Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dinner At Dave's and guests SKYPING into class.

In the Spring semester, I offer my Men & Masculinities class for 15 men and 15 women, all second semester seniors.  This is the only course at the College that specifically deals with men's issues and the only one with a balance of the sexes.  Part of class requires my students to read Linda/Max Ciampoli's book CHURCHILL'S SECRET AGENT - this is a novel based on the true life experiences of Max during World War II when he was a spy for Winston Churchill at the ages of 17,18 and 19.  Students read the book, write an essay entitled "could I do what Max did" and then I send these off to Max, now 91 years old, and Linda.  After they have a chance to read my students' essays, we SKYPE them into class and my students get to "meet" Max and Linda.  We did this on Monday night this week and it was an amazing educational opportunity and a very emotional one for Max.  When Max and Linda got married, she knew nothing of his experiences during WWII.  Over time and with her love and understanding, he revealed what he had done.  HIS goal in writing this book is so today's youth NEVER FORGET that what happened way back then can happen again IF we don't remember our history.  Given that the day before we SKYPED, three Jews were killed in Kansas simply because they WERE Jewish and that this happened the day before Passover, a Jewish Holiday, Max, a Catholic, but someone who believed so passionately in the worth of every human being, became very emotional as WE talked with him in class.  What a gift to my students to be able to read a book, write an essay about that book and then experience an opportunity to "meet and talk with" the authors. 
After class and SKYPING, I had the fourth of five "dinner at Dave's" at my home - students love coming to a professor's home and having a chance for a home cooked meal off campus - I usually have to throw them out around 11:15 as I have to get up for work the next day :)


Take care, be well and as we head towards Commencement, please keep all of our seniors in your thoughts and prayers as they leave this place they have called home for the past 4 years.  Also, please keep all of the members of our military, their families and all of our veterans in your thoughts and prayers too.....
Dave

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Smoking Doesn't Get You High, It Gets You Down"

This past Friday, my friend and colleague Dr. Ari Kirshenbaum, Associate Professor of Psychology presented the work that he and his students have been studying - the following is the description that was posted about this:  "The mortality and economic burden associated with tobacco use is immense, and nicotine withdrawal is the primary obstacle to successful tobacco-use cessation.  There are many aspects of tobacco withdrawal, and the dysphoria provoked by initial abstinence tends to be the strongest precipitator of relapse.  The scientific literature is replete with experimental evidence showing that nicotine reliably produces depression in non-human animals.  Although withdrawal is most often conceptualized a a purely physiological condition produced by chronic nicotine exposure, Dr. Kirshenbaum will present data from his laboratory that shows that nicotine withdrawal is a product of learning and memory processes.  This new conceptualization of withdrawal helps to clarify the reasons why tobacco is a potent dependence-producing agent, and may ultimately provide new opportunities for tobacco-use cessation treatment."    In addition to most of our Psychology Department attending this event, there were several students in attendance.  This past August I traveled to Carbondale, Colorado and co-presented a workshop with Dr. Steve Rissman from Metropolitan State University outside Denver - our workshop raised the question of how issues of masculinity impacts relapse - we did the workshop at Jaywalker Lodge, an alcohol/drug treatment facility for men in Carbondale.  I had previously done a workshop in March based on my book I Wish He'd Taught Me How To Shave and was excited to return here - they have an amazingly successful treatment program at Jaywalker and issues of dependence AND relapse are intriguing to me.  I appreciated Ari's work in his lab and know that his students are challenged as they learn how to do scientific research on various topics - WELL DONE my friend........
As always, please keep all of the members of our military and their families AND all of our veterans in your thoughts and prayers.  I have gotten to know a couple of OUR current full-time students who are veterans and we have so much to learn from them and their experiences -
 
