Category: Carroll Reflections

Carroll ReflectionsCurious David

Day 1 Jitters: 2018

Tomorrow I meet with my students for the first time. Even after four decades of teaching I shall be nervous, though for different reasons than my two new colleagues whom I chatted with today (one, a former student!).

Delighted to connect via Facebook with two former students last Friday who saw me “marshaling” Faculty during the Opening Convocation as we welcomed their children to Carroll! Alumnus George Jifas wins the price for delicately indicating on LinkedIn how old I am:

“I clearly remember your old office with an IBM PS1 and the dual floppy drives when you would show us the “internet” and how it was used for research and access to the Library of Congress. My how times have changed.”

I have already sent my students a survey to have been completed before we meet. This begins the relationship building which is a focal point of how I teach. In the 2 sections of Statistics and Experimental Design I’ll collect some data to illustrate a simple two-group design. This also serves as a means of taking attendance. I also want to convey to them my interest in “robot-proofing them“, why I so value the liberal arts, and by belief in Carroll’s newly formulated ethos statement.

I am VERY impressed at how my Experimental Social Psychology students have thoughtfully responded to the blog post I shared with them. Based on their thoughtful responses, we may be rewriting the syllabus as we go.

My biggest worry at the moment is will I physically be able to get into my office – when I left today they were programming the locks!

Carroll ReflectionsCurious David

I’ll Miss The Sounds of a Bustling Campus

I love the sounds of a bustling campus – the chimes, physical plant staff changing shifts, the chattering of students as they discuss their athletic practices – though the predominant sounds this morning are those of the many construction workers trying to complete Rankin Hall’s renovation before classes begin. When completed, the renovated building will indeed be magnificent. Thanks to the many donors, some of whom have become my friends across the years.

Almost time to leave the new office and drive out to the Graduate Center for another morning of meetings dealing with implementation of Carroll’s new Strategic Plan and contributions the College of Arts and Sciences can make. It is interesting to reflect upon how much of my life has been spent in meetings. In retrospect, was that time well invested?

To prepare for my meeting I opened my newly purchased package of pencils.I try to find the right balance between high tech and low tech tools! Now if I can only remember how to sharpen them. I may have to consult the help desk.

 

 

 

 

Agingappluenzabrain fitnessCarroll ReflectionsCarroll University USA

Applying 50 Years of Teaching Psychology: Transitions

As I transition this last year of teaching psychology courses at Carroll, I am reflecting on what lessons I have learned which will ease my transition out of academe. In particular, today I am reflecting on habits: how they are formed, maintained, strengthened, weakened, and suppressed. I am finding helpful several books recommended by some LinkedIn individuals I “follow:”

  1. Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  2. Nir Eyal’s Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (I also find his podcast and newsletter of value) and
  3. Scott Sonenshein’s Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less – and Achieve More than You Ever Imagined.

Among the habits I envision changing or developing are the following:

  1. Reading (Though I shall continue my reading of literature, I now am finding much pleasure in reading lengthy thought pieces in, for example, The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker.)
  2. Time Management (I shall not miss the day long series of meetings I have today!)
  3. Spending
  4. Health Maintenance
  5. Self-identity and Self-understanding
  6. Frameworks for understanding (e.g. how should one view the aging process)
  7. Writing.  I am interested in writing longer pieces and publishing them in venues like The Conversation or Medium or self-publishing a number of books.
  8. Exercise
  9. Playing
  10. Reflection Linked to Action
Carroll ReflectionsCurious David

First Year – Last Year Carroll Reflections

Above: Computer Rendering of My New Office

Even after more than 40 years of teaching at Carroll, the first day of class is anxiety-arousing, pressured, critical, and rewarding. As a youth, I was so anxious about giving oral presentations that I fainted when I participated in my first school debate. I had a similar melt-down during the oral exam component of my graduate school general qualifying examinations in Social Psychology at The Ohio State University. With experience and a few set backs I’ve learned to over learn and to reframe (attribute) the performance anxiety I inevitably am experiencing as excitement for the task at hand. Sometimes, too, I whistle a happy tune!

These academic first days-of-the-semester pressures are primarily situational nuisances: making sure that my syllabi and handouts are up-to-date, proof-read, and sufficient in number; visiting the classrooms ahead of time to better guarantee that there are enough seats and that the computer equipment works; thinking through how to handle disruptive classroom situations in particular classroom environments; and of course trying to respond in timely fashion to the myriad course-related emails. An added challenge this year is having the contents of last year’s temporary office moved into a brand new office which I have never seen on August 20.  The move will occur while I am vacationing in Canada. No doubt a good part of on campus non teaching time in September will be consumed by sorting through the several hundred boxes of my stored materials as I both unpack and pack up again in preparation for leaving Carroll at the end of the academic year. Looks like I might need another bookshelf:) though I have contacted some graduates about taking any books they might want.

Bookwhacked

For me the first class meetings are vital for relationship and credibility building  — for getting to know my students, creating shared and appropriate expectations, and establishing standards for students and for me. This semester I am teaching two sections of PSY 205 “Statistics and Experimental Design” (and its two labs).  Based on 1) student evaluations, 2) what my students demonstrate that they can do at semester’s end, 3) how I feel every time I teach it, and 4) feedback I get from alumni  “Statistics and Experimental Design ” is without doubt my best taught course. Among the challenges in teaching such a class successfully are the attitudes that some students bring (“I hate math”; “I don’t do well in math”; “I’m afraid”), weaknesses in students’ fundamental computational skills, and their inexperience with my strongly believed outlook that statistics (and data analysis) is a tool, a language and a way of thinking. Here are some reflections I shared a few years ago about teaching the course.

With the able assistance of my student research assistants, I shall continue to focus research and writing time on the topics of aging, brain health, and brain fitness training. I applied to become an APS Wikipedia Fellow with an interest in brain fitness training. And I do plan to participate again in the SharpBrains 2018 Virtual Summit.

 

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious David

“What will you DO when you retire?” I am asked more and more frequently.

“What will you DO when you retire?” I am asked more and more frequently—especially as I am a year away from seventy years of age. My answer is both simple and complicated – in part depending upon who is asking, why I think they are asking me, and when I am asked.

It is easier to answer what I shall NOT do! I don’t plan to grade any exams! Or to answer the question of what will happen to “David-in-Carroll-land.com.” It WILL retire or be transformed.

If my past behavior predicts my future behavior as it has in the past I shall not return to campus after next year’s commencement. Such was my behavior upon graduating from Howland High School in 1967 (though I was tempted by the Facebook contacts of classmates inviting me to our 50th reunion), graduating from Oberlin College in 1971, and my completing my graduate work at The Ohio State University in 1979. I’ve never been back. I treasure the richness of experiences and relationships which occurred but I look forward to having the time to focus on new or neglected aspects of life.

Consider the many meanings of commencement; start, genesis, infancy, first step, unveiling, creation. It’s been fun and rewarding being a professor, and I look forward to one more academic year before commencing. Still, it clearly also is time to move on.

 

 

 

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACommencementCurious DavidGraduation

Dear 2018 Carroll University Graduate…

Dear 2018 Carroll University Graduate…

Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you while i am proctoring my last final exam of the 2017 – 2018 academic year. This year for the first time since I came here Commencement will be Saturday morning rather than on Mothers’ Day afternoon. Because of my age seniority length of time at Carroll and my rank of Full Professor, I march at the front of the line at Commencement. That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing speakers, but forces me to be on my best behavior — awake, disconnected from my Ipad, and resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats. I even got a hair cut!

For those of you I have met, I have done my best to teach you well but alas I am only human. Each student I teach is different, special, and always teaches me.  You have enriched my life, and I welcome the opportunity as you become alumni to continue and perhaps to even expand upon our relationships.  That happens a lot!

Thanks for the many lessons you have taught me.

Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees)  have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try to provide you with the best education that Carroll can provide both within and outside of the classroom. I often think that we ought to set aside a time for recognizing those unsung “guardian angels” who have done their best to make Carroll a caring community and a better place.

I urge that as time and circumstances allow you join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “convocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that have served you well. Carroll for me has always been a Caring Place.

Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but I also encourage you to offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations or deviates from its values which you value. Be appropriately skeptical of bland, branding platitudes. Seek out opportunities to do “a” right thing. Use your mind to think carefully and critically, but don’t forget that there are indeed many times when it is appropriate to follow one’s heart.

I envy your youth and the many opportunities that lie ahead or you as you share your talents and to make the world a better place. Stay in touch. Oh, yes… Here is a final exam.

With many fond memories,

David Simpson, Professor of Psychology and fellow, flawed human being.

 

 

Carroll ReflectionsCurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Toolszeigarnik

Unfinished Business—and Miles to Go Before I Sleep

I see that I have 101 drafts of unpublished posts in my WordPress account!

 

And there are quite a few unfinished LinkedIn articles I’ve been meaning to write. And that fiction piece about a small Midwestern College.  And that neglected history of Carroll that has been too long ignored…

My Mac Desktop is (for me) relatively uncluttered with just one important reading task awaiting me  –carefully reading and putting into action the wisdom of my mentor across the Pond of 10 years Jane Hart. And I really would like to start finish those student-written guides to Internet Learning Tools whose production died when I failed to receive Crowd-funding. Perhaps I should use Kick-starter?

Having successfully winnowed my Mac apps at a faster rate than I added them, I still have far more than I actually NEED if I stay on course for when I plan to leave academe.

So much unfinished business–and miles to go before I sleep (I wouldn’t want it to be otherwise).  Still, time to prioritize my remaining precious döstädning time.

Carroll ReflectionsCurious David

Thoughts While Proctoring My Last Final of the Semester: My students are younger and younger—even the “nontraditional” ones!

“Have students changed since I was there?” I am often asked by alumni. Of course they are different in terms of their life experiences shaped by national and international events, what is taught and not taught in high schools and in the home–and how they learn. Still, the major differences I notice are that my students are younger and younger–even the “nontraditional” ones! To better understand why I need only look in a mirror or at my photo in 1977 when I first set foot on the campus:)

Today is a Commencement for me of sorts  I am fully situated into my new (temporary) office–other than sorting through boxes. A used bookstore is only a few steps from where I park my car in front of the Art gallery entrance. How delightful to walk past art galleries, photography labs, and beautiful creations of Carroll faculty and students. The chapel (usually empty) is peaceful. The ambiance surrounding my new office (and my new office neighbors) may well lend itself to enhancing creativity in my remaining work. In January I have agreed to be part of a  Saskia de Rooy’s insightful sculpture project: sculpture portrait project.

“Congratulations! You have been nominated to participate as a model for (in)sight: a portrait project.
 This is a campus wide project where students and faculty nominated individuals who they believed have an interesting story to tell. This means that someone at Carroll admires YOU and wants other to hear your story. Only 50 models were accepted and you are one of them! We hope you will consider participating in this exciting project.
What do models have to do?
·         Attend an art class on both January 30 and February 1 (time options below)
·         Be interviewed by a Carroll student
·         Be portrayed in a painting or sculpture
·         Have your visual and written portraits in a campus art show in April”
I wonder if the artist likes dogs?

 

 

 

 

 

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACommencementCurious DavidGraduation

Dear 2017 Carroll University Graduate…

Dear 2017 Carroll University Graduate…

Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you. Because of my age seniority good looks  length of time at Carroll and rank of Full Professor, I march at the front of the line at Commencement (following Faculty Marshall Gary Olsen). That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing speakers, but forces me to be on my best behavior (awake, disconnected from my Ipad, resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats).

For those of you I have met, I have done my best to teach you well but I am only human. Every student I teach is different, special, and teaches me.  You have enriched my life, and I welcome the opportunity as you become alumni to continue and perhaps to even expand upon our relationships. Thanks for the lessons.

Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees)  have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try to provide you with the best education that Carroll can provide both within and outside of the classroom. I often think that we ought to set aside a time for recognizing those unsung “guardian angels” who have done their best to make Carroll a caring community and a better place.  I urge that as time and circumstances allow join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “convocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that have served you well.

Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but also offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations for it. Seek out opportunities to do “a” right thing. Use your mind to think carefully and critically, but don’t forget that there are indeed many times when it is appropriate to follow one’s heart. I envy your youth and the many opportunities that lie ahead of you to share your talents and to make the world a better place. Stay in touch. Oh, yes… Here is a final exam.

With many fond memories, David Simpson, Professor of Psychology