Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ok, so we have a little snow.........

On Monday students were outside on the lawn tossing frisbees dressed in shorts and short sleeved shirts - and today we have several inches of snow on the ground and it is still snowing - Jay Peak has even decided to re-open after closing for the season as they got 14 inches of new snow and are expecting an additional 7 inches today. Of course, this IS Vermont and the temperatures this weekend are supposed to be in the 70's or even in the 80's - THIS is why I love Vermont. I was planning on going kayaking this morning but instead will just ride the exercise bike in my home..... looking out the window at the snow continuing to fall and the accumulation of about 7inches.

Last night the SA (Student Association) had their final meeting of the year and Marilyn Cormier, adviser to the SA AND Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the College thanked the members of the SA for their good work this year and then presented SA President David Hiltz a gift from the President and the Board. Even in the final meeting students were challenged to support farm workers in Florida in their attempts to get a ONE CENT per pound of tomatoes picked increase which would in effect double their income. Several of our students/staff travel to Immokalee, Florida each year as part of the MOVE program and Josh Hoxie and one of his colleagues from the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) were part of that trip this year and asked the SA to sign a letter urging Sodexho to sign on to almost ALL major food producers in this requested increase. Our students were unanimous in their support - I challenged the SA several months ago to get MORE involved in educating themselves and our campus about the plethora (love that word) of issues confronting our society and to their credit, they rose to that challenge. This year the SA has dealt with so many different issues and they have really made a difference in the increase of awareness on our campus.

A week ago our new men's head basketball coach, Michael Harding was introduced by David to the SA and Michael spoke about his goals for our basketball program and how he hopes to better engage our students. He was a huge hit with the students as he is clearly comfortable working with young people - they want him to come back ("and bring your little boy with you") as he also asked them what THEY are looking for from our basketball program - a good choice and a good mix.

Tomorrow night we will hold our block M dinner. This is the end of the year Athletic Department celebration of a year of athletic competition. Each team is honored and coaches talk about their seasons and recognize outstanding members of their teams. It is a great time to thank our student-athletes for all of their hard work during the past year. It is not easy for any college student today to combine work outside of the classroom with a rigorous academic schedule. Student-athletes in particular spend countless hours both during and out of season on their sport. As the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative I am asked to address the gathering and last year was incredibly proud to announce that 58 of our student-athletes had achieved an overall Grade Point Average of 3.5 or higher. In addition, I ask all student-athletes who have attained a 3.0 or higher to be recognized and am proud that more and more of our students attain that GPA each year. I am looking forward to tomorrow night and eagerly await the results of this year's academic achievement of our student-athletes. I picked up the Burlington Free Press this morning and they have a section on College Honors. Under academics was the following: " Dave Vorozilchak St. Michael's college: the senior won the Northeast 10's Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award for men's hockey, recognizing success on the field and in the classroom. He ranked fourth among NE-10 defensemen in points (19) and third in assists (15) while maintaining a 3.7 grade point average in engineering." What the article doesn't include is what an amazing young man David is. I have come to know him quite well over his four years here and his leadership both on and off of the ice has made major contributions to the College. He served as a Resident Assistant in our Student Life Program, was an active member of our Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) and has served as the male student-athlete representative on the College's Athletic advisory Council which I chair. His contributions to the College are very much appreciated and we will hate to see him graduate. I have also gotten to know his Mom and Dad and they often travel from their home in Pennsylvania for David's home hockey games - it has been fun over the years to introduce David's parents to the various faculty and staff who attend the home hockey games as to a person, we all praise this young man and thank his parents for sending him to SMC.

Although our seniors don't want me saying this - Friday IS the last day of classes and with finals next week, perhaps the snow will result in an increased grade point average. It is always emotional for seniors to find their time here coming to an end and sometimes they forget that we will miss some of them as much as they miss us. It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to watch young men and women arrive on this campus as first year students and then to watch them grow and mature. They make mistakes, they fall down, they get back up, they have their ups and downs and they LOVE their time here - you will be missed and I hope that you come back often........

take care, be well and please keep the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Consortium of Vermont Colleges' Bus Tour - a successful concert, the "end" is near :) and we have a new men's basketball coach......

I just got back to my office after attending the breakfast on campus for the Consortium of Vermont Colleges' Bus Tour - this is an annual event which brings together guidance counselors and independent counselors from all over the country for a bus tour of all of the Vermont colleges/universities. With several current students and members of the faculty and staff in attendance, Admissions Director Jacki Murphy gave a brief overview of SMC and then the participants had breakfast and a chance to talk with those of us representing SMC before they took their tour of the campus. I met with a number of these folks and had the opportunity to answer a lot of their questions. One woman from NY works at a community college and we had a great discussion of the value of that experience. Since my first two years of college were at a community college we had a great talk. She was asking about transfers. Two other folks asked about athletics, the Catholic nature of the College, financial aid, student involvement in so many activities and the benefit of SMC being right next to Burlington. It is a lively group and they will tour the entire state during this week. As always, I am proud of our students as they are such great representatives of our overall student body.

