Posts Tagged 'higher education'

Tuesday Trivia–October 22, 2013

How ’bout a quick history lesson? Think you know Marquette?

How much money was first invested to open Marquette College’s doors?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.


How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge every Tuesday this summer during Tuesday Trivia!

Tuesday Trivia – October 15, 2013

It’s hard to believe, but the fall semester is halfway over! We hope that the incoming first year students in the class of 2017 are enjoying their first Marquette fall!

How many students are enrolled at MU in the fall 2013 semester?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.


How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge every Tuesday this summer during Tuesday Trivia!

Collegiality + Flexibility = Student Affairs Success

By Mike Lampe — Orientation. To students, it is considered a gateway of collegiate experiences or a boring day long process that seems to have no end.

Although orientation programs have obvious benefits for the students, there is much more that goes on for faculty and staff when planning the events. The first piece of this interesting event is the politics that goes on in planning. Regardless of the size of the institution, there are always departments that believe a great way to fix issues is by highlight their services during orientation. Although this sounds like a pain more than a benefit, the byproduct that occurs involves the interaction between professionals that usually never speak during the school year. This starts bringing a sense of collegiality that starts the beginning of the school year on the right track… granted nothing in the planning process goes terribly wrong.

Considering planning a successful orientation brings collegiality and a sense of accomplishment, the question remains on how to maintain that collegiality. Although there are times where the feeling of collaboration carries over for quite some time, what happens to those institutions that have issues where departments start silo-ing themselves for whatever reason? After all, it does not make sense to build walls when collegiality allows for shared resources for a common goal. With that in mind, an institution should find ways of keeping that spirit of orientation for all in the campus community whether it’d be by providing interdepartmental service opportunities or collaboration opportunities.

When it comes to my experiences this summer, I am gaining direct comparisons between a mid size private institution and a small public two year institution. I firmly believe that this has been the summer of restructuring and reorganizing based on my experiences. In the two year institution, my supervisor got promoted to help guide students services through a restructuring of departments to which flexibility was needed to finish the necessary work. There was also restructuring happening to the private institution due to recent vacancies, new hires, and initiating new approaches in student care. One of the vacancies happens to be the position to which supervises my assistantship. This, too, requires much flexibility to ensure community service resources and opportunities are presented to students.

Along with the flexibility needed during times of transition, collegiality is another important key to be successful. A person who becomes flexible will find ways to seek out fellow peers and coworkers for support and collaboration. Also, an institution with collegiality will have those same coworkers approach to those needing help do to those vacancies. Fortunately, I have had the support in both institutions to remind me to be flexible and help me if needing help to get through the fall semester.

As the new year begins, I am very excited on the experiences I will have to better my future.

It Takes Nerve: Presenting A Different Professional Perspective

By Mike Lampe —  Throughout my experiences in both undergraduate and graduate experiences, I had the opportunity to present on information both controversial and new.

In many cases, I challenged myself by presenting to my peers information in a different perspective, a perspective that may not have been part of the mainstream way of thinking. However, I did not feel as relaxed presenting material to my internship site when discussing utilizing online technological tools to emulate an orientation experience.

Why did I feel the uncomfortable feeling?

After all, I did the right research on comparing how other institutions are approaching online orientations. I also asked my site supervisor to look at my materials I was going to present to which she thought everything looked great. The technology was not an issue due to my experience working on technological devices on a daily basis.

After doing some thinking, I starting thinking of other possible explanations if it was not the lack of content preparation. I started to realize how nerve racking it can be to present to professionals of the same field in another institution. It started to kick in that I will be a student affairs professional next year. It is also nerve racking to know that, after graduate school, professionals will not judge you based on the grades you got in class, but by the quality of work you do when presenting new ideas or doing the job right.

I also started to think about the ramifications of utilizing online tools to provide services to students enrolling at a higher education institution. This reminded me of a conversation I had with a faculty member at my old service learning coordinating position in Sheboygan discussing how technology may be hindering social skill development of college students. Although this was one conversation, I wondered how other people felt about the situation. Even though the intention of my online project was only to supplement students who could not attend any orientation sessions, I could see that some were concerned about the use of technology as a tool.

