On Tuesday, September 24, 2019 I gave the first public presentation of my Dr. Seuss style poem “The Ball and The Wall: A Tale of Tolerance,” to my Tolerance and Diversity class at the American University in the Emirates (AUE).

The poem shares the story of a grandfather who, while fishing with his grandson, uses an unexpected encounter to tackle a teachable moment concerning compassion for others in addition to accepting people with different perspectives.

In invite you to watch a slightly edited version below (via YouTube) of the original Facebook Live video I broadcast while performing the poem; you can watch the original recording here.

I was first inspired to write this poem during the last meeting of my History 4C class at UC Santa Barbara in March 1996. At the conclusion of the class, the professor, Harold Marcuse, PhD, invited his teaching assistants to share any closing remarks. My teaching assistant, Kimber M. Quinney, PhD, asked us all to imagine that a large ball was floating over the lecture hall in the Isla Vista Theater (where the lectures for our class took place).

Encouraging us to accept that people have different perspectives, she explained how one side saw that the ball was red and the other side of the class saw that the ball was blue. Moving forward she asked us to accept that a perception that was not the same as our wasn’t necessarily better or worse, but that it was just different, and that was perfectly acceptable.

That last lesson stuck with me and marinated in my mind until 2003 when I wrote the first draft of what would become “The Ball and The Wall.” It has undergone edits and updates since, and will likely continue to be refined, but overall the intent and the idea are intact. It is my plan to publish this as an illustrated children’s book — for adults.

I hope you enjoy this spoken word performance and welcome any ideas it might inspire!

I was asked to give an impromptu speech to new College of Business Administration (COBA) students at the American University in the Emirates (AUE) during an orientation session on September 26, 2017. This video was captured by a colleague in attendance. The text of what I said follows:

“By the end of your four years or three years or five years, whatever it is, you are a changed person for the better and part of that change comes through your participation and engagement in the whole academic experience — beyond just the grades, beyond just your one area. So, I guess my suggestion is to open yourself up to many different opportunities, meet different people, participate in activites, do your best in your class, participate in your class, and make the most of your time in your moment here. I often joke with my students that I was in a hurry to graduate; in fact I graduated early from my undergraduate school. And then, the minute I graduated, I said “why did I do that?” Make the most of your time here; it’s a special time, it’s kind of a magical time, even though you’re going to have stress and moments of anxiety and pressure. But, overall, your college experience is a very unique and positive time for you.”

Professor, Brand Yourself!

On March 16 from 2:30 to 3:00 pm at the at GESS Dubai I delivered my “Professor, Brand Yourself!” workshopGESS (Global Educational Supplies & Solutions) Dubai is the largest education event not just in the UAE but across the entire Middle East. It’s the only event that brings together all levels of educationalists together, in one place.

“Professor, Brand Yourself!” is a personal branding workshop for individuals working in higher education, vocational, and leadership/management positions. However, it also appeals to anyone wanting to develop their personal brand and learn how to leverage social media to promote themselves professionally.

Watch a recording of my workshop below via YouTube (it was originally streamed live to my Facebook page):

The workshop was designed to help individuals understand what personal branding is and what it is not, why personal branding is important personally and professionally, and how to create your personal brand. Attendees don’t need prior personal branding experience to participate in the workshop, which is organized into the following three sections:

1. What is a Personal Brand?
2. Why Do I Need a Personal Brand?
3. How Do I Create a Personal Brand?

At the conclusion of the workshop attendees should understand how to:

1. Define personal branding and its relevance.
2. Identify the most effective social platforms.
3. Develop and promote your personal brand.

The presentation slides I used are shared below via Slideshare: