Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dean Umfress gets students thinking about Coker

With nine things they might see. this is a copy of his memo to students:

Dear Coker,

Hello from Hartsville! I hope this message finds you all well and enjoying the last few weeks of summer. While you guys have been on summer vacation, we have been working hard to get things ready for your return in a few weeks. Below is a list of 9 changes you can look forward to when you get back to campus.

1. The DTL is open! – Coker is proud to announce the opening of the Downtown Lofts (DTL) residential facility. 20 lucky students will be the first people to live in the new property, located above the downtown businesses on the corner of 4th & Carolina Ave. The DTL features two bedroom, one bath, full kitchen apartments. This property will, no doubt, be one of the most sought after addresses in town, and we have scored it exclusively for our upper classmen residential students.

2. New faces in the faculty – See a bunch of names of faculty on the class schedule you don’t recognize? There’s a good reason for that. Coker will welcome it’s largest cohort of new faculty members in college history to campus this fall. Fourteen new faces will be sitting at our roundtables of learning come August. They are: Dr. Andrea Cabus (English); Dr. Margaret Godbey (English Education); Dr. Fei Wang (Chinese); Dr. Karen Carpenter (English Language Arts); Dr. Daniel Ciamarra (Science/Math); Dr. James McLaughlin (Physical Education); Dr. Rachel Manspeaker (Mathematics); Dr. Maria Valeria Avanzato (Biology); Dr. Mohamed El-Bermawy (Chemistry); Ms. Kindra Steenerson (Theater); Dr. Serena Hill (Music); Ms. Meghan Myers (Criminology & Sociology); Dr. Jim La Valle (Criminology); Ms. Megan Johnson (Library). We also welcome a new Provost to campus, Dr. Tracy Parkinson. Dr. Parkinson, who took Dr. Lincoln’s place upon her retirement, will lead the faculty this year. When you see these new faces on campus, be sure to say hi and welcome them to our circle of learning.

3. Doing laundry just got easier – You told us how hard it was to find an available washing machine last year, and we listened. In a partnership with our laundry equipment provider, we are excited to launch Laundry View, an on-line program that allows you to monitor the status of washers and dryers in campus laundry rooms. The program will show you, in real time, when machines are being used, how much time is remaining on the cycle, and which ones are out of order. Additionally, you can opt to have the machine e-mail or text you when your laundry is finished. We are still in the process of ironing out the details, but the program is scheduled to be ready for you when you return to campus.

4. Stryker Cinema hosted by Res Life – Another exciting improvement to campus is the addition of Stryker Cinema hosted by Res Life. On campus residents will have access to a cable TV channel where special programming will be broadcast for the campus. The channel will show movies, announcements, Cobra sporting events, and other programming. Stryker Cinema will be hosted and managed by Res Life. We are working with the cable company on some finishing touches, but we are told we will be up and running in August!

5. Cobra’s Welcome Here! Program Launches – Do you know what restaurants in Hartsville give discounts to Coker students? You don’t? Well now you will! Introducing the Cobras Welcome Here! program. Local businesses who offer special discounts to Coker students will be proudly displaying Cobras Welcome Here! logo stickers in their stores. When you see a sticker, be ready to show your validated ID and ask for your discount. This is another way for local businesses to show their appreciation for your patronage. Return the favor by shopping local!

6. New deck & dock at the boathouse – The boathouse is one of the most popular hangouts around, and we are happy to announce two major improvements to the area. If you didn’t get a chance to see if before you left in the spring, we completed a renovation to the deck. The new structure is ADA accessible with a shelter and a sundeck. Additionally, we will begin renovation to the boat dock next week. The plans are to redesign the dock to extend further out into the lake and accommodate more people. There will still be a place to launch the kayaks and canoes, but the main purpose of the dock will be for socializing. The project is being funded by student activity dollars allocated by the SGA.

7. Bookstore – We agree! After the student center renovation was complete, it was silly to continue to make everyone enter the Bookstore from the exterior. So, we got together, made a few adjustments, and *poof* the interior entrance to the Bookstore is usable! Stop by and try it out. While you are there, check out the new Coker Cobra Nike logo apparel. Also, don’t forget to pre-order your books for the fall. Visit for more info.

8. Cobra Café facelift – As part of phase 2 of the Student Center renovation, the Cobra Café has gotten a facelift over the summer. Be expecting a new look for the café, new menu, and more options.

9. CobraFIT Expands – You had to be living under a rock last year to not have known about the CobraFIT program. In an effort to expand the program even more, we have brought Brandon Fain on full-time as the Director of Intramurals & Wellness. Be on the lookout for more opportunities to “GET FIT!” throughout the semester.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, rather a few highlights we in Campus Life thought you would be most excited about. With all these positive improvements to campus life, Coker is building momentum. We have always been a pretty neat place to live, learn, and work. With these changes (and more to come) it will be an even greater privilege to be a member of the Coker community. With this privilege, however, comes responsibility to your community. Continued focus on the Coker College Student Covenant in the fall will remind us that we are to be “active and honorable scholars both inside and outside of the classroom.” Be expecting to find even more ways you can do this through volunteering and community service opportunities.

I hope you are stretching as much as you can out of the last few weeks of summer. Take some time to visit family, touch base with old friends, and get some rest. Be prepared to make fall 2011 the best semester yet!

Come back to us safe in August. See you soon!

Stay Engaged,


PS – Don’t forget, returning residential student check-in / move-in will be Monday, August 15 from 9-3 in the Library. Returning commuters and residential students who need to meet with an advisor and register for classes may do so on Tuesday, August 16 from 9-4. Classes begin on Wednesday, August 17.


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