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:)
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).
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.
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.
DO I HAVE A DEAL DECAL FOR YOU! I just discovered several hundred decals that I must have obtained from our Alumni Office (when it was called that) when my students and I used to do surveys of Carroll COLLEGE alumni. I consider these priceless memorabilia but I am willing to give them to any former Carroll student who wants one and is willing to share with me one “Carroll Moment”—a brief reflection (positive or negative) on this blog and who also will send to me a snail mail address (send it to my Carroll email address) so that I can in turn send you a decal! I’d love hearing from you. Send me a photo from your Carroll days, and I’ll send you two decals. Offer good until I run out.
Tonight I’ll finish reading Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Interestings. I teased my student assistants recently that I’d love to follow the trajectory of their lives over the next thirty years as Meg Wolitzer does her characters.In some ways I have been able to do that for past students, by comparing where they are now (as conveyed to me by Facebook, Linkedin, and campus visits) with the information I have kept in their advising folders—photos, letters, occasionally even a paper they wrote. Recently I was reunited with a former student (selfie available upon request) whose daughter might well be enrolling this year and might even be assigned to work with me. So many memories triggered by the Carroll chimes, familiar places, and familiar faces. Do feel free to share your Carroll Moments with me…
Below are some photos from a number of years ago. Precious Carroll moments which evoke a number of stories about you!
It was a foggy 5:30 a.m. morning when I let the Newf out for her morning “duties.” One of many good reasons for driving carefully to Carroll this Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I surely would NOT like to hit another deer—nor would Santa or my car.
I can still see fog outside my Rankin classroom. Thirty-seven years ago I was in this very building giving a sample lecture illustrating how I teach as part of my two-day job interview to become a faculty member at then-called Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I still have a copy of that presentation—and I remain at my first and only job for better or for worse. So much has changed—buildings, enrollment, technology, the institution’s name, the organizational structure. I feel obligated to protect traditions and overriding institutional historical values, but there are fewer and fewer here that remember them. So many of my former mentoring faculty and staff friends have moved on through retirement or from life. I miss their wisdom but try to preserve their gifts to Carroll.
And here I sit proctoring an 8:00 a.m.Saturday morning final exam covering “Statistics and Experimental Design” taken by students several of whose relatives (aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters) were former students or advisees of mine.
There are times when they look and behave very young and I recognize that I am 65-years old. Many other times they keep me young with their energy, willingness to learn, and playfulness. I feel that way especially in the present of my student research assistants—four of whom are graduating this year.
It has been a rough semester. I continue to find challenging teaching three consecutive seventy-minute courses in a row with 10 minute breaks even when two of the courses are the same. And this year I am co-chairing the Planning and Budget Committee (with a delightful colleague and poet BJ Best).
It has been the Dickens of a task: The Wurst of Times and the Best of Times. Younger colleagues like BJ, though, and the fewer and fewer remaining colleagues from my past reinforce my willingness to remain here and make a difference before departing.
The chimes just sounded. 10:00 a.m. Eight students remaining. Very good students among which several, should they wish, might join Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood as student research assistants.
4 years ago, I anxiously started my career as a Psychology Research Assistant for none other than the “psychology professor with the big beard”, Dr. David Simpson. Our first encounter was delayed because after receiving my assignment and seeing his picture, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work for him, what a typical precocious freshman I was! But after meeting him and learned the ropes from the God-like junior and sophomores, I finally began to feel comfortable in Dr. Simpson’s neighborhood. Looking back, I can hardly believe how much has changed. Time has transformed me, well, all of us really. Now sitting in the office, reflecting on my future after Carroll in December, I’m nostalgic for those years. From silly videos and webcasts, to struggling through SPSS for the first time, to Survey Monkey, and our pilot course in global connections through technology, our accomplishments are innumerable.
Dr. Simpson always brings light and fun into the office, even when he has stuff to do. He always makes time to check in with us, or joke about his Chi Tea Lattes, and of course telling stories about dear Robin, the Newf. Working with Dr. S has turned me from a precocious freshman, to a slightly-cynical, confident, and “sassy” senior with smarts to match-or so he lets me think! Our S-Team is my work family and as a senior, it’s especially odd that Phoumany and Ryan aren’t still here working with us as they had for 3 years prior.
Life in David land is a never ending adventure full of learning, fun and family.
My time in Mr. David’s neighborhood has been fairly limited because this is my first year. I had heard through the grapevine that there was a waiting list to become one of Dr. Simpson’s research assistants and somehow I was given one of the positions! At the time of receiving the email I was really excited to be given this opportunity! Then I was on mycarrollu.edu looking up my class schedule and realized he was one of my professors… I was terrified to begin my time as one of his research assistants. I was nervous that he would bring up class work during work and work during class. But we are here now, 2 months later, and I have found out that I can apply what I learn during work to my classwork and vice versa.
I know I haven’t been here as long as many of the other research assistants but I have found this little lab in the back of his office to be very comforting. And the family type relationship I have formed with the other research assistants and Dr. Simpson is something I look forward to keep building.
