Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cobra Women playing Coastal Georgia







The Cobra Women's basketball team is back from the Christmas vacation and getting ready for a 7 p.m. game against Coastal Georgia this evening. The Cobra women are playing good basketball but they have not yet been able to jump into the win column. The game tonight could be a great way for them to end that win drought and also ignite some momentum for the conference season, which opens next week with a game against Mount Olive, always a tough conference opponent.


video

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Coker SIFE Working on project for/in Muhuru Bay, Kenya


Children like to get in the picture nearly everywhere and these two arein what is called the CUSTOMS area of Muhuru Bay, what we might call downtown. The village is on the border of Kenya and Tanzania.





Coker College is sending a trio of students and two advisors to Muhuru Bay, Kenya, for some on-the-ground work to help establish a library in this Kenyan village on the shore of Lake Victoria. Neil Sickendick, who directs the Coker SIFE program has been working with a community activist in Muhuru Bay, Dickens Ochiel, and they have the project moving forward with tremendous momentum. Neil used the SIFE contacts to team up with a SIFE program at Maseno University in Nairobi, Kenya, to develop a partnership that is going to make a difference. During the last academic year I was able to use part of my sabbatical to visit Muhuru Bay to observe a research project that was being conducted by Eve Puffer (daughter) as part of the Duke Global Health Initiative and their WISER School for Girls and Research in Muhuru Bay. It is exciting to see more connections being made from Coker.

The Coker contingent (Students are Kaitlynn Jessup, Lindsey Allen and Cody Ellison and advisor is Neil Sickendick and videographer/photographer is Harrison Waters) will travel the first week of January and meet up with the Maseno contingent and head to Muhuru Bay. Here is a short summary of what is happening that was provided by Neil in a recent email:

Coker SIFE

We are working with SIFE Maseno from Maseno University in Nairobi. They have 4 students working on the project with us. They have already traveled to Muhuru Bay last week to begin work on transforming the facility. They have also played a crucial role in finalizing many of our in-country details including hotel and transportation. Additionally, our work with them has allowed secure funding transfers and the ability to acquire books and computers for the facility, which we are calling a Learning Resource Center (LRC).

The LRC will be part library and part classroom space to be used for vocational training initiatives. The project started as a desire to construct a facility to be used for these purposes however, upon Dickens's further research, we located a facility that could be purchased and rehabilitated to fit our purposes: a more reliable and accommodating arrangement.

This preexisting facility will be renovated to better fit our intended use. While in-country, SIFE students will work to accomplish the remaining tasks for the building to become functional. Bookshelves will be constructed, the facility cleaned where needed, and other general maintenance issues will be resolved. With any luck, there will be a grand opening of the facility at the end of Coker's trip.

In addition to working on the facility, Coker SIFE plans on meeting with community members to gain a sense of life in Muhuru Bay. They will also spend time working with local teachers and establishing ways to improve educational programming. Perhaps most importantly, Coker SIFE will explore ways in which they can continue to work with Muhuru Bay in the future.

This project is truly a great first step for Coker and Coker SIFE. By partnering with the local SIFE team in Nairobi, we can ensure that the project continues to be sustainable and successful. Our partnership with Dickens ensures this as well, and lends to our credibility with the people of Muhuru Bay. The SIFE network is massive, and though teams compete against one another, our central mission is to benefit communities in the most direct and needed ways. By partnering with other SIFE teams like the one at Maseno University, we have a much higher chance of satisfying our core mission.

UPDATES TO COME
This is a project that will pay dividends in many ways for the student of both colleges, for the people of Muhuru Bay, for Dickens Ochiel and his efforts of building community in Muhuru Bay and for SIFE, which will have a great example of the difference the organization is making.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Coker December Graduation Becomes Tradition


Graduates getting into line to join the procession into graduation.



Graduates on stage awaiting the start of Winter Commencement 2011


Coker College held its second Winter commencement on December 16 at the college's Watson Theater. Approximately 78 students received their degrees at the ceremony. Dr. Robert Wyatt, president of the college, told those gathered that since this was the second Winter graduation it could now be considered a new Coker tradition.

Charles Sullivan a member of the Coker College Board of Trustees since 2002 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters as part of this ceremony. He spoke to the graduates about four concepts to take into their post graduate life -- concepts that have been important to his more than 40 years in industry. Tenacity, Personal Integrity,Passion and Vision are concepts that he noted they had exhibited to achieve their degrees. He said they were concepts that would help them achieve even more in their lives.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How do you know? How do you measure?

People often have to listen to me say that teaching at Coker College is the best job I have had in a career that has been filled with job satisfaction, job challenge and job growth. But, a question I often ask myself is how do you know and how do you measure this amorphous quality of "best."

We are ending final exams for the semester on the Coker campus and that may be one thing giving rise to the questions of 'knowing' and 'measuring.' Another reason the questions are there is a quick text message I received from a colleague.

The colleague is one of my senior colleagues -- a person who has been building community at Coker College over a significant career. As I was grading some "news" stories for the WRITING FOR THE MEDIA class I came across a quote that I thought was especially telling. The 'reporter' had written a personality profile about a person looking forward to graduation and reflecting on her college career. The quote that struck me was something like "He is the hardest professor that I have had at Coker, and he is also the best."

A short time after grading that story I saw that professor and shared the quote with him. He thanked me and a few hours later sent me a text-email thanking me again for sharing the story.

But, that short email did much more. It affirmed again the message we share with our students and with our prospective students and their parents -- that no matter how long we have been on this campus, we measure our worth by our interactions with our students. This is a teaching college and a learning community. A part of his message was "...Confirmation for us is compensation. We know none of us is in it for the money. I'm convinced that we get in return what we expect..."

So, one way I know this is the best job I have had in my career is the way I feel when I get such a genuine response from a veteran colleague who continues to "expect" great things from his students and whose students continue to get great teaching from him - class, after class, after class.

And we will continue to study how we know and how we measure what we know because assessment continues to be a crucial way of telling how we are doing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It;s READING DAY at Coker College
























Today is the day before exams begin.

For professors it is sort of deep breath type of day as we understand the teaching part of the semester is over and now we get to do what they pay us for - Grade. Back in my other job the company pilots would often comment that they flew the planes for free, they were paid for the waiting. On campus, the teaching and learning is the fun part -- grading is the chore.

My celebration of the end of the semester meant that when 5 a.m. came this morning I rolled over and fought to stay in bed and asleep until 6:15 -- so the morning walk was in the daylight for the first time in months. And, I did not get to work until about 8:10 -- no 8 a.m. speech class this morning.

Coker's reading day has been introduced by a tradition called the Late Night Breakfast. Photos with today's blog show some of the "breakfast" scenes. Faculty and Staff do the cooking and serving and students do the eating and talking. (if it were not for the great ARAMARK staff help we would not be able to do this.) The breakfast feeds a lot of students, who are trying to get their minds around the papers still due the exams that begin Saturday morning and their hundred-other last minute things to do before semester ends and grades are posted. Not sure this is a perfect analogy but from a student perspective it is a lot like the final meters of the 10K -- a lot of energy still to be expended.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving holidays are upon us at Coker

On Monday I was talking with my Public Relations class about "Marketing YOU -Inc." As part of that discussion I did mention that teaching at Coker College is the best job I have had so far in my life. So -- obviously something for which to be thankful.

In an email message this morning, President Robert Wyatt, shared some of his Thanksgiving thoughts for the Coker College campus. It seems appropriate to share that message as part of the Coker College Experience:

From Dr. Wyatt
Good morning,
As we prepare to gather with friends and family over the holiday break, I am humbled by the blessings that we share as colleagues and by the commitment to excellence you bring to our community.
Indeed, we have much to appreciate. Working together, Coker’s trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students have developed a strategic plan to guide us through the most ambitious period of growth in Coker’s history. And, owing to your good work, we have made long strides on the path toward becoming the institution of our shared vision. Consider that in the last six months, among other things, we have:
• Welcomed the largest influx of 14 new faculty members in college history, a new provost and numerous staff members;
• Opened Coker’s first downtown loft apartments;
• Established the Joseph L. and Betty C. Wiggins School of Education;
• Created Trans4mations, an innovative four-year academic program to ensure our students are well prepared for the futures they will lead.
• Found ways to expand co-curricular opportunities to challenge and engage students with new programs to begin in 2012 including a competitive debate team, glee club, gospel choir, wind ensemble, and a Coker-Hartsville chorale;
• Added men’s volleyball for 2012;
• Watched our men’s soccer team make history by winning both the regular season and conference tournament championship.
• Received national recognition for academic excellence from organizations including US News & World Report, Washington Monthly, Princeton Review, Colleges of Distinction and, most recently, the National Survey of Student Engagement.
Beyond these myriad accomplishments, I am personally thankful for the friendship and support you have given to Nancy, Lara and me and to each other. It is an exceptional privilege to count you as my family.
May the warmth of this holiday be a special blessing to you.
Thank you, always.
Robert

Monday, November 7, 2011

Coker hosts NCAA Regional Soccer Tourney



Cobra soccer players along with some supporters gathered to watch the NCAA Division II Tournament seeding announcements on Monday night. Coker was named the region's top seed and also will host the first round of the tourney beginning on Friday in Hartsville.


The following is a news release from Christian Stryker, Coker College Sports Information Director about the upcoming NCAA Division 2 soccer tournament:

November 7, 2011

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College has been selected as the top seed and host for this week's NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Men's Soccer Tournament. One of just 32 teams selected nationwide, the Cobras will host the first and second round of the tournament with matches being played on Friday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 13.

Coker, who is ranked No. 5 in the latest National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) national poll, will face the winner of the opening round match between the #4 seed Mars Hill College and the #5 seed the University of Montevallo on Friday at 7 p.m.

The other first round match will feature the #2 seed Flagler College against the winner of the #3 seed Anderson University versus the #6 seed Lees-McRae College on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

The winning teams from the first round will advance to play the second round game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. All first and second round games will be played at the Coker Soccer Field.

The regional winner advances to the quarterfinal round of the tournament to be held on Saturday, Nov. 19 at a to be determined site.

One of the toughest regions in the nation, the Southeast Regional features four teams ranked in Top 25: No. 5 Coker, No. 11 Anderson, No. 19 Flagler and No. 25 Mars Hill.

This is Coker's first trip to the NCAA Tournament and their first time hosting an NCAA Regional in any sport.

The Regular Season and Conference Carolinas Tournament Champions, the Cobras have only played one of the six teams in the regional during the regular season, Lees-McRae. Coker was 1-1 against Lees-McRae during the regular season, including a 1-0 win over the Bobcats on Sunday to capture the conference tournament championship.


TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 9- Games played at higher seed

#3 Anderson University vs. #6 Lees-McRae College

#4 Mars Hill College vs. #5 University of Montevallo

FRIDAY, NOV. 11

Game #1 4:30 p.m. #2 Flagler College vs. Winner of #3/#6

Game #2 7:00 p.m. #1 Coker College vs. Winner of #4/#5

SUNDAY, NOV. 13

Game #3 1:00 p.m. Winner of Game #1 vs. Winner of Game #2

For more information, scores and highlights from the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament visit the Coker Athletics website www.cokercobras.com.

Charlie Brown opens this weekend

The following notice was sent out this morning by the producer of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, which will be on stage this weekend on the Coker College campus. Dr. Wood's cast has been working hard and this will be a fun show with talented performers. Here is the announcement:

This Friday at 7.30pm, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown will open on the Hartsville campus. Based on the Charles Schultz comic strip Peanuts, the musical presents a day in the life of hapless everyman Charlie Brown, his friends, and his faithful dog, Snoopy.

This production features Dustin Moree as Charlie Brown, Jon Moree as Linus, Ashley West as Lucy, Patrick Doughty as Schroeder, Jill Brantley as Sally, and Briana Lotan as Snoopy. Charlie Brown may be one of the few aspects of popular culture still enjoyed across several generations.

There are 3 public performances of the show in Watson Theater of the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center:

Friday November 11th @ 7.30pm
Saturday November 12th @ 7.30pm
Sunday November 13th @ 2.30pm

Tickets are FREE with your Coker College ID, otherwise $15 for adults, $5 for non-Coker students.

Graham Wood
Associate Professor of Music
Coker College
Hartsville, SC
gwood@coker.edu

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coker College Cobras are Soccer Champs



Conference Champions -- The Coker College Cobra Men's Soccer Team





Eric, keeping the ball away...











Noah (21) hit the game winning goal!












Dr. Cathy Cuppett sitting behind her roast of the Bobcats as the game began.





Coker was ranked Number One in the Southeast and fifth in the nation in Division 2 and it looks like they should move up to Number One as the NCAA Regionals take shape. Coker knocked off the only conference team to beat them this year with a 1-nil victory over Lees McRae on Sunday afternoon. Noah Lassell put in the game winner from about thirty yards out in an amazing play.

There is no question that an athletic Conference Championship electrifies the campus. Dr. Robert Wyatt, who is at as many games as he can make, was joined this afternoon by every stakeholder group in the Coker Community from Mayor Mel Pennington to alumni soccer players to Coker staff, Coker faculty, Coker retirees and most importantly STUDENTS and more STUDENTS.

Go Cobras -- Now let's win the NCAA Tournament!!

UK women face Coker on Sunday in only exhibition | University of Kentucky Sports News | Lexington Herald-Leader

UK women face Coker on Sunday in only exhibition | University of Kentucky Sports News | Lexington Herald-Leader

The Cobra women's basketball team is going against some of the best in the nation and as the article above notes, the Cobra coach, Jenny Pfeiffer Finora, was one of the best at the University of Kentucky.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Coker Soccer has Top Coach and Top Player

This is an announcement that came from the Coker College Sports Information Department. I did not include all the Conference team members.:

November 3, 2011
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Seven members of the nationally ranked No. 5 Coker College men's soccer team have been selected as All-Conference performers by the Conference Carolinas men's soccer coaches.
Leading the way are head coach Paul Leese and junior forward Carlos Recinos (Houston, Texas). Leese and Recinos earned two of the highest conference honors as Leese was named Conference Coach of the Year and Recinos was named Player of the Year.
In just his third year leading the Coker men, Head Coach Paul Leese has turned the Cobras into a national power. Ranked No. 5 nationally, Leese led the Cobras to their first ever Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship this season.
Recinos has been one of the key components to Coker's successful season. The team leader in goals, assists and points, Recinos has scored 13 goals, including nine game-winners, with nine assists and 35 points this season.
In addition to the Player of the Year honors, Recinos was named First Team All-Conference along with four of his teammates. Junior midfielder Rommel Fondin (Palm Bay, Fla.), freshman defender Fernando Bedoya (Miami, Fla.), sophomore defender Atticus Lum (Advance, N.C.) and junior goalkeeper James Sweeney (Huntingtown, Md.) all received First Team honors.
Sophomore midfielder Stephen Scrivens (Tampa, Fla.) was named Second Team All-Conference as well.
Fondin and Scrivens were the leaders of the midfield for the Cobras. Fondin scored four goals and had five assists, while Scrivens has netted three goals and had two assists so far this season.
Bedoya and Lum anchored the Cobras backline, while providing offensive support along the way. Bedoya has had four assists and Lum has three goals.
Sweeney has been Coker's field general posting a 16-2 record in the net for the Cobras. Along with the help of his defense he has earned nine shutouts this season, while allowing just 10 goals and making 51 saves.
Conference Carolinas announces the All-Conference teams during this week's Conference Carolinas Men's & Women's Soccer Championship Tournament. Awards include All-Conference First, Second, & Third teams, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Divisional Regular Season Champions. Head coaches from conference member institutions nominate and then vote on the award winners who represent the best of the best for the league. This year's award winners are as follows:
Men's Soccer Player of the Year
Carlos Recinos, Coker

Men's Soccer Freshman of the Year
Jorge Mackenna, Limestone
Men's Soccer Coach of the Year
Paul Leese, Coker

Monday, October 31, 2011

Seth Godin talks about getting jobs

Students who have been in my Marketing Communication class recognize the name Seth Godin. People who follow marketing and leadership in today's world recognize the Seth Godin brand. His current blog is about "how to get a job with a company." This column struck me today because we are getting close to a section of the Principles of Public Relations class that I call 'Marketing You - Incorporated.' I teach this class section in several of my "professional" classes because I am not sure we can talk enough to students about the need for a thought process that focuses on what you will do after the college years have ended.

Godin takes a little different tack in this post because he talks about the power of personal approaches to finding a job. He talks about the power of personally offering to show what you can do before the person who owns or run the company even has a thought of paying you for what you might do. His ideas are sound though I wish he had backed them up with a couple of case-in-point specifics that people might relate to. But, I am pretty sure this is a blog post I am going to ask students to consider when we start looking at Marketing-You tactics.

Coker College to add Men's Volleyball

Christian Stryker, Coker College Sports Information Director (SID) just sent out an announcement of a new Men's Volleyball team and, a year later, a new women's lacrosse team. Here is the news release:

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College will add men's volleyball as an intercollegiate sport for the 2012-13 academic year and women's lacrosse in the following year. The additions represent Coker's 15th and 16th NCAA Division II programs.

"As an emerging sport in Conference Carolinas and across the country, men's volleyball is an excellent fit for Coker," said Coker College President Robert Wyatt, "and judging from the enthusiastic reception that lacrosse is enjoying on campus this fall, we are confident that the women will relish the opportunity to compete in 'America's first sport.'"

"Beyond expanding our athletic program, these additions directly support our strategic growth priorities, which call for elevating institutional visibility and enriching the student experience at Coker," Wyatt added.

As part of the college announcement today, Director of Athletics Lynn Griffin said that Todd Caughlin, Coker's head women's volleyball coach, has been selected to coach the new volleyball team.

"Todd's experience in both coaching and playing men's volleyball makes him well suited to lead our program," Griffin said. Caughlin will continue to serve as the head women's volleyball coach.

As the eighth member of Conference Carolinas with a men's volleyball program – the only men's volleyball conference composed entirely of Division II members – Coker joins Barton College, Erskine College, King College, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, Mount Olive College and Pfeiffer University.

Currently, all NCAA men's volleyball teams, regardless of division, compete for a single national tournament title.

"Beginning in 2014 Conference Carolinas will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which means that Coker will have the possibility of competing against perennial national powers such as UCLA, Penn State and Southern California in the NCAA men's volleyball tournament," added Griffin.

Caughlin has served as head coach of the Coker women's team since 2010. A native of Alberta, Canada, Caughlin came to Coker after spending the last nine years at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. While at St. Mary's, he served as the head women's volleyball coach, leading the Rattlers to a record of 170-168 while also earning a Top 10 Southwest Regional Ranking for four straight years. To go along with his on-the-court leadership, Caughlin led his team to five straight American Vollyball Coaches Association National Team Academic Awards. In addition to being the head volleyball coach, Caughlin served as the assistant athletic director for NCAA Compliance for seven of those nine years.

"I am honored for the opportunity to coach the first men's volleyball team in Coker history," said Caughlin. "I am especially eager to get out on the recruiting trail and start building a competitive program both on the court and in the classroom."

Caughlin envisions a team made up of players from across the country, but will likely draw, in particular, from men's volleyball hotbeds like Pennsylvania, Nevada, Texas and Canada. As a former men's coach and player, he said the addition of a men's program at Coker will not only bring a new and exciting sport to the College, but it will also augment efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of Coker's women's volleyball program.

