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New MS Unveiled for Business Analytics and ‘Big Data’

There is news coming from the Business School that might be of interest to your Deacs, and I share it with great enthusiasm.  We just issued a news release on a new Master of Science in Business Analytics, which is a 10-month MS program that will begin with its first new class of students this July.

I heard our School of Business Dean, Charles Iacovou, give a presentation on this Master’s program several months back, while it was still in the design and approval process. And even though I am not a math person, this sounded like an exciting program. Dean Iacovou was telling us that “big data” is an important, emerging trend in business – and that there is a shortage of qualified employees who can analyze that big data. Seems like if this is a new, specialized market and there aren’t enough good people to fill the jobs that are out there, this could be a game changer for our graduates (probably good money in it too!)

Here’s a little more from their news release about what students in this program will do:

“Using live, real-time data from retailers, such as CVS Health and Lowes Foods, provided by our revolutionary Retail Learning Labs through the School’s Center for Retail Innovation, MSBA students will analyze large data sets, master technological skills such as data mining and predictive modeling, and formulate actionable insights to corporate partners through hands-on experiential learning. Through this blend of classroom and real-world experiences, our graduates will discern critical relationships between data and organizational performance.”

A couple points to note about this program:

“To be eligible for the MSBA program, applicants must hold or be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, mathematics, economics, computer science or liberal arts. Successful completion of coursework in calculus and statistics is required. Some programming experience is recommended but not required. Recent college graduates with limited or no full-time, post-graduate work experience are encouraged to apply.”

To find out more about the program proper, or to apply, your Deacs can visit the MSBA web site.

If you have a graduating senior who is a strong math/analytical type, this could be a really great program for him or her. Applications are open now.  Even for those of you with freshmen, sophomores, or juniors – if this sounds like something your student would have interest in, keep this in the back of your mind, or share it with your student at the appropriate time.

I am constantly amazed, impressed, and excited by the innovative programs we can come up with at Wake Forest. This could be a dream gig for some of our Deacs.

— by Betsy Chapman

Misc Monday

What a glorious, glorious weekend we just had.  Yesterday was about 60-65 degrees and sunny – so wonderful after the snow.  There is still some snow lingering, by the way, mostly on the side of the roads where it had been piled up by snow plows and now has all manner of exhaust from cars graying it.  But with this warmth, we will no doubt fool some of the daffodils and other flowers into trying to burst into life early.

Couple of great news items to tell you about from late last week.  Wake Forest was awarded a $650,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the ‘engaged humanities’:

“Funding will support a range of humanities-inflected programming, including, in response to high faculty demand, more opportunity for cross-disciplinary faculty to teach together and offer students the benefit of intentional cross-disciplinary learning, particularly in the context of publically engaged courses, for which faculty have increasingly been seeking support.”

We have a fantastic program of experiential learning taking place right now with the Iowa Caucuses.  Wake the Vote has taken 22 students to Iowa to work on a presidential campaign:

“When 22 Wake Forest University students travel to the Iowa caucuses to work with presidential campaigns, they will embark upon a yearlong journey that combines classroom and real-world political experience through a program called Wake the Vote….From volunteering on the campaigns of presidential candidates to attending classes to planning community forums to organizing non-partisan voter registration efforts, the group will spend 2016 examining issues central to the presidential election.”

The students are randomly assigned to a candidate at each major campaign destination to which they will travel, giving them broad exposure to different candidates and campaigns.  (And just a plug here: if your student has not registered to vote, please encourage him/her to do so.  Look into absentee ballots in your state.)

Also, for first-year students contemplating applying to the School of Business, February is full of activities just for first-years.  There will be information sessions, discussions of how to study abroad as a business major, drop-in times for Q&A and more. A word of advice too: please tell your first-year students to heed the recommendations of the advisers in the business program about the timing of their study-abroad experience.  This might mean going abroad spring of sophomore year instead of fall of junior year – but there are good reasons for that.

A past event to mention – we have a video about the making of the Sutton Center (gym addition).  If you want a look at this project from the beginning to end, this covers it all.

