New ways of learning are challenging the traditional higher education model!  This program explores the every changing scope of how teachers are teaching and students are learning.

Joining Dennis McCuistion are guest panelists:


One example of the changing model is Sal Khan‘s, Khan Academy. Austin College recently brought Sal Khan to Dallas. The Khan Academy’s mission is to get world-class education to everyone in the world for free. Using short video clips and digital content, students engage in a very different way.

To learn more from the original blog post, visit the following link: The Impact of Technology on Higher Education – Part Two.


Technology advances have changed many things, one of which is the way students are learning in the present day. Today’s students are prepared to live and work in a digital world and have different learning expectations as a result. In this episode we hear from expert panelists in the world of interactive teaching.

Joining Dennis McCuistion are:

  • Adam Brackin, PhD: Research Assistant Professor
    Arts and Technology, UT Dallas

To learn more about this episode, visit the original blog post: The Impact of Technology on Higher Education: A Brave New World – Part One.

Full Episode

Edward Snowden’s acts as a contractor of the National Security Administration (NSA) have caused some to call him a hero and others to call him a traitor. In this episode of the McCuistion Program Edward Snowden: Traitor or American Hero? panelists discuss the history of his acts as well as their various stances on what he did.

The debate over Edward Snowden’s decisions has galvanized and polarized many citizens.  Joining McCuistion to talk about Edward Snowden and his impact on society and government are experts:

Our experts views are provocative and very diverse on the questions of is Edward Snowden a criminal; or a whistleblower who may be eligible for protection?  To read more from the original airing follow this link: Edward Snowden: Traitor or American Hero?

National security is the focus of this week’s episode. National security is important to all of us and the government has set agencies like NSA, CIA and FBI in place to keep the country secure.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to discuss and question the issues around national security and our basic freedoms are acknowledged experts in this field:

  •  Sahar Aziz: Board Member: American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
    Associate Professor, Texas A&M University, School of Law
  • Danny O. Coulson: Former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI
    Co-Author: No Heroes: Inside the FBI’s Counter Terror Force
  • Joshua Rovner, PhD: Director of Studies, Tower Center for Political Studies, Associate Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University
  • Gordon Dee Smith: CEO and Principal, Strategic Insight Group
    President of the Board, Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations

To learn more about this episode you can follow this link to the original write-up or you can watch the full length video below.

Are Government Security Agencies Essential Or a Threat to Our National Security?


Wall Street scandals, corporate malfeasance, the banking debacle and questionable business ethics have increasingly “forced companies and their leadership under a microscope”. Sarbanes- Oxley has brought pressure on how boards should be structured and how they operate, yet one area in corporate governance still suffers. Board diversity continues to be a challenge  in the United States, lagging behind Europe.

Left to Right: Renee Hornbaker, Niki McCuistion, Richard Leblanc, PhD, Dennis McCuistion & James Waters, JD

Left to Right: Renee Hornbaker, Niki McCuistion, Richard Leblanc, PhD, Dennis McCuistion & James Waters, JD

Many boards reflect only one segment of the overall population (primarily white males), regardless of the companies’ constituency or customer base.

Some corporate governance experts believe that what is needed is more diversity ( in gender, ethnicity, age etc) which may then provide a broader base of opinions and input.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to talk about this issue and solutions are key experts in the area of corporate governance:

Our experts give various views on diversity and how the U.S.companies  measure against their  European counterparts .In  the U.S. board recruitment is often based on board members  reaching out to people they already know and are comfortable with; often individuals with views and experiences similar to their own.  Recruitment may also not take into consideration other values not reflected on the current board.

Research indicates a more diverse board, with individuals from dissimilar backgrounds, race, age and sex, as well as nationality, enriches board decisions. Studies show that a diverse board structure increases corporate performance for the better.

Focusing on just one factor of diversity, as an example, women; the percentage of S&P 500 companies with at least one female director is just over 90%, yet 10% of these companies still do not have women directors and 28% have just one.

