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February Updates Part two

  • Sunday, Feb 22, 2015

President’s Day

I mentioned at January Seminar that I hoped to have more contact with students, and that Nick Hefty (SGA president) and I had identified some ways for that to happen. The first of those opportunities occurred on February 16—I’m not sure if it was by coincidence or design that the SGA president and College president hosted an event on President’s Day—when more than 40 students participated in two hours of informal conversation during the lunch hour in Wingra.

Topics ran the gamut, including summer courses, online education, communication on campus, cultural competency, food services, liberal arts, and the tag system. I learned a lot and enjoyed the experience, and I’m hopeful that students also found the time educational and enjoyable. Nick and I plan to debrief next week; I suspect we will host one more of these sessions during the semester on the Monroe Street campus, and I anticipate spending some time at Deming Way during the course of this semester as well.

Time with Faculty and Staff

Mary Hoffman, from our Business Office, had walked by that student event and later in the day asked if I planned to do anything similar for faculty and staff. I answered no—not because it isn’t a good idea, but simply because I had less student engagement in the fall than I had hoped and was prioritizing that at this point.
When I gave that answer, I had forgotten some opportunities for engagement with faculty and staff:

  • Later that same day was College Assembly. Those in attendance enjoyed a marvelous reflection by Kerstin Smith, from our Office of Dominican Life. My remarks, and a great overview of Title IX next steps by Ryan Bouchard and Pam LaValliere, are available online. I am grateful to those of you who were able to attend, especially considering how difficult it is to find a time when all faculty and staff are able to attend. I will continue to work with faculty and staff leaders to identify different meeting options and to make sure that your time at Assembly is well spent.

On Monday, February 23 (that’s tomorrow morning if you are reading on Sunday night), the President’s Council will be in the Sonderegger Lobby. We held a couple of these informal sessions first semester, and we hope that faculty and staff—especially those of you who work in Sonderegger—take a few minutes to stop by the coffee cart between 9-10 Monday morning.

Upcoming Admissions Efforts

On Wednesday, February 25, the Admissions Office will host the first of three Admitted Student Days (the other two will be held on March 25 and April 15). These days are designed to help high school seniors already admitted to Edgewood College make their final decisions. As you are likely aware, approximately 85% of our total revenues come from student enrollment (and most of the balance from auxiliary enterprises largely generated from students). In other words, these days are pretty important to our enrollment and financial health. Thank you to those faculty who have invited students into their classes and to those staff who will be meeting with students. Please join me in extending to each of these students a warm Edgewood College welcome!

In addition, the Admissions Office will once again be working with faculty to make phone calls to admitted seniors. This kind of outreach reflects the kind of personal attention we give to our students, and is a great way to differentiate Edgewood College. And it is fun as well—I say that from experience, as I’ve reached out over the past few months to students who have qualified for the Presidential Scholarship. If you are approached, please consider taking this extra step to reaching our enrollment goals.

What is Scott reading?

I was a little bit scared by the level of surprise shown at January Seminar when it was disclosed that I actually read books…I was fearful that perhaps expectations were so low that such modest intellectual exercise was noteworthy! In the past few weeks, I’ve been working my way through a few books. Among them:

  • Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads (link to Amazon). This is a pretty quick read that I was given at the ACCU Annual Meeting. It is less a biography of Francis than an attempt to situate his leadership style within his training and background as a Jesuit. Like many, the author finds Francis’ approach a breath of fresh air for the Church and the world. In addition, he draws out some lessons for all of us to consider (and, in fact, we discussed some of these at a recent President’s Council meeting).
  • It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (link to Amazon). I downloaded this e-book with two goals in mind—a better understanding of how our underclassmen think about and utilize social media, and (perhaps more importantly) a better understanding of how my 13-year old daughter may be thinking about and utilizing social media. This is a more scholarly work than Pope Francis, based on a multiple year study. In addition to some affirmations of what we might expect, the book also includes some counterintuitive findings regarding teens’ use of social media. Spoiler alert: the author doesn’t think today’s kids are that different from us in many respects.
    I promise I won’t turn this into the Amazon.com marketplace, but thought it might be worth sharing what I’m reading. Consider this an open invitation for suggestions…

What’s with the links?

One close observer noted that the links embedded in this email don’t go directly to an Edgewood College site, but instead through “icptrack.com” and asked me about that (I hadn’t noticed that either). That is a function of the service we use to send this newsletter out. That feature allows us to capture click-through rates so we can see what links seem to be of greatest interest, presumably informing the types of updates you’ll find here.

On a more personal note

Krista and I are grateful for the thoughtful notes and prayers we’ve received from so many of you regarding the sudden passing of her sister, Sheila. Sheila especially enjoyed time with family and was a special person to Erin and Sean—everyone should be fortunate enough to have an Aunt Sheila. The last time Sheila was on campus was when a few of us used my office to bundle up before walking to Camp Randall for the Nebraska football game…enjoying lunch and dinner on campus and catching the first half of our men’s basketball game that day as well. Aunt Sheila also spent part of that day watching Erin at a basketball tournament, and her day started and ended by spending time with Sean, probably including more than one session of Just Dance on the Wii. Your generosity of spirit is only the most recent reminder that compassion and community are not simply words on banners at Edgewood College, and why I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to work with each of you every day to build a more just and compassionate world through the educational experiences we create. Thank you.