Finally, a few upcoming events to mention:

STEM Slam is this Wednesday evening

There is an Art Career Panel on Thursday evening

aWAKE All Night will start this Saturday

Those are but three things in a very full week.  See for yourself at the Events Calendar.

Make it a great week, Deac families!  And if you haven’t sent your student a Deacon Greeting lately, keep this on your radar screen for Valentine’s Day (or just to say “I love you” – that never gets old!)

— by Betsy Chapman

Provost’s Best Reads and Movies of 2015

Though faculty and staff are back on campus, we’re still awaiting the early arrivers who will be coming back for sorority recruitment, and campus is pretty calm (and COLD) right now.

At the end of 2015, there were many “Best Of” lists – but today we have a special treat for you.  Our alumnus and provost, Rogan Kersh (’86), has made a list of some of his best books, movies, and “long reads” and has let me share them with you.

20120724kersh4446For those of you who have not had the good fortune to meet Rogan, he is an incredibly interesting and extraordinarily intelligent guy who somehow manages to keep his finger on the pulse of movies and books while juggling a ton of academic and administrative things on his WFU plate.  He even has a book section for daughter Graylyn’s favorites (and though a toddler, she’s already just as sharp as her mom and dad). You can read Rogan’s bio here; he also hosts a funny and informative video about “What’s a provost?” if you want to dig deeper.

So enjoy this list, and many thanks to Rogan for sharing it! Provost Kersh’s Best Books and Movies of 2015

— by Betsy Chapman

The Herd Is Thinning

There is definitely a big drop in the number of students here.  Walking across the Quad midday, I only saw two or three students.  In Reynolda Hall, where they often find couches and tables and spots to study, there were far fewer students than earlier in the week.  I’m not saying it’s so silent that you hear crickets chirping, but we are getting close.

To add to the strange feeling on campus is our weather.  It doesn’t feel at all like December – it’s nearly 70 today and sunny.  Students are in short sleeved shirts, or shorts.  I saw several students dragging luggage to cars, or waiting for a ride to the airport.  Sometimes I’d get a glimpse of folks hugging goodbye.

The expressions on students’ faces are also pretty telling.  Once finals are over, they stop looking so tired, and start to look pretty cheerful.  Believe me, I get it.  Finals are hard.

Enough about general campus impressions.  On the sports front, kudos to our men’s soccer player Jack Harrison:

jack harrison“This week, he was named a NSCAA All-South Region honoree. A semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, Harrison won the fan vote online by more than 1,000 votes over the second place finisher, Julian Buescher of Syracuse. Finalists for college soccer’s top honor are scheduled to be announced Friday night by the organization.” (via wakeforestsports.com).

My love for our soccer team is well documented; my Class of ’27 Deac thinks they hung the moon.  Many thanks to all of you who follow our Parents Facebook page and saw my (frequent) posts about helping Jack out in the MAC Hermann Fan Vote.  Winning by over 1,000 votes tells me that the Wake Forest family rallied in huge numbers to get him there.  Thanks for being a part of that!

Hope you have a great weekend and safe travels home to all your Deacs.  Bring on Winter Break!

— by Betsy Chapman

Report from the Field

One of the most crowded places during Finals Week is the ZSR Library.  There are many reasons to be there – books, Starbucks, librarians who can help you find sources, but also because of Wake the Library.  Wake the Library is the ZSR’s way of providing food, fun, and frivolity to break up the stress of studying.

12 10 15 soccerAnd the ZSR librarians are not the only ones who are spreading the love to studying students.  Our men’s soccer team was there a few nights ago distributing cookies.  (If you aren’t following our awesome team on Instagram, they are wakemsoccer.)

Lastnight I saw this on the ZSR Facebook page:  12 10 15 counseling fairies“The #counselingfairies are here and they are passing out snacks to keep you fueled! Thank you WFU Counseling Center!”

My inside source at the ZSR tells me that Wake the Library is serving wraps at midnight tonight (Thursday) and hot dogs tomorrow night (Friday).