I started this journey with Dr. Simpson in the spring semester of my sophomore year as one of his Psy205 students. At first, I was extremely intimidated by him because I was still a very shy, insecure underclassman with little self-confidence who had a lot to prove. I have learned that he is not as intimidating once you get to know him, and he is always around to help me out whenever I need it. After taking one of his classes, I was then curious if he had any openings for faculty assistants the following year. Because, I was not very assertive or timely, I waited to contact him the following fall when school began again. Long and behold, I received an email back saying he would enjoy having my help and welcomed me to his team.
After being shown the ropes from some helpful upperclassmen, I have grown to be quite comfortable when working in the office. I now also help the newbies get affiliated and comfortable with working in the office. I enjoy helping/working on ‘up and coming’ projects Dr. Simpson participates in outside of the Carroll environment. All of his projects provide great networking opportunities not only for himself, but for us, the student workers as well. As for the other student assistants, I have become very good friends with all of them. It is as if we are one, big, work family. We get on each other’s nerves at times, but just like family, we make up and act as if nothing ever happened. As I finish up my final year at Carroll, I look back and am so thankful for the opportunity I have been granted to work under Dr. Simpson, but also am grateful I took the initiative to push myself in a direction that will impact my future.
I remember as a freshman being assigned to Dr. Simpson as a faculty assistant for my work-study program. I took a breath and turned the doorknob into Dr. Simpson’s office to meet him for the first time. I was so nervous! What I did not know at the time was that I was walking into a place where I would make some great friendships and learn many things from the one and only Dr. Simpson. Starting off as acquaintances, they soon into my S-team family. See, these people are not just peers, but people who I look up to and admire. For the first few weeks working for Dr. Simpson, I was very quiet and shy, but that quickly changed. I slowly started to open up. Dr. Simpson takes the time to get to know each and every of his faculty assistants. He has challenged me to improve upon my weakness, while encouraging me to use my strengths. Over the years, there have been a multitude of projects that have taught me to collaborate with my fellow workers. Although, we did not always agree, we always ended up finding a solution in the end. One of the most memorable projects that we completed my sophomore year included creating our own course that focused on culture. Along with the project, we were each given an iPad. I loved participating in this project because I desire to become a teacher! Working with Dr. Simpson is a privilege. He involves us in projects and opportunities that are meaningful. I have so many memories that have accumulated over the years. My experiences here have shaped me into not only a better student, but a better person. When I graduate this coming spring, I will greatly miss the times spent in Dr. Simpson’s office.
Looking back on the past four years gives me such a bittersweet feeling. It seems surreal to think that in just a few short months I, along with several of the other S-Team members will be walking across the stage at graduation. I remember walking into Dr. Simpson’s office for the first time, feeling absolutely terrified. This did not last for long though, Dr. Simpson and the other S-Team members very quickly made me feel right at home. The first two years we had the same six S-Team members who quickly became my family away from home.
As an assistant, we always have work to get done, but Dr. Simpson makes sure that we have a fun time doing so. He is always filling us in on the latest stories about Robin, The Newf, his big black Newfoundland “pup”. Dr. Simpson, being an avid reader, makes it a habit of giving away books from his personal collection, so I always have a new book to add to my collection, a recommendation for something new to read, or someone to discuss Harry Potter with. Dr. Simpson has always played the role as a second academic advisor as well, giving advice about classes to take and what adjuncts he is familiar with and recommends. Working for Dr. Simpson has been an amazing experience that has taught me so much that I will take with me when I leave Carroll. Any future students will be extremely lucky to be one of his student assistants.
A wonderful tradition on my campus both on the first day before classes and again at graduation is to have a group of kilted bagpipers majestically lead the students ion to campus. I wonder if my school would like to involve a different bagpiper to campus. He would provide a cross-cultural experience, be energizing, engaging, and quite memorable.
I may not meet you for awhile since I am not teaching first-year courses as often as I used to. I do offer you a heartfelt welcome. You may well be the son or daughter or niece or nephew of one of my former students. That happens a lot.
First-year students have played a very important positive role in my life during my 36+ years of teaching here. You have made me smile, motivated me to learn from your enthusiasm, made me proud as I have seen you grow across your years here, and made me especially happy when we have been able to stay in touch across the years.
You sometimes have been favorably referred to as “the App Generation.” Don’t forget that your best apps are your values and your mind. You, the Class of 2018, do have very different life experiences than I. I look forward to learning from you and with you—if not directly this year, then in subsequent years. Do drop by and say hello in the interim.
Here are a few friendly suggestions I offer based on my years of teaching and learning.
Don’t be too proud to seek help or advice from faculty, staff, administrators, and older students here—especially those who know the campus and our students well.
Take advantage of opportunities to try new things, to meet new people (especially from different cultures) and to learn how to learn better. Let us become a global choir of learning.
Research suggests that the quality of relationships (e.g. with peers, with faculty) is central to a positive, successful college experience.
Set aside some time for self-reflection.
Let self-discipline enable you rather than imprison you, find the right balance between service and involuntary servitude, between doing a right thing and doing things right. My own freshman year at Oberlin College in 1967 was informative and formative, lonely and elating, value challenging and values affirming. I envy you the learning opportunities that are here.