Job Strategies for Professionals

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Are you fearful about your career future? Good people can’t find jobs. College graduates are losing Hope. Our world is filled with uncertainty. My co-author William Bailey and I wrote our latest book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence.  Through our research, we found that there is a huge disconnect between what organizations are looking for in potential employees, and what today’s job seeker are providing. I will share some of the key insights from our undertaking. Continue reading

Showing a Spirit of Gratitude

Has our society forgotten how to be appreciative?  Many people are too busy running the rat race to say, “Thank you.”  I remember sitting in a Sunday school class of young students during my college experience at Southern University.  One student was saying how ungrateful he had been toward his parents.  I also felt guilty.  My parents bought me my first car while I was in high school; most students did not have cars.  I had envisioned receiving a brand new car.  Well, I did not.

I got an old 1973 Dodge Charger.  I was disappointed.  But, I ended up falling in love with that old car which I later called “The New Wave Cruisemobile.”  My car was far more dependable than most automobiles.  I remember never having said “Thank you” for my car – I had also taken my parents for granted.  Our society does not teach us that being appreciative is a virtue.  We will examines the importance of developing a spirit of gratitude as a competitive advantage toward employability. Continue reading

Working Professionals Need Goalsetting for Their Families Too

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In these difficult economic times, more and more working professionals are forced to spend time away from their families. Other professionals are advancing their personal agendas in hopes of getting to the top of their profession. This blog discussion examines how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families despite their hectic schedules.

Like many professionals caught up in my work life and work family, individuals often do not take the time to use these proven principles in their own homes. Many couples are more selfish than their children are and don’t provide a healthy, nurturing environment for them.  This reality speaks to the personal ambition and priorities of the individual within a family structure.  Writer J.A. Littler speaks to the material motives and priorities of our society: “Everyone worships something.

While there may be no official religions or cults devoted to cars, money, fashion, or music, these pleasures of life and facets of society are all too often the overwhelming focus of people’s time, energy, and emotions.”  Our society tells them they can have it all—money, power, and fame without any sacrifices.

Sadly, many working professionals provide their children a great standard of life; however, these parents are often setting their children up for failure.  Many times the results of their labor are children who feel entitled and materialistic. The truth is something is being sacrificed in lieu of a successful career…your family. The following strategy is provided:

  1. Evaluate your family situation based on how family members’ priorities are spending most of their current time (i.e. work, community activities).
  2. Establish the desired vision for your family (the ideal family model).
  3. Develop priorities for the family in which all family members will comply.
  4. Create a family mission statement.
  5. Develop family goals each year from a holistic viewpoint (family, career, spiritual life, finances, etc.).
  6. Monitor results based on the desired family vision.

Families are the foundation for thriving civilizations, and strong communities are built by strong marriages. Consequently, working professionals need to challenge themselves to provide a more holistic approach for their lives. In this discussion, we evaluated how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families.

Often, this reality is about balancing competing priorities. Les Brown, author of How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be-No Matter What the Obstacle, notes, “Your values are not set by government or church leaders. Your values give you consistency in the way you approach life…By holding to your beliefs, you can always stay on track toward your dreams.”  Hopefully, working professionals can make these life changes for their families before it is too late.

Please feel free to share your insight on this subject.

© 2015 by Daryl D. Green

Better Decision Making for a Better Life

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Have you ever wondered why some people continue to make bad decisions? You see million-dollar celebrities doing it. You can see this action in government officials and business leaders. There are no discriminators. From the very rich to the poorest of the poor, we see people caught in a vicious cycle of bad decision making. Sadly, we see it much closer than that. We witness relatives making those bad decisions. Despite all the wise counsel, the poor decisions continue.

 Why is it important to teach people how to make better decisions? Anthony Robbins, author of Awakening the Giant Within, attributes good decision-making as a key attribute to a happy life. Bestselling author Brian Tracy argues, “The further you think into the future, the better decisions you will make in the present to assure that future becomes a reality.” Making better decisions improves the quality of one’s life.