As is typical of Finals Week, there are lots of people with their feet up, snoozing on seats, and wearing comfy clothes.  (I saw several people at the Late Night Breakast in pajama bottoms and sweatshirts, which was awesome).

12 10 15As the week has passed, there are gradually fewer students, but the place is far from empty.  My source said that there are lots of business exams tomorrow (Friday), so lots of students still studying.  Here’s a shot of the Atrium.

I’m also told “there are more smiling faces as the end draws near” :)

Study hard, Deacs.  Do your best and let it rest, as we like to say.

— by Betsy Chapman (with thanks to my inside source!)

 

Worrying and Perspective

Finals and the stress of finals tends to get students stirred up.  That’s pretty normal.  Add to that a lack of sleep, iffy food choices, and/or a lack of exercise, and you can have the perfect storm for anxiety, worry, melodrama, etc.

You know that students worry about their grades.  And they worry about them on a number of fronts:

What will my parents’ (or family members) reactions be to this bad grade/a bad overall semester?  

What if I don’t pass the class?

What if this one grade tanks my GPA?

What if this means I can’t get into the business school/med school/law school etc.?

And – by extension – what if this means my whole life is going to be messed up?

As adults, you and I both know that there are very few things in the world that have irrevocable consequences.  You can get a bad grade, have a bad semester, fail out even – and still go on to recover and turn things around.  Your students might not realize that because they haven’t been through it.

If you think your student might be tipping over into this Worry Territory, you may want to help bring some perspective into the situation.  Which is not to suggest that you downplay their worries or tell them “you don’t know what worrying is! Wait till you have to worry about [insert dreaded thing here, layoffs or cancer or money woes, etc.]”  Instead, it may be that you acknowledge their stress but help put it into perspective in any of the following ways.

I know you are worried about this grade, but I want to be sure you know we love you unconditionally.

I have been in a similar situation where it seemed like things were really bad.  Here’s how I turned it around…[or, I failed at X, and it was hard.  Here is what I learned…]

I can see that you seem really worried about X.  I want to assure you that one grade/one semester will not determine your future.  

You get the idea.   You can also encourage your student to celebrate his or her successes – and surely there have been many this semester.  Your students tackled large textbooks, learned languages, read great works of literature or studied art or dance, got involved in extracurriculars, etc.  They probably had moments where they struggled, but grew from that.  They probably had to wrestle with decisions – or ethics – and made choices that felt right to them.  They hopefully learned more about themselves as well as other people.

Your students are are evolving into Who They Will Be When They Grow Up.  That’s something that is hard to measure or quantify, but is very important nonetheless.  Help them see that while the grades are important certainly, the rest of their experience is as well.  And they ought to give themselves a pat on the back.

Again, hearing your unconditional love for them – especially when they are stressed – might be the best possible answer.  And have their favorite foods at the ready when they get home :)

— by Betsy Chapman

 

 

 

A Little Finals Humor

Finals are happening.  This typically brings out the grungiest and most comfortable clothing your students can find (clean is optional) – and also tends to bring out the gallows humor.

If your Deacs need a little pick me up, first and foremost we recommend sending a Deacon Greetings e-card to wish them well.  They may have already seen some of these finals memes – and some may bring a chuckle to them.

Quoting the dystopian The Hunger Games always seems appropriate during finals:  May the odds be ever in your favor.

— by Betsy Chapman

finals meme 1 finals meme 2 15 finals meme 3 15 finals meme 4 15 finals meme 5 15 finals meme 6 15

Grade Expectations

Before the Thanksgiving break and the breakneck pace that always seems to accompany the end of the year, I wanted to devote a Daily Deac to Grade Expectations. (I’m an English major, pardon the pun).

Particularly for parents of first-year students and sophomores, but really for ALL parents, framing the issue of grades in a realistic way could be enormously helpful in alleviating stress and anxiety in your students.

