Career Paths at The Community Solution

The diverse experiences and expertise of the professionals within The Community Solution Education System are foundational to our success. We are a community of professionals with diverse areas of expertise, each bringing unique perspectives and skills to the table. Together, we are shaping a brighter educational future, one that empowers students to make a positive impact on the world.

Our community encompasses a wide range of professional paths, each playing a vital role in achieving our collective goals. From academic experts who ignite a passion for learning to dedicated administrators who provide functional support to our institutions, we are a collective force driving innovation and excellence in education.

Within our organization, we have a range of careers in higher education including human resources careers, financial aid careers, and careers in university administration. Here are just a few examples of the professional journeys that unfold within The Community Solution:

Sean Nufer
Academic Affairs, Senior Director of Teaching and Learning
I lead a team of three exceptional individuals, and our collective role revolves around supporting faculty members across our six institutions to enhance their classroom experiences. We delve into researching effective teaching practices and providing instructors with a range of strategies and resources. The Teaching and Learning Center serves as a cornerstone in our commitment to empowering educators, providing them with a faculty toolkit that aids professors as they plan and develop their courses, advance their teaching practices, incorporate technology, and master the craft of effective and impactful teaching.

The fast-changing environment of higher education brings forth new opportunities and challenges, which we tackle daily guided by fresh data insights. By combining our research data with the best practices and latest findings in pedagogy science, we’re able to help meet the needs and expectations of our students and shape the educational practices and experiences within our classrooms.  

At the heart of our efforts lies a crucial mission: to equip faculty to aid students as they tackle real-world challenges and to ensure that their education seamlessly aligns with the diverse demands of various industries. I am firmly committed to equipping students with the essential skills, knowledge, and capabilities that will pave their path to success.

Our model focuses on educational professional development, ensuring that our faculty and staff are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge to excel in their roles.

Financial Aid
Veronica Moran, Director of Financial Aid

As the Director of Financial Aid, I want to highlight that our focus is, without a doubt, the well-being of our students. I’m dedicated to ensuring that financial barriers don’t have to stand in the way of their academic ambitions.

Our overarching objective is to break down the barriers to education and make it a life-changing opportunity. I believe in the power of education to transform lives. Across the System, we function as a united team, working together seamlessly to provide the right support and guidance for students throughout their educational journey. It’s not just about paperwork; it’s about being a driving force behind students’ dreams and aspirations.

Explore open positions in financial aid that are available in various locations, offering crucial support to our student body.

Global Engagement
Ludmi Herath, Director of Global Engagement

In my role as Director of Global Engagement, my focus is to support the internationalization of The Community Solution’s system of colleges and universities by advancing international operations. I lead a team responsible for facilitating international student recruitment and admissions, study abroad programs, faculty exchanges, and immigration compliance across our System.

From conceptualizing initiatives like International Education Week and Global Distinction programs, to educating our communities about the value of global experiences, we take the lead. These endeavors play a pivotal role in expanding our organization’s global influence, fostering profound cross-cultural understanding, and enhancing the educational journeys of everyone involved, most notably our students.

By improving global access for students, faculty, and staff, our department aspires to cultivate meaningful connections and transformative, thought-provoking experiences. Embracing our mission, Global Engagement assists in preparing innovative, engaged, purposeful agents of change who serve our global community.

Human Resources
Olivia Chumbler, Human Resources Generalist

The Human Resources Department is central to our organization’s functionality, and as an HR Generalist, I am at the heart of it all. It’s not just about traditional HR tasks here; our department has the broader mission of serving our community by providing the latest best practices and processes in human resource operations to ensure the well-being of our employees.

My role encompasses a wide spectrum, from managing hiring and onboarding to facilitating training and beyond. My true passion lies in elevating employee wellness and enriching our community with valuable resources. What truly excites me is the opportunity to connect with various departments and deeply understand their daily operations and responsibilities.

In human resources, we prioritize employee wellness and create a nurturing environment. Explore career opportunities in human resources today!

Information Technology
Gordon Snook, IT Help Desk Manager

I hold a supportive position within our IT Department as an IT Help Desk Manager. In this position, I oversee daily operations for a technical support team serving students, faculty, and staff across the country, ensuring service level goals are met and promoting technology adoption. This role involves hands-on incident resolution while managing team performance, customer satisfaction, and adherence to policies. Additionally, I recruit and train staff, maintain technology support systems, and contribute to reducing support requests through communication and training initiatives. I always emphasize that our ultimate objective in the IT Department is to deliver top-tier assistance to our valued community members, all while keeping user satisfaction at the forefront.

