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Family Engagement

a site for Wake Forest parents and families

2011 November

The Next Wake Forest Olympian?

One of the beauties of our campus is that because of its size, we can know the members of our campus community.  And because we know them, we like them, and we stay connected.  I am proud to say that we cheer our students’ and colleagues’ successes and mourn their losses with them.  Wake Forest is just like that.

There is a great story to tell about a sophomore, Hiter Harris (’14), who got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and has acted on it.  Hiter is a sprinter on the men’s track and field team, and happened to be offered an alternate position on the US bobsled training team.  After careful consideration and in consultation with his parents, Jil and Hiter Harris (P ’14) of Richmond, VA, as well as his track coaches, Hiter took a risk and withdrew from Wake Forest for the fall semester to see if he could make it onto the team.

Jil and Hiter are members of the Parents’ Council and have hosted our Richmond New Student Receptions for the past two years, and so we’ve gotten to know each other well.  They are kind enough to keep us (and other Wake Forest family and friends) up to date on Hiter’s progress with the team.  Hiter emailed me this recently:

“In the training season, he made the US National Team and made it on a sled.  He is on USA-5.  He is currently running in the Americas Cup – last weekend in Park City, this weekend in Calgary, and then in Lake Placid in December.  He is currently the back pusher (called the brakeman – even though there really are no brakes) on both the 2-man and 4-man sleds.  It is still a long journey to the Olympics; 3 sleds go and they don’t determine that until very close to the date….I have included a couple of pictures that you might find fun – note the one of his helmet, proudly wearing the Wake logo (as well as of his high school)….We recognize that this is not the most direct route to academic conclusions or track team results, but I hope you will agree that sometimes these experiences provide some of the best life learning – and that is what Wake does so well.”

I emailed the Harris family to make sure they were OK with me talking about Hiter’s journey in our blog, and they were gracious as always.  Hiter is a wonderful young man and a loyal son of Wake Forest.  I know he will return to school at the right time, and until then, I hope you will join me in watching his progress.  Hiter has a blog and a Twitter account (he is KingHenrythaIV) – both worth keeping an eye on.  Let’s put the collective power of the Wake Forest family behind him and cheer him on with all we’ve got!


From the Center for International Studies

Many of our Deac families have students who have studied/plan to study abroad; in fact, around 60% of our students have logged time in an abroad experience (academic or volunteer).  It is a major part of our campus culture.

We have a robust Center for International Studies (CIS) and they have a number of events coming up in the near term, some ongoing events, and even a new abroad partnership next semester.  If your students are not aware of these offerings, please be sure to share this with them!

Falling Whistles will be held on November 30 at 7 pm in the Annenberg Forum of Carswell Hall. The Center for International Studies is hosting this free speaking and media event featuring members from the non-profit organization Falling Whistles. The Falling Whistles organization seeks to create awareness and advocate for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The concept behind “Falling Whistles” stems from a small peek into a singular story from a singular day in the DRC.

Members of Falling Whistles met children equipped with nothing but a whistle sent to the front lines of battle in order to warn of opponents. Their only choice was to feign death, or face it. Falling Whistles converted their simple weapons into tools to begin common discourse. Worn on a chain above the heart, the whistle has become a symbol of protest, a tool for awareness, and a mechanism for peace. The Falling Whistles team works to partner with local leaders and humanitarian groups to rehabilitate those affected by war and turmoil.

There is a Cross-Cultural Engagement sequence that Wake Forest offers to help students better prepare for and process their study abroad experiences. WFU has been a leader in this area. I am told by my colleague David Taylor, Assistant Director for International Studies, that several parents have contacted the CIS office with specific inquiries about the sequence of courses, and have said they like the fact that the course helps students verbalize the merits of having studied abroad, a skill that can be used down the road (for example, with potential employers).

WFU/London: INSTEP: Beginning in Spring 2012, CIS will offer a new semester study abroad option to London. CIS has partnered with the Institute of Economic and Political Studies (INSTEP) to of offer students a course of study in political science, law, business, and communications/media.

If your student has not considered an abroad experience, it might be something you wish to discuss during his/her winter break.  And if your student does decide to investigate studying abroad, please remind him/her to talk to CIS as soon as possible!

Meet a Deac – Jill Crainshaw (’84)

We’re back after a few days off for Thanksgiving and hope your family had a terrific holiday.  Our next Meet a Deac is a member of our Divinity School faculty.  Here’s Jill Crainshaw (’84), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Worship and Ministry Studies.


What is your official job title?
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Worship and Ministry Studies

In laymen’s terms, what do you do at WFU?
I teach worship courses, my favorite responsibility, and advise our chapel committee (and some other committees too).  As academic dean, I am responsible for curriculum policies, registration practices (in collaboration with the registrar), student advising, and mentoring adjunct and junior faculty.

How long have you worked at WFU?
This is my 12th year. I started work at the Divinity School the first year the Divinity School enrolled students. I was part of the “inaugural” group, I guess.

What is your favorite course to teach?
Next semester I am teaching the following course. I am very excited about it.

Preaching and Worship in Sacred Time: A Multi-Faith Perspective (Spring 2012)
Pastoral leaders today prepare for weekly worship in contexts where worshippers regularly encounter people in their workplaces, schools, and communities who observe contrasting religious calendars. Because the Christian calendar remains dominant throughout the U.S. (e.g. Christmas is a national holiday and many school vacations are coordinated with Holy Week and Easter), pastoral leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to encourage their communities to understand when and how other religious traditions observe and celebrate their holy days. This course invites students into a greater awareness of the Christian calendar as it exists alongside other religious calendars, particularly the Jewish and Muslim religious calendars. The course will enable students to experience non-Christian faith traditions as guests in local non-Christian worship contexts. To experience the hospitality of other communities and to reflect on that experience is an important dimension of learning what it means to extend Christian hospitality.

You’re an alumna of Wake Forest. In what year did you graduate and what was your major?
I graduated in 1984 and majored in Religion.

What are some of your favorite memories as a student?
Pizza and chocolate late at night while studying for an exam, walking on the Quad, Religion professors.

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?  What are some common attributes they have?
My students are bright, creative, and energetic. They are passionate about the vocations to which they have been called and are eager to become skilled ministry practitioners. The most striking shared attribute of Divinity students, in my view, is their desire to do their part in making the world a better place in which to live, work, and play.

What advice would you give to students?
Wake Forest is a wonderful university. You will find here professors who care about your aims and pursuits and who are willing to journey with you for a portion of your vocational journey. Study and classroom work are, of course, primary reasons for coming to WFU. However, this community also supports many other activities–sports, volunteer opportunities, the arts, etc.–that are both fun and important to discovering what it means to be a human being living at this particular moment in our world’s history. Study hard but take time to enjoy all of what it means to be part of a liberal arts learning community.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
The WFU community keeps me here–students, staff, faculty colleagues.

And just for fun, a few frivolous questions:

What music are you listening to these days:  Bluegrass and folk

Favorite movie: Get Low

Website you frequent: Facebook

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate

Favorite place to be on campus: The Bookstore, sipping coffee

What don’t most people know about you: I love to cook and make a mean “admonition coconut cake”

Meet a Deac – Tom Phillips (’74, MA ’78)

This month, senior Brandon Turner (’12) became the 12th Wake Forest student to be named a Rhodes Scholar in the last 25 years.  Tom Phillips (’74, MA ’78), Director of the Wake Forest Scholars Program, plays an integral role on campus mentoring students like Brandon and preparing them to apply for prestigious scholarships like the Rhodes.  He’s also a wonderful teacher of English, and I hope you enjoy meeting him.


What is your official job title?
Director, Wake Forest Scholars Program; Interim Director, Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities.

How long have you worked at WFU?
Following graduation from Wake Forest in 1974, I worked as an admissions and scholarships officer for four years.  After a four year hiatus for coursework towards an advanced degree, I returned in August 1982, to work with merit-based scholarship programs.  In 2003, Wake Forest inaugurated Wake Forest Scholars, our post-graduate scholarship & fellowship education and preparations program.

In laymen’s terms, what do you do at WFU?
I identify and encourage high- and highest-achieving undergraduates and recent graduates to learn about and, if appropriate, apply for selective post graduate scholarships.  I also counsel many students about using our resources effectively to reflect, act, and reflect some more about the “why”s of disciplines, majors, overseas study programs, and post graduate plans.

What is your favorite course to teach?
I have been fortunate to teach at Casa Artom [Wake Forest’s Venice residential study abroad house] twice and Worrell House [Wake Forest’s London residential study abroad house] once.  These teaching and community opportunities were wonderful for my family and me.  I enjoy teaching Novel to Film in the Department of English.  In Spring 2013, I will be teaching a new course, Literature and Ethics, within Interdisciplinary Humanities.  But I have taught most, and truly enjoy most, a First Year Seminar on great novels and family life.