 

As a young advisor and college professor, I constantly hear students proclaim, “I’m grown.” This statement implies I don’t have to listen to anyone. I know best. Therefore, I can make my own decisions. Through series after series of bad decisions, the youth continues on merry ride of worsening consequences. Two things generally can stop this dead-end trap.

One lies in becoming more mature with age, and the other is experience. In going through a series of bad decisions, a wise person gains insight on the consequences of a bad decision. Every person, regardless of their background or social standing, can benefit from good decision-making techniques. Here are some methods to use: (a) define the problem or issues, (b) conduct research on the matter, (c) discuss with respected individuals with similar circumstances, (d) consider at least two alternatives, (e) select best decisions, based on your value system, and (f) move on and accept any consequences.

Making the right decision is a difficult process. No one will usually applaud your many good decisions; however, you will probably catch heat over the bad ones. Les Brown, author of How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be-No Matter What the Obstacle, explains, “Your values are not set by government or church leaders. Your values give you consistency in the way you approach life…By holding to your beliefs, you can always stay on track toward your dreams.”  By making better decisions, individuals can look forward to a better quality of live.

 

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

 

2014 College Grads & Beyond: Revising Your Job Strategy

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Many parents will celebrate their child’s graduation from college this year.  However, most parents are concerned that their children will not have a better life than they did.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranked fourth worst among 29 developed countries for children obtaining a higher level of education than their parents.  In fact, only 22% of those 24 to 34 years old achieved a higher level of education than their parents in the United States compared to an OECD average of 37%.

For many former college graduates, unemployment and underemployment continue to be a curse on their dreams and aspirations.  Yet, this pressing problem has impacted many segments of our society and way of life.  For example, adult children are returning home to their parents at record numbers. Sadly, overly-protective parents may stunt the maturation of their college graduates by destroying their independence as they return home.

These miscues in understanding the financial climate and the hiring process of employers could jeopardize their future.  This article examines the current economic crisis and how recent college graduates and parents can better position themselves for more employment opportunities.

According to several polls, including Harris and Career Builders’ polls, employers expect to hire more college graduates based on feedback from more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals from various industries.  In fact, 57% of employers plan to hire new college graduates which are up from last year (53%).   Businesses and other organizations intend to hire graduates in percentages from these majors:  computer/information (28%), engineering (18%), math/statistics (14%), health/clinical services (14%), communications technology (12%), engineering technologies (11%), liberal areas (10%), education (7%), science technologies (7%), and communications/journalism (7%).

Consequently, in society, getting hired can be shown as the important effect on the demand for any particular college major.   If there is no demand or interest for college major, students will have a difficult time in finding gainful employment.

Despite this positive prospect, many employers feel that most college graduates are not prepared for the workforce.  According to a recent study, 24% of employers do not feel that recent graduates are prepared for positions in their companies.  Sadly, employers do not have the time and patience to groom prospective graduates who are talented but lack experience or preparation for the workforce.  Companies want prospective employees who are ready to work.

Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, explains that employers have shifted their expectations for prospective employees: “Employers do not have time to develop the new skills they need internally when dramatic changes in products and strategies happen so quickly.”  Regardless of where you stand on today’s college students, it is clear that some intervention is necessary if they are to be successful in this environment.  The following job strategies are offered to better assist this segment of the population:

  • Evaluate your current online appearance so that your image makes a positive impression.
  • Get an independent assessment on your resume and job strategies.
  • Develop a personal brand that will create an image of indispensability and uniqueness.
  • Showcase your expertise on a variety of levels (blogs, media expert, etc.).
  • Champion a significant cause in a nonprofit organization such as United Way.
  • Consider volunteering in areas where you can build or enhance your expertise.
  • Extend your network globally with social media platforms such as Linkedin.com.
  • Obtain special training or certifications to become more competitive.