Caughlin will begin recruiting members of the newest Cobra team immediately in order to begin competition in January 2013.

Coker will become the ninth member of Conference Carolinas to have women's lacrosse. The others are Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Erskine College, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, Mount Olive College, Pfeiffer University and Queens University of Charlotte.

Coker will begin the search for a women's lacrosse coach in the fall of 2012.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Coker Soccer wins first conference title








The Coker College Men's soccer team will begin play in the Carolinas Conference Tournament on the Coker campus at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. For the first time ever, Coker is going into the Championship series as the Conference Champions as they topped St. Andrews 3-0 on Saturday evening. The team enjoyed celebrating following that victory as the video on this page shows. Coach Paul Leese has been aiming for this goal since taking over the reins of the Coker men's team three years ago. His wife and baby were on hand to watch this first conference championship.(photo)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday afternoon on the Coker campus





And there is a body out in the middle of the road leading to Davidson Hall with crowd gathered and someone waving an oar like a scythe. It must be Halloween weekend and a group of students must be creating their own Halloween Horror video -- you have to enjoy working on a college campus.(turns out this scene is an assignment for Stage Movement class and the "director" has recruited some younger people who thought it would be really interesting to be playing Zombies on the Coker campus.)

As I open the doors to the building housing my office there are orchestral sounds wafting through the halls as the musicians playing for the next Coker production -- Charlie Brown -- are getting familiar with the score.

Another group of students were loudly cheering on the Coker College volleyball team as they get close to the end of their regular season and as I put up a little weight I was joined by a couple of baseball players in the weight room. And, as we lifted Ty called out to one of the girls passing through, "good luck in the game." She is a soccer player heading to the training room to get taped.
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And as this day progresses the Halloween fun will get more diverse and more intense as there are trick or treat parties and a costume party in the den, costume competition at the soccer games. And, the soccer game this evening will determine if the Coker Cobras take first place in their division of Conference Carolinas -- the Coker men have had a superior season but every match is competitive and St. Andrews would like nothing more to upset the Coker bandwagon.

A college campus is just an interesting place to be -- about every day!

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms - An Idea Igniter



Jean Grosser, chair of the Coker College Art Department, shared the above video with faculty in an email. This video is a thought starter on the entire concept of education and I hope some of us use it as a thought starter to the way we might even redefine classroom learning. There will be nothing easy about it.

I am finding a real convergence of ideas in having this video cross my communication environment this morning. First, I am in the middle of the new biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson and Jobs is a concrete example of a person who took control of his own education. Was Jobs really that much more "special" than a lot of other children in our world? Next, I was reading a statement of teaching philosophy from my daughter, Dr. Eve Puffer and a couple of her comments are directly related to some of the ideas spawned by the above video. Third, I am thinking of days students in my classes become particularly engaged and days when nearly all seem to be somewhere else. What can I do differently to make the first days far more common in their lives?

One of the great things about being in a campus atmosphere is the opportunity for thinking about thinking and thinking about how we think and how we learn and how we can become better at both thinking and learning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Softball Players earn academic honors

Darlington and Hartsville Natives Named NFCA Academic All-American

Several Coker College Cobra players have earned fast-pitch academic All American honors and that information is included in the linked news release. Athletes getting academic honors is is a norm not an anomaly at Coker. Congratulations to these recently announced winners.

Here is the news release from S.C. Now:

HARTSVILLE -- Coker College Softball Coach, David Hanna, announced today that five student-athletes have been selected as Academic All-Americans by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) for the 2010-11 academic year.

In order to qualify for the academic honor each student-athlete must have acquired a 3.5 GPA or greater for the year.

The following Cobras received this prestigious honor: junior Jaclin Poole (Clover), sophomores Louise Benton (Kingstree), Stacy Burr (Darlington), Katie McElveen (Hartsville) and former Cobra Sydney Greenwalt (Edwardsville, Ill.). This is the fourth time that Greenwalt has received the Academic All-American honor.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dr. Steve Terry Receives Student Affairs Award

This is a news release from Coker College. Steve Terry, vice president Student Affairs at Coker has been innovating at the college since 1975, when he first served as coach of the men's basketball team. He continues to lead innovation as Coker moves forward on an aggressive growth path.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Coker Vice President Steve Terry Receives Statewide Student Affairs Leadership Award

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Oct. 21, 2011 – Coker College Vice President for Student Enrollment Services Steve Terry was honored with the Joseph O. Nixon Award for chief student affairs officers by the South Carolina College Personnel Association at the organization’s fall conference Oct. 21.

“Dr. Terry is an outstanding administrator who has the students’ best interest at heart and always speaks up on their behalf, subtle and firm in his belief that our students come first,” said Coker College President Robert Wyatt. “From serving students at our late-night breakfast event before final exams begin, to attending as many athletic events as I do, to ‘cutting up’ with students all across campus, Dr. Terry personifies Coker College.

“I can think of no other person more deserving of this award,” Wyatt added.

The statewide award, which is not limited to SCCPA members, recognizes excellence in the areas of leadership, commitment to students and efforts to recruit higher education professionals to the field of student affairs.

Terry’s recognition represents the first time the award has been given to an individual from Coker College. Past recipients have come from Furman, Presbyterian College, Converse and the University of South Carolina.

Terry, who joined Coker in 1975, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Carolina University and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina.

Established in 1970, SCCPA’s mission is to support professionals who serve students in South Carolina higher education institutions. In turn, SCCPA derives from its members a shared commitment to help colleges and universities provide a campus environment that promotes academic achievement and personal growth and development for all college students.

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Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coker 101 with David Dorfman Dance Company



The David Dorfman Dance Company has been on the Coker College campus for the past couple of days. What an amazing opportunity this has been for the dancers and for many others in the Coker community who have been involved in classes with this company.

About an hour ago one of the dancers stopped by to say hello as she was leaving one of the classes. Earlier I happened to see a Facebook status where she was talking about how much working with these dancers means to her. As we talked I said, 'so, you have enjoyed David Dorfman.' Talk about and immediate and from the heart response - "I have so loved being with him and his dancers," she said with a bit of a lump in her throat.

This evening the David Dorfman Dance Company is putting on a concert called the Prophets of Funk. This concert is one of the major arts events for Hartsville and there is no question it is bring an idea of modern dance movement that will be leaving an impact on the audience. Angela Gallo and Erin Leigh, who teach the dance program at Coker, have both known David Dorfman for some time and have been very enthused about this visit to the campus and the community. The group even plans a quick question and answer get together at the Midnight Rooster of Hartsville on Friday morning.

