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This Isn’t On Any Syllabus, But Should Be

Move-In Week is here!  Wow, where did the summer go?  Some of our ’19s have already been arriving to take part in Pre-Orientation programs, but the bulk of the families will be moving in this Friday.  If you are a new family and you missed the special Move-In edition of the Wake Parents and Families e-newsletter, here it is.  Read it – lots of good info.

Whether you are a new parent or parent of a senior, this article might be of interest.  As your students head to (or back to) campus, they will soon encounter moments where they are going to be thinking about their academic classes, grades, GPAs, majors, etc.  All of that is good stuff and the primary reason to be in college, no doubt.

But there is another kind of learning that is just as important, though it may not be on any of their class syllabi – and that is Emotional Intelligence (EI).  EI can have a tremendous impact on a person’s effectiveness – at work, at home, in personal relationships, etc.

This article from LinkedIn talks about Emotional Intelligence and why it is a key to success.  So if you and your Deac have been talking mostly about academic life as you get ready for Move-In, encourage him/her to also think about growing his/her Emotional Intelligence.  A simple Google search will turn up other articles and books about EI.  So if this is a new concept for your Deac, perhaps it would be good in the few days you have left at home to gently introduce this concept and plant the seed.

— by Betsy Chapman

Throwback Thursday

This is an oldie but goodie.  The history of the Quad trees is fraught with occasional despair, and in a couple of much-lamented episodes, the trees have had to be thinned (as happened a few years ago) or taken down altogether (as was the case in 1987-88 when we had a blight of Dutch Elm disease that required taking them all out).

Back when the Quad trees were thicker and more plentiful, fall was especially grand.  Here’s a Throwback Thursday aerial from 2005, showing the trees in their former splendor.

An aerial view of Reynolda Hall and the Hearn Plaza (the Quad) with fall color, made from the Wait Chapel bell tower on Monday, November 7, 2005.

An aerial view of Reynolda Hall and the Hearn Plaza (the Quad) with fall color, made from the Wait Chapel bell tower on Monday, November 7, 2005.

— by Betsy Chapman

View from the Top of the ZSR

We continue our ‘last break before the semester begins,’ featuring aerial images of campus.  Today’s shot comes to us from the cupola of the ZSR Library.

Your Deacs see these buildings on our skyline every day.  Now they (and you) can see what Wait Chapel looks like through the eyes of the library cupola – a spot they can’t get to on their own.

Not too shabby.

Aerial views of the Wake Forest campus made from the cupola of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library on Wednesday, November 1, 2006.

Aerial views of the Wake Forest campus made from the cupola of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library on Wednesday, November 1, 2006.

— by Betsy Chapman

Aerial Wake Forest

It’s the week before Move-In, and officially the last chance for many of us to take a vacation, so the Daily Deac is out this week :)

Just to keep you thinking about Mother So Dear, this week will feature some pictures of campus, all with an aerial feel.  Today’s first entry is a shot from the topmost part of Wait Chapel – the little window at the way, way top of the spire (the green part).  This is the view toward Alumni Hall and the Worrell Professional Center, and the green spire as point of reference.

A view of Poteat Field and the Worrell Professional Center from the bell tower of Wait Chapel on Friday, June 25, 2010.

A view of Poteat Field and the Worrell Professional Center from the bell tower of Wait Chapel on Friday, June 25, 2010.

The bell tower of Wait Chapel, on the campus of Wake Forest University, on Monday, September 23, 2013.

The bell tower of Wait Chapel, on the campus of Wake Forest University, on Monday, September 23, 2013.

 

Enjoy your last full week home with your Deacs, freshmen parents.  (Upperclassmen families, you’re not far behind!)

— by Betsy Chapman

Move-In Best Practices for New Families

Ready or not, here we come!  While some of our ’19s will be arriving early for Pre-Orientation programs, the full Class of 2019 will be moving in on Friday, August 21st.  We can’t wait to meet all of our new Deacs and their parents and family members!

Having witnessed many years of Move-In days, the Daily Deac has some tips to help make Move-In a more enjoyable process for all.  This is by no means a comprehensive list – use only the parts that make sense for your family.

Be patient – with 1,250+ new students moving in on the same day, there could be times where you have to wait in line.  It might be in the car driving to your student’s residence hall, at the Campus Services and Information Fair in Benson to pick up ID cards and keys, or even to get lunch.  Know that you have all day to accomplish things, and don’t fret about a wait. (And speaking of the Campus Services and Information Fair, we’re going to be there!  Please stop by the Parent Programs table and say hello to our office.  We’ll have some information and – cross your fingers – a fun giveaway for parents.)