As students navigate the journey from prospective student to graduate, I strive for a seamless and consistent digital experience felt throughout their time with us. I believe in embracing the realities of a new, diverse digital workforce with more flexibility, blending work and home life, and exploring new training methods.

Cecilia Budzynski, Campaign Manager

In my role as Marketing Campaign Manager, I work collaboratively with team members to build strategies, develop media plans with agency partners, and manage the execution and measurement of those plans. While overseeing our inquiry generation and all paid media placements, I work to present a cohesive narrative that deeply resonates with our entire community. It is my responsibility to ensure smooth communication and foster connections across teams, which is vital in shaping our organization’s image.

Personally, I find immense satisfaction in interacting with others; it’s in these interactions that the true magic unfolds. I firmly believe that no individual can be an expert in every domain. Thus, I emphasize the importance of effective communication with diverse teams and individuals. This communication isn’t just essential for the success of our colleges and universities; it’s critical for the success of the entire System.

If you’re passionate about making a difference through innovative marketing, explore available marketing positions and join us in our mission to shape the future of education.

To learn more about working at The Community Solution and see job openings, visit our careers page.

TCS Education System Reveals Updated Name and Brand

The Community Solution recently launched a new brand identity, marking a new era for the organization as it enters its 14th year. Transitioning from TCS Education System to The Community Solution Education System, the System adopted an updated logo and color palette.

The new brand and visual identity hold symbolic meaning for the System, embodying a belief that through mutual respect and collaboration, academic institutions can make great strides in advancing institutional sustainability, student success, and community impact.

Throughout the development process, designers in the System’s Marketing Department sought to develop a mark that symbolized The Community Solution’s distinctive model where colleges and universities work with operational experts cross-institutionally to improve systems and develop strategies for sustainable growth. The question became, “How do we ensure we are authentically representing our values, purpose, and impact through our brand?”

The decision to update the System name to The Community Solution Education System spurs from a desire to clearly express the connected nature of the System. The name reflects a fundamental belief that collaboration and community are the solutions to many of the challenges facing higher education leaders today.

The intricate braided symbol that serves as the System’s new icon is a powerful representation of the profound interconnectedness and collaborative spirit that forms the foundation of the System. Like the strand of a braid, woven together to create a strong, unified whole, the System community thrives on cooperation and support. Each strand of the braid symbolizes the integral roles of each institution, all harmoniously working together to weave a brighter future.

The redefined color palette applies “color theory” to represent The Community Solution’s traits and values visually. Color theory uses principles of psychology to create impactful color schemes, conveying a specific message to provide emotional appeal to an audience.

The results of the color theory exercise revealed that purples, blue/greens, and oranges resonate with the organization’s values. Purple symbolizes the relational and distinctive qualities of The Community Solution, and the blue and green hues represent the System’s progressive, perseverant, and altruistic characteristics. Finally, the bold orange hues allude to the organization’s resourcefulness and energetic nature.

The new visual identity of The Community Solution Education System is not merely a cosmetic change—it is a powerful evolution that connects the organization’s external appearance with the values and traits held since its founding nearly 15 years ago. The new color palette and interconnected braid unite The Community Solution under a shared vision, reinforcing the bonds that tie the community together in a collective pursuit of knowledge and growth.

Learn more about The Community Solution’s mission, values, and distinct model here.

The Future of Education: Embracing AI for Student Success

By: Dr. Michael Horowitz

This article originally appeared on

Our world is in the early stages of a potentially transformational technological revolution. Artificial Intelligence (AI), fueled by vast generative language models like ChatGPT, is predicted to upend virtually every corner of society. From business to government to consumer behavior, AI will have profound effects on how we work, live and engage with each other.

Higher education is no exception, and there is a growing imperative for colleges to embrace and adapt to the potential sea change before us—to support our students and ensure the flourishing of our institutions. AI has the potential to revolutionize education in business and in practice—both what we do and how we do it.