With the ever increasing competition for limited job opportunities, college grads must understand today’s hiring process. Additionally, parents can assist their recent grad by providing other non-traditional strategies for obtaining full employment.  This article demonstrates the need for careful and deliberate job strategies in today’s competitive environment for employability.

Individuals can help themselves by becoming knowledgeable in all aspects of the employment process.  The road may not be easy, but dedicated planning will pay off for recent college grads and their parents to find successful employment in the future.

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

 

 

[1] “U.S. students struggle to top their parents” by Leslie Kwoh

[2] Talent on Demand by Peter Cappelli

Time Management for Professionals

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As I teach working adults at the university level, the biggest complaint is the lack of time to fulfill academic requirements.  Of course, many working professionals must juggle their jobs, family obligations, and other priorities. It’s very difficult to be successful with these priorities. However, being successful is possible. 

Everyone can benefit from good time management.  Let’s examine professionals in the retail business. Professionals who interact with customers must be good stewards of their time.  Yet, most people have so much trouble with time management due to conflicting priorities in their lives in a busy society.

For salespeople, life can be pretty demanding; attempting to connect with customers often means taking away from one’s personal life. Understanding how to navigate one’s time is essential in managing our priorities. 

Salespeople are no exception. Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that the ability to manage time and territory is essential for salespersons for three reasons: (a) increase productivity, (b) improve customer relationships, and (c) enhance personal confidence.  Therefore, good time management assists salespeople and other business professionals in mapping out their priority obligations. 

Successful people distinguish the trivial from the important.  This reality is true in sales, as well as other industries. In my technical field, I see many people operating in crisis mode because they are engulfed in trivial matters. Working only on trivial matters is unproductive when an individual is ignoring the important things. Time management speaks to what is really important to you.

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Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, argued that highly successful people know how to manage their time (aka ‘Put first things first’).  He notes, “Effective management is all about putting first things first. While leadership decides what the ‘first things’ are, it is management that puts them first, day by day, moment by moment.

Management is the discipline carrying it out. The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.”  Therefore, distinguishing the important from the trivial is part of good time management.

Developing effective time management skills is not a simple or short process. When a salesperson is young and single, he or she has different priorities. The individual may be willing to make huge concessions, such as long hours, to move ahead or make additional income.

Yet, the individual may transition into a different stage, where he is married and has children.  This reality can shift his priorities. Some people balance this strategically. Therefore, different life stages can impact an individual’s time management. 

Discuss your professional experience on this topic. 

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

Personal Stress – Awaiting Uncertainty in 2014

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Do you know what the future holds in 2014 for you?  Are you now dreading the holiday season with more demands on the job, an unconcerned boss about your personal welfare, and new threats of pending layoffs?  All of these things create stress and anxiety for working professionals as the holiday season approaches.  

Sadly, our standard of living is eroding.  Families cannot make ends meet despite working multiple jobs.  Companies are demanding more.  It is no surprise that folks are stressed out.  According to the third annual Work Stress Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College, more than eight in 10 employed Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. 

Additionally, the study showed poor pay and increased workloads were top sources of concern for many employees (1,019 surveyed by phone).  The results produced a significant increase (73% to 83%) from last year’s survey, which found that more employees were stressed at work.

Another holiday season has come and gone.  After the presents have been given out and the year comes to a close, many people will reminisce about the past year.  Unfortunately, some people’s lives will be filled with many defeats, broken relationships, and unfulfilled dreams.  

These many setbacks may be relatively minor in nature.  Pastor Richard S. Brown of Knoxville notes, “For many people, the holidays season bring great pressure and stress…We stress that we can’t get everyone something for Christmas?” or they may be much more serious.

 

Depression can happen to anyone.  Christian Maslach and Michael Leiter, authors of The Truth about Burn-out, explain how stress can burn out people and impact their mental state.  In fact, many professionals are succeeding in the corporate environment while failing miserably at their own personal relationships.  If you are human, you will experience some disappointments.  It does not take a genius to understand how someone can get depressed.  Some call it a “Pity Party.”