Stay hydrated – if it is warm and sunny outside and you are helping move in all your student’s possessions, you might get overheated.  There are drink stations outside all the residence halls.  Please stay hydrated.  Ask for help from any staff member if you feel unwell.

Be diplomatic – you will most likely be meeting your student’s roommate and family sometime during Move-In.  The students will have to navigate who gets which bed, who puts their things where, etc.  It’s best to let the students decide these things.  Parents and family members, this is time to take a neutral stance and let the students make the decisions.

Be open minded – your student’s roommate might look/think/dress/act/vote differently than your student.  And that’s OK.  There is no law that says roommates have to love the same music, movies, pasttimes, etc.  They just need to be able to live peaceably in the same room.  And that will happen best if parents stay out of the relationship and let the two students get to know each other.

Understand your student may act a little differently – he or she might be excited, or nervous, or trying to put on a brave face with his/her new peers in an unfamiliar situation, or he/she may want to act independently in getting all the business of move in taken care of.  Every student handles the hustle and bustle of Move-In differently.  Be there with a supportive hug when needed, and let the student have his/her distance when needed.

Honor the Orientation schedule. There will be activities for students only, and activities for parents and family members only.  When your students are scheduled to attend an activity with their advising group or their hall, let them do that.  We expect students to attend all required activities.  This is the students’ chance to bond, and also to begin separating from their family.

Have fun whenever you can. Sure, it can be a grind to move in and deal with extra trips to Target or the grocery store and such, but this is the start of what we hope will be four of the best years of your student’s life.  Celebrate.  Be excited.  Recall your own time at college or during other experiences in your late teens and how fun it was.  You are making family memories now that will last a lifetime.

Take pictures.  This is a major milestone in your student’s journey to adulthood.  Your student will want to remember this day, and so will you.

Before you leave, tell your students that you love them, that you are proud of them, that they’ll do well, and that you trust them. This is the most important of all.  Nothing makes it better like your family can make it better, and we all need someone to remind us that we are loved and valued and capable.

And of course much of this advice applies to upperclassmen parents who will be moving in their sophomores, juniors, and seniors :)

— by Betsy Chapman

Which Character Trait Is Most Predictive of Wellbeing?

Thrive_Horz_BlackHopefully our upperclassmen parents have already heard about Thrive, our campus efforts to promost holistic wellbeing (for all the freshmen parents, you can see the Thrive website and the 8 dimensions of wellbeing).

I saw a very interesting article on wellbeing over the weekend entitled “Which Character Strengths Are Most Predictive of Wellbeing,” from the Scientific American website.  It bears a mention here.

8 3 15 24 character strengthsIn the article, it has an infographic about 24 Character Strengths (such as love, hope, vitality, gratitude) that were grouped into 6 larger categories (transcendence, humanity, wisdom, temperance, courage and justice).  The notion is that we have the capacity for all 24 traits, and that it can be helpful to identify where our strengths are (to capitalize on them) and where our weak spots are (to grow them).

Taking it a step further, the author wanted to investigate these 24 traits and answer the question “Which character strengths are most predictive of well-being?

Disclaimer: the article might read best to the statistics wonks among us.  I’ll skip the step by step of his regression analysis (though you can read it all online) and cut to the chase:

“Out of all 24 character strengths, the only significant independent positive predictors of well-being were gratitude and love of learning.** Note that love, honesty, and humor were very close to being statistically significant independent positive predictors of well-being….[but] The single best predictor of well-being was gratitude.”

Let’s think about this in terms of college students for a moment.  One of the significant independent positive predictors of well-being is love of learning.  In theory all your students have that, or they would not be going to college.  Students may feel like learning is their ‘job’ while in college, and they want outcomes like good grades and positive comments on papers and projects, etc.  In other words – they expect to learn and are focused on that, so love of learning is perhaps a given.

But are students equally focused on gratitude?  If gratitude is one of the biggest predictors of well-being, how can we help students realize its importance and practice it in their daily lives?

There is no ‘grade’ in gratitude.  It doesn’t go on your transcript or your job application or your resume.  But it might be one of the more – most? – vital things your students can learn in college.