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?
Our current students are better prepared to do more, in and out of class.  This includes the challenge of academic rigor which holds, more or less, as it did here two generations ago.  They are not always prepared to think and reflect.  We have to encourage this swift moving, “do” generation to value the method of deep, measured inquiry into the life of the mind, for that goal, if achieved, brings the richest lifetime rewards (separate from how one earns his or her living).

What advice would you give to students?
Be adventurous in the curriculum, including the Interdisciplinary Humanities program.  On the whole, do fewer things to greater depth, academically and otherwise.  Incorporate weekly time for reflection, whether with a good newspaper or a good novel not assigned.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
Sincere students, intelligent and purposeful.  Colleagues who want to serve students by challenging them.

In what year did you graduate and what was your major?
1974 – English; and in 1978 an MA in English.

What are some of your favorite memories as a student?
Many of my memories center on two activities, music and writing.  For the most part I have kept up with the former, often playing (clarinet) professionally in Winston-Salem.  I’m looking forward eagerly to being part of the great celebration of Wake Forest writers past, present, and future at WORDS AWAKE!, A Celebration of Wake Forest Writers and Writing, March 23-25, 2012, on the Reynolda campus.

And now for my favorite questions:

What is your chief campus-based activity other than your work? My spouse (Janine Tillett ’76 – both her parents were faculty members here) and I enjoy WF men’s and women’s soccer and make most home games.  Our children, now grown, played various levels of local and regional soccer.  We like the game and we like the WF teams very much.

Book you’re reading now: Reviewing material for a forthcoming First Year Seminar, including The Brothers Karamazov. My spouse has me reading the Jackson Brodie novels by Kate Atkinson.  Our book club of 30+ years standing just reread The Bone People, by New Zealander Keri Hulme, a dark and wonderful novel.

What music are you listening to these days: I’m listening to the hundreds of classical vinyl recordings  my late father in law, Lowell R Tillett, acquired and enjoyed.  (A larger, earlier portion of his record collection helped to found WFDD [Wake Forest’s National Public Radio station].)

Favorite movies: Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau), Children of Paradise (Carne),  The Leopard (Visconti), Nashville (Altman)

Guilty pleasure: My wife and I have enjoyed very much two recent BBC series:  Doc Martin and MI-5.

Favorite place to be on campus: My office, which is also intentionally a museum of my own life and career as a Deacon.

What most people don’t know about you: I sing and whistle well.  I am more a couch potato than I would like to admit.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all our Deac families, the Office of Parent Programs wishes you a happy Thanksgiving!  We hope your students are home with you and are enjoying a wonderful meal with loved ones – and if they aren’t, we hope they are having a terrific meal in their study abroad program or with friends and family elsewhere.

Because it is the season of gratitude, we want to say a special thank you to all of you who stay in touch with the life of Wake Forest through the Parents’ Page, the Daily Deac blog, and Wake Forest Parents on Facebook and Twitter.  It is our joy and privilege to serve the parental body of Wake Forest!

Here are a few things that we are thankful for:

Thank you for entrusting us with the education of your most precious treasures, your children.

Thank you for being ambassadors and cheerleaders for Wake Forest in your home areas, and for referring great prospective students our way.

Thank you for sharing generously of your time and treasure to help make Wake Forest be all that it can be.

Thank you for embracing our collegiate rivalries (you know who they are!) and rooting for the Deacs every time, no matter what.

Thank you for hiring Wake Forest students for jobs and internships and for promoting us within your own companies.

Thank you for believing, as we do, that Wake Forest is a place like no other!


Meet a Deac – Mary Beth Lock

In 2011, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library was named the winner of the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award in the university category. The award is given annually by the Association of College and Research Libraries to recognize the accomplishments of librarians and library staff as they come together as a team to further the educational mission of the institution.  (In the library world, winning this award is akin to winning the Superbowl or the Oscar for Best Picture – it’s a huge deal).  Today’s Meet a Deac features Mary Beth Lock, one of our outstanding librarians.


What is your official job title and what does it entail?
Director of Access Services, Z. Smith Reynolds Library.  I oversee the operations of the Access Services department in ZSR.  Access Services includes Circulation, Interlibrary Loan, Course Reserves, Stacks Maintenance, the Media Desk (ie. DVD desk), ZSR Delivers (our delivery service for faculty) and Offsite Storage.

