Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Practicum ROCKS and thanks to Mike Samara

Yesterday afternoon I hosted my Practicum class at my home for lunch.  This course is one of the few offered at the College which is two semesters long.  Students spend 8 - 10 hours per week at their internship site (local schools, The Arbors (residential facility for people with Alzheimer's), NFI (Northeast Family Institute), Vermont Children's Hospital, etc.  and two and a half hours one day a week back in class where we process what is happening on their internships.  Last year, 8 of my 15 students had job offers from their sites by the end of the semester and this year 8 of the 16 students have had job offers.  On an interesting note, during lunch, one student's cell phone went off and when he came back in after taking the call outside, he was grinning from ear to ear as he had just been offered (and he accepted) a full-time position working with children with autism which is exactly what he was looking for.  The goal of Practicum is NOT to gain placements BUT it has proven to be a wonderful side benefit for this course.  Because we are one of the very FEW places that offers a year-long experience, OUR students have been receiving graduate school acceptances and full-time employment offers at a much higher rate - schools and employers seem to really appreciate that these students have received a unique experience in their UNDERGRADUATE education.  Very proud of these students.

This afternoon the College comes together for a Retirement Celebration for Mike Samara.  Mike has been our Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students for the past 35 years.  He has been the man mostly responsible for creating such an amazing "learning environment" which supports the IN class learning with many, many OUTSIDE of the class learning opportunities.  Mike is a colleague, has been my boss - mentor - role model and a good friend.  God speed Mike as you leave us and move on to other activities which will be blessed with your active, eager and energetic involvement.  I know that you will be back here in another year in a different capacity - in the meantime take care and be well my friend.


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