Friday, December 17, 2010

Coker Holds First December Graduation

There were about 70 delighted graduates and a rooms full of friends and relatives applauding the first December graduation for Coker College students on Friday, December 17,2010.

Representative (now Dr.)Jay Lucas gave the graduate three major ideas to take away with them as they begin their lives after college. Those thoughts in a nutshell were: Integrity Rules. Keep life in perspective. Don't miss the journey because you have not taken your eye from the destination (What's really important? Faith-Family-Friends!)

As we walked from the stage I heard three words that I just love to hear at graduation -- Rachel said, "I have a job!"

Included in the blog are a few really random type of shots from the graduation, a few not very good but it will give you a flavor of this first-ever Coker December graduation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Graduation is Friday

Coker College is implementing a second graduation as part of our academic year and the first December graduation is this Friday night. There are approximately 70 students who will be taking advantage of this graduation ceremony. We have been hesitant in the past to add another ceremony but the numbers seem to make it look worthwhile from a student's point of view. I am looking forward to the event.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ashley talks about Costa Rica

Ashley Tingle is a Coker student who opted to study in Costa Rica for last semester and has decided to spend next semester there also. She was on campus this morning and I got a chance to talk with her about her experience.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Semester is ending as Winter Begins

The Cobra women are on the road for a basketball game against S. S. State this evening if my Facebook interpretations are correct.

Tuesday night the Cobra men will be hosting Newberry at the Timberlake-Lawton gym on the Coker campus for the last basketball game of 2010. Both teams start back on January 3 despite the majority of students not getting back to campus until Jan. 17.

One of the buzz events around the season has been the Coker Development Video of the 12 Needs of Christmas. Hope the link works you will find Harrison did a good job on the creation of the video. Lots of people are enjoying it and we hope they are getting the message and sending some Christmas green.

Faculty are working on their last grading today with the grade postings deadline for Tuesday at about 11, I think. According to Facebook, many students have their semester results -- those who post them are generally happy.

Tomorrow there is a faculty-staff lunch and that should be fun. Despite the wind down, there are still things happening. Some job candidates on campus, prospective students are visiting and one search committee will spend a good bit of Thursday and Friday on phone interviews to narrow down candidates for a teaching job.

And despite the fact that our temperatures on the campus are about 20 degrees below normal for time of year, winter really does not arrive until next week. Many are looking forward to next week because this is the first time in lots of years that nearly all offices and personnel will be out for the Christmas holidays.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coker College is winding up the Fall Semester

We are nearing the end of final exams. I used a take-home exam for Organizational Communication and I have a couple of more that should be here in the next two hours. It has been an interesting and fun semester and last night, Jason Umfress, the Coker College Dean of Students shared some of his thoughts on the semester with students and the rest of the Coker Community. I often find myself commenting on how lucky I am to be working around such smart people in the Coker Community. They are also people who care. Jason (Dr. Umfress) said it would be okay to share his note in the blog. He does a great job of summarizing Fall 2010 for the students. It would really be interesting to hear their take on the semester.

From Jason:

Dear Coker,

Can you believe the end of the semester is already here? It seems like only yesterday you guys were meeting your first class. Now we are putting another successful semester in the history books. It has been a busy, but exciting, four months.

I wrote to you at the beginning of the semester that things felt a little different around here. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was a distinct “buzz” in the air. Call me crazy, but I still feel it. True…it’s not a intense as it was on move-in day…or even as intense as the day I wrote to you (“buzzes” get worn down by the stress of the semester, too, I guess), but I do feel it. I still haven’t been able to explain it, or find a reason for it, but it is still there. When the stress of exams are over, listen intently…you will hear it too. I kind of like having it around. It makes things interesting…gives us something to talk about…something to strive for.

As I reflect on the semester, I am very proud of the work our Coker family has done to contribute to the building of our community of scholars. Wait…maybe proud isn’t a strong enough word…how about overwhelmed?!?! Just think of what we have been able to accomplish this semester:

• We have learned – Of course we have! This is why we are here. We didn’t only learn things our professors talked about in our classes, but we learned from each other outside the classroom. I know you have picked up content knowledge. I hope you have learned a thing or two about yourself…who you are…what makes you tick. I also hope you have learned about other people, how unique we all are, and how our uniqueness makes the world such an interesting place to live.
• We have taught – In as much as we have learned from each other, we have also taught. Your faculty have spent countless hours preparing, teaching, and assessing to ensure you are exposed to the knowledge you need to be an educated person. They are the pros at it…but you have done a lot of teaching yourself, realize it or not. That day you answered that question in class…you were teaching. When you shared what life was like growing up in your house that afternoon…you were teaching. When you handled that jerk that smarted off to you the way you did…you were teaching. In our dynamic community, we are constantly teaching and learning from each other. Look back on the semester. What have your actions taught others?
• We have served – Many of you have donated your time, talents, and resources to help the greater good…not because you had to…but because you recognized a need. One of the most memorable days of the semester was when over 140 students, faculty, and staff donated 286 hours of community service to various agencies in the city. What an amazing site it was to see the impact we had on the community in one day. I am so proud our Coker community has recognized that the world is only as good as we make it. Helping others should not be something we do on occasion, but it should be how we live our life.
• We have played – What would college be if we didn’t have fun? Whether you played on a sports team, in an Intramural event, with your family, in your residence hall, or with your friends, I hope you took some time to do the things that make you laugh. If you didn’t, lighten up! You are WAY over due. College is where you make fun memories that will last the rest of your life. I hope you made some of those memories this semester.

In a few days, some of you will successfully end your Coker tenure when you walk across the stage and receive your degree. I want you to know how proud we are of you. Whether you are a traditional-day or ALPHA student, this accomplishment came with a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Next Friday, you will be a Coker alum…and you should be proud of it! We hope this won’t be “goodbye,” rather “see you next time.” You are always welcome to come back “home” anytime. We look forward to hearing about all the amazing things you will do.

For the rest of us, we will come back to campus in the spring rested and with a renewed sense of purpose. We will learn, teach, serve, and play again, but I encourage you to plan to do these things a little better and with a little more intensity. As a result, I feel confident the “buzz” will be back and louder than ever!

No matter what your plans are, I hope you have a restful break. Go home, relax, recharge, and prepare for the best spring session Coker has ever had. Most importantly, come back to us safe! I’ll see you in January.

Stay engaged,


Jason W. Umfress, Ph.D.
Dean of Students
Coker College

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jobs still tough to come by

Just reading a message from Tyson, Masters Degree from West Virginia in Sports Management and his undergraduate degree from Coker in communication. He saw this article on CNN and shared it because of how well is demonstrates the horrible job market. Tyson is doing some free lance work at a newspaper in his hometown but he is ready to help some sports oriented organization take their events to the next level.

Tyson is not alone in being a highly capable person who has not been able to find a job in this economic climate. These people are working hard at the job hunt. On the flip side, I have been getting some good news from some other recent grads who are beginning to see some opportunities. They notice that the competition is intense but they welcome the opportunity to compete.

Any of you looking for a job who want to share links to your resume or some other thoughts about the process, let me know and we can share some of these ideas as part of this blog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Speakers Gave Audience Lots to Ponder

The Annual Coker College Speech Contest was held on Wednesday, December 3, 2010 with Ryan Jones of Kershaw winning the first-place prize in the competition. Second place went to Hannah Beard and third place to Sarah Grogan. The winning speech was about the reasons teachers deserve and should get better pay.

Other contestants in this year's Speech Contest included Keyonna Spann, Daniele Bush, Matthew Zelinski, Robin Risher. The contest is sponsored by the communications section of the Literature, Language and Communication Department and Student Services.

The topics for the contest were wide ranging. In addition to the teacher pay talk, there was a talk about why Coker is a great college, a talk about the dedication and compassion of human service providers, a short history of Karate, reasons we should all put fitness into our daily lives, the importance of preventing unwanted pregnancies and never giving into the stresses of life.

Among the Lots of Things to Do - Relax says Dr. Kate

Dr. Katie Kelly, Coker College counselor, has a relaxation evening planned that is even providing opportunities for money-type prizes for those who take advantage of the event. One more example of Lots to Do and Lots of Fun:

WEDNESDAY, December 1
8:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.
Sponsored by PSI CHI
and Counseling Services


Lots of talent, lots to do, lots of learning and lots of fun

Today I am selling lots --
Lots of Talent
There was so much talent on display last night at the annual Christmas Concert by the Coker Singers and Coker Chamber Singers along with faculty who were in support. I should be more eloquent about music that would have been at home in any of the great concert venues of the world but my response still comes down to WOW!

Lots to do
So, this is the last week of classes. In fact, classes for the semester in the day program at Coker College finish on Thursday, December 2. Yet, this week there is so much to do. Tonight, for example, there is a Speech Contest and there are seven competitors going after the prize money. At nearly the same time there is a workshop sponsored by SIFE that has to do with presenting yourself in getting a job. A recruiter from a multi-billion dollar corporation is leading that discussion. Student groups are doing special programs, professors are putting on programs for stress relief and relaxation while other professors are reminding students of work that should have been turned in but has not yet arrived. Lots to do. Tomorrow is a dance informal, the opening of conference basketball play and a couple of more things before the LATE NIGHT BREAKFAST, put on by ARAMARK with faculty and staff doing the cooking and serving. Students always find that a popular event prior to reading day.

Lots of Learning
Today was the last day of speech class for the MWF classes. My class had short specialty speeches and we laughed, cried, and were touched by tributes and treats. Project presentations are dominating the content of many classes and lots of people are hearing about new and interesting things their peers have discovered. Some are learning hard lessons, like not being able to make up an entire semester of work in the final week of the semester. Others are learning their work is paying off. Both lessons work.

Lots of Fun
Yesterday at lunch I mentioned to two of my colleagues that teaching at a liberal college is the best job I have had so if "fun" works in that context, I have it. But, at the same time I can look around the campus and notice that students continue to have fun even in the crunch of the final week.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday after Thanksgiving

Not quite 1:30 on the Coker College campus this Sunday after Thanksgiving. Reading over some of the Facebook posts I imagine that things will be picking up pretty much the rest of the day as students head back into the final push of the semester.

Lots of students said they had been doing papers. Fact is, I spent some time over this break getting final exams ready for my classes. The first final comes this Saturday morning as classes end on Thursday. Friday is a reading day and the exams start on Saturday.

I expect the library, which is open its regular Sunday hours, will be busy soon. The Coker Singers have an afternoon rehearsal for their Tuesday Night concert here in Hartsville. The Coker Men's basketball team had games on Friday and Saturday but the women are in action this afternoon at Coastal Carolina.

It is the last week of classes and there is a great deal going on. This afternoon I have to make final preparations for the SPEECH CONTEST that is set for Wednesday evening beginning at 6:30. I think we have eight competitors for the prize money. This is a joint event between our communication section and the Student Services. Hope we will get some people out to watch the speeches. Already mentioned the Coker Singer concert that is at 7:30 at the First Presbyterian Church in Hartsville, Thursday night is the Late Night breakfast -- a Coker tradition the night before reading day. The baseball team has a fund raiser -- BBQ lunch on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to get funds for the Spring Break tourney in Melbourne Florida. That luncheon and fund raiser is with Westwood Barbecue.

So, it is a headlong dash to the end of the semester with a lot of twists and turns before that finish line.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Liam Kyle scores 40 in 2010 home opener

Liam is in the right hand corner playing some defense, which really gave the Cobras the edge in their 100 point evening.

Liam Kyle tied a school record in the Cobras home opener of the 2010/2011 basketball season. Here is the way it was written up in his hometown Cleveland, Ohio newspaper:

Cleveland, Ohio -- Liam Kyle, a 6-7 senior forward and a 2006 graduate of Columbia High School, tied a Coker College men's basketball record by scoring 40 points in the Cobras' 101-83 home win over Morris College on Wednesday night.

Kyle made 16 of 20 field goal attempts in 32 minutes for the Division II Cobras. The game was the first of the season for Coker, which is located in Hartsville, S.C.

Tribute to Dr. Joe Rubinstein from one of his advisees

Dr. Rubinstein has announced his retirement from Coker at the completion of this academic year. Raven Lyles, a Coker student and advisee of Dr. Rubinstein wrote this tribute and several of her teaching-student colleagues thought others should see it. it was distributed by email at Coker and I thought I would share through the Coker Experience Blog. In the photo Dr. Rubinstein shares some thoughts with students before one of the night classes.

By Raven Lyles
A Lasting Legacy
As Coker students we have all heard the sad and unfortunately true news of Dr. Joseph Rubinstein’s retirement, due to take place after the Spring 2011 semester. Coker has seen its share of well qualified and uncommonly bright professors, but only a handful have created legacies that will not fade as the years pass. Joseph Rubinstein has accomplished this task by not only being a great educator, but a revolutionary who has made lasting mark on Coker and on the field of education. To better understand why he is such an asset to our modest college requires learning about his own education, his many career successes, and the individuality that makes him who he is.
Although he is currently widely known in the education field, his original plans did not include becoming a part of this vocation. He studied Biology at New York University with specializations in plant physiology, pathology and biochemistry. He received a B.A., M.S., and PhD in these areas and also held the positions of Graduate Student, Teaching Fellow, Lecturer, Assistant Professor of Biology and Associate Research Scientist while at NYU. He first became interested in education when he “really learned to enjoy teaching introductory biology courses to non-science majors.” He was further intrigued through his participation in a National Science Foundation funded experimental science curriculum development project called the COPES Program. During this time he realized that many of his biology students planned to become elementary school teachers and that he wasn’t adequately preparing them to teach the curriculum he was developing. Due to this he completed a post doctoral program in which he helped teachers implement science programs in the New York City public schools. To this day he credits much of his educational attainments to four of his NYU professors/mentors including Morris Shamos, Darrell Barnard, James Rutherford, and William Crotty.
After completion of his education he moved to the small Midwestern town of LaSalle, Illinois, in order to work with The Open Court Publishing Company, who wanted him to develop an elementary school science curriculum, which evolved into a math curriculum. Open Court was a unique opportunity for him because they granted him and his co-authors the freedom of writing, testing, rewriting, and retesting the program. During this time Rubinstein directed a nationwide field testing program that included more than 2000 teachers at its peak. Finally, after 12 years of perfecting, the Real Math curriculum for grades K-8 was released. This curriculum was co-authored by some of the best minds, whom Rubinstein holds in high regards. These men include Peter Hilton, Carl Bereiter, and Stephen Willoughby. He also expresses gratitude to his publisher, Blouk Carus, whom he says “was genuinely interested in curriculum reform.” These four co-authors continue to collaborate on the Real Math Program which has been in continuous publication for about 35 years and which is now published by the McGraw-Hill Company.
After the developmental stage of the curriculum was completed, there was still work to be done in showing teachers how to properly use Real Math in the classroom. Rubinstein traveled across the United States, helping schools implement the program. After he did this for many years he wanted a change. Since he had always wished to live in the Southeast, he decided to apply for teaching positions at southeastern colleges. Despite an unlimited list of qualifications and accomplishments, many colleges could not hire him because of his non-traditional educational background. When a position for the Chair of the Education Department at Coker College became available he applied and luckily for the students at the school the Provost at the time realized he could be an asset and embraced his unique background. However, in order to actually receive the position he had to be interviewed by the State Department of Education, something not typically required in the hiring of college professors. After completing the interviews and obtaining the position he immediately began work on the department. He started the evening education program, and it grew to more than 100 students within two years. Many other important aspects of the Education Department can be attributed to Dr. Rubinstein as well.
Dr. Rubinstein is just as successful in his personal life as he is in his professional. He is married to a loving wife and has two children who each have thriving careers of their own. I have personally been blessed with being an advisee and friend of Dr. Rubinstein for almost two years and I can honestly say that he has influenced my life tremendously in that short amount of time. Although his knowledge is remarkable and his accomplishments are exceptional, there is never a time that he makes you feel intimidated or uneasy. He has a naturally welcoming aura that he extends to all of his students and fellow faculty members.
As a friend I was able to question him about his most memorable times at Coker to which he said, with a hint of rebellion, “resigning as department chair and not having to put up with bureaucratic nonsense and being able to focus on teaching.” He also mentions his fondness of starting the evening education program for paraprofessionals because it allowed Coker faculty much improved influence in elementary school classrooms. When asked what he plans to do after he retires he responded “I plan to keep busy by doing things that are socially useful and that help people, but I am unsure of the specifics.” He also hopes to be able to stay involved with Coker to a certain degree and gives these words of wisdom to all education students, “make sure you learn something every day and if you ever spend time in the classroom without learning, you will know it is time to retire.” He continues by advising all students to “try to surround yourselves with colleagues who know more than you.”
Dr. Rubinstein’s retirement is truly a tremendous loss for Coker but those of us who have had the opportunity to study under him will always remember his fervent thirst for knowledge, his potent individuality, and his ability to make us question the norms of education and strive for the best for our students. Dr. Joseph Rubinstein, a lasting legacy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Former Coker Student wins Book Award!!!!

This is a press release that was sent out from Coker on November 18, 2010> We are proud of Professor Terrance Hayes.

Coker Alum Receives National Book Award

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College alumnus, Terrance Hayes class of 1994, has received the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry. Hayes received this most prestigious award Wednesday night at the 61st National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Hayes’ award-winning book, Lighthead, is his fourth collection of poetic works. According to the National Book Foundation, “With one foot firmly grounded in the everyday and the other hovering in the air, his poems braid dream and reality into a poetry that is both dark and buoyant.”

"Hayes’s fourth book puts invincibly restless wordplay at the service of strong emotions," a New York Times review stated in April.

Hayes graduated from Coker in 1994, where he was a standout student-athlete excelling in the classroom and on the basketball court as a member of the Cobra men’s team. A talented and gifted writer, Hayes said he was exposed to ideas and subjects at Coker that continue to fuel his poems.

“Through his numerous accomplishments, Terrance Hayes has become an extraordinary example of how Coker’s approach to the liberal arts provides the foundation for personal and professional success,” said Coker President Dr. Robert Wyatt. “He has made his alma mater proud by once again being recognized for literary excellence on a national platform.”

Hayes’ previous poetry collection, Wind in a Box, was named one of the Best 100 Books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. His other books of poetry are Hip Logic, which won the National Poetry Series Open Competition and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and Muscular Music, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His other honors include a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Currently, he is a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and lives with his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


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 within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Christian Stryker
Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
Coker College

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doug Varone Dancers Entertain & Educate

The Coker College Dance Department has been hosting the Doug Varone Dance Company the past couple of days. It has been interesting to watch the energy and enthusiasm they area creating. Around noon on Friday there was some unusual activity in the halls of the Performing Arts Center. Coker Dancers were creating movements under the direction of members of the Company. They were up against time and their individual creativity.

At just about the same time Professor Jean Grosser had her Basic Design class in the large dance studio and those students (non dancers) were involved in creating movements based on ideas and patterns discussed earlier in the class.(I missed that part.) It was amazing to the fun and understanding unfolding as these students reached beyond comfort zones to create something new in their personal frames of reference.

And, then on Friday night the Company put on one of their educational shows they call "Stripped" at the Black Creek Arts Council Gallery. The name of this exercise is derived from the idea that Doug Varone tries to take the mystery out of dance creation by stripping away or uncovering some of the thought processes that choreographers bring to their art. Some of the Coker dancers got to perform with the Professional Company and this was an entertaining and educational fun night.

The large performance is set for Saturday night (tonight) November 13 on the stage of the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center on the Coker College campus. Tickets are available for $15 adults and $7 children with Coker students getting in free with an ID. The show begins at 7:30 -- this company is talented, creative, and professional -- this is BIG CITY entertainment.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coker Inducts New O-D-K Members

The Coker College Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa inducted new members on the Coker College campus on Wednesday, November 10 in an impressive ceremony.

Among the officers of the group holding the induction were: Lisa Potoka, who is the Coker College ODK Faculty secretary; Dr. Robert Wyatt, an ODK member and speaker at the ceremony and Sarah Folsom, ODK President; Brandi Nichols, ODK Treasurer; Mandi Warner, ODK Secretary; and Taylor Adams and Ashley Meador ODK members.

OKD is a leadership society that brings together students and faculty and staff from many areas of college life to help "Mold the sentiment of the institution on quesitons of local and intercollegiate interest."

The newest members of the Coker Circle include:
Josh Bittinger, Jessica Covington, Bruce Douglas, Patrick Flynn, Sydney-Kathryn Greenwalt, Devin Jennings, Hannah Jumper, Karen Kelly, Margaret McCoy, Amanda McLaughlin, Daniel Meyer, Christina Nealey, Kimberly Pierce and Kyle Saverance.

Coker's ODK Circle came into being on May 3, 2003 and I enjoy the opportunity of being one of the faculty members of this organization.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cobras Name New-First Coker Lacrosse Coach

Taking the easy way out here as the Coker media folk put out the news release. Lacrosse is a great sport to play and an exciting sport to watch. In the Spring of 2012 we will have the first Coker season. Tony Smith, who has been at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina since 2007 is the new coach and he will be joining Coker in early December, after classes are over at Belmont-Abbey.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Día de los Muertos On the Coker College Campus

Tuesday night provided one of those other interesting reasons to be part of a college campus. Coker Professor Don-Mac Williams, Spanish, hosted a special November 2, 2010 Dia de los Muertos event campus with the assistance of the Coker College Union and the International Student Organization. (May have been some others too)

It was an amazing turnout for this first-ever celebration with a good mix of people from the community joining with students and a few faculty and staff from the college. "This is really a great turnout," observed Don Mac as looked at all the people enjoying tacos, and other treats in the chilly high 50 temperatures. For Same Kemmerlin, of the Coker College Union, this was the second event he had helped set up in the last few days. For Halloween he and others from the Coker CCU also did a Zombie Walk on the campus.

As we publicize Hartsville we talk about the city and The Art of Good Living. Our secondary tagline is "Expect Pleasant Surprises." I would bet if you ask any of the many who were there, they will tell you that Dia de los Muertos was an early November pleasant surprise on the Coker Campus.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Really fun and interesting lunch

Tim Morton was in town this week. He works for Sonoco in Brussels helping in marketing and sales in the European Industrial Products operations.Tim, who got his masters degree in communication from North Carolina State, is a 2007 graduate of Coker with a degree in Communication. He was at lunch with Marcos Sola, a 2005 graduate of Coker who majored in graphic design. Marcos has been working with Sonoco's Corporate Communication team as one of the graphic designers.

I really appreciate their letting me share lunch with them and hear a little bit about how their careers are going, some of the interesting things on which they are working and some of their perspectives in our ever-changing world. Tim mentioned that he ran into Dr. Cathy Cuppett at Taste of Coker on Thursday night and told her how much he wished he'd taken more Spanish and language in College. He now works at one of the international cross roads of business and sees daily how much having more than one language can mean. Marcos, who is bilingual, then discussed what a difference it makes for him when he is in South America and people find out he speaks English. Nothing world changing in these snippets but concrete examples that I can use when talking with students today.

We also got into marketing talk and one particular tool that never existed when I was in that corporate marketing world -- The IPAD. Marcos has been responsible for programming IPADS his colleagues will be using to become more effective and efficient at a coming major trade show. Both Marcos and Tim love the IPAD. Me -- I did see and touch one recently.

