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Preparing for the Feast: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Thanksgiving dinner is arguably the most anticipated meal of the year. What have you done to prepare? If your answer is “nothing,” don’t stress. You’ve still got (a little) time to pull together an impressive feast. Start by browsing the recipes below, craft a well-organized shopping list, and then make a mad dash to your local grocery store to grab the necessities before they’re gone!

The Turkey

Let’s face it, the turkey is the star of the day. But with so many options for this famed-fowl, which direction should you go?  Beginners might choose to start with this Class Roast Turkey recipe from Chef Emeril Lagasse. If you’re a seasoned veteran of turkey preparation, try using this turkey brine recipe to bring a little unique flavor to your bird. Finally, for those feeling especially adventurous this holiday season, give the fried turkey a try. You can’t go wrong with a little deep-fried goodness (don’t forget the safety goggles!)!

Stuffing

From apples and cornbread to pecans and sweet sausage, it seems everyone has their own Thanksgiving stuffing style, but which best fits your feast? There’s no right answer – just go with your gut. If you’re looking for something a little different this year, check out Country Living’s 21 Recipes for Thanksgiving Stuffing.  Or, for those that stick with tradition, use this tried-and-true Classic Bread Turkey Stuffing from Betty Crocker. Whichever recipe you choose, don’t stress – stuffing is used to playing second fiddle to turkey!

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

You’re either a lumps or no lumps kind of family, there is no in between. Admit it – you’re probably only truly safe at the Thanksgiving table if you stick with tradition on this one. But if you’re willing to risk it, try Giada De Laurentiis’ Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs or Paula Deen’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes. You won’t be disappointed!

As for the gravy, your best bet is to stick with simple. The potato (and anything else that ends up getting smothered) should take center stage, so don’t overdo it! Check out this No-Fail Make Anytime Turkey Gravy if you’re up for the challenge of making it from scratch. If not, Heinz has a great option in a jar – we won’t tell!

Green Bean Casserole

No Thanksgiving spread is complete without a green bean casserole. While each family’s rendition might look a little different, that undisputable taste is the same. Whether you use the traditional Campbell’s Classic Green Bean Casserole Recipe or took yours from Betty Crocker, this one’s a crowd-pleaser at any gathering.

Cranberries

It’s the classic cranberry conundrum – whole or jellied? Here’s a tip for Thanksgiving table harmony – include both! Now that you’ve got that settled, consult the designated cranberry experts for canned options and a fresh recipe – Ocean Spray. If you’re looking to save time, pick up a few cans at your local grocery store. Up for the fresh and from scratch route? This Fresh Cranberry Sauce recipe is sure to satisfy even the most critical cranberry fan.

Pie

A piece of pie – no matter the flavor – is the perfect ending to your Thanksgiving feast. While every family has their favorites, there’s no denying the classic pumpkin pie is a must-have. Once you’ve made sure to include pumpkin, feel free to go wild! From pecan to sweet potato and apple, The Food Network’s collection of the Best Thanksgiving Pie and Tart Recipes is sure to inspire. Not in to baking? Pick up a few flavors at your local grocery store and pop them in the oven for a few minutes before serving to get that homemade taste.

5 Apps to Aid Your Job Search

BY: JORDAN MARLOW

With the job market becoming more competitive, embracing technology to assist in the search for your next career is a necessity. The following apps can help you reduce the inevitable headache that comes along with a job search.

Linkedin – Available on IOS & Android for Free

Linkedin is the professional’s social network. It allows you to create an online resume shared with a network of friends, colleagues, and likeminded individuals within your field. It also works as a job search engine, which gives you the ability to connect with recruiters, companies, and leaders within your industry. Linkedin not only allows you to search for job openings in your area, but also sends emails with new job postings you may be interested in exploring based on the information within your profile.

Indeed, Job Search Engine – Available on IOS & Android for Free

Indeed provides an easy to use two-step search to help you find careers available in your area. Using career specific keywords and in combination with your location, Indeed provides a list of all the careers matching your search criteria. Search results can be filtered to show the newest posts on top, giving you the ability to apply for the newest jobs available.

CareerBuilder – Available on IOS & Android for Free

The CareerBuilder app allows you to search for jobs via a broad quick search and can help you narrow your search with an advanced search option. The advanced search option allows you to select multiple cities, set your salary range, as well as several other helpful options. Much like the LinkedIn job alerts, you can also register to receive email alerts that will provide you with new career postings that fall within your selected criteria.

