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Betsy Chapman

Stormy Weather

Yesterday we had a huge storm at the end of the day.  Really high winds, heavy rain, and I hear some parts of Winston got hail (campus included), though I never saw any at my house.  Today the weather has been all over the place – overcast this morning, then there were clouds around 11 am that I swore might produce rain but did not – there were plenty of pockets of sun.  And it was MUGGY.

5 3 16Right now it’s nearly 3:30 and we are having a spectacular downpour, plus thunder.  So much so, you can see the rain on the Quad Cam – that big object towards the top center of this picture is a raindrop getting ready to fall.

If your students have finished finals and are moving out today, they have probably been dodging the threat of bad weather all day.  Hopefully they aren’t caught in this mess.

Soldier on, finals-takers!  The end is in sight now!

— by Betsy Chapman

The View from the Green Room

No pics today, but early this morning I was walking through Reynolda Hall and happened to peek into the Green Room.  Looks like most if not all available tables and chairs were taken up with kids studying. At 9:20 in the morning, that is definitely an unusual thing.

Looking at the students I saw either in that room or around the Quad, you could see the official uniform of finals: yoga pants or running shorts, sneakers, ponytail/minimal makeup (women) and old tshirt and shorts and flip flops, baseball cap and 2 day stubble (men).

Hang in there, Deacs! It will be over soon.

— by Betsy Chapman

Finals Day 1 Field Report

It’s Day 1 of Final Exams, and the logical place for the Daily Deac to focus on is the ZSR Library.  Here’s an impressionistic field report (and some pics) from some well-placed sources at the ZSR.

“Thursday, Reading Day, started slow, with students taking advantage of the free day to study before exams began on Friday.  By Thursday evening, ZSR was packed!”

“It’s the first day of exams and the library is full, but quieter than usual as students focus on final exams, papers and projects.”

“The atrium was full when I walked in at 7:55 am – well not full, but probably 20-30 people in it.  Usually there are 2-3 max that early.”

I was in there myself around 10:30 am today.  The line at Starbucks extended at least half way up the stairs, telling you just how much our students need their java right now.  I wanted to find a spot and do a proper Five Senses of the ZSR, but most of the chairs were full and I wanted to keep the open ones for the students.

4 29 16 zsr4 The library decorating committee has done another great job providing a fun theme for Finals Week.  This one is all about playing cards, and dice, and everything is in red (my favorite!) and black.  There is this great sign IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY spelled out in playing cards.  There are garlands of playing cards, streamers, and more.

Because I am an enormous Sinatra fan, the cards and dice made me think of this song.

Finals aren’t nice – but at least we can put a bit of whimsy into the process.  Here’s some shots of your hardworking Deacs below.

— by Betsy Chapman

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Reading Day

reading day memeToday is Reading Day – the one day break between LDOC (Last Day of Classes) and final exams starting.  The idea, I suppose, is to give you a day to prepare for finals.  Here’s a Reading Day meme for your viewing pleasure.

Depending on your exam schedule, you could have more than one exam a day, and/or exams on successive days. If you’re lucky, you have a little bit of time between them.

The weather was did not start out as particularly conducive to studying – it was dark and rainy this morning, but as of midday its nice and sunny.

Even as finals loom in the minds of our students, we know many of them will be doing an internship this summer, either at home or in another city.  If your Deac will be doing an internship in the DC area, our Washington Office has asked that we pass on this information to you:

“The Washington Office is partnering with OPCD to track WFU students who will be interning in  D.C. this summer.  We are planning several networking events for students and alumni in the D.C. area, as well as other events such as Nats game outings and other fun things. We want to make sure we know which students will be in town this summer, so we have created this google form for students to complete.

If your student is interning in the D.C. metro area this summer, please send them this link – it will take them less than 2 minutes to fill it out and will give us information we can use to include them on invitations in general, and specific events based on their internship location.”

laundry mountainWishing your Deacs all the best as they start finals tomorrow. Soon you will have them home – and we’ll close with a final meme about what you might expect when they get back 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman


Deadwood Seminar

Today’s Daily Deac takes a look at an innovative class.  Mary Dalton, Professor of Communication and Media and Film Studies, taught a seminar this semester on Deadwood and the Western.  Mary is a member of the Class of 1983 and her teaching interests within the Communication department are in media studies focusing on film and television, especially the intersection of media and culture.  Mary shared the news of a fun project she’s been working on with her class.

