This novel revolves around the personal journey of an idealistic but somewhat naïve young lawyer who accepts a position as academic dean of a for-profit business school in New York City in the late 1980s knowing nothing about the nature of the industry and soon finds that his personal vision of changing lives for the better clashes with the corporate mission of maximizing profits and minimizing cost. Unwilling to accept things as they are, he soldiers on with few resources beyond his entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to put all of his energy to setting things right. The result is a year of unprecedented professional success and devastating personal failure as he learns some painful, life altering truths about himself, about his chosen career and about love.
Victor D. López is the Cypres Family Distinguished Professor in Legal Studies in Business at Hofstra University's Frank G. Zarb School of Business, a Lawyer, and the author of 15 books on subjects that include law-related textbooks, legal reference, short fiction and poetry, and numerous scholarly articles on law-related subjects. For more information, you can visit his official web page at http://www.victordlopez.com. Samples of some of his published works and author readings of select poetry and fiction are also available at https://www.booksie.com/users/victordlopez-82664. You can hear his podcasts with both short and extended sample readings from of his new novel, poetry and short fiction at https://anchor.fm/victor-d-lopez.
Over the past three decades, there has been a movement by U.S. community colleges and other associate degree-granting institutions in the U.S. away from providing practical skills education that prepares students for work. There are various reasons for this, but the main one is simple economics. Preparing students for blue-collar careers and office support positions requires expensive labs, supplies and equipment that cash-strapped colleges cannot afford. Consequently, programs that once trained students for well paying blue collar jobs like machinists, mec hanics, welders, carpenters, plumbers and the like have largely disappeared--as have the salaries grads from these programs once commanded.
Hire Lernin’ An Idealist’s Quest Through the Realm of for-Profit Education
On the way to the subway station, Dan could hardly contain his enthusiasm. The salary offered was very disappointing, but the chance to change students’ lives for the better enormously appealed to him. He had always believed in the traditional mission of community colleges and technical schools of providing practical job training. Understanding the difference between Plato and Aristotle and their impact on all of Western philosophy for more than two thousand years expands the mind, as does reading, seeing or performing a Shakespeare play, taking music and art appreciation courses, or spending a glorious semester studying the British romantic poets. A liberal arts education is crucial for any well-rounded professional and can expand the mind and enrich one’s life in ways that are impossible to quantify. But introductory courses on American literature, sociology, poetry, psychology, music appreciation, anthropology and archaeology will not put food on the table for people who need to find work quickly to support themselves or their families. For individuals who either due to lack of interest, lack of capacity or lack of funds cannot complete four or more years of college and must obtain marketable skills that provide a living wage for themselves and their families, a liberal arts degree—especially a two year degree—is about as useful as teeth on a chicken. On the other hand, learning office skills, basic bookkeeping, business communications, business math, typing, and the software currently used in business can help someone get a good office support position in a relatively short period of time—two years or less. Likewise, learning a trade such as plumber, electrician, truck driver, hair dresser, carpenter, mason, welder, auto mechanic, and any number of other blue collar jobs that can provide a good salary and the ability to start one’s own business if one is so inclined. And this training can be completed in two years or less for many of these trades—some of which will pay as much as $100 an hour even to newly minted professionals. Dan knew this because he had a cousin who today would have been diagnosed with ADD who struggled with truancy and serious behavioral issues throughout much of his school years and beyond. But, despite poor reading, writing and oral communication skills, he always made a very good living thanks to his practical training that allowed him to have more work than he could ever manage to take on as a private contractor working for himself. Dan wanted to give others a similar opportunity at a good life of honest, meaningful, well-paying work that could dramatically change lives for the better. And he was thrilled at the prospect of being in a position to make that happen.
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