Friday, November 21, 2014

Leadership and Quality Professionals

This blog post is in response to November 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic "Is Every Quality Professional a Leader?"

I would start by defining leadership, leadership quotes, leadership versus management, leadership core competencies, some examples of great leaders, and leadership paradigm.

Then I will share my personal quality journey to stress the importance of leadership in all aspects of work (corporate, academic, professional, and not-for-profits).

Leadership Definition:

Leadership Quotes:

Leadership versus Management:

Leadership Core Competencies:

Great Leaders (Some Examples):

Leadership Paradigm:

Let me briefly elaborate on the Leadership Paradigm shown above. Rare are the Servant Leaders who sacrifice and provide service to others (e.g., Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, etc.). Most of the enlightened C level executives are Value Leaders. They focus on organization's growth and profit. Knowledge Leaders are generally educators who care for and share their knowledge with those who they come in contact with. Then finally there is Position Leadership. These are generally front to middle level managers (and sometimes C levels), who wield undesirable influence in the path to progress for an organization. 

Now I will highlight my quality journey and importance of leadership in various roles to be effective (For-Profit, Academic, Professional Organizations, and Not-for-Profit organizations).

For-Profit Organizations (40 years):
  • Served in a number of corporations at various levels to promote the mission of quality and excellence. 
  • Took extensive leadership and quality management training while working with AT&T Bell Laboratories.
  • Worked with senior leadership teams to elevate importance of quality including global clients.
  • Served as a champion/catalyst to raise the flag for quality using leadership skills acquired over the years.
Academics (21 years):
  • Currently associated with 33 educational institutions globally.
  • Teach courses in quality management, operation management, leadership excellence, supply chain management, project management, risk management, etc. at graduate level.
  • Continue to refine my leadership and subject matter knowledge by reading articles from Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, McKinsey Quarterly, etc.
  • Continue to learn new practices through students/professionals from various domains.

Professional Organizations (30 years):
  • Honor to serve at ASQ in various leadership capacity since 1988.
  • Served in leadership roles at ASQ Chicago Section, Regional, National, and International levels. Led number of strategic initiatives for ASQ including Capital Campaign and Volunteer Leader Recognition process. Served as a Site Committee Chair for ASQ's 50th Annual Quality Conference (now World Conference for Quality and Improvement). Also led ASQ Certification Process Improvement initiative.
  • Currently serve in advisory capacity at ASQ India promoting quality mission in education, health care, government, and corporate world.
  • Served in lead capacity at Information Integrity Coalition. Also served as a Chief Judge for the Illinois Team Excellence Award Program for seven years 91993-1999). From 2006-2010 served as a Chair of the Illinois Institute of Technology's Alumni Awards Program Judge's Committee.

Not-for-Profit Organizations (44 years):
  • Honor to serve and lead the Blind Foundation for India (BFI) since 1989.
  • The BFI is supporting over 15 million blind people in India through prevention, cure, education, and rehabilitation.
  • Served as Honorary Executive Director with GOSUMEC Foundation, USA to support Seth G. S. Medical College and K. E. M. Hospital in Mumbai, India,
  • Served as a Chair of the AT&T Bell Laboratories' Save the Children Holiday Fund Drive from 1985 to 1999 sponsoring 50 children in 20 countries around the world.
In summary, from my personal experience I can unequivocally stress the need for leadership for all quality professionals to be effective in adding positive value in any setting.

I would love to hear your perspective on this topic.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Formula for Member and Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

This blog post is in response to the October 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic, "Recruiting Members and Volunteers Amid a Changing Landscape".

For any professional organization recruiting and retaining members and volunteers is a big challenge. However, this challenge is no different than organizations recruiting and retaining employees. Therefore, we can take a cue from the Human Resources (HR) area on how to effectively recruit and retain members and volunteers.

For the HR side let us explore an employee engagement model ("Managing Human Capital")* - Recruitment  + Participation + Recognition + Development --> Retention (RPRDR). Let us expand the RPRDR model as follows:

  • Recruitment  -  Hire for attitude and positive spirit (see Gallup's book "First Break                                 All the Rules")** - Talent, Expectations, Strength's Focus, and                                     Right Fit
  • Participation -  Need Orientation, Mentoring, Teamwork Opportunities, and                                           Meeting Management 
  • Recognition  -  Motivate employees through Recognition and Suggestion processes.                             Use Theory of Strengths (Focus on Strengths and Manage                                             Weaknesses)
  • Development - Offer Continuous Education & Training, Coaching, and Performance                             feedback
  • Retention       - Practice A to Z of "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em" #
* Manu K. Vora (2005). Managing Human Capital, Book Chapter, Six Sigma for Transactions and Service, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
** Buckingham & C. Coffman (1999). First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, M.  Simon & Schster, New York, NY. 
#  B. Kaye & S. Jordan-Evans (2002). Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay, , Brrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA.  
Now let us look at a similar Member/Volunteer Engagement Model - Recruitment + Participation + Recognition + Development --> Retention (RPRDR):