Pocket Resume Pro – Available on IOS & Android for $2.99

The Pocket Resume Pro app lets you create and send a stylish resume from your phone or tablet. Pocket Resume keeps your resume mobile, allowing you to update on the go and send your professional and creative resume via PDF.

SimplyHired – Available on IOS & Android for Free

The self-proclaimed “world’s largest job search engine,” Simply Hired is available in an easy to use app. With over five million jobs listings from newspapers, bulletin boards, and company postings, your search results could be seemingly endless. SimplyHired allows you to filter results based on your career needs such as contract work, full-time, or part-time. The app also allows you to save your favorite postings and automatically saves your search history to help keep track of successful or not-so-successful searches you’ve performed.

*Originally published in Higher Degrees Fall 2013.

Pet Therapy: Discovering the Human-Animal Connection

When some people think about adding a pet to their family, they are more worried about the added responsibility and time requirement versus the overall benefit of having a pet. Trips to the veterinarian for vaccinations, spending extra money on food and toys, the headache of potty training, long walks around the park and chewed up shoes are all images that may come to mind when we see the “Adopt Me” sign in front of the dozen puppies and kittens playing outside PetSmart.

Yes, having a pet of any kind is a long-term financial and time commitment, but for most of us, what we get out of the relationship far exceeds what we put into it. More often than not, the promise of unconditional love and companionship are enough to get a paw in the door, but recently-documented health benefits are yet another reason to consider expanding your family with a pet. In fact, studies of the human-animal connection have shown that pet ownership can help “lower blood pressure, less[en] risk of heart disease and reduce anxiety.”

It’s easy to connect the dots between constant companionship and reduced anxiety, but what about those miracle stories of healing? You know, the ones where a cockatoo helped a child overcome the challenges of severe illness. The benefit of the human-animal connection is well-documented in The Pet Collective videos section – Healing Power of Pets. You’re sure to become a believer after watching a US Marine suffering from PTSD, a man with brain cancer, and a young boy with a seizure-detecting dog share their heartwarming stories of pet companionship and healing.

Still feeling a little skeptical? Check out The Healing Power of the Human-Animal Connection by Margo A Halm, RN, PhD, APRN-BC, CCRN. According to this study published in the American Journal of Critical Care, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) helped patients with perception of happiness, normalizing the hospital healing environment, and increased relaxation and calmness. Not to mention the finding that in cardiac patients, pet ownership was significantly correlated with 1-year survival. It’s not so easy to argue with actual results!

If you’re looking for a way to implement the power of pet companionship into your own healthy lifestyle, check out The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy. The author and resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, Dr. Marty Becker can show you how pets can help “prevent, detect, treat, and in some cases cure a variety of maladies from arthritis to asthma, and from Alzheimer’s to depression.” Then, head to your local Humane Society to give a pet in need a new family.

Getting Social: LinkedIn Groups and Subgroups

With almost 260 million members, working professionals can’t really afford not to be on LinkedIn. But, did you know there’s actually more to it than building and housing your online resume?

That’s right, similar to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is also considered a social network. If you’ve been missing out on the social aspect of LinkedIn, groups are a great way to connect with people that are similar to you in some way (same industry, same company, same city, etc.).

For example, the official group for a university may comprise of students, alumni, faculty members, staff members or even sports fans. That’s a lot of people, and while they are all related to the university in some way, most of them probably have very different interests. For example, the faculty may want to discuss items that the sports fans do not find interesting and vice versa.

Enter…subgroups!

LinkedIn subgroups allow group members to form their own subgroup within the group. Going back to our university example, perhaps a subgroup would be created for all the faculty members, one for the students, one for alumni, and so on. At that point, a group of students who only study online might want to form their own subgroup, or the business faculty might create their own subgroup. The possibilities are nearly endless.

If this sounds like something you want to take advantage of, let me warn you, LinkedIn subgroups aren’t the easiest thing to find if you are a first-time user. However, the effort is worth it. So worth it in fact, that we put together some easy steps to help you find your LinkedIn group’s subgroups. Happy hunting!

  1. Go to the main group page.
  2. At the top right of the page, you should see an ‘i’ icon.
  3. Click the ‘i’ icon.
  4. Click the number next to the “Subgroups” category.
  5. Click “+Join” underneath the subgroup you want to join.