With the ongoing global crisis and individual financial struggles, more and more Americans need to find better coping tools for survival.  2014 and beyond are full of a lot of uncertainty.  You can spend the holidays in despair or you can take control of some things to have a more successful life.  This does not happen by chance.  

For millions of individuals, a pity party is a regular affair.  However, individuals must be persistent during the current economic crisis and a good outlook goes a long way.  Your attitude will greatly impact how you retool your life so that you can be successful in the future. 

Please discuss how you plan to deal with those uncertainties in 2014. 

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Mapping Out the Right Job Process for 2013 College Grad

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Picking the right job candidate is not easy.  I was given the task of recommending college students for summer employment for my organization.  I promptly pulled together a team of both seasoned professionals and recent college grads to make the job selection.  We reviewed more than 100 resumes and interviewed several candidates.  We had to make these selections quickly.

To my surprise, I was flabbergasted at the lack of employment preparation for by some people.  For example, some students did not have the correct phone number listed on their resumes. We did not have time to waste tracking down candidates.

In one situation, we had called a prospect to interview him but missed him on our call to set up an interview.  He called us back with a list of times he was available to be interviewed.  In other words, he expected us to work our interview schedule around his.  Needless to say, we did not call him back.

In other cases, we contacted prospects and asked them two basic questions: (a) why did they want the job and (b) what separated them in terms of skills and abilities for the job.  In some cases, the students could not answer those questions.  I am sure in hind sight; they would have understood that those types of questions would be asked.

We were fortunate to land two quality candidates.  The team continued to be concerned about the lack of understanding by these college students about the job interview process.  Because of this, we developed a job strategies checklist to provide universities and college students for our campus visits or university interactions.

Sadly, these miscues in understanding the financial climate and the hiring process of employers could jeopardize their future.  In this blog, we will examine the current economic crisis and how students and parents can better position themselves for more employment opportunities.

The current economic forecast looks bleak in the near term for college grads and those preparing to graduate in 2013.  The U.S. Labor Department estimates that the unemployment rate for recent college grads between ages 21 to 24 has averaged over 8%.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, recent grads will probably need to settle for low-level positions.[1]  In fact, about 52% of employed college grads under age 25 were not working jobs that require a college degree according to a Northeastern University economist.[2]

College grads and current students must find alternative strategies to overcome employment obstacles. Rising tuition costs, a stagnate economy, and lack of career advancement continue to haunt ambitious young professionals.

Seasoned professionals are too cautious to retire early due to the uncertainty in their own future with the rising health care costs as they age.  In fact, getting a college education appears to be a big liability and financial load for students.

As the clock struck midnight several days ago, interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford student loans jumped from 3.4% to 6.8% until Congress can change it.[3] Some estimates conclude that the average college student will see an additional $2,600 cost for his or her loan.

According to the Project on Student Debt, two-thirds of 2011 college graduates had an average debt of more than $26,000.  Consequently, millions of college grads will see themselves carrying massive college debt loads with dim hopes of finding jobs in their majors.

Columnist Hadley Malcolm summed up this situation best, “Like countless Millennials across the country, they find themselves tethered to that debt load, stuck between the desire to become fully independent adults and not being able to afford the financial and cultural milestones traditionally associated with young adults.”

Employment opportunities have changed because the hiring processes have changed, yet most individuals do not realize this fact.  A process is defined as any part of an organization that inputs and transforms them into outputs in hopes of greater value to the organization than the original inputs.[4]

Robert Jacobs, Richard Chase, and Nicholas Aquilano, authors of Operations & Supply Management, note, “Understanding how processes work is essential to ensuring the competitiveness of a company.”

Yet, understanding the hiring process would be an asset to college grads who are competing with their college peers and seasoned professionals.  For most college grads, this reality makes it vital to find a good, well-paying job.  Yet, most people are in the dark about the job strategies necessary.

Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, explains that employers have shifted their expectations on prospective employees: “With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before…To get a job, you have to have that job already.  It’s a catch-22 situation for workers – and it’s hurting companies and the economy.”  Regardless of where you stand on today’s college students, it is clear that some intervention is necessary if they are to be successful in this troubled market.

 

With the increases in college debt and decreases in significant job opportunities, both college grads and college students must understand today’s hiring process. Additionally, with the rising cost of a college education, parents cannot afford to idly sit by and watch their child wander aimlessly through college.  Individuals can help themselves by becoming knowledgeable in all aspects of the employment process.  The road will not be easy, but planning will create the right environment for success in the future.

Please discuss employment processes that have changed since you graduated. Provide valuable employment strategies to recent college grads and current college students. 

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

 


[1] “Class of 2013 faces grim job prospects” by Annalyn Kurtz

[2] “Class of 2013 faces grim job prospects” by Annalyn Kurtz

[3] “The cost of student debt loan” by Hadley Malcolm

[4] Operations & Supply Management by Robert Jacobs, Richard Chase, and Nicholas Aquilano.

 

Dealing With Superficial People

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Who wants to work with shallow people?  Most people want to interact with individuals who have a solid core of values. In fact, can you imagine being in an intimate relationship with a superficial individual. It’s not a good thought. 

You like that person, but the superficial nature of that person is a barrier to any genuine relationship. This situation is a case where actions speak louder than words.  You see them saying the right words and attempting to do the right things. 

However, sooner or later, their superficial disposition comes out, and you can’t believe they are that way.  If you were honest with yourself, you knew that person was pretty hollow in the beginning, but you didn’t want to accept it.  

First, there are no physical characteristics that can identify a superficial person. In many organizations, teamwork is the way to accomplish my tasks.  Richard Daft, author of Management, notes the connectedness of teams:  “When people become part of a team, their success depends on the team’s success; therefore, they must depend on how well other people perform, not just on their own individual initiative and actions.”[1] 

Consequently, the best leaders want the right folks on their teams.  Clearly, shallow people come in all shapes and sizes. They have varying backgrounds. They live in every community. However, these people all have a common characteristic: They are externally-driven. This article explores the dynamics of building relationships and the nature of superficial people. 

When an individual understands the nature of genuine relationships, they will be able to foster better relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and loved ones. 

Second, an individual’s character still counts in fostering meaningful relationships in spite of power or material wealth. Leaders set the tone in most organizations. 

Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, agree with this premise: “Managers determine and shape organizational culture through the kinds of values and norms they promote in an organization.”[2]  Therefore, superficial leaders often surround themselves with superficial followers which are problematic at best.

Superficial people care little about the value of other people, so they focus on themselves, always thinking, “What is in it for me?”  Because shallow individuals are constantly trying to make the world conform to them, they focus little on building good personal content. 

England’s best-known preacher Charles Spurgeon once noted, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” 

Shallow people are often distracted with other things besides good character. Some chase money. Others chase power or fame. Unfortunately, these things lack much substance.  Like eating frosting on a cake, these people never get a nutritious meal to promote a healthy spirit. Yes, the frosting provides a short-term boost in life, but it is not lasting.  Therefore, superficial people spend little time on good content. 

In the frantic pace of modern living, many people are in the pursuit of the wrong possessions.  The media bombards us with the notion that “We deserve it all.”  When this philosophy is believed, it creates a generation of inwardly focused people. We become a “Me” generation.

Because this person feels he is entitled to be happy, he focuses on what can make him happy now.  Obviously, it is far easier to pursue things (money, power, right clique, etc.) in terms of happiness because they are tangible to the eyes.  However, this short path is not a road to fortune, but perhaps a highway to destruction.  