  • Recruitment   - Recruit with a Value Proposition (Professional and Personal)
  • Participation  - Create opportunities to serve on Committees, Conferences, etc.
  • Recognition   - Build aspiration - Advance Regular member to Senior member                                       to Fellow; Nominate worthy candidates for Society Awards
  • Development - Offer Certification Training courses, Customized workshops, and                                   Coaching
  • Retention       - Retain members and volunteers by delivering promised Value
Let me share my personal experience deploying RPRDR model in ASQ Chicago Section, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and sharing best practices from ASQ India.

Recruitment - 

1). From 1990-1995 I was able to recruit 350 new members at AT&T Bell Labs by offering ASQ Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) refresher courses at the Naperville, Illinois location. The Value Proposition was to expose employees to quality discipline through refresher classes and provide opportunity for professional certification.

2). From 1988-1997, for 10 consecutive years, we organized National Quality Month Simulcast for AT&T Bell Labs Naperville location to share best-in-class practice for the company. This free values-added service attracted management attention and resulted in ASQ new members.

3). From 1993 I am proud to share ASQ value-added services to my graduate students at various business schools globally. As a result I have recruited many student members globally.

Participation - 

1). At ASQ Chicago Section during 1994-1995, serving as the Section Chair, we had around 30 different committees. As a result, we were able to engage many member leaders to serve on different committees.

2). In 1997, the five ASQ Section leaders (Chicago, Fox Valley, Heart of Illinois, Illiana, and Northeastern Illinois) came together to establish Northern Illinois Quality Conference (NIQC). Between 1998 to 2012, for 15 consecutive years, this high value annual conference provided various opportunities for member leaders to volunteer and actively participate in this regional conference.

3). In 1996 when ASQ celebrated 50 years of its formation, as a Chair of the Site Committee, we were able to engage 300 members for the Site Committee.

Recognition - 

Let us remember that Recognition is the Only Paycheck Volunteers get!

1). At ASQ Chicago Section we had set up a simple process to advance Regular to Senior member during monthly technical meetings. Forms were kept on hand and distributed to potential senior members. Likewise, a new Advancement to Fellow committee was established. Serving on this committee, we proactively sought out highly qualified candidates and coached them in their Fellow Nomination Process. I am happy to share that since 1990 we have advanced around 15 members to Fellow membership from the Section.

2). Since 2002, I have a pleasure to serve as a Fellow Process Coach. Overall, very happy to have touched around 70 successful new Fellows from the ASQ Board, Committees, and International members. 

3). Since 2010, I have a pleasure to coach 6 new Fellows and 3 under consideration from ASQ India. 

4). Personally nominated worthy candidates globally for ASQ Awards over the last 25 years.

Development -

1). From 1993-1999, serving as the Chief Judge at Illinois Team Excellence Award (ITEA) Program we were able to offer special training to ASQ member leaders recruited as Judges from various Chicago area Sections. We followed Motorola's Total Customer Satisfaction philosophy for the ITEA Program. 

2). In December 2013, we initiated a Leadership Excellence Series (LES) for ASQ India Local Member Communities (LMCs) leadership team and ASQ India members. The focus of LES is to share quality management principles and soft skills to enhance leadership of member leaders and members. It is an honor to serve as a faculty to conduct these free knowledge transfer via Webinar on a monthly basis.

3). In August 2014, IIT (BHU), IIT BHU Global Alumni Association, ASQ India, and my company Business Excellence, Inc. embarked on a Leadership Excellence Series (LES). 
The objective of the LES is to impart soft skills and quality discipline to students and the campus community of IIT (BHU), Varanasi, India.
See the few links at: 

4). I have a honor to coach and mentor number of ASQ members globally in quality management discipline through teaching, writing, and in one-on-one meetings at various conferences globally.

Retention -

1). When one advances from ASQ Regular member to Senior member, and eventually to Fellow member, they stay with ASQ for a long time as they realize value of ASQ membership.

2). When an ASQ member becomes certified, they stay much longer with ASQ.