“Over half of the students in the class (11) are graduating seniors, and we’ve been working all semester on a volume that will be published in early May. The volume, Critical Media Studies:  Student Essays on Deadwood, is available to read free online and available for purchase in paperback or Kindle editions through  This is the second edition in the series (volume one was Critical Media Studies:  Student Essays on The Wire published in 2015.”

4 27 16 bandanas 4 27 16 jeopardyIn her class, students played Jeopardy with questions about the show Deadwood.  They had bandanas, snacks, and one of the graduate students (who is one of the three co-editors of the volume) dressed as a combination of Alex Trebek and Al Swearengen (a main character in the show).

On Thursday, May 5 at 9:30, Mary plans to have a book signing party and bagels when [she hopes] students will get their copies of the book.

4 27 16 finalThis is a wonderful example of using multiple ways to engage students – clearly the fun stuff with active learning like the Jeopardy game, but also in engaging them in writing for a publication, which is something they can have on their resumes (and as bragging rights) that they are published authors.  And like most classes, they still had a final exam they had to prepare for, seen here.

Sometimes our freshmen and sophomores ask their academic advisers about which classes they should take once they have finished their basic and divisional requirements.  My answer to that is always “find something you like and you are interested in – maybe something you have always had a curiosity about, or you just want to try something new.”  This class might just be that kind of delightful surprise for a student.  Take a chance, try something new, scratch that itch you won’t be able to scratch later in life.  There are a couple of Wake classes I still kick myself for not taking when I had the chance, because I was too busy being ‘practical’ or trying to think of what would look best on my resume.  I urge any Deac who asks me to take a class purely for the love of it, while they still have access to all these great faculty and interesting classes.

— by Betsy Chapman (with help from Mary Dalton)

To the Seniors, to Make Much of Time

4 25 16 webcamIt’s 1:40 pm and this is the view from the Quad Cam.  Grass so green, sky so blue, clouds so white.

You can see from the stripes in the grass that they have been mowing.  The Quad grass gets a lot of extra attention in the weeks leading up to Commencement.  You can see the Quad in this picture, all open and pretty – but in just a few short weeks there will be a grand stage and 10-12,000 chairs laid out in perfectly straight rows. The grass, right now so lush, will be ground down a bit from everyone walking in the aisles between the seats.

On a day like today – when it is sunny and low 80s – your Deacs ought to get out on the Quad, take their shoes off, and have a really nice stroll in the grass.  It is like a soft, velvety carpet and feels great against your feet.

For those who are seniors, and who will soon miss this place, I would urge them to drink in as many of those experiences as they can.  Sit on the balcony of Reynolda facing the chapel and watch the sun set.  Walk in the Quad grass.  Take a blanket out to Davis Field and just lay there and look up at the sky – or go swing on the swings.

I was an English major.  A little bit of Robert Herrick’s classic seems appropriate for this theme:

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
  Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
  To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,          5
  The higher he ‘s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
  And nearer he ‘s to setting.
— by Betsy Chapman


Go Deacs!

After the high of Campus Day and seeing all those smiling faces of new Deacs and new P’20s (parents/families of the new Class of 2020), we had some additional awesome this weekend.

First, the men’s tennis team took the ACC Championship!  It’s our first ACC Championship in men’s tennis, and you can see a great celebratory video here.  The Deacs came in 2nd in men’s golf at their ACC Championship.

In other athletic news, our baseball Deacs keep cruising, shutting out UNC over the weekend.

Classes end this Wednesday. You know what that means: stressing over final projects/papers and then final exams.  I’m in a class and in the thick of it myself, so I have the utmost appreciation for what your kids are going through.  Tough to keep the nose to the grindstone when the weather is sunny and 80 and you just want to be outside.

So to help your Deacs feel that sense of “I can do it!” as finals approaches, consider sending them a Deacon Greeting.  A little e-card from mom or dad or a loved one might be the thing that makes their day a little better.  A care package wouldn’t be the wrong answer, either 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman

5 Senses of Campus Day

Today is the second (and final) Campus Day for Accepted Students.  I have been perched in Zick’s all morning because it is raining.  Had Campus Day been *any other day* this week, the weather would have been beautiful.  We got a bad roll of the dice today.