Women hold only 14% to 16% of the seats on audit, compensation and nominating committees. Even fewer women chair the board or audit committee, serve as financial experts, and only 12% of compensation committees have a female chair.

Women add a much needed divergent value- they are not afraid to question, challenge and are the first to fire the CEO if necessary! The Credit Suisse Research Institute recently reported that net income growth over the past six years averaged 14% for companies with women directors compared to 10% for those with no female board members. In addition, a report from Catalyst, a research group focused on women’s advancement to senior leadership, found that Fortune 500 companies with more women directors, on average, outperformed those with fewer women board members on a broad range of financial indicators (Forbes, Karyn L. Twaronite, Ernst & Young).

Some European countries have mandatory quotas for female representation on boards. While not a solution on the horizon for the U.S., some institutional investors are asking for greater gender and ethnic diversity.Our experts agree, that whether it be a for-profit or nonprofit board, both require good governance, experienced board members and diverse perspectives.

Our experts agree. Whether it be a for-profit or nonprofit board, both require good governance, experienced board members and diverse perspectives. The diversity issue is one that needs to be challenged.

Talking about things that matter… with people who care.



Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


2208 – 12.28.2014

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. It is forced coercion. Exploitation can include prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Left to Right: Elizabeth M. Wheaton, Niki McCuistion, Kristen Richards, Dennis McCuistion, Shawn McGraw and Rebekah

While accurate figures are difficult to access, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 5.5 million children. Fifty-five percent are women and girls.

There are two primary factors driving the spread of human trafficking: high profits and low risk. This well-hidden, American epidemic involves, from a sex trafficking perspective, at least 100,000 children in the U.S., a $9.8 billion industry. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 13 years old.

While human trafficking spans all demographics, certain circumstances or vulnerabilities may lead to a higher susceptibility to victimization and human trafficking:

  • Runaways and homeless youth
  • Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war or conflict, or social discrimination
  • Foreign nationals who have paid large recruitment and travel fees to labor recruiters

Texas is a hub, #2 in incidences of human trafficking with California being the highest in incidences (Dept. of Homeland Security). The Department of Justice designated the I-10 corridor, which runs from California to Florida, as the #1 route for human trafficking in the US. One-third of this traffic goes through Texas, 1 in 4 victims are transported along I-10, and Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio, which has been designated as the Texas triangle, is one of the most prevalent places for trafficking in the country.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are professionals in the awareness and prevention field, including:

  • Elizabeth M. Wheaton, PhD – Economist, Senior Lecturer, Cockrell-McKintosh Faculty -in-residence, Southern Methodist University, who talks about the economics of human trafficking. She asks, “if there is no money to be made from human trafficking, would it exist”? Unfortunately there is not good data.
  • Kristen Richards – The Director of Volunteers for Traffick911, a nonprofit organization committed to a world without slavery. The organization has been recognized by Homeland Security Investigations as a most-valued partner in the battle to save American children from sexual slavery. Traffick911 has trained thousands of first responders across the country, has safe homes and works in both intervention and prevention.
  • Rebekah – A survivor, trafficked for 10 years, who talks about her personal situation and is now an advocate who has dedicated her life to building awareness and prevention of this issue.
  • Shawn McGraw – Supervisory Special agent, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security who conducts investigations regarding this crime. He concentrates on North Texas, receiving leads from various sources. He says it is one of the most unrecorded crimes, with victims seeing themselves part of the crime.

Human trafficking happens in our own country, our own backyards. It is imperative we know more about this growing epidemic. Awareness and involvement on everyone’s part is critical. This is not just a law enforcement problem – it is a people problem.

Join us to see how you personally can help.

Talking about things that matter… with people who care.



Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


2205 – 11.23.14

How we communicate, conduct business and interact socially has dramatically changed, most especially in the last 10 or so years. Major, new technologies have fundamentally altered with whom, how and where we communicate. The Internet has formed the basis for a new business and social community, manufacturing information for all of us to share.