I enlisted the input of a couple of experts from campus: Dr. Christy Buchanan, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Advising and Professor of Psychology, and Dr. James Raper, Director of the University Counseling Center.  Both the Office of Academic Advising (OAA) and the University Counseling Center (UCC) see students who have issues, pressures, or anxieties about their grades.  The UCC and OAA have vast experience in mentoring and counseling students around grades and other issues. (I’ll also put on my academic adviser hat and add a few bits too.)

So let’s talk about grades.  Dean Buchanan says this:

I cringe when I hear a parent state that they have expectations for their student to get a 4.0.”

It might be helpful here to point out how Wake Forest grades are defined.  College is not high school, and As here are different than As from your students’ high school pasts.  From the Undergraduate Bulletin:

“For most courses carrying undergraduate credit, there are twelve final grades: A (exceptionally high achievement), A-, B+, B (superior), B-, C+, C (satisfactory), C-, D+, D, D- (passing but unsatisfactory), and F (failure).”

Let that sink in just a moment.  A is exceptionally high achievement, B is superior, C is satisfactory.  A grade of C does not mean failure.

So if you (or your students) are using high school grades as your benchmark, please consider adjusting or letting go of your expectations.  Here’s why.  Not every student will be universally good at all subjects in college the way they were in high school.  There will be classes here that will be a struggle, just because the level of work and pace of work are higher.

Real life example: I was in a bio class at Wake that was nearly killing me.  I think my test grades were B, C, and D going into the final.  This was a class that stretched me to my limits.  I tried my best but I was just barely hanging on.  My final grade was the best I could do, and believe me I was grateful to pass.  But I worried about my parents’ reaction.

I worried then, and my sense is many of our students are worried now.  So many students feel pressure – real or imagined – to replicate their high school grades, and this can add a tremendous weight onto their shoulders.  Striving for straight As (or even As and Bs) can come at a price – and to get the grade, you might have to give up a lot of less tangible, but equally important things, in the process.  Dean Buchanan says it well:

“It’s much more helpful for parents to expect their students to ‘do their best’ in class while also striving for a healthy and well-balanced life that includes sleep, exercise, and healthy involvement with friends and extracurricular activities.

Students do not thrive when they study all the time, and they do not thrive when they feel pressured to get higher grades than those that naturally result from a strong effort in the context of a balanced lifestyle.   Our students get good jobs and get into graduate programs with a range of GPAs.

For as long as I have been advising, I have seen students in my office who are stressed to the limit over grades.  Some put all their eggs in the “study, study, study” basket, even when that is not making them happy or productive.  That unhappiness can bleed over into other things – not sleeping well, lack of enjoyment in other parts of life, not going to campus activities (or even Student Health or the University Counseling Center because “I don’t have time – I have to study!”) – all because they think they HAVE to get an A on a particular test.

Is getting that A or working yourself to death striving for a GPA worth your physical or mental wellbeing?

Students thrive best when they find a niche of people on campus – whether in an extracurricular activity, going to on-campus sporting events or lectures, volunteering, etc.  If your student is single-mindedly in pursuit of grades, he or she might not be finding a friend group, having new experiences, and/or taking advantage of all our resources.  Becoming well rounded and learning healthy balance is critical – and it is very hard to find balance if you feel you can’t do anything but study.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that grades are unimportant.  Of course they are.  But so is balance.

So when should you be concerned about grades?  Dean Buchanan puts it this way:

“Students need a 2.0 overall and in their major to graduate, so clearly it’s good to expect that over time. In our office, we are concerned if students are getting one or more Ds or Fs.  Parents might also legitimately be concerned if a student is consistently getting Cs across all or most classes, although exploring the reason for this is important. 

If parents are concerned that their student is not working to his/her potential, I urge them first to express caring concern.  Ask if everything is ok.  Ask if there is something going on that’s keeping the student from doing his/her best.  Asking with caring concern might help the student open up about struggles – rather than simply stressing students out and intimating they are not pleasing their parents or living up to parents’ expectations.