Much of my job is in making sure that the needs of the students and faculty are being met.  If there is a problem with our services, it’s my job to fix it.  If there is an innovation that we think might better allow us to meet those student needs, it’s my job to investigate it.  Lest you think it is all glamor and ease, though, if there’s a leak in the ceiling or a problem in the restrooms, that’s my job to investigate too!

How long have you worked at WFU?
I’ve worked here since November of 2007, just over 4 years.

What is your favorite course to teach?
I co-teach two similar classes, LIB100, Accessing Information in the 21st Century, and, LIB220, Science Research Sources and Strategies. I enjoy teaching both classes because it allows me to share what I know about finding the right information, being an effective researcher, and saving time in the process.

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?  What are some common attributes they have?
Wake Forest students are very hard workers and they have very high ideals.  They also have very high standards, which keeps those of us in the library on our toes!   The library works hard to keep ahead of the students’ rising expectations.  It’s invigorating to work in this environment, serving a student body that pushes us to provide always greater service.

What advice would you give to students?
Study hard.  Don’t leave those papers to the last minute.  Come to the library because we’re here to help you.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
The collaboration with the staff in the library enables us to get so much done.  There is always creative energy in this place and it pays off in the ways we can provide greater service to the students, faculty and staff.  Everyone here truly lives the ideal that “it is not about us, it’s about them.”  It’s amazing how freeing that can be, and how much you can get done when you have creative thinkers around the table.

Now to my favorite – the fun questions!

Book you’re reading now:  The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr  (non fiction) and The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith.  (fiction, part of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series).  I am always reading one of each because sometimes I just feel like fiction and sometimes I don’t.    Both of these books are in ZSR’s collection and I highly recommend them!

What music are you listening to these days:  I have pretty eclectic tastes, from ABBA to Motown to John Mayer to world music to Adele.  My most recent musical acquisition is Glee v. 4.

Favorite movie:  Either Star Wars (the original) or Casablanca.

Website you frequent:  Probably ZSR’s website.  Or Facebook.

Guilty pleasures:  Glee.  Chocolate.

Favorite place to be on campus:  Walking around it when the weather is fine in spring or fall.

What don’t most people know about you: I like to sew and at one time I was volunteering my time with my son’s high school drama club sewing costumes.  I still pull out my sewing machine every Christmas since I have to give away something homemade to everyone on my Christmas list.

Meet a Deac – John Borwick

Today’s Daily Deac features John Borwick of IS.  Though your students might not have met John directly, his team’s work on the Google Mail transition this summer touched all of us on campus.


What is your official job title?
Director, IS Portfolio Management

How long have you worked at WFU?
I’ve worked as a staff member since 2003, when I was hired as a systems administrator to manage some of the campus’ servers (high-powered computers that sit in a data center).  Over time my job has become less technical and more about how Information Systems can better link what we do to what campus most needs.  In a broader sense, I’ve been on campus since 1982–my mother, Susan Borwick, is a professor in the Music department.

In laymen’s terms, what do you do at WFU?
My team manages technology projects and coordinates our department’s technology services.  For example, when the University switched faculty and staff e-mail accounts to Google, someone from my team managed that switch to ensure everyone understood the scope of what we were doing, and to ensure we made realistic promises and then met those promises.  My team helps measure how well our department continues to deliver on our promises once projects are complete, for example, by reporting on how well we deliver service.

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?  What are some common attributes they have?
Unfortunately, in my job I don’t get to interact much with students.  I can say that when I’ve had the privilege of supervising student workers, they always exceed my expectations.  I’ll ask them to do something that I think will take a month, such as scanning hundreds of paper folders, and they’ll have it done in a couple of days.

What advice would you give to students?
Don’t ignore your present self.  Many people, myself included, focus on how what they’re doing now will help them in five years.  This leads people to ignore what they’re doing today, or suffer through it, in the hope of an always uncertain future.  The things you’re doing now, even studying, can be fun and rewarding today when they receive your present attention.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
Wake Forest people care about other people.  I think this starts with our students.  Any staff or faculty member will go to great lengths to listen and support our students.  This personal attention is part of the University’s culture, and extends to other faculty and staff.  We’re small enough to be a community, and we care enough to want to know one another and help.

Here’s a few completely frivolous questions…

What music are you listening to these days: They Might Be Giants’ Here Come the 123s, a great children’s album

Favorite movie: Harvey.  My favorite quote from that movie: “‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”

Favorite place to be on campus: Maybe the practice rooms in Scales Fine Arts Center.  I remember running around down there as a little kid with some other faculty members’ kids and pretending to be able to play piano.

