Saturday, November 7, 2009

Collaboration at its best.

On Tuesday of this week Tim Ford ’83 came to campus to speak with a group of five of our psychology majors (all seniors) who are working with Carolyn Whitney and me on independent research into the organizational behaviors and the psychological implications for four different groups within the work environments of today’s corporate world. These four groups are the traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y. Four students are researching each of these four groups and the fifth student is looking at the gender implications of all of this. It has been a fascinating experiment with these students who have already submitted two papers to us and who will complete a major collaborative paper before the end of the semester. We may even present their findings at a “brown bag” luncheon on campus. Jim Wall'74 also came and spoke with the group during the Career Symposium which was held a couple of weeks ago. I had contacted Jim and he provided the students with several excellent articles on how the corporate world is dealing with the various personalities of these four groups and what the implications are for integration of the various personalities of each group into the corporation. He provided us with some in-house research that Deloitte has been doing and he spent over an hour and a half with us on the Thursday night prior to his keynote address to the Symposium. On Saturday morning of that weekend I was on campus for the Admission’s Office Academic Preview and ran into Ryan Devane, one of our students – he was in a workshop that Tim Ford was presenting and as they talked, Tim commented that he had all four of these groups in his work site locally AND Tim offered to have our students come to that workplace (Hackett, Valine, McDonald ) to interview these folks (he has a 70+ year old partner in the firm who doesn’t even have a computer in his office and he has a number of 20-somethings who work for him). Tim came in Tuesday and spent over an hour with us and has offered to be a resource for our students as they progress in their individual and collective research. Each student is working on his/her own research area and sharing it with the others in the group. There will be a final “product” which will combine the efforts of all five of them.

This is an excellent example of the positive effects of ALUMNI, FACULTY, STUDENTS, CAREER SERVICES collaboration. The Symposium brought our alums back to campus – they listened to Jim Wall and connected with our current students and are following up with some of those contacts such at Tim Ford. CAREER SERVICES staff are connected to the students and the alumni. This is not only a great example of collaboration at its best, but it also is an example of what Carolyn and I have been able to craft with five of our senior psychology majors who had a specific interest and how that is all coming together in a great educational experience.

I have been "subbing" for Molly Millwood's Practicum class for the past few weeks as she just gave birth to their second child this week. Ari and Molly are both members of our psychology department faculty and very popular with the students who have been quite excited as we have all awaited the arrival of Quinn Alexander Kirshenbaum. It has been great to get to know another class and to see how their internship sites are going as they, like my 16 Practicum students are having a very challenging and very educational experience out in the local community providing services in agencies across the county. It is very reinforcing when we get to see how our students are able to take classroom learning and apply it in real-life situations. I am very proud of our students.

Please take care, be well and please keep the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers. One of my students saw some of our Vermont National Guard soldiers and their families as the soldiers were preparing to deploy and she too, much like I experienced last week, was struck with the reality of this WAR. I spoke with Prof. Bill Grover the other morning as we both walked to our offices. He has maintained a wall covered with pictures of all those killed in the Iraq War and he asked me if I felt that he should begin a wall for those soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan - I told him YES and when I mentioned this to my classes, they agreed. It is a sad reality that too many of us can easily forget that there are WARS going on and that we all need to remember not only those who HAVE served, but those who ARE serving and their families.


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