While I might go on, the other extremely interesting thing is that we were at a great Thai restaurant in downtown Hartsville called Bow Thai, which is owned by two other Coker graduates -- one of whom, Donnie Quist, was also a communication major.

From a faculty person perspective and even more from a friend perspective, this was a fun and interesting lunch with a couple of really competent, professionals who I am so glad are Coker College graduates.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cobra Basketball Men have scrimmage with UNC Wilmington

This weekend the Coker College Men's basketball team is going to get a look at how well they have been progression with their preparation for the 2010-2011 basketball season. They will be taking on UNC Wilmington in Wilmington this Saturday. The Cobras are going to be a man down as last year's high scorer, Vatrick Thompson, was injured in a collision at practice this week and he will be out for some time. Coach Dan Schmotzer and the Cobras remain focused and this should be an interesting opening scrimmage.

Board Week at Coker College

This is the week of the Fall Coker Board of Trustee Board meetings. Several of the Board committees met on Wednesday afternoon and the larger board meetings will be on Thursday. One of the regular events of the Fall Coker Board meeting is a get get together for several of leadership donors, particularly in the Hartsville area. Last night the get together was at the home of Goz and Pat Segars. Goz is current chair of the Coker board and Pat has served Coker in many capacities including Board membership. Will Carswell, professor of music and Choral Director, had some of his singers highlighting this evening.

Friday, October 15, 2010

First Day of Official Basketball Practice

Most of the Coker campus is quiet beyond quiet but the Cobra basketball court in the gym echoed with energy from early this morning through late this afternoon as the first day of official practice for the 2010-2011 basketball season got underway for the Cobra Women and Men. Today is the exciting beginning and the wide open possibility of the new season.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dr Ron Carter on CNN

The former provost of Coker College, Dr. Ron Carter, was on CNN recently discussing some of the critical needs of education. He gave a critical endorsement for something I spend some time with -- Media Literacy, but he also added important thoughts to critical discussion of holistic education. It was interesting listening to this interchange. Dr. Carter, who is president of Johnson C. Smith University, may quickly find himself a spokesperson for those who strongly believe that our education solution starts early and must be fully integrated into the lives of our children. He did not discount potential areas for strengthening but he does put responsibility on parents.

Side Note: Someone a couple of years my senior wanted to know what I find Facebook of value. This is one of those concrete examples. Ashley Grau, a former student, had picked up this link and posted to Facebook -- I had not seen it. Now I have seen it and am able to share it and that shows some of the value of Facebook.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spring in October

There is not a cloud in the sharp blue sky and the temperature is a balmy 83 degrees and the the loudest sound is the ball against the bat on the Coker College campus this Sunday afternoon.

I think today is the formal end of Fall baseball and softball and both teams have scrimmages going on their fields. Feels like Spring though I think it is next week when basketball opens formal practice for the 2010-2011 season.

There were not a lot of people at the games this afternoon -- maybe they are in the library to study for the last midterms before Fall Break, which is this Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cobra Baseball Team of '94 Into Coker Hall of Fame

Benjy Blanton was a member of the Coker College Baseball Team of 1994 that was inducted into the Coker Athletic Hall of Fame earlier this month. The video snippet here shows how the team moved as one to embrace Benjy's mother and father as they accepted his plaque. Benjy was killed in an auto accident and the Coker Baseball team remembers him with an annual award to one of the players.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Coker College adds lacrosse to sports offerings

Way too many decades ago I learned to play lacrosse and spent two years on a college team as one of the people helping to make the numbers. While I played a little, I was certainly not very good but I did enjoy the sport. Have considered lacrosse my favorite sport for most of my life. That is why is it great news that Coker College announced this morning that we will have a lacrosse team playing in Conference Carolinas for the 2011-2012 season. It will be a tough conference as I hear there are already two Division II Lacrosse Champions in the conference.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homecoming a big success

Greg Batchelor was honored as the Young Alum of the Year. He was a former baseball player while at Coker.

The women's soccer team had a 0-0 tie with Chowan and the men's team won their game against Chowan 2-0.

Earlier in the week the college had announced getting control of a large gift from the family of Major James Lide Coker. This $1.2 million gift is being added to the endowment of the college.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friends presenting at Conferences

Christian Stryker, Coker College's media relations and Sports Information Director, just sent out a release about David McCracken and Melinda Norris presenting at a conference next week:

For Immediate Release-October 1, 2010

Coker Professors to Present at Popular Culture Conference

HARTRSVILLE, S.C. – A pair of Coker College professors will present papers at the Annual Popular Culture Association of the South Conference starting Thursday, October 7 in Savannah, Georgia.

Dr. David McCracken, Associate Professor of English, will present a paper entitled, "F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham in 1939: Romance and Realism,” while Melinda Norris, Associate Professor of Business Administration, will present her paper, “The Social Media Revolution: The New Marketing Medium.”

This is the second paper presentation by Dr. McCracken in as many weeks. On September 24, he presented his paper entitled, "Schadenfreude, Sober House, and the Exploitation of Addiction" at the Culturing the Popular Conference hosted by Converse College.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coker Dancers present Fall Showcase

Erin Leigh of the Coker College Dance Department proofs the PATHWAYS poster that will publicize the Coker College Fall Dance Showcase.

I knew the dancers would have a concert in the Fall and this afternoon a news release came over the email pointing out that this Fall is next week. I am not a fan at how fast time moves -- it is a rip current when you get a year or two on you.

Here is the news release:

Coker Dance Presents Fall Showcase

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College Dance presents “Pathways: Fall Student Choreography Showcase,” their annual fall concert, Thursday, October 7 through Saturday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Watson Theater of the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center. Admission at the door is $5 or free with a Coker College ID.

The showcase will feature nine student works choreographed by dance majors. These works will range in style from Jazz to Modern/Contemporary Dance.