3). When an ASQ member adds better value at their workplace, they remain with ASQ for a longer time as they are eager to acquire new learning from ASQ and implement that learning at their workplace.

In summary, if we proactively recruit members and volunteers on a value proposition basis, we need to fulfill that promise by creating participation opportunity, and then recognize and develop them for better retention in ASQ.

I look forward to learn about your success with member and volunteer recruitment and retention.   

Friday, September 26, 2014

Charting A Strategy for Quality-and Beyond

This blog post is in response to the September 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic, "Charting A Strategy for Quality-and Beyond".

Strategic Planning Process:

The strategic planning process involves senior leadership team coming together to deliberate on Vision, Mission, and Values for their organization. They get staff support with information on customers, employees, processes, and finance. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis tool helps the leaders to perform internal and external scans to take an organization at the next level.

Some Quotes on Vision:

Vision is the art of seeing the invisible. – Jonathan Swift

A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power              and energy to get it done. – Ralph Lauren

Vision/Mission/Values Definitions: 

Vision (Long-term Dream, Destination):
¨Is it inspiring?
¨Is it clear and vivid?
Mission (Purpose of being, Path to your vision):
¨Why you exist? (business purpose)
¨What you hope to achieve in the future?
¨Does the Mission provide focus and inspiration?
¨Does the Mission provide criteria for strategic choices?
Values (Guiding Principles):
¨What is important to people?
¨How will people work together? 

Once the Vision, Mission, and Values are established using the SWOT Analysis, an Integrated Business Plan is developed identifying Goals, Strategies, Objectives and Action Plans as shown in the graphics above. A Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a tool used to measure success of a selected strategy when deployed. It has four components and has current, leading,  and lagging indicators as shown in the graphics below.

Deployment of Strategic Plan:

Around the world only 30-35% of strategic plans are successful. 

Key reasons for failures are:

1). Too many strategies-Prioritize few critical strategies.

2). Lack of resources for few strategies-Provide needed resources.

3). Lack of communication-Use Hoshin Planning process.

See the Hoshin Planning in Action graphic below.

My ASQ Strategic Deployment Experience:

1). 1998-1999 - ASQ wide Volunteer Recognition Process Team Leader

I had the pleasure to lead the ASQ-wide volunteer recognition process with 
members from Sections, Divisions, and ASQ Staff. After benchmarking
of other professional organizations, the ASQ-wide volunteer recognition 
process was defined, documented, approved, and deployed in 1999.         

2). 1999-2001 - ASQ "Investing in Quality" Capital Campaign Vice Chair 

Based on my fund-raising expertise, I had the pleasure to serve as a Vice Chair 
of the first capital campaign at ASQ. With 24 member Campaign Cabinet 
with ASQ thought leaders from Sections, Divisions, Industry, and Staff. 
In spite the post 9/11 turbulence, the Cabinet was successful in raising $1.75 
million. That allowed a permanent home for the ASQ headquarters in 2001.

I look forward to learning about your success with strategic planning process.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Future of Quality: Evolutionary or Revolutionary?

This blog post is in response to the August 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic, "The Future of Quality: Evolutionary or Revolutionary?"

As we all know looking into a crystal ball is mostly a conjuncture. However, as quality professionals we need to ponder about the future of quality. From my personal experience, we will see a mix of both. Let me indulge in quantifying its magnitude - 80% Evolutionary and 20% Revolutionary. From the Pareto Principle, that 20% Revolutionary Quality will provide 80% impact to our Society.

Evolutionary Quality - The evolutionary quality will use seven quality control and seven quality planning tools. Continue improvement at intra-organization level using ISO Standards, lean, and six sigma. These practices will ensure that organizations are able to compete and hold its own in the market place.

Revolutionary Quality - The revolutionary quality will be used to managing global supply chains (SCs) in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation among SC partners at inter-organization level, aligning incentives, open communication and trust leading to value-added products/services to customers. Major tools such as benchmarking, performance excellence models such as US Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework, and streamlined human resources practices to engage associates in the knowledge economy.

If we want to harness the full potential of the revolutionary quality, we need to leverage information technology to its fullest.  In developing worlds, improving education, health care, and government sectors will aid in nation building. As an example, ASQ India has a concerted focus on improving quality of education (system level) and quality in education (curriculum level). To better prepare students in higher education area, we have initiated a Leadership Excellence Series (LES) using Google Hangout on Air at Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, India (my alma mater). Major focus of this series is to equip undergraduate students with soft skills and quality management principles, so they are most productive when they enter their work places. Likewise similar projects can be launched in health care and government sectors. 

