Friday, August 28, 2009

Dance Instructor Achieves Grant

There is a news release on the Coker website announcing a grant received by Professor Angela Gallo. Had heard from her about this toward the end of the summer and in this economic climate getting this grant is a great accomplishment. The Coker Dance Department is active throughout the day as students are taking regular classes, practicing for senior thesis performances, or other pieces. The music is often pounding in the large studio long past nine as the dancers stay busy until all hours.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Opening Night of Soccer at Coker

Pembroke has a 35 yard penalty kick with less than 25 seconds on the clock, the kick is centered a head smashes the ball above the Coker goalie's outstretched hands into the crossbar. Coker grabs the rebound and opens the men's 2009 soccer season with a two to one VICTORY; Coach Paul Leese begins his head coaching career with a "W".

The Coker women played Newberry in the opener and after a rough first half that had them down four to nil they played tough in the second half losing their opener 4-1.

Good crowd at the games.

On a side note seems Coker Baseball Coach Dave Schmotzer got to challenging Coker's new president over some athletic feats and the two decided on a face to face bowling challenge with the winners -- the Coker Baseball team who will not have to run this Saturday morning as Wyatt topped Schomotzer in their first bowling match up. All night long ball players were coming up thanking Dr. Wyatt for his victory and their prize.

that was time for some fun but those 8 a.m. classes start at eight in the morning.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coker Holds Opening Convocation 2009-2010

Dr. Robert Wyatt, Coker's 16th president, was the keynote speaker at the opening convocation of Coker College on August 20. Using a theme of ensure you make a difference, Dr. Wyatt cautioned his audience of students, faculty, staff, and community that in the words of psychologist William James, "A difference that makes no difference is not different." His message was one of urging students to take hold of their Coker experience so they can craft a person who will go on to make lasting impressions in the world.

There is a two-minute video that captures a little of this speech. You may have turn your speaker volume to high, but the message is so much stronger coming from Dr. Wyatt than from these cyber words.

The Convocation was highlighted by recognizing top students in each of the classes. This formal calling together of the Academic Community is one of those experiences that makes working at a liberal arts college a truly distinctive experience.

The organizers also kept this event to less than 35 minutes and that appeared to be great timing. Just a note about Dr. Will Carswell's, chair of the faculty senate, admonition to students -- he called on students from each of the college levels, first year to seniors to stand and to understand that this privilege of a college education was their responsibility to grasp and make happen. I think the students heard the message loud and clear and from their enthusiasm as they left the building, they understood this calling together was about their education.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Volleyball Puts on Clinic in Georgetown

The SCNOW web site has a great story about the Coker College Volleyball team putting on a clinic for the Georgetown, SC, volleyball team. Engaged learning and experiential learning are two key ideas for Coker and it is fun seeing those ideas include sports as well as class activities.

The Coker Girls Volleyball Team joined the men's and women's soccer teams helping the new students move in last week and the included photo shows some of the members of the Coker Volleyball team.

First Day of Classes for 2009-2010

25 students in Speech ready to go at 8 a.m.

Enjoyed the class and found a lot of reasons that Public Speaking might be the most important class you will take in your college career.

Basically, the skills from public speaking translate directly to your personal bottom line on the job, in school, in your personal life. That is one reason I get excited to serve as a coach for public speaking skills. The basic goal for this particular class is that by December 4, 2009 all of the 70 or students taking the three PS classes I am teaching will find they have improved their ability. Then, their job will be to find ways to enhance the skills because public speaking needs constant attention or rustiness sets in.

Introduction to Mass Communication is next and then Speech at noon. Another speech class and Marketing Communication are on the agenda for Thursday.

The first major assignment for all the speech students is to review the Coker College Convocation, which begins at 7:30 on Thursday evening.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Biology Professor gets Large National Science Foundation Grant

Dr. Joe Flaherty, a biology professor at Coker College, has been developing undergraduate research programs since coming to Coker. He has just received official notification that he has received a $500,000 career research grant from the National Science Foundation. What follows is the note that Coker Provost -- Dr. Pat Lincoln, just sent to faculty and staff:

Dear Friends—

It is my overwhelming pleasure to let you know that Dr. Joe Flaherty has just received official notification from the National Science Foundation that he has been awarded a CAREER grant in the amount of $502, 416.

A CAREER Grant is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award given to junior faculty. Awardees must exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research. Because the research to be supported by such grants must be of such high quality, it is very unusual for CAREER grants to be awarded to faculty at institutions other than large research universities.

Dr. Flaherty’s remarkable success can be celebrated by us all. It provides a model for the impact that student-faculty collaborative scholarship can have on the careers of students and on the professional development of the faculty.

