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.