Urge the student himself/herself to seek out help from professors, from the Office of Academic Advising (OAA), from the Learning Assistance Center (LAC), or other academic resources.   In general, expressing caring concern is likely to be more productive than is expressing disappointment in or expectations for a specific GPA.”

As an academic adviser, I would make one addition to the Dean Buchanan’s message: for first-semester freshmen, they are still very much learning the ‘new normal’ of college level work, which is a lot harder than high school.  It is not unusual to see lower grades that you were used to seeing on your student’s high school report card.  I see a lot more Bs and Cs on midterm reports – even some Ds.  My experience has been that the first semester grades are typically the worst, and will go up in time once students understand the expectations and get the swing of time management.

I don’t treat my advisees’ Cs or Ds as a reason to panic or threaten, I treat those as an opportunity to explore what is going on, and to refer students to some of the resources on campus like the OAA or the LAC.  Please consider doing that as well.

How does the grade situation impact students emotionally?  Dr. James Raper and his staff of counselors see a lot of students each year with stress, anxiety, or concern about grades.  Some thoughts from Dr. Raper:

“I think it is certainly important to work towards good grades in college.  What is interesting about many college students, however, is that they tend to be supremely critical of themselves and their work while also believing that those around them are having an easy time of it (as they say: “winning at life”). 

The intensity of self-criticism, and the anxiety cycle with which it is connected, frequently causes students not to reach their potential.  I will often describe it to the students with whom I work as “white knuckling” their approach to academic work. 

We – along with the Learning Assistance Center and the Office of Academic Advising – typically advise students to take a more balanced approach to their studies.  Take breaks intentionally to engage in healthy self-care.  This is different from procrastinating; it is refreshing yourself and recharging yourself so you can be better able to approach the work with a good mindset.

We also challenge students’ thinking about what they “have” to make grade wise.  We ask them to consider “what if I ‘only’ got a B or a C?”  What would really happen in my life?  Does it really have bad/irreversible/critical consequences? 

The point of that exercise is not to encourage a student to have a goal of a B or a C.  The intent is to challenge the unrealistic and damaging perfectionism that many students have, and which actually hinders the student’s best work. 

If students can loosen their grip on their academic selves, what they often find is that their best self can come through.”

Why are we telling you all this now?  You’re about to have your Deacs home – most likely for Thanksgiving, almost certainly for Winter Break – and you are going to have a lot of time with them.  Many of them will dread the grade questioning they think you will spring on them.  Over the years I have heard students’ express that they fear parental anger, disappointment, punishment, or withholding of affection (or tuition) because of grades.  I’d argue that what your students need in a discussion of grades is your understanding and empathy.

So Deac families, here is how you can really help your students.

Focus less on the letter grade and more on the effort.

Think about using care and concern in your questioning.

Ask your Deac if getting a B or C in that one class is really going to determine that path for the rest of their life.

Share a time when you got a bad grade and how you recovered.

Help them see your love is not directly proportional to their GPA (or their major, or intended career, etc.)

Help them put grades into proper perspective.

Tell them you don’t expect them to be perfect – and they shouldn’t expect that of themselves.

If you can help take the stress (real or imagined) off your students, it might free them up to be able to work with a clear mind and less anxiety about what your reaction will be if they get a particular grade or GPA.

Imagine what a great gift that would be to your students.  And how much happier a household you might have during the holidays.

— by Betsy Chapman

Catch Up Wednesday

After a day that was full of rain yesterday, we have graduated to merely grey and a small chance of rain.  If you look out the windows and see trees losing their leaves and grey skies, you might expect it to feel a little colder than it actually does.  I’ve added some of our great Ken Bennett’s pictures at the end.  He’s captured some real stunners of fall in the Forest.

There a few items leftover from the weekend and earlier this week that bear mentioning here.

Our football team lost a heartbreaker on Friday night against Louisville.  But you could argue we had a sort of moral victory – when one of our Deacs was injured and had to be taken off the field, his teammates surrounded him and supported him, prompting ESPN to post this heartwarming video “Wake Forest reminds us what sports are all about.”  Never prouder to be a Deac.