Gratitude can show itself in countless ways – a ‘thank you’ to another person, an internal reflection on how lucky one is to have good health/cherished friends/family/a good partner [insert anything that is important to you], entries into a ‘gratitude journal,’ where you list good things that happen (and can go back to those pages in times when you need a boost).

Gratitude-journal-11I would argue that gratitude is a habit – not unlike exercise, or eating right, or getting enough sleep.  Something that the more you practice, the better you get at it.

Is it worth having a conversation about gratitude with your Deacs before school starts?  Give them the gift of a gratitude journal before they leave for school (these can be a lot of fun – see the example at right that I saw online).  Encourage them to try a gratitude app on their smartphones?

Food for thought on a Monday, anyway.

— by Betsy Chapman

 

5 Things to Know

As students nationwide get ready for the start of college, we’re beginning to see all sorts of lists about advice for college, things your student should know, etc.  Here’s one from the Washington Post that has some general advice.  We have some advice for  incoming WFU freshmen (and this version for their parents) as part of our ‘virtual New Student Reception.’

The Washington Post article got me thinking about some of the very important practical, tactical things your Deacs should know.  This generation tends to search online first, so this list will be in the form of how to search the WFU website for answers.

What if I get sick?  All things medical care on campus belong to the Student Health Service.  Go to the main WFU web page and search for “student health” and you will see the Student Health Service website.   Colds, flus, mono, and other illnesses do happen on college campuses.  The Student Health Service is there to provide routine and urgent care (as well as other things).  Under the Services menu at left, you can see Resources and Schedules, which shows you local options for those rare times that Student Health is closed.  (Also, be sure to communicate with your professors if you have an illness that prevents you from attending class).

What if there is a facilites problem or maintenance issue with my room? Anything that has to do with your residence hall room or common areas runs through Residence Life and Housing.  Go to the main WFU web page and search for “Residence Life and Housing” and you will see a button at the bottom of their page that says “Facilities Service Request.”  Fill out the service form online.

What if I lose my room key? Same as above – your room key is still part of the Residence Life and Housing world.  Go to the main WFU web page and search for “Residence Life and Housing” and you will see a button at the bottom of their page that says “Facilities Service Request.”  You will see an option for a Key Request form.

What if I lose my Deacon OneCard (ID card?)  Interestingly enough, this road also leads to Residence Life and Housing.  Go to the main WFU web page and search for “Deacon OneCard” and you will find a link to the Deacon OneCard office via Residence Life and Housing.

What if there is an emergency I need to report?  Search for “University Police” on the main WFU web page and you’ll find their home page.  It has the phone number to call in an emergency.

Those are Big Things to know from a practical standpoint.

There will be other things your Deac needs to figure out while on campus, of course.  Rather than giving an exhaustive list of potential other situations, I’d urge your Deacs to think about what they need and try to search the main site.  Having academic difficulty? Search on “tutoring.”  Need some emotional support? Search on “Counseling Center.” Need information about airport shuttles? Search on “shuttles” – and so on.

And a gentle reminder – remember the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” method of letting your students develop their own independence and problem-solving skills.  If your student needs resources online, let them do the searching on their own – don’t do it for them.  While it might be easier for you to find the link and send it to them, they need to figure out how to locate those resources themselves.  They’ll have to do their own problem solving for the rest of their lives – give them the freedom and space to start doing that now.

— by Betsy Chapman

 

The ‘Dynamic Decade’ of President Hatch

540x400.hatch.20100910In the Sunday edition of the Winston-Salem Journal, there was a wonderful feature story on President Nathan O. Hatch and his ten years of service at Wake Forest.  The article is “Dynamic Decade: Hatch Reshapes University with Eye Toward Future” and it is well worth your time to read.

Here are a few select excerpts:

“The construction boom, paid for in part by an ambitious $1 billion fundraising effort, is the most obvious piece of a larger transformation that Hatch has been quietly shepherding over the last 10 years — improving faculty and staff, overhauling university culture and increasing the size of the student body while making the university more selective to solidify its place among the top tier of colleges and universities in the country.

Better staff, brighter students, bigger donors — all things that can be hard to come by in the highly competitive world of higher education. On the eve of celebrating his 10th anniversary, though, Hatch’s efforts seem to be bearing fruit….

Hatch said Wake Forest does not want to be the next great research institution; it’s not striving to be the next Duke or Emory. It offers something different — “a much more nurturing environment” — than such large state universities as the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But it is also more than a college. Hatch looks toward somewhere like Dartmouth, an Ivy League school, as an “aspirational peer.”

