Sunday, February 13, 2011

More great skiing and student papers ARE good so far this semester.

I got up early this morning and headed to Smuggler's Notch Ski Resort for a few runs down the mountain before returning to campus to grade more papers. The skiing was great, as usual and we are so lucky to have Smuggs as part of SMC. Since I had graded most of the newly submitted papers Saturday, I only had a few more to do. I have been impressed with the quality of my students' writing so far and if this is any indication of the rest of the semester, it is going to be an excellent one. Sports Psychology and Men & Masculinities are both writing intensive courses and I have high expectations for student writing and hold my students accountable for such things as spelling, grammar and punctuation. Since society holds them accountable once they leave our campuses, I think it is part of our responsibility to make sure that they DO learn now so that they don't make common mistakes later on.

This past Thursday my friend/colleague Pat Standen (adjunct professor of Philosophy) came into my Sports Psychology class to talk with my students. Pat was in an automobile accident when he was just 16 and has been in a wheel chair ever since. I have been inviting him in for some time and when his schedule works with mine, it is an eye-opener for my students. Pat kayaks, sails a sailboat, handcycles, participates in sled hockey, water skis, downhill and XC skis and probably engages in several other athletic endeavors that I don't even know about. He is the founder and President of NDAA - Northeast Disabled Athletes Association and we brought up their website in class and my students were amazed at the variety of options open to "differently abled" athletes. Pat and I have a great banter back and forth and students quickly become comfortable with his presence in my class. Many of my students have already had Pat for one of his Philosophy classes so they already know what a great teacher he is. Because we examine the psychological implications of sport injuries, it was really important for my students to see what the newest options are - wheelchair soccer and wheelchair lacrosse and even rugby are just some of the new things that people who have been injured and who may have thought finished with athletic competition can participate in. My gratitude to Pat for his willingness to give of his time to educate my students. Pat also serves at the faculty mentor for our men's ice hockey team and they have come to admire and respect him as much as I do.

Yesterday afternoon we had our final home women's and men's basketball games. Our women won and our men lost a great and close battle. We have been working on getting more and more people to appreciate all of the hard work that our student-athletes put into their sports so it was nice to see a good sized crowd at the women's game and an even larger crowd there for the men's game. President Jack Neuhauser, VP for Enrollment Management Jerry Flanagan, VP for Academics Karen Talentino, VP for Student Affairs Mike Samara, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Edmunds, Fr. Mike Cronogue, Academic Dean Jeff Trumbower, Assistant Academic Dean Joan Wry along with three business/accounting faculty, an Economist, three psychology professors, a science professor, a religion professor (Ray Patterson attends most of our athletic contests and is faculty mentor for two of our teams) and Fr. Brian(Director of Campus Ministry) plus a couple of folks from Institutional Advancement, personal counseling and many alumni all cheered out student-athletes on. It was great to see such a strong showing of support. Each semester I give an update on the academic achievement of our student-athletes to the faculty. A week ago Friday I addressed the Faculty Assembly and provided them with the NCAA Academic Success Rate and announced that SMC was number 1 in the NE-10 (our conference) and number 2 in all of Division II (made up of almost 300 schools and with over 100,000 student-athletes). I also gave them the standings of all of our teams and was happy to share that OUR student-athletes have an overall grade point average of 3.12 which gives them a higher overall grade point average than the rest of the student body. The faculty appreciated this and applauded this information. The collaboration between our student-athletes and the rest of our educational community makes for a very strong bond which is reflected in how well our student-athletes perform in our classrooms. Go KNIGHTS.....

I showed my Men & Masculinities class the Academy Award nominated documentary Restrepo last Monday to accompany their reading of the book War by Sebastian Junger. It was a very powerful class and their response papers after viewing the documentary will be the subject of our class tomorrow evening. Their papers aren't due until tomorrow but several of them have already submitted them to me and their reactions are very powerful. I continue to feel that it is important that those of us who are NOT in the military need to better understand those who ARE and the impact that war can and does have on so many of our men and women. As our soldiers return home and transition from the military to civilian life, it is imperative that we all better understand what they have gone through.

Take care, be well, and, as always, please keep all of the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers.


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