Monday, December 8, 2008

In time for Christmas - A Centennial History

So, I got to thinking the other day that if you were getting presents for someone with Coker Connections, this new book by Dr. Malcolm C. Doubles, "IN QUEST OF EXCELLENCE, A History of Coker College on its Centennial" would be an excellent choice.
1 -- The book is high quality -- table-top in stature with a quality binding
2 -- Full of interesting things that cover the breath of the 100-year history
-- the role of Major Coker in founding the college and sustaining the mission
-- the Coker football team (page 204)
-- the Coker College uniform (page 27)

For an organization to continue its quest for excellence over the period of 100 years it has to have changed. Dr. Doubles writes about some of the changes that were required. His Coker history shows the college's path in this continuing quest for excellence has at times been rocky (Chapter 6). But, as W. Edward Demmings has observed, "You don't have to change, survival is not mandatory." Those who loved and love Coker want survival to be mandatory and they helped managed the change to get us to this vibrant 'Academy' we have today.

The book is published by the Coker College Press and the initial cost on signing day was $50. So, not only is the book a perfect Coker-type present but for its quality it is also very affordable. You can probably find out more about ordering by calling James Jolly at Coker, 843-383-8018.

I am going to try putting in this video from Dr. Doubles. He and his wife Jackie are leaving the Hartsville community this coming week. I asked him about his time at Coker and if there was a memory that stood out. Sound is not great but his general reply is how he found Coker a fun place to work.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's finals time again

Semesters seem to go by way too quickly. It is the first Saturday in December and those students who had the 8 oclock classes on Tuesday and Thursday had their finals scheduled for today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Centennial Has Ended - Next 100

Coker College began its Centennial Celebration in January 2008, celebrating 100 years of higher eduction in South Carolina. Today, December 4, 2008, the Centennial Celebration cane to an end with the burying of a time capsule that will be opened in 50 years. The two student body presidents, Andrew Mitchum and Whitney Watts, in attendance for the burial said they are looking forward to the unearthing in 2058, when both will be 72-year-olds. Dr. Dawson, the President of Coker College, also can be heard on video to say he will be here too but he will be considerably older than 72 when 2058 rolls around.

The Centennial was a fun ending and it was especially meaningful because Dean Malcolm Doubles, who was the Dean and Provost at Coker for 21 years was signing his just-off-the-press 350-page history of Coker called IN QUEST OF EXCELLENCE, A HISTORY OF COKER COLLEGE ON ITS CENTENNIAL.

The Coker College web site will contain a lot of the stories of the various events that were held to commemorate the Centennial. Setting the tone for the Celebration was the opening Spring Convocation featuring Dr. Walter Edgar an historian from the University of South Carolina, who told what life was like in the Hartsville, SC, of 1908.

I have only been full-time teaching at Coker since 2000 though I did have several terms of adjunct experience on the way to getting the full time position. But through my wife's family the connection to Coker goes back to the 1950s as I think all five of the McLamb girls might have attended Coker.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thinking about assessment...

Assessment is a major element of a college campus. Today, I was thinking a good deal about assessment as we did the final presentations in my Mass Communication class. We only had five minutes per presentation and the ONLY is important here. Ricardo started off the presentations with his summary of a paper on the I-Phone. That started discussion that was moving a five-minute presentation to almost double and we had a lot of presentations left. Kimberly then used a video montage to begin a discussion of her paper, which covered product placement in music videos. The videos grabbed attention and then the product got attention and the discussion started again. Often during the semester I have wished to spark such discussion among the class and today, as it was focusing on key concepts, I had to do the unthinkable and say -- "Sorry" we have to get everyone in and there isn't time. Obviously, the next time I will have to plan better because the discussion was on target and on task and I hated to have it end. Often, I feel that way about the semester in lots of my classes.

Later today there was another type of 'assesment' as the Dance Department and Theater Department held an "Informal" demonstrating some of the concepts that students had been working on in various classes throughout the semester and some of the other groups and talents on campus. The Dance Informal is always a fun, entertaining event that provides some on-stage experience and a chance for both class and personal assessment. Maybe I need to start inviting people to the final speeches from Speech Class??

And, last evening the Coker Singers performed in their Christmas Program, which was a masterful delight. I have snippet of video from this "Celebrate the Season" performance event but the video sound quality is so BADDDD it would not be fair to the group to use it. The Singers were fantastic.

And, while on the topic of assessment, this is the final week of the semester with tomorrow the final day of classes with exams beginning Saturday morning. Always a paper due, always a test to take, always an impression to make -- college may not be that different from the real world.