Dean’s Note: Lost and Loved

IMG_7907The past two weeks have been exemplary of life’s highs and lows – at least, in my life that’s certainly been the case. Two weeks ago I had the distinct privilege of delivering CBU’s tenth annual “Last Lecture.” I’ve told people I’ve spoken with since that that was, without a doubt, one of the most special days of my life. Simply being invited to do so was a real joy, but what made it truly special and unforgettable was the love I received before, during, and after speaking – especially from students; I honestly can’t recall the last time I felt so loved by so many people (outside of my family).

I spoke about the importance of friendship – not only in terms of the vital role it plays in who we are, but also in our ability to envision and forge the kind of future our hearts most desire – but I experienced the gift or grace of friendship in and through these students.

The following Monday – last Monday, May 1 – I was pulled out of a meeting in Student Life and told my dad had suffered a massive heart attack, and was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Minneapolis; he died four days later. Last Friday, I lost my hero, my rock, my confidant, a veritable fount of knowledge and wisdom who taught me how to be a man, a husband, a father, a friend, a person of goodness and integrity. It’s thrown me completely off-balance.

In my lost, disconsolate, disoriented state, I reached out to one of my very best friends, who lives in Green Bay, and told him I wasn’t really sure how to live now (if that makes any sense). My friend, Denver, is not only one of a handful of best friends, he’s also a clinical psychologist who works closely with veterans suffering from PTSD. This is what he told me:

“Hi Scott, what you said makes perfect sense to me since, as you know, I lost my own father this past November. When your dad passed away you lost a part of yourself. Your sense of self and worldview heretofore included your dad, and the pain you feel is the deep inner tear and vacant place where he once was. And now you must navigate forward without his physical presence. Something that may seem very difficult initially, which is why you’ll need your friends; they will be the comfort you need and will help to re-orient you.”

I read a recent article in the “wellness” section of The New York Times titled, “Friendship: In Sickness and in Health,” that begins this way: “A silver lining in the dark cloud of serious illness – your own or a loved one’s – is the help and caring offered by friends, and the way that help can deepen friendships.”

While I was touched deeply by my students’ love after my (hypothetical) “Last Lecture,” the outpouring of care, concern, kindness, and love I’ve experienced since my dad’s death has been absolutely overwhelming. This entire community has embraced me, cried with me, walked with me and beside me, prayed for me, and condoled with me: that is to say, you haven’t tried to take my pain and sense of lost-ness away; rather, you love me enough to want to share it. In short, you’ve been the face of Love – the human face of God – to me, and that is an immeasurable gift, an ineffable Grace.

I read a few years ago of a study done at the University of Virginia. Researchers studied 34 undergraduates at UVA, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. The students were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill.  Some students stood next to friends during the exercise, while others stood alone. This is what they found: The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.

The researchers concluded that people with stronger friendship networks feel like there is someone they can turn to, and that every life in which friendship plays a part is, undoubtedly, a better life than one without it. I knew this before, but now I believe it.

Peace like a river,

Scott

Professor Nick Peña Selected as The 2017 Memphis in May Poster Artist

N.Peña_MIM_unveilProfessor Pena’s artwork for the 2017 Memphis in May Festival was unveiled at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on February 2. Below is his acceptance speech from that night. The poster is available at a cost of $30 each — with the limited edition, signed and numbered, collector’s poster at a cost of $60 each — at Midtown Framer & Art and at 1910 Frameworks.

“Good evening. First I would like to thank the Memphis in May staff and supporters for continuing to encourage and showcase the arts, on various levels in Memphis; throughout the year and specifically during the month of May. Congratulations on your 40th anniversary!

“Thank you Bobbi Gillis for that warm introduction. Thank you Susan Elliott (Director of Programming), James Holt (President & CEO), Carley Kirby (Program Manager), Kevin Grothe (VP of Sponsorship), and Elle (an MIM intern from Rhodes) for making me feel welcomed when visiting your offices and guiding me through the process of being a resident poster artist.

“Thank you to my friends and family here tonight, each of you are dear to me and have supported my artistic endeavors throughout the years and I am forever grateful. Jana Travis, a special thank you for your support, as a colleague, fellow artist, and friend.

“A special thank you to my dad and step-mother Marijean for being here this evening, they have traveled all the way from Northern Illinois to be here tonight. Dad and Marijean, your continued support of me and my family is more than a son can ask for -I love you both.

“Finally, to my beautiful wife and daughter. Cat and Mia, I would not be able to continue my artistic practice without the sacrifices you make, daily, to ensure that I have time in our collective studio. I love you more than you know! Mia, never stop wondering, never stop using your imagination; cultivating these traits will inspire you to find answers about the world around you.

“In the process of designing the MIM poster I felt fortunate to have an opportunity to research one of the richest and biologically diverse countries in the world. For an artist interested in landscape and architecture I knew I would have a wealth of content to reference — from the Amazon rain-forest to the bustling city of Bogota, and from the Andes to the coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean — Colombia is rich in diversity and culture. As I researched the symbolism and icons that identify Colombia to the world, the nation’s flag weighed heavy. As an artist, the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) are the foundation for understanding color theory and at the heart of painting. The symbolism of the color yellow in Colombia’s flag stands for richness and wealth of its diverse nature and people. Blue represents the multiple bodies of water that shape Colombia’s landscape making them one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world. Finally, the color red commemorates the lives lost while capturing the nations independence and the determination and perseverance of the Colombian people.

“Reflecting on the symbolism and icons of the Colombian landscape, people, and culture I created a painting that represents the contrast and harmony between nature and man, representation and abstraction, and past and present.

2017_MIM_posterart_Nick Pena

Copyright: Nicolas R. Pena. Not for use without artist’s permission.

“The painting is a composite of images from the Colombian landscape. I focused on the northern, central, and southern regions while collecting a stockpile of reference images. I was interested in finding a balance between the various ranges of topical elevations, natural resources, and how the people of Colombia develop and prosper in diverse conditions.

“Coffee is set in the foreground for many reasons: its popularity, its color during maturity (red), its agricultural value to the country and small family-owned farms. I decided to show it two ways: as a mature red bean, to represent the determination to meet the world demand for Colombian coffee, and the perseverance to deliver year after year; and as an emphasized, by scale and color, roasted ‘dark’ bean. This emphasis is used to establish its importance, not only in the painting, but as an export in the Colombian economy.

“Flowers are another important export and are grown on the highland plains.  A white orchid shares the foreground with coffee because of its national symbolism and long standing symbolism across various cultures. A white orchid has been thought to signify innocence, elegance, beauty, and humility. I wanted viewers to think of reverence and new beginnings while looking at, or through, the white orchid to see the ‘painted landscape.’ The blue, seemingly pristine, water also leads the viewer into the image and represents the ‘life blood’ of existence for Colombia’s landscape and prosperity of their population.

“Directly in the middle of the composition are various man-made structures; the color yellow prevails, representing the wealth of Colombia’s diverse and robust population and the richness of its folklore. Stories of El Dorado had my attention when thinking about gold and South America however, I wanted the structures to look both humble and, at the same time, unattainable. Although, viewers might find it hard to see wealth from the modestly represented architecture, I hope it reads as a structure in flux — both near and far, realized and noticeably un-tethered from the landscape.

“Finally, the apex, man overcoming nature. ‘La Piedra del Peñol,’ also known as ‘El Peñon de Guatape,’ or Guatape Rock, is a 721 foot tall National Monument, found in Colombia’s central state of Antioquia. It grabbed my attention because of the large serpentine staircase zigzagging up to the summit where a man-made tower rests on top of the rock.  Advertised as the ‘best view in the world’ by the locals Guatape Rock, for me, is a symbol for the contrast and harmony between nature and man, and past and present.

“In the end, I would like to, again, thank Memphis in May and the selection committee for this opportunity and congratulations on your 40th year of impacting the city of Memphis with your commitment to promoting Memphis culture, supporting the arts, and enhancing international awareness and diversity through education.”

Dr. Colby Taylor: Jeopardy Champion

Colby_Taylor_AD_01-10-17_SN7442Behavioral Sciences professor, Dr. Colby Taylor’s run on the TV game show “Jeopardy!”, in which he was a one-day Champion, was covered in several outlets in the local media. The Commercial Appeal ran three articles and WREG Channel 3 aired this report. After incorrectly answering “Hey Jude” to the final question on his first day — the name of the Beatles’ song sung by Ringo Starr that charted the highest — Dr. Taylor said his students reminded him of it the next morning. ”They all came in humming ‘Yellow Submarine,’” he told the CA.

English & Psychology Ranked #2 in Best Value for Small Colleges

Best-Value-Schools-Top-Small-Colleges-2017-1Bestvalueschools.com has ranked The Rosa Deal School of Arts degrees in English and Psychology #2 in best value for small colleges nationwide in 2016-2017. Both programs offer numerous paths of study including English, Creative Writing, English for Corporate Communications, Speech Pathology, and Cognitive Psychology. The programs were recognized for CBU’s low tuition costs, “the broad range of skills” students learn, and for being “a powerful incubator for undergraduate research, encouraging all students to produce original work and share their results with others in order to maintain a thriving intellectual community on campus.”

Dr. Ben Jordan Garners Press Coverage For “Modern Manhood”

Ben BooksigningTaking inspiration from a Boardwalk Empire episode titled, “Ging Gang Goolie,” reviewer Ryan Anderson, University of North Carolina – Pembroke, examines how scouting, as Dr. Ben Jordan discusses in his recent book, Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and the Environment, 1910-1930, ”offered economic, civic, social, and cultural privileges afforded white men by methods both universal and local. Living as a Scout meant practicing and embodying a manliness representing the acme of American civilization.” Click here for the full review published in H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

jordan_modernDr.  Jordan was also part of an interview panel on “The Colin McEnroe Show” on WNPR, the radio service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, for a program entitled “Being Prepared: Boy Scouts in the 21st Century” on December 22. Listen to Dr. Jordan’s interview.

Furthermore, Dr. Jordan authored an article entitled What history tells us about Boy Scouts and inclusion” for The Conversation, an online and independent source of news and views from the academic and research community. Published on March 27, the article has also been published by Raw Story and newspapers in South Carolina, Maryland, and Kentucky.

New Rosa Deal School of Arts Building Open For Business

32352358412_d1224131be_z (1)The opening of the Rosa Deal School of Arts was covered widely in local media. The Memphis Daily News published an article entitled “CBU Opens New School for the Arts” which included quotes from Dr. Paul Haught, Vice President for Academics and Student Life. Dr. Haught was also quoted in an article and photo gallery in the Memphis Business Journal entitled “See Inside: CBU’s $11 million Rosa Deal School of Arts.”

Dr. Haught and Dr. Tracie Burke (Behavioral Sciences, Honors Program Director) appeared on the Local Memphis Live morning show on WPTY to dicsuss the new building, and WMC-TV Channel 5 also covered the opening in a report.

Local Memphis Channel 24 covered the new Rosa Deal School of Arts opening in a report entitled “New Arts Building Moving CBU Forward.” The report featured an interview with Dr. Paul Haught, Vice President for Academics & Student Life.

High Ground News published an article on the upcoming opening of CBU’s new Rosa Deal School of Arts building in the Development News. The article, entitled CBU’s oldest building replaced by top-modern school of the arts,” features quotes from Bill Ferguson of ANF Architects.

Khadijah Green Accepted to Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College

Khadijha GreenKhadijah Green (Creative Writing ’19) has been awarded a scholarship to the Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Khadijah has been accepted into the two-week poetry workshop led by Peg Boyers. The scholarship winners (58 students – grad and undergrad) come from a wide range of colleges and universities (many are Ivy League); Khadijah will be one of the few to represent the South. This summer program is now in its 31st year and brings in award-winning writers (such as poets Robert Pinsky and Henri Cole, and fiction writers Mary Gaitskill and Joyce Carol Oates) to lead workshops in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Check out the awesome line-up of artists.

 

Maya Freeman To Tour With American Junior Golf Association

Maya FreemanDuring Fall Break, Maya Freeman (ECC ’18) took a Career Road Show trip to Atlanta, GA with CBU’s Career Services. While on this trip, students visited the Atlanta Hawks arena and toured their facilities. “Our guide, Mr. Ben Brown, New Memberships Manager, spoke with us about careers within the sports business industry,” Maya recalls, “and suggested we all look for a summer internship in the sports field. Taking his advice, I searched for internships through teamworkonline.com and applied for at least 20. Among those was a communications intern position for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). Once I received word that I made it through the application process, I was invited to their headquarters in Atlanta as a Top 100 Candidate. All candidates were put on teams of ten interns for the weekend and we were evaluated in several areas. After the weekend, I was offered the position as a Communications Intern for the summer. I will travel extensively throughout the United States helping to conduct national junior golf tournaments. I will be on a team of 6-7 other communications and operations interns and travel with a specific itinerary.” As a Tournament Communications Intern, Maya will be responsible for performing all on-site communications and media relations duties at each tournament.

To keep up with Maya’s work, you can follow the AJGA on Twitter and Facebook.

Alumni Making News: Memphis Flyer 20<30, Clinton Foundation, Award Winners & More

coverstory_20under30_p3a3365_michalyneasterMichalyn Easter (History ’13) was selected to The Memphis Flyer’s ”20<30: The Class of 2017,” an annual list of 20 young Memphians who are making a difference. Michalyn is a recipient of a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, and is currently a history teacher at Overton High School. she is the founder of the nonprofit Our Grass Our Roots in North Memphis, an organization designed to inform the community of resources and opportunities, resist gentrification, assist progressive developments, and advance individuals in the Memphis area.

Derrick Brown (MAT ’13) was a recipient of the 2016 SPARK Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations making a difference in our community. Derrick is an instructional resource teacher at Riverview Middle School and the founder and CEO of The Academy Memphis, which serves as an advocate to bridge students with special needs to higher education. The SPARK Award ceremony aired on WKNO on December 12 and is available online.