We need to exploit information technology to instill holistic quality in a global community to eradicate diseases, malnutrition, and poverty. World can benefit tremendously when people and organizations come together using revolutionary quality to ensure economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility (Triple Bottom line). We need to leverage quality make the world a better place to live!

I look forward to your thoughts about the future of quality: revolutionary or evolutionary, or combination of both.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Clear Vision

This blog post is in response to the July 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic "Do you have a clear vision—and is it giving you the focus you need to succeed?

The Oxford Dictionaries defines vision as "The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom". Why do organizations need vision? The vision provides a purpose, direction, and focus to take an organization to a next height. It is essentially a dream of the future. The vision must be developed by a senior leadership team and then communicated effectively throughout the organization to provide a sense of direction and focus. And, by the way the vision statement should be memorable, short, and uplifting (not several paragraphs put together by outside consultants which become 'Words on the Wall (WOW)').

Now let us look at few excellent examples of Vision statements from the US Baldrige Performance Excellence Award winners in various domains.
  • Education: Iredel-Statesville Schools, Statesville, North Carolina (2008) 
         Vision: "A school system committed to improving student learning by igniting a passion 
         for learning."
  • Health Care: Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Illinois (2010)
         Vision: " To provide an exceptional patient experience marked by superior health 
         outcomes and service." 
  • Manufacturing: Cargill Corn Milling, Wayzata, Minnesota (2008)
          Vision: " To be the global leader in nourishing people."
  • Nonprofit (including Government): City of Irving, Irving, Texas (2012)
         Vision: "Irving will be the model for safe and beautiful neighborhoods, a vibrant economy, 
         and exceptional, recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities."
  • Service: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (1999, 1993) 
          Vision: "We are Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen." 
  • Small Business: MESA, Tulsa, Oklahoma (2012, 2006)
           Vision: "Lead the corrosion control industry through world-class performance." 

My company's (Business Excellence, Inc.) vision is "A global leader in creating Customer Delight, Employee Satisfaction, Process Excellence, and Enhanced Operational & Financial Performance."

The Nonprofit (Blind Foundation for India) I am leading has a vision of "Prevention and Cure of Blindness, and Education and Rehabilitation of Permanently Blind People in India."

Do you have your favorite Vision Statement to share? I look forward to your views.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Organizational Excellence Journey

This blog post is in response to ASQ's Influential Voices June 2014 topic on Organizational Excellence Journey experience.

I want to share my journey in organizational excellence using Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria and ISO 9001 Standards in for-profit, not-for-profit, academic, and professional organizations.

Since 1989 in my performance excellence journey, I have seen organizations undergoing systematic self assessment to identify areas of strengths and opportunities for improvements. With enlightened and engaged senior leadership teams, I have witnessed organizational transformations to better serve their external and internal customers (employees), leading to sustainable growth and profitability.
  • 1989 - Received formal training in Baldrige process (American Society for Quality (ASQ))
  • 1989-Present - President, Blind Foundation for India (BFI) - Founded and managed BFI to support over 15 million blind individuals in India using quality management practices.
  • 1990-1994 - Lead Internal Consultant - Workforce Focus category, AT&T International Switching Customer Business Unit (ISCBU) and Switching Systems Business Unit (SSBU) - established Employee Recognition Process
  • 1990-1994 - Coach - ASQ Certification Process Improvement project - Reduced cycle time for ASQ certification exam results notification interval from 13 weeks to 3 weeks (now only 1 week), a sustainable change management initiative at ASQ
  • 1990-1996 - Lead Internal Consultant & Champion - Customer Focus category, AT&T ISCBU - wrote Customer Focus category description, improved category score from 25% to 60% over 4 years
  • 1990-2000 - Lead Internal Consultant - Workforce Focus category, AT&T Bell Labs
  • 1990-2000 - Lead Internal Consultant - Operations Focus category, AT&T Bell Labs
  • 1993-1999 - Chief Judge, Illinois Team Excellence Award (ITEA) Program - recruited and trained Judges for ITEA Program, judged over 100 teams
  • 1993-2005 - Adjunct Professor - taught Quality Management courses using Baldrige criteria at Illinois Institute of Technology, Stuart School of Business
  • 1995-1996 - Lead Consultant - Naperville Unified School District 203 - Baldrige in Education criteria pilot, coached on Illinois Performance Excellence Award application development - won Silver level recognition
  • 1996-2000 - Voice of the Customer Manager - AT&T Bell Labs/ Lucent Technology 
  • 1998-1999 - Team Leader - established ASQ Society-wide Member Leader Recognition process that is still in use
  • 2002-2003 - Lead Consultant – Software company (Illinois) – documented enterprise-wide 100+ processes using SIPOC diagram and established measurements 
  • 2004-Present - Member, Board of Examiners, Asia Pacific Global Performance Excellence Award Program - judged over 60 award applications in 11 years
  • 2005-2007 - Lead Consultant - 3 Medicare Contractors (ArkansasAlabama & Mississippi) - coached ISO 9001:2004 certified on first attempt without any major no-compliance
  • 2006-Present - Adjunct Professor - taught Total Quality Management elective course using Baldrige criteria at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India
  • 2006-2007 - Lead Consultant – Medicare Contractor (Arkansas) – established Employee Recognition and Suggestions System Processes that were in use for several years
  • 2006-2010 - Chief Judge - Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni Awards Committee - established a robust alumni recognition process, currently in use since 2006
  • 2008-2012 - Adjunct Professor - taught Operations Analysis courses using Baldrige criteria at Northern Illinois University, College of Business 
  • 2008-Present - Adjunct Instructor – taught Quality Assurance Project Management course at School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University 
  • 2010-2011 - Lead Consultant - coached a Pharmaceutical company (Illinois) for Baldrige and Illinois Performance Excellence Award application development - won Silver level recognition from Illinois
  • 2011-Present - Adjunct Professor - taught Operations Management, Total Quality Management, Small Business Ventures, and Project Quality Assurance courses at Ashford University's Forbes School of Business - Online
  • 2012-Present - Adjunct professor - taught Introduction to Six Sigma, Advanced Project Management, and Risk Management courses at College of Business and Graduate School of Management, Lewis University.
  • 2012 - Lead Consultant - delivered a Workshop on Business Excellence through Sustainable Change Management, Senior Leadership Team at the Mahamaya Technical University, Noida, India
  • 2014 - Honorary Adjunct Professor - delivered an address on Educational Excellence through Baldrige in Education Framework to Faculty and Graduate Students at the School of Management, ITM University, Gurgoan, India
  • 2014 - delivered an address on Educational Excellence through Baldrige in Education Framework to Senior Faculty and Administrators at the Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad, India
  • 2014 - Visiting Professor - taught Total Quality Management workshop to students, faculty, and researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, India
  • 1971-Present - Over 50 publications and 380 presentations globally on business excellence and quality management areas.
  • 1993-Present - Adjunct Professor - taught graduate levels courses in operations and quality management using Baldrige criteria as well as conducted executive training around the globe. Connected with over 30 educational institutions in USA, India, Egypt, and Peru. Touched over 5,000 professionals around the world.
I look forward to your experience with organizational excellence journey.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Education and Quality: Foundation for Sustainable Development & Growth

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" - Nelson Mandela

When we examine the world history, one can notice the civilizations that survived for a longer time had a great education system, which served as a foundation for sustainable development and growth.

Based on my personal experience as an Adjunct Professor connected with over 30 educational institutes globally for over two decades, I would like to share my observations regarding education and importance of quality in education (curriculum excellence) and quality of education (systems view).
  1. Quality of education has a direct impact on workforce suitability for employment.
  2. Must celebrate excellence and success in the classrooms, as opposed to mere attempts.
  3. Quality in education plays a very important role in nation building - workforce success based on acquired knowledge through education and skills building. 
In the 20th Century, the focus was on Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Going forward in the 21st Century, we need to focus on Teamwork, Problem Solving, and Interpersonal Relationships. The entire education system should gear up to adequately prepare the workforce for the 21st Century.
Perfect examples are Japan and South Korea. Other nations can take a cue from their success of integrating quality in education and building institutional quality at the systems level to achieve economic prosperity and sustainable growth.

We can apply a Balanced Scorecard approach to measure success of a global strategy of establishing outstanding schools and universities (temples of learning) as follows:



Challenges (2012 data):
  • The US Public Schools serve 49.4 million students, while Private Schools serve an additional 6 million.
  • There are some real challenges, particularly as they relate to career and college preparedness:
    • Too many start school behind their peers.
    • Too many 4th graders are not proficient in reading and math.
    • Too many 8th graders start high school unprepared for higher-level work.
    • And of those students who graduate (given a 30% dropout rate), too many need to take remedial classes in college - assuming they attend at all.
  • The problems are persistently acute for minority, rural, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
  • While female students do better than males as a group, they continue to be underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) areas.
·         To create a strong population of adults prepared to earn a living and contribute to society, it is a challenge we must address.