What most people don’t know about you: As an undergraduate at NC State, I was the instructor of record for a one-credit programming language course.  To make teaching other undergraduates less awkward, I grew out my beard so I would look older.

Rate the Best Football Movie (hint: vote WFU!!!)

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of “Brian’s Song” on November 30, Wake Forest is conducting a survey of Wake Forest students, alumni, parents and fans about their favorite football movies. We believe WFU is one of two schools* to have three major motion pictures based on its football players or program: Brian’s Song in 1971, the remake of Brian’s Song in 2001, and The 5th Quarter in 2011. This makes Demon Deacons uniquely qualified to weigh in about the best football movies ever made.

Deac families, between now and November 29, we invite you to vote in our survey.  On November 30th, the top 10 winners will be announced.

Now’s the time to show your Demon Deacon pride!  Vote for WFU!

* The other school with three movies about its players or program is Notre Dame with Rudy in 1993, Fighting Back in 1980, and Knute Rockne All American in 1940.

Meet a Deac – Steve Adams

We hope you have been enjoying meeting some of our terrific colleagues at Wake Forest.  Today we meet someone who plays an integral role in your students’ experience at athletic events: Steve Adams, Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations.


Your official job title is Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations – what does that mean in laymen’s terms?
I oversee the areas of Event Management, Facilities/Turf Management and Multimedia.  I also am responsible for all Capital Projects (project oversight) for the Athletic Department.  So in laymen’s terms I try to make sure the athletic events our fans come to are enjoyable, the facilities our student-athletes compete in are well-maintained, and the future facilities we build are what we need and they are completed on time and under budget.

How long have you worked at WFU?
11 years.  I began my career at WFU as an intern finishing my graduate degree in Sports Administration.  I moved into my first full time job in my chosen career path as an Asst. Director of Operations (2001).  From there I was promoted to Director of Operations (2002) and finally to my current role in the Athletic Department as Assistant AD for Internal Operations (2005).

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?  What are some common attributes they have?
Our students are intelligent, well rounded, respectful and dedicated.  They have a never-ending desire to be successful in all they do and have a tremendous amount of integrity.

What advice would you give to students?
Continue to work hard and be diligent in your life’s aspirations, but never overlook the means to the end.  The people you meet and the relationships built at WFU will last longer than any accomplishment or goal you may reach.  Take time to realize and appreciate the importance of the means to the end.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
Besides coming to work every day to a beautiful campus, it would definitely be the people here at WFU.  Everyone is so motivated to be successful and driven to make our University better.

And now, just for fun…

Book you’re reading now:  Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

What music are you listening to these days:  Country –  Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney

Favorite movie: Older – Hoosiers.  Recent – Real Steel

Website you frequent: ESPN

Guilty pleasure: Butterfinger Blizzards from DQ

Favorite place to be on campus: BB&T Field (early morning on game day)

What don’t most people know about you: I enjoy home improvement projects

The View from Campus this Morning

For those of you who follow the weather, you may have seen some alarming reports of tornadoes throughout the South yesterday and last night.  Let me first say that campus was fortunately not the recipient of any tornadic activity.  We did, however, get a lot of rain yesterday, wind too. And this morning the weather is not much better.

It’s cold – colder than it’s been here in a while.  The high today is going to be 50, the low around 29.  There is a steady, cold, hard rain coming down.  Students have put on their rain boots and hooded jackets and are plodding to class this morning.  You can get a look at the Farrell Hall construction site webcam to have an idea of what we’re dealing with.  Note the big puddles of mud in the construction pit.  It’s been pretty wet.  The trees on campus, which had been so beautiful a week ago, have largely lost their leaves.  That’s the unofficial marker of the turn toward winter, when the leaves are gone.

The vibe I am sensing on campus these days is that our students are tired and are eager to get home for Thanksgiving.  I have also heard some reports from students I know about a cold/cough thing going around (I know this to be true, it’s hit my own house) and some students with mono. ‘ Tis the season to take your vitamins and do an extra special job with hand washing and hand sanitizer.

Just another week and they’ll be home with you for Thanksgiving!  Because November is about gratitude and thankfulness, we’ve been doing a “daily gratitude” on the Wake Forest Parents page of Facebook.  We invite you to share your own thoughts on Wake Forest there too.