If you are in relationships with superficial person, you can be assured that your intimacy will lack any significant depth. Your relationship may feel like the real thing, but over time the truth usually will reveal itself.  How does an individual then seek to surround themselves with people of good content?  In addressing this question, here are some things to consider in any relationship:

Finally, building true relationships is dependent on the right idiosyncrasies.  An individual’s character is more important than what he or she brings in terms of assets. Sadly, some people do not have this deepness of character.

They exist on the shallow end of the spectrum; they rarely make serious relationships. Why is this factor the case? These people are more concerned with what’s on the outside of an individual than what is on the inside. Clearly, this is a mistake.  Real individuals want quality, meaningful relationships and are unwilling to settle for less. 

Discuss your experience with superficial people.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green                                    

 


[1]Management by Richard Daft

[2] Contemporary Management by Gareth Jones and Jennifer George

 

Interview with Dr. Richard Daft, Professor at Vanderbilt University

Internationally renowned expert, Dr. Richard Daft has been an industry leader in organizational management. He has published 12 books, dozens of articles, and presented at more than 45 universities around the world. Being a former Associate Dean at Owen, Dr. Daft has also developed and managed the Center for Change Leadership, participated in more than $500,000 in research grants, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Management. Dr. Daft is currently professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University. He is the author of the textbook (10 edition), Management. He shares his insight on several management topics this week:

Discuss how you got involved studying management and becoming professor at Vanderbilt University.
During my last semester of college, I met a young professor in the business school. As I learned about his work, I was intrigued, but felt that becoming a professor was too far out of reach. A couple of years later while working in Marshalltown, Iowa, I was in the library and came across a textbook on organizational behavior. I was so interested in the subject matter that I realized in that moment that I would try to be become a professor in organization studies. I came to Vanderbilt 24 years ago when a position opened up and I was ready to make a move from a large state university to a smaller private university. I applied for the position and got it.

What do you feel are the major challenges for American businesses faced with the realities of globalization?
For me, the issue comes down to qualities of both leadership and management. Globalization makes every industry more competitive. Thus businesses have to be super efficient, which is a function of management control and accountability. Businesses also have to be forward-looking and innovative, which is about employee creativity and engagement that are awakened by leadership.

What key leadership traits will be important as the world faces an uncertainty future?
I would say a certain amount of courage, vision and/or purpose, persistence, great soft skills, and knowing oneself. By knowing oneself, I mean knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and choosing situations that take advantage of your strengths and accommodating weaknesses through others’ strengths. By great soft skills, I mean that people who genuinely care about and get along with others seem to thrive in any environment.

There are 20 million unemployed in our country. What are the positive things for these people to look forward to in 2014 and beyond?
It is hard for me to be positive about the huge number of unemployed people in our country. The trend I am most aware of is the growth of technology that is replacing the need for workers. More businesses are creating or buying technology to do work more efficiently and for less cost than hiring employees to do the work. Hence businesses are thriving while unemployment is decreasing very slowly. I also feel a personal frustration with the legislative and executive branches of our government which seem more loyal to their respective ideologies than to solving the unemployment problem. I would like to see the government focus on designing an economic system that ranks full employment as a top priority.

Any other comments:
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your questions. I hope the Management text is working well for your students.

Best regards,

Dick Daft
Professor
Vanderbilt MBA Program 

Please share your comments on this topic.

Richard-Daft

ABOUT THIS EXPERT

Byline

Professor Daft is among the most highly cited academics in the fields of economics and business. Richard Daft is studying high performance mental models – which include cognitive models of high performing managers – and examining high performance management systems. He has been involved in management development and consulting for companies and organizations such as the American Banking Association, Bell Canada, Bristol-Myers Squibb, J.C. Bradford & Company, Ford Motor Company, Pratt & Whitney, USAA, First American National Bank, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Central Parking Systems, Performance Food Group, the National Science Foundation, Northern Telecom, State Farm Insurance, the United States Air Force, the United States Army, and Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Education:
B.S., University of Nebraska, 1967
M.B.A., University of Chicago, 1971
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1974