Sunday, January 22, 2012

The new semester is well underway - great new beginnings.

As I look out the window from my office down onto campus, there is sadly, little snow but that hasn't stopped our students from taking full advantage of the slopes where temperatures have allowed the various resorts to MAKE lots and lots of snow and reports are that conditions there have been pretty good.

I was in Indianapolis, Indiana from the 10th - 14th to attend the NCAA Convention and had the chance to re-connect with colleagues not only from our NE-10 Conference, but from across the country - it is always a challenging time and this year the Scholarly Colloquium was excellent as we looked at the academic challenges to all three Divisions of the NCAA. I was fortunate to be chosen to present a poster which displayed the research that my colleague from here at SMC, Dr. Carolyn Whitney and I did on the academic mentoring program we use with our student-athletes. The poster was well received with a steady stream of interested folks from other colleges/universities stopping by with great questions. It was nice to be able to BRAG about how well our faculty work with our student-athletes and that Saint Mike's has the highest ASR (academic success rate - 99%) of all Division II's 100,000 student-athletes and 300+ institutions.

My three classes all met for the first time this past week and it looks like a great semester already. Practicum continues together from first semester and I have 16 senior psychology majors out in the community for 8 - 10 hours a week and they are with me in class 2.5 hours each week. Tomorrow I will be meeting individually with each of them to go over their site supervisors' evaluations of THEM and their evaluations of me and the class. I always look forward to this dialogue. Sports Psychology continues to be a fascinating class as we explore the application of all they have learned from previous classes to the areas of sports and athletics. The Penn State scandal and today's announcement of Joe Paterno's death will no doubt result in a LOT of discussion and provide the class with an opportunity for some great CRITICAL THOUGHT AND ANALYSIS of that whole sad situation. Men & Masculinities, because we meet for three hours only once a week, has already come together as a group and their journal entries already have shown me that they are actively engaged in the course.

On Tuesday afternoon at our MLK Convocation, we celebrate the life and good works of Fr. Maurice Ouellet, SSE, who died this past summer. He hired me at SMC and I am honored to be a part of our celebration Tuesday where Fr. Richard Mihalyk will speak of Fr. Ouellet's amazing work in the South during very troubled times. That evening Dr. Karen Talentino, VP for Academics will be coming to the Student Association to talk with our students about the new Curriculum which was implemented in September. I continue to be so proud that I work at a college where the VP for Academic Affairs will not only show up for a Student Association meeting, but who invites comments and discussion on the part of our students. What a great opportunity for her to hear from the students about their reaction to the new curriculum and for students to have an honest and open dialogue with a top administrator. Somehow, I doubt that happens at larger institutions.

Back to work - please take good care, be well and as usual, I ask that you keep all of the members of our military and all of our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers.