Tag: Commencement

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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

 

 

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Thank you, Graduating Carroll Seniors: Flashbacks and Flash Forwards

The closer I get to retirement, the more meaningful Carroll graduations, past traditions, and the relationships I have formed with students become. Carroll has changed greatly since I wrote the message to seniors below. Baccalaureate is now at 5:00 Saturday evening without Faculty regalia; Commencement is now at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The physical appearance of Carroll continues to change daily with new buildings. Soon there will be a transition of Carroll Presidents–I have personally known five of them since I arrived in February of 1978. Emeriti faculty look younger to me every day:).

My feelings about my overall Carroll experience haven’t changed from what I wrote five years ago (or how I felt almost forty years ago) so I re-share them here–with a few photos since then!

As is my habit of the past 35 years, I am sitting in my office on this Sunday morning of Commencement, reflecting. I drive in early to ensure getting a parking place before the proud families start arriving. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, babies, babies-soon-to-join-the world—-the campus explodes with sounds, colors, emotions, and celebratory chaos. Often I walk around campus taking photos (or accepting an invitation to be photographed).

My emotions are mixed–not unlike that of the soon-to-be-graduates. Joy–sorrow–elation–sadness–weariness–rejuvenation. At the end of a long the day sometime around 4:30 –emptiness, and some poignant, positive residual reminders. I often tease my graduating research assistants that upon their exit from campus I “exorcise” our shared office space to better allow me to adjust to the temporary emotional vacuum caused by their absence from “Dr. David’s Neighborhood.” When you graduate, you remain in my memories as I have come to know you–and forever at that age! Forever young.

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I can hear chapel bells. Soon I’ll hear the chimes of the campus hymn and that of the alma mater. At 10:00 I’ll attend the Baccalaureate ceremony marching in wearing my cap and gown. According to the “certificate of appreciation” I recently received this is my 35th year of service to the institution.  I’ll immediately follow Provost Passaro, and Dean Byler into the auditorium. Sitting in the front row has its liabilities as I’ll feel that I must behave uncharacteristically well-mannered!

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Each Carroll Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremony is special to me just as is each student whom I have gotten to know.  I have chosen (or been called) to teach and to learn and though they (you) may not realize it, I truly do learn so much from my students and from the challenges of trying to teach them well.

Thank you, graduating seniors past and present (and for a few ever so short more years future) for all YOU have taught me. Put to good use your many talents, your energy, your playfulness, your empathy, your resilience and your creative ideas to make the world a better place. Come to appreciate (as I did upon graduating from Oberlin College in 1971) that you have been privileged to receive a good education due not only to your own sacrifices and hard work but also to the many members of the larger community whom you may never have met or whom you took for granted–Board Members, Administration, Staff, Faculty, Physical Plant Staff, and Alumni–who deeply care about you.

The bells call me. And I have promises to keep…

——-Simply David

    Alison prepares for her presentation in Spanish.

Amy and David

 

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Curious David

April 18, 2017: Winding Up, Winding Down

I try to build into my working day an opportunity just to “check in” and touch base with my student research assistants. This is the time of the year with myriad forces buffeting the campus. Alison is working on her Celebrate Carroll presentation for tomorrow. Lizzie  will be journeying to Chicago on Thursday to accompany colleague Peggy Kasimatis making a poster presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. Tia and I discuss the important role she and Lizzie will play in my life in the Fall as my senior research assistants. Arianna and I discuss the kinds of things I need to address in a letter of support to Marquette University for a job there while she is a graduate student.

Lots of Facebook contact today from former students, faculty, and friends reminding me that I am getting old-ER. Commencement, as has always been the case for me here, will be on Mothers’ Day. Soon the sound of bagpipes will sound.

 

 

 

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Senior Reflections: Alison and David

This year’s Carroll Campus-wide year-long theme was “Citizenship” so I thought it might be appropriate to share this discussion between two “senior citizens”:).  Alison is one of my two graduating senior research assistants. She will be attending graduate school at Illinois State in the Fall.

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Shared Reflections With a Graduating Senior

What has kept me here almost forty years is not the buildings but the traditions, the faculty, staff, administrative, and trustee friendships–and the students. I asked one of my graduating senior research assistants to stop by and to spontaneously share some of her Carroll reflections. I promised to be well-behaved—i.e. no funny hats and unusually quiet:)

She laughed. She knows me well.

Arianna will be leaving me for graduate study at Marquette University in the Fall.

We recorded this from my MacBook Pro using the Capto screen casting software.

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Can my old brain be (re)trained?

There are buildings on campus whose cornerstone bears a date before my birth. My father-in-law walked in some of these very buildings in 1936. Voorhees Hall was a women’s dorm when Walt walked this campus.

So many memories. Some converge; some change. Some researchers argue that memories change every time that they are retrieved.

With age comes my increased interest in the inevitable aging process. At one time or another I have written over 80 blog pieces (or drafts) about relationships between aging and memory.

Here are a few: (Clicking on all the links in each and viewing their contents might be a valuable brain fitness exercise!):)

  1. Thanks for the memories!
  2. I’m not sure that you will remember me but…
  3. Brain fitness training (Part 1)
  4. Brain fitness training (Part 2)

After consulting with my four student research assistants, I’ve decided to focus my Fall semester research seminar on the topic of “brain fitness”—fact and fad.  I am particularly intrigued by the promises of the program “BrainHQ.” Time to don my skeptical thinking cap:

 

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In My Role as Professor I Wear Many Hats…

In my role as professor I wear many hats: teacher, researcher, mentor, coach. Sometimes, I confess, things can get kind of silly in Dr. David’s Neighborhood particularly around the Ides of March.

March Madness of campus life is in full bloom. Midterms; academic advising; students learning the outcomes of interviews. I asked two of my senior undergraduate research assistants to share their thoughts about interviews they recently had. Both of these talented students were accepted into graduate school for next year. I asked them to share with me how they had prepared for their interviews, what they experienced, and advice they would give to others. Here are their reflections on the interview process they experienced. Clearly I’ll need to change my ways before I job hunt–and perhaps don a different hat!

Alison: 

Preparing for an interview:

  • Dress to impress: It goes without saying that when you look your best, you feel your best. With that being said however, always wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in. If you are not comfortable with the clothing you are wearing, you will be constantly adjusting your clothing or distracted from the itchy sensation of your top. Always dress your best, but wear clothing that lets your personality shine and that does not distract you from your interview.
  • Keep going: As human beings we often make mistakes, it is part of our human nature. When interviewing, do not become distraught or overly concerned about stumbling over words, about saying the “right” word, or about forgetting to explain a detail about your qualifications. The beauty of life is that it keeps moving. Learn from your mistakes, but realize that graduate schools know that we are all human, and they watch how we pick ourselves up and continue on.
  • Prepare a question: To show engagement, graduate schools are looking for students who ask questions. Questions can be as simple as how many students are admitted into the program or as complex as asking about the curriculum of the school. In all situations, always have a question prepared to show interest and preparedness for the graduate program.
  • Engage students and faculty: Some graduate schools hold group interview days for all possible candidates to attend. While students want to make a good impression on the faculty, the graduate school is also looking at how well you interact and connect with other students. Because most graduate programs accept a small group of students, it is important that those students work well together and encourage one another during their studies. So, while it is important to engage faculty, make sure you are also interacting with other candidates.

Arianna:

As a senior in college planning to go on to graduate school, I have been preparing for interviews for many months now. Unfortunately, I have found that the best way to prepare for an interview is to experience an interview. Luckily, at Carroll University we have Career Services, so I was able to do a mock interview before my actual interview. Some students even do two or three mock interviews. This helped me more than words can express. The woman who worked with me made sure my responses sounded polished yet genuine, and she taught me interview techniques that I would not have known otherwise such as tying my answers back to the school. Despite having this practice, I was still nervous. But remember that nerves are good! They show you that you truly care, and they give you a little extra push to do better. Beyond this, I also made sure to do my research. Make sure you know the program and the school you are interviewing with. Lastly, have questions! I cannot stress that enough. I was told to make sure I had questions to ask, and I wrote all of my questions down beforehand and brought them with me in a pad folio. Interviewers notice this.

All of this preparation was beneficial to me, yes. Many of the basic questions “why this school?” “tell me about you” were asked. However, make sure to do more research on your program and common questions for your program. This is something I wish I had practiced more. Another thing I wish that I had remembered was that they brought me there for a reason.  Clearly they liked something about my application. So, when you are at an interview, remember to be yourself and prove to them you belong there. Throughout my group interview, I forgot to remind myself of this, and I started to compare myself to the other individuals interviewing with me. As hard as it is, DO NOT DO THAT. You will only psych yourself out and only hurt yourself. Also, dress well. If you do not own a suit and tie, buy one. If you do not own dress pants and a blazer, buy one. That is money well spent. Lastly, breathe. Again, they brought you there for a reason, so just breathe and do your best.

I am starting to hear bagpipes in my dreams. I shall miss these two students as they move on. Thank you A. and A. for putting up with my clowning around with you in Dr. David’s Neighborhood! You have taught me far more than you can imagine and I look forward to following your career trajectory.

 

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And So It Begins….

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I usually arrive on campus to an empty parking lot. Today was no exception despite the road construction, school buses, and famous Waukesha trains.

The construction workers are already hard at work completing the new science building. New students adorned in their new tee shirts are exploring the campus making sure that they can find their classrooms.

An early morning phone call to ITS is quite successful both in resolving some traditional first of semester computer issues and in renewing some friendships. Daniel will be starting his 20th year here. Chris is a Carroll graduate. Both exemplify the authenticity in my belief that Carroll Cares.

Much mundane to accomplish today before the Cubs game. I hope to get a lot of serious writing done this year, but that block of time will not be available today.

Several of my student assistants have threatened promised to stop by. As I’ve written many times I’ve been blessed across the years with over 50 superb student assistants. It is fun and rewarding learning together. They keep me young(er). Tomorrow, rain or shine, I’ll answer the call of the bagpiper as the new freshman class is introduced to the Carroll academic world.

Thanks to all you alumni for sharing via LinkedIn and Facebook your responses to my earlier blog posts of this year. It’s nice knowing that I have a reader or two:)

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15 Minutes in My Digital Life As a Professor

Cap and Gown

I’ve been so busy lately that yesterday I almost didn’t have time to change out of my academic regalia before beginning my PSY205 Statistics and Experimental Design course. Thanks to Jenny Percy for capturing this “precious moment”.

My social media day usually begins at 5:30 a.m. with a quick look at my Carroll email, my Twitter feed, my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. If I see an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Education worth sharing, I pass it on to  Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook followers. My restricted “Twitter feed” often appears on the left of the window of applications I am using like this WordPress software.

Here is what I mean (courtesy of my Snagit capturing software and Screencast.com).

Click me: 

Twitter primarily serves me as a personal professional development tool. Facebook is a rich source for my staying in touch with alumni (NO, Kim and Ryan, I DO NOT WANT a party in 2019). LinkedIn has proven to be a wonderful way to reconnect and stay connected to Alumni —So great reconnecting with you recently, Dave Verban!—, Members of the Board of Trustees, and Schneider Consulting Clients.

Time to meet with my colleague and FB “friend” Peggy Kasimatis.

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Curious David

Behind the Scenes: Vibrancy and Change on Campus

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The sound of the bagpiper at Opening Convocation has almost settled. I’m proctoring the 2nd of two two-hours exams I am giving today—and reflecting as I begin teaching year number 38 at Carroll.

I first got into the habit of awakening at 5:30 am. and being on campus by 7:00 a.m. when I was Faculty and Assembly President.  The sun-rise colored, dewy campus is beautiful in the early morning and bustling with activity. The football team is often practicing. The physical plant staff are inspecting their hard work before heading to the Campus Center for some much needed and deserved coffee and heading home after an eight hour shift. In those earlier days of my Carroll experiences, I got to know many of our physical plant staff personally and friendships developed that continue today (Thank you Dennis W. and your Dad, “Ott”). I had a number of their children as students (thanks for sending Heather my way—and yes, you have reason to be proud that she graduated summa cum laude).  I  learned much from them about the challenges they faced in making the campus a welcoming, safe, environment conducive to working and learning. They play an especially vital role right now polishing the campus in anticipation of our imminent Home Coming weekend.

Of course, there are others on campus already. If I so wanted I could text John G. or many other colleagues to join me for a quick coffee and conversation—either now or later in the day. Some of my staff friends are already working in their offices.  Some are no longer here, having retired after more than 25 years of service. I miss Jean Olsen’s red car parked by Voorhees.

A stream of student nurses (identifiable by their uniforms) passes me as I walk up the hill from the theater building where I must park my car because of the new science building construction. Construction cranes tower above Rankin Hall and where Maxon Hall used to be. Hours ago the construction workers restarted their work from the day before. A chorus of their hammering accompanies me as I climb up the stairs to my office.

I send an email invitation to the daughter of one of my former students suggesting that she stop by and say hello. I promised her Mom (Kit V.) at an Admissions’ Day event that I would be an unobtrusive guardian angel for her daughter if she was attended Carroll. I give my research assistants (I am again blessed with talented youth) some unsupervised tasks to do for me and head off to my morning classes.

So much positive activity goes on “behind the scenes” and keeps me here. I have been afforded numerous on and off-campus and virtual interactions with Board of Trustee Members. Thank you trustees and former trustees Charmaine P., Cathy D., John R. and Jim S. for enlarging my perspectives about this institution which you love. I appreciate your support across the years that we have worked together. Thank you, PE MacAllister for your recent guidance about when I should retire.

Regular interactions with former and present students continue to enrich and inspire me. Michelle B. informs me that she just started a five-year position as an oral examiner for the ABPP neuropsychology boards and that she will soon start a position as a national advocacy liaison on behalf of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. She will be starting the APA Women in psychology leadership training program in DC next month.

Current student Davis E. stops by to share an idea for an honor’s thesis for his English Communication major He modestly shares that he had recently published a Milwaukee Journal “article“. We make an appointment for him to teach me what he knows about EverNote. Once he has taught this Old Dog, I’ll probably add it to my list of learning technology tools I use.

Current student Kevin S. stops by to drop off a thank you letter for my Uncle James Stover for funding his summer research (which was recently recognized as best in its class). These two world-wise military veteran students enrich the campus and my life through their unique perspectives. Uncle Jim is so pleased by the return on his investment in Kevin that he decides to invest again, this time targeting deserving freshmen and sophomores. Fortunately we have many needy and deserving students who meet our criteria.

Thanks to all members of my extended Carroll Community for sharing, caring and daring to preserve the integrity of the institution while being aware of where there might be a need to change.