Way to go, Joe!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Candle Lighting Ceremony at Coker

Leaving the office just before 8:30 on Sunday evening I saw a a large circle of students forming in front of Davidson Hall in the middle of the Coker College campus. I had heard of the Commissioner Candle Lighting ceremony but this was the first time I had seen it. This is an impressive orientation tradition. The ceremony concluded with the singing of "Friends and Friends Forever" -- quite appropriate for the relationships that begin with the first weekend at college. I was glad I had gone into get some last minute things done so that I had a chance to see this impressive event.

Move In Went Quickly at Coker College


College is welcoming its largest-ever first-year class and a total of about 250 new students for the 2009/2010 academic year when you include transfers. One of the Coker traditions is to have what are called Commissioner Families. All the new first-year students are assigned a family as the first-step of getting to know Coker. An additional tradition is for the Commissioners, and Honorary Commissioners (those who are willing to help) to unload the cars for the news students and their families. This year, several of the fall athletic teams joined in the tradition and the move in flowed well, though for some it seemed like every incoming student was either on third floor Belk or third-floor Memorial -- especially those with the refrigerators and microwaves. Orientation continued over the weekend and Monday will be some more getting to know Coker and getting ready for classes, which begin on Wednesday.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Students present Biology research in Oregon

Dr. Joe Flaherty is building what I think of as an amazing student research program at the Coker biology labs in Hartsville. He just shared with our Faculty Senate Chair, Will Carswell, that two students were able to present research at a major conferenc of the American Phytopathology Society. So, I am including the email that Dr. Carswell shared with the Coker Community. This is impressive work for the students and Dr. Flaherty:

Coker students Ms. Elisabeth Stamey (senior, Biology Education) and Ms. Rebecca Armentrout (sophomore, Biology) presented a research paper at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathology Society (APS) held in Portland, Oregon (from Aug. 1st to 4th). The title of the presentation was “Molecular Characterization of Insertional Mutant 8B5 of Fusarium graminearum”. This work was conducted at Coker College under the direction of Dr. Joseph Flaherty, who accompanied the students and has been an active member of APS for 15 years. This conference hosted over 1,900 registrants who represent scientists from over 60 countries.

The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is the premier society dedicated to high-quality, innovative plant pathology research. For more than a century, members of APS have been making and sharing significant breakthroughs, both for the science and society. APS is driven by a distinctive community of scientists, whose energy and commitment ensure the global advancement of this critical science.

APS members represent a broad range of specialties, from pushing frontiers in the accuracy and speed of field diagnosis, to increasing our understanding of plant pathology through laboratory research. Members come from academia, government, industry, and private practice. The diversity of the members and science makes the society pertinent to a multitude of research areas, while the international involvement ensures that the latest innovations from around the world are available to all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting Ready for the New Semester - 2

This morning working a little bit on the syllabus. One of the tools for the Coker College Mass Communication course is a series of papers the students are to write that help them think about specific topics and that also help provide the class with the variety of thought processes that arise on issues of media.

Sometimes, first-year students are a bit stymied by what the professor wants. Sometimes. So this year there is now a template for these one-page papers that students can use to format their thinking. It is going to be interesting to see if this format improves the overall quality of the papers in the course. About a quarter of the way through the semester we will do a review of how the class is going and feedback from the class should give some indication on the usefulness of this template.

Introduction to Mass Communication, Culture and Media Literacy (Com 150) is the door opening class of the communication major and is usually an enjoyable semester. And, with all the changes in the entire concept of "Mass Communication," this class includes different material each Fall. A long time ago at the University of South Carolina Dr. Lee Dudek had a favorite saying for mass communication -- "The more mass the communication, the less the communication." He would really be interested to discuss the way technology has revolutionized (is revolutionizing) the idea of mass communication.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Coker in the news this Sunday morning

The MORNING NEWS of Florence had a front-page story by Sherisse Bell about Dr. Wyatt's vision for Coker following his first month and a half on the job. Front page on Sunday is good coverage, which should be making James Jolly head of the Coker Communication and Marketing Department pretty happy -- nice coup for the day the student athletes and student leaders begin to gather on campus for the new academic year.

And, there was a surprise for Coker on the sports page of this Sunday edition with the headline "Former Cobra Sheftic ready to tee it up in season's final major." Coach Dan Schmotzer, who used to coach golf as well as basketball, had mentioned Mark Sheftic's success in conversation earlier this week. Sheftic, a Club pro, is going to be playing in the PGA Championship in Chaska, Minn., beginning on Thursday. Coker's golf program is strong and this extra publicity from this "Former Coker College sttandout..." should be another major plus for Coach Tommy Baker's program building efforts. Lou Bezjak, sports writer for the MORNING NEWS wrote this story, which is accompanied by some good photos from the Golf Association of Phildelphia.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quiet Today - Active Tomorrow

Noticed a couple of guys on the soccer field this afternoon. It is Saturday, the day before the fall athletes arrive back at Coker. Did not investigate closely but am guessing there will be some activity on that field before too many more days,

The door to the Student Building was open this afternoon, unusual for a Saturday. Jon Driggers, Dean of Students, and Amanda, chair or Orientation, were working on details. the Residence Life and orientation staff came in last Thursday and tomorrow the Commissioners and the fall athletes arrive on campus.