The Network Revolution has actually changed how value is created and how people connect and make decisions.

Left to Right: Monte Ford, Dennis McCuistion, William J. Ribaudo, Niki McCuistion and Barry Libert

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to talk about this revolution are key experts in that field:

  • Monte Ford: Director Akamai Technologies, Former Senior VP/ CIO American Airlines
  • William J. Ribaudo: Partner, Deloitte and Touche, LLP
  • Barry Libert: Chairman and Founder, OpenMatters

Our experts advise us to join the revolution and make it work – or be left behind. Technology, across all of its platforms, from the Internet to the Cloud, Facebook, Twitter and others are the “new” way to communicate. With technology accelerating at an increasingly rapid pace, this “new” technology is not only distributing information but making connections – and is the lynchpin of business.

Unlike a limiting, physical world, technology has created a platform that allows us to learn and conduct business in many different ways. Today people learn from cell phones and computers. The pace of change is much more rapid, making control of information more democratized. Democratization of information means one does not need to rely on a single source especially one that may not be trusted.

From business to education, vast changes are taking place.

Changes in business: Today every business needs to think differently. They need to ask, “what’s the intellectual property that I have created that I can offer a customer that gives them the information they need to make decisions? How might I connect with my customers so they are participants in my business, helping me think about new ideas?”

Changes in culture: Some of the cultural shifts include: sharing economy, collaborative consumption, peer-to-peer exchanges, crowd sourcing, network participation, self- actualization and mastery, and peer based trust. Jobs have changed as a result.

Changes in media: Media has especially been hit by the way information is now accessed and consumed. The old way of getting news is now, to the younger generation, Jurassic Park. If you can get up to date information instantly from many sources, why settle for one?

Changes in education: Young people today even decide what classes to take and from which professors, by online ranking. Schools are offering virtualized education. Friend or foe? The technology revolution is here to stay.

Join us to talk about how it can become your friend.



Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


2209 – 11.16.14

Common Core is the subject of this episode of the McCuistion Program as well as the subject of many conversations happening around the country when discussing education standards.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to discuss the controversy over the Common Core are guests:

  • Kathleen Leos: Former Assistant Deputy Director, US Department of Education and
    CEO: Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development
  • Louis Malfaro: Secretary/ Treasurer, Texas American Federation of Teachers

What is Common Core?
State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear, college and career ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 43 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

Common Core was initially created to ensure high standards that are consistent across states and provide clear expectations so all students, regardless of where they live in the US, graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career and life. Its intent was rigorous, aimed at ensuring all students are prepared to compete with their peers and not fall behind their peers in other countries. Common Core provides a framework so more distinct standards are looked at. It’s not about how teachers should teach, but about the information we want used in a classroom environment. Common Core also allows for how and why individuals, events or ideas develop and interact over the course of a learning text.

Additionally the Common Core allows for more collaboration with other states on a wide range of tools and policies including:

  • The development of the necessary tools and other support systems that would help teachers and school systems ensure students are able to learn the new standards
  • The development of digital media, textbooks and other learning tools
  • The development of common comprehensive assessment systems, replacing present testing systems so student performance can be measured annually.

Yet while teachers have been a critical voice in the development of these standards, there is still a strong backlash to the Common Core implementation across the US.

Join us to learn from our guests about the pros and cons of the Common Core and what must happen to raise the standard of US education nationwide.

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care- now in our 25th year of thought provoking topics…


Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


11.09.14 – 2204

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Wealth of States.  

State wealth is the subject of the second part of the Wealth of States series. Part two provides more insight on the reasons why some US citizens are fleeing their home states, causing these states to lose both much needed revenue and residents.