take good care
Dave

Monday, October 28, 2013

Technology in the classroom at SMC

Last August five members of the faculty participated in the Advanced Teaching With Technology Workshop offered by our Information Technology staff.  The first picture below  shows Amdework Aseffa, Support Technician who directs the College's NEW Mac lab - this VERY state of the art Mac Lab which is designed to support our Fine Arts Department, gives our students the support they need for digital learning and creative work. It is equipped with 15 iMac workstations that include the full Adobe Suite and other popular software.  While I have no clue as to most of what happens in this new Lab, I do know that Amde is a a great teacher who strives to make sure that anyone with questions, will get them answered.  He, along with Jerome Allen, Erik Lightbody, Sue Breeyear, Kellie Campbell and Jim Millard, helped the five of us from the faculty to, in some cases like me, redesign our classes.  The second picture is of a presentation I did this past Friday to explain how I utilize our Tegrity - video-capture program  - in both my Sports Psychology course (students making presentations get video-captured and then they have to view their own presentation and write up their own assessment) and in my Theories of Counseling class where students check out a "kit" containing a webcam and a microphone and then they have to - on their own - set up a mock counseling session which they submit to me.  THIS has been a huge success and the good folks in IT have been amazingly helpful resources as I try to make my classes even more "technology friendly" than they were.  One statistic I was surprised at when we first began the workshop was that the entering first year class at SMC this past August was the FIRST class to have had technology through their ENTIRE school experience.  Pretty amazing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

An amazing weekend - Gloria Steinem, Annie Liebowitz and Senator Patrick and his wife Marcel - for the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony

Astor Court in Rhinebeck, NY was the alternative site for the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal Award Ceremony since the gov't shutdown closed the site where this celebration normally takes place - Val-Kill is on government property so the shutdown meant their finding an alternative site.  Astor Court is where Chelsea Clinton was married and is a private residence.  Marc and Dana vanderHeyden hosted a reception here Saturday evening for the Vermont contingent who were there to share in the celebration of Senator and Mrs. Patrick Leahy being honored.

Marilyn Cormier is the College's Director of Governmental and Corporate Relations and she and Marcel and Patrick Leahy are good friends of hers.  Senator Leahy is our Vermont Senator and currently the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate which makes him the third in line for the Presidency.  Here they are in front of Astor Court with the Hudson River in the background.

Both Professor Reza Ramazani and I were honored to be at this event and to be asked to "pose" with the Senator.  Prof. Ramazani is one of our economics professor and he truly IS an extraordinary teacher.  His students love his classes and his energy seeps out into the hallways wherever he teaches.


Gloria Steinam is someone I have always admired.  I have used her scholarly writings in my classes seemingly forever.  She, along with the Senator and Marcel Leahy (and three other people) were honored at the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony.  I had a chance to meet and chat with her about my Men & Masculinities class and my newly published book I Wish He'd Taught Me How To Shave.  It was such a privilege to talk with her and later to hear her acceptance speech as she recounted her journey as a strong feminist scholar and author.  I am not one to be "star struck" but WOW - for me to meet such an icon WAS a privilege.

As we were gathering yesterday morning outside of Astor Court, I walked up to this group - former SMC President Marc vanderHeyden, Marcel Leahy and Senator Patrick Leahy were standing talking with Annie Liebowitz who just happens to live next to Astor Court and who took a break from pressing apples for cider at her home to stop over to greet her long time friend Gloria Steinam - Senator Leahy introduced me to her - she, for those who aren't aware, is an incredible photographer whose works are well known all over the world - she truly has an "eye" for taking pictures of world famous and not so famous people.

