Sunday, September 18, 2011

Another beautiful Vermont weekend - classes are GREAT.

I often tell my classes that it doesn't get much better for a college professor than to have a student say "I never thought about that before." For me at least, that brings joy to my heart. In my Sports Psychology course, an applied psychology course, students MUST make a connection between all of their other psychology courses and various issues or aspects of sports and athletics. I am in the office this fine morning (already been kayaking) grading more of their first papers - so far, they have related their paper topics to Child Development, Adolescent Development, Abnormal Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Research Methods, Cognitive Psychology, History of Psychology and Drugs and Behaviors and oh yes, Personality Theories too. Watching their faces in class the other day when we were discussing extreme sports and I showed them a YouTube video of "base jumping with a wing suit" (check it out on YouTube) was amazing as MOST had NEVER seen anything like that before. As we discussed possible reasons why someone is very happy to be a green circle skier/boarder (that would be me) and someone else is only excited when they ski/board a double black diamond they were intrigued with looking at a possible physiological connection. What a great class and what fun to be teaching these young people..............

I meet later this afternoon with the Student Athletic Advisory Council which is made up of representatives of all of our 21 varsity sports and is advised by our WONDERFUL head women's basketball coach - Jen Niebling. She is not only an excellent coach, but she is just a really nice person I get to call a friend and colleague. As part of my role here as the NCAA FAR (Faculty Athletics Representative) I get to meet with our student group and always look forward to our discussions. Tonight is also the beginning (for student-athletes) of our Athletic Department's new initiative which is a LEADERSHIP opportunity where several representatives of each team will have the chance to get trained in leadership over the course of the academic year. A great new program - congratulations to our Athletic Department and the coaches who have worked so hard on organizing this effort.

Our Student Association holds their Open Forum this week followed by SA elections and next weekend is the SA-Day Away (which is actually ON campus) and then they begin their weekly meetings. I get to serve as the faculty advisor for this group along with other colleagues - Rob Robninson, Marilyn Cormier, Allison Sherman and of course, our wonderful Director of Student Activities - Grace Kelly. I have enjoyed working with this organization for the past 29 years and they always amaze me with their maturity, their dedication to this College and their respect for each other - I am looking forward to another good year with this group.

Enjoy your day, take care and be well and please keep all of the members of our military in your thoughts and prayers. Also a request that you all come to visit Vermont this fall as even though there HAS been much devastation from Hurricane Irene, we ARE open for business and because of so much loss and devastation, we really need people to know that WE ARE OPEN and love tourists :)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two weeks completed - time IS flying....

It doesn't seem possible but two weeks of classes have already flown by. With so much attention being paid to the impact of Hurricane Irene to many areas of the State of Vermont, much national press has been given, almost nightly to Vermont and what has happened to so many towns and so many people. I was interviewed live on WCAX television, our local CBS station Thursday afternoon on a five minute segment where I discussed the psychological impact of the flooding on Vermont and Vermonters - so many people have so many emotions hitting them all at the same time and many don't know how to deal with all of that. I hope that my words (be as good at ASKING for help as Vermonters are in offering help - it is alright to turn OFF your TV, especially now with the anniversary of 9/11 upon us - all of that can become overwhelming so it is OK to turn your TV off) I have to admit it struck me as funny to be advising people to turn OFF their TV's while sitting in a TV studio being interviewed :)

My classes are great - students are all actively engaged in what we are doing, asking GREAT questions and allowing me to confuse and challenge them. I am using the Tegrity technology for each of my classes this year which means that each class is recorded and everything we do in class is then available to my students to review later on. FANTASTIC technology and the folks in IT have been wonderful - Jim Millard, Sue Breeyear, Kelli Campbell and Erik Lightbody all help keep me somewhat sane as I challenge myself to utilize ALL of the technology available to the faculty and to our students - thanks to you all.

I was downtown at the Farmer's Market this morning (a normal Saturday morning) and saw the LONG lines outside of the Flynn Theater where people had started lining up yesterday to purchase tickets to a Phish Concert scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Phish began in Vermont as many of their members were UVM students BUT the first stop on their first big tour WAS at SMC :) They are doing a benefit concert to aid Vermont in its flood recovery - so typical of Phish and of OUR citizens to give back. There are 12,000 tickets available at $75 a ticket so even with my own math challenges, that comes out to almost one million dollars that Phish is donating for flood relief - what a great group - thanks....

Take care, be well, and as the anniversary of September 11th approaches tomorrow, please take time to remember the members of our military and their families AND please keep all of them and ALL of the emergency responders that day ten years ago, in your thoughts and prayers - it is the least we can do. Please remember...............