Unfortunately, too often attention is focused on the problems of AI—that it allows students to cheat and can undermine the value of what teachers bring to the learning equation. This viewpoint ignores the immense possibilities that AI can bring to education and across every industry.

The fact is that students have already embraced this new technology, which is neither a new story nor a surprising one in education. Leaders should accept this and understand that people, not robots, must ultimately create the path forward. It is only by deploying resources, training and policies at every level of our institutions that we can begin to realize the vast potential of what AI can offer.

People-Powered AI

At its most basic level, AI offers incredibly powerful productivity tools for any professional environment. Every organization should be encouraging its leaders to experiment with drafting memos, creating slideshows, and synthesizing and summarizing complex texts using AI, all time-intensive tasks that can soon be fully automated. Having access to these tools can’t and won’t replace the role of thoughtful, creative people. But it can help drive productivity and transform what a student, individual employee, department or division can achieve while dramatically reducing the time required.

What AI Isn’t

Depending on how seriously you take some forecasts, AI will absorb every information-based job by the end of the decade. It may also bring about the end of civilization itself. But catastrophe on the margins shouldn’t stop us from applying transformational tools to advance our agenda while still leaning into the profound value humans bring to work. In AI, as in all things, it is the people who matter
To fully embrace AI’s potential, institutions should invest in the necessary infrastructure, resources and professional development opportunities to empower educators and administrators. This means providing basic how-to instructions and access to cutting-edge tools, platforms and training to give people the skills to effectively leverage AI in their respective professional roles.
Moreover, collaboration across disciplines and institutions is crucial to drive innovation, share best practices and tackle complex challenges collectively. At TCS Education System, we are deploying AI across each of our six distinct learning communities and collaboratively sharing best practices from each one. Like any tool, not every school will apply AI in the same way. But the proliferation of tools and creative cooperation creates opportunities that would not otherwise be possible.

An Example from Our Community

Within our organization, AI has become an important tool for faculty to develop learning curricula and teaching modules. It’s also become useful in identifying and addressing emerging performance problems before they threaten to derail a student’s ability to complete his or her degree. One of the challenges we previously faced was the ability to provide timely and targeted interventions to such students. AI-powered systems can analyze data from multiple sources, such as test scores, assignments and engagement metrics, to quickly flag potential issues.
The identification of these students is now easier, more accurate and much, much faster. But it is educators who must intervene proactively, offering personalized support and guidance to students who need it most. By leveraging AI to monitor student performance, we can create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment, ensuring that no student is left behind.
That’s where humans come in. An algorithm capable of identifying at-risk students isn’t capable of building a relationship with students, nor does it have an understanding of their history or the ability to establish empathy or trust in helping them receive the support they need. So while AI is an invaluable tool to empower educators, it is people who leverage that knowledge to create an exceptional learning environment in new ways never before possible.

New Tools in a New World

The world is changing every day. Some days the change is more pronounced. Each passing announcement about the new capabilities of AI seems to press on the accelerator a bit harder, leaving our previous professional landscape further in the rearview mirror.
This means that institutions have a very basic choice: embrace the new tools that are shaping the future or pretend that things have not changed. Trepidation of the unknown is not a reason to deny opportunity. Instead, we should be learning as fast as we can how to leverage AI to prepare students for success in a future in which they will face constant change.
Because that is what we are here to do: empower students by expanding the definition of what constitutes an education. AI is part of the landscape now. Wishing it wasn’t so is not an effective (or responsible) strategy for success.

University of Western States Becomes Sixth Institution to Join The Community Solution Education System

The Nonprofit System uses a Collaborative Model that is Distinct in Higher Education

CHICAGO and PORTLAND, April 3, 2023 – The Community Solution Education System, a national nonprofit system of colleges and universities, announced today that Portland, Oregon-based University of Western States (UWS) has become the newest institution to join its System. This partnership marks a new era of innovative interdisciplinary health education that will benefit students and faculty at UWS and strengthen The Community Solution community.

Since its founding in 2009, The Community Solution has expanded from one college to a system that encompasses six colleges and universities and serves the aspirations of nearly 14,000 students annually across 13 campus locations and online. The Community Solution Education System’s universities work collaboratively to build strategic partnerships and leverage economies of scale to advance institutional sustainability, student success, and community impact for colleges and universities.

“We’re excited to welcome University of Western States to The Community Solution,” said The Community Solution President Michael Horowitz. “UWS is a high-caliber university whose mission and values are closely aligned with our own. Their commitment to interdisciplinary rigor, student success, and innovation has propelled them on an upward trajectory for more than a century. UWS’s culture embodies The Community Solution Education System’s values of collaboration, inquisitiveness, resourcefulness, equity, and student focus and they are a natural and exciting addition to our community. We look forward to working in close collaboration with UWS leadership to advance opportunities for their university while also strengthening the entire The Community Solution System in ways that benefit the students and communities we serve.”

Founded in 1904, UWS is a leader in educating and training chiropractic physicians. In recent years, the university has successfully expanded its academic programs to include nutrition and functional medicine, clinical mental health counseling and sport and performance psychology. In the fall of 2023, they will welcome their first cohort of doctoral candidates in naturopathic medicine.

“For more than a decade, our leadership has been exploring a new model to elevate our future, and following a period of due diligence, it became clear that The Community Solution was the best choice,” said UWS President Joseph Brimhall.  “As part of The Community Solution Education System, we look forward to working closely with other like-minded institutions to grow and strengthen our community. This partnership will advance our ability to serve our 1,100 students as they pursue careers in the rapidly growing field of integrative health, and we look forward to contributing to the proven success that The Community Solution has already demonstrated in interdisciplinary health care education. For UWS, joining The Community Solution Education System brings top-level expertise in functional areas and access to enterprise-level systems, which will deliver a better experience for students, faculty, and staff.”

As members of The Community Solution Education System, colleges work with operational experts and peers across the System to develop innovative solutions to common challenges. By joining the System, institutions have access to expertise and enterprise systems often unavailable to institutions their size. These benefits enhance the student experience and strengthen administrative structures at the institutions, resulting in enrollment growth and improved student outcomes.

“This new addition to our System shows the strength of our model,” Dr. Horowitz said. “When we come together to share institutional wisdom and resources, we can better serve our students and tackle the challenges of modern higher education.”

Marketing department is recognized at the 2021 Viddy Videography Awards


TCS Education System’s Marketing department strives to produce dynamic video content, working in collaboration with TCS’ college and university communities to vividly tell the stories that set TCS apart. This year, those efforts were rewarded in the 2021 Viddy Videography Awards, which honor creative excellence in the rapidly evolving digital world of moving pictures. In all, the TCS community received two Platinum awards, six Gold awards, and three honorable mentions.


Read below for a roundup of the honors the TCS community received for video production.


Platinum winners

The Colleges of Law’s “The Mission Remains” won in the Non-Broadcast | Long Form Videos > 3 Minutes | 109. Entertainment category

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s More Than campaign won in the Non-Broadcast | Marketing / Advertising Campaigns | 3c. Digital Marketing Campaign category


Gold winners

Saybrook University’s MBA/DBA campaign won in the Non-Broadcast | Marketing / Advertising Campaigns | 2c. Digital Advertising Campaign category

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Education, Innovation, Service, Community campaign won in the Non-Broadcast | Long Form Videos > 3 Minutes | 108. Education category

The Colleges of Law’s “Improving Access to Legal Education” won in the Non-Broadcast | Long Form Videos > 3 Minutes | 108. Education category

Saybrook University’s “Our World is Worth Fighting For” won in the Non-Broadcast | Long Form Videos > 3 Minutes | 108. Education category

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s “Adolescent Suicide: Facing the Challenge” won in the Non-Broadcast | Short Form Web Videos < 3 Minutes | 201. Cause Related category

Pacific Oak’s Colleges “Finding their Voice Through Community” won in the Non-Broadcast | Short Form Web Videos < 3 Minutes | 208. Education category


Honorable mentions

Pacific Oaks College’s Experience that Impacts Community campaign received an honorable mention in the Non-Broadcast | Marketing / Advertising Campaigns | 3c. Digital Marketing Campaign category

Saybrook University’s “Progressive Approach to Education” received an honorable mention in the Non-Broadcast | Long Form Videos > 3 Minutes | 108. Education category

Pacific Oaks College’s “Moises Gomez: Sharing Community” received an honorable mention in the Non-Broadcast | Short Form Web Videos < 3 Minutes | 208. Education category

TCS leaders are trailblazers in their fields

TCS Education System is a premier force in higher education, led by experts in every department. It is no surprise that the industries they work in take notice. Sean Nufer, Psy.D., the TCS director of teaching and learning, was honored as one of three of Instructure’s Canvas Educator of the Year Awards and the Online Learning Consortium award for excellence and innovation in online teaching for his work as an instructor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Pacific Oaks College.

