to justify a failing mark that was excessively low, a whopping 48% in spite of all work completed and well done.

Student A hopes to deeply empower The Ombudsman’s Office to protect students, faculty and staff. Several cases are pending, stay tuned for the final results.