In the Writing for the Media class this morning we were discussing potential story ideas for the "Coker Beat." One of the ideas offered was the dance company's involvement on campus. I happened to mention to three of the golfers who were sitting near each other that for the dancers having a professional company of this caliber on campus was much like having one of the top touring pros on campus. Perhaps the major difference is these dancers are involved directly in teaching and working with students -- majors and non majors. They are conveying their craft through actual movement; not just making an appearance. It is events and experiences like this one that are often tough to assess but are the activities that provide life-long memories for those who become involved. I am certainly not a person who knows dance or who has much luck with "movement" but I am one who is moved by the difference this kind of experience provides for Coker students and for members of the community who take advantage of Hartsville being a college town.

Just because I think it makes sense, I do want to mention that the David Dorfman Company visit to Coker and Hartsville is being partially underwritten with grants from the South ARTS Dance Touring Initiative in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, ARTWORKS and the Hartsville-Coker Concert Association.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Coker CollegeSoccer Nationally Ranked

A couple of days ago I mentioned to one of the Coker College soccer players they were making me sort of not like soccer bechttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifause their games always go down to the final play with a one goal difference usually the winning edge. They have done a great deal of winning this year and are 12-1 with 11 wins in a row to their credit. They are working hard, playing with talent and showing a great deal of resolve as they move forward in the conference competition, Here is a report on the most recent ranking that was shared by the Coker Sports Information Department:

Coker Athletics
October 18, 2011

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker College men’s soccer team has received a No. 7 national ranking according to this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. This is the highest national ranking of any men’s soccer team in Coker’s history.

In addition to the No. 7 national ranking the Cobras are ranked No. 1 in the Southeast region, another program first. Other Conference Carolinas schools that are ranked in the Southeast Region include Lees-McRae at No. 6, Barton College at No. 8 and Limestone College at No. 10.

The Cobras will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Wilson, N.C. to face the Barton Bulldogs in a Conference Carolinas match at 7p.m.

NCAA Rankings National Men
Division II 7th Poll - October 18, 2011

Rank School

Prev.
W-L-T

1 Simon Fraser (B.C.)




2 Franklin Pierce (N.H.)


3 Fort Lewis (Colo.)

4 Incarnate Word (Texas)

5 C.W. Post (N.Y.)


6 Northern Kentucky

7 Coker (S.C.)

8 Rollins (Fla.)

9 California (Pa.)

10 Anderson (S.C.)

11 Barry (Fla.)


12


9 - 1 - 3

12


Rockhurst (Mo.)


10


10 - 2 - 1

13


Midwestern State (Texas)


22


9 - 3 - 0

14


Southern New Hampshire


16


11 - 2 - 0

15


Mercyhurst (Pa.)


13


10 - 4 - 0

16


Cal State Dominguez Hills


NR


10 - 3 - 1

17


Flagler (Fla.)


RV


10 - 3 - 1

18


Texas A&M International


13


7 - 2 - 2

19


Metro State (Colo.)


18


9 - 5 - 1

20


Seattle Pacific (Wash.)


17


9 - 2 - 2

21


Christian Brothers (Tenn.)


RV


11 - 3 - 0

22


Saginaw Valley State (Mich.)


NR


7 - 2 - 2

23


Colorado Mines


23


9 - 4 - 1

23


Davis & Elkins (W. Va.)


NR


8 - 4 - 1

25


West Florida


20


8 - 3 - 2


Also receiving votes: Grand Canyon (Ariz.), St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.), Mars Hill (N.C.), Fort Hays State (Kan.), Lynn (Fla.), Regis (Colo.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lacrosse team looks good in collegiate scrimmages












The Coker College lacrosse team reached another milestone on Saturday, October 8, 2011 as they played their first intercollegiate lacrosse in a series of scrimmages at the Greensboro Fall lacrosse tournament. Coker played Guilford, Ferrum and UNC-Greensboro in three forty-minute games.

How do they do? They did not win. They did however play some excellent lacrosse with two of the games decided by one goal and the other by two, despite the fact that Coker had a midfielder in goal as both goalies were not able to play in the scrimmage. The team, which just came onto campus this fall, looked like a team. The guys worked well together and executed well. Defense was especially good as each of the three scrimmages wee low scoring, in a sport that can often have scores in double figures, Saturday's games were in the 4-3,5-4,6-4 type of scores. One other exciting aspect of this three-game scrimmage was the following the lacrosse team had. There were parents and relatives from Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina and probably a couple of other states cheering on the Cobras. In the small-world category, one of the mothers is a graduate of Rome Catholic High School of Rome, NY -- the same school from which I graduated.

This year I have the opportunity of being what Lynn Griffin, Coker Athletic Director, is calling a faculty mentor for the team and it is fun getting to know these guys in their lacrosse environment. Driving the bus to Greensboro is not really in the faculty mentor job description but it was a way to connect with the team and reconnect with some long-ago memories of my own very inadequate lacrosse playing days. The game was intense back then. Heck, lacrosse was a way the Indians used to settle serious disputes instead of going to war so it has always been intense. But, the talent, the speech, the athleticism of today's players is amazing to watch. It is a very different game from the days of wooden sticks.

Yesterday ended the Fall Season and now, except for study halls, the lacrosse team is anxiously awaiting the coming of second semester when they start their official lacrosse schedule, opening with Shorter College of Georgia.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Facets in Time = Fall Dance Concert


caption for photo: Following the dance concert Angela Gallo, associate professor of dance, had the choreographers answer questions about their pieces from interested members of the audience.


The Fall 2011 Student Choreography Showcase opened in the Watson Theater on the Coker College campus on Thursday evening. It will continue at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights, October 7 and 8.

The dancers go by my office door all day, all week, including weekends. This close proximity to the Coker College Dance program has helped me become a dance fan. This year's Fall Choreography Concert is another event that makes me glad I am a fan. I hear people say that modern dance is not for everyone. That may be but performances I watch by the Coker dancers make me wonder why. Modern (heck, dance in general) is a complete performance with exquisite movement, intrepid imagination, powerful images and intriguing story lines. And, much of the interpretation is generally left up to the viewer -- providing frameworks for us to build our own stories. The student choreography is an example of that thesis and it was enjoyable watching it performed in the Fall Concert.

Males have long been a part of the dance program at Coker but to have four guys on stage at the same time almost made it feel like we had a visiting company. "Mental Enslavement" was the title of the piece choreographed by Italy Welton and performed by Dache Green, Ty Rogers, Daniel Stevenson and Keon Wilson.