Dr. Nufer started his instructional design journey at the Academic Support Center at The Chicago School, creating online training modules and videos for students. After collaborating with TCS on these projects, he joined our team as a full-time instructional designer. Moving from instructional design, he became an e-learning specialist before establishing and directing the Department of Educational Technology. He is now the director of the new Office for Teaching and Learning for TCS, which designs and develops interactive resources to train and refine the skills of our partner college faculty.

Inspired by many great professors throughout his higher education journey, Dr. Nufer always felt the call to teach. After designing and developing many classes for TCS partner institutions, he became an adjunct professor—teaching at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level for four programs at two colleges—all online.

“The great leadership at the institutions where I have taught, The Chicago School and Pacific Oaks, has allowed me to be creative and adventurous with my approach to online teaching,” Dr. Nufer says. “I have taken many risks and tried a few cavalier approaches to teaching, and I always seek my students’ feedback and analysis of my avant-garde tactics. I believe students are partners in education with me, and I depend on them to guide our exploration of the course content.

“If they don’t give up, then I don’t give up on them. If they can make it through my class and make it through their graduate program, then they can conquer life.”

This collaborative approach and a forward-thinking vision in regard to online learning have greatly influenced his teaching style and made him stand apart from other educators. Believing that every class can be taught online, he reiterates that this does not mean “that every class that is online is a good class.” But the tools, techniques, and strategies exist so that every class can become an online class.

TCS has seen this time and time again—from Saybrook University leading the way with distance learning for 50 years, to The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law innovative Hybrid J.D. program, online education is an asset, not an inhibitor.

“Students often seek online courses and online programs simply because they need a tremendous amount of flexibility to pursue their education. Remote learning accommodates busy schedules and demanding responsibilities. I have found that online students often are not digital natives or technophiles, but they are tenacious. When we provide sufficient guidance, explanation, and sometimes a shoulder to cry on, they can benefit tremendously from online curriculum,” Dr. Nufer says.

With the instructional design team developing and revising more than 200 courses in the last quarter to make them more accessible for online learning, the pandemic has pushed remote education into overdrive. Dr. Nufer reiterates the importance of community during this time—above all else.

“The pandemic has changed a great many things in higher education. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on a panel, discussing recent research and practices, and a general consensus is that educators this year are also therapists. We all have needed to become more flexible, accommodating, understanding, and compassionate to our students,” Dr. Nufer says. “While we cannot compromise the measure of outcomes and alignment of our curriculum, we also cannot approach teaching or learning with a status quo mindset. Even in healthy times, I value my students’ input and regularly solicit their feedback throughout our time together. But continuing to teach and learn during a pandemic is truly a communal endeavor and our students need their professors to be kind leaders in their virtual classrooms.”

You can watch him discuss creating interesting content in Canvas courses here.

Marketing department wins prestigious content and design awards

TCS was founded to provide a community of small, nonprofit colleges the support necessary to compete with larger, well-endowed universities so that students succeed. A key component of this is the devotion to best-in-class resources and leaders across a variety of fields, like our marketing department.

Recently, the TCS marketing department won awards from three distinguished national contests—the Eddie and Ozzie Awards, the PR Daily Nonprofit PR Awards, and the Content Marketing Awards. The marketing department supports TCS and partner colleges through all stages of the student life cycle and is proud to produce advertising campaigns, print and digital magazines, social media, email creation, and more. As a testament to our continuing evolution and innovation as a System, we encourage you to read below for a roundup of the honors TCS received.

The fall 2019 issue of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s INSIGHT magazine won five awards—the Single Magazine Issue Design, Digital Integration with Print, Overall Art Direction, and Website Redesign/Relaunch from the Eddie and Ozzie Awards; one for Best Print Publication from PR Daily’s Nonprofit PR Awards, and one for Best School/University Publication from the Content Marketing Awards. Saybrook University’s UNBOUND magazine won the Website Redesign/Relaunch award from the Eddie and Ozzie Awards and Best Overall Digital Design from the Content Marketing Awards.