“We want to be the best face-to-face liberal arts residential community,” Hatch says of the university’s goals. “We want to be the best place for college-to-career transition.”

The article gives you a glimpse of not only Dr. Hatch as president of Wake Forest, but how he is regarded by his peers and colleagues.  “Never the showiest person in the room but often the smartest,” he respected for his personal and professional skills as much as his academic skills.

Enjoy the article.  We are indeed fortunate to have Dr. Hatch at the helm of Mother So Dear.

— by Betsy Chapman

New Starbucks!

Today I got my first look at the redesign of Starbucks, now blessedly open after what felt like a long long closure.  The architecture of the place is the same, but the style of chairs and tables is new.  Gone are the big banquette seats on the lower level, replaced with tables, including a long, high table near the entrance.

The upstairs is really spiffy.  A nice new shade of deep green on the walls, new artwork (and some former paintings remained).  The upper level seating is a definite improvement in my humble opinion: very comfortable leather chairs, as well as tables.  In the back nook of the upstairs, the somewhat awkward bench seating has been replaced by tables.

I predict your students will like it.  And that I will never see Starbucks that empty again, save for winter break :)

The ZSR is also sporting a new banner at the entrance, welcoming the new ZSR dean, Tim Pyatt.

T-minus 20 days until Move-In for the new freshmen.  Wow.

— by Betsy Chapman

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A Peek Inside

Today we are giving you a peek behind closed doors to get the inside scoop on internal processes.  Earlier in July, our incoming first year students self-registered for half of their fall class schedule.  The second half of their schedule is selected for them using information our new students provided on their Course Preference Survey (which asks about potential majors, electives they might want to consider, preferences in subject areas, possible prerequisites needed for potential majors, and more).

You might wonder how all that gets accomplished, slotting in all the first years for classes.  Well, it is a remarkably collaborative process.  A small army of staff from the Office of Academic Advising, Registrar’s office, select faculty and academic department staff (maybe even more folks than that) come together in a collaborative fashion to read through the Course Preference Surveys and find the best fits for students.

I was part of the schedule-completion team a few years ago, and I can tell you that great care is taken to try and rightly place every student.  Usually there was one staff member reading the Course Preference Survey and trying to suggest courses, and a second staff member would check online to see if the suggested course could fit into a student’s schedule without upending classes the student had selected for himself/herself.  When the student’s first choice was not available, the ‘reader’ of the CPS would go down to the next possible option and the ‘checker of the system/registration specialist’ would look for the class and try to find sections that did not conflict, and so on.

This operation was not just a ‘plug people into any class at all and be done with it.’  It was much more purposeful and deliberate than that.  If we saw a student who had accidentally requested two courses on the CPS that we knew were not wise to take in the same semester (such as the First Year Seminar and the Writing 111 class), we’d make sure to find a different elective so he or she would have a manageable load.  In instances where a student’s expressed preferences were full, we tried to read through the CPS and think about what might be a ‘close second’ to what they had wanted.

The process was also very equitable.  In the first pass, we’d give each student just one additional class, and then all the forms got shuffled and randomized so we could be fair about mixing up the order for the second class we’d add to their schedules.  That way, no one was stuck with being ‘last to get classes’.  Surely there have been even more enhancements to the process with each passing year.

Here’s a few shots of some of the staff working on registration this year.

— by Betsy Chapman
Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar's office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually  registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar’s office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar's office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually  registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015.  Theatre professor John Friedenberg works with Melissa Cumbia and Minh Nguyen on a student's schedule.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar’s office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015. Theatre professor John Friedenberg works with Melissa Cumbia and Minh Nguyen on a student’s schedule.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar's office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually  registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015.  Math professor Frank Moore talks with Sasha Suzuki about a student's schedule.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar’s office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015. Math professor Frank Moore talks with Sasha Suzuki about a student’s schedule.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar's office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually  registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015.  Theatre professor John Friedenberg works with Melissa Cumbia and Minh Nguyen on a student's schedule.

Wake Forest faculty join staff members from the registrar’s office and academic advising to provide a personal touch by individually registering first year students for classes based on their preferences, in Reynolda Hall on Monday, July 27, 2015. Theatre professor John Friedenberg works with Melissa Cumbia and Minh Nguyen on a student’s schedule.