I was approached last week by one of our peer mentors who had scheduling difficulties with leadership responsibilities he had in other organizations. As the discussion progressed, my graduate assistant and I listened, nodded, and were ready to address how we could work with the student to find some scheduling middle ground. To our surprise, the student felt it was best that he resign from his position. I could tell he had given this a lot of thought, so I confirmed his intent, thanked him for his candor, and upon his departure, immediately jumped into action.
Found a great list of tools for utilizing Twitter in the classroom this week. Many of these applications would be fun for first-year seminar activities, but I think I may do some investigating for adding a dimension to our peer leadership course.
Congratulations to the 2009 Hixson Scholars who begin the first day of their college career today. You should be very proud of the accomplishments that brought you to this point. There are a lot of people at home and here on campus who are really pulling for you, so make this opportunity count. There are fifteen peer mentors in our program who are as eager to meet you as I am. They are some of smartest student leaders with whom I have ever worked, so I know they will be great resources for you.
but in the end it’s right.
I hope you have the time of your life.
We recently hosted a celebration for the learning community peer mentors on our campus. Our campus offers many learning communities linking courses and residence halls and this ceremony is an annual event to honor the student leaders in the academic units and courses. The mentors are nominated for the awards by their professors, course coordinators, and also their students.
As with many ceremonies, some students are able to attend, some have schedule conflicts. This year, we had an opportunity to honor a student who was a mentor last fall and then graduated at semester. At first he was not able to attend, but when he checked in and picked up his nametag, our committee made certain that his award was added to the program for presentation.
The student’s name was announced and he made his way to the podium while glowing praise was read from his award recommendation letters. He was one of the students who dressed up for the event, even donning a tie. The student accepted his certificate and paused for photos with the other student award recipients.
But it was the wrong guy.
You see, when the nominated peer mentor graduated last December, his university email account was closed. When notification was sent to award recipients, the email bounced to a student with the same name. This student with the same name believes he was nominated for and won an award, because we told him that he did. He then dressed up, attended the awards ceremony, and accepted an award to much fanfare and applause. If the learning community coordinator had not been there to discretely mention that he wasn’t the correct student, we would never have known.
Lessons to learn? Double-checking email addresses is pretty obvious. But what do we learn from a student who accepts an award that he has not earned? Is there a message here about the need to be noticed among a sea of faces on the university campus? I’ll take it as a special reminder that all of our students deserve recognition and appreciation. And perhaps they need it more than once a year at awards ceremonies.
Here is a great idea for getting to know a new class of students at the beginning of the semester: ask students to create a magazine cover! It comes from Barbara Nixon, an assistant professor at Georgia Southern. I follow Barbara’s blog and on Twitter because she is always sharing great gems such as this assignment for her Public Relations course. I may utilize the concept to introduce our peer leaders to new first-year students, still letting the idea percolate.
1. Develop Your Philosophy of Teaching
2. Establish Your Credibility3. Determine Your Class Culture4. Be Clear about Your Expectations5. Use the First Day of Class Wisely6. Handle Discipline Problems Right Away
At the final semester banquet for our student leaders, lots of fun stories and jokes from throughout the past year were shared. These students were part of a year-long program of leadership and development training that includes first-year seminar course facilitation in the fall semester.
“You kicked my butt. And you didn’t stop kicking my butt until I straightened out.”