Organizing Your Research

BY: ERIN WALSH

Writing a dissertation requires managing hundreds of citations and sources. Careful organization will save you countless hours rummaging through your research, but the million dollar question many students ask is “how do I do that?”

To answer this question, we asked NCU students, faculty and alumni — via Facebook and LinkedIn — how they keep track of their research. Their recommendations: Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote, Evernote, and of course, RefWorks:

  • Mendeley organizes documents and references, suggests related research, shows readership statistics and allows collaboration with groups. The basic version is free, but premium features can be added for a cost.

“I have been using Mendeley… it is great for being able to access material from different devices such as my iPad.” Denise Parker (Ed.D., Educational Technology & E-Learning, candidate)

“I use Mendeley as my main repository for articles and citations…I find that this is the perfect way to keep track of my materials.” Alan Jackson (D.B.A., candidate)

  • Zotero is available as a Firefox plugin or as a standalone application. By creating an account, you are able to sync your research information with other computers and an online library that is accessible from any computer connected to the Internet. Zotero is capable of identifying bibliographic information on web pages and, with a click, automatically saves it.  In many cases, Zotero will automatically capture citation information.  Items saved in your library are searchable. You can identify duplicates and insert citations directly into your research paper using a word processor plugin. There is a $20/year charge for 2G of server-based storage, but up to 300MB of storage is free.

“Zotero.” Susan Stillman, Ed.D. (NCU faculty)

  • EndNote groups citations into libraries with the file extension *.enl and a corresponding *.data folder. Access to certain searchable library catalogs and free databases are included in the software. EndNote offers automatic citation formatting with a list of 2,000 different styles. You can purchase EndNote for $113.95.

 “I’m a big fan of EndNote. It allows for organization and filtering by name of the author, title, year, etc. It allows you to take notes right through the program or you can attach your own notes to each article. For each reference I pull in I attach the PDF file, a notes page and a bibliography at the minimum.” Christopher Boulter (Ph.D., Psychology, candidate)

  • Evernote allows students and researchers to collect information from anywhere and save it in one single place: from notes, web clips, files, images and more, on any device. They offer MAC and Windows versions. Evernote offers free and premium accounts.

“I used and continue to use Evernote. Great for annotated bibliographies that are easily searchable – and by always using proper APA format, I only have to type the full citation once. The other times are just copy and paste.” Wayne Perry, Ph.D. (Director of Clinical Training, School of Marriage and Family Sciences, NCU)

“I tried EndNote and just didn’t find it to be a good fit for me (no specific issues, just felt a bit too structured). I ended up keeping references and notes in Evernote, which I could use from anywhere including on my phone and iPad. I saved PDFs into a system of folders set up by topic, and often used the Spotlight search feature on my Mac to search within these for authors or keywords.” Russell Walker (Ph.D., Business Administration, 2012)

  • RefWorks is a research management, writing and collaboration tool offered through the NCU Library’s institutional subscription. NCU began offering RefWorks in 2009. Workshops and tutorials on RefWorks may be accessed from the Library Workshop Videos or Quick Tutorial Videos pages.  Or, check for the availability of live training on RefWorks by visiting the Library Workshops Schedule page.

“RefWorks is a good tool for organizing research within the Library and is commonly available among databases making it easy to export citations directly into a RefWorks account. Within RefWorks you can organize citations into folders for easy reference and quickly produce an APA formatted reference list as well as create in-text citations within a document. Although we highly recommend students still consult the APA manual for confirmation.” Ed Salazar, M.A. (NCU Librarian)

 “When I wrote my dissertation, I used RefWorks. While there is a learning curve, it also provides the greatest amount of flexibility in the longer term. However, today I generally use Zotero for scholarly/academic work. While there is a free version, it is worth the $20 per year charge for the security of having a cloud-based backup of your reference database and notes.” Frank Cervone (Ph.D., Business Administration, 2007)

“RefWorks has developed a tool called Write-N-Cite, which not only converts Word’s XML file and synchronizes it to the online references, but allows in-text citation and reference list building in APA 6th ed. format. I highly recommend Write-N-Cite, because then your citation database isn’t limited to your device. There are drawbacks with this setup, as you must edit and organize your citations through RefWorks online.” David Czuba (Ed.D., Leadership in Higher Education, candidate)

*Originally published in Higher Degrees Fall 2013.

Time Management Exercise: Calendar Blocking

So, what exactly is calendar blocking? Put simply, it’s reserving blocks of time on your calendar for specific tasks. This exercise can help you save time, get well-organized and become a more productive version of your current self.