"Break Out" was a duo of Kelsey Grimm and Kaycee Weaver and they were the choreographers for the piece. Watching the performances on Thursday evening it struck me how the pedagogy of project-based learning plays out in this student choreography. Two of the pieces had multiple choreographers and the collaboration involved in the creative process has to be a great learning opportunity.

"Bitter Words and Forgiving Hearts" was the other multi-choregraphed piece as the three dancers - Megan Stone, Devin Jennings and Alicia Nelson were also the choreographers. That piece closes the show.

Other pieces selected for this Fall performance included: "Dying to Live", choregraphed by Akhira Ansari and performed by Akhira Ansari, Devin Jennings, Chekera Lucas, Andria McFadden, Sarah McNamee, Alicia Nelson and Cheyenne Wiseman; "Visceral Instinct" was choregraphed by Devin Jennings and performed by Devin and my one-word response as she finished was "Wow." Ty Rogers choregraphed "Time for Today" and the dancers for that piece included Akhira Ansari, Ashley Lesage, Chekera Lucas, Ty Rogers and Kirsten Sanders. Cheyenne Wiseman choreographed and performed "Dover."

The next major dance event on the Coker Campus and in Hartsville will be the October 20th performance by the David Dorfman Dance company in a show titled "Profits of Funk."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Student journalist posts story from Kuaula Lampur

Writing for the Media is one of the classes I have the opportunity to teach at Coker College this semester. As luck has it, one of the students in the class is traveling on a Students in Free Enterprise project. This gave me the opportunity to ask Tyler Senegal to become a foreign correspondent for his week in Malaysia. What follows is the first story that he wrote about the trip.

This week we are working on the concept of writing for Online Media and we will probably use this story to see about how we might include links to build an even richer experience for the reader. In fact, if you notice some links in this story I will have inserted to show the students what I was thinking about.

Two Coker Students Travel to Malaysia

Kuala,Lumpur October 2, 2011- On Saturday October 1, 2011 two students from departed from Hartsville on a 9,800 mile journey to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tyler Senecal and Noah Lascell were the two students selected by Coker SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) to make the trip. The purpose of the trip is for the students to witness the SIFE World Cup Competition and use the knowledge and experience gained in order to improve Coker’s SIFE team. The two were selected because of their leadership positions as members of the SIFE executive council.
SIFE is an international organization founded in 1975 in the United States. According to their website, SIFE is “a non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.” As of August 2010, had 48,000 students from 40 different countries participating in their program.
Last year, as a first-year team, Coker SIFE finished first in its regional competition, and top 60 in the nation out of around 600 teams.
The students will be returning to Hartsville on Sunday October 9, 2011 after 3 flights and more than 24 hours of travel time. The trip can be followed at http://cokertrans4mations.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coker Alpha Students understand a challenge



Charles Bethea, a Coker College student at the Marion/Mullins campus. was getting students at the campus to sign a card for one of their own who had recently been diagnosed in breast cancer. He had garnered a lot of signatures from his fellow students.




One thing that becomes quickly apparent when teaching in the evening program at Coker College is that all the students seem to have a story. Some will tell the story and others just continue building their story but you will find people balancing a lot of things in their quest for their college degree.

Lapoleon "Charles" Bethea has one of those stories. At 55, he is one of the older but not the oldest of the students at the Marion/Mullins campus. He graduated from Dillon High School in 1974 and went straight into the work force - not even considering the possibility of college. But now, on disability because of a stroke, a heart problem and twice broken neck, he has focused on a dream and a challenge of getting a degree in psychology that will allow him to take many of his volunteer activities to the next level.

At the Monday night Homecoming gathering, held between the early and late classes, Charles shared a little of his story with his fellow Coker students. He told them about fighting his way back from a 2008 stroke and deciding in the recovery that "I had not lost the will to keep going." During that recovery friends would stop by to check on him and talk about things. A few of those friends were pursuing their college degrees and the spark caught and Charles had a new dream. "I worried that I might not be smart enough or that I might not remember all that I needed to remember but they did it and I thought I could too." So, in 2009 he began his Coker career.

Charles notes, with more than a little surprise, "it was not as difficult as I might have thought. There is always someone a fellow student, a faculty member or a Coker staff member who is interested in helping." Charles, who had loved reading for most of his life, finds that nowadays he is reading psychology texts, or philosophy articles more than his favorite western author, Louis L'Amour, but he his enjoying it at least as much. He describes how his psychology instructor, Dr. Brown brings experience to the classes and how she imparts "so much insight." He notes the challenge of being forced from his normal thinking by a Dr. Isley-taught philosophy class. "He forced you to think out of the box."

Charles is walking with some crutches and a boot on his leg from a recent fracture but he is at class each night. With all of his medical troubles, and they are frequent, he says he has only missed about three class nights over these past three years.

A native and resident of Dillon, he got to live a lot of places as a construction worker during the 1970s and '80s retuning to Dillon in 1990 to recover from a heart attack. Despite health issues, he has been Chairman of the Dillon County First Steps, he is a Guardian Ad Litem and works with a variety of activities and groups in Dillon to build his community. He is certain that the quality education he is getting through the Coker ALPHA program will allow him to build on his volunteerism and find new, more effective, ways to continue helping people.

Charles Bethea is one of the many stories of adults who are back in college working toward a dream deferred and as they tell their stories, it is easy to feel the impact the Coker College ALPHA program is making within the Pee Dee community.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Totally 80s Homecoming Theme

 

Zumba photos by Sarah Folsom


 


Homecoming Events for the 2011 Fall Semester at Coker College are in full swing. Glow-in-the-dark Zumba kicked off Homecoming on Sunday night and on Monday Coker women competed in Powder Puff football.

And, at the Marion campus, Jamie Thomas, who is coordinator of the Marion/Mullins Coker campus, scheduled a Homecoming event for the adult students at that location that featured a current student and two former students discussing the difference the Coker College ALPHA (adult learner) program has made in their lives. One graduate told of being in graduate school and having the instructor discuss the research component of the class. She told the group how prepared she felt and that she was because of the faculty at the Marion/Mullins site. Thomas told the students, who gathered between their first and second session classes, that he wanted some Homecoming events at Marion so they could see and feel what it means to be part of Coker College. Barbara Jackowski, coordinator of the Coker Alpha program, also spoke, telling the audience that seeing them move their Coker years is a dream of hers as an adult-learning educator.