So, as indicated in the title of this post - an amazing weekend.  Thanks to Marilyn Cormier for the invitation.  Spending time with VP for Institutional Advancement Patrick Gallivan, his friend Dani Fisette, new VT friends Joy and Ed Limoge, Marilyn, Marc and Dana, Patrick and Marcel Leahy and, of course REZA made for not a "normal" weekend for me.  One of the many reasons I respect and admire Marcel Leahy is her openness about her successful battle with melanoma - she mentioned this in HER acceptance speech - she also is a staunch advocate for our military and their families - so it is fitting as always, for me to ask that you keep ALL of the members of our military and ALL of our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Take care
Dave

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Practicum - Experiential Education

My Practicum (PS 450/460) class meets for the entire academic year.  This makes SMC unique as most other colleges/universities only have a one semester Practicum.  Students are out in the community for 8 - 10 hours each week and then back in class for 2.5 hours for the academic year.  Both Molly Millwood and I each teach a section of this senior experiential educational class.  This year my students are at the local elementary school, the middle school, an alternative high school, a senior citizen housing complex, the Department of Children and Families, the Howard Center (working with adult schizophrenics) and at Women Helping Battered Women - one of the many skills they learn in Practicum is how to make OBJECTIVE observations as opposed to subjective observations.  They HAVE to be able to observe people's appearance and behavior for any signs of "differences" - potential abuse, warning signs, etc.  We spent some time in class yesterday learning these skills and the pictures show them in discussion about why objective observations are SO important in the field of counseling.  this is only my second meeting with this group but they already are impressing me.....that is not always an easy thing to do. 




Monday, August 26, 2013

Class of 2017 - What a welcome!!!

New and returning student-athletes gathered in McCarthy yesterday afternoon for the mandatory NCAA Eligibility meetings - after a great student panel for first year SA's, everyone gathered to listen to me speak about how incredible the ACADEMIC ACHiEVEMENT is of our Student-Athletes and then listened to AD Geri Knortz and to ZAF...... before heading over to Ross for the opening barbecue.

New students arriving at Ross Sports Center for the final event of Orientation Weekend - the Orientation Leaders this year were wonderful, creating a great transition for all of our entering first years.  

After the "official" Orientation activities are completes, the O-Leaders head outside so I can take pictures - they always love this and then I post all of the pictures on Facebook - many of them then use these photos as THEIR profile pictures.  What a great group - well done!!

The success of Orientation, year after year, is the result of a LOT of people working closely together. Grace Kelly, shown here with Resident Director and assistant to Grace Eric Jaukkuri, does an amazing job every year of empowering students to organize, direct, lead and deliver our Orientation Program - Grace allows the O-Board to design the program and is always there to help but knows that leadership is often best learned by doing....  Thanks Grace and Eric for making this year's Orientation such a huge success.

As classes begin today, it is my 31st year here at Saint Michael's College - I look forward EVERY DAY to going to work here.  The students are wonderful and the colleagueship between and among the faculty, staff, administration AND students is a model for other places......

Off to MY first class this afternoon - take good care, be well, and please, as always, keep all of the members of our military and all of our veterans in your thoughts and prayers .

One last item - my book I Wish He's Taught Me How to Shave was released last week and the first printing has already sold out - you can get a copy at windridgebooksofvt.com if you are interested in reading student views on How My Father Influenced My View Of What A Man Is - from the early responses, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters are telling me that this is making them think - critically about so many things - GOOD, then it already is a success.....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fulbright Scholars' Orientation - Gender and Sexual Harassment

I was asked to speak to a group of visitors to our campus who are Fulbright Scholars from around the globe.  They are at SMC for an orientation before heading out across the country to study for the next two years.  My topic was on Gender and Sexual Harassment.  Too often, we just assume that visitors to our country completely understand OUR customs and laws when, in reality, much of their education comes (shudder) from television and the movies.  These people are from Brazil, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Botswana, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia and Libya.  They were so attentive and asked great questions.  While I DID have to explain the term "fondling", I gratefully, did not have to explain the word "penetration."  Three of them explained that in their country, LGBTQ (they asked me to explain what I meant by those letters) must exist BUT they are not open because they could be killed......  It was an amazing two hours and I appreciate their attention, their willingness to go way out of their comfort zone and to better understand the influence that culture has on all of us.

As always, please keep all of the members of our military and our veterans in your thoughts and prayers.  We recently held a campus-wide meeting with 25 folks from all areas of the College to discuss how we can better serve the needs of our student-veterans - a good meeting.

Dave