Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grad now helps run Seattle’s largest hotel

Burl Battersby-wsmBurl Battersby had been in Japan a day and a half. He was 18, an exchange student from Arizona. Someone handed him a book and asked him to read it to a classroom of 14-year-olds to improve their English pronunciation.

“I think the book was Greek fables,” he said. “I had trouble saying some of the names.”

When he finished, he heard the desks shaking. Three thoughts went through his mind: 1) Wow, this must be the Japanese version of applause. 2) This is great, I really like teaching English. 3) It’s an earthquake!

The ground stopped moving, but Burl’s desire to become a teacher had taken root. In so much of life, however, inspiration is seismic but accomplishment is incremental.

To pay for college, Battersby got a room-service job at a Scottsdale resort. He got promoted—got promoted again and again—working at top Arizona hotels, the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, the Sheraton Seattle.

By 2006, Battersby’s teaching goal had been derailed by success. He was director of Six Sigma at the Sheraton Seattle. He had a dream job—helping re-envision the future of 1,100 hotels worldwide—in a dream location: A marble-floored high-rise next to the convention center in a city vibrant with technology and aerospace.

In 2007, the Sheraton added a new tower and became Seattle’s largest hotel, with 1,236 rooms, 44 meeting spaces and two posh ballrooms. “This a city in itself,” Battersby said, “with upward of 4,000 people here on a given night, plus 500 or so associates, who represent almost every culture you can imagine.”

The new tower required new employees, many of whom spoke little English. Battersby saw a chance. He got an ESL certificate, and taught hundreds of classes in the basement cafeteria.

Re-inspired, Battersby enrolled at Washington State University Distance Degree Programs, now called WSU Global Campus. By 2012, he had earned his bachelor’s in humanities—“it gave me a global perspective, and helps me work better with the different cultures here”—and went on to earn his 2013 Executive MBA online from WSU.

Last year, Battersby became director of rooms at the Sheraton, where he oversees nearly every aspect of the guest experience. Also last year, he finally became a faculty member. He teaches hospitality business management classes for Skagit Valley College’s online program.
Did the reality match the dream? “It’s exactly what I wanted it to be,” Battersby said.

Battersby plans to start his doctorate —perhaps moving to Pullman—in the next few years, then become a full-time professor.

For now, he’s delighted to be both a teacher and a hotel executive. Each, after all, involves sharing knowledge. And, in each role, he offers people the same advice he’s followed for 25 years, advice that applies whether you envision yourself running an opulent hotel or a college classroom: “Don’t lose sight of your end goal,” he said. “I never gave up. Don’t give up.”

--Richard Miller

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top tips from three amazing grads

tips from three gradsGlobal Campus graduates, from left, Katie Walsh, Paul Cummins and Cynetha Blacketer.

To have a successful semester, says one WSU Global Campus graduate, remember these three words: “Plan, plan, plan!”

Katie Walsh graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s in business. She was an ASWSU Global senator and won WSU’s 2015 President’s Award for Leadership.

“I once took seven classes in one semester,” she says. “I created a spreadsheet to track the assignments and when they were due. By putting all this information side by side, I was able to schedule the time I needed to complete the assignments.”

Another 2015 business graduate, Paul Cummins, used a similar strategy to earn 74 credits in a single year—while working full-time, raising two kids, coaching his eldest son’s basketball team, maintaining a 3.6 GPA, and running an occasional 200-mile relay race

He listed all his due dates in a spreadsheet, and each week reviewed the spreadsheet to make sure he was on track. “You never want to be behind,” he says. “If you get a little behind, you have to work so much harder to get caught up.” Cummins also recommends “grouping” courses: Taking classes with similar curriculums so you can apply concepts learned in one class to another.

Global Campus graduate Cynetha Blacketer also advises being organized, but added another tip, perhaps related to her 2015 psychology degree: “Pick one day a week when you will not deal with schoolwork,” says Blacketer, who also was a student senator. “This helps you decompress and avoid the dreaded burnout that we all experience at some point. We all learn in a specific way and at a specific pace, so pace yourself in the manner that best works for you.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Global Campus goes beyond classroom

Money Talk video promoGoing to a university can mean more than going to classes. That’s why Global Campus offers you extracurricular activities and events that range from tailgate parties to guest lectures to fascinating webinars.

In general, in-person events are organized by the student government, ASWSU Global, and online events are organized by the Global Connections program.

You can find a list of ASWSU Global events here.

Global Connections has just opened registration for its first three online events this fall: how to get the most financial aid (see video, above), a webinar on the human-animal bond, and a virtual 5K run. Check out the website.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WSU email changes; new name for zzusis

WSU Student Working on LaptopWSU has two big announcements for fall semester:

WSU email addresses changing.

  • Many email user names were “first.lastname.” That’s changed. All user names are now the network ID user name—the same name you use for zzusis and Blackboard. (If that’s already your email user name, then it hasn’t changed.)
  • The word “email” has been dropped from “@email.wsu.edu.”
  • Example? If you used to log in as first.lastname@email.wsu.edu, you’ll now log in as simply NetworkIDname@wsu.edu.
  • Starting Aug. 24, all official WSU email messages will be sent to your WSU email account. If you had a different account listed as “preferred,” that account will be automatically switched to your WSU account. Be sure to use that WSU account.
  • Emails sent to your old @email.wsu.edu address will be forwarded.

These changes include a bonus: When you log in to Office365.wsu.edu, you can get Microsoft Office for free.

Zzusis has been renamed.

Zzusis is now called myWSU. None of the content is changing, just the name. If you go to zzusis, you’ll be automatically redirected, but you might as well bookmark the correct URL: my.wsu.edu