Eddie and Ozzie Awards

The Eddie and Ozzie Awards are an international competition that recognizes excellence in engaging content and gorgeous design across all sectors of the publishing industry. This year we received 11 awards and 14 honorable mentions. You can read the full list of winners here.


  • INSIGHT magazine, “Playing with Perspectivewon for Immersive/Interactive Storytelling
  • INSIGHT magazine, “Rewriting the Scriptwon for Single Article/Features
  • INSIGHT magazine 2019 won for Design, Single Magazine Issue
  • INSIGHT magazine 2019 won for Digital Integration with Print
  • INSIGHT magazine, “Playing with Perspective” won for Graphic Art
  • Voices magazine, “Is everything OK?” won for Illustration
  • TCS Education System, Dr. Michael Horowitz Media Kit won for Media Kit
  • INSIGHT magazine 2019 won for Overall Art Direction
  • TCS Education System, Dr. Michael Horowitz Media Kit won for Typography
  • UNBOUND digital magazine won for Website Design
  • INSIGHT digital won for Website Redesign/Relaunch

In addition, the following projects and submissions were named as Honorable Mentions.

Honorable Mentions

  • Analysis—“Rewriting the Script” for The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine
  • Supplemental, Annual or One-Shot—Pacific Oaks College’s Voices magazine 2020
  • Full Issue—Pacific Oaks College’s Voices magazine 2020
  • Full Issue—The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine 2019
  • Single Article/Feature—”Is everything OK?” for Pacific Oaks College’s Voices magazine
  • Design, Single Magazine Issue—Pacific Oaks College’s Voices magazine 2020
  • Cover Design—Pacific Oaks College’s Voices magazine 2020
  • Cover Design—The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine 2019
  • Digital Integration with Print—Pacific Oaks College’s Voices digital
  • Illustration—“The Loneliest Generation” for Saybrook University’s UNBOUND digital magazine
  • Feature Design—“Is everything OK?” for Pacific Oaks College’s Voices magazine
  • Feature Design—“Rewriting the Script” for The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine
  • Website Design—The Chicago School’s INSIGHT digital
  • Website Redesign/Relaunch—Pacific Oaks College’s Voices digital


PR Daily Nonprofit PR Awards

PR Daily’s Nonprofit PR Awards recognizes the most powerful, personal communications efforts from the past year. They accept submissions from philanthropic foundations, government agencies, professional associations, charitable organizations, academic institutions, and the agencies that represent them.

Winner: Fall 2019 issue of INSIGHT magazine won Best Print Publication!

You can read the full write up about the rationale for this award here.

In addition, the following projects and submissions were named as Honorable Mentions:


Content Marketing Awards

The Content Marketing Awards is the largest international content marketing awards program. It recognizes and awards the best content marketing projects, agencies, and marketers in the industry each year.

In 2019, the TCS community received five finalist nods. This year, we received 13including new categories such as Infographic, Feature Design, Automated Email Campaign, Best Use of Facebook, and Best Content Marketing Program in Higher Education.


INSIGHT magazine won for Best School/University Publication.

UNBOUND digital magazine won for Best Overall Digital Design.

In addition, the following projects were named as finalists:

  • Best Use of Facebook in Content Marketing—The Chicago School
  • Best Print Publication—The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine
  • Best Digital Publication—Saybrook’s UNBOUND digital magazine
  • Best Content Marketing Program in Education—Pacific Oaks College’s Community Psychology Campaign
  • Best Marketing Automation in Content Marketing—Saybrook University’s Automated Email Campaign
  • Best Digital Feature Article—“The Loneliest Generation” for Saybrook’s UNBOUND digital magazine
  • Best Digital Feature Article—“Mindfulness Over Matter” for Saybrook’s UNBOUND digital magazine
  • Best Overall Digital Editorial—Saybrook’s UNBOUND digital magazine
  • Best Cover Design—The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine
  • Best Feature Design—“Rewriting the Script” for The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine
  • Best Feature Design—“Playing with Perspective” for The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine
  • Best Infographic—“The Higher Ed Crisis Needs a Community Solution” poster for TCS Education System
  • Best Overall Print Design—The Chicago School’s INSIGHT magazine


Tips from experienced remote employees

While most of us are new to working from home, some employees have been doing it for years—and with great results.