If this sounds like something you might benefit from, you’re right! Set aside some time to follow the steps below and get the process started for yourself, you’ll reap the benefits faster than you think.

Getting Started

First, select your calendar tool. Using Microsoft Outlook is ideal, but a simple day planner or desk calendar can work, too! When choosing your calendar tool, keep in mind that a weekly view is best. You’ll need ample room for writing in as many details about your day as possible!

Next, make a list of commitments you have in the coming weeks. A few things that may appear on your list are:

  • Work
  • Exercise
  • Study Time
  • Family Gatherings
  • Date Night
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Doctor Appointments
  • Birthdays, Holidays and Important Occasions
  • Carpool Reminders
  • Car Care Appointments (oil changes, break checks, etc.)
  • Cleaning & Laundry

Take the time to prioritize the commitments you have on your list. For example, work and study time would be high priorities, while extracurricular activities might fall on the lower end. This exercise will help in in the next step – building your calendar.

Building Your Calendar

Once you’ve brainstormed and prioritized your list, it’s time to put it all on your calendar. Start with the most important commitments such as work, doctor appointments and study time. Then, make your way down the list of priorities.

Remember that it’s important to know the difference between a flexible commitment and a mandatory commitment when you’re glancing at your time management tool in the future. To help with this, Outlook users can assign a specific color to each prioritization, while day planner users might grab a box of highlighters in assorted colors.

Here’s a look at what an effective blocked Outlook calendar might resemble.

Calendar Blocking

Making it Work

Anyone can color in areas of a daily calendar to make it look pretty and efficient, but making your calendar blocks effective is more difficult. Here’s how you can make it work.

“I’m having trouble sticking to the allotted time in my blocks!”

If you have a watch, use it! Or, try using the stopwatch on your phone to ensure you move on to your next task on time. In order for calendar blocking to be effective, you must hold yourself to these time limits.

“I blocked this time and I don’t remember why!”

Are you having trouble remembering what you’re supposed to be doing during your “Work” block today? Next time, include as many details as possible for each block. If you have a list or summary of items to complete, you’re more likely to stay on task.

“I gave myself too much time!”

If you find yourself completing tasks before the allotted time has expired, adjust your calendar! You may not realize how efficient you are at cleaning the bathroom or completing your reading assignment. The good news is now you have extra free time!

Tips on Effective Communication for Online Students

One of the most difficult skills for online students to perfect is communication in the virtual classroom. From emails to instructors to discussion posts and final papers, the online student communicates almost entirely in the written word.  For those weighing a few options for advancing their education, this can be an intimidating realization. Whether you’re already an online student or are pondering the possibility of becoming one, help yourself form a few great habits by browsing the tips below.

Be Professional

This may seem like a no-brainer, but making sure there are no errors, using a proper greeting and closing, and maintaining a professional tone in all communications will help you stand above your classmates. Also, remember to proofread your submissions, no matter how insignificant the assignment, discussion post, or email might be. Your instructors will appreciate the respect given, and your classmates will admire your attention to detail. Want an added bonus? Your professional habits in the classroom are sure to carry over to the workplace!

Stick to the Academics

If you’re required to participate in threaded discussions or you’re communicating via email with your instructor, remember you’re in a classroom, not a chat room. Just because you found a little extra courage by hiding in the protective technology bubble doesn’t mean anyone wants to read details of your latest family argument, how your best friend totally stabbed you in the back, or the fact that your 2-year-old is getting an F- in potty training. In other words – stick to the academics. Your audience – no matter who that may be – will appreciate it!

Avoid the Frantic “HELP!” Emails

Having trouble with an assignment that’s due in 3 days and not sure what to do? Don’t stress out on the details for the first 2 days, and then frantically email your instructor five hours before the submission deadline. As soon as you find yourself questioning your ability to complete the assignment, reach out for help! This helps you avoid the stress while giving your instructor ample time to give you the help you need to complete the assignment successfully.

Save EVERYTHING

You’ve taken the time to craft the perfect discussion post or email, so do yourself a favor and save it somewhere! Try creating a folder on your computer or on a flash drive for every class you take – then use it. Emailing your instructor? Copy yourself and file any response you receive in your class folder. Receive some particularly awesome (or scathing) feedback on a paper? Save it. As you move along in your academic journey, you may find the advice, feedback and general support you received from your instructors helpful in future courses.

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