So here are your Five Senses of the Start of Campus Day

I see…

A rain that is sometimes steady, sometimes pelting, sometimes just a misty sprinkle.

Lots of umbrellas.

Some parents that seem to be scrambling for umbrellas.  I predict the Deacon Shop will do a lot of business today.

A couple of really killer sets of rain boots on some very stylish moms.

Flat hair or frizzy hair – you fall into one camp or another.

Smiles on a lot of the students’ faces, tinged with a hint of anxiety.  Choosing a college is hard, and this is a big transition.  It’s a mix of feelings.

Lots of people coming in to Zick’s scrambling for hot coffee.

tableMany friendly parents and families coming up to our Parent Programs table to chat.  We met families from GA, FL, NY, NC, PA and some others.

An intermittent strobe light looking thing – which turns out to be my friend Ken Bennett taking pictures of a student outside Zick’s.  The flash is coming through the window.

One of the large TVs in Zick’s showing images of Prince singing.  (RIP Prince, you were a big part of my late high school/early college years). Sadly that TV is on mute.

Very few current students at this hour.  The ones in the Quad residence halls must be sleeping in or don’t have 8 am classes.


I hear…

Squeaky shoes as the wet soles hit the wood floor of Zicks.

The plastic coffee lids being snapped on the cups.

The sloosh sloosh of the coffee being poured out of the dispenser.

NBC Sports Network is on one of the big TVs in Zicks, so if you listen in a given moment you can hear the talking heads dissect the sports issues of the day.

The kitchen of Zicks is banging pots and pans and silverware around in the distance, presumably prepping for lunch.

Pride in parents/families’ voices as they tell me about their student.  Part of that is pride in their kid, and part of that is pride in being accepted at Wake.


I feel…

Cold and damp, as I am sure all the other parents do.

The wet of my shoes.

Warm hot coffee as I take a sip, happily warming me from the inside.

Blasts of cold air as the doors open or close.

A sense of calm when the bulk of the parents and students go to Wait Chapel to start the program.  We’ll hopefully see them back during the break between this session and the next one.

The comfortable chair I am sitting in.


I taste…

Coffee, which is much needed.

A delicious Krispy Kreme, a staple of Campus Day. (THANK YOU, ADMISSIONS!)


I smell is pretty much covered by three things: coffee, donuts, and rain.  All told, that is not a bad combo.


So that’s your early 5 Senses of Campus Day.  Enjoy your weekend, Deac families.  Call your kids today 🙂


— by Betsy Chapman

A Very Funny (and Famous) WF Grad Tonight

Your students are probably aware of, a website filled with college-appropriate humor (read: some adults might find some of the jokes offensive, but typically the humor kills with the 18-24 year old set).

They may not have known that a Wake grad was co-founder of  Tonight they have a chance to hear from him.  The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship is sponsoring a talk with him.  See the details below.


A Talk with Alum Ricky Van Veen, Co-Founder of CollegeHumor, Vimeo, and BustedTees

On Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm, Ricky Van Veen will be on campus for a fireside chat with Provost Kersh! The talk, followed by the ICE Awards, will be in the Broyhill Auditorium in Farrell Hall. 

While working on his Information Systems degree as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, Ricky Van Veen co-founded CollegeHumor in 1999. Since then, CollegeHumor has exploded into the largest comedy property on the internet and the most viewed comedy channel on YouTube. He is a pioneer in digital content development, production, and marketing, as well as brand management. 

— by Betsy Chapman

Wednesday Witticisms

Classes end in 7 days, and students are feeling it.  So for today’s Daily Deac, a few memes about college, replete with some pop culture references.  You can hang onto these and bit by bit send them to your students if you think they need a laugh.

4 20 16 finals meme pI feel their pain; I am taking a research methods class too and I have a fresh appreciation of how taxed students feel at the end of the semester.  This one (a joke about statistical significance) speaks to me – but then again I am a giant, giant nerd 🙂

The rest are below.

— by Betsy Chapman


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