You may not know, but the entire Instructional Design team at TCS Education System has worked remotely since its inception—in addition to many others across the system. The switch to working with a completely remote office was new to them but not necessarily a foreign concept. We polled them for tips on how to work remotely based on their years of experience logging in from home.


Lord Giddie, Ph.D., Senior Learning Experience Designer

Mark Labbett, Senior Instructional Designer

Jennifer Griffith, Instructional Designer

Tracy Lynn Deis, Senior Instructional Designer

Colette Landry, Online Services Manager

Brandi Watson, Instructional Designer


  1. Build structure
    • Lord Giddie, Ph.D.: It helps to create some structure for each day so that you know what needs to be done and when. For the most part, how I structure my day is heavily impacted by the projects that I work on and whether they are individual projects versus team projects.
    • Mark Labbett: Even if your job is flexible and you don’t have to “punch in,” get up at the same time and start and stop work at the same time every day (when possible). Obviously, there may be exceptions but try to stick to a general start and stop time.
    • Jennifer Griffith: I wake up to my alarm every morning, and I have my weekly routine. A set schedule also makes it easier to shut down at the end of the day. It can be hard to create that space between work and home sometimes when you’re remote, but it’s really important. You need that time away from the computer to recharge and be ready for the next day.
    • Tracy Lynn Deis: Oftentimes people who work from home find themselves scattered because their day is often broken apart. Structure breaks into your schedule as well—it’ll keep you from burnout and falling behind. Try to stay motivated with non-distracting things (music, aromatherapy, etc.) throughout your day.
    • Colette Landry: When I transitioned to working from home, I found it best to stick with the same 8 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule I had in the office. Whatever your work routine was, stick to it. If you spent your first couple hours answering emails, keep that up.
  2. Dedicate a space to work
    • Griffith: Have a dedicated space for working, whether it’s a home office, your kitchen, or a desk in your living room. That way, you have all of the supplies and materials you’ll need to focus on your work. And you’ll know where everything is.
    • Deis: Set your home office up as if you were in a real office. Working from bed, no matter how great that sounds, can actually become uncomfortable and cause health issues. Make your workspace as ergonomic as you can.
    • Brandi Watson: Wake up and get dressed (waist up) daily with your morning drink of choice (for me, it’s coffee). Create an actual office space away from the bedroom and refrain from doing housework (cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, etc.) while working. With your dedicated space, turn off the television and monitor social media time—and be sure to communicate expectations with anyone who shares the space with you.
  3. Take breaks
    • Labbett: This is important! Sometimes we are working and just get so focused on work that we forget to eat. Try to stick with a regular breakfast and lunchtime in which you can step away, breathe, and refresh your mind. At the office too, it is normal to get up and talk with someone or go get a glass of water. At home, it is very easy to lose track of time. Set an alarm to get up and walk around for a few minutes.
    • Griffith: When the weather is nice, I’ll take a walk around the block. If I can’t go outside, I step away from the computer screen for a short period of time. Even walking to another room for a few minutes can help break up the day.
    • Landry: Some days are stacked with meetings, so having a scheduled break time doesn’t always work. Do some squats or something to get the blood moving if you have a few spare minutes, since you don’t have the office to walk around or office friends to go catch up with. My corner coffee shop is still open, so I’ll treat myself to an occasional coffee but will have to finish something (like answer 10 emails, return phone calls, or close out a project) to “earn” the reward. It sounds silly, but being left to our own devices means we can sometimes lose track of work.
  4. Be patient with yourself
    • Labbett: There is no question working from home brings different distractions than at the workplace. But if you think about it, there are many distractions in the workplace. We have just adapted to them and learned to tune them out. We can do the same when working from home. Keep outside noise to a minimum, although some may find light music or an open window with traffic noise relaxing. Create an environment that is comfortable but not too comfortable.
    • Teis: Establish work-hour boundaries with your family and friends. They often have the misconception that since you work at home (especially during these difficult times) that you can provide child care, run errands, and do other things that you would not be able to do if you commuted to the office every day. Set the expectations with loved ones so that you are disturbed as little as possible during your workday.

And as an added bonus: check out this list of tips from a presentation by Dr. Sean Nufer, Director of Educational Technology at TCS Education System.