Three Eye Blind is the name of a very popular group who performed on Friday night at the spring concert. From all reports, it was a great event and everyone I have spoken to so far had a fantastic time. It takes so much effort to put on any event on a college campus while school is in session and a concert truly takes up the effort of so many people. Grace Kelly, our Director of Student Activities and all of the students/staff who work with her to make these events a success are to be applauded. Mark LItchfield, Director of Special Events always does a fantastic job working with all of us and he makes things to much easier just by the way he interacts with everyone - Well done.....

We have two weeks of classes left before the end of our semester. This coming Friday the Psychology Department's Symposium will take place and seven of our students will present the results of their honors research to the community. Jenny Pietroski, Morgan Powers, Jason Fuchs, Kate Amey, Greg Tatro, Caitlin Adamo and Betsie Miltner all have done some amazing research and they present to the Department and the community and then answer questions about their research. This not only provides them with the chance to show their hard work but it also is great preparation for future work in the field of Psychology. Tolerance and sensitization of d-amphetamine on a DRL 17.5-s schedule is Jason's topic and Parsing partisanship: How strong political leanings might distort one's thinking is Greg's. Jenny is a wonderful student to have in class and her presentation is titled: The effects of nicotine, nicotine abstinence, and acute psychological stress on cardiovascular reactivity and neuroendocrine functioning in a sample of habitual and intermittent cigarette smokers. They have all worked closely with a member of the faculty in our department and this is one of the highlights of their four years here - that collaboration between a student and a member of the faculty which results in a public presentation of research - it doesn't get much better than that. In addition, we will have the Psi Chi Induction ceremony where students who have achieved high grade point averages will be inducted into the Psychology Honor Society. There will be 62 student poster presentation where our students get to showcase their activities over this past year. Dr. Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo is this year's Symposium coordinator and she has done a great job in preparing everyone for this event - thanks Melissa :)

Now that pre-registration is almost complete I have my class lists for the fall courses. I received an email the other day from one of my "future" students who is studying abroad and who will be in two classes. She is in Africa right now and while I know OF her, I don't know her yet so appreciated her email. She also commented to me that her family reads my blog - as those of you who DO read this regularly know, that always amazes me since I simply blog but really have no idea who or how many people actually read all of this - to those of you who do - THANKS........

Our new men's basketball coach has been selected. Michael Harding comes to us from Stonehill College and since I was on the Search Committee, I am really happy that Mike accepted our offer and will be joining us. He has a very strong stance on academic achievement for his student-athletes and I look forward to working with him on this. He has already begun his duties here and on Tuesday he will be "introduced" to the local media. During his interviewing we discussed a hope that there will be greater involvement with students and the community and to that end, I am taking Michael to the SA meeting on Tuesday evening where he will be introduced to the student leaders of the Student Association. Both Matt Seklecki and Claire McQuillen will be returning next year to be the co-secretaries of programming and they are interested in increasing the involvement of ALL students with our athletic programs so they will not only attend the 4:30 "media" presentation but they will hopefully work with our new coach to bring more students to support our basketball program. Welcome Michael! ! ! ! !

Enjoy the week, take care and please keep all of the members of our military in your thoughts and prayers.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

A VSAC presentation and lots of activities as the semester winds down FAST...

I drove to Lyndonville, VT this morning to Lyndon State College to do another presentation for VSAC - Vermont Student Assistance Corporation - this one was for around 200 parents of current high school juniors - the Governor welcomed the students and their parents and then the parents spent the next hour and a half with me talking with them about the transition from high school to college. I enjoy doing these presentations and the questions that parents raise are excellent. I know that much of the information I give them will make them uncomfortable and I challenge them to talk to their "kids" and to listen more. I cover a wide range of topics including mental health issues, student-athletes' often difficult transition from being the "hero" in high school to sitting the bench for a year in college, to academic achievement and gender, drugs/alcohol and sex. I appreciate that VSAC offers workshops like this to help parents with what can be a difficult time for them. Oh yes, it snowed most of the way there this morning but by the time I left and drove home the temperatures had climbed to the mid-50's and the snow had melted - it WAS Mother Nature's way or reminding us that this IS early April and she may not be finished with us just yet - the average snowfall in Vermont is between 4 & 5 inches so even though our students are now wearing shorts and flip flops around campus things can change quickly. Besides, with only three more weeks of classes left, I can sometimes hear grade point averages drop as the temperatures rise :)

As the semester DOES wind down most departments are hosting the work of their senior majors. Our Psychology Symposium is on the 23rd which will include the induction ceremony for Psi Chi - the Psychology Honor Society, Journalism presentations will be soon, Phi Beta Kappa held their induction ceremony yesterday as did the History Department, Journalism and Education Departments, the Athletic Department hosts a speaker on Monday - this presentation, entitled Rachael's Challenge tells the story of the first young woman who was killed in the horrific Columbine massacre, Kathryn Markey '84 returns to share some of her writings and of course, several of our athletic teams are in the throes of their seasons.

This is always a busy time on campus and I try to remind students, especially seniors to take some time to appreciate what they HAVE experienced here over the past one, two, three OR four years. It is rewarding to be able to watch young people be challenged - to see them face those challenges and grow so much from these challenges - just another one of the joys of working here at SMC.

take care, be well, and please don't forget the members of our military and their families - keep them in your thoughts and prayers.