Our field hockey team – a perennial powerhouse since the early 2000s – finished the regular season strong, ranked 5th in the nation.  They head to the ACC Tournament on Thursday as the #2 seed.

Men’s soccer continues its domination of the pitch, winning its first regular-season ACC championship.  They get a bye for the first round of the ACC Tournament and are set to play their first game on Sunday, 11/8 at 1 pm in Spry Stadium.  Be there in big numbers, students!  This is such an exciting time.

Moving from the athletic front to the artistic…while I did not attend this in person, I have heard several glowing reviews about the University Theatre’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest.  “Run, don’t walk to see it” was what my friends and colleagues told me.  There will be additional opportunities for your Deacs to see it this coming weekend.

And what promises to be a terrific event tonight at 7 pm is Irish poet Ciaran Carson.  “Wake Forest University Press will host Ciaran Carson for a lively reading on Nov. 4. The reading will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ring Theatre of Scales Fine Arts Center, and Carson will be available for a meet & greet and book signing following the reading.  Refreshments will be served.

The poet Ciaran Carson in Royal Avenue, Belfast, N.Ireland.

Carson is a highly acclaimed Irish poet, prose writer, translator, scholar of the Irish oral tradition, and traditional musician. His black humor, satire, and playful and serious interests in wordplay make him, as Ben Howard described in a retrospective of Carson’s career in Shenandoah, ‘one of the most gifted poets now writing in England and Ireland.'”

Our Secrest Artists Series will be back on November 12th with a dance concert featuring Kegwin + Company.  “Founded in 2003 by Artistic Director Larry Keigwin—choreographer of the current Broadway show If/Then— Keigwin + Company presents Keigwin’s electrifying brand of contemporary dance, with a theatrical sensibility of wit, style, and heart. Our performance will feature their signature work Mattress Suite.”  Please see the full description of the program for important details about the content of the program.

Big time speaker news on the horizon – our fall Voices of Our Time speaker: “Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of The New York Times bestseller, ‘Between the World and Me,’ will speak Nov. 17 at Wake Forest. Part of the University’s Voices of Our Time speaker series, the talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Wait Chapel. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets can be reserved online at go.wfu.edu/VOT or by calling 336-758-5237….Known for writing about culture, politics, and social issues, Coates is a finalist for the National Book Award.”  More information here.

I think you get the idea – there is a lot going on right now.  And for many of our students, they are focused on work and worrying about grades and papers and projects, it would be easy for them to skip some of these great bonus activities in favor of work.  But these kinds of activities could be once in a lifetime chances to see great speakers, or winning our conference, or to indulge in the arts in inspiring and provocative ways.

ManifestoSo urge your Deacs to consider picking one of these events (or the many others on the Events Calendar) and treat it as ‘me time.’  Stop the gerbil wheel of work and take time to have some deep breaths and to do something fun.  Sometimes the best thing we can do for our health and wellbeing is to do something just for ourselves that brings joy and peace and fun.  I saw this manifesto on a web site called Greatist – and while this manifesto leans toward the realm of physical health, you can swap out any of the physical fitness references for emotional wellbeing (or any other dimension of wellbeing for that matter).

Food for thought anyway.

— by Betsy Chapman
One of the swings on Davis Field is framed by fall color on the Wake Forest campus on Friday, October 30, 2015.

One of the swings on Davis Field is framed by fall color on the Wake Forest campus on Friday, October 30, 2015.

Farrell Hall on the Wake Forest campus on a cool fall morning on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

Farrell Hall on the Wake Forest campus on a cool fall morning on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

Photos on the Wake Forest campus on a cool fall morning on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

Photos on the Wake Forest campus on a cool fall morning on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

 

Happy Friday

Wake Forest students enjoy crisp fall weather as they walk across campus on Tuesday, October 20, 2015.

Wake Forest students enjoy crisp fall weather as they walk across campus on Tuesday, October 20, 2015.