“There should be something in the program that appeals to all,” said Associate Professor of Dance Angela Gallo. “From strong athletic movement and fun, energetic works to more contemplative and emotional themes, this should be a program everyone can enjoy.”


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 within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Christian Stryker
Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
Coker College

Women Golfers in first-ever tourney

The Coker College Women Golfers had their first tournament last weekend and they demonstrated a foundation to build on according to an article in the MORNING NEWS of Florence. The Tommy Baker coached team came in tenth of twelve teams on a very tough course. Mark Haselden wrote an interesting story about this first-ever tourney.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coker Communication Professors Present at Conference

My two communication department colleagues are presenting papers at the Carolinas Communication Conference and this is the news release that came out. I really like the one that included the photo so I have linked it:

Coker Professors to Present at Annual Carolinas Communication Association Meeting

HARTRSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College Communication professors Dr. George Lellis and Dr. Mark Glantz will be presenting papers at the annual meeting of the Carolinas Communication Association in Conway, S.C. on October 1-2. The annual meeting is being hosted by Coastal Carolina University.

Glantz will be presenting his paper entitled “A Functional Analysis of 2010 South Carolina Gubernatorial Primary Campaign Discourse,” while Lellis will be presenting a paper entitled “Transnational Aesthetics and Aristotelian Categories in Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts.”

Glantz’s paper has been selected as one of four finalists for the Ray Camp Award. This award is given to the best paper at the conference written by a faculty member.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MS Bike Ride makes stop at Coker College

The large parking lot in front of the Library and Information Center on the Coker College campus was transformed on Saturday (9-25) into a major bicycle parking lot and lunch area as 1600 runners were stopping for some fast rest, easy to eat lunch and some encouragement and cheers before heading on their way to the Myrtle Beach finish line. Reports were that more than 200 volunteers were working to help the event happen at Coker with many of those volunteers students from many organizations and athletic teams on campus. Dee Pierce, one of the major organizers for the event, said she had been told Coker had more volunteers signed up than some other larger colleges. This was a different way of being able to showcase the college and Dr. Robert Wyatt, president, noted that probably a thousand people who might never have heard of the college (these riders) were now aware of both Coker and Hartsville. Hope some of the photos of the scene are uploaded here.

On a side note, one of my old friends and now a Facebook friend commented on one of the photos with a thank you to those volunteering because she is one with MS who could benefit from the research dollars raised to fight the disease.

Friday, September 24, 2010

10 Tips For Moderating a Great Panel

We often have panels on the Coker campus and both students and faculty members take part in a great number of panels. Paul Gillin is a social media expert who spends a lot of time on panels. I thought his tips for "moderating-a -great-panel" might be useful for a variety of people.

10 Tips For Moderating a Great Panel

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Early mornings are one of my productive times of day. This morning while at the computer in the college office I began to hear some enthusiastic cheering type of sounds. It was 6:15 a.m. and while the vacuum cleaner is sometimes on around here that early, those were some strange sounds for so early in the morning.

Today, the Coker Dance Team had an early morning practice and they were working hard routines with Brianna Douglas, their coach. So, to get the best feel for this video, you should watch it about 6:15 in the morning. (could not get the video to transfer but hate to waste the blog post.)

Being on a college campus is full of interesting experiences, at all all times of the day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Coker Dancers work with Brazillian Performer

Several Coker dancers were busy on Sunday afternoon working on learning a new Contemporary Dance piece from Iarra Ciequera, a guest artist who is in residence and teaching on the Coker Campus this entire week. I got the opportunity to see just a small section of the dance that is involving breaking bonds and boxes. This piece is going to make its Hartsville stage debut in the Spring Dance Concert, which will be 2/24.25 and 26th.

Happened to be in my office this past Sunday and noticed that dancers were busy not only learning this new choreography but also working with a variety of other pieces that will be part of the Fall Dance concert. Weekends, apparently, are not off-days for dancers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Organizational Communication and theory

Organizational Communication is a course that I have not gotten to teach as often as I like but I do have a class this semester and as we continue into the semester I am reminded why I enjoy this class.

At Coker, we spend time in this class on organizational theories, case histories and practical applications and currently we have been exploring some of the historical theories that set up the study of organizations. I am not sure the students enjoy learning of Weber's observations of bureaucracy or Fayol's and Taylor's prescriptions for making big organizations more effective as much as I enjoy talking about those things. So, one of my challenges is to find ways of making the old stuff relevant. One analogy we used today was the hierarchical nature of a sports team like soccer. There is a strict vertical hierarchy, there are special jobs and each member of the organization is expected to do his/her job. There may be some horizontal communication among the teammates but the bottom-up communication is not a high priority. When it comes to practice, everyone is expected to conform to the norms and there is not much latitude for individual preference. But, if you are not on a soccer team, a baseball team or a basketball team or volleyball team, or football team that might not be a great analogy. We did work to explain it in depth.
The real point here is trying to connect the classroom conversation to the real world the students will be entering to become communication specialists and communication experts.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across an article in the online version of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL called "The End of Management" by an author named Alan Murray. Murray adapted this article from some of the information in his new book, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MANAGEMENT - cc 2010 HarperCollins Publishers.
Murray is referring to many of the ideas, observations and theories that we are discussing in class and I have put a discussion board assignment up hoping this helps those in the class get a good sense that what is in the books does totally relate to what is in the office or the production line or the project space.

i am hoping the students do enjoy reading this article and referring it to some of the theories because there are very significant implications for the massive changes we are experiencing in our work worlds.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lots of students out for Day of Service

(Photo shows several of the students heading back to campus after a hot afternoon inside the old Thornwell Elementary School, which is to become the new center of the Community Action Agency.)

Began the day with a quick blog about the day of service that was scheduled by Coker Staff for the students and other volunteers from Coker. I know there were a few people involved in the planning and Darlene Small and Jason Umfress shouldered a big part of the effort to make this day happen. Thanks to them and all the others who helped.

A friend of mine writing on FACEBOOK commented that it is a great to remember 9-11 but it would probably be even greater to use this memory as an opportunity day to make something better. I appreciate those from my first-year class who let me be involved as we helped begin to make it look like the Community Action Agency might be able to reclaim the old Thornwell Elementary School into a full-service Community Action Agency office and headquarters.

Day of Service including Coker Students

On NPR there was this echo of a bell ringing -- noting the time the first plane hit the Twin Towers nine years ago. As the van turned the corner, the eyes spotted a group of students waiting to board a bus -- heading out to a community service project in the Hartsville area. When 9-11 happened, many of the Coker students heading out for today's "Day of Service" projects were nine and eight years old. But their memories hold the images and much of who they are and what they believe were shaped by those horrible hours nine years ago.

Dean Umfress and Dean Small came up with the idea of using both the First-Year experience classes and other Coker student volunteers to become part of the "Day of Service" that has been called as a reminder of the 9-11 experience. Right at 200 students are participating in today's projects, which were a major logistical feat.

Today's community service, in memory of the 9-11 events, is just one way Coker is working to be a highly visible member of Hartsville, SC -- one of South Carolina's 'College Towns.'

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Former Coker player signs to play in Ireland

Mason Ambler, a leading player for the Coker College Cobras as a dominant center on the basketball team, has signed to play more basketball in Europe. What follows is an article from Ireland announcing his signing:

Moycullan sign American ambler
Tuesday, 7 September 2010 15:54

Moycullen Basketball Club have completed the signing of Mason Ambler ahead of their second Nivea For Men's SuperLeague campaign.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ambler will replace Nathaniel Fritsch who has signed to play in Portugal after a productive year for the Galway club.

Ambler joins Moycullen with serious pedigree, having been named on the first team all conference of the Carolina Conference after averaging 17.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game for Coker College.

'Mason has a great knowledge of the game and brings a lot of attributes to the court but also give us some bulk inside which is one area we really needed help with,' said Moycullen head coach Enda Byrt.

Moycullen were often mismatched for size last season but they will hope that Ambler, who stands at six foot six inches, and was described as 'country strong' by former teammates and coaches, will help neutralise that problem.

However, the Coker College Cobras' former captain and star player is expected to bring much more than size to Moycullen.

'Mason showed great leadership skills during his time in Coker,' added Byrt. 'He worked for three years before entering college so has a maturity beyond most graduates. He should be a fantastic court leader for our team that really progressed last year and learned from all the ups and downs we had.

'We have everyone returning and we're lucky enough to have a couple of players who were big underage stars for Moycullen coming back to the game in Kevin McDonald and Kieran O'Connor who should be great additions to the squad.'

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cobras open Men's Soccer with win over FMU

The Coker College Men's soccer team opened the 2010 season with a 1-0 win over the Patriots of Francis Marion University on Thursday. Rommel Fondin had the winning goal on a penalty kick in the first half. The story from Coker Sports Information is on this link.

Job Blog -- In case you missed Kat's comment

A couple of days ago we discussed the difficult of finding jobs in today's economy and the idea that those who read this blog -- especially Coker College grads -- can begin to use this Blog as a JOB BLOG. The first official comment back to the blog comes from Kat Friedmann and her incisive comments bare so additional view. Here they are:

Kat Friedmann said...

Hey there! Long time no see/talk! I stumbled upon this post on facebook, and my thoughts exactly. I've started to look for jobs even though I still have one semester left of grad school, but I thought the earlier I started the better. I'm actually trying to go a little bit of a different route and get creative with the job searching. Instead of pushing a resume that I'm pretty sure no one wants to read, I'm pushing a website I created that has real proof of what I can do. You can check it out at I'm also trying to get my linkedin up to speed and I am joining other networks that could help in a different way such as I recently read in a book, "What Color is your Parachute?", that joining "job clubs" or these online networks is one of the most effective ways of finding a job, so I hope this works out!

Puffer back ...
Kat has been in grad school in Boston. She was captain of the Coker Women's soccer team when she was here and her college life included activities from sports to creative writing to student government to --- you can almost name it. She is one of those people who will be a major find for the person who puts her on the team.

What, who, where, why. is Coker College

When is the fifth W of the inverted pyramid style of constructing a news story and the When of Coker College is NOW!. This is already an exciting semester in the classroom and the feeling of student engagement is strong in classes all over campus.

Always, I am trying to get students to use specific examples. So, in today's Organizational Communication class we were lucky enough to have a professional corporate communicator who works as a writer/editor/strategist for Sonoco, a multi-billion dollar global packaging company. As she discussed the kinds of communications that she creates the students were getting a first-hand, up-close view of the real world tools, challenges, rewards and frustrations. There were a lot of dots from theory and background that students will now be able to connect using some of the specific examples that Mary Ruth Austin shared with them in today's class.

As we walked out the door following class, there was evidence of a great deal of activity as the annual ACTIVITY Fair was taking place with organizations from both on and off campus showing students the kinds of opportunities available in this one-of-a-kind campus and this cosmopolitan smaller host city of Hartsville, SC.

So, what about those other four Ws of Coker College? One of the new ways we are describing our Coker College opportunity was distributed by Kyle Saverance, our new director of marketing and communications. This is the short version:

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 within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It is a tough job market - Make this your Job-Blog!

Putting some gas in the wife's car last night and a recent Coker grad pulled into the adjacent pump. The discussion we had is becoming familiar -- though he had a positive spin. He'd seen a job that he would really like and had filled out the forms and is now awaiting an interview... Another student emailed the other day with the news that the advertising agency for whom she has been working the past three years has been losing some business. She has been working her job through computer the past couple of months and now -- she is actively looking for a job in Columbia because the Greenville job is gone. Another student has a job in selling advertising and he is doing pretty well but it is commission and a pending wedding makes him want some more stability. Another student recently completed his masters degree in sports management and has had some interviews but so far no job with a paycheck. THE JOB MARKET IS TOUGH!