Some empty offices began feeling the weight of books and other supplies as some new faculty began moving in a few days early. Faculty Week officially begins on Tuesday.

And, word has it that this will be one of the largest and perhaps the largest first year class in Coker history. In this economy that is quite an accomplishment.

Now, if I could just get motivated to do the syllabi. I have Speech completed but still have to work on Introduction to Mass Communication and Marketing Communication.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coker Basketball to open against Pitt

Was talking with Coker College basketball Coach Dan Schmotzer the other day and he was excited because he had just confirmed that the basketball team would be opening against the University of Pittsburgh for the 2009/2010 season. In addition to this being a major payday for the small Coker program, this is an opportunity for Coach Dan to coach against one of his former players. This will also be an exciting trip for the team and the school because Pitt was vying for the NCAA crown last season. This morning Christian Stryker was able to put out a news release on this matchup.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Athletes make the Conference Presidential Honor Roll

The following post is from the Coker College Sports Information Department and you can read it by going to the Coker Cobra website but just in case you don't follow links here is the story:

72 Coker Student-Athletes Named to Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll
Courtesy of Conference Carolinas Office
High Point, N.C.- Conference Carolinas is proud to announce the Spring 2009 Presidential Honor Roll. Each institution within the conference has emphasized their commitment to academic importance as they have continued to have student-athletes achieve a grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) at their institutions. As our conference continues to emphasize "Academics and Athletics Working Together" we strive to increase our Presidential Honor Roll each year in order to become a frontrunner within NCAA Division II.
Coker College

Matthew Ammons
Karl Ankersen
Michael Chad Austin
Justin Collier
Richard Deleandro
Nathaniel Donovan
Cody Ellison
Jonathan Gainey
Matthew Kearnes
Thomas Long
Thomas Oschip
Trevin Taber
Christopher Thomas
Adam Windham
Men's Basketball
Mason Ambler
Joselle Bracy
Michael Gore
Joshua Poston
Lukas Varga
Phillip Woo

Men's Cross Country
Justin Gragg
Austin McJunkins
Men's Golf
Christopher Marsh
Diego Polo

Men's Soccer
Benjamin Chastain
Matthew Jarrett
Men's Tennis
Andrew Chinnes
Evan Schreiner
Carlos Esteban Teran
Juan Vallejo

NeQuita Bracey
Jessica Covington

Women's Basketball
Lotta Aaltonen
Maija Castren
Jessica Hayes
Henna Koponen
Heidi Rienstra
Agne Stanciauskaite
Megan Thomas
Joanna Tyndall
Women's Cross Country
Caitlyn Driscoll
Aliese Gregory
Adriana Ochoa
Shannon Townley
Women's Soccer
Chelsea Beetch
Bridget Clark
Kristen Evans
Kathryn Friedmann
Mackenzie Hallahan
Carrie Hudnell
Stephanie Leitgeb
Jamie McCoy
Margaret McCoy
Amanda McPhail
Ashley Meador
Amanda Warner
Norah Wofford

Shelly Catlett
Rebecca Dillon
Sydney Greenwalt
Miranda Klees
Julia Nelson-Abbott
Anna Oswald
Brittany Owens
Haleigh Rogers
Whitney Wallett
Women's Tennis
Lindsay Crighton
Rachel Lemar
Kendal Sigmon
Cassidy Spencer
Women's Volleyball
Kelsey Carlson
Courtney Nelson

Signs of a new Academic Year

The first clue was a couple of weeks ago when the Dean's letter arrived welcoming the faculty to begin thinking about being back on campus. Faculty week begins August 11.

Coaches Return Today
This morning Coach Baker (golf) was in the Midnight Rooster picking up some coffee and he told me this was his first official day back. Of course, like many of the other coaches, he has been on and off campus all summer. He is excited about this coming year because he did not lose any seniors and his team is ranked with strong possibilities of winning some big tournaments this Fall and Spring.

Discussion of one of largest first-year classes
The Coker Admissions staff has been working a lot of hours and there is talk that Coker may be welcoming one of the largest, if not the largest, first-year classes ever. That is good news for a campus that is tuition dependent.

New President has interesting week
And, last week Dr. Robert Wyatt, Coker's new president, completed his first month on campus with a meeting of many members of the Coker Board of Trustees, who engaged in the first step of the strategic planning process. There were interesting small-group idea-development exercises based on some key strategic questions Dr. Wyatt is asking. On Saturday, the Alumni office had a leadership session with several alumni, who also heard from the President about his thoughts on Coker. There appeared to be a good bit excitement generated from both of these events.

Students begin coming next week with August 15 set as Arrival Day
The Fall sport athletes will begin arriving on campus this coming Sunday and then their practices will begin pretty soon after that. International students are due in a couple of days later and then all first-year students are due on campus Saturday, August 15. Time does fly!