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.