White House on K-12 Education (
·         In today’s global economy, a high-quality education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity—it is a prerequisite to success. Because economic progress and educational achievement are inextricably linked, educating every American student to graduate from high school prepared for college and for a career is a national imperative.
·         The President has articulated a goal for America to once again lead the world in college completion by the year 2020, and all of President Obama’s education efforts aim toward this overarching objective.
·         To create an economy built to last, we need to provide every child with a complete and competitive education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation.

·         To provide a high-quality education to all American children, President Obama has advanced reforms around four key objectives: 
o    Higher standards and better assessment that will prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace
o    Higher ambitious efforts to recruit, prepare, develop, and advance effective teachers and principals, especially in the classrooms where they are most needed
o    Smarter data systems to measure student growth and success, and help educators improve instruction
o    New attention and a national effort to turn around our lowest-achieving schools.

Since taking office, the Obama Administration has designed and implemented several initiatives to strengthen public education for students in every community nationwide:

.          Race to the Top - This initiative offers bold incentives to states willing to spur systemic reform to improve teaching and learning in America’s schools.

 Redesigning and Reforming No Child Left Behind - Reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to address issues arising from the No Chide Left behind.

 Redesigning America's High Schools - High School redesign initiative will encourage America's school districts and their partners to use existing federal, state and local resources to transform the high school experience for America's youth through a whole school redesign effort. This effort will challenge high schools and their partners to rethink teaching and learning and put in place learning models that are rigorous, relevant, and better focused on real-world experiences. 

 Keeping Teachers in the Classroom - America cannot build a world-class education system without teachers in our classrooms.


Challenges (
  • Lack of Student Preparations - students come unprepared but have strong convictions about their abilities
  • Grade inflation - difficult to give students honest feedback due to fear of reprisals
  •  Student retention - college-age population decline necessitates recruiting unprepared students who must be retained shifting academic success from student on to the teacher
  • Student evaluations of  Teachers - using Internet students can retaliate against professors
  • Enrollment Minimums - students gravitate to lenient professors and easy courses
  • Lack of Uniform Expectations - difficult to maintain high expectations due to lack of uniformity of standards among faculty of comparable courses
  • Contingent Teaching - instead of full-tenured faculty most of the undergraduate teaching is done by graduate students and part-time faculties
  • Time Constraints  - more focus on research for tenured faculty, teaching becomes a distraction from highly rewarded activity.
  • Curricular Chaos - lack of adequate sequencing of course due to transient teachers and multi-tasking administrators, difficult to develop a logical sequencing of courses
  • Demoralized Faculty Members - college teachers are suffering from lack of confidence due to unemployment fears 
Opportunities (

President Obama strongly believes that the US must equip many more students to excel in STEM. That’s why the President’s 2015 Budget invests $2.9 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent over the 2014 enacted level, in programs across the Federal Government on STEM education. The 2015 Budget includes critical investments in a number of areas that will benefit aspiring students:

·         Recruiting, preparing, and supporting excellent STEM teachers, with $40 million to support the President’s goal of preparing 100,000 excellent STEM teachers over the next decade and $20 million to launch a pilot STEM Master Teacher Corps.

·         Supporting more STEM-focused school districts, with an investment of $110 million to create new STEM Innovation Networks to better connect school districts with local, regional, and national resources to transform K-12 STEM teaching and learning. The Budget provides $150 million for a new program to redesign high schools to focus on providing students with challenging, relevant learning experiences that will help them gain the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in today’s economy, including in
STEM fields.

·         Improving undergraduate STEM education, with the National Science Foundation (NSF) investing $118 million to improve retention of undergraduate STEM majors and improve undergraduate teaching and learning in STEM subjects to meet the President’s goal of  preparing 1 million more STEM graduates over the next decade.

·         Investing in breakthrough research on STEM teaching and learning, with approximately $50 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED), through which the Department of Education (ED) would support high-risk, high-return research on next-generation learning innovations and technologies, including for STEM education.

In addition, the Budget proposes a fresh reorganization of Federal STEM education programs to enable more strategic investments in STEM education and more critical evaluation of outcomes.

There are different set of challenges and opportunities for higher education in India. Please visit my earlier blog post "State of Higher Ed in India: Time to Act is Now" from February 21, 2014 at:

Additional viewpoint on "Current Scenario of Engineering in India" at:

I look forward to your views on quality and education.