Lecture Series --
Tuesday evening the college is featuring the annual Lois Coker Walters lecture with Harvard Professor Dr. D. N. Rodowick speaking on the The (Fading)/(Future) Memory of Film.

The Homecoming events for current students and alumni continue throughout the week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Televison Stations Showcases College

Using this post to establish a link to a web story by WMBF and their coverage of Coker College. Interesting to see another perspective.

Monday, September 12, 2011





Bob Sloan, editor of The Hartsville Messenger joined the “Writing for Media” class at Coker College to tell the students about the life of a community journalist. “Visiting professionals give the students a new perspective about the class work and this is especially important in the field of journalism,” said R. A. Puffer, associate professor – communication.

The students wrote inverted pyramid stories on the visit, taking the perspective of reporters for this exercise. I hope some of the students will post their stories as comments to the Blog so they can see what they look like when printed in a public forum.

Many in the class commented that they found the visit productive and that they enjoyed hearing about the multiple jobs that are involved in being a community journalist. The Hartsville Messenger is part of the Media General media corporation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 11, 2001 Commermoration at Coker College





Photos contributed by Caleb Dunlop


The bell tolled and the emotions swelled. It was a Darlington County Firefighter pulling the chord and then an Air Force veteran, now a Coker student. As the bell tolled the emotions swelled. TAPS played by a Coker student, and veteran of the United States Navy, capped the morning's commemoration but the feelings of sadness and loss continue flowing like waves on a beach. Those of us alive still and alive that day will always remember.

The Coker College community joins together on most Thursdays for a Coffee in the Courtyard to recognize events and achievements of students, staff or faculty. This morning, September 8, 2011 the Community gathered to remember those lost on 9-11.

It was a moving event. Jason Umfress, Dean of Students, noted that the idea came because of the importance of remembering as a community. He also stressed the importance of passing on the memory to the next generation, those students who were in the third, fourth or fifth grades when the United States of American was attacked by terrorists.

In addition to the Coker Community representatives of the local law enforcement, fire departments and emergency services were on hand to be recognized for their daily commitments to creating a safer community. Coker is also sponsoring another event to commemorate the events of ten years ago. This commemoration will be a gathering of the arts at the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Auditorium on the Coker Campus at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2011.


video

Thursday, September 1, 2011




The Coker College Women's Soccer team opens play for the 2011 season on September 1 at 7 p.m. The following story was put on the college's sports web site this morning.

Coker Women Ready to Get the Season Started
by Caleb Dunlop, Coker Sports Information Intern
9/1/2011

Read this article on the web at http://cokercobras.com/article.asp?articleID=2635.
The Coker Cobras women's soccer team will begin play tonight with not only a group of fresh faces on the pitch, but three new faces roaming the sidelines.
Dan Muns will lead the women's soccer team this season after serving as an assistant at Columbus State University (GA) since the program's birth in 2004. Columbus State became a regionally and nationally ranked program during Muns' tenure. Muns will be assisted by Jackie DeNova and Garrett Vaughan.

Muns is very excited to get the season underway. "The ladies have a terrific work ethic and have embraced our focus on competition and accountability," Muns said, "we have been preparing for the regular season one day at a time."

The new Cobra women's team includes eight new players, six of which are freshmen. "With a new coach there are changes in the philosophy," freshmen keeper Lizz Morris said, "a lot of new players have come on board, and we are looking to change the face of this program ."

Junior Sarah Rountree echoed this thought saying, "There is a different type of atmosphere on the field. There is a lot of team chemistry, we work well together."

Overall, the feel on campus is breathing excitement and energy into the program. New players and returners alike look to make an impact on the pitch when their season kicks off against USC Aiken. "We have a whole new attitude towards this season. We are all very excited," said junior Morgan Hartline.

The bar has been raised for the club this year. With a new coaching staff and plenty of new faces, eyes will be upon the team as they begin their season tonight at 7 p.m. against the USC Aiken Pacers.
Fans can follow all the action live online with live video and live stats. Visit the Live Broadcast Page of cokercobras.com.
Visit cokercobras.com for the latest news and info on Cobras Athletics.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Admissions meets with profs


Last week the Admissions Department had a few hours set aside to talk to professors from various departments around campus to hear stories of students and graduates of Coker College. The Admissions recruiters were looking for stories they could use when trying to interest prospective students and their families in attending Coker. A bit of news from the college this week was that we have our largest student body ever with a first-year class up 25 from the previous high.

Back to stories. While on sabbatical this past semester I was able to read a number of books on public speaking and one common suggestion was 'story telling.' As a race, we humans have learned from stories for thousands of years. In fact, on my door is a quote who origin is said to be an Indian proverb: "Tell me a fact and I'll learn. Tell me a truth and I will believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever." That is a quote I happen to share with my public speaking students about every semester in class. In fact, we start the speech making process with something called an Icebreaker, which is stories about things that have altered a student's life. Tomorrow we start those in the day classes and we had the Icebreakers in the night class last Wednesday.

Back to admissions. The recruiters were interested in the stories and spent a lot of time listening as instructors discussed things about their students. I got to overhear Dr. Joe Flaherty of Biology talk about how his recent research grant has allowed him to purchase IPads for his student researchers and how those IPads are making a difference in their research approach. Looking around the room as instructors talked, you could see the faces light up as they told stories of how students have grown through Coker and beyond. It will be fun to hear from the admissions folks if they find the stories making a difference out on the road.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coker Cross Country Runner Heading to China

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS FROM AN NCAA PUBLICATION



Not a typical freshman, Coker's Bates competes in international triathlon


by Amy Farnum, NCAA.com
8/26/2011

Read this article on the web at http://cokercobras.com/article.asp?articleID=2625.

Like thousands of freshmen student-athletes across the nation this week, Dylan Bates is learning the ropes of college life.

But while Bates is busy finding his classes at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., and bonding with his new cross country teammates, the native of Scarborough, Ontario, is also dedicated to training for his first international triathlon.

Before Bates runs his first cross country meet for the Cobras, he will travel to Beijing, China, to race in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final on Sept. 11 as a member of Team Canada. Bates will challenge for the title in the U-20 Age Group category.

While Bates turns just 18 years old on Sept. 4, he has been preparing for the opportunity to compete in an international triathlon for most of his life. He raced in his first triathlon at seven, and his passion was ignited for the endurance event that consists of three disciplines -- swimming, cycling and running.

"It was a local one and very short, but I had an absolute blast doing it," Bates said. "I did that one for a few years, until I decided that I wanted to do more than just the one race. I went and did another that was nearby, and that was when I realized I wanted to get more into the sport."