Kyra Sanchez Clapper (History ’13) recently passed her Comprehensive Exams for her Modern European History doctorate at the University of Memphis, and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, François Michael Mansour!  Her doctoral dissertation on early French Romanticism and the writings of François-Rene de Chateaubriand builds on her earlier research for her dual Master’s degrees in French and History from the U of M.

Lauren DahlkeLauren Dahlke (Psych ’15), has been awarded a Van Vleet Memorial Doctoral Award at the University of Memphis. This is a university-wide fellowship – the top offered by the University, and two awards were made this year. Each doctoral-granting department nominates candidates, which then compete at the university level.

While at CBU, among other things, Lauren did an extended internship in the Department of Psychology at St. Jude Children’s Hospital and was involved with several studies in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She represented CBU at numerous research conferences, including two international venues–one of which was the 2016 International Symposium on Lasallian Research. Lauren entered the UM Master of Science Program in General Psychology last year, and this year she applied and was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. This award is a tremendous honor for Lauren.

Sister Mary Juliana (MSEL ’05), Principal of St. Croix Catholic School in Stillwater, MN, was named Educator of the Year for 2017 by the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. You can read more about her and her extensive work in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Christopher Peterson (Philosophy ’10) and Dr. Emily Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) co-authored a chapter: “Race, Religion, and Justice: From Privilege to Solidarity in the Mid-South Food Movement” that will be published in Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together, ed. Ian Werkheiser and Zachary Piso (Springer, 2017).

You can read more about Chris’s thoughts on our food system and his life as a farmer on his blog Farmlosophy and on Loch Holland Farm’s Facebook page.

SaraSwisherHeadshotSara Swisher (English ’16) has been accepted into the Master’s program for Public Service at The University of Arkansas’s Clinton School for Public Service. The Clinton School is the first to offer a Master’s degree in Public Service, and gives students the knowledge and field experience to further their careers in the non-profit, governmental, volunteer, and private sectors. Upon Sara’s entry into the Clinton School, she will complete an international project in the summer of 2018. She is looking forward to this new and unique experience and furthering her career in non-profit management and policy. The Clinton School is a natural step forward from her service as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) with the City of Memphis, during which she served as a Food Policy Coordinator at Memphis Tilth, which cultivates collective action for an economically sustainable, socially equitable, and environmentally sound local food system. Sara developed the Food Policy Program, one of Memphis Tilth’s seven programs, which has the mission to advance policy and practice within Shelby County and Memphis in order to promote food security and access.

CBU’s Education Department Receives High Marks On TN Educator Preparation Provider Report Card

CBU’s Education department was lauded for its involvement with Shelby County Schools, particularly Maxine Smith STEAM Academy and Crosstown High School, in the “Memphasis” commentary column by Dan Conaway in The Daily News on February 17. Entitled “Publicly Advancing,” the column quoted President John Smarrelli and closed with Conaway’s comment that “CBU isn’t retreating into ivy-covered towers or private classrooms; they are publicly engaging in their city and committing their expertise to improve it.”

Additionally, according to the TN Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) report card, CBU’s Department of Education earned outstanding marks. We are 1 of 6 schools scoring a 4/4 in candidate performance and a 3/4 in overall performance, employment, and provider impact.

EQuAL-posterIn other news, the Education department will start a new MAT fast track cohort in June (left). Our LANCE program is welcoming three new teachers in the fall who will be teaching at Promise Academy, Resurrection Catholic School, and St. Paul’s, in addition to our two continuing second year teachers who will remain at Promise Academy and St. Paul’s.

On April 25, the Education department presented awards for Outstanding Alumni to Shawn Morgan (Mathematics with Licensure), Derrick Brown (MAT), Matt Campbell (MED), Heather Valdez (MED), John Bordelon (MED & MSEL), and Kristi Baird (MSEL). Awards for Outstanding Education Partner were presented to two of our adjunct supervisors, Katie Stanton and Barbara Greebon. The Ellen Faith Chair’s Award for Outstanding Alumi went to Colleen Boyette (Human Development with Elementary Licensure).

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Dr. Samantha Alperin (left), Colleen Boyette (center), Mac Faith (right)

The Outstanding Alumni Awards are given to undergraduate, MAT, MED, and MSEL alums who have shown outstanding teaching in their schools and have connected at the alumni level with our department. The Outstanding Partner Awards are given to adjuncts, school districts, or others who have partnered with our department to create professional development or other opportunities for our teaching candidates to interact with them (e.g., university supervisors, STEAM, SCS, municipalities,TFA, etc). The Dr. Ellen Faith Chair’s Award for Outstanding Alumni is in memory of Dr. Ellen Faith and is given at the chair’s discretion to the alumni exhibiting all domains of the Education Department Mission: Servant Leader, Effective & Reflective Practitioner, Champion of Individual Learner Potential, and Builder of Vibrant Learning Communities.

You can keep up with the Education Department on our Facebook page.