After a very successful four day Orientation Program which welcomed over 550 new students to Saint Michael's College classes began this past Monday. The weather has been incredible and quite unusual for this time of year with Vermont and the Burlington area experiencing an "official" heat wave = three consecutive days of 90+ temperatures - we actually broke records each of those three days. Fortunately I teach in a nicely air conditioned classroom so students did NOT miss a class. Mondays I have my Practicum class which has 16 senior psychology majors who will be spending 8 - 10 hours a week for the entire school year working at a local social service agency - they will then spend 2.5 hours a week in class processing that experience, learning new skills, studying the various sites and supporting each other. We are unique in that SMC had a year-long Practicum where most other places only provide their students with a one-semester experience. Our students tell us that graduate schools and employers are very impressed that we have such an extensive program for our students. Most of my students are already placed on sites as we provide them with potential placements in May and they are expected to make the contacts over the summer. Prof. Molly Millwood teaches the other section and it is always a personal and professional pleasure to be able to work so closely with her. Sports Psychology and Theories of Counseling classes are T/Th this semester and both are full. I always feel badly when I have to turn down students who "really want to take this class" but reality is what it is and they can always sign up for another semester. On Thursday I took my Sports Psychology class to the library where Kristin Hindes, one of our reference librarians spends about an hour explaining to my students how to more effectively utilize the wealth of resources we have available. My students have to do three research papers this semester and they have to work together on two presentations which they make to the entire class - I laughingly title Kristin's presentation as "Beyond Google and Ask.com" - the quality of the papers my students submit has risen exponentially ever since I have had Kristin do this presentation. Too many students are NOT aware of the variety of resources available AND of the help which is provided by the library staff. The College recently "purchased" a new database called SportsDiscus which we used a couple of years ago on a pilot basis - this database contains over 550 different sources of information on every topic imaginable related to "sports" and "psychology."
I have been hearing from many of our recent graduates as they begin graduate school programs or their employment. I have been getting a couple of calls a day for reference checks on these students and enjoy being able to provide strong references for these students. It is also a lot of fun to follow these students on Facebook as they write about their new classes, their new jobs and how much they miss SMC - fortunately we are having Alumni Weekend in a few weeks and many, many of them will be returning for that. One recent alum called me this morning to tell me that a woman brought her young son into his school to enroll him and when she saw that he was wearing an SMC shirt she asked about his connection - as they talked they shared stories of people they may know in common and my name came up so he just HAD to call and tell me that Betsy Wolfe (not sure of her married name) had asked him to say hi to me - he hesitated because he didn't know if I would be excited to know that yet another one of my former students is in fact, old enough to have a child entering school AND that she has another child at home but he did want to let me know that she said hello......... :)
Take care, be well and please keep all of the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers.