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

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