Friday Letter, 12-4-15

There are just a few short weeks left in the quarter and I hope everyone has the steam to make it through.  Our power outage 2 weeks ago caused a lot of creative problem-solving.  Thanks to Natalie for sharing this picture of some of our dedicated and persistent students.


The outage provided us the opportunity to once again exercise our emergency preparedness plans.  And, again, we have noted many things that need to be tightened up.  For instance, when we say the campus is “closed”, is that for students ONLY or for employees AND students?  We are rectifying that misunderstanding by cleaning up our language.  We’ll settle on the new messages this week, but we can assure everyone that we are trying to come up with more effective language.

Speaking of lights, I invite you to take a look at this quick 60 second video of projects hanging by Marion’s desk.  This is work completed through a learning community involving Mike Panitz and Chris Gildow’s class.  I saw a version of this project last year and I am impressed with how the quality keeps improving each time these two instructors collaborate.

We have several learning communities going this quarter. I think many of us also have heard of John Van Leer and Jessica Ketchum’s joint class called Octopuses Are So Hipster.  I am excited to (hopefully) show pictures of an outing they’re taking with the new Collaboratory trailer next week.  I believe they are set to complete water testing at some remote location by packing up the class in our new vans and pulling the trailer to the destination. Can someone email me some pictures??

The collaboratory is now available for use for any number of creative opportunities.  It will always be a work-in-progress and there are still a few cosmetic things to work on, but please contact Meagan Walker if interested in using this new tool.

Finally this week, I want to point you to this article from the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The magazine has spent the last two issues focusing on the major diversity issues occurring on our nation’s campuses.  This particular article talks about the traditional “diversity workshop”, the effectiveness of such workshops, and the suggested means by which we should continue our learning.  You can probably guess…they are pointing to something more systemic and on-going….like a Cavoline.  Thanks to those of you who participated in Cavoline’s this week.  We’ll start a new round with a new DIA next quarter.

Have a great weekend.

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