Happy Friday to all our Deac parents and families.  It’s felt like a long week on campus.  Our first-year students and sophomores have been in the process of meeting with their academic advisers to plan their spring 2016 schedules; juniors and seniors meet with major advisers.  As I talk with other adviser friends of mine, there are some common refrains that many of us hear during these meetings, particularly from first-year students:

Concern about a particular midterm grade – some students are surprised (and unhappy) with a particular grade.  The best bet for those students is to go talk to his/her professor about their class performance and get suggestions on how to improve.  Augment that with going to the appropriate support office (Math Center, Writing Center, Chem Center, Learning Assistance Center) for extra help.  The reality is, students who might have had all As in high school will likely find that an unsustainable model for college.  But as long as students are doing their work, not procrastinating, seeking extra help, studying well, etc., they have done their best – and ought to feel good about that.  They also worry about what you, their parents or families, will think about their grades.  To the degree that you can help take that pressure off them, they will feel a lot more at ease.

Anxiety about registration time – registration is set up in two rounds: in the first round students pick up to 8 credit hours, then they complete their schedule one week later.  Registration times are assigned randomly, but with an effort to trying to be fair – so if you have an ‘early’ registration time the first week, a student will likely have a ‘late’ registration time the next week (that way, no one lucky student gets to go first twice and grab all the best classes).  Your students may tell you “I can’t get any classes I want” – but if you probe further, likely you will find that translates to “I couldn’t get the specific professor/time I wanted.”  There are almost always spots open in 8 am classes, so students need to be open minded and not lock in to a specific time slot (read: after 10 am) or a specific professor.

Concern about not yet knowing what their major will be – many of our students enter Wake Forest thinking they are going to go to the Business School here, or ultimately want to go to medical school.  And while some of our students go on and do just that, many others find along the way that some of the prerequisites for those paths don’t play to their strengths.  And then they are forced to say “What do I do now?”  The OPCD (Office of Personal and Career Development) has some wonderful assessments students can take to help identify their interests and strengths.  They also have a great page about choosing a major and being able to see what types of jobs students with those majors have landed.  That can be a great, and reassuring, resource.

Related: this past week, Dr. Kate Brooks – Executive Director of Personal and Career Development – was featured on the TODAY Show to discuss “how to land your dream job.” Dr. Brooks is a nationally recognized career specialist with more than 20 years of experience in higher education. She is the author of a best selling career coaching book, “You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career,” and was named No. 6 on 2013 Career Services Insights Survey for the “10 Most Visionary and Forward-Thinking Leaders in Career Services and Recruiting in 2013.” Check out the story here.

I think it’s also the time of year when students are dealing with seasonal allergies, and/or colds or some sort of bug (I was felled by an awful one last week).  So some of them might be feeling a little extra droopy.  Would be a great time for you to think about sending a care package with some TLC from home.

As always on Fridays, we urge you to call your Deacs.  This Friday in particular might be an especially good time.  We referenced earlier in the week an email sent to parents about trying to reduce high-risk drinking behaviors associated with Halloween and the last home game of the season.  Parents’ attitudes and influences are important, as stated in the email: “Research has shown that parents are one of the biggest sources of influence on their child’s drinking habits. Conversations with your student can help reduce the risky use of alcohol, and we encourage you to speak with your son or daughter about your concerns about their use of alcohol, especially in a risky manner.”

importance of being earnestA great activity for your Deacs this weekend would be to go see the University Theatre production of The Importance of Being Earnest.  This is a terrific play by Oscar Wilde, and even better, it’s a chance for your students to see the immense talents of their friends, hallmates, classmates, and faculty who are involved.

Looking ahead to next week, here’s a little reminder for something coming up on Monday.  If your students want to learn some effective strategies for studying, they should attend the following program:

The Learning Assistance Center’s “Study Smarter, Not Harder” workshop series will introduce WFU students to a number of helpful strategies that will improve academic performance. Our second workshop for the fall semester is scheduled for Monday, November 2, from 5:00-6:00 in Greene Hall 145. This workshop will focus specifically on reading strategies, performance anxiety, and using Zotero.

— by Betsy Chapman