This brings me to my thoughts on utilizing technology in student services. I believe there will always be some form of professional-student interaction in the student affairs field. This is part of the best practices as described by the various professional associations. Considering technology will always be a part of society, there will be a social balance between practical and excessive usage in student affairs programming.

Although I do believe it may be somewhat excessive to replace the entire classroom experience online, I believe creating online orientation content may help improve retention rates for students who may have not taken the time to attend an on campus orientation.

Student Services: Do We Make You Comfortable?

By Mike Lampe — It has been a little over a month since I started my internship, of  which I am enjoying every minute.

The experience has provided me the opportunity to interact with various students ranging from returning adult students to young adults straight out of high school. Working with the fun and energetic Orientation Leaders reminded me of back in the day where I was a “First Year Experience” Mentor at St. Norbert College. It is quite ironic that some of the new students who sit like they do not think pre-semester programming is worth it become part of the student population that become very active and jump on opportunities on campus.

I felt like I made major improvements on the online orientation session that I am proposing to the student services staff at UW-Waukesha. This week, I started on the video making of example scenarios students might want to know during their orientation session. The goal is to make sure a student who could not attend the physical orientation has a similar experience to understand the numerous opportunities the campus has to offer. It was also a great experience to learn about the different ways institutions were able to address the issue of giving crucial information to students who are yet to be fully engaged in the college experience for any reason. My hope is to create an online orientation that is both creative and sustainable to allow little follow up work.

My Thoughts: The Student Services Lobby Area
During my time in class and work, we always want to make sure we value the whole student in everything we do. Whether in student programming or our daily interactions via advising, we try to see how our actions match up with an institutional learning outcome or student development theory.

This photo was taken in the counseling center at Marquette University. Take note of the atmosphere, which aimed to make student clients as comfortable as possible before meeting with them.

However, I believe more can be done in the most basic, essential, and preliminary student experience. More could be done when each student walks through the door at Student Services. No matter what institution I worked at, each institution had a front desk, some uncomfortable seating, reading material, and a television with cable. The one institution that had a television was rarely used because the controller was in a drawer behind the front desk and it was also slightly awkward to watch television while there are professionals working on admissions work.

I’m wondering how we can best make prospective and current students as comfortable as possible while waiting to see their student services staff without feeling the nervousness of starting classes in the upcoming semester. Could there be a possibility where students are sitting on nice comfortable sofas in a comfortable environment while having some low volume music in the background?

Although people growing up the last generation might have expected to have a boring waiting room, young students of this generation long for environments such of that as Google, inc. where clothing expresses their personality and where fun does not separate from work. I am not saying to go to that extreme, however, we could do more to be interactive or provide some sort of activity to keep them engaged and comfortable.

Sandstorms and Student Affairs: Interning in Kuwait

Sand storm in Kuwait

By Zaynab Baalbaki — After fourteen hours of sitting on a plane, I have successfully arrived in Kuwait! To celebrate my arrival Kuwait decided to show their appreciation by hosting a sand storm.

I have been to Kuwait before (because I have family who lives here), but I have never experienced a sand storm. They are not fun. I first noticed the sand storm during my first night here. My sleeping was disturbed by the smell and, taste of sand in the air. It was an experience I’ve never had before.

It is now day three and the sand storm is still going full force. On the first day of my internship the air and sky was filled with an orange-brownish glow from all the sand. I couldn’t see buildings from my apartment window that were on the next block. My apartment by the way, is pretty awesome. I have my own bedroom and bathroom. Its bigger than my apartment in the states. I share with a roommate who works as the other intern.

Enough about the weather — let me tell you why I am in Kuwait. I am here completing an international internship in student affairs. I will be working in American University of Kuwait (AUK) for two months. I will be working in two different placements. My primary placement is in Career Service and Wellness. My secondary placement is in Academic Advising Center.

Today was my first day of work.

American University of Kuwait (AUK) Campus

I began the day with a tour of campus. It’s a nice small campus. I also got my photo taken for a campus ID. Afterwards, I completed some paper work and was welcomed by the VP of Administration & Student Affairs. Then I had two separate meetings with my different placements.  With all the commotion and craziness of the first day, I didn’t get a chance to grab lunch. I shared that information with my supervisor and he graciously took me out to eat, and we had our final meeting as a casual lunch. Overall, it was a great first day. I am really excited to start working on the projects and help develop and solidify student affairs at AUK.


Zaynab Baalbaki is a graduate student in the College Student Personnel program. She is originally from Milwaukee. Her research interests include educational justice, race and class issues in education and math education. Her personal interests are soccer, cooking, and gardening.

If You Hold On For One More Day… things will go your way.

The proverbial carrot

The proverbial carrot

By Ryan Manning — Let’s pretend you’re on a ski trip. And you’ve never been skiing before. You’re on the ski lift, probably pretty nervous. You’re literally about to just hurl yourself down the side of a mountain, who told you this was going to be fun again? You’re standing at the top, looking down and wondering if maybe you should pretend to have a sudden stomach ache to get out of this without embarrassing yourself.

Eventually, you realize you can’t turn back, so you just take a deep breath, maybe close your eyes (please, don’t close your eyes while skiing), and just push yourself down. Having little to no control over what’s happening on the way down, that trip is filled with a lot of screaming, flailing, and a general assuredness that this will leave you in a hospital.  Before you know it, you level out at the bottom, and realize you’re still in one piece. Well, that wasn’t so bad, you might even do it again sometime. But right now it’s time to hang out in the lodge.

This post has nothing to do with skiing, I mean, come on, it’s April, there’s no snow (not even in Milwaukee). But that image is the best way that I can think to describe the month of April for the everyday Student Affairs professional. March is fun, many of us attend some national conferences, while those of us who stay behind enjoy the relative quiet of a half-full office. Then comes Spring Break, a welcome break from students and a glimpse into what life will be like in just a few short weeks.

Those few short weeks are known as April (and early May). April is almost definitely (with the exception of August) the busiest month of the year. A former colleague of mine used to call April “Chicken Dinner Month,” because you will almost definitely attend at least 3 or 4 banquets or award ceremonies (most of which you’ve had to write a number of nominations for) where you will undoubtedly dine on some delicious newly-conceived take on university catering chicken breast in cream sauce. Aside from the banquets, you are going through selection for professional staff, bringing candidates to campus, going to more dinners, and attending a lot of interviews. Not to mention that post-Spring Break spike in behavior issues as students begin to act out more, thinking they are immune because they plan  on moving off-campus for the next year. Add to that preparing for May closing, compiling end-of-the-year reports, and wrapping up projects for various committees, sub-committees, working groups, etc, and you’ll begin to see why April is more of a sprint than a marathon.

Putting similes aside for a moment, there really is just a lot that happens in April, and so far, I’ve seen a few different ways of handling it. One such approach is what I like to call the “buckle-down.” Colleagues develop a sort of tunnel vision, begin taking lunch in their offices, and can often be heard saying, “Sorry, can’t talk right now, have to get back to work” between rushed breaths as they speed past you. The buckle-down works well enough, but in my opinion, it’s a hard zone to get out of, and eventually just leads to being too tired to have fun.

After the buckle-down comes what can best be described as the “Chicken Little” approach. Based on the beloved children’s story, the Chicken Little method mostly involves working at highly frantic pace, as though the sky were falling. To me, the Chicken Little does a little bit more harm than good, as things get slapped together haphazardly and often new issues come up that just lead to one being more frazzled.

My favorite approach is the “April Showers Bring May Flowers” method. This method is based mostly on the concept of the carrot on the stick, with the carrot being the oh-so-close summer. With thoughts of 2 months of a significantly lighter meeting schedule, a practically empty gym, and the chance to work on a variety of special projects, one has the motivation to trudge through the month of April, making sure that everything is perfectly in place to manage everything as efficiently as possible, so that when the school year ends, one must only tie up some loose ends and then break out the beach chair and lemonade. My song of choice during this time is “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips.

No matter what approach you take, April showers do bring May flowers. It’s inevitable. So strap on those skis, take a deep breath, and get to the bottom of that mountain.

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