In 2008, Bates qualified to compete in the Ontario Summer Games as a triathlete, and finished 18th overall in the provincial championship event. It was then that Bates decided to commit himself to triathlons and give up his other pursuits like playing hockey and practicing Tae Kwon Do.

"My life basically started to revolve around doing triathlons," Bates said. "I started training harder and harder for them. In 2010, I ended up winning the U-20 Olympic Distance Provincial Championship, which qualified me for this year's World Championships in Beijing."

The Olympic Distance race is made up of three legs -- a 1500 meter swim, 40 kilom eter bike and 10 kilometer run. The event in Beijing will actually take place at the 2008 Olympic course.

"It will be a great experience to compete on the course where Canadian Olympian Simon Whitfield almost got the gold medal," Bates said. "It was definitely a huge reason why I wanted to do it. Of all the people who qualify, only a small percentage of people actually go to compete. Because it is going to be in China, I thought it would be a great experience and the chance to compete there would be amazing."

While the duration of a triathlon would scare off most potential participants, it may be the training that is even more difficult. Bates' cross-training consumes about 20 hours a week, and sometimes up to six hours a day.

Bates credits learning Tae Kwon Do for the dedication and discipline he exhibits today. At 12 years old, he earned his second degree black belt. The training for that challenge also helped him discover his ru nning talents.

"When I was getting my black belt when I was 10, we had to go on long runs every morning," Bates said. "That really started me running. Two years later, I realized I was a decent runner and that got me into the sport. I joined cross country at school."

While running is definitely his strong suit, Bates is continually elevating all three parts of his training.

"My swimming is definitely the most improved as of late," Bates said. "Ever since I joined the high school swim team a couple years ago, I've seen great jumps in my improvement. It's almost to the caliber of my running now.
I've always been a pretty strong cyclist, but running is definitely my strength."

It was not solely running that attracted Coker head coach Kevin Kelley to Bates' profile on a recruiting web site.

"His academics are really strong, too. He was amazingly strong in both, and that's a big reason why I originally talked to hi m," Kelley said. "Everything that he has done, he's always excelled. That's something we really wanted we wanted to have as a part of our team."

Bates had always dreamt of going to school in the United States, and the warmer temperatures of South Carolina were as attractive as the fact he could double major in mathematics and computer science.

"It was a beautiful campus with great weather for running and training because there aren't those cold winters that force you inside," Bates said. "It seemed like a great opportunity to integrate athletics and academics because it had everything I was looking for."

There was just one issue. Bates would have to miss two weeks of school and Coker's first cross country meet in order to travel and compete in Beijing.

"I was concerned how it would affect training, racing and school," Bates said. "Because Coker started so early, I've been able to tell my teachers in advance and it is not going t o be a huge problem catching up."

In addition, Coker does not sponsor an official spring track season, so that frees up Bates' time to train for triathlons.

"I thought it was a great thing because he is still getting the running in and the other two sports also help with running," Kelley said. "His background has got a really solid cardio base."

The extra training will undoubtedly benefit his budding triathlon career. On Aug. 7, Bates won the U-20 Age Group title, and placed ninth overall (2:11:49.7) at the MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series in Bracebridge, Ontario, already qualifying for a spot in the 2012 World Championships to be held in New Zealand. While he is not sure he will be heading to New Zealand because of academic conflicts, Bates is certainly on the road to becoming a force in the sport.

"After college, if I start training more, I could get an Elite card and become a professional triathlete," Bates said. "If there 's money in it, and I can do it enough to sustain myself, then I would absolutely want the opportunity to try becoming an elite triathlete.

"It's not just a sport, it's a lifestyle."

Bates will miss the Cobras' first meet on Sept. 9, but will return from China in time to compete in the Bridgestone Pacer Invitational in Aiken, S.C., on Sept. 17.

Article originally posted on NCAA.com by Amy Farnum, August 26, 2011 http://www.ncaa.com/news/cross-country-men/2011-08-25/coker%E2%80%99s-bates-competes-triathlon



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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lacrosse debuts at Coker College








Lacrosse, billed as the "fastest sport on two feet" made its debut at Coker College on Thursday, August 25, 2011 as Coach Tony Smith put his new Cobra team through their first workout as a team. It was an exciting day for the players, who smiled through the pouring sweat enjoying the feeling of finally getting onto the field.

The first day of lacrosse even drew Dr. Wyatt, Coker's president and Dr. Parkinson, Coker's new provost. Dr. Parkinson said, "we were told we could get a view of what lacrosse is all about if we came out to practice. All I've seen is the guys running." It has been a long time since I played this game but I had to tell him, running is one thing lacrosse is all about.

There is little doubt that lacrosse at Coker is going to draw some attention this first year. Turns out the guys are going to do a little scrimmaging on Saturday afternoon, so if you want to see a little more than running, Saturday may be the day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Semester started Monday night



A round-table configuration so that we can enhance small group discussions.






Students work on their interview skills while developing information for an introductory speech.



The program where I became introduced to real college teaching was Coker's night program and that was back in the late 1980s when I was an adjunct teaching public speaking when the need arose in the evening programs. From the start I have enjoyed being part of what we call the non-traditional degree program.

Nowadays, we call this the Coker ALPHA program and we have sites for non-traditional learners in Marion/Mullins, Lake City and Hartsville. This term I am at the Marion site teaching public speaking and we had some really good opening-class discussions on Monday. There were 13 students in class and I think there will be two to three more who will be joining us at the second class.

ALPHA learning is a challenge because more than 90% and probably close to 100% of the students have jobs and then they attend Coker two nights a week, most of them in two classes. The classes are 5:30 to 8:00 and then 8:05 to 10:30. This makes for a long day but these students are investing their time and money because they know they will find a payoff. And, most of them do comment that they find the payoff almost weekly as they expand their worlds in these college classes.

It is a challenge and it is a great deal of work. For example, I have the same number and same type of assignments for the night classes that I have for the day classes. The night classes do in eight weeks what we take a full semester to do in the day. The difference for the students that instead of five classes they are focusing on two at a time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A couple of Sunday photos from Coker 8-14






We got a bright rainbow that was even a double rainbow from some perspectives











Volleyball practice was pretty intense on Sunday afternoon as the Cobras work to lay the foundation for a strong season.

This was a busy day for first-year students as most had academic overviews in the morning and many still had placement tests to take. There was also an ice cream drop in at President Wyatt's home and later in the evening was the candle lighting ceremony of the Commissioner families. The camera was not around enough to get all those events but you can find a lot of really good weekend shots on the Coker web page.