Joining host Dennis McCuistion to discuss state wealth are:

Left to Right: J. Matthew Wilson and Stephen Moore

There are mass exoduses of US citizens and businesses fleeing states where they are being choked by income taxes and laws that make it difficult to work and operate their businesses. One of the reasons are the policies politicians are implementing that prevent, not encourage, growth. State income tax rates are a big factor stimulating moves from one state to another. Presently there are 9 states which have no personal income tax and they create 3 times more jobs. Another factor: right to work laws – so individuals/ businesses are not forced to join unions. Still another issue is energy- a huge and growing factor in the wealth of states and a politically contentious one.

With the issue of state wealth, a balance is needed, yet are we really willing to tolerate a little more risk to gain a lot economically? Perhaps what is needed is a cost-benefit analysis that looks at facts, not scare factors. For the first time since the Civil War we are also growing more geographically polarized-,with red states getting redder and blue states, bluer and actual secession movements within some states. More and more, people are opposing what is proposed by the other side- regardless.

When looking at state wealth and the reasons certain states are flourishing, census studies are one place to look. Presently census studies show the top 20 cities to move to are: San Antonio, Houston, Pasadena, TX, Laredo, TX, Corpus Christie, TX, Brownsville TX, Boise, Idaho, Austin, TX, Tallahassee, FL, Pocatello, Idaho, Mobile, AL, Ft. Worth, TX, Dallas, Portland, OR, Plano, TX, Garland, TX, St. Petersburg, FL., Irving, TX, Birmingham, AL, Vancouver, WA. An interesting dichotomy is that it appears that in liberal states- the rich are getting richer and the poor, more poor. Another irony is that people come to red states, because taxes are lower as is the cost of living, then they attempt to changes the policies to reflect what they were in the state they vacated!

Are there solutions? Or are some states destined to become “ghost towns”? Tune in and be challenged by what our guests propose- as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care.

Thanks for joining us to talk about state wealth.

Niki McCuistion

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Wealth of States.  

State wealth is the topic of this McCuistion Program. Join host, Dennis McCuistion, and guests Stephen Moore and Dr. Bernard Weinstein, for a lively discussion on economics and the increased wealth of some states at the cost of others who are rapidly declining in population and overall growth. What are the contributing factors to state wealth?

State Wealth Panelists Include:

Stephen Moore: Chief Economist at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of States, claims businesses as well as high income individuals migrate to where their economic interests are protected. He believes lowering the state income tax and decreasing tax burdens invite more business and build a state’s economy.

Bernard Weinstein PhD: Economist and Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, discusses the issue of natural resources and how this has also contributed to state wealth or the increased migration of residents to those states that have fewer regulations regarding these resources, so they are more readily available.

Arthur B. Laffer, PhD: Stephen Moore’s co-author, joins us via a prior pre-taped interview. He says, “taxes redistribute people not wealth”. The authors’ studies review the last 53 years and examine the 11 states which had introduced income taxes (the first being West Virginia, in 1961, the last, Connecticut in 1991). The authors looked at population, employment rates, and the work force, output and tax revenue, from 3 years prior to the tax being instituted to the last 2-3 years. They found that every single state had declined; after instituting tax, in every single one of the metrics as a share of the US economic picture.

Stephen Moore says, “You can’t balance the budget on the backs of people who immigrated.” Nor can you balance the budget on the backs of those who are unemployed. While each state government thought it was worth raising taxes for more schools, highways and infrastructure, the result was the opposite of what was expected. If a public sector and agency does not perform, we give them more money! In the private sector we cut costs to be more efficient. Yet as Weinstein says, “In Texas, maybe we could spend a little more- we can afford it. We’ve dropped from 34th to 49th in education.”

The outcome of the discussion on state wealth… policies matter. Our guests make a solid case for states themselves to become more competitive or risk population shrinkage and urban dilapidation; before they become ghost towns as several of our cities have- from Detroit to Cleveland, and states mortgage their future as California and New York have.

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter… and today, it’s about state wealth.



Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Engaging employees, consultant and
speaker on Organizational Culture,
Governance and Strategic Planning


10.26.14 – 2206