There has been some good news. One grad had a job for the summer she really liked and just heard this past week she has been hired on full time by that organization. This past summer another former student graduated with his masters from NC State and is working in Marketing for a major packaging company in their European operation.

All this is to say that when talking with Coker grads (in fact anyone in the work force) the topic is jobs is first or second to arise. This past week a number of my current students had the assignment of turning in a resume that could be used NOW if they were to apply for a job. Getting people thinking about job before they need a job is one of the things we discuss in several of my communication classes. I tell students that finding a job was probably the hardest job I have ever had.

So, let's think about how we can all help one another in this era of few jobs. If you are a former Coker student and looking for a job, send me the link to your resume and may a few lines telling me what kind of job you would like. If you are with an organization that might have a job coming open, write me and I will supply you with some resumes of people who can help your organization solve problems. If you are looking for a job and have some job-seeking advice, use the comments here to share that or send me a public comment in facebook and let's get the discussion started. If you have found a job and can share some of your job-hunting tips, please add them to the blog discussion or to a Facebook discussion.

MY THINKING is that even if only one student gets an interview from this type of informal networking we will have succeeded.

Coker has a new director of Career Services with whom I will also share this information so that we can begin to get some wide distribution. If you know other Coker alumns, let them know of this effort. In a short time we can have a data base of links that can make filling those rare job openings even easier.

If this makes sense to you and you see the blog do what you can to forward to others in your Coker network and lets make this happen.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Historical speeches give some real world perpspective

Early in my Coker College public speaking semester we get involved in something called a 'manuscript' speech assignment for which I use the American Rhetoric 100 Greatest Speeches website. I find this a rich site as they provide both the copies of speeches and where it exists, visual and sound copies. The students are to select a two-minute excerpt of the speech to present from the text. The goal is primarily to get in front of the class with a prepared but not memorized presentation. A goal is preparation without have to be creative.

Beyond that this is a rich experience. The past couple of days we heard from Dwight Eisenhower, president of the United States, talking about the minds of men, the hearts of men and the souls of men. Who remembers that president as speech poet. Not many but his words will surprise and mesmerize. While on generals, I heard three different MacArthur talks with my favorite "Duty, Honor, Country." In today's world we forget that in the 1920s birth control was not just an awkward subject, it was an illegal subject that Margaret Sanger took on in public forums. The nation is in some serious discussions today but perspective comes as we listen to Stokley Carmichel, Lyndon Johnson or Malcolm X about the civil rights act.

Listening to the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, Shirley Chisholm and Hilary Clinton about women's rights being human rights shows there is a great deal of experience on which to build solutions to today's serious problems. I do enjoy this exercise.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Icebreaker Assignments keep me coming back

One of the assignments I have been using for a long time in Public Speaking is called the Icebreaker. In this assignment students are asked to share something in their lives that was a turning point. Last night in Mullins the students had Icebreakers and my head is still shaking at the amazing things that have gone on in some of these lives. The class is all female and what role models they must be in their communities.

One person, a U.S. Air Force veteran has a baby son with a rare disease. She presented the circumstances, she presented the trauma, she presented the joys, the heartaches and the challenges as if she had been on the speaker circuit for years.

Her's was wone of nine stories that kept me riveted throughout the class. Amazing stories and amazing ability to share and this sharing often causes a strong bonding in a class that is hard to match in other circumstances. And, while they are providing the Icebreakers I hope they are realizing that it is anecdotes and personal stories that give the speaker credibility with an audience to help expand horizons.

As I told this class in an email today there is a sign on my door that reads: "Tell me a fact and I will learn. Tell me a truth and I may believe. Tell me a story and it will live on in my heart for ages." The source is an Indian Proverb.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Staff Smashes Faculty 8-5 in Softball Clash

In a renewal of the once-a-year faculty/staff softball game the Staff used some clutch hitting in the early innings and gutsy pitching by Dee Pierce to hold off the faculty 8-5 on Sunday afternoon, August 21. Losing pitcher was this blogger. A fun event pulled together by Lisa Potoka, first basewoman for the staff and in charge of Student Leadership activities on campus. Photo in this post shows most of the staff and faculty players, who had enjoyed themselves though felt it was pretty darn hot to be enjoying softball.

Anyone who would like to see photos of the game taken by Haleigh Rogers, a Coker softball player and communication major, may go to this link:

Casino Night Fun at Coker College

The Student Union team did a great job of arranging a fun night for students this past Saturday. Using an outside vendor, they set up a casino night to give students a chance at winning some prizes with only the investment of their time in having fun. Several faculty members, including Dr. Wyatt, our college president, joined the fun by serving as dealers, croupiers, etc. One lesson that a good number of students learned was how quickly those chips can disappear.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Convocation opens Coker's 2010 Academic Year

Still sweating as I sit here posting about the 2010 opening convocation at Coker College. The faculty sat on the stage tonight in front of the students and showing support behind our Academic Leaders and the Convocation speaker. The lights were just like stage lights are -- HOT. But, I think even though the faculty were all gowned in the Academic Regalia, they (we) survived.

Dr. Joseph Flaherty, a recent winner of the South Carolina Independent Colleges Teaching Award and an assistant professor of biology as well as Chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics at Coker, was the speaker.

His message to our "Academy" was on target as we are in the midst of efforts to Redefine "Ready" for our students, our faculty and our college. Joe's message was primarily to the students as he stressed the value and importance of "learning as much you can learn about as many different things as you can." He underlined the key value of a Coker College education -- the liberal arts, which provide our academic community with the continuous challenge of 'learning how to learn' for our rapidly changing society.

I particularly liked his three major points -- he urged our students: To explore;
To Pursue; and To Care! While Dr. Joe is sometimes a bit soft spoken his message of taking risks came through loud and clear to my ears. I hope our students, first year through fifth year put that admonition into action.

